Tuesday

Dealing with Workplace Stress

One of the hardest forms of stress to avoid is workplace stress. After all, you need to go to work and there are plenty of things to worry about once you get there. However, that does not mean that workplace stress is unavoidable. Just like other kinds of stress, there are ways to manage workplace stress and there are ways to avoid it. Maybe you cannot avoid it entirely, but that is no reason not to try.

Workplace stress usually takes the form of everything needing to get done right now. You know the situation, there are a dozen things on your plate and they all need attention, but there are only so many hours in the day and you cannot attend to everything all at once. On top of that, the boss is breathing down your neck, asking you where the report/plan/program is and he also has a pile of other tasks for you once you finish that. It is a never-ending cycle, but it can be managed.

The first thing you need to do to avoid workplace stress is to focus on one task at a time. Do not try to multi-task, as it jars your system. Switching gears between projects does make demands on your brain and it takes a moment to change your thoughts from one place to another. Instead, if you focus on one project, you can keep your thoughts and energy in one place, preventing you from having to shift gears too often.

However, the big problem with trying to keep your focus is your coworkers. They will always be asking you for a quick minute or they will want you to answer their question, or they will want you to come over and help them on something. Try to deflect these as much as possible, as these can distract your focus. Thus, you must learn to say, "no." This is a highly effective word, though you may want to change it to, "No, not right now," or, "As soon as I am done with this." These little phrases can at least buy you some time to finish what you are doing, then switch comfortably to the needs of your coworkers.

There is another cause of workplace stress that can also cause you all manner of difficulty and that is when your concentration runs out. Oftentimes, you may find yourself focusing on the same page or the same computer screen for minutes at a time and you still have no idea what it is supposed to mean. This is not good, as it means that you are not being effective, your brain has shut down and the deadline is looming over you and you just need to get through this. Your best plan at this point is to walk away from your desk. Get up, get a cup of coffee (but not too often, as caffeine can heighten stress), go to the bathroom, anything. Walk the corridors for a minute or two and clear the cobwebs. This is highly effective both for ensuring that you are getting work done and for keeping workplace stress to a minimum.

Another way to prevent workplace stress is to learn some desk exercises. These can be simply squeezing a stress ball, or performing a few stretches while you are at your desk. By working your muscles at your desk, you can improve your circulation and help your keep alert and aware at work. Obviously, you are not going to get a full body workout while you are pecking at a keyboard, but it can help you at least keep your mind focused.

Finally, while you are at work you should examine your environment to see if it is right for you. How is the noise level? Is your desk set up properly? Are you comfortable? Is everything set up so that it is ergonomically correct? Your body needs to be comfortable if you want to work without distraction and distractions can lead to workplace stress. Thus, your work area needs to be set up for you. Take care of the little things around you and you will be able to work confidently and work well.

Workplace stress is, in many ways, part of working. However, by managing workplace stress properly, you can at least keep it to a minimum. And by doing that, work will be much more pleasant and you will be much more productive. So take care of yourself and the area around you and workplace stress will not control your day.


Author: Trevor Dumbleton

Wednesday

How to Deal with Lazy People at Your Workplace

You are a hard worker. You enjoy tackling a challenge and claiming victory when it's all said and done. You are not the type of person that necessarily enjoys working in teams, because you know that there is always one who isn't going to put 100% effort into the project, more like 20% or less. He or she will then go around and brag and boast they did more and would like a pat on the back for a contribution that was well...forgettable. How do you deal with these lazy people?

There are two types of lazy people. The first are those who admit, "Yes, I am lazy and I don't care who knows about it." The other group finds excuses, "I am not lazy. I just need to think about what I need to do before I do it." To this you say, "Well, how long is it going to be before you stop thinking and get to it?" The end result: nothing gets done.

The first group of lazy people when required to do anything will do the bare minimum. Since you know from the very start, if given the choice they will pick the least amount of work to do, give them the most. Sure they will complain, they will probably say what they won't do, but if there is a reward associated with it, they may find the motivation to do it. Motivation is essentially what they are lacking. The only way to find out what motivates them to stop playing solitaire on the computer and surfing the Internet, is to find out what they really want, need or both. One idea is to use time off as an incentive.

The second group of lazy people care about what others think, because if they didn't they wouldn't make unnecessary excuses to avoid negative comments. The way to motivate them is not to argue about the excuses that they make, but instead direct them to the task at hand and assign them specific deadlines they must meet. When deadlines are met, provide them with incentives as well or ways to make their job less cumbersome so that they are without excuse.
Lazy people are always looking for a way to make life easier for their selves. Most are very selfish. They aren't interested in helping others, but they will do it out of obligation. They know they have to eat; therefore, they will get a job, but they will be the ones you most likely see hanging around the water-cooler, talking in the break-room (when they have already took two breaks in less than an hour), out of site (and they are hoping out of your mind) when you need them and other similar behaviors.

Once you know you have someone like this around you, consider watching he or she more than the rest of the team. They are most likely going to be "up to no good." Too much time on their hands leads to gossip, lying, stealing and any other negative action, because they simply don't know how to keep themselves busy.

