Tag Archives: employees

5 Things to Do in the Workplace on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, an annual reminder to be a little kinder, gentler to our planet and the communities in which we live. Following are five simple things you can do in the workplace to commemorate Earth Day, while taking steps to incorporate green activities on a daily basis.

Earth Day 2015
Earth Day 2015

1. Say goodbye to paper and energy waste

Help Mother Earth by eliminating unnecessary paper in the office. Whether discarding old memos, outdated company procedures, or decades old personnel files, eliminating the deluge of paper can have a positive impact in the workplace. By scanning and electronically storing essential documents, offices can decrease paper use resulting in cost saving, the preservation of trees, increased storage space, and the reduction of mold and spores.

To conserve energy, turn off the power in rooms at work – unoccupied offices, the restroom, and cafeteria – that are not in use. Energy efficient light bulbs, including those operated by automatic sensor to turn lights on and off, are easy to use and cost-effective. Conserving energy helps the planet, and reduces your office electric bill. Use those saved dollars for employee bonuses instead!

2. Form an alliance with a green-friendly company

Considering a new strategic alliance or partner? Then, think about engaging a green company that has as its mission conservation of energy, the elimination of waste, and a demonstrated commitment to community greening efforts. Forming partnerships with other companies or patronizing vendors with a green work ethic creates an opportunity to work together in a conscientious way. Plus, it doubles the number of staff – your company and theirs – who can work efficiently and generate long-term green efforts beyond Earth Day.

3. Ditch the plastic

Replace plastic utensils with silverware and bring your own coffee cups to work – ditching the Styrofoam and plastic cups. Using cutlery can eliminate waste and save corporate dollars. Some health experts believe that Styrofoam and plastic have a negative impact on the body. So, ditching the plastic may not only help the planet; it may benefit your personal health as well.

4. Take on telecommuting

With gas prices on the rise, telecommuting is a money-saving and efficient way to better our planet. Telecommuting reduces traffic, emissions, and saves energy usage in the workplace. Working at home also has great health benefits, reducing stress that comes from driving to and from work during hefty traffic, being at home when the children arrive after school, and fostering a bit of peace and quiet that is not always present in the workplace.

5. Convert your coworkers

The best way to sustain green activities in the workplace is to engage your coworkers. Make your efforts to conserve energy a contest, work on projects together, and encourage other businesses in your work complex or community to join forces. Organize Earth Day activities, including initiating a recycling plan, planting trees, forming teams to present innovative ways to conserve energy during staff meetings once a month, or bring in an expert to help you and your coworkers implement a strategic green effort at work.

No matter the effort you make on Earth Day 2015, strive to make these changes a long-term habit in the office.

Have a green tip for the workplace? Leave us a reply below.

DISCLAIMER: Since its original debut on MySpace in 2004 as Midweek Musings, ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content, unless otherwise noted, is the property of Ask the Strategist and its affiliates, and may not be re-published without express written permission from the Editor.

About the Blogger: Kesi Stribling

Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist
Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist

How to Survive a Horrible Boss

The follow-up to the 2011 hit movie, Horrible Bosses, is set to debut on November 26th, so I thought it may be a good idea to repost the Ask The Strategist entry, Surviving Horrible Bosses. Since the movie sequel, Horrible Bosses 2, will include new plot twists and characters, our post has been updated, as well.

Enjoy and feel free to share a horrible boss story of your own, including how you survived him/her, in the reply section below.

How to Survive a Horrible Boss

Horrible Bosses pulled in $28.3 million during its premier weekend in 2011. That should come as no surprise as the summer typically draws the masses to cooler environments for entertainment. Movie theaters are the perfect place to enjoy a little humor while keeping cool. The draw, however, was not solely the promise of frigid air for a few hours. Folks flocked to the big screen comedy to gain a glimpse into the characters’ world of horrible bosses – and how they dealt with these annoying rabble-rousers.

Don't let a Horrible Boss Get You Down
Don’t let a Horrible Boss Get You Down

In Horrible Bosses, art imitates life for some of us. We have, or have heard about, horror stories involving supervisors who demonstrate weird behavior in the workplace: sexual harassment, slacking off and doing no work, or basic ineptitude.

Characters played by Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Charlie Day are believable on the big screen, even though their zany plans to eliminate their horrible bosses is absurd. For the rest of us real people, how can we bear the burden of horrible bosses, get our work done, and even thrive in a dysfunctional environment without resorting to the far-fetched hijinks of this crew?

In all fairness, there are probably multitudes of great, supportive supervisors out there. For those poor souls who brave the horrible bosses every day, here are some helpful strategies for dealing with them.

Know who you are dealing with and act accordingly

If your boss morphs into the Incredible Hulk when employees approach her early in the morning, take this cue to ask any questions or get feedback later in the day. You can easily gauge your supervisor’s personality by taking time to observe her in the workplace. This includes how she treats her inner circle, including the executive assistant, human resources manager, and any interns assigned to the department. Does she treat certain individuals differently? If your boss seems to become more pleasant with an individual than the rest of the team, figure out why.

Does that employee anticipate what your supervisor will ask for and have it in advance? Does the staff member exert extra initiative? Does the employee cower or stand up for his or her rights in the workplace? Take a moment to study an employee who seems to get some level of respect from horrible bosses (yes, there is usually one), figure out how the positive interaction can work for you, and implement the process for yourself. Take care to avoid artificiality. Bosses will notice it, and it may place you in a less desirable situation than you are already in at work.

Don’t give them an inch and they won’t be able to take a yard

Some bad bosses simply get away with bad behavior because employees, who want to make a good impression when they begin work, change the game in mid-play. Most people, at work and in life, get used to the way people behave and respond.

If you started the job with a can-do, bend over backwards to get it done spirit, your supervisor will always think of you as a go-to person who never says no. Even when it is 7:00 p.m. and you are trying to leave the office to pick up your son at daycare before it closes at 7:15 p.m., a bad boss will expect you to call your spouse, neighbor, or stranger to collect your kid from the babysitter. Having a little backbone in the beginning, while still displaying the ultimate professionalism, helps curtail excessive expectations from an insensitive supervisor.

Let them know when enough is enough

There are times when a bad boss’ behavior crosses the line – morally and legally. I do not recommend that you consider hit men to take care of these annoying individuals as the protagonists did in the movie Horrible Bosses. Instead, do three things: take your temperature; get feedback; and, put them in their places.

Taking your temperature – or surveying yourself to identify if you are responding appropriately, or are overreacting – is the first step in identifying what, if anything, you should say to a cantankerous supervisor. Consider the boss’ behavior. Is the perceived violation a personal affront? Offensive to everyone? Offensive to women, transgendered, or racially different (from the supervisor) employees? A bad mood leading to a one-off slight?

If the temperature is off the charts, the next step is to get feedback from someone else. It always helps to get another perspective. A coworker who reports to the same supervisor, or has witnessed bad behavior by the boss, can shed light on the situation and help you determine if you should advance to the final step: put them in their places.

There are many ways to check bad behavior in the workplace. If your supervisor’s activities warrant intervention, there is a way to address the behavior professionally, and without potential repercussions. If you have a good relationship with your horrible boss (it can happen – think about the weird, but workable, relationship between Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute on The Office), then you may be able to gently approach the subject. If your supervisor is not that congenial, you may want to take the situation to your human resources department and let the HR professional deal with your supervisor directly. Not only does it take the pressure off you, it lessens the likelihood of potential retaliation if human resources handles the issue appropriately.

Become indispensable at work

Chances are that if you are indispensable in the workplace, horrible bosses may check their rude behavior so that you do not quit your job. They may still be ill tempered and rude; however, these supervisors generally know not to press their luck with you.

Develop and display your exceptional skills – fiscal responsibility, the ability to troubleshoot and fix office technology, or exceptional speech writing capabilities – that your horrible boss relies upon to get through his or her day. When people have to ask you to do things, they are less likely to tick you off for fear that you may not help them or will be reluctant to assist when you are truly needed. Sadly, this is a reality in some workplace environments.

Get your backup plan ready

If you decide that you’ve had enough, and the “higher ups” refuse to deal with your boss’ behavior, then get your resume ready and network with others within your industry until you can make the transition into a different department, or work at a new company.

Detail your work functions and contributions on your CV and the impact they have had within your division. Be sure to include the results the company gained by your hard work – reduction in customer wait time, increased satisfaction rate or revenue, or the creation of new business opportunities. Once you have polished your resume, update and overhaul your social media presence, especially on the professional networking site LinkedIn.

