Green Key Blog

News for the way you work

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.  Multibriefs.com

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, Wellcat.com. You’ll also find a list of their zany and copyrighted holidays there. Read the rest of this entry »

The Office Makeover: Why Hiring a Professional Is the Smart Move

August 19th, 2013

WorkaWay outdoor office furnitureWhen the office furniture begins to look shabby and the carpet cleaners warn you that the stains are really wear marks that can’t be helped, the time’s come for that most disruptive of office activities: renovation.

Planning the makeover, choosing the colors, the carpeting, chairs (oh, the chairs!), and the cubicle design is a process that can turn the most convivial of offices into a collection of warring tribes. Read the rest of this entry »

Tips For Dealing With A Difficult Boss

June 28th, 2013

A moody boss may be more challenging to work for than one who is consistently difficult. While the latter is no fun, and dishes up a steady diet of stress to their subordinates, the former is unpredictable. One minute the boss may be all smiles. Come back an hour later and you’ve got a barking bear to contend with. There can be any number of causes of moodiness. Pressure from their boss, an important project gone wrong, poor diet, lack of sleep, and even chemical imbalances in the brain all can trigger mood swings. Negative episodes in an otherwise upbeat person are common enough in all of us. These temporary situations are like bad weather; put on a raincoat, open an umbrella, and soon enough the sun will come out again. But when mood swings are the usual condition, or your boss is generally a pessimistic, nothing is ever good enough kind of manager, then learning to deal with it or finding another job are the options. Here are 10 tips for managing a moody boss. Forbes

The Invention That Changed the Way We Write

June 10th, 2013

Ballpoint pen book coverIn your pocket, purse, or desk drawer there is a product once considered so remarkable and which became so much in demand that New Yorkers flooded the famed, now defunct, Gimbel’s when it first went on sale in 1945.

Within hours of its first sale on Oct. 29th, Gimbel’s sold out its entire supply of 10,000  Reynold’s Rockets, one of the first commercially viable ballpoint pens to be sold anywhere. Price: $12.50 each.

Today, in honor of the Invention that Changed the Way We Write we celebrate Ballpoint Pen Day. Read the rest of this entry »