Many lazy people simply haven't been taught how to be good workers. You may want to show them basic principles on how one can achieve their best at work. Pointing the finger at Suzy and praising her for all her achievement in front of lazy workers is not the way to teach them, but describing the characteristics of a good worker is best.

by Nicholl McGuire

Monday

Top Three Rants About Work

Number One. It's okay for the boss to talk your ear off, but you aren't allowed to talk to anyone else in the office without "the look" and in some cases "The clear the throat" get back to work bs.

Number Two. "Oh just one more thing..." why is one more thing just before 5 p.m.

Number Three. Someone always needs the boss when he or she is still out for lunch. Two freakin' hours and they are still out to lunch!

You’re Fired! If Only It Were That Easy – Avoiding An Unfair Dismissal Trial…

I think I speak for all managers around the country when I say that we have all, in our darker moments, fantasized about mimicking Sir Alan Sugar’s catchphrase on ‘The Apprentice’ and telling an employee in no uncertain terms that they need to clear their desk and leave: “You’re fired!” Nice as it is to be able to pretend it would be this easy to get rid of that typist who spends more time on the phone to friends than doing their job, or the office manager who pulls a sickie every week, the truth is that simply firing your staff in this unceremonious manner will lead to all the ‘pleasures’ of an ‘unfair dismissal’ lawsuit.

So how should we go about getting rid of staff who are bad for the company? There’s a procedure you have to follow to ensure that your back is covered should the disgruntled sacked employee be feeling litigious and looking to call wrongful dismissal.

The first step towards this is ensuring that you have a clear set of rules and regulations. Afterall, if something is against the rules, but you’ve never actually explained it to your employees, then how are they supposed to know they are breaking them? At this point, you also need to be very clear of the consequences if such rules are broken.

There are two levels of misconduct you need to make provisions against: general and gross. Due to the different levels of seriousness, you need to make clear the action you would take in each circumstance:

General Misconduct

These are minor offenses or one-offs that would not result in serious repercussions for your business if occurring. The sort of thing that falls into this category should be: lateness, personal calls on the company telephone or under performance.

Gross Misconduct

This type of offense is for serious offenses which could damage the company, including acts of physical violence, drug or alcohol abuse, vandalism of company property, serious breaches of health and safety regulations, theft, fraud, harassment, discrimination or serious negligence. Additionally, the behavior listed in general misconduct could accumulate into gross misconduct if persistent while ignoring staff warnings.

So how do you go about ditching the troublesome staff? As I mentioned before there are procedures and you can’t just go and make an example out of someone on the spot – well you can, but the chances are they’ll be entitled to make an example out of you in the courts with a ‘wrongful dismissal’ lawsuit! Here’s how it’s done to avoid litigation:

1) If and when you become dissatisfied with the employee, tell them in writing.

2) Meet up with the employee and discuss the issue, trying to find a way in which the problems can be resolved. If possible, resolve the problem informally: You might consider training, or more supervision. Tell the employee the improvements you expect, and when their progress will be reviewed.

3) If an informal solution isn’t possible, take formal action – first a written warning, and then a final written warning. These must explain the nature of the problem, what you expect to improve and the consequences if they fail to meet your standards. Explain they have the right to appeal against your decision and give them opportunity to explain themselves.

4) If they accept their right of appeal, arrange a meeting and hear their case. Tell the employee your decision.

5) If the employee fails to meet your requirements, you may dismiss them or offer them a different job. Once again you need to follow procedure: a written dismissal, meet with the employee and give them the opportunity for appeal.

It may seem like a lot of hassle, but in the long run it’s better for employers to be able to resolve problems with their staff internally anyway. If you give your employees notice and they improve their ways, not only are you avoiding an unfair dismissal case against you, you are saving the costs and time involved in looking to hire a replacement for the sacked employee. Keep this procedure in mind, and avoid the Alan Sugar fantasies and the whole legal minefield that inevitably follows!

About the Author
Iain Mackintosh is the managing director of Simply-Docs. The firm provides over 1100 legal documents and templates covering all aspects of business from the new holiday entitlement laws to health and safety regulations.

Are You In The Right Job? How To Discover The Job You Were Meant To Do

You might not outright ‘hate’ your job, but if you don’t enjoy going to work each day, you might want to figure out why. No one loves work all the time, but if you find that your job is dragging you down rather than lifting you up, you should take notice.

Many unhappy workers wind up feeling frustrated and defeated by their jobs, when in fact the real reason they dread work, is that they’re working way under their potential.

Ask yourself-–

1) Do you feel unfulfilled in your current job?

2) Are you bored and stressed at work?

3) Do you find it difficult to be passionate about your work?

4) Are you tired of your day-to-day work routine?

5) Is there anything you do in your job that fascinates you?

Whether you’ve been working for one or 20-years, the key to finding the right place for you is in first determining your own natural genius. Don’t stop and say you’re not a genius – everyone has a natural genius, but many of us simply don’t know what it is.

Genius is the expression of our unique set of exceptional abilities. The trouble is that we don’t always take the time -- or have the encouragement -- to find out what those genius abilities really are. Often, we are drawn to a particular area of work that somehow helps us bring out our genius, but unless we intentionally dial in, we remain on the periphery of our genius and never hit the bull’s-eye.

