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WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: How Americans Use Their Time

According to the American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which used polling data to illustrate a day in the life for Americans by age, gender, and education. Here’s the information from one of the seven charts available in the survey report.

Hours Spent in an Average Work Day for Employed Adults Ages 25 to 54 with Children:

Working & related activities   8.6

Sleeping   7.6

Leisure & sports   2.6

Caring for others   1.2

Eating & drinking   1.1

Household activities   1.1

Other   1.8

{From an article in The Atlantic magazine online.}

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.”

TIP TUESDAY (a day early): How to Display the Flag

Since we know many of you will be off tomorrow, the 4th, we wanted to be sure to Happy 4thwish you a safe and fun holiday, and offer these 8 tips on displaying the American flag.

So, eat, picnic and be merry as we celebrate our nation’s birthday!

1. Never let the flag touch the ground. When hanging or displaying your flag, the key is to not damage it – so don’t drop it or let it touch anything beneath it.

2. Never wear the flag as a costume. The U.S. Flag Code makes very clear that no part of the flag should be worn as sportswear or as a costume, or used to make drapery or bedding. For those who really want to show off their patriotism, opt for a patch or a lapel flag pin worn near your heart.

3. The flag should only be displayed from sunrise to sunset, unless it is lighted at night. This means, according to the American Legion,flag home U that other people should always be able to recognize the flag. If there’s bad weather, you must take the flag down unless you have an all-weather flag.

4. Never place the flag anywhere but at the peak of the staff, except when the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building. (The union is the blue field of stars.) When hanging the flag vertically, the union must always be at the top.

5. Never wad the flag, but rather fold it properly. The way you store your flag is important. The American Legion says to fold it into a triangle, similar to a three-corner hat, with the blue and stars showing.

6. Never raise the flag slowly: It should be raised briskly, but lowered slowly and ceremoniously.

7. Never carry the flag flat or horizontally. It should always be carried aloft and free.flags1

8. Never display the flag with the union down. Only in instances of extreme danger to life or property should the flag be displayed that way, as a distress signal.

For more information on how to display and dispose of your flag, go to http://www.usflag.org/flagetiquette.html.

TIP TUESDAY: Compensation Planning – How HR Can Get the Most from Salary Surveys

There are plenty of salary surveys available and, arguably, there’s not a lot of difference between them. Most provide a number of incumbents, a mean, and multiple percentiles. Some use number of employees to describe company size and some use annual revenue. Most are broken down by industry and geographic location.

Cost is one differentiator, with prices for salary surveys that vary from free (if you participate) to tens of thousands of dollars. Whether your salary data is a good buy or costs an arm and a leg, the value of your salary survey can be enhanced or hindered by how you use it.

Pick A Number

One of the first things you’ll need to do is to decide which piece of market data to use. As mentioned above, most salary surveys provide an average (the mean) for each demographic as well as several percentiles, typically: the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th. The challenge is to determine which one of those numbers is right for your organization.

Having a well thought out pay philosophy in place before you begin conducting a salary market analysis helps smooth the process of using market data to set pay rates. If you don’t have a pay philosophy in place, think about how competitive you want to be in attracting and retaining talent. Best practice is that paying at the 50th percentile is paying at market, which is a good plan if you want to be moderately competitive. If you want to attract and retain the cream of the crop, however, consider paying at a higher percentile.

Everybody Has One

In general, salary surveys focus on jobs that can be found in many organizations—benchmark jobs—for example: accountant, receptionist, sales rep … you get the picture. Benchmark jobs provide the most incumbents in any given survey and the more incumbents, the more valid the data.

The more specific the job, the fewer incumbents, which is one of the reasons why the rule of thumb is if the job as described in the survey is at least a 70% match to your job, it’s a viable indicator of the market rate for your position.

If It Walks Like a Duck …

If you’ve searched your salary survey from top to bottom and still can’t find the job title you need for viable market data, consider “comparable” in lieu of “matchy-matchy.” We all know that one employer’s number cruncher can be another employer’s bean counter, and let’s face it some employers can be quite creative with job titles, so it’s important to look beyond titles and dig into job descriptions when reviewing salary survey data.

With that said, there’s still a better than average chance that some of your jobs may not be included in your salary survey. You could opt to acquire another survey that gives you a broader range of jobs or, especially if you’re on a tight budget, consider looking for comparable jobs. In other words, look at jobs that require knowledge, skills, and abilities that are comparable to your position. Be sure to consider educational and experience level requirements as well.

Click here to read the entire article

WORKFACT WEDNESDAY: 10 Facts About Productivity

from DataQlick inventory management

  1. The average person uses 13 different methods to control and manage their time.
  1. Multitasking is actually impossible and you should probably stop trying to do it. Multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress, and a 10% drop in IQ (Bergman, 2010).
  1. 20% of the average workday is spent on “crucial” and “important” things, while 80% of the average workday is spent on things that have “little value” or “no value”.
  1. Tuesday is the most productive day of the week.
  1. Drinking alcohol in specified amounts, leading to a moderate intoxication level of .075 can boost creative thinking.
  1. Adults who regularly get been 7.5 and 9 hours sleep per night can be up to 20% more productive.
  1. By taking 1 hour per day for independent study, 7 hours per week, 365 hours in a year, one can learn at the rate of a full-time student. In 3-5 years, the average person can become an expert in the topic of their choice, by spending only one hour per day.
  1. 9 out of 10 people daydream in meetings.
  1. The average worker sends and receives 190 messages per day.
  1. It takes approximately 30 days to establish a new physical or emotional habit.