Rather than letting emails accumulate over time without a system of organization, the ‘Inbox Zero’ principle says that people should empty their email inboxes several times a day, according to Entrepreneur Magazine.
Proponents of this strategy say that it allows the user to respond to all critical emails quickly, avoid the stress of a massive list of messages, and focus attention on more creative or fulfilling tasks for the majority of the day. This is accomplished by effectively blocking out chunks of time to check messages and disabling notifications at all other times.
Detractors of the system say that many of the benefits of the system can be had without the time commitment of getting to zero multiple times per day, according to the New York Times. Merely disabling email notifications and checking in only three times each day, for instance, had a stress-relieving effect that allowed them to cope with their tasks more efficiently and get more work done.
To get started with ‘Inbox Zero’, it is crucial to clear all messages and start with a clean slate. From there, set the inbox to sort incoming email with the oldest messages at the top so that nothing gets missed in cases where others are responding quickly to your own replies. While processing, do not skip any email and each item must be replied to, archived, or sorted into a specific folder for later. Importantly, any emails that require an action that takes less than two minutes should be done immediately to avoid procrastination. Once the box is empty, close the email software and don’t open it again until the next scheduled time.
Maintaining an empty inbox is more comfortable for some than others but learning how to use keyboard shortcuts will make the process quicker and setting up filters can automatically archive messages into specific folders or delete them altogether. Unsubscribing from frequently unread newsletters and mailing lists could remove a lot of incoming mail before it wastes time.
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.
Successfully re-entering the workforce as a senior
Are you a retiree who’s looking for work? You’re not alone. There’s a growing trend among today’s seniors of returning to the workforce post-retirement. But to find a job in your golden years that’s gratifying and meets your financial needs, you’ll need to leverage the skills and knowledge you’ve built up over your lifetime.
Identify your assets
Before you put yourself out there, take a bit of time to pinpoint your skills and abilities. Consider proficiencies that you gained from your work experience as well as more general ones like time-management, leadership and communication skills. And don’t forget the life skills you’ve developed over the years in other areas such as in your role as a parent or mentor. You can even look to your hobbies and interests as a place to mine for hireable skills.
Consider a new career path
Consider the job market
Sometimes it happens that the primary skills you possess have become unmarketable due to advancements in technology or a change in your health or physical capacity. In such cases, it’s best to fall back on secondary knowledge and skills you’ve developed over the years.
Begin your job search online
If you’re looking to venture into the workforce, a good place to start is by scouting online job search sites such as Indeed and Monster. You may also want to build a public profile on the professional networking site, LinkedIn.