If you are one of the many who doesn’t really know your unique set of exceptional abilities, review the following list of five clues for natural genius. Think about what you do that fits any of these criteria, and you can start glimpsing what your genius might be.

Five Clues for Natural Genius

1. You do it easily.

2. You feel a deep satisfaction.

3. You are recognized with a natural authority.

4. You dismiss acknowledgement easily because you seem to do it too effortlessly.

5. You don’t understand when others have a much harder time doing the same thing.

Genius stays hidden because most people never learn what their genius is. Instead, they perform on the edge of their genius, but not in the core. This impacts more than their enjoyment; it affects their earning power. Genius is often associated with sacrifice, but the opposite is true. Those who resist their genius pay the greatest price by working in jobs just to cover their bills, but never truly prospering.

Manifesting your genius means learning what it is, applying your genius in a field that matches it and benefiting by becoming an expert or specialist. In the professional market- place, the specialists command the highest fees. They also love their work.

Geniuses are not satisfied with just paying their bills. They may enjoy their lifestyle, but they don’t live for it. Why? They are fully alive in doing work that means something to them. Many of us sleepwalk through our work, driven by the need for financial security or recognition, but not satisfying our core passion. Geniuses are on fire. They are positioned to be the most successful people in the world. Geniuses can measure their reward in terms of income, quality of life and personal satisfaction. It’s quite a compelling equation.

Are you living your genius? Take a free self-evaluation at http://www.geniuscoaching.net/RateYourGenius.htm. A certified learning consultant and coach, Susanna Lange co-developed Genius Coaching, which helps children, adults, and business leaders discover and maximize their special talents and strengths.

Saturday

Do You Really Want To Be A Manager?

"What do I do now?"

Craig looked plaintively across the desk at me. He'd come to me for help adapting to his new role as a manager. He was having a lot of trouble.

Craig had thought he wanted to be a manager. He'd supported himself through college by running heavy machinery in the construction industry. He was a hard worker.

When he was hired by the company that made some of the equipment he used to run, Craig was ecstatic. He liked the people in the construction industry and he thought his new employer was as fine a company as there was.

Craig was hired as a sales trainee, but his goals were something else. He wanted to be an executive and climb the corporate ladder. He started out by turning himself into a great salesperson. He let his bosses know that he wanted to move up.

His opportunity came after only a couple of years. The company tapped him for a sales manager's job. At first he was ecstatic.

Now it was three months later. Craig didn't like the things he had to do in his new job. He missed the freedom of selling on the road, spending time on jobsites and talking with people he liked.

"I used to love going to work," he told me. "Now, I get slammed from all sides. My boss wants me to make my numbers. Half the people who work for me just don't seem to cut it and they're always whining about something."

"I don't know how to handle that. Plus, my bonus is now tied to how these other people do. It was easier when I just had to work a little harder or smarter to make my numbers."

"Anything else?" I asked.

"When I was selling, the deals I cut grew naturally out of our relationship with the customers. Now, I've got my people asking me to approve deals and I'm just not comfortable deciding. It's constant pressure."

There are thousands of people out there like Craig. They start out with the idea that what they want is a management job. Then, they get one and it's nothing like what they expected. How can you keep that from happening to you?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help decide if a management job is the right career choice.

What will I be giving up if I move into management?

This is very important to ask. Companies promote top performers. If they want to promote you to management, the odds are good that you were an above average performer as an individual contributor.

The odds are also pretty good that you like the work you're doing. So, are you willing to give it up?

You may have to give up more than work you love. If your management job requires lots of travel or more late nights or a more demanding schedule, you may give up some time at home, too. Are you willing to do that?

In some companies, promotion to management comes with an automatic relocation. Are you willing to move? Is your family willing to move?

Finally, check the income figures. Sometimes, getting promoted means a drop in regular income because commissions or overtime pay goes away.


Do I like helping other people succeed?

One of your jobs as a manager is to help the people who work for you succeed. That's not a job everyone likes to do. If you like helping other people do better, it will make your job as a manager much easier and it will make you more likely to succeed.

What if you don't? Then understand that you will probably have to put conscious effort into the work of helping others on your team. Only you know how difficult that will be for you.

Am I comfortable making decisions?

As a manager, you will have to make decisions about all sorts of things. My life experience tells me that this is not something you can learn to be comfortable with. If you are comfortable making decisions, you can improve your technique, but no amount of training will make you willing to make decisions.

Think about how you live your life. Do you make decisions as needed? Or do you put them off or hope that someone else will make the decision for you?

This one's pretty simple. If you can't make decisions you won't be an effective manager.

Am I willing to confront people about their behavior or performance?

Management is the art of controlled confrontation. Every day you will need to talk to people who work for you about their behavior and performance. You will need to confront some of them with how they're doing and what they need to fix.

We're not talking about big, blow-up, "Jerry Springer" confrontations. Most of your confrontations will be about small things. But you'll have to do them every day.

If you can't confront people who work for you about their behavior and performance, it's not likely you will do well as a manager.

Am I willing to let the group become my destiny?

This is a tough one, because it flies in the face of how we talk about management. We like to say that when you're in management, you've got power. But that's not true.

When you get promoted, you'll have less power than you do now. Think of it this way.

When you're an individual contributor and you want to improve your evaluation or income, all you have to do is work harder or smarter. When you want to achieve the same thing as a manager, you've got to convince your team members to work harder or smarter.

As one of my trainees put it: "The team is your destiny." Your success and your rewards are based on their performance. Are you ready for that?

Craig's problem was that he took a management job without thinking through whether it was something that he would like and be good at. He hadn't thought about what he liked and didn't and he hadn't considered the changes he would have to make.

Craig went to his boss and laid out the issues he and I discussed. His company decided they'd rather have a happy and successful sales rep instead of an unhappy sales manager and they let Craig pick up his old job.

All of that could have been avoided if Craig had done some analysis in advance. One of my other clients, John, was a person who did.

John was working with me on career issues for about a year when he was offered the opportunity to move up to management. We'd already discussed many of the issues, so he was in much better shape than Craig. John knew what he wanted and figured he could do a good job as a manager.

On the plus side, John really loved working with people and helping them develop. The move to management would make that a key part of his job.

Because he was a good performer as an individual contributor, John was a little leery about giving up the freedom he'd earned and about moving out of his comfort zone to a new job. In his case, relocation or money were not issues.

John thought he was a good decision maker, but he admitted to sometimes taking longer than necessary to make a decision. Sometimes he even let others make decisions he might have made better. We marked that as an area to work on in his personal development plan.

John had coached sports teams and figured that the confrontations about performance that he did in that role would help him as a manager. That has turned out to be the case.

John's biggest issue was with whether he could live with the fact that his team's performance would define his results. There wasn't any clear evidence in his background either way, but he thought he could learn to do it. We marked the issue as one for our coaching sessions.

Things worked out well for John. There were some rocky points, though. Everybody has them.

It turned out that the confrontation issue was far more difficult for him to master than either of us expected. But with concentrated effort, John mastered that and other skill issues.

When you get promoted to management you must do different kinds of work than what made you successful as an individual contributor. You gain some things and give up others. It's not a transition that everyone wants to make, but asking some key questions in advance means you can increase your odds of success when promotion comes calling.

About the Author
Wally Bock helps organizations improve productivity and morale. He is the author of Performance Talk (http://www.performancetalk.com/). He writes the Three Star Leadership blog (http://blog.threestarleadership.com/), coaches individual managers, and is a popular speaker at meetings and conferences.

What Workers Need to Keep In Mind While On the Job

While it’s easy to realise that hard work, motivation and enthusiasm may help get you ahead in the workplace, it’s often harder to identify the many ‘workplace no-nos’ that could severely hinder career progression. Read on to find out about some of the more common things not to do at work!

We all know that positive workplace behaviours and attributes like hard work, motivation, enthusiasm, and a willingness to contribute to company development above and beyond your responsibilities can lead to positive career outcomes such as a promotion or pay rise. But what many of us don’t seem to understand is that there are a host of office no-nos that can have just as big an impact on our careers – but in a negative way!

Inappropriate behaviour in the workplace can lead to stunted career progression; it can stop you getting that all-important pay rise or that much-anticipated promotion! Below is a list of some of the top potentially career-damaging workplace no-nos to avoid:

Don’t use profane or offensive language — bad language in the workplace is not only potentially offensive to those around you, it may also make you appear unprofessional, immature and downright rude.

Don’t steal — as minor as it might seem to occasionally lighten the office stationary supply of the odd pen or two, stealing from your workplace (stealing anything at all) is one of the quickest ways to get yourself fired and should never be risked, no matter how small the item.

Don’t talk negatively about your employer, managers or co-workers — if you have a gripe about your company or somebody in it, take it through the appropriate channels; talk to your manager or human resources department, and if you don’t want to act on it then keep it to yourself. It’s a good idea to avoid venting to co-workers via email also – there’s always the risk you’ll unwittingly commit the ultimate faux pas and send the email to the wrong recipient!

Don’t gossip or spread rumours — while it is often tempting to share juicy snippets about co-workers, gossiping can be one of the quickest ways to ruin relationships and create a tense and awkward workplace atmosphere.

Don’t make sexually suggestive, racist, or inappropriate comments or jokes — inappropriate jokes or comments are not only potentially offensive, they will certainly not impress management, and could quickly get you labeled as immature and unprofessional.

Don’t be seen to be wasting company time — while pretty much every worker is guilty of sending the odd personal email or perhaps having a sneaky browse of the internet from time to time, it should be remembered that many companies monitor internet and email use, and will catch out time-wasting employees. Keep personal emails (and phone calls) to a minimum and try to limit personal use of the internet to your lunchbreak.

Don’t get drunk at office parties — as tempting as it might be to let your hair down and partake in a few drinks – especially when it’s paid for by the company – it can be one of the quickest ways to lose face with senior management. While it’s fine to have one or two drinks, workers who have one too many quickly lose the respect of their colleagues and could end up a laughing stock. Wherever possible, try to maintain a distinct line between your social and professional life.

Don’t send angry emails — if something or someone at work has upset you give yourself time to reflect and calm down before responding with an email. You’ll probably end up writing something you wish you hadn’t if you respond to a situation when you are angry or upset. A better approach might be to step out of the office for a minute or two and call a loved one and talk your problem out with them first. Then, if you’re still upset, you can hopefully construct a more considered email or talk calmly face-to-face with a manager.

