Entries in Workplace (11)


Chit-Chat Biggest Time Waster at Work

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s not Facebook that reduces productivity at work. It’s the office water-cooler and those annoying software updates and computer glitches that are behind the loss of productivity in the workplace, according to a new survey out today.

In the TrackVia sponsored survey of 300 people, 14 percent said that gabbing at the water cooler was the largest time waster at the office. The time lost dealing with software and computer problems came in second at 11 percent. Only 5 percent of the survey participants blamed Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts for wasting time at work.

The unscientific, opt-in poll sponsored by TrackVia received 300 responses from non-executive employees across the United States.

The giant mechanical fountain that’s great for keeping employees hydrated throughout the day also seems to be a time sucker.  The cups and spigot may actually lead to discussions about the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy or gossip instead of office assignments.

When it comes to peer-to-peer communication, the survey found that one in seven employees spent one to two hours per week addressing a misunderstanding or miscommunication with a colleague.

Good news for the corporate suits: your rules may work. According to the survey, 11 percent stated productivity increased thanks to rules put in place by the top brass.

“While some may argue that company policies and procedures can be considered a point of frustration and wasted time with workers, the survey found that only four percent of respondents considered it their biggest waste of time. In fact, when asked specifically about company policies, rules or procedures, some 44 percent said they actually helped increase productivity at least slightly,” TrackVia said in a statement.

Some 17 percent of the respondents said they spent one to two hours a week dealing with office politics, and 7 percent said they spent three to five hours while another 7 percent spent six hours or more on this task.

But let’s not hold a meeting to discuss this. Of those trapped in meetings during a typical week, 37 percent said at least half the time was wasted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Workers Can't Seem to Get It Done at Work

Christopher Robbins/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- Much to supervisors' dismay the workplace isn’t all too conducive to getting things done, a survey by the professional social networking site LinkedIn reveals.

In fact, nearly nine of ten professionals in the worldwide survey say they can’t finish everything on their daily to-do list. One of the problems, according to 26 percent of the respondents, is that they’re too easily distracted, with those in the arts admitting they find it hardest to concentrate on their tasks at hand.  Folks in the agriculture industry claim they have the least difficulty focusing.

In fact, farmers are tops when it comes to completing their daily jobs, with consumer and service workers not far behind. Legal, education and medical employees say they struggle the most to finish their work.

As for making actual to-do lists, it’s probably no surprise that women are more organized than men, with 70 percent claiming to set up task sheets as opposed to 60 percent of males.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Working Women: What Happens as They Age?

JupiterImages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As women get older, many want to – or have to – continue to work, just as many men do.  Still, a new report from the advocacy group OWL indicates that middle-aged and older women may have a tougher time working as they age compared to men.

“What surprised me was the number of older workers, women, over 50, over 60, over 70 who considered themselves unemployed and looking for work,” said Margaret Huyck, president of the Older Women’s League National Board.

The report found that for women between the ages of 55 to 61 who do have a job, nearly 21 percent of them are underemployed, compared with only 7 percent of underemployed men the same age. “We just have a long history of discounting older women as productive workers,” according to Huyck.

OWL, which calls itself “The Voice of Midlife and Older Women,” in its report found that the pay gap for women grows wider as a woman age.  For workers between the ages of 16 to 19, women earn 95 percent of what men do; between between the ages of 35 and 44, that drops to 80 percent and by age 65, women are making 76 percent as much as men the same age.

Part of the reason for this pay gap is that women are more likely than men to leave the workforce for a time. The report finds “most caregivers are female and middle-aged and drop out of the workforce for an average of 12 years to care for young children or aging parents.”

Working fewer years, and earning less money, can make it difficult for women when they retire.  According to the report, almost twice as many retired women (12 percent) live in poverty as retired men (6.6 percent), and that without Social Security benefits half of women aged 65 and older would live below the poverty line.

The report makes dozens of recommendations, including tougher anti-discrimination laws to discourage age and gender discrimination, incentives for companies to hire older workers and support for women entrepreneurs.  They also suggest changes that could help all workers, such as more flexible work schedules.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Workers Are Mad for The 'Don Draper Effect'

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The TV hit Mad Men may take place at a fictional ad agency during the 1960s but some of its workplace dynamics are still applicable today.  At least, according to a survey conducted by recruitment company Futurestep that encompassed 1,500 companies in the U.S., United Kingdom, China, Brazil, Germany, France and Australia.

Even though Mad Men might not be an international phenomenon, some of its plots are universal, including the strong relationship secretary-turned-copywriter Peggy Olson has with her boss, agency head Don Draper, the series' rakish lead character played by actor Jon Hamm.

In what has been referred to as the "Don Draper effect," Peggy learns she can get ahead by getting close to the boss. That also seems to be the number-one real-life lesson learned by workers in their ambition to move up the corporate ladder.

