Ideas for Bring Your Child to Work Day

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Whether or not they make it known, your children are interested in you.  They care about your life and what you do during the day.  That’s why Bring your Child to Work Day is such a great opportunity for both children and their parents.  Children have the chance to learn just what Mom or Dad does all day after seeing them off to school in the morning.  Parents are able to spend some time showing their sons and daughters the value of hard work and the satisfaction in a job well done.  Of course, the lone caveat in this otherwise promising day is that work still needs to be accomplished, and parents can’t spend all their time interacting with their children.  The following are thoughts of activities children might enjoy during Bring your Child to Work Day while Dad or Mom is hard at work.  Remember, these are your children.  You know them best.  Tailor these suggestions to fit your child’s interests and personality.

  • Create a Business Card – If there is an available computer or just an available piece of paper, encourage your son or daughter to make their own business card. They could pretend they are the president of the company, principal of the school, or whatever they choose to imagine.  They’ll feel like they’re a part of the work environment, and should have a great time making their business card, too.
  • Assist with Simple Tasks – If you need copies made, paperwork filed, documents shredded, or have any uninvolved jobs to complete, take your child along with you. Let them participate as you show them what to do, and even let them take over the job themselves.  You get to work together with your child, and your child gets to feel a sense of accomplishment as they are actually performing real work just like Mom or Dad.  This is something you should both appreciate.
  • Plan a Group Project – If coworkers nearby are also bringing their children to work, why not have them work together to complete a minor, somewhat fun job-related project for you. Once they’ve finished, perhaps parents and children could have a meeting in a conference room to discuss what was done.
  • Go out for Lunch – Let your son or daughter take a break from the grind, and enjoy some time together away from work. You can talk about the day so far, and discuss anything they might be interested in seeing or learning in the afternoon.

 

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Earth Day Inspired – Ways to Recycle at Work

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Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22nd. It marks what most consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. A time of hippies and protest, lead gas, and air pollution. Up until that time, our government didn’t seem to give much thought to the effects that oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, just to name a few, were having on us, wildlife and the environment. Thankfully, after the idea came to Earth Day founder, Gaylord Nelson, this has changed. Although much improved, it is something we have to work on every day, not just on April 22nd. With this in mind, below are some Earth Day inspired – ways to recycle at work.

Shut off lights and computers when not in use. Shut off power strips.

Go paperless when possible. Think before you print. Print only what you need. Print in black and white as much as possible.

Recycle unwanted catalogs, newsletters, magazine and junk mail. Don’t forget plastic wrapping, plastic bottles, etc.

Purchase recycled office supplies when possible.

Make it easy for everyone to recycle. Place recycle containers that are clearly marked, in easy to see places.

Bring your own containers and utensils from home, whenever possible. Avoid using paper and plastic plates and utensils, if you can.

Brainstorm with your fellow employees to come up with more ideas.

With everyone’s cooperation, we can make this world a brighter and safer place. Not just for us, but for future generations to come. Happy Recycling!

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Top 5 Mistakes New Employees Make

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Let’s face it, being the new kid sucks. It sucks even more when you are the new employee. As you walk into your new job awkwardly and try to look as if you’ve been here for years, you try your hardest to seem unphased. That was your first mistake, of course you are phased by the new environment. There are 5 HUGE mistakes that all new employees make and I’m going to help you identify them and never let it happen again.

1.Not taking training seriously

This is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a new employee. You sit through countless hours of training and look over tons of paperwork. While sitting in your chair and jotting down notes you get the sense of, “Do I even need to know this once I start working?”. All too many of times do new employees come out of training knowing just as much as they did going into training. You MUST take your training seriously if you want to keep your job and understand your responsibilities.

2.Not navigating a RELIABLE travel route for work

Whether it be by car, bus, train or bike you need a reliable travel route for work. The endless excuses of traffic, transit delays and car troubles are just that EXCUSES. It is your responsibility and yours alone to get to work in a timely fashion. Your excuses only show your new superiors that you are unreliable.

3.Buying cafeteria food

Buying cafeteria food is one of the overlooked mistakes. You don’t know how much anything costs. You don’t know how long it takes to prepare, which can cause your break to possibly overlap. I think the best option is to wait one week before ordering cafeteria food. By the second week you have become acquainted with the travel route, office layout and time blocks. It is also more cost efficient to bring your own lunch.

