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WORKFACT WEDNESDAY: 9 Facts About Women in the Workplace

by Lisa Raphael

1. Mom is bringing home the bacon and gluten-free, sprouted bread. More than ever before, women are the breadwinners in their household. Over 40% of moms are now the sole or primary source of income in the household. Women are now the primary or co-money maker in nearly two-thirds of American families and working married women bring home 44% of their family’s income.

2. Stay-at-home dads are seriously trending right now. It makes sense (please see above) but to put it in easy to count context: one in five fathers are now the primary caregivers in their household. Over the last 25 years, the number of households that include a stay-at-home dad + a working mom have doubled.

3. Women make up nearly half of today’s labor force. Today, 47% of the workforce is comprised of women. Compare that to 38% in 1970.

4. Women will soon be the majority of college-educated workers. The number of women attending college has been steadily on the rise since the 1960s and now the number of them who attend and graduate trumps men. In 2013, women between the ages of 25 to 34 were more than 20% more likely than men to be college grads.

5. Women are breaking education’s glass ceiling. In 1968, women made up less than 10% of entering classes for historically male-dominated programs in medicine, business and law. Now, women make up almost 50% of students in MD, JD and MBA programs. Women also earn 59% of all higher education degrees.

6. More women working has meant more money in the economy. Almost all of the rise in family income since the 1970s has been due to the earnings of women. Thanks to the growth in the women’s labor force, the median family income is $13,000 more than it was in 1970.

7. Single dad families are also on the rise. Father-only families have more than tripled in the last 40 years. Currently 7% of families with children are father-only.

8. Employers need to keep up with families’ new needs. Men and women looking for new jobs are increasingly choosing career paths or specific employers who offer more flexibility when it comes to taking time off for their children or family.

9. Better workplace conditions = stronger economy. Studies show that increasing paid leave and flexibility comes with a whole slew of benefits for both the employer and the employee. Productivity gets a boost, random days off drop, more talented workers come knocking on employers’ doors. Including the economy: making it easier for everyone to work (by providing a higher minimum wage, a better work-life balance and assistance with child and eldercare) means more money flowing and greater economic gains for businesses, individuals and families. Think about this: today’s economy would be $2 TRILLION smaller without the strides women have made since 1970.

Get more info about the Working Families Summit here and read through the White House’s official doc for more facts.

TIP TUESDAY: Finding Your Way Out of Burnout

by Denise R. Green for business know-how online

Burnout is eroding the lives of too many of today’s professionals. A landmark study by the Mayo Clinic characterized burnout as emotional exhaustion, bitter cynicism, a plummeting sense of accomplishment and “a tendency to view people as objects rather than as human beings.” Whether you suffer from all the symptoms of burnout or just one or two, know that life doesn’t have to be this way.

Brilliance occurs when you feel a sense of freedom and agency over your life — ease instead of struggle, and freedom instead of feeling trapped in a toxic body, relationship, thought pattern or job. Brilliance is the opposite of burned out, and a serious upgrade from blah. Through incremental and attainable steps, you can reignite that flame within you that has dimmed over the years.

Use these four achievable steps to turn burnout behaviors around, and to find your way back to a brilliant life that shines with purpose and fulfillment.

1. Tame your thoughts.

Getting hooked on emotionally charged narratives of anger, resentment, guilt or fear can have devastating consequences for your physical and mental well-being. It can affect your emotional and physiological circuitry in powerful ways. Upgrade your thoughts by noticing when you think the original painful thought. Catch yourself thinking it, and replace it with the reappraisal. Repeat the story over and over until it becomes an embedded belief. Use daily routines as cues to remember to repeat your upgraded thought, like brushing teeth or walking in your office door.

2. Exude confidence.

Aligning your outward appearance and actions with who and how you want to be in the world can improve both your self-perception and how others perceive you. With some observable traits, you can make changes almost instantly: getting a great haircut, improving how you dress, making eye contact and standing and sitting with good posture. Changes to your physiology can take more time and effort, such as losing weight, feeling rested and being alert. Start a strength-training practice, either with a personal trainer or at home. You’ll get both health and emotional benefits from toning your muscles and becoming more mindful of how your body feels.

3. Nurture brilliant relationships.

Toxic encounters switch on your sympathetic nervous system, putting your brain in a threat state where you’re less able to access your “intelligent” brain, the prefrontal cortex. To live a brilliant life, you must attract and nourish relationships that make you happy, healthy and more effective in your life. You need people who make you laugh, who pick you up on a bad day and who remind you of your brilliance. If you’re unhappy with your relationships, what qualities do you need to improve in yourself to build and sustain brilliant relationships? Do you need to be more appreciative? A better listener? More forgiving? Do you seek out new friends in places you like to frequent, like coffee shops or workout classes? Take steps to improve your relationships and connect with positive people.

4. Manage your relationship with technology.

Most of us don’t use technology as much as we let it use us. Technology has created a “constantly on” environment where we actually have less free time. It takes incredible willpower to resist our screens, but our addiction to technology and our mobile devices allows us less space to just be. It also zaps our productivity. If you want to have productive, fulfilling days, you must mindfully choose not to fall into the social media or news and entertainment rabbit hole. Turn off sound notifications, leave your phone behind in meetings and choose face-to-face conversations whenever possible.

Denise R. Green is a speaker, writer, and executive coach. Her new book, Work-Life Brilliance: Tools to Break Stress and Create the Life & Health You Crave (Brilliance Publishing, April 2017) is about reigniting one’s internal spark. Learn more at BrillianceInc.com.

