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The End of 9 to 5? How Work Schedules are Changing

Is the traditional 9-to-5 workday obsolete? Many would say so. There seems to be a consensus among both employers and employees that a shift needs to be made in how the traditional workday is structured. The present-day model doesn’t really promote a healthy work-life balance or stimulate productivity. Too much of a routine can be dangerous. Longer, more rigid hours don’t always equal more work being done. Employees may be coming in for 40-hour weeks, but if they aren’t using that time wisely, then businesses actually lose out in the long run.

The History of the 9-to-5 Workday 

The idea of working from 9 to 5 is a product of socialism during the 19th century. It wasn’t until 1890 that the U.S. government started to track workers’ hours. Up until that point, employees could work up to 100 hours a week and there were no laws protecting children. In 1926, Ford Motors was one of the first companies to adapt the 9-to-5 model and helped to make it more mainstream. In 1938, the U.S. congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which made the workweek 44 hours. In 1940, it was readjusted to the five-day, 40-hour workweek that remains the basic standard today.

The Mindset of Millennials and Entrepreneurs

A 9-to-5 simply isn’t for everyone. If you feel trapped easily, especially sitting in a cubicle, dislike routine and/or mundane tasks, and have a problem with authority, then maybe a job in a more creative setting, or of an entrepreneurial nature, would suit you better. At the top of the list, millennials seem to feel the most dissatisfied with the traditional workday structure, placing greater importance on factors like flexibility, impactful or purposeful labour, and economic security. They’re also more willing to seek employment on their own terms and work freelance.

Structured Benefits

The 9-to-5 model does, however, have some major benefits. While some find the routine repetitive, others may find the predictability comforting. Stability and financial security are two of the main reasons many people in years past stayed at the same job for decades. A 9-to-5 job gives people a set schedule they can plan around, as opposed to shift work, where employees don’t always know what their upcoming schedule will look like from one week to the next.

The Possibility of a 4-Day Workweek

One alternative suggestion that’s been gathering support in recent years is for a “compressed” four-day workweek. Employees would work four 10-hour shifts instead of five eight-hour shifts, with Friday becoming a third day of the weekend. Experts have argued for and against it; some say that it would motivate employees to work harder, doesn’t disturb workflow, cuts down on time-consuming commutes (which in turn reduces workers’ spending on gas or transit), eases burnout risks, and promotes other activities. The counterarguments to the new working pattern are that longer standard workdays would be more draining and stressful, and a revamped workweek would potentially affect working parents, who have to deal with things like daycare services.

Our lives are much more than just our jobs. “Work to live, don’t live to work” is a common mantra. The 9-to-5 model may have worked in decades past, but times are changing. Our world is constantly evolving, and so is society. Thanks to recent advances in technology, many businesses can run from a home or out of a remote location. The traditional ways that most workplaces have run are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as the workweek becomes increasingly fluid.

At the end of the day, however work schedules hardly matter if you have purpose in your life. Regardless of the time of day or week, the hours will fly by if you’re doing something you enjoy.

 

Rhea Braganza

 

How to Handle Feedback as a Leader

It’s impossible to get to the top – or anywhere else for that matter – without listening to suggestions or advice. When you’re put in charge of a team, it’s not because you’re perfect, but because direction is needed. But you can’t lead your team to success while operating in a vacuum; feedback is key.

A leader is responsible for making sure that their business has satisfied employees just as much as satisfied customers or clients. And there’s no better way to do that than by having a staff that feels empowered to speak openly and honestly.

But how does the person at the top learn how to listen to the people they’re charged with overseeing? Here’s a look at how to handle feedback as a leader while not taking it personally.

 

Think It Through

We’re often told not to be emotional at work, but most of us spend so much time at our jobs that it’s nearly impossible not to be. Whether you’re laughing at the water cooler (which fosters important bonds that strengthen collaboration) or having a disagreement, emotions are part of the job. But if there’s one time that you need to think more than feel, it’s that brief moment between hearing feedback and reacting to it. Take a moment to really listen to what the person is telling you, process it, and then frame your response in a professional manner, and as a leader it’s even more important to maintain control of your emotions. Remember, neither of you is trying to escalate the problem, you’re both working on a solution.

 

It’s Not About You

If you thought about your reply before reacting, then you likely know that the feedback, at least in most cases, isn’t personal. When people complain or express their concerns, it’s normally not for the sake of creating a problem; it’s often rooted in something, and as a leader it’s crucial to keep that in mind. It’s important for a manager to know how their workers feel and what they think of the business and how it’s doing. In a healthy work environment, what the staff is saying shouldn’t be seen as a personal attack, so there’s no reason to feel defensive or threatened.

 

Ask Questions

When receiving feedback, it’s important to ask yourself certain questions. Is there merit to what’s being said? Does the person have a point? Getting some constructive criticism should be seen as a learning opportunity, since no one is perfect. Debating each point raised will get you nowhere, and it can be exhausting, while also likely discouraging that person or others from providing more in the future. If the feedback is given respectfully and supported by evidence, then it’s important to reflect on it and find a solution. The point is to resolve the issue and grow, both as a business and a team. Take employee feedback at face value, instead of assuming that they’re wrong or being troublesome.

 

Say ‘Thank You’

Have you thanked your team, lately? When presented with good ideas, it’s important to give credit where credit is due. Taking ideas from your subordinates is never a good option and will likely lower morale and foster a hostile environment. The amount of good ideas coming from your team can actually be seen as a result of strong leadership; it’s not a competition. If you’re hearing good suggestions for how to improve the business, remember to thank those responsible – preferably in front of the rest of the team – and let them know they’re valued.

Managing a team isn’t easy, especially if it’s a group with different personalities working towards the same goal. Whether you’re giving feedback or receiving it, it’s always best to ask yourself why it’s needed and how it will help improve things. Letting others voice their opinions comes with the job, and it will make you a better leader and manager to simply listen.

 

Dontei Wynter | Contributing Writer

 

Bridging the Management Age Gap

Millennials are known as the generation of smartphones, over-priced coffee, and a reputation for entitlement and leisureliness. Despite this, the success of millennials is becoming increasingly apparent in the workplace. Look around your office and you’ll probably notice the ages of both employees and managers is decreasing significantly. A recent survey by office-equipment maker Pitney Bowes found that about 20% of mid-level corporate employees now report to a boss who is younger than they are.

However, in this age of entrepreneurial startups and advancing technology, different work styles and perceptions of those differences can create many challenges. For example, there is a stark difference between millennials and baby boomers. While older workers spend more time in the office within regular work hours, the younger generation often prefers getting their work done whenever, whether at home or from their laptop in a café. These kinds of philosophical differences can have negative effects on productivity. However, there are ways for younger people in authority to handle this gap. Below are a few tips on how to instill authority and respect in the workplace.

Be Mindful

Older employees can certainly be put off by having to report to a younger manager. It’s important to be aware of those feelings and acknowledge them. Don’t assume you have the upper hand due to your higher position. Express an interest in your employee and ask them for their opinions on how you can improve as a leader. They may very well have insights that can benefit you, and they will appreciate your respect for their experience and knowledge.

Give and Take

Give lessons, provide feedback, and offer firm and feasible guidelines for your employees. In return, take feedback as well. Older employees are often more knowledgeable about the company and its history. Take advantage of their deeper well of experience, both in the office and generally in life.

Do Your Job

It can be daunting being a young manager. However, instead of shying away from being an authoritative, strong leader, it’s important to keep your goals in mind and get the job done. Not confronting older employees who aren’t working to their full potential, or letting others take the lead merely to make them more comfortable, will only decrease productivity. You’re the manager for a reason; prove why.

Older employees should implement these tips in the workplace as well. Along with being mindful, providing feedback, and doing their own jobs, it’s important for older employees not to get too bogged down in ego and commit to working with a younger manager. The knowledge and experience of the older generation and fresh perspective and energy of the younger age group can be combined to contribute to the workplace in a positive manner. Getting past age discrimination – from both sides – will help everyone work together and be more productive.

 

Tasnia Nasar

How to Handle an Employee Gone Rogue

You know that person at the office who seems to consider themselves above the rules? That’s a rogue employee. But sometimes, rogue behaviour isn’t as obvious. Someone may openly disobey policies or disrespect management, or a seemingly perfect worker may be committing serious offences in secret, such as stealing company data, pilfering money, spying on behalf of a competitor, or sabotaging their colleagues.

There are ways to detect a rogue employee early. It’s can be the person you demoted because they no longer seemed to be the ideal fit for the role they were hired for. Or the member of the management team that consistently ignores company policies or the opinions of others when making changes. If their rogue behaviour has already been identified, they’re likely already on the bubble – one more misstep and they’re out. But before firing them, it’s best to consider the value they bring. Discuss the employee’s overall performance with other managers and HR. If they haven’t caused a high level of offence, determine whether you want to give them a chance to change.

In the meantime, there are ways you can prevent rogue employees from inflicting damage on the organization by limiting and monitoring their access to information. Use identity and access management (IAM) software to increase security. With IAM software, you can regulate the amount of access employees have to pertinent data and files depending on their role. Look for software that records login information and activity for each user, allows them to update their own profiles, and can handle a large volume of users in the system without compromising performance.

If it’s a disrespectful employee you’re dealing with, evaluate how you position yourself as a manager: are you too lenient with the person in question? Do you allow them to break certain rules? Are they doing whatever they want? If you tolerate a workspace in which certain people can behave this way while others can’t, then you’re the problem. But whether you’ve been unwittingly encouraging such behaviour or not, reexamine the way you treat all employees. Reimplement the company values and the most important policies. Present these policies and guidelines clearly, as outlined in the employment agreement, to everyone.

Fellow coworkers can help handle a rogue colleague and spot other potential threats if they’re trained in detecting rogue behaviour. For example, if an employee notices their colleague taking frequent trips to the photocopier or printer when their job doesn’t really require, there’s a possibility the employee is stealing company info or using the machine for personal things. A properly-trained employee could ask their coworker about the issue (their frequent use of a machine); maybe their colleague is stealing proprietary company secrets, delivering that information to a competing business or using it for their own entrepreneurial project. Keeping employees aware of these sorts of issues will increase awareness and create a more stable and secure work environment. If anybody feels disrespected by a fellow colleague or is suspicious of their conduct, they should feel empowered to report them.

Speaking of corporate espionage, you may want to do some digging yourself. Take a look at the rogue employee’s social media channels. Ensure they’re abiding by the organization’s social media policy and aren’t bad-mouthing the company (and/or its affiliates or partners), especially after a significant incident like a demotion or another disciplinary issue. This would be detrimental to brand image and cause distrust among your customers, which is obviously bad for business.

– Joséphine Mwanvua
 

Business photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com

More Than Just Resumes: How LinkedIn Can Benefit Your Business

A LinkedIn account may seem crucial for a job seeker, but less important for a small business. However, with more than 500 million members now on the professional platform, it’s worth it for all businesses, big and small, to create a profile.

LinkedIn is different from other social media platforms because it focuses on professional content while fostering connections between businesses as well as people. A company profile can draw in potential customers and attract new employees in addition to promoting itself and sharing various content.

A personal account is necessary to set up a company profile, but joining LinkedIn is free. Once the business account has been created, you can utilize ads to promote company news to specific audiences and get even more personal by dropping personalized ads into your customers’ inboxes. Posting videos on the platform is a new tool for reaching and expanding your audience. Videos are among the most popular forms of online content, and they allow you to convey your company’s message in seconds. Your subsequent marketing efforts can be improved by studying engagement analytics and website demographics, tools that allow you see what kind of LinkedIn users are visiting your page.

Customers aren’t the only people you’ll want to connect with on LinkedIn. Since the platform is designed for networking, tapping into the contacts of first-degree connections can grow your network and potentially even grow your business. Maybe the right partner for a joint venture you’ve been considering will be a second-degree connection, or you’ll find that new team member you’ve been looking for as a third-degree connection.

Or perhaps you want to meet like-minded entrepreneurs or managers for mentorship or advice. Joining a LinkedIn group can make you new friends, and there are groups for every niche. You might find the right person to bounce ideas off or simply build a new friendship. Be active in the groups, but don’t try to use them to promote your company’s services or products, as it’s considered bad form.

If you want to position your business as a leading brand in its industry, consider LinkedIn Publishing. You can write longform articles that connect people with your brand and help them understand what your company is all about. This not only builds your reputation as an expert in your field, but it also builds interest in your business as readers become potential customers. Make sure you post on a regular basis, share what matters to you, and provide glimpses of the company culture. You could even write about the causes your company stands behind. You can go as far as using original images featuring actual employees. LinkedIn Publishing provides the opportunity to show that there are real people behind your brand.

Your business may have a subcomponent or a specific initiative you want to highlight. LinkedIn’s Showcase Pages helps draw attention to those specific areas of the company and members can follow them.

There are more tools to personalize your company’s profile and build brand awareness. With a detailed page that fosters engagement from audiences and employees, LinkedIn remains a proven way to lure in potential clients.

– Josephine Mwanvua

Resolving Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict happens. Differences of opinion and different work styles can create problems, straining relationships between coworkers and reducing their efficiency and productivity. They may become unmotivated and dread coming into the office. But if properly handled, conflict can also be an opportunity to move toward a better organized work environment.

Below are some steps to help managers avoid and resolve conflict in the workplace:

Communication

Clear communication plays an important role in avoiding conflicts in the workplace. Be very clear and specific with your message and communicate in a way that everyone can understand. When talking with or emailing your colleagues, make sure they understand everything being discussed, as misunderstandings can lead to more problems in the future. Ensure that all necessary information is being properly conveyed to avoid this.

Clarify Misunderstandings

When conflicts arise, bring both parties together and let them have a professional and respectful conversation. Make sure each party understands the other’s point of view. At the end of the discussion, make sure an agreement of some sort has been reached and any misinterpretations are addressed.

Consider All Sides

Speak with each party individually to understand the issue behind the conflict. Ask them for suggestions on how to best avoid this situation in the future. After hearing everyone out, analyze the feedback and focus on the problem itself rather than the specifics of who did what. Any action taken should be with the goal of improving the overall work environment. Meet again with the parties involved and provide your solution. Be impartial and emphasize what’s best for the company in order to avoid future complications.

Eliminate Negative Feelings

Solve the problem in a manner that helps both parties feel like the issue has been resolved in an acceptable manner, ideally with no lingering bitter feelings. Everyone should be satisfied with the solution so that the work environment remains a respectful and friendly place.

Be Cooperative

Everyone has their own way of working and accomplishing tasks. Don’t impose your ideas on others and instead consider their views. Avoid bias, treat everyone equally, and be fair with all your employees and coworkers. Bring it to their attention when they make mistakes, but also applaud them for a job well done. If you make mistake, apologize, and accept your part in causing the problem. Never assume any conflict is insignificant; always try to solve it as soon as possible, rather than letting it fester. Try using written notes or emails to help your peers understand the solution to a problem. And always keep the bigger picture in mind.

Structure

Encourage collaboration. Create a structure that facilitates teamwork and requires staff to work together to complete tasks. This is one of the most effective conflict-resolution techniques and it will make employees realize the importance of working as a team to support each other.

Regardless of the specific workplace, everyone expects a friendly and healthy setting when they’re doing their job. It’s everyone’s responsibility to create a positive work environment. It eliminates stress and keeps employees cheerful. More importantly, it brings out the best in people on a daily basis and helps increase productivity.

U. Lakhia

Benefits of a Recruitment Agency

Finding the right candidate for a job can be a daunting process for many employers. Individuals with a great work ethic and a strong skillset are essential for maintaining a productive organization. When it comes to finding the right people, utilizing the services of a recruitment agency is an effective way to fill job openings.

There are many benefits of a recruitment agency and using their services will significantly simplify the hiring process for you and your organization. Here are a few of the advantages:

Time and Cost

Time is of the essence in today’s world, especially if companies want to remain competitive. Stopping or slowing production can result in a loss of revenue. Job openings need to be filled with suitable candidates who can learn fast and make notable contributions to an organization. Recruitment agencies can match and shortlist candidates, saving your company on countless hours of sorting through hundreds of applications. As a result, open positions can be filled much faster, saving you time and money.

Network

Recruitment agencies maintain an extensive pool of skilled candidates in their databases. Job seekers seek them out for employment opportunities, which ensures that agencies are always receiving new applicants from a wide cross-section of backgrounds, experience levels, and expertise.

Pre-Screening

Candidates go through extensive assessments and evaluations before being referred to a potential employer. The agency will take care of all the background and reference checks, ensuring that only the best and most qualified candidates move on to the next stage.

Employee Retention

Workplace turnover is significantly reduced when the employee is the right fit for the job. Knowing that the available candidates have already gone through a thorough screening process puts the manager’s minds at ease when selecting an employee. That added confidence makes the final hiring decision that much easier to make.

Building Relationships

Over time, employers will find that the hiring process through the recruitment agency they’ve engaged becomes more efficient. The agency will have established prior knowledge of the employer’s specific needs and expectations, and thus be able to provide valuable advice and expertise on future hires.

For your next job opening, consider using a recruitment agency. The benefits will be reflected in an efficient and skilled workforce that’s capable of boosting company morale and helping you achieve your organizational goals.

– N. Johnson

Workplace Wellness Programs

Studies have proven that the physical and mental conditions of employees affect the productivity of a business. Therefore, companies should implement workplace wellness programs to improve the health and nutrition of their workers. In addition to benefitting existing employees, these features also attract other skilled workers to join the company. Here are various examples of effective workplace wellness programs that will make your company a coveted place to work at.

Health Programs

This is one of the most important programs that employers include in employment packages. This can range from health/dental insurance to therapeutic massage sessions. In Canada, OHIP covers general health care, but areas that they do not compensate are major concerns for the public. It would be an attractive incentive if companies included benefits that the government didn’t. This reflects the company’s consideration in their employees’ well-being.

Onsite Gym

A lot of people these days are conscious about fitness. This is why the gym industry is making good business through membership sales. Going to the gym has become a routine for many people. However, a lot of working professionals would complain that it’s too time consuming to juggle work, sleep, and the gym. As a result, they would have to sacrifice either their sleep or the gym, both of which would affect their health in the long run. Having a gym facility in the office would solve this dilemma.

Other Fitness Alternatives

Of course, an onsite gym would be a large expense for most companies. Other alternatives include a regular yoga or Pilates session. These exercises are cost-friendly; each session can include a big group of people. They are stress-relieving methods and will give you a break from the normal routine of the work environment. In addition to encouraging their fitness, these sessions would inspire mental recovery.

Free Meal/Organized Lunch

A cafeteria with a set schedule of different meals per workday could prove beneficial for the entire company. In addition to saving time and money for employees, it allows the employer to monitor the regular diet of their employees. The typical half-hour lunch break offers employees little option of food to choose from. If they aren’t able to bring their own lunch, they will tend to choose something from a fast-food menu. Eventually, this will take its toll on the employee’s health.

There are numerous workplace wellness programs that your company can implement. More employees are looking for these benefits in their job searches. The more wellness programs your company has, the more it will persuade effective workers to support you. It might require the business to expend more money; however, the benefits will reap in the future. As long as your company looks out for the employees’ well-being, the workplace will emit a positive atmosphere.

– J. Tjoandi