Friday, March 1, 2013
Ban on Women in Combat Lifted,
Boost Your Bottom Line with Telecommuting,
Congratulations to This Month's Winner,
Four Types of Personalities in the Office,
Connect with Orion
Ban on Women in Combat Lifted
On January 25, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the 1944 policy that had previously banned women from combat.
While women were already allowed to serve on Navy ships, as combat pilots, and also in war zones, the new policy allows women to serve with front-line infantry soldiers in dangerous situations. However, women have already been in combat situations for years, and 152 women have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new policy serves as the official ruling on the issue.
Military officials are debating over whether or not women will be allowed to serve in Special Forces operations, citing a woman’s inability to pass the physical requirements for these elite positions. Officials have begun the process of reevaluating the positions of women in the armed forces, which account for about 230,000 positions; about 14 percent of active duty personnel. As a result of the ban lift, gender-neutral requirements for all military occupations will be established.
While the military has a long road ahead, exceptions for women in combat are not entirely new. The ban on women flying attack aircraft was lifted twenty years ago, and now all branches have female pilots. However, they are not allowed to serve in special operation missions.
The U.S. is not the only country that allows women in combat – Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have all made similar exceptions.
The change certainly raises a lot of questions to be answered in the days to come, but reveals the military’s strides toward gender equality within all branches.
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Boost Your Bottom Line with Telecommuting
It has been estimated that by the year 2016, 43% of American workers will be telecommuting. This astronomical rise is indicative of the multiple benefits for employers who institute such a practice. At first blush, many managers may imagine their employee sitting watching TV while cleaning their house and occasionally checking their work email. They would be wrong. Telecommuters are consistently proving themselves to be productive and dependable, if not for the mere fact that many feel they have to prove their worth.
So what are the benefits to instituting a telecommuting policy? A meta-study by Pennsylvania State University examined the results of multiple studies and found that telecommuting benefits both the employer and the employee. It also found there to be five main benefits for companies.
1) Employees who work from home have more of a sense of freedom and hence more control over their work. These employees are free of the many office distractions, as there is no “water cooler” to visit.
2) Telecommuting, when properly handled by the employee, can actually reduce work/life conflict, making for a happier employee.
3) Working from home a couple days a week does not harm co-worker relationships. The study did, however, point out that working from home more than three days a week could harm those relationships. The solution to this problem is increasingly clear in today’s plugged-in world. Teleconference, IM, and Skype are all ways to bring employees from all over the country together and able to put a face with a name.
4) The study examined productivity, both as perceived by the employee and the manager. And while the employees themselves did not see themselves as more productive, their managers did.
5) The study found that employees who work from home are all around happier, leading to lower turnover.
Other benefits, as revealed by the Sloan Work and Family Research Network include:
• Expanded workforce participation to include, for example, workers with disabilities
• Overhead cost reductions for things like office space and office supplies
• Reduced absenteeism costs
• Heighten loyalty and commitment
• Earned tax credits for reducing pollution and traffic congestion
An interesting statistic from Sloan also points out that 75% of employees who work from home say they could continue to work in the event of a disaster, compared with just 28% of traditional office-based employees.
Managers may worry about allowing their employees to telecommute at first. After all, how will they assess their daily work product if they’ve lost visibility? Micromanagers may need to try to adapt a more effective management style to make this arrangement work. Evaluate performance by measuring the quantity and quality of the work against the stated goals and objectives. Schedule deadlines. And don’t let small problems turn into big ones.
Telecommuting is an increasingly popular perk that can also be used as a recruitment and retainment tool. A study by The Telework Research Network revealed that 36% would choose working from home over a pay raise and that 80% of employees consider telework a job perk. Additionally, the study found that 78% of employees who call in sick really aren’t. Unscheduled absences, which cost employers $1,800/employee per year, went down by 63% when telecommuting was implemented.
The bottom line? Not all employees or positions are ideal for telecommuting, but it may boost your bottom line to consider adding the ability to work from home in some form for your best employees.
Congratulations to This Month's Winner
Four Types of Personalities in the Office
In any office, it is important to be able to identify the different types of personalities in the workplace. With proper identification, you can learn how to interact successfully with your co-workers, using your knowledge of how their personality affects their work ethic to your best advantage. In her new book Personality Style At Work, Kate Ward gives the four most common personalities, which can be found in almost office.
Direct. Direct personalities tend to make decisions on the fly, and are very action-oriented. Direct personality styles speak their opinions openly and without reserve.
Spirited. A person with a spirited personality tends to over exaggerate, and is usually the chatterbox of the office. They prefer group projects, and thrive in a group environment, though some direction may be needed to help them stay on task.
Considerate. Considerate personalities, just like Spiriteds, flourish in group settings. They usually need a lot of direction when tackling projects from their superior. Considerate personalities are great listeners, and think before making a contribution, whether in a conversation or in a project.
Systematic. Systemic personalities thrive on deadlines and set tasks. Unlike the Direct personality, Systematics are slow to offer their own opinions, preferring to offer facts as a form of conversation. They think independently, and would rather work alone than work in a group setting.
Which personality type are you? Do any of the personalities above match your co-workers?