Don’t dress inappropriately — whether or not we admit it, we’re all guilty of judging people on their appearance. People who look well groomed and who dress professionally will be taken more seriously, and potentially deemed more competent, than those who don’t. Avoid ill-fitting clothes – particularly clothes that are too small, too tight, or too revealing.

Never fall asleep on the job — not only could this be seriously dangerous (depending on your line of work) it also reflects very badly on your work ethic, making you appear lazy or unprofessional. If you find yourself struggling to stay awake grab yourself a strong coffee, do some stretches or have a quick walk around the office.

Clean up your act — try to keep your desk and work space tidy and clean; a cluttered, dirty desk can make you appear unprofessional or unproductive. Don’t allow mugs and plates, papers or books to build up. And definitely get rid of yesterday’s half eaten spag bog!

About the Author
Lucy Ayers is the Editorial Content Coordinator for GradCareers. The GradCareers website helps graduates and final-year university students find the right career and graduate program for them. For more information, please visit http://www.gradcareers.com.au

Safety in the Retail Workplace

The retail environment may appear to be a relatively safe workplace (save the disgruntled shopper or two), and unlike a construction site or workplace that develops chemicals, a retail store doesn't seem to pose any obvious threats. However, retail workers face everyday hazards, from trip-and-fall risks to back injuries resulting from lifting heavy boxes.

With retailers typically setting aside $10-30,000 for each lost time injury, the unforeseen retail injuries can quickly add up. Employees who don't follow safety guidelines can wield a huge impact on a company's bottom line. Following are general guidelines that every retail owner and employee needs to protect themselves from the potential injury pitfalls of retail:

Safety in a Retail Store

1. Stack cartons so that they're not piled at the end of aisles where people could trip over them.
2. Clean all floors, aisles and stairs and keep them free of debris, trash, spills or fallen merchandise.
3. Make sure that all floor mats and carpets lie flat, free from ripples or curled edges, and are slide resistant.
4. All exit paths should be free of obstruction.
5. Stack merchandise in a stable manner and that's easy to reach.
6. Remove protruding objects from displays, counters, tables and floor stacks.
7. Maintain at least 30 inches of clearance around sources of ignition such as heaters, boilers, and electrical panels.

Tips for Proper Lifting

1. Size up the load. If it looks too heavy, use lifting equipment or ask for help.

2. Before lifting and carrying an object, check to make sure your route is free of obstruction, water, and other trip-and-fall hazards.

3. As you lift, place your feet close to the object, bend your knees and get a firm hold on the box. Lift primarily using your leg muscles.

4. Keeping the load close to your body without twisting or turning, lift straight up.

5. Turn your body by changing foot position as you start walking, rather than twisting.

6. Set the load down slowly, bending at the knees. Do not let go of the load until you've lowered it securely to the floor.

7. Transport carts and wheel racks by pushing - not pulling.

Receiving Dock Safety

1. Keep the dock area clear of displays or other debris.

2. Clean any spills or wet areas immediately.

3. Check all pallet jacks before use.

4. Don't hoist yourself up or jump from the dock to ground level. Use the stairs to fo from ground level to the dock, or vice versa.

5. Never ride a pallet jack or forklift.

To avoid injury or damage to inventory, retailers should also use caution when opening shipping and receiving freight. Perhaps one of the most often overlooked precautions is in the use of a utility knife. Retailers are constantly receiving shipments and orders that require careful opening to prevent injury as well as damage to the product. Use the following guidelines to safely open a carton with a box cutter:

1. Always keep a box cutter with a sharp blade handy when working with freight and opening boxes.

2. Set the carton on a flat, steady surface.

3. Position the carton at an angle to your body so that the cutter will not be moving directly towards you.

4. Place one hand on the box and use the other hand to firmly hold the box cutter.

5. Make a smooth cut, and then turn the carton a quarter revolution. Make another smooth cut, and turn the carton again.

6. Cut as close to the top of the box as possible.

7. Check the condition of the box cutter's blade. Dull blades require more pressure and increase the risk of injuries.

To work well, a safety knife needs to be mistake-proof. In other words, its safety features must be so deeply built-in that a new, untrained employee can't accidentally override them.

About the Author
Safecutters Inc., provides an online store of utility knife box cutters for opening shipping boxes and shipping packages, as well as safety knives to open moving boxes and packages. For more information about Klever Kutter and other Safecutters products contact us!

What Project Management Training Did For Me and My Workplace

My workplace is big on training and eight weeks ago it was my turn to attend PRINCE2 training. PRINCE2 is the OGC project management methodology. I had already participated in a PRINCE2 foundation course and was more than ready for additional PRINCE2 training that would prepared me for the official practitioner’s exam. In essence PRINCE2 is essentially a process oriented method that breaks up a project into ‘bite size’ chunks of work with resource prioritisation and role allocation being well defined.

It wasn’t just because my workplace wanted me to attend a PRINCE2 course, I wanted to attend so I could improve my own project management skills. I had worked on successful projects in the past, but I was aware that there was an increasing need in today’s business world to define general processes for projects. Working out a successful strategy for every project was becoming increasingly difficult, and I knew that additional PRINCE2 training would be able to help. My project manager would readily agree a project involves combining resources and skills with technology and ideas, therefore ensuring good product delivery. Projects need to operate within time and risks constraints and PRINCE2 training would address all of those concerns very effectively.

