The Snitch

Just a little of everything HR

Posts Tagged ‘workplace

Sleeping at work? A dream comes true!

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They have always said that everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten, and one of the biggest things I took away from my pre-school education was the need for afternoon naps.

So when I came across an online article while doing some research (read: taking a break and checking Facebook – yes, I’m back on that bandwagon) that said naps at work not only boost productivity but also reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems, I was thrilled.

Win-win!

There is actual science behind this. When a person is tired, neurons in the brain shut off, which essentially means that while your body is awake, your brain is fast asleep. Taking a quick 15-minute nap helps you recharge and get those neurons up and running again.

In fact, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley confirmed in 2010 that napping also improves the brain’s ability to retain information. They added that mid-day naps “not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neuro-cognitive level, moves you beyond where you were before”.

But isn’t it bad enough that employees are already taking breaks for coffee and cigarettes? Will bosses really be okay with workers disappearing for 15 minutes at a time to catch up on some sleep?

Thankfully, I have friends in high places and decided to give them a call to get their take on what I hope will be the next great office fad.

Douglas Gan, founder and chief executive officer of location-based service provider ShowNearby, tells me he doesn’t mind his employees sleeping at work. The last time I visited their office for lunch, Douglas even pointed out the couch in one of the bigger offices and proudly told me, “That’s where some of the guys take naps”.

What’s more, he doesn’t limit how long they can nap for and even encourages his staff to work from home if they’re too tired to come into the office. No wonder ShowNearby was one of the recipients of Asia’s Best Employer Brand Awards this year.

“Naps can help them get rid of a tired mind and move forward,” Douglas says. “Also, I think because they appreciate the fact that they can nap, they tend to work better when they’re awake.”

However, not everyone is onboard with the idea of napping at work. Edvarcl Heng, social media manager at MediaCom, says instead of naps, his employees are allowed to take breaks as often as they like, as long as productivity isn’t affected.

“They are also equipped with Nerf guns (a type of toy gun which shoots foam bullets) and games on their Macs as an explicit nod from management that we will not frown upon fun,” Ed says.

On top of the fun and games, employees are also allowed to go out to buy titbits (another one of my favourite break-time activities), surf the Internet and play games with each other. “A worker is not an automaton. They need rest to boost their productivity,” Ed says.

While writing this blog entry, I was also multi-tasking (talking to my best friend) and found out that the only reason he hadn’t replied my messages the past hour was because he was – you guessed it – taking a nap at work. He claims to even have a sleeping bag in the office, but that’s information I’ll take with a grain of salt.

“The trick is to get the duration just right. 15 minutes to half an hour tops,” he advises, sounding like a professional nap-taker. “Anything less won’t help and too long will make you groggy when you wake up.”

But does it really help with his productivity for the rest of the day? “Yeah, definitely!” he says. “How else do you think I get through the day?”

Well, I guess it all comes down to the industry and nature of the business you are in.

Let me know which side of the fence you’re on by leaving a comment or sending me a message on Twitter (@theofficesnitch).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to have a quick talk with my bosses on setting up a designated nap area in our new office.

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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

September 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

Which is your chosen work personality?

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Find out how the demands of your chosen career have a major impact on shaping how you behave in a meeting. By Kathryn Ellis

With work taking over the majority of our waking hours, it is not surprising that the unique demands of a career can play a major role in shaping one’s behaviour in the workplace. These tendencies tend to be more obvious at meetings and other professional interactions as these sessions are such a crucial part of getting things done. Here are the top six distinctive personalities found in a meeting and the types of professions they are likely to match:

1.       If you are a project manager, an event planner, an advertising executive or a public relations consultant, you’re most likely… The Multitasker.

You are not only a whiz at juggling multiple clients, vendors and projects simultaneously, but also one who thrives on the adrenaline rush of racing from deadline to deadline. Hands up, all those guilty of scribbling notes during a conference call while responding to emails on your Blackberry.

