Green Key Blog

News for the way you work

Are You Guilty Of Exclamatory Excess?

September 16th, 2014

Exclamation point warningThe stuffy, formal style of old school business letters and memos has given way to looser, more relaxed and get-to-the-point communications. And good riddance, say most business professionals.

Today’s business writing tends to be warmer in style and friendlier in tone, conveying not only information, but providing emotional context to the message. Even emoticons can have a place in business emails, insists no less an authority than Allison Green, consultant and Ask the Manager blogger. Read the rest of this entry »

Coffee’s Third Wave Is Winning Office Converts

August 26th, 2014

third wave coffeeThere’s a coffee revolution that’s converting the milk and sugar group to black and winning over all but the most ardent of tea lovers.

The pioneers say it’s a movement and have even given it a name – Third Wave. Their aim is to do for Starbucks coffee what Starbucks did for the percolator brew that used to boil on hot plates in offices nationwide.

And no company has been more aggressive in winning corporate converts than Joyride, New York–based distribution company that’s weaned more than 300 firms off their K-Cups. Office managers beware. Read the rest of this entry »

The Out Of Office Email Access Fiction

July 8th, 2014

emailOut of office emails are popping up with increasing frequency these days as the nation heads into the thick of the summer vacation season.

From now until Labor Day, and then again for the year-end holidays from Thanksgiving until New Year’s, these auto-responses serve notice to clients, customers, colleagues and bosses not to expect to hear from you until some time in the future.

Across the country and even, it seems, in other English-speaking countries, the messages are nearly identical: Read the rest of this entry »

Chewing Gum Can Reduce Your Stress at Work

April 2nd, 2014

Gumball machineBack in 3rd grade, when Mrs. Greenstein caught us chewing gum, she made us deposit in the trash. Then we had to write, “I will not chew gum in class,” on the board while everyone else enjoyed recess.

Today, that message might very well be, “Chewing gum relieves stress.” At least that’s what a team of Japanese researchers found. They got 14 healthy volunteers to do math problems for 30 minutes, then chew gum for intervals ranging from 0 minutes to 15. They measured their cortisol levels and took saliva samples before, during and after the math problems and gum chewing exercise. Read the rest of this entry »

When Love Blooms, Know What the Company Rules Are

February 14th, 2014

Don't forget Valentine's day!“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Elizabeth Browning Barrett meant that figuratively. Human Resources, at so many employers, take that literally, compiling the dos and don’ts of office romance and incorporating them into the company handbook.

The Society for Human Resource Management surveyed HR professionals last fall about this very subject finding 42% of companies have written or verbal rules about love and dating between co-workers. Though it can be awkward (or become awkward should the romance not work out), most policies tolerate co-workers of equal rank having a relationship. Nearly every one of them (99%) said love been the boss and a direct report is strictly against policy. Read the rest of this entry »

Super Bowl Monday: A National Holiday?

February 4th, 2014

Super Bowl 48Was the office a little emptier yesterday than usual? Did it seem more people showed up late?

For that you can thank (or blame) the Super Bowl, and the overindulging that typifies so many of the parties.

The Workforce Institute, the research arm of Kronos, the time clock and HR technology company, did a survey in 2008 discovering that something like 1.5 million more than usual workers in the U.S. call in sick on the Monday after the Super Bowl. Another 4.4 million show up late. If you suspect that most of these no-shows are men, you are correct. And the majority are between 18 and 34. Read the rest of this entry »

Fire the Hyenas

January 20th, 2014

Do not feed signYou know those signs at the zoo; the ones that say, “Don’t feed the animals?” You need one for the office, says author, IT professional, and business consultant Cornel Bruecher. Except it should read: “Do not feed the hyenas, fire them!”

Blogging on Kennedy Executive the outspoken Bruecher, who these days works as principal consultant for the German IT services firm SHS VIVEON AG, divides the typical workforce into cheetahs and hyenas. Read the rest of this entry »

What If You Threw Away the Employee Handbook?

January 6th, 2014

Netflix HR slidesWhat if you cut in half your company handbook? What if the handbook mostly required “adultlike behavior” on the part of employees? What if your company travel policy was a mere five words long: “Act in (the company’s) best interests”?

Chaos. Uncertainty. Inconsistency. Anything goes. You name it.

Now let’s eliminate the bureaucracy of the annual (or semi-annual or quarterly) performance review. Suppose we also eliminate Performance Improvement Plans. And for good measure, we’ll eliminate the annual performance bonus. If you want stock options, we’ll take the cost of them out of your pay.

If you’re wondering what crazy kind of company would do those things, look no further than the TV. The company is NetFlix. Read the rest of this entry »

8 Exercises That WIll Help You Improve Your Business Writing

December 18th, 2013

With so much of business communications conducted by email these days, clear, to-the-point writing is practically a requirement if you want to be effective. A study from the American Management Association says strong writing skills saves time for both the writer and the reader. How much? Up to 50%. Wordiness is one of the biggest problems with business writing, but it is far from the only one. Using big words to sound smart is an offense worthy of confiscating your thesaurus. Rushing to hit SEND the instant you complete an email is another cause for consternation. Not only should you read over what you’ve written before sending it off, but, like a newly opened bottle of red wine, let it rest a bit first, a practice especially important when you’re dealing with a report or client proposal.

Do the Keyboard Shake to Celebrate Crackers Over the Keyboard Day

August 28th, 2013

Keyboard keys - freeShut down your computers, turn your keyboard upside down and give it a few good shakes. Now check to see what fell out. Those little crumbs there, those are the remnants of months of cracker snacks and office potlucks.

Now go wish your co-workers a happy Crackers Over the Keyboard Day.

Kind of makes you wonder who comes up with these wacky holidays. In this case — and in many, many others — 80 at last count — it’s the husband and wife team of Tom and Ruth Roy. He’s an occasional actor and radio talk show host. She’s been a college administrator, touring actress, and now the proprietor of a mail-order herb business, You’ll also find a list of their zany and copyrighted holidays there. Read the rest of this entry »