PRINCE2 training is particularly beneficial for people who are involved with managing projects, and not just any ol’ person is allowed to teach the course. First of all they need to be associated with an accredited PRINCE2 training organisation so they can pass on the necessary skills to trainees. Our trainers certainly had the right skills; they taught us first class project management skill so we could feel confident about managing various projects successfully on the work front. We were taught a flexible and adaptable approach that could suit all types of projects, and we were provided with common systems, procedures, and an understanding of PRINCE2 terminology. The trainers said that when we were all ‘singing from the same hymn sheet,’ so to speak, there were fewer mistakes made in the work place.

The PRINCE2 training was hard work and a challenge but enjoyable at the same time. There was some fun practical learning that helped to reinforce the theory we had learnt and the information was imparted in different ways to cover all learning styles. We sat our exam at the end of the course which lasted for 3 hours and an overall score of 180 out of a possible 360 was needed to pass. I am very proud to say my score was 300.

By the end of the course lots of us were saying: ‘this is the best course I’ve ever been on.’ ‘How did I ever manage without PRINCE2?’ ‘What’s the next training course can I go on?’

Since the training the difference I have noticed in my own project management skills are amazing. There is a definite improvement in the way I handle projects and projects are producing better results because with PRINCE2 the methods are largely simplified, owing to its well directed layout, and therefore things fall into place. As a direct result of my improved project management skills my boss has been very impressed and given me a promotion and a pay rise. Another bonus with PRINCE2 training is that it looks great on my resume. PRINCE2 is recognised around the world as a world class qualification and is seen as the standard way for the management of project works.

I would recommend anyone who is involved with project management to attend PRINCE2 training and implement what they have learnt in their workplace, because not only has the training benefited my workplace it has directly benefited me.

About the Author
Brian Kelly wrote the Article 'What PRINCE2 Training Did for Me and My Workplace' and recommends you visit http://www.afaprojects.com/resources_prince2.asp for more information on PRINCE2 training.

Accidents in the Workplace

Health and Safety is more commonly overlooked than it should be. Although when starting a new job it is the duty of your employer to make you aware of health and safety, with a legal obligation to do so, this is more than usually done through watching short films about what to do in an emergency and being told where the nearest fire points are, but how many of us would actually know what to do if a situation like those seen in the films happened in real life?

Injuries in the work place are common and make up a large majority of the personal injury claims that are made. Employer’s have to make sure the workplace is safe and without risk to health. Some steps taken to maintain this are to provide protective clothing where necessary, assess the risks that might be involved in work practices such as using a computer, provide adequate first aid equipment and facilities and keeping dust, fumes and noise under control.

Although it is the job of an employer to make you aware of potential risks and that you understand procedures that need to be followed in order to carry out practices in a safe manner, you as an employee must cooperate with the health and safety guidelines in order to keep the workplace safe.

When an accident does occur at work there is a legal obligation that it has to be reported to your employer as soon as possible. The accident will be noted in what is called the Accident Book, most if not all workplaces should have one of these and if they don’t, it is advised that you note details of the accident down, making two copies, one for you and one for your boss. If you fail to report details of the accident and later decide to claim for compensation, your claim will be unfounded and dismissed.

Another piece of advice for people who wish to make a claim after a work related accident is to make an appointment with a doctor so your injuries can be professionally assessed. Even if your injuries seem very minor it is still a good idea as you will have a medical record of exactly what happened, which, in some cases could make or break a compensation claim.

Accidents at work that cause personal injury can entitle you to compensation through a no win no fee claim. Most accident claims companies work on a no win no fee basis and it’s never been easier to claim. With trained advisors and professional help at your fingertips, you will be told straight away whether your case has the potential to win.

There are many accidents at work that often go overlooked, these accidents are ones that don’t cause injury but come extremely close to doing so. A few examples of these are an electrical short circuit or overload causing a fire or explosion, failure of lifts and or lifting equipment and also equipment coming into contact with overheated power lines.

About the Author
Helen Cox is the web master. For more information and specialist advice on Accidents at work This article is free to republish provided this resource box remains intact.

Friday

Do You Want To Change Your Career? Don't Do It Alone

During the journey from a job that you hate to finding the work that you love, you will need lots of guidance, support, motivation and encouragement.

Most of us fail to create our dream life because of trying to do it alone. Interruptions, setbacks, and fears are part of every journey and they are inevitable. Without getting help, most of us lack focus, commitment, and accountability. Even if you were very disciplined and motivated, it would take much longer to reach your goal without someone who believes in you, who will praise your achievements, take you out of your comfort zone and keep you on track.

Here are some tips to help you get the support you will need during your journey:

1. Create (or join) an online group of like-minded people who are interested in personal development and/or career change. Online groups enable each member to keep focused in a supportive environment. You can create your own group or join an existing one on Yahoo or Google:

• http://groups.yahoo.com
• http://groups.google.com

2. Create a team of people who want to leave their jobs to discover their purpose and find the work they were born to do. Get together regularly to give each other inspiration and support. The number of people you would like to invite to your meetings is totally up to you but three people are enough to start with. Meet weekly to motivate each other and exchange help and ideas. Take turns to talk about your dreams and allow others to help you in your goals.

Here is how the team works :

• The first member (let’s call her Julia) begins by describing her dream. Other members help Julia to create a specific goal with a target date.

• Julia then states the obstacles that are preventing her from realizing her dream. Other members help her to overcome these obstacles by suggestions, contacts, materials and ideas.

• Then Julia tells the group what actions she will take until the next meeting. The others brainstorm options and help Julia create an action plan.

This is the format of the inital get-together. At the next meeting, Julia tells the others what she has achieved since the last meeting and sets another action plan with the help of the other members.

Each member’s time is limited to 30 minutes (or less if it is a larger team).

It is crucial to make these meetings a priority in your life. You need to be 100% committed.

If you would like to find out more about how to create small groups in which members dedicate their efforts to help each other achieve their goals, I recommend Barbara Sher’s “success teams website” which will give you plenty of ideas :

http://www.shersuccessteams.com
http://www.shersuccessteams.com/iparties.htm

3. Enlist the services of a career coach. A good career coach will help to remove barriers that you have placed in your path, inspire you to take action and provide you with resources and tools to help you discover and follow your dreams of working at what you love.

Here are some suggestions to help you choose a great coach:

• Begin searching online for a career coach or ask for word-of-mouth referral from someone you know.

• Ensure that the coach has got a qualification from a reputable training organization.

• Ask for a free consultation to check out the rapport between you and the potential coach. Does the coach listen to you? Do you feel they clearly understand what you want to achieve through coaching?

• Find out whether their previous clients have had a result.

• Ask for their rates and make sure you understand exactly what services will be received for your investment in coaching.

As Barbara Sher says, “Isolation is the dream killer”. If you've been trying to go after your dreams alone and haven't been able to move forward, it's because you haven't had the support and structure you need. Make sure to take action in a supportive environment where you can get all the help and the encouragement you will need along your journey.

About the Author
Ebru Ulufer is a Career Coach with 16 years of corporate career experience. She helps people who are unfulfilled with their jobs to find their life purpose and earn a living doing the work they love. For more information, visit Career Transition Coaching

How To Keep Fit In The Workplace

You can participate in exercises at work to help yourself. Some exercises you can do while working are: Ankle rotation, back stretches, and tightening and relaxing the abdominal muscles.

1. A foundation for fitnessYou can contribute to your fitness by using a healthy diet and exercise plan. You do not have to start a fad, crash diet or spend hours daily at the gym. To stay fit, cut fatty foods and high sugar foods from your diet, snack on greens and fruits and take long walks every few days. Many people can maintain a healthy body by eating salad for lunch and taking a refreshing jog every other day.

2. Prevent Obesity

Anybody can become obese by for example neglecting themselves. Financial concerns usually takes priority over physical fitness. If you often find yourself pressed for time because of a large project or a looming deadline, there are a few simple exercises you can do right in your cubicle to keep your muscles flexible and your joints strong.

3. What you should do

Rotate your ankles to help blood circulation and to loosen muscles and joints. Stretch your back often to help prevent achy back problems. Tighten and relax your abdominal muscles to give your tummy some workout. You can do this in many places because they're discreetly tightening and relaxing muscles.

4. Work Exercises

Abs: Sit on the edge of chair, arms extending in front. Keeping back straight, contract the abs and slowly lower torso towards back of chair. Hold 2-3 seconds and repeat.

Curls: Cross arms over chest and sit up straight. Contract abs and curl shoulder towards hips, pulling abs in. Hold for 2 seconds and repeat.

Standing Hip Flexion: Stand with abs in, spine straight. Lift leg up until level with hip. Hold for 2 seconds, repeat other side.

Leg Lift: In same starting position as above, lift left leg straight out to the side a few inches off the floor. Hold for 2 seconds, repeat on the other side.

For more great fitness related articles and resources check out http://www.weknowfitness.info

Taking Back The Workplace: Workplace Stress Relief Tips

It can be easily argued that today's world has grown far more complicated. This complication, it can be argued, is due to the high cost of living, global economy, the pressures placed on the family, etc. In addition, the increased expectations of performance and revenue generating have increased the demands in the workplace.

All of this has contributed greatly to the stress that individuals experience in their lives and specifically stress in the workplace. It is important to note that stress can be a significant detriment to the well-being of individuals and families. Therefore, it is critical that stress be relieved.

Specifically, there are certain workplace stress relief tips that can be followed. These specific workplace stress relief tips can be divided into two categories. The first category is through the implementation of practical suggestions and the second category is through a change in attitude.

Practical Suggestions

There are many physical symptoms that are associated with increased levels of stress. Those symptoms include tension headaches, muscle ache, upset stomach, etc. At the first sign of these symptoms it is important to put into practice some practical workplace stress relief tips.

One of those practical tips it is to take a mini stress relieving vacation. First of all, it is important that you are not disturbed. This can be accomplished by hitting the do not disturb button on the phone or turning the phone off. In addition put a do not disturb sign on the door leading into your office.

