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8 posts from July 2013

July 29, 2013

Fitting personal branding into your work life balance

Whether you work for an organization or for yourself, you are a brand. If you haven't fit time for personal branding into your work life balance, you're going to want to make time -- as soon as possible. 

Today, in my Miami Herald Business Monday article, I spoke with a variety of experts who offered up lots of advice for how to go about creating, building and sustaining a brand. See below:


Steve stock
(above: steve stock, president of Guy Harvey Inc, a strong South Florida brand)

Just weeks ago, in Midtown Manhattan, about a dozen bright colored exotic cars emblazed with “It’s So Miami” were lined up at a makeshift taxi stand. As New Yorkers and tourists snaked for miles in line for a free ride in a red Maserati or yellow Lamborghini, they were given Cuban coffee and coconut juice to sip on. The event, a media hit, was organized by Turkel Brands in a strategic move to brand Miami as a hip town with unique cultural contrasts that New York doesn’t offer.

It was simply the latest effort by the Miami agency that has spent the last two decades solidifying the brand Miami as a culturally interesting and exciting town.

But along with branding Miami, Turkel has created buzz for himself as a branding genius, publishing a blog, speaking at events and writing books about how to create a brand identity or make an existing one more valuable. “In the last few weeks, I have had offers to sit on boards. They said they want to have my brand associated with their organization. I’ve never heard that before. That says to me, in the real world, things are changing.”

Today, whether you are an individual or business, an employee or an owner, developing a strong brand is imperative. The marketplace of products, services and content is like a crowded New York City street and your prospective buyer is deflecting thousands of messages competing for a person’s attention.

Destinations like Miami know this. Businessmen like Bruce Turkel know this. They have pushed through the crowd to gain awareness for what makes them special. They are branded, much like the cross-trainer you wear with the distinctive swoosh on the side. And now, you and the business you work for must be branded, too.

Here’s why: Half of employers say they are more likely to hire candidates that invested time in developing a strong online brand, according to Personnel Today. A strong corporate brand image can increase a company’s stock price by an average of 7 percent, according to a Yankelovich study. And, 85 percent of buyers go online to research purchases. At some point, you and your business category will be Googled and your digital brand will sell your unique strengths and distinguish you from the pack.

But branding yourself or your business can be trickier than you might think. Experts say you need to define your audience, find a niche without making it too narrow, and come across as authentic. “Your brand has to be about your audience and what is relevant to them,” Turkel says.


1. It’s all about them. People care most about things that affect them. In order to reach them, you need to communicate in a way that informs them “what’s in it for me?

2. Hearts then minds. People make decisions based on emotions and justify their decisions with facts. To get someone to pay attention, you must get them emotionally involved.

3. Make it simple. Today’s world is a busy, confusing place. To make an impression and an impact, your message must be succinct and digestible.

4. Make it quick. Things happen so fast these days that if you take your time, no one will wait around for you to explain your entire message

5. Make it yours. A message is truly powerful only if it is associated with you or your product. Make sure that the message you’re presenting belongs only to you

6. All five senses. Conversations involve all the human senses. To communicate effectively, be sure that you’re engaging as many of your audiences’ senses as possible.

7. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Conversations involve all the human senses. To communicate effectively, be sure that you’re engaging as many of your audiences’ senses as possible.






July 26, 2013

Do you dare use child care on a family vacation?



For those of you who look forward to summer vacation as a well deserved break from routine or a way to regain work life balance, what are the dos and don'ts of vacationing in 2013? 

Is is okay to hire child care on a family vacation? Is it okay to check out of work completely? Is it okay to bring extended family members along on a trip?

Of course, the answer depends on how guilty you feel over the choices you make.

I just read a very helpful article on Care.com about 8 Ways to Find Child Care on Vacation. It includes suggestions such as choosing a hotel with babysitting servies or vetting a sitter ahead of time who lives in the area you are traveling. When I worked 60-hour weeks in the newsroom, I felt guilty using any child care while on vacation with my kids. When my kids were younger, I tried it. I left them with a hotel sitter one night. I think the combination of a new environment and a stranger unsettled my daughter. She cried the whole time we were out to dinner. When I got off the elevator, I could hear the screaming from down the hall. I just felt too guilty to ever try it again. But, I know some families who have left their kids at the camp on cruise ships. They've reported their kids had a fabulous time and they enjoyed some grown up time alone.  There is no right or wrong answer, but there are more child care options than ever if you want some grown up time when traveling with kids.

Next question, is it okay to connect with the office on vacation?

Earlier this week, I wrote my work life balance column on people who take longer vacations but stay connected to the office. I think each of us has to learn to vacation in the way we feel most relaxed. I received an email from John Roig. This is his take: As an IT professional now for 20+ years I've come to know there's no light at the end of the tech tunnel; just another tunnel.  Fine.  To 'restore' (regain perspective really) I need to be where no one can reach me (and conversely, where I am literally unable to reach out - technologically). Getting harder though...cell penetration is getting better each year.....this trip (Zion) was 3 days in early May.  I try and do 2/yr."

(John Roig in Zion Canyon)


Next, is it okay to bring extended family members along on a trip? (Does that detract from a real vacation)?

That depends.  Care.com says according to a poll, 40 percent of families have gone on a multigenerational vacation. In an era where many grandparents live in different cities, states or time zones than their grandchildren, a trip can forge bonds far stronger than a simple holiday visit to grandma's house and it's efficient way to spend time with your parents and kids at the same time. Plus, grandparents make great babysitters. But if you travel with a toddler and a grandparent in tow, pace is going to be very important. Remember though, vacation is all about renewal. If it becomes too stressful, you may be defeating the purpose.





July 24, 2013

Does staying connected to the office allow for longer vacations?

I know it's important for work life balance to disconnect from the office -- completely. But is it realistic? If not, is there an upside to staying connected? I say yes. The upside is it may allow for a longer vacation. Here's my take on the topic from my Miami Herald column.

Vacations that restore the working soul

Cristy Leon-Rivera of Navarro Discount Pharmacy and  husband Alex Rivera balance family vacations with work by tag-teaming on office check-ins.
Cristy Leon-Rivera of Navarro Discount Pharmacy and husband Alex Rivera balance family vacations with work by tag-teaming on office check-ins. 



My husband and I differ over what constitutes a vacation in 2013. For my husband, getting out of town for a few days would be defined as a vacation, an important part of work-life balance. That of course doesn’t mean unplugging all together. He still sneaks in brief phone calls to the office, 6 a.m. emails, and work-related reading.

For me, those few days away aren’t enough. In this workaholic, multitasking society, I need more than a few days to unwind — and less time in contact with “the real world.’’

Of course, I realize my family is fortunate to be able to take a vacation at all. Many Americans — about 23 percent, according to a recent survey by Kelton research commissioned by SpringHill Suites — don’t get paid time off, or have the money to get away. But the economic worries that led American workers to limit themselves to drive-by vacations for the past several summers seem to have lifted. Fortunately, this summer, the two-week vacation is making a comeback — even among overachieving professionals.

Mostly, it’s because people have figured out ways to integrate work and travel to make for a better return.

Travel agents, hoteliers, and rental-property owners report a trend toward longer, farther trips this summer, according to TravelMarketReport.com and AAA. The trend is buoyed by more hotels that offer wi-fi and more mobile devices that have the same functionality as desktop PCs. A new TeamViewer survey found about 70 percent of employed vacationers bring work-capable devices with them.

“You have to weigh the ability to disengage fully with how much pain there is in the return,” said Michael Crom, executive vice president of Dale Carnegie Training, who just returned from a two-week road trip from New York to North Florida. “People are coming to the decision that they need a mental break, but they don’t want to come back to thousands of emails.”

Cindy Kushner, tax partner at Crowe Horwath in Fort Lauderdale, brought a laptop with her when she traveled throughout China for 15 days with her college-age son last month. Before bed each night at hotels, she would read and respond to work email, schedule meetings on her calendar, and flag and prioritize what needed to get done when she returned. She also checked email on train rides.

“I was able to stay organized and I think it helped me enjoy my vacation more,” she said. “It felt good to come back and not feel overwhelmed.”

While that might not seem like pure vacation, Kushner says she spent her days exploring and stayed away from working on tax returns or other documents.

“I just flagged it with a reminder and left it for later so that I could enjoy my vacation.”