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: 2017 Retention, Engagement and Branding Survey

A new report, the 2017 Retention, Engagement and Branding Survey, explores the state of how this powerful combination is being used by HR organizations. Sponsored by SilkRoad and HR Daily Advisor, the report offers numerous insights from nearly 500 respondents, including:

  • 74% do not have an employment brand program
  • 80% ask for feedback to encourage a personal commitment
  • 51% characterize the experience at their organization as “somewhat positive”

The report is easy to read, made up largely of 10 infographics covering various aspects of employers’ retention, engagement and branding programs, along with comments from some of those employers. See all the results by downloading the report.

TIP TUESDAY: Dressing for Success in the Summer

(excerpted from an article in Forbes magazine, written by staff member Jaquelyn Smith)

Now that warmer weather has moved in, many employees are beginning to sport skimpier, more casual summertime garb. And as the temperatures rise, it’ll get even worse.

Nicole Williams, a LinkedIn career expert and best-selling author, notes, “When the weather is warmer we toss on our spring brights and sandals,” she says. “I’ve seen flip-flops, short shorts and tiny tank tops at professional workplaces.” But, these are all office attire no-nos.

Every workplace has different dress code expectations and policies–but if you’re working in the corporate world or an office environment, there are general rules of thumb all employees should follow.

It is always important to look professional and appropriate in the workplace. Important meetings and outings can happen at the drop of a hat, and if an employee is dressed inappropriately, it can reflect very poorly on their company.

“Dressing for your career is very important no matter what the temperature is outside,” Williams adds. “You want to be taken seriously at all costs. You don’t want to be dismissed because your skirt is too short. Remember that you are dressing for the job, raise, and promotion. You’ll be seen as more of a thought leader in a professional suit versus a halter top.”

Peter Handal, chief executive of Dale Carnegie Training, says high skirt hemlines, revealing blouses, sheer fabrics, and bare legs are just some common wardrobe mistakes women tend to make during warmer months at work. “In relaxed offices, women can push boundaries as well–too-casual shoes such as sandals and flip flops, too short of shorts, and revealing dresses all seem to be more prevalent as the weather warms up.”

Williams agrees. She cites flip flops, shorts, spaghetti straps, halter tops, tube tops, and miniskirts as the biggest attire “mishaps” among women. “These all belong at the beach, bar, gym, or privacy of your home–not at the office,” she says. “Lose the sunglasses once you’re indoors – that’s a huge summer attire offense. Your Ray Bans shouldn’t be used as a head band. And make sure your bra straps are safely tucked away. This is a major distraction and makes you come off as messy and scattered.”

Men are guilty, too. While their summer garments aren’t necessarily “inappropriate,” they can be very unprofessional, says Handal.  “More casual blazers and pants frequent the office, as they are often made with lighter fabrics than some traditional suits, and can be looked at as not professional enough. In creative fields, men might push towards wearing shorts as opposed to pants, and even wear more casual shoes – perhaps loafers as opposed to dress shoes, and look unkempt.”

Williams says the biggest summer attire faux pas for men is untucked shirts, “or anything else that makes them look like they’re going to a bar.” Flip flops, shorts, and jerseys should be left for the weekend, too, she says.

To avoid any problems, Handal suggests that employers have a clear dress code in place.

“A good way of doing this is to include a list of examples of inappropriate garments within the policy,” he says. “While it may seem silly asking employees not to wear flip-flops or tank tops, it is not nearly as awkward as having to send someone home to change when he or she is dressed inappropriately. It may also be helpful for bosses to reiterate that ‘if you have to think about it, then it is probably not appropriate.”

Additional tips:

When in doubt, don’t. “If you think a piece of clothing could be inappropriate for the office, it probably is,” he says.

Strike a Balance: A comfortable, happy employee is a more productive employee. However, employers must also remember that sloppy or skimpy summer dress can be distracting to co-workers and can also affect productivity and customer service, Handal explains. “Employers need to balance the needs of their clients and corporate culture when determining appropriate dress codes for warmer weather.”

Be polished: No matter what the time of year, it’s important to make a good impression and present a professional image, he says. “Just because your company has a relaxed dress code does not mean you can be a slob. Make sure your clothes are clean and presentable.”

THROWBACK THURSDAY: American Express Travelers Cheques

On this day in 1891, American Express copyrighted its Travelers Cheque, which would be a boon to globe-trotting business people as a protection against theft and other loss of cash. The cheque business began quietly; in its first year, of sales, only 248 cheques worth a total of $9,120 were sold, but by 1909, annual sales were $23,000,000. American Express marked the 100th anniversary of the Travelers Cheque in 1991 with the sale of its 10 billionth Travelers Cheque, and sales of traditional paper Travelers Cheques total $20 billion in sales annually.AmerExp cheque

A traveler’s check is a way to replace money so you don’t need to travel with cash, and hails from a time when ATMs were nonexistent. Basically, you go to your bank and get checks issued for a predetermined monetary amount that you can then — technically — exchange anywhere for cash. Should they get lost or stolen they can easily be replaced, plus your money is safe as no one else can cash those checks but you.

While not all banks still issue traveler’s checks today, there are modern updates on them, such as prepaid credit cards that act as traveler’s checks.

Traveler’s checks were a product catered to an ATM-less market. Today, it generally only makes sense to use them when you’re in a place where ATMs are few and far between, or if you’d be losing a lot of money on ATM fees with each withdrawal.

There are also times when a foreign ATM simply will not accept your card or PIN. Traveler’s checks are a good backup should that happen.

modern travelers chequeAnother situation in which to use them is when you’re traveling somewhere dangerous, and are legitimately concerned about getting mugged. Traveler’s checks can only be cashed by you, and will require your presence and signature, thus saving you the hassle of having to cancel all of your cards should they get stolen, or having your bank accounts emptied.

It might also be a good idea to give traveler’s checks to kids and young adults who are traveling solo and don’t have their own credit cards.