Of lesser importance is forming close relationship with co-workers.  Intelligence seems to rank lower than nearly anything else, reinforcing the longtime belief that it's not what you know at work but who you know that counts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Survey Ranks Worst Things about Business Meetings

Brand New Images/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Business meetings can be productive, but unfortunately many quickly deteriorate into boring, long-winded events that leave attendees frustrated and uninspired. A new online survey of 1,600 U.S. adults by reveals the ten worst things about meetings at work:

1. Allowing attendees to ramble and repeat the same comments and thoughts.
2. Doesn't start on time, stay on track, or finish on time.
3. No specific action items or walk-away points.
4. No clear purpose or objective.
5. Not inspiring or motivating.
6. Not organized. No agenda.
7. Too long.
8. Repeating information for late arrivals.
9. Weak presenter (unprepared, monotone, overly redundant).
10. Boring. Nothing new or interesting.

The respondents also complained about “having meetings just to have meetings” and leaders losing control by letting attendees dominate, complain and steer the meeting off-course. assists business leaders with meetings and events.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Note to Employers: Save the Holiday Party, Dish Out the Bonus

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Company soirees are low on the list of employee preferences for holiday perks, with cash, grocery gift cards and even gym memberships preferred.

An online survey from jobs and career community website and Harris Interactive showed the majority (72 percent) of 2,574 U.S. adults wanted a cash bonus. A number of items ranked above company shindigs -- with only 4 percent of those surveyed saying they preferred a holiday party with an open bar, which came in at no. 9 in a list of 12 options.

In an uncertain economy with looming layoffs in some industries like the financial sector, company parties can now be viewed as irresponsible or extravagant, according to Wall Street Journal’s career site, FINS.

However, white elephant gift exchanges and colleague-spousal introductions seem to be more popular than the two options that ranked below company parties: commuter subsidies (3 percent) and gold watch or other accessory (2 percent).

The Glassdoor survey results showed the following employee holiday preferences:

  1. 72% cash bonus
  2. 62% salary raise
  3. 32% paid time off that doesn’t count against vacation
  4. 23% grocery gift card
  5. 14% work from home for a year
  6. 11% company stock or shares
  7. 10% health care subsidy
  8. 8% gym membership
  9. 4% holiday party with an open bar
  10. 3% commuter subsidy
  11. 2% gold watch or other accessory
  12. 2% other

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Workers' Biggest Pet Peeves Revealed

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- "People not taking ownership for their actions" tops the list of workplace pet peeves for Americans and the world. A new global survey by social networking site LinkedIn found that in the U.S., rounding out the top three office peeves are "constant complainers" and "dirty common areas," including community microwaves or refrigerators.

"People not taking ownership for their actions" was also the most common pet peeve globally, chosen by 78 percent of total respondents.

But not all pet-peeves are equal when it comes to gender, the survey found. In the U.S., women reported being more annoyed than men by "clothing that's too revealing for the workplace." That bothered only 29 percent of the men surveyed, but 62 percent of women.

LinkedIn conducted the research in 16 countries and collected data from 17,653 professionals. In the U.S., LinkedIn surveyed 1,953 people.

The office pet peeve that bothered hiring managers (65 percent) more than non-hiring managers (55 percent) in the U.S. was "showing up late for meetings."

American professionals are more peeved than professionals in other countries when it comes to taking food from the refrigerator that isn’t yours, and the U.S. was the eighth most peeved-out country in this regard.

The country with the most pet peeves is India -- on average, Indian professionals selected about 19 of the 38 pet peeves listed in the survey. Italy had the fewest aggravations. LinkedIn said Italian professionals, on average, selected about 15 of the 38 choices.

Some of the biggest pet-peeves in other countries were:

  • Brazil: most peeved by excessive gossiping
  • Germany: dirty common areas (such as a dirty community microwave or refrigerator)
  • India: loud or irritating mobile phone ringtones
  • Japan: office pranks

A total of 38 pet peeves were listed in the survey:

  • Loud typing
  • Loud talkers / people who take calls on speakerphone
  • Loud or irritating mobile phone ringtones
  • Listening to music or videos without headphones
  • People chatting by your workspace
  • Humming/whistling/tapping
  • Chewing gum
  • A pungent-smelling lunch
  • Taking food from the refrigerator that isn't yours
  • Dirty common areas (such as a dirty community microwave or refrigerator)
  • Not putting things in the office kitchen/pantry back where they belong
  • People throwing things in your garbage
  • Messy desk
  • People borrowing and not returning items from your desk
  • Too much perfume
  • Grooming (filing/clipping/polishing nails, tweezing, etc.)
  • Clothing that's too revealing for the workplace
  • Constant complainers
  • Eavesdropping and then chiming in
  • Excessive gossiping
  • Too much talk about health issues, spouses, children
  • Colleagues who make too many personal phone calls
  • Office pranks
  • Too many meetings
  • Starting meetings late or going long
  • Showing up late for meetings
  • Using phone or laptop during meetings
  • Hitting "reply all" on mass employee emails
  • Being CC'd on a long email string that doesn't pertain to you
  • People that don’t respond to emails
  • People who send too many unimportant e-mails
  • Not filling an empty printer with paper
  • Overachievers that pander to the boss
  • Overuse of workplace/industry jargon
  • Trivial interruptions
  • People who are first in and last out "just because"
  • Coming to the office when sick
  • People not taking ownership for their actions
  • Other

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tell Your Boss! Web Surfing Makes for More Productive Workers

Kim Steele/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Surfing the Web at work might not make your boss happy, but it could make you a more productive worker, according to new research.