An abundance of research has found employees who take advantage of their vacation days perform better (short- and long-term) and are happier than those who let their days squander. I believe it. One year, when my husband and I moved homes, we opted not to take a family vacation all year, by the time the next summer rolled around, my husband and I lacked patience for each other, our kids, and our jobs, particularly during intense work weeks. Crom says getting out of the office for an extended time has big benefits: It allows you to work on bigger-picture ideas and come back reinvigorated. “It’s one of the critical drivers of engagement.”

CareerBuilder recently surveyed almost 6,000 workers and discovered that 12 percent of them say they feel guilty they’re not at work when they’re on vacation. The key to a guilt-free working vacation is building work activities around your family’s or companion’s schedule — knowing when to check in and field calls and when to disconnect. If it’s before family awakes, that’s palatable. If it’s mid-day during a zip-line excursion, that’s a problem. It’s also important to avoid anything complex that will pull you out of vacation mode.

Cristy Leon-Rivero, chief marketing and merchandising officer with Navarro Discount Pharmacy, discovered that working on vacation means she can take a full week off, but she and her husband tag team so their three children don’t feel short-changed when their parents connect to their offices.

“I might say, ‘Watch the kids for a minute I’m going to get on a call’ or he might do the same, but we keep our family activities time-protected.” Even on a beach escape, Leon-Rivero says it takes at least a week to let go of stress and relax. She believes time away from the office pays off. “The best ideas happen outside the office.”

With the return of longer vacations, more companies are going toward unlimited vacation policies, convinced it leads to better productivity and engagement. Tech companies, such as Evernote and small-business loan-finder Lendio, both on the West Coast, have told their employees they won’t be tracking the amount of time they take off, just their individual results. When announcing the policy change, Brock Blake, cofounder and CEO of Lendio said, “I trust all of you to do your job and take the time off you need.”

Others who have tried similar approaches have had positive results. Two years after instituting its vacation policy, the web service Hubspot found “the company has been ranked as the #2 fastest-growing software company on the Inc. 500.” The same goes for website GoHealthInsurance.com, which claimed a 200% increase in growth over the last year.

But such free-wheeling policies don’t work for every type of firm. Mayi de la Vega, founder and CEO of One Sotheby’s in South Florida, says if she took long vacations and went completely off the grid, she would lose business. But she can combine business with pleasure.

This summer, when she took a week off to vacation in Aspen, she used her getaway to build new relationships with potential Florida buyers. While away, De la Vega organized a Burger Bash at an Aspen lodge for vacationing professionals and area residents, teaming up as host with Sotheby’s affiliates in Colorado and Florida. She also attended getting-to-know-you meetings with the marketing director at an Aspen condo/hotel project.

The key: people who own homes in Aspen often also want homes in Miami. “I would wake up and go for a bike ride on the Rio Grande trail or take a nice hike. Then I would come back and go to a meeting in my gym clothes. Back in Miami, she says she feels completely rested and invigorated. “I’m ready to go back to 14 hour days.”

Here in South Florida, my husband and I are still negotiating our summer vacation. But I think I have him convinced that a longer break in work routine pays off – particularly if we intend to stay connected with our jobs.


July 18, 2013

You are where you work: Linked In boosts morale with cubicle decor contest

 For about a decade, I worked in a cluttered newsroom on a cluttered street where homeless people often made their way to our front desk. It was interesting and homey. I decorated my desk to look like Cindy Crawford's with a huge Cindy, Inc. logo on top. A few years later, I relocated to a new office in the suburbs with brand new furniture and cubicles and a "no decoration" policy. I never felt quite as creative at work.

To me, You Are Where You Work. By that, I mean that your surroundings, the feel of the office and the mood of the people around you, play a role in your productivity and mindset.

Decorating office spaces with all the creativity and inspiration employees can muster is a time honored tradition at LinkedIn. Recently, the company announced the winning cubicles from this year’s “Space Lift” competition.  The company said 204 teams from 18 offices around the world participated in the cubicle decoration contest.

"The “lifted” spaces are shining examples of LinkedIn's culture of collaboration, humor and transformation," says MaryAnne Viegelmann on her blog post which shares some of the winning designs.

One of the winning teams this year was LinkedIn's Campus Recruiting Team. Their, "In the Clouds," entry (complete with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, a plane and a sun made out of school pennants), took top honors in the, "Out of this World," category. Personally, I liked the Musical Journey decor that the Omaha, Nebraska office went with -- very colorful and uplifting!

Here's the link to the blog post: "LinkedIn Cribs: From Pirates of LinkedIn to Mini GolfIn [SLIDESHOW]."

Check out the slideshow, it might spark some creativity and changes in your office:


LinkedIn does a few more things in addition to the "Space Lift" competition to boost morale in summertime -- it has Food Truck Fridays, a free food program for employees, Fro Yo machines, free meditation, yoga, TRX and Zumba classes.

It seems like LinkedIn would be a fun place to work, for many reasons. Polls always show employee's top concern is their paycheck. But, I have to wonder, is it really just compensation that keeps employees motivated or do you think these kinds of contests and extras help with morale?


July 17, 2013

Is your office making you fat? How to eat heathier at work

At most of my workplaces, my co-workers have gained weight and I take full blame. I have huge chocolate cravings around 4 p.m. and I like to include my co-workers in my indulgence. Most of us spend more time at work than at home and what we eat in the office can destroy our diets if we let it. Fortunately, some employers are trying to help their employees get trim and fit by giving them healthier options at work. My column below tackles the topic.


South Florida companies trying to trim workplace junk food




Even as you hit the gym, trying to look respectable in your summer shorts, the junk food in your workplace might be pushing you toward extra pounds. From bags of chips in the vending machines to trays of cookies at meetings, offices have become a calorie minefield. Many of the most health-conscious employees find it daunting to resist the high-calorie treats lurking in the lunchroom and office cubicles.

Changing the culture, though, isn’t easy. It’s often the candy bar or Dr. Pepper that sustains us when we’re feeling the stress of scoring a sale or hitting a deadline. And sharing sugary treats often is a way for co-workers to bond. “Our culture is to celebrate office birthdays with cake and ice cream, not with apples,” says Lindsay Scherr, president of Endlessly Organic, a South Florida organic buying club. “That’s the challenge that employers come up against.”

While plenty of employers have hosted health fairs and launched wellness programs, only now are they focusing on workplace eating habits. Businesses are swapping out offerings in vending machines and rethinking meal choices in the company cafeteria. Some even have implemented policies that require healthier food options be served at staff meetings or employee events.

Baptist Health South Florida, one of the area’s largest private employers, has been working to change the workplace eating habits of its employees for more than seven years. It started with introducing healthier meals in the cafeteria. Low-fat, low-calorie meals are not only marked as more nutritional, they’re cheaper for employees.

From there, Baptist Health moved on to replacing up to half of the high-fat, salty, and sugary items in vending machines with more nutritional choices. Water has replaced soda as the prominent option in the beverage dispenser and is sold at a lower price point. “From time to time the changes are met with grumbles but we’re not removing choices entirely, we’re just giving healthy options,” says Maribeth Rouseff, who oversees employee-wellness initiatives at Baptist Health.

The hospital system has also brought in produce-buying clubs and onsite farmer’s markets. Even more, it has created a policy for what can be served at company meetings (no pizza or chips) and mandates managers use approved vendors who have agreed to abide by the nutrition policy. Most employees understand the personal benefits of the changes, said Rouseff. For every dollar the company spends on wellness, it saves almost $6 in health costs.

Of course, changes are met with some push back. Employees willingly attend onsite health fairs and will even participate in screenings. But wellness directors say they don’t dare take the Coca-Cola out of vending machines or remove the office candy bowl.

Employers have found nutritional education plays a big role in how well changes are accepted. Illinois-based Earth Friendly Products started with health days once a year to emphasize nutritional eating but ramped up food education as its workplaces underwent a nutrition overhaul during the past three years. The eco-friendly, cleaning-products company has 250 employees in five divisions, including 26 at its plant in Opa-locka.

Nadereh Afsharmanesh, director of sustainability at Earth Friendly Products, says she has removed all sugary soda and high-fat snacks from workplace vending machines and made a daily piece of fruit and herbal teas free and available to every employee. She also requires the food trucks that sell to its warehouse workers to provide more healthy options. “We’re serious about our workers’ health and well being.”

Much like Baptist Health, the company has a policy for what food can be served at internal events and it has instituted Meatless Monday, encouraging workers to avoid eating meat at the office one day a week — even giving out samples of meatless foods. The next phase: giving every employee a juicer, with recipes, and encouraging them to bring their fresh juice to work. “It’s something our CEO came up with,” Afsharmanesh said.

