Working longer hours doesn’t create better results, according to Morten Hansen of the University of California, Berkley.
Early in his career, Hansen believed that working 90 hours per week was the secret to success. But he noticed some colleagues worked less, much less, but achieved better results. But, why?
That question spurred a five-year study involving 5,000 managers and employees. Hansen found that job performance increases stopped at the 50-hour mark and sharply declined after 65 hours.
Hansen found that the best workers relentlessly focus on the activities that produce the most value for their organization. They weren’t just being busy, they were actually accomplishing something.
Some strategies for leaving on time:
Focus on planning the day and week to remove the most common reasons for overworking, according to The Ladders. Meetings, phone calls, and emails fill up a schedule, but don’t necessarily end in results.
Schedule times for work and play during a given day. This removes some of the urge to procrastinate during scheduled work hours.
Create a hard deadline for exiting the office by making an appointment with a personal trainer or a reservation for dinner. Let your coworkers know you have a firm leave time.
Guilt and the perceived importance of putting in a certain amount of time relative to peers is a potent factor that often leads to overwork, according to The Motley Fool.
Unfortunately, many company cultures have been built around long work days, and it can quickly feel like a person is walking out on their team or shirking their responsibilities. Instead of the guilt, focus on making the best use of time during work hours and accomplishing real results.
Discuss priorities on projects with the boss and then make a plan to accomplish them.
Book Review: Is Online Interaction Worth Our Privacy?
Although it’s easy to shop online these days–and communicating with others is faster than dialing a phone number–it all comes with a price.
So warns Shoshana Zuboff, a Harvard Business School professor emerita who has written “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power” following decades of scrutinizing labor and power in the digital marketplace.
With scant resistance from the law or society, Zuboff writes, surveillance capitalism is very close to shaping the digital future and–in the process–ruling social order.
In its book review, the New York Times notes that instead of serving the needs of people, surveillance capitalists make billions more by monitoring, purchasing, and selling the characteristics of peoples’ behavior. Simultaneously, the fundamental production of goods and services is being governed by “behavioral modification.”
Comparing companies like Google and Facebook to the slaughter of elephants for their tusks, Zuboff writes that instead of being the product, the public is the “abandoned carcass” from the wrenching of raw material from the daily experiences of humans.
Such big tech platforms continue to sell advertising, but now it’s targeted by the behavior information gleaned from users.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power
Author: Shoshana Zuboff
Today’s and interpersonal skills
According to The Conover Company, research shows that inferior interpersonal skills are the No. 1 reason employees don’t get along, fail to get promoted, and–worst of all–lose their jobs. Following are tips for displaying these essential interpersonal skills and etiquette in today’s workplace.
As a full-time employee, you’re spending at least 40 hours a week with coworkers and managers. Start and maintain good relationships with them and all newcomers. You’ll help maintain a pleasant workplace and make new friends too. Even with a difficult manager or coworker, stay professional and polite. If you need to confront someone, do so thoughtfully and professionally.
Your attempts to understand and relate to the feelings of others is called empathy–the laudable sense of understanding them and how they feel. When a coworker shares something personal with you, try to put yourself in their shoes. Think carefully about how you would react in the same situation. What would you want to hear someone say or have them do for you?
When approached by a person who wants to talk to you in private, set aside your phone, computer, or task. Share eye contact, nod occasionally, and ask for clarification on issues that can help you better understand the situation.
Cooperating with others–especially working on a team with others–is among the vital interpersonal skills in the workplace. Even though each person may have his or her own individual tasks and goals, all must share the primary goal: helping the company succeed. Without cooperation, the atmosphere of your workplace suffers and threatens the company issuing your paychecks.
Finally, when you’re talking to a manager or co-worker, stand at arm’s length so that person will not feel like you’re invading his or her personal space. Except for perhaps a simple pat on the back or handshake, it’s probably wise to refrain from touching any person in the workplace.
The etiquette of doing business abroad
Every facet of U.S. business abroad depends upon its international relationships. As a result, it’s vital that business professionals understand what is expected of and from him or her when visiting a foreign country on business.
According to Business Etiquette International, research and retain as much as you can about the specific region of the country you are visiting. Learn the cultural nuances of the area, and–at a minimum–be able to use the local words for “Yes,” “No,” “Please,” “Thank you,” and “Help.” Clients truly appreciate the visitor who is trying to speak their language, if only in a few words or phrases.
Keep in mind that etiquette has no uniform set of standards around the globe. A gesture or remark in the U. S. may have the opposite meaning in other cultures and countries.
Business relationships cannot be overstated in international business etiquette. How you meet and greet residents in a foreign country is probably the most important part of your visit.
Behavioral studies show that, in the U.S. and abroad, most people judge your social position, economic, educational, and success levels within 30 seconds of introduction. In the next five minutes, they also form their opinions about your intelligence, reliability, friendliness, and compassion, among other traits.
Be sure to rehearse your meeting in advance and dress for it in a manner reflecting the culture and your client’s expectations. Establish clear objectives for your meeting, communicate politely, and be upbeat.
The more you know and understand about the nation’s culture–and local language–the deeper your relationships will become.
The secret of telecommuter etiquette: communication
According to Commpro, definite etiquette factors are involved in being a responsible part- or full-time telecommuter.
Because the manager and co-workers don’t see the telecommuter every day, and his or her work may not be as visible or discussed, fitting into a workplace and the rapport so necessary to professional interaction and loyalty is often difficult to acquire and maintain.
Fortunately, the answer comes down to a single word: Communication.
Since the MIA remote worker is an employer’s worst nightmare, here’s how to stay in touch with the boss and co-workers as well:
1. Learn the communications equipment and apps and keep them in working order. It’s rude to fumble with the communication app when it’s part of your job.
2. Prepare for the worst. What if the power goes out? A generator might be helpful.
3. Appear at video meetings well-groomed and prepared.
4. Send regular updates about your availability.
5. When someone else schedules a virtual meeting, be on time, every time.
6. Maintain work hours. Working from home doesn’t mean you get to sleep late every day.
7. Don’t complain if you must go into the office and be prepared to do so regularly.
Three tips for showcasing soft skills on your resume
By defining your skills on your resume, you’re letting employers and recruiters know why you’re going to succeed in the job they’re trying to fill. While it’s important to list your hard skills — technical proficiencies you likely learned in school or in a prior position you held — it’s just as essential to showcase your soft skills — personal traits that indicate how you interact with others. Here are three tips for effectively presenting soft skills on your resume.
1. Only include relevant soft skills. Carefully look over the job posting and see which of the sought-after soft skills are ones you can lay claim to. You should also infer which additional soft skills are valued by the company or are relevant to the role by studying the job description, looking at the company website and researching the specifics of the position.
2. Set apart your soft skills. If you have an ample number of both hard and soft skills, present them in separate sections, which you might label respectively as “technical skills” and “additional skills.” This way, busy employers will see them when doing an initial scan of your resume.
3. Demonstrate your soft skills in action. Make sure to also weave your soft skills into the descriptions of your previous jobs. It’s easy to say you have a skill: illustrating that you have it is far more persuasive.
Once you’ve fine-tuned your resume, you can start thinking about the interview. Be prepared to elaborate on the skills you listed in your resume and think of supplementary ones you might mention.
What the best administrative professionals have in common
Administrative Professionals Day takes place this year on April 24 and Administrative Professionals Week occurs during the last week in April (April 21 to 27). The annual event strives to be a reminder for businesses across the country to acknowledge the devotion and hard work of administrative professionals.
These days, many businesses have entire teams of multitasking administrative professionals that keep their offices running smoothly. Administrative positions vary and those that have them may be office managers, executive assistants or secretaries. However, regardless of their exact position, administrative professionals must demonstrate core competencies that include the following:
• Computer skills. Not only do administrative professionals need to be quick with a keyboard, they also need to be computer literate. Creating spread¬sheets, word documents and presentations are all in a day’s work.
• Time management. It’s not uncommon for a secretary or administrative assistant to have many different tasks on the go at one time. The best will be able to prioritize and get everything done without breaking a sweat.
• Communication. Often working on the front line for an entire company, an administrative professional needs to be able to communicate with everyone, from CEOs and interns to suppliers and clients.
If you have an executive assistant, secretary or administrative assistant in your office that does an outstanding job, make sure you show your appreciation for the work they do this week and throughout the year.
This year, show your admin team you value their work with the gift of professional development. Consider sending your superstar administrator for training or to a conference to inspire them.