While you may be blessed with the gift of being a consummate Multitasker, do exercise caution.  A major requirement in your line of work is the ability to listen to clients and draw out important information. To keep your multitasking tendency in check, make it a point to keep your computer and mobile phone out of sight and pay attention instead.

2.         If you are a businessman, investment banker, stock broker or property agent, you’re most likely… The Mobile Meeter.

As your job requires you to be constantly on the move to find the next business lead, you probably spend your work day travelling from customer meeting to sales presentation to industry seminar. As a professional who is always on the go, you are likely to be familiar with dialing in to conference calls and web meetings from a hotel room, a roadside café, a taxi or an airport lounge.

As a Mobile Meeter, it is critical that you always have on hand an up-to-date calendar of meetings with indication of time zones. Every considerate Mobile Meeter should also invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to ensure the background noise in any location will not get in the way of a productive meeting.

3.         If you’re an artist, an inventor, an advertising creative or a talk show host, you’re most likely… The Disrupter

Your job is often an unstructured one which requires you to explore the full potential of your imagination and truly think out of the box. Does the mention of one thing tend to ignite 10 related ideas in your head? Do you find it impossible to hold back on sharing those ideas? If so, say hello to the Disrupter, for that is what you tend to become in a meeting.

While your ingenuity is a valuable trait, do make sure you are not derailing a meeting from its intended objectives. Wait until the most appropriate section in a meeting to share your thoughts. That way, you will not only be recognised as a creative genius but also an effective and considerate team player.

4.         If you’re an analyst, auctioneer, doctor, strategist or CEO, you’re most likely to be… The Maestro.

The unique demands of your career mean that you have the killer combination of a commanding presence, a razor-sharp mind and a results-focused approach. Your natural ability to look beyond complexity to get to the root of a problem means that you are probably The Maestro of meetings.

You are able to lead meetings towards concrete outcomes effortlessly, and inspire confidence and respect from others. However, despite the Maestro’s effectiveness at meetings, you have the tendency to get frustrated with personalities like The Disrupter or the Socialiser. Take care not to dampen their creativity by creating an appropriate time for them to speak and by considering their views seriously.

5.         If you’re an ambassador, a financial consultant, an insurance advisor or journalist, you’re most likely to be… The Socialiser

To reach the very top in your chosen career path, one needs to possess a charismatic personality, a vast network of contacts and the ability to draw critical information from these contacts.  Not only are you a master at networking, but you’re also capable of building trust with others very quickly. This is critical for getting that bit of political insight, signing another customer or achieving that exclusive headline.

Your likeability and skill at building rapport are likely to influence the way you behave during meetings too, making you The Socialiser. Even before the meeting begins, you are greeting each participant and chatting away with some of them like old friends. Your ability to put participants at ease, especially in a high-pressure environment, is highly valued.  While you usually create a positive impression, do exercise self-awareness so as to remain professional and avoid encroaching on personal boundaries.

6.         If you’re a digital strategist, technology analyst and communications professional, you’re likely to be… The Social Networker.

Find yourself itching to check Facebook during a meeting? Find yourself unconsciously tweeting about what an ugly tie the colleague sitting opposite you in the meeting is wearing? You’re probably the Social Networker.

As a social media pioneer whose work description includes Facebook-ing, Tweeting, blogging and Foursquar-ing so you can counsel clients about these platforms, you are probably connected 24/7.  You are also likely to feel the constant urge to update your networks about what you are doing, eating and seeing at all times of the day… even during meetings.

Take care not to get carried away, as not everything should be posted on a social network, especially if it concerns corporate matters. Don’t let your passion for the job land you in hot soup.

Kathryn Ellis is the communications manager for PGi in Asia Pacific. She is part of the team that drives PGi’s communications strategies throughout the region. More articles on engaging staff during meetings can be found here.

