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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Juggling both work and parenting can be a very demanding task not only for mommy’s – but for daddy’s as well! Here are some tips to ensure you’re getting an A+ at work while being the best dad you can be.

  1. Schedule time every day to do something with your children. Even if it’s reading them a bed time story or giving them a bath before bed. Writing this down and having a plan can help make it easier. It’s also important to ask your children questions, no matter how little they can be. Kids remember everything, so they’ll remember the times when you’re available and unfortunately when you’re not as well.
  2. Just say no to some work activities. Sometimes there are after-work activities with coworkers you just don’t have to say yes to. Sure, you’ll be missing some funny stories at that happy hour everyone went to, but you’ll catch up with your coworkers next time. Kids grow up too fast to not embrace the present and spend time with them while their young. Trust me, they won’t want to spend time with you once their teenagers!
  3. Sometimes long hours are inevitable. Sometimes we have bosses that make life harder than it should be. It’s up to you to communicate any concerns you have with deadlines and schedules with your superiors. The best bosses are flexible enough to understand you have a life outside of work.

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Congratulations to our Eighth Round Winners!

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Congratulations to our Seventh Round Winners!

 

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Congratulations to our Sixth Round Winners!

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