Thursday, May 31, 2012

When NOT to Use Email

Despite the nearly effortless flow of electronic communication, there are times when email is not the best method for exchanging information and ideas—especially at work.

Emails being seen by eyes other than ones we intended can happen all too easily, at work and in our private lives: we are all familiar with the “oops” moment when we “replied-all” and didn’t mean to, or the forwarding we wished hadn’t happened. And there are other times when it’s just not the most effective way to communicate: even in this world of constant electronic connectedness, some interactions require a more personal approach.

When is email not the right medium?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Earbuds at Work: Generational Difference or Bad Form?

In the debate about whether listening to music with headphones or earbuds at work is a good idea, people’s opinions tend to fall into generational categories.

Graphic Designer Dana, in her mid-20s, likes to wear just one earbud. She says, “Listening to music helps me to zone in on what I’m doing,” and keeping one ear free allows her to hear what is going on around her. When asked how she responds if she sees that someone else has an earbud in, Dana says, “I’m afraid I’m interrupting.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Talking to an Employee About Hygiene Issues

Have you ever worked with a colleague who has poor hygiene, foul-smelling clothes, or bad breath? What if you are the person who needs to address the issue with the employee? Here are some helpful and practical steps you can take to handle this situation.

First things first! Consult with your manager. Hygiene issues should be brought to management’s attention and handled by management. If you are the manager, consult with HR and legal. Inform them of your intentions and get information about your company’s current policies and procedures as well as ADA information. HR will guide you on how to approach the situation, and the employee.

Next, familiarize yourself with some of the possible causes of body odor:
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes
  • Diet
  • Environmental issues such as inadequate ventilation
Here’s how to address the issue:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Preparing Your Co-Workers for Your Vacation

You’ve booked the tickets and the hotel, mapped your road trip, or planned how you’re going to spend your staycation. Whatever you may be doing, one thing is certain: you’re going on vacation!

Ideally, things should proceed smoothly at work while you’re gone, with few, if any, interruptions to your time away. But if you leave tasks unfinished or if your colleagues are unclear what to do in your absence, you may find yourself fielding phone calls and answering emails when you want to be lounging poolside or hiking through the woods. Here are some simple things you can do to help everyone prepare for your time away:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It Pays to Be Extremely Cautious

On the Inc.com website, Eliza Browning, vice president of Crane Digital, recently wrote “Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now.” I was particularly struck by number 3, “Observe the 'Elevator Rule,'” in which she wrote:
When meeting with clients or potential business partners off-site, don't discuss your impressions of the meeting with your colleagues until the elevator has reached the bottom floor and you're walking out of the building. That's true even if you're the only ones in the elevator.
Call it superstitious or call it polite—but either way, don't risk damaging your reputation by rehashing the conversation as soon as you walk away.
She makes a very good point, but she could have taken it even further. It pays to be extremely cautious. It pays to assume people are listening. It pays to believe that walls are thin. It pays to treat all of your gossip and criticisms as highly classified material. And here’s why...