Taking intermittent breaks from tasks to poke around the Web and visit favorite websites can help people focus more when they go back to working, according to a study presented earlier this month at the Academy of Management conference in San Antonio, Texas.

The research, which was done at the National University of Singapore, found that people who browsed the Internet for 10 minutes in between periods of work were more productive and engaged and reported less boredom and mental exhaustion than those who were not allowed an Internet-browsing break.

The researchers also pointed out that Web surfing -- or what they term "cyberloafing"-- is more restorative than other workplace distractions, including e-mailing, texting or talking with co-workers, which affect a worker's ability to concentrate because they require more engagement.

The study found a high correlation between upbeat mental states and Web browsing, and, conversely, a high correlation between negative mental states and e-mailing.

A second study by the researchers found that employers that try to crack down on employee Web surfing may accidentally inspire more browsing, not less.

"Rather than reducing cyberloafing, excessive monitoring increases its frequency, as employees invariably view such policies as a form of mistrust," wrote the study's authors, Don J.Q. Chena and Vivien K.G. Lim.

Chen and Lim advise companies to strike a middle ground between work and Web browsing, but limit access to personal e-mailing at the workplace.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nice Guys Finish Last in the Workplace

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NOTRE DAME, Ind.) -- "Nice guys finish last" the old adage goes, and a new study suggests there just might be some truth to this dictum — at least when it comes to workplace earnings.

The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Behavior, found that men who described themselves as nice -- agreeable, cooperative and kind -- earned 18 percent less than men who characterized themselves as disagreeable and aggressive. Women earned the least amount of money, but women who called themselves disagreeable made about 5 percent more than their more friendly female counterparts.

Timothy A. Judge, a professor of management at the University of Notre Dame and lead author of the study, said the most significant finding showed that what works for men -- disagreeableness -- didn't work as well for women.

Two factors probably contribute to this, he said.

"First, I think people interpret disagreeable behavior by men and women differently," Judge wrote in an email to ABC News. "Disagreeable men are [seen as] tough-minded and good negotiators. Disagreeable women are seen as "bit**es" or labeled in a similarly derogatory way. Think of Martha Stewart and Hillary Clinton. Appropriate behavior is somewhat gendered."

"It's age old — women who are assertive get perceived as being aggressive," said Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. "It is a culturally bound factor that is not fair but highly prevalent."

Data from nearly 3,500 workers, ranging from recent college grads to those near retirement, was used in the investigation. The researchers collected the data from three American surveys -- the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth, the National Survey of Midlife Development and the Wisconsin Longitudinal Survey -- which consisted of self-reported facts regarding work experience, salary and other personal information.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Workplace Discrimination: Transparency Key in Fight for Equality

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in the Walmart case, women across the country are re-examining the weapons they have in the fight against discrimination in the workplace. According to a new study, transparency is one of the best ways to battle inequality.

"More transparency almost always helps in fighting sex discrimination and other forms of discrimination because it exposes what the employer is doing," said Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University. "Increased transparency is almost always a good thing because when hiring and promotion processes are more open there is less room for discrimination to flourish."

The study, from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, uncovered that secrecy is the norm in the private sector. Sixty percent of private sector employees are discouraged or forbidden from discussing their pay, reveals the study. This may be one of the reasons the pay gap between men and women is 23 percent in the private sector, while in the federal government, where transparency is mandated, the gap is only 11 percent.

Although the Walmart case struck a blow against class-action lawsuits, Goldberg says it just means that going forward cases will need to be more focused to succeed.

"This is not doomsday for sex discrimination class action. It does mean discrimination suits will be brought on a smaller scale, either on a per store or per unit basis, but sex discrimination suits will continue and will continue to force change in workplaces," Goldberg told ABC News. "I expect sex discrimination lawsuits to continue for as long as sex discrimination continues in workplaces, which unfortunately will be for the foreseeable future."

Goldberg said one of the most important things women can do is know what resources are available to them.

"It can be a very challenging process to bring a discrimination suit, which is why there are so few suits relative to the amount of discrimination in the workplace," she told ABC News. "The best first step for an employee that cannot afford a lawyer is to go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the federal agency that enforces Title VII, the federal anti-discrimination law. Or to go to a state or local human rights commission that enforces state and local law because those agencies can sometimes provide lawyers to aid in bringing cases."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio