WBEZ | Workplace Wednesdays http://www.wbez.org/tags/workplace-wednesdays Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Workplace Wednesdays: Wellness at the office; what's the bottom line for companies? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/workplace-wednesdays-wellness-office-whats-bottom-line-companies-99659 <p><p><em>Updated at 11:35 on 6/6/2012</em></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/aerobics.jpg" style="height: 375px; width: 500px;" title="(Flickr/Ted Ollikkala)" /></div><p>We&#39;ve all had the co-worker on a diet. They pass up the birthday cake or going-away cupcakes and pop carrot sticks at lunch. Broadcasting your weight goals at the office can be a mixed bag. On one hand, you feel guilty or embarrassed when the pounds don&#39;t fall off, but on the other hand, you&#39;ve got people to keep you honest in the break room when the 3 p.m. sweet craving strikes. Diets and self-improvement goals may not just be about personal reward; employers have something to gain, too (no pun intended). <a href="http://www.workforce.com/article/20120601/NEWS02/120609992/can-social-media-produce-wellness-results" target="_blank">&quot;Can Social Media Produce Wellness Results&quot;</a>, an article in the June issue of <a href="http://www.workforce.com/" target="_blank"><em>Workforce</em></a>, states that &quot;in 2012, U.S. companies&rsquo; per-employee health care costs are expected to increase 5.9 percent, to $11,664.&quot; That&#39;s from a report from Towers Watson &amp; Co. and the National Business Group on Health. The same data points to a rise of 34 percent in employee health care costs. With diseases like diabetes and heart disease stemming from excess weight, employers are looking for preventative measures to keep workers at a stable weight. Healthy workers mean lower bills for the bosses, and hopefully, happier workers.</p><p>Getting buy-in on better lifestyle choices is easier said than done. Breaking down barriers and creating better access for employees is one way companies can help staff reach those goals. The <em>Workforce</em> article, which is available Monday, points to companies using social media and smartphone apps to help workers stay active and lose weight. These tools help dieters track their calories and exercise, and also connect with their collegues to create a team-like environment around a shared goal of healthier living. It&#39;s similar to your cubemate keeping you honest when you reach for the cake; if you&#39;re co-workers can see on Facebook that you&#39;re veering off course, they can snap you back into shape. It&#39;s not just about weight loss, either. Staff at Chilton Hospital in New Jersey aimed to quit smoking and take stress management classes, too. Wellness experts that writer Michelle V. Rafter talked to say it&#39;s important to not concentrate on just immediate goals. To make the efforts truly worthwhile, employees need to learn-and adopt-healthy lifestyles that will stick with them.<br /><br />To talk more about what companies are doing to incentivize workers, <em>Workforce&#39;s</em> Director of Online Strategy and former HR consultant Andrea Whitney joined Steve Edwards on <em>Afternoon Shift</em>. Did your company do anything to make you want to live a healthier lifestyle? Tell us below in the comments section!<br /><br /><em>This post has been updated to include the correct title of the </em>Workforce<em> article.</em></p></p> Wed, 30 May 2012 11:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/workplace-wednesdays-wellness-office-whats-bottom-line-companies-99659 Workplace Wednesdays: You got the pink slip. Now what? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/workplace-wednesdays-you-got-pink-slip-now-what-99475 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/classifieds.jpg" style="height: 334px; width: 500px;" title="" /></p><p><a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm" target="_blank">With unemployment at almost 8 percent</a> it&#39;s become all too routine for workers to get the pink slip. Friends and colleagues facing the same fate can offer a shoulder to lean on, but that only goes so far. After the wallowing subsides, there comes a point when it&#39;s time to jump back on the horse. That&#39;s an equally daunting task for someone who&#39;s been at one job for his entire career or for a young worker just starting out. After the tears (sometimes tears of joy leaving a miserable job) what are some good steps to get back into the game?</p><p><a href="http://www.mosaicpath.com/" target="_blank">Career coach and HR professional Harriet Di Cerbo</a> says it&#39;s all about balance. A little time off may be good to clear your head and set some priorities, but a six month hiatus won&#39;t be great on the pocketbook if your next paycheck isn&#39;t coming anytime soon. However, Di Cerbo warns against spending 20 hours a day in front of the computer trolling Careerbuilder and the classifieds. Di Cerbo remembers clients who have felt guilty stepping away from the computer even after applying for every available position. She also encourages clients to join &quot;Job Clubs.&quot; These are groups that meet at spots around the community to share advice and tips on how to get back on the market. Di Cerbo points to the accountability factor in these clubs; you&#39;re forced to take a more active role in the job search because you know you can share the experience with the group.</p><p>A basic rule still applies with the hunt for employment-be prepared. Get your resume up to speed, but more importantly, really think about what you want to do. If you hated your last job, chances are you&#39;ll be unhappy at a new position in the same field. Di Cerbo has been a job recruiter in the past, and says interviewers can always sense when an applicant is suppressing something. If it&#39;s a position they don&#39;t really want, that will show. Be honest and sincere about your goals and what you&#39;re really seeking with the position.</p><p>One important part of Di Cerbo&#39;s advice: Be wary about all the advice! There is a lot of it out there, but you have to figure out what works for you. She offers helpful pointers, but is quick to say that there are HR consultants and career coaches who may take a different approach. Try to find the key points that suit your job seeking needs.</p><p>Harriet Di Cerbo joins Steve Edwards on <em>Afternoon Shift</em> to offer more advice to workers who need to get back in the game.</p></p> Wed, 23 May 2012 11:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/workplace-wednesdays-you-got-pink-slip-now-what-99475 Workplace Wednesdays: How to be prepared but still ready for anything http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/workplace-wednesdays-how-be-prepared-still-ready-anything-98979 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/office%20space.jpg" title="Don't be an office drone. Pamela Meyer says staying agile at work keeps you engaged."></div><p>Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. We've all heard it and probably had varying levels of success with its implementation. It's difficult not to go too negative and always assume that the worst will ensue, and it can be equally hard to not feel ready if problems actually arise. So just cover all the bases and overprepare, right? Not so fast, says <a href="http://www.meyercreativity.com/" target="_blank">Pamela Meyer</a>. Meyer is an organizational consultant, working with companies and individuals to make work a better place. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/workplace-wednesdays-do-open-floorplans-always-stir-creative-juices-98747">Last Wednesday</a>, she joined Steve Edwards on <em>Afternoon Shift</em> to explain the advantages and disadvantages of a playful work environment.</p><p>On this edition of <em>Workplace Wednesdays</em>, Meyer explains why workers need to possess the skill of agility. Meyer defines agility as the space between panic and boredom. Picture this. Your boss turns to you and yells, "This report was wrong! I need a new version in 20 minutes...OR YOU'RE FIRED!" (Ok, that's extreme but stick with me). What happens? You freeze, start to sweat and feel paralyzed to make the next move. That's panic setting in. Meyer points to agility to set you straight. Now imagine the other extreme. You haven't seen your boss in weeks, let alone received direction from her. Your workload is comfortable but unchallenging, and your job is secure. You're bored. This isn't a good place to be either. Meyer says tapping that agile spirit you may ask for a promotion, seek out new tasks or maybe even poke the boss for a raise.<br><br>Allowing agility to guide your moves produces more than just tangible results, according to Meyer. She says that it all makes for a more engaged worker. We'll feel more in touch with our colleagues, our boss and our company. Meyer joins Edwards Wednesday to offer practical advice on how to seek this balance so you're ready for anything, but also ready to switch gears when your boss rips up your latest report.</p></p> Wed, 09 May 2012 14:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/workplace-wednesdays-how-be-prepared-still-ready-anything-98979 Workplace Wednesdays: Do open floorplans always stir the creative juices? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/workplace-wednesdays-do-open-floorplans-always-stir-creative-juices-98747 <p><p><em>Ed. note: This is part of a new series on Afternoon Shift called Workplace Wednesdays, exploring issues that affect us at work.</em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Google%20office_flickr.jpg" title="A Google office. Google practices a 20 percent rule for its engineers which allows them to use 20 percent of their time to explore interests and duties that may be out of their specific job description. (Flickr/andrewarchy)"></div><p><br>In a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/business/phil-libin-of-evernote-on-its-unusual-corporate-culture.html?_r=2&amp;pagewanted=all" target="_blank">recent interview with <em>The New York Times</em></a>, Phil Libin of the tech company <a href="http://evernote.com/" target="_blank">Evernote</a> said: "Just on a whim, I thought that at every company we start, and this is the third one, we’re going to eliminate one piece of unnecessary technology." The technology Libin seeks to remove from the office? Telephones. Now, it may not seem that out of the ordinary that the head of a company that creates technology that aims to make your work easier would not see the necessity of such an old-school piece of equipment. And seriously, how many of us really even have a landline anymore? But, how many offices have you been in where there are actually no phones? In the cubes, in the conference rooms, at the reception desk.</p><p>Libin's approach to seeking harmony and balance at the workplace is not just about taking away. He says he also offers employees unlimited vacation time and even gives a stipend to take along on the trip. Libin says that part of the reason he encouraged unlimited vacation is so that people actually take it. No time off from the grind doesn't make for the most productive worker. Remember how you felt sitting at your desk, answering email, going to meetings when you realized how long it had been since you'd seen what the world actually looks like between 9-5? In a word: Annoyed (of course substitute your own adjective here; I was trying to keep things a little light).<br><br>Unlimited vacations sound great, but Joe Reynolds of local events planning company <a href="http://www.redfrogevents.com/" target="_blank">Red Frog Events</a> takes it one step further. In a recent column for <em>Inc.</em> magazine, Reynolds lauded the benefits of offering his employees one-month, paid sabbaticals. The trek can't be in North America or Australia but workers can indulge in their fantasies of seeing the world and it's all on the company dime. Reynolds says, "Plain and simple:&nbsp;Sabbaticals make business sense. Bolivia, Morocco, Vietnam, and many other exotic locations worldwide, have taught me valuable business lessons."<br><br>Practices like this probably helped land Red Frog Events on <em>Crain's Chicago Business</em>' annual <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/ISSUE02?date=20120331" target="_blank">"Best Places to Work"</a> list (Red Frog is #9). The list highlights several companies in Chicago and the surrounding area that make moves with employee satisfaction in mind; the theory being that happy workers means a happy environment means happy to get the job done! But does the unconventional approach always work? <a href="http://www.meyercreativity.com/" target="_blank">Pamela Meyer</a> is an executive consultant and director for <a href="http://snl.depaul.edu/About/Centers/Center_to_Advance_Education.asp" target="_blank">Center to Advance Education for Adults</a> at DePaul University. She advises companies on how to bring creativity back to the workplace. She joins <em>Afternoon Shift</em> to explain what works and what doesn't work at companies here and Chicago and around the nation.</p></p> Wed, 02 May 2012 10:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/workplace-wednesdays-do-open-floorplans-always-stir-creative-juices-98747 Workplace Wednesdays: My cubemate won't friend me...because he doesn't know what Facebook is http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/workplace-wednesdays-my-cubemate-wont-friend-mebecause-he-doesnt-know-what <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/workplace%20generations_0.jpg" title="Just as technology has evolved, the workers using it are becoming younger and savvier. How can they co-exist with older employees who didn't grow up with computers? (Flickr/Blake Patterson)"></div><p><em><strong>Editor's Note: </strong>Today we kick off a new series that will delve into the issues that dominate the place where we spend most of our time-the office. We're calling it Workplace Wednesdays.</em><br><br>We've all seen it at work. The cubemate who insists on sending faxes asks the kid who's never even used a fax machine where it's located. "Um, where's the WHAT?" It's the collision of the generations! More people are putting off retirement and staying in the workforce, and those employees are forced to work side by side with the eager, overly-educated, tech-savvy rookies. Can the two really get along? Gary Grossman says, "Yes", but not without some proper attention and care by company management. Grossman is co-author of <em>Becoming a Successful Manager: Powerful Tools for Making a Smooth Transition to Managing a Team, </em>and founder of <a href="http://www.vennsg.com/vsg-about.html" target="_blank">Venn Strategy Group</a>, a coaching and consulting firm. Grossman teaches companies how to create what he calls a "mosaic staff"-an environment that allows employees of all ages and abilities to work together to create the most efficient and successul office.<br><br>In his book, Grossman and co-author J. Robert Parkinson break classify workers into 4 groups:<br><strong>Traditionalist</strong>: Born between 1927-1945, comfortable with lengthy meetings and very loyal to the company<br><strong>Baby Boomer</strong>: Born between 1946-1864, think work is about long hours and look for praise<br><strong>Generation X</strong>: Born between 1965-1980, ethnically diverse and prefer flexibility at work<br><strong>Generation Y: </strong>(often known as the Millennials): Born between 1981-2000, very tech-savvy and seek out personal growth from managers<br><br>That last group has been garnering a lot of attention at the workplace. And it's not all good. In <a href="http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/04/10/generation-y-spoiled-and-oozing-attitude%20/" target="_blank">this AOL article</a>, David Schepp writes about a recent interview with Gen Y expert Erica Dhawan. Dhawan says today's young people are so immersed in technology that they can assume their way is the best way, not leaving a lot of room for outside input. But our&nbsp; young cohorts are not all bad. They can offer fresh, great ideas but may just need proper guidance, say Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd in the <em>Harvard Business Review</em> article <a href="http://hbr.org/2010/05/mentoring-millennials/ar/1" target="_blank">"Mentoring Millennials"</a>. It may not be through all the conventional ways of one-on-one meetings between boss and charge, but could mean connecting with someone you've never even met in person, labeled by Meister and Willyerd as "anonymous mentoring." They also recommend "group mentoring", allowing input from all generations that make up the staff. Whatever the method, the reality is that Millennials will continue to be the dominant group at the office so it's probably wise to ensure that they're working well with their older colleagues.<br><br>Workplace consultant Gary Grossman joins Steve Edwards Wednesday on<em> Afternoon Shift</em> to explain the characteristics of the different generations, and how they all can get along. So, your co-worker may not confirm your friend request, but at least he'll finally know what Facebook is. And, maybe you'll learn how to use a Fax machine!<br>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 18 Apr 2012 13:12:28 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/workplace-wednesdays-my-cubemate-wont-friend-mebecause-he-doesnt-know-what