Written by Lee Xieli

June 9, 2011 at 9:00 am

Most annoying co-workers

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For those of you who have a love-hate relationship with your colleagues at work, this article should either make you nod your head furiously at its truisms (meaning you’d immediately forward it to your friends who have been listening to your misery for the longest time)  or you’d laugh out loud at some bits of it (only because you have yet encountered such a category yet, but trust me, your time will come). Either way, it makes good light reading for a rainy Friday.

According to Maui R. Drilon for Yahoo! Singapore, every office has annoying co-workers and the only difference is that they come in different shapes, sizes and genders. They include:

The Whiner. Absolutely NOTHING goes well for this person. If she gets a raise, it’s too low. If she’s given more vacation leave, she stresses that she could use more. If given a promotion, she’ll spend the next week drowning herself in cocktails, lamenting over all the extra responsibilities she suddenly has. The Whiner also doesn’t care whether or not you want to hear about her stoooopid client meeting.

The Oxygen Sucker. Think of it this way: if your office were made up of 21 people and your company were in a spaceship, and you had oxygen good enough for only 20, you would not have second thoughts about kicking him off the ship. What makes him such an oxygen sucker? First off, despite him being in the company years before you, he still really sucks at his job. That – or he doesn’t really do his job. Most of his time is spent watching episodes of RuPaul’s “Drag Race” on Youtube, and updating his status message on Facebook (“Bench-pressed twice my weight at the gym!”). Seriously, this guy gets paid?

The Office Gossip. She’s not really that annoying, unless the story she’s spinning is about you. What sucks about the Office Gossip is you don’t know just how buddy-buddy you should get with her. Be aloof and you won’t be in the loop with the latest gossip – get too close, and she’d know all your dirty little secrets (which make for perfect blackmail material).

Read on to find out which category you are currently sharing the same office space and stale recycled air-conditioned air with: [via]

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As usual, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment in the link just under the headline and let us know if you have new categories of annoying co-workers to add.

Written by Lee Xieli

March 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Making ideas work for you

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So, it’s about three months into the year, right about the time when the novelty of the New Year dies down and the stress begins to pile.

To be honest, most of the past three months have flown by for me because my bosses were crazy enough to entertain my ideas and let me run with them. I mean, they actually let me host an online weekly show with my editor!

This got me thinking. If more employees are able to be proactive and contribute creatively to the workplace, chances are they’ll probably be better, more productive workers.

Take Google for example. It’s no secret their employees get time off to work on their own projects. Sure, we may or may not have the flexibility and resources to offer what Google can, but I did a little research and I think I have a few tips to help you and your employees get cracking and start creating.

Tip number one is easy enough. Write everything done. I’ll be the first to admit I can be forgetful, so I find having a notepad and pen nearby always helps. Hey, that idea may not be something for now, but write it down because you might find it useful and even innovative a couple weeks down the road. They do say you never know when creativity strikes!

Secondly, brainstorm. This can take place literally anywhere, anytime. Doesn’t matter if it’s a formal sit down meeting or chat in the office pantry. Having a fresh set of eyes to look at things from a different perspective can reveal new ideas you would never have thought of alone.

Lastly, don’t be shy with those ideas. How do you expect them to take off if they’re not going to see the light of day? Share your ideas with a trusted colleague first if taking it up to the big bosses make you nervous. Managers, likewise, should constantly be supportive of any ideas employees might have. You never know if the next big thing is that tiny sketch on the back of a napkin from yesterday’s lunch.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

February 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm

HRTV: Joel Barker on nurturing innovation leaders

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The future of the world seems to lie in the hands of the innovation of the current generation.

With more companies relying on the next big idea, talent who are creative are more valuable than ever. Organisations need leaders who can move the company and its ideas forward into the future.

Joel Barker talks to HRTV about innovation and its place in today’s workplace. Surprisingly, Barkers says HR leaders do not have to be innovative themselves, but just be able to provide and support an environment that encourages innovation.

He shares his suggestions on how companies can make sure they are providing an environment that encourages and supports innovation, and how managers can make sure the innovation within the company translates into productivity and growth.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

December 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm