Monthly Archives: May 2016

How to Check Email Anywhere and Everywhere

From the second employees get up in the morning until the wee hours of the night, checking email is a near round-the-clock activity, new research finds.

The study from Adobe revealed that white-collar employees spend an average of 7.4 hours each weekday checking their work and personal email, up 17 percent from a year ago.

In the morning, the vast majority of workers have checked their email well before sitting down at their desk for the day. The research shows that 36 percent of those surveyed check their email while still in bed in the morning; 39 percent give it a look while getting ready, eating breakfast or having coffee; and 10 percent check it as they are getting ready to leave or on their commute to work. Just 16 percent of employees wait until they get into the office to review their emails.

Once the day ends, 25 percent check their work email regularly until they go to bed, while 28 percent check it a couple times after dinner before unplugging for the night. That’s still not enough for some, as 3 percent even get up during the night to see if they have new messages. The research shows that 43 percent only check their email if they are expecting an important message.

When outside work, employees have become quite proficient at multitasking while reviewing emails. Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed check email while watching television, 57 percent check it while in bed, 45 percent read them while in the bathroom and 44 check it while talking on the phone. Other popular activities workers combine with reading email include walking, commuting, having a meal with someone, working out, having a face-to-face conversation, driving and during a formal ceremony.

“This survey underpins that email is here to stay in our personal lives and in the workplace,” Kristin Naragon, director of email solutions for Adobe Campaign, said in a statement.

Knowing the frequency at which emails are checked has increased the expectations of a quick response for many workers. The study found that when at work almost one-third of the employees expect a response to their email within an hour, with 16 percent expecting a response within a few minutes. Just 16 percent are fine with not getting a reply for at least one day.

The research discovered that texting has affected the way 70 percent of employees send work emails. Of those surveyed, 37 percent said texting has contributed to them making their emails more concise and 20 percent are now making them less formal. In addition, 42 percent have used an emoji in a work email, with the “thumbs up” being the most popular one.

With so much email use, it’s only natural that some messages employees receive get on their nerves more than others. The email behaviors from colleagues workers find most annoying are when they:

  1. Use “reply all” when it’s not necessary.
  2. Send an email when an in-person conversation would have been better.
  3. Ask them to email something they have already sent.
  4. Don’t copy them on an email when they should have.
  5. Forward them emails they’ve already received.
  6. Copy their manager on an email unnecessarily.
  7. Criticize or provide negative feedback via email.

The constant email use has some employees making a concerted effort to get away from their inbox for a few days. The research shows that 45 percent of employees have tried a self-imposed email detox where they take a break from checking their emails. Of the 82 percent who stuck it out, the average detox lasted an average of 5.3 days.

Many workers saw a lot of value from their break, with 37 percent saying it made them feel liberated and 34 percent saying it relaxed them.

Nagaron said the research has important implications for email marketers.

“Marketers must adapt their approach to address email behaviors and avoid adding to the noise of the inbox,” Nagaron said. “This means fewer emails and ensuring those sent are mobile-optimized, personalized and contextual to offer the best possible digital experience.”

The Reason of Employees Hate Their Job

A job title like “chief happiness officer” sounds fun and playful, but it may actually make workers unhappy with their professional positioning.

According to a survey by Spherion Staffing Services and Research Now, 25 percent of workers consider non-traditional job titles unprofessional and are against the idea of having one. Another 23 percent agreed that these types of titles don’t accurately capture what the job entails.

Even without the creative titles, there is still room for improvement as far as job titles are concerned. The Spherion survey found that nearly 42 percent of respondents feel their job title doesn’t reflect their true roles and responsibilities, and 14 percent consider traditional job titles such as “project manager” or “specialist” too generic.

“Employees take great pride in their job titles, and in some cases, a title that is considered limiting or hard to describe can significantly impact their job satisfaction,” Sandy Mazur, Spherion division president, said in a statement.

Despite their general unhappiness with job titles, most employees feel confident in their ability to describe their job in a way others can easily understand. The survey revealed that if put on the spot, 89 percent of respondents would have no problem delivering an “elevator speech” that highlights their responsibilities. When workers do struggle to articulate their jobs, survey respondents said it is often because they consider their responsibilities too complex for those outside the industry to comprehend.

The Spherion survey uncovered several other insights into how employees perceive their roles:

Employees shape their own stories. Twenty-seven percent of workers feel their professional and personal networks would find their job boring if they accurately described it. Older workers (ages 45 and up) feel more comfortable outlining the full scope of their professional responsibilities to others, but younger workers (ages 18 to 34) feel pressure to “dumb down” their daily tasks to help others understand. The Spherion survey suggests that employees might actually make it harder on themselves to explain their jobs: 53 percent of workers give different accounts to different audiences, while another 11 percent say they occasionally lie about what they do for a living.