4.Getting too comfortable too fast

This is a terrible mistake to make as a new employee. You should never ever get too comfortable. I say this because you are on a test drive, you haven’t bought the car yet. You may have been hired but you are still walking on thin ice. You are on a 90 day probation period with every new job you start. That means that if you mess up badly in those first 90 days you will be fired. Your boss is still deciding if it was a good decision to even hire you.

5.Making friends

This is the BIGGEST mistake to make as a new employee. You are at work to work and earn a living not make friends. Now that doesn’t mean you are going to be a hermit at work, just professional. Sometimes being professional gets confused as being an introvert at times. I just feel that you should always protect your work environment with your life. Having small talk isn’t a crime but don’t forget the main reason you are here.

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What is a Correspondence Note Card?

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Simply put, a correspondence note card is a high quality buff colored index card that comes with a matching envelope. However these “index cards” can be customized with one line of type at the top in blue, black or gold/silver foil imprinting in a variety of font choices.  Customization options can be professional (company name), personal (your name) or generic (Thank You, Thinking of You or Just a Note).

What would you use these for?  These cards are great when sending an email is too impersonal and a full size greeting card is too much. They can be sent as special recognition to an employee for “a job well done” or as a “thank you for your time” after an interview.  They can be included as a professional gift enclosure or as a reminder for an upcoming event or meeting. They can be mailed via the post office or sent to the recipient via inter-office mail. On a personal note, they can be tucked into a child’s backpack for the teacher when a note might be needed or slipped under a neighbor’s door to advise “we are having a neighborhood garage sale, care to join us?”.

The uses for these small yet elegant single sided cards are as endless as your imagination. They don’t seem like much but once you have one box, you will surely find a myriad of reasons to take pen to paper on them!

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Employees are people just like you and me, if you own or run a business then it’s your job to know that.  They have good days and bad days and as an employer you affect that every day they come into work.  That’s why when an employee’s birthday comes around it’s important to know that you can make a huge impact with something as small as a birthday card.  This lets them know they’re not regarded as just a cog in a wheel but someone appreciated and valued at their workplace.  Something like our Cupcake Dots Birthday Card would brighten up anyone’s day with the colorful cupcake but maybe even more important, the actual message on it.  Happy Birthday from all of us, simple, but it lets that employee know, you as a company not just as an entity but an organization of all the different people who make it up value and remember them.  Employees would as a result of receiving this card feel more welcome and comfortable in their workplace causing them to work at optimal levels because they know, you as the employer do care.  Birthday cards have a huge positive impact on your employees that make the cost virtually nonexistent and the rewards endless.  Employers get to wishing those happy birthdays and sending out those cards to see just how much more optimistic your employees will be!

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Appropriate April Fool’s Day Pranks in the Office

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April Fool’s day has a bad reputation because some people take their pranks a bit too far. Here are harmless pranks that’ll put a smile on anyone’s face:

  1. Unattended mice. Putting tape over the bottom of the mouse’s laser tracker will stop it from working. This’ll drive some people nuts, but it’s a classic prank that’s completely harmless. Wait until your victim gets up for something and do the prank. If after a couple of minutes they can’t figure out they’ve been pranked, let them know about the tape.
  2. Turn on the radio. This prank requires you to work in an area where there are many filing cabinets. Turn on the radio (or other device with music/sound) and situate the volume so that you can hear a low enough sound but still loud enough to hear something. When someone asks “Can you hear that?” just keep saying no.
  3. Post it notes. This is another classic. Wait until your victim leaves (for lunch or a break) and cover their cubicle with post-it notes. You can leave them blank or write something funny on them. One funny idea is to label everything on someone’s desk with post-it notes. This is a fun prank because it’s easy to clean up.

As always, it’s important to remember to not let pranks go on for too long, especially if it hinders on someone’s ability to get work done. The best rule of thumb here is: if it disrupts work for more than a couple of minutes, don’t perform the prank.

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Congratulations to our Ninth Round Winners!

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Get Well Cards in the Business World

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A thoughtful get well card is sure to brighten up anyone’s day when they are feeling ill. In a business setting though, it’s important to keep some tips in mind to ensure your being respectful and sensitive to someone’s private life outside of work.