Your objective is to shore up your experience without needing your supervisor’s recommendation or endorsement for your next gig. What professional alliances and relationships have your created since working at the company? These networks should serve as references for future employers, or provide you guidance on transitioning into another work environment. So often, employees feel stuck in a job with toxic supervisors because they have not devised their own career plans, and end up staying in unhealthy situations. Getting your plan ready before you need can help you survive, and sidestep, a horrible boss.

Never miss the Ask The Strategist blog posts. Simply enter your email address in the subscription section above and gain access to strategies for your career and life!

ABOUT THE BLOGGER: Kesi Stribling

Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist
Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist

DISCLAIMER: Since its original debut on MySpace in 2004 as Midweek Musings, ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content, unless otherwise noted, is the property of Ask the Strategist and its affiliates, and may not be re-published without express written permission from the Editor.

Stress got you down? Harvard panel says you’re not alone

Seinfeld fans may recall George Costanza’s stress reduction mantra Serenity, now! This outburst momentarily relieved him of stress caused by his interfering and embarrassing parents. While we can laugh at the hijinks that cause frustration for the popular sitcom’s character, stress isn’t much fun in real life.

 

The Health Burden of Stress in America at Harvard. Photo Credit: Thomas Earle
The Health Burden of Stress in America at Harvard. Credit: Thomas Earle

 

Apparently, speakers during Wednesday’s Harvard School of Public Health forum, The Health Burden of Stress: What We Can Do About It, agree. The program highlighted findings in The Burden of Stress in America poll, and the short and long-term impact that stress has on people. The panelists included Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School; Kristin Schubert, senior program officer and team director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Gregory Fricchione, associate chief of psychiatry and director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital; and, Joshua Riff, medical director and director of health and well-being at Target Corporation.

The Burden of Stress in America poll, conducted by the program’s sponsors, HSPH, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and National Public Radio, revealed that 25% of respondents experience high levels of stress. The main stressors, according to Blendon when citing the poll’s statistics are health issues and low pay.

I don’t think that most Americans would be surprised to find that so many respondents experience constant and long-term stress, no matter the causes. With so many demands, real and imagined, sometimes we are overwhelmed and stressed out. The alarming result of all those irritations can have a long-lasting impact on physical and emotional health.

Read the entire Harvard Gazette article about the forum

View video from the forum

Talk back to us: What stresses you out and what do you do to ease your frustration? Leave your reply below.

About the Blogger: Kesi Stribling

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. Never miss ASK THE STRATEGIST blog posts! Have them delivered to your inbox by subscribing.

The Reasons Likeable People Succeed

Why are likeable people successful?
Why are likeable people successful?

I recall a rather animated conversation about ten years ago with my Sorority Sister and mentor about how much likeability has to do with success within an organizational framework. My assertion was that, yes, being liked contributed to potential success, such as being elected to leadership roles, but I also believed that a person could rise through the ranks if he or she showed acumen or potential, whether or not the person was ultimately liked by “the group.”

While we disagreed about to what extent likeability influenced access to opportunity, my mentor and I agreed that being likable is essential to meeting goals and influencing consensus, two generally accepted measures of success.

Yesterday, Huffington Post contributor, Susie Moore, a New York-based Life Coach, published 7 Reasons Likeable People Succeed. Some reasons likeable people succeed, according to Ms. Moore, are  a lack of ego, a positive attitude, and making others feel relaxed.

I’ll add three of my own to the mix:

1. Authenticity (an overused term, but true). A genuine person is less likely to give false praise,  spread gossip and rumors, and  truly wants his or her co-worker to shine, so honest feedback to make the employee – or department – better make that person a success in the workplace.

2. Adaptability. An employee who can adapt to any situation, no matter how difficult of a challenge, shows that he can accept change and find a way to make things work, despite setbacks. Someone who adapts will be viewed as likeable, rather than contrarian.

3. Keeps confidences. Whether it’s a corporate trade secret, pending deal, or tough personal issues her co-worker faces, someone who is trustworthy is usually liked more than one who betrays confidences, in the workplace and in life.

Why do you think likeable people succeed at work and in life? Share in the comment section below.

About the Blogger: Kesi Stribling

Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist
Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. Never miss ASK THE STRATEGIST blog posts! Have them delivered to your inbox by subscribing.