Once this has been accomplished than simply close your eyes and allow your mind to fix on a favorite vacation spot or dream area that compels you. In addition, concentrate on your breathing. Any thoughts that bombard your mind should be acknowledged and quickly let go. Also, take into account your body and how it is feeling. For example, if you realize that your neck or the muscles of the shoulders are tense release that tension through your breathing.

Finally, focus on a mantra. This mantra can be affirmations of being stress free or can be a mantra that simply calls your mind to dwell on higher thoughts.

A workplace stress relief tip for those individuals who do not have offices is to take a walk. If there is a park nearby or garden area take advantage of the stress relieving power of communing with nature. This action will help to reduce stress through this nature communing process and through exercising.

Attitude Change

An additional workplace stress relief tip is through an attitude change. This can be accomplished by thinking about stress situations differently.

Rather than hanging on to the stress of the day, share your stress with others. This can be done in an enjoyable manner in that a group of people will share their stresses of the day, within reason, and try to out do the others. Often this type of session will end up in laughter as people try to embellish their stressful situations.

Also, another workplace stress relief tip is to try to find the good in every situation. For example, if a co-worker is especially annoying think to yourself about one good quality that they may have. If you can identify that quality reward yourself with an enjoyable treat.

About the Author
If you are looking for some great information about Stress please visit Scott Goodman's website located at: Wicked Stressed Info

Workplace Conflict Resolution: What’s Creating Workplace Conflict And 9 Easy Ways To Resolve It

A radio interviewer recently asked me if I thought there was more conflict in the workplace today than in the past. After thinking about it, I replied, “Yes, I think there is more conflict today.”

Here Are 3 Main Reasons Why There Is More Conflict In The Workplace Today Than In The Past:

1. Today’s workplace is much more egalitarian. We have flatter chains of command, dotted line relationships, and primarily knowledge workers who are capable of making decisions themselves and have the freedom to move on to another job if they don’t like the way they are being treated.

In prior years, the workplace consisted of a clear authoritarian structure and chain of command. Workers obeyed orders, kept their gripes and personal issues to themselves, and did their work. If they failed to perform effectively, they were immediately fired and replaced.

2. Today, people of all ages from all over the world have come to work together. They have different values, goals, behavioral expectations and prior experiences. Yet they are expected to work together without really understanding why all the misunderstandings between them occur.

3. Women are now in the workplace in equal numbers to their male counterparts. Generally speaking, women are much less accustomed to following a chain of command than men. Most men grow up participating in organized sports where they are taught how to obey. Although some women are now active in sports, many more grow up playing creative games that didn’t have any particular organization or chain of command. In games like house, girls take turns in varying roles.

Although we’ve come a long way towards understanding each other and working harmoniously together in the workplace, there are still behavioral differences in teasing, flirting, confronting, aggression and simple communication styles.

Solutions To Conflicts In The Workplace

Clearly, these workplace issues are here to stay. How can we handle them? How can we change certain elements? Here are some of my ideas:

Dealing with Different People in the Workplace

Your organization is going to continue to have people of all genders, ages, cultures, styles and expectations working together. You need to provide them with:

• A common culture with clearly defined behavioral expectations. This includes policy, procedures, statements of corporate values and culture – and the follow through to hold people accountable.

• Diversity training that teaches how to manage different people as well as how to get them to cooperate at meetings and other group forums. Your organization needs to delve into training. Trainers need to understand cognitive and communication styles, values around politeness and dealing with superiors, as well as issues of pride, humility, conformity and all the other differences that cause conflicts in the workplace.

• Acceptance and recognition of the differences, so your organization doesn’t try to have a “one size fits all” method of managing.

• More attempts to help each other clear up disagreements and misunderstandings – rather than passing judgment and deciding who is right and who is wrong.

Management Style and Hours Worked

When management creates a clear set of guidelines as to work expectations and measures success rather than time spent, it will be easier for people to know what to do because the parameters are clear. Here’s what your organization can do to avoid conflicts in the workplace related to management styles:

• Publish policy, procedures, values, expectations, and guidelines. Since there no longer is a supervisor with a whip looking over each worker’s shoulder, it is these documents that guide your employees’ behaviors.

• Managers need to learn how to correctly manage different individuals to enable each person to be successful. Some people need more instruction and others need to be left alone to create. Some are more trustworthy than others and can be relied upon to know their own limits and decision-making authority. Others need to be managed more tightly.

• The quality and the quantity of the work should be rewarded, not time. Managers need to stop the subtle and not-so-subtle remarks about not seeing a worker on a Saturday or early in the morning.

• Employees need to have flexible time whenever possible. Some jobs require attendance at set hours. Most do not. People with young children at home might want to go home for a few hours in the late afternoon and return either to work, or to their home computer after their children have been put to bed.

• Recognize that less is often more. If people get to relax, have a family life, recreation, and pleasure, they are almost always more productive and creative during their working time.

Although conflict is here to stay, it certainly can be mitigated by taking the needs and differences of people seriously and by teaching them about each other and how to work together. Stop being afraid and start being kind.

About the Author
ArLyne Diamond, Ph.D can teach your management team how to manage your organization effectively and efficiently. For more free tips that will help your organization increase its productivity by cutting the number of conflicts in the workplace in half go to: http://www.diamondassociates.net/articles

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