There are many get well cards out there to choose from. Avoid cards that are too sad or overly sensitive. Some illnesses take longer than others to recover from. Read through the greeting and put yourself in the shoes of the receiver and ask yourself – “is this appropriate to send?” Although you may know of the severity of someone’s illness, it’s best to keep it short, sweet, and professional. There are also some get well cards that mention “God.” I would avoid sending cards like that unless you know the person does believe in God. Even then, you never know when someone’s beliefs may change. If you have to second guess yourself on your get well card purchase, choose a more basic type of card. Of course, use your own discretion when choosing a card, depending on how well you know the person who’s sick.

One idea is to have your whole team purchase a get well soon card and everyone can sign and write in it. This is a great idea because everyone can chip in and get a really nice card, and even be able to send flowers or something additional with the card.

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Sympathy Cards Do’s and Don’ts

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The loss of a loved one is a very emotional time for most people.  What to say and do can be a very difficult morass to traverse.  You never want to offend anyone so here are a few sympathy card do’s and don’ts.

Do’s

  1. Send a sympathy card as soon as possible after hearing of a friend or colleague’s loss. Delaying will just make their grievance longer.
  2. Add a personal note such as “we are keeping you in our prayers” or “we are here if you need us”.
  3. Address the card to the person and their family. You can say John Smith and family or Mary, John, and the Smith family.  Remember the whole family will be grieving and they will all appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t write I know how you feel. This can really sound condescending.  You don’t know how they feel.  Everyone deals with loss differently and you don’t want to convey the impression that their pain is felt the same by everyone, making it insignificant.
  2. Don’t send a typed note. Sympathy cards should always be personal.  Expressing sympathy with a typed note appears cold and unfeeling.
  3. Remember if you feel uncomfortable writing something, it will come across wrong to the recipient.

Most importantly, you should keep in mind that a sympathy card should be a warm expression to help ease a person’s loss.

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Tips For Handling Stress at Work

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Stress and work seem to go hand in hand. Today, the American worker is both the most productive and the least likely to take vacations. This along with a continued presence of stagnation in our economy and a loss in actual buying power in real wages, is putting exceptional stress on the families that depend on that wage value. Meanwhile, corporations are continuing to make record profits and not investing, as a whole, back into the economy. Moreover, new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Finance technologies, 3D Printing and Self-Driving cars are threatening the stability of many jobs once thought safe. Today a shocking number of occupations, some that require four year degrees and/or thousands of hours of real experience real world experience are actually well below what many would expect. Here are just some occupations that are shocking low in their market valuation:

Adjunct Professors, make an average $21,600 for full time, however few make more than 35hrs per week.

Home Health Ade make an average $21,830 annually.

Regional Pilots make and Average $22,400 annually and training can cost upwards of $100,000.

Veterinary Technician makes $31,470 average and require a four year bachelor’s degree.
The major source of stress should be the primary concern. When talking about stress at work and the first to be addressed with tips for handling the stress at work.

Many corporations place tremendous stress upon their workforce vis-s-vie one simple equation often repeated: The simple application of responsibility for production, without the authority to decide on the manner in which that production occurs. To understand how this works, we need only consider an example: Joe is a worker at X Brand manufacturing, his supervisor gives the quota of 1000 pieces each day. However throughout the day many issues accumulate from further upstream in the process which prevent or slow down the ability to reach such quotas. This little unrecognized effect is at the core of much of our work related stress. Having no authority to control the quality along with the responsibility for production demands, exacts a tremendous stress on workers every day. These are just a few examples of what is now considered “the new normal” and along with the growing concern over our jobs, all of this just adds to the importance of managing stress at work. Stress is actually a mental state that results from a perceived stress, and as such can be dealt with through a much larger range of techniques.

Most resources point to palliative measures and unless we are able to address the main source of stress in our labor force. The solution seems obvious for workers around the globe, they need to gain control over their labor and begin to empower themselves. Part of this empowerment can come from supporting Democratically Run Worker cooperatives and/or the conversion of sole proprietorships and corporations into ESOPS. Worker empowerment can go a long way in reducing the daily stress surrounding production by giving them authority over their work as well as responsibility. The UN called 2012 the year of the Cooperatives and it was the start of significant activities surrounding the integration of Democracy into our workplaces. Socially, we have other options in how work is structured and these we can go into more in the coming articles.

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