Pop culture perceptions matter. Just over 30 percent of workers feel that pop culture significantly shapes others’ perceptions of their job, as friends and family may equate them with someone they’ve seen in mainstream media. Workers 18 to 34 tend to find greater merit in these comparisons than older workers, with 45 percent of survey respondents in this age range agreeing with pop culture perceptions.

Creativity and culture don’t tell the whole story. Younger workers (18 to 34) tend to believe creative job titles showcase their company’s creativity and culture, but 45 percent of workers from the same age range also feel that their job title does not accurately summarize what they do.

So how can employers make workers value their job titles and responsibilities? According to Spherion, the best thing you can do is find out how they feel now.

“As businesses face greater pressure to retain and recruit top workers, re-examining how different titles are perceived and applied can make a big difference in building morale and positioning a company as a favorable place to work,” Mazur said.

Keep Political Talk Civil

The 2016 election is getting closer, and most people have their personal opinions about political leaders’ social and policy stances. When the election comes up in the workplace, it can sometimes lead to heated discussions and possibly altercations among co-workers.

The race to the White House is already taking a toll on American workers. According to a study from the American Psychological Association, U.S. employees say political discussions around the office are stressing them out and making them more argumentative and less productive.

But it doesn’t have to be that way: There are plenty of ways for people to embrace political activity at work that can lead to a stronger company culture, rather than a divisive one, said Jacqueline Breslin, human capital director atTriNet, an HR outsourcing company.

With so many people feeling stress about November and beyond, here’s how to diffuse any tense situations that may arise from political discussions at work.

Set guidelines and boundaries

As an employer, setting boundaries is a great way to avoid any issues that may arise from election-related conversations.

“Employers should provide clear guidelines for how to discuss politics in the workplace and how to display political affiliations,” Breslin said. “While you want to support your employees’ rights to express themselves, you also should set clear policies outlining how to do so professionally.”

She recommended that managers or the HR department post guidelines on what is appropriate and inappropriate political behavior. This post should be in places all co-workers can access, such as the break room, the company’s intranet or an email sent to all employees.

HR is a great resource in heated political moments. Remind employees to approach their managers or HR if someone else’s politics ever interfere with their comfort in the workplace. The problem should be reported to de-escalate any uncomfortable situation.

Understand when you can and can’t step in

According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an employer may not interfere with political speech where there is a “direct nexus between employment-related concerns and the specific issues that are the subject of the advocacy.”

“For example,” Breslin said, “employees are generally protected if they say something to the effect of, ‘Support Bernie Sanders because he will raise the minimum wage.’ On the flip side, employees would not be protected if they said something like, ‘Support Donald Trump because he will make America great again.'”

This is because the minimum wage could affect an employee’s working conditions, while the statement about making America great doesn’t directly affect work

If there is a complaint filed and the conversation is determined to be protected activity, the NLRB will then generally look to your policies regarding employee conduct during work hours and in working areas to determine employees’ ability to engage in that activity, she added.

How to Recognize The Report

Workplace harassment comes in many forms. It can happen online or in person, and be verbal, physical or sexual in nature.

Regardless of its incarnation, abusive behavior creates a toxic work environment, but many workers feel uncomfortable reporting harassment to their bosses or HR managers.

“If you are being harassed or think you may be but are too scared to go forward, educating yourself on the facts is a great way to gain confidence to stand up for yourself,” said Becca Garvin, executive HR recruiter at Find Great People International. “The sooner you act on it, the easier it will be to put an end to it.”

Broaching the subject at work is understandably nerve-wracking. This nervousness is a normal feeling, said Brian McClusky, human resources director at InkHouse PR.

“Nervousness is probably the main reason employees don’t bring these issues forward,” he told Business News Daily. “If they are not comfortable addressing the issue with their harasser [there are some instances when it may not be safe to do so], HR is a neutral, safe, third-party resource.

“Employees should be reassured that their issue will be taken seriously, addressed quickly and thoroughly, and with as much discretion as possible,” he added.

Identifying harassment

Understanding what is happening to you may help when approaching the issue. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.

Harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker or a nonemployee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.

“First and foremost, know that if you are being harassed at work, it’s illegal and you are protected by law. Not only are you protected from the person(s) harassing you, [but] you are also protected from your employer failing to protect you,” Garvin said. “If you know someone who is being harassed at work, you cannot lose your job by reporting it yourself.”

Online harassment

Harassment online can include hateful speech in emails, instant messages, tweets or other social platforms. It can range from name-calling to threatening behavior.

“People tend to be braver, which unfortunately includes being meaner, behind a screen,” Garvin said. “The good news about online harassment: It is documentable and easily proved. This helps so much with reporting and proving it.”

To monitor the situation, Garvin suggested taking screenshots, saving emails on your personal computer and keeping a file of everything that makes you uncomfortable.