Afsharmanesh says she accompanies changes with an intense educational component, explaining how and why to eat well at work and home.

She continuously speaks to employees, invites them to workshops, and sends out articles on how to improve their diets and increase their physical activity.

Since the program began, company health premiums have dropped 13 percent, she says. “When we started, there was so much resistance. Now that [employees] know why the changes are good for them and they feel a difference, they have come around.”

Many small businesses also are interested in creating opportunities for workers to improve their health, but they don’t know where to start, research by the National Small Business Association shows.

Small-business owner Carol Brooks mounted her healthy eating campaign with a comprehensive approach. Almost daily, Brooks, co-founder of Continental Real Estate Companies in Coral Gables, wards off unhealthy afternoon snacking by organizing smoothie breaks for employees. During staff and client meetings, she serves fresh fruits and vegetables and the latest in organic drinks, including coconut water and green tea.

Brooks also has created a Facebook page for her company’s wellness initiative, where employees post pictures of their healthy lunch options. “For many employees, the office is a second home where they spend anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of their waking hours. Why not introduce wellness principles like healthy eating where they stand to benefit most?” she says.

Camaraderie plays a role, too. Fighting the snack attack is much more effective with a squad of co-workers, says Carmen Diaz, a South Florida dietician. On their own, staffers might grab that bag of salty goodness lurking in the depths of a desk drawer. But if an office creates a share shelf or bowl stocked with whole grain crackers, fruit, and granola bars, it becomes a lot easier to avoid a 4 p.m. onslaught of junk food, she says.

For one employer, healthy eating starts with creating a space for employees to share conversation and a nutritious meal — an onsite café. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables has made changes to its cafeteria to encourage employees to grab healthier meals at work. The attraction recently rolled out a new menu at its renovated café with healthier dishes that include organic and locally grown food. Employees pay $8 for a lunch that includes a nutritious meal, drink, and fruit — a discount of 20 percent.

Meanwhile, Scherr is riding the corporate-wellness wave by delivering organic fruits and vegetables to businesses whose employees have joined her buying club. Her customers include big companies, such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and smaller businesses in downtown office towers. Scherr says workplaces become the drop-off location for employees who buy a share of crops to take home. Employers often buy a share for office use — stocking lunchrooms and fruit bowls with healthy snacking options.

“In the office, people will grab whatever is free and convenient,” Scherr says. “Business owners are starting to understand that and make healthier choices available.”

Scherr says employees who resist workplace bans on treats or a new office-wide emphasis on trimming waistlines tend to give in once they see co-workers looking and feeling better. “That’s a process that takes time and motivation but eventually it becomes a culture.”


July 15, 2013

Is your co-worker talking about George Zimmerman?

It's probably one of the most loaded water cooler topics of the day -- the George Zimmerman acquittal.

Most of us have strong personal opinions about this racially sensitive case and, surely, it's the talk story of the day. Even President Obama has weighed in commenting on the strong passion it has elicited. Regardless of your opinion, there's a co-worker who is sure to be offended and whether or not you realize it, stirring controversy can hurt your career.

So, what do you do when the topic arises?

You have a few options:

One: walk away. Two: change the subject. Three: agree to disagree. Four: engage in a debate.

If you go with route four, proceed with caution.

Pamela Trent tells this story on her blog:

If you’re old enough to remember the OJ trialand you were at work when the verdict was read, you may have noticed that there was a divide amongst those who wanted the Juice convicted and those who wanted him to run free. I remember where I was when the verdict was read, and I remember what happened right afterward. I was passing through the marketing department at my job, where someone had brought in a TV to monitor the trial. I was the only African-American standing around the TV. When the verdict was read, I cheered. I love football and loved OJ Simpson, so I was glad he was acquitted of a crime I was sure he didn’t commit. I was the only one who cheered. I was met with looks of disgust and one lady openly stated that it was what ‘black people wanted.’ Heated conversations ensued and working relationships changed. I learned a very valuable lesson that day about controversial topics at work.


One thing I've learned is that when it comes to debating a controversial topic at work -- gay marriage, political campaigns or jury verdicts - you’ll never win and it could jeopardize your working relationships. Even if you think everyone in your office holds the same opinion as you do, there are lots of shades of gray that accompany personal opinions and ,sometimes, a single word can rub someone the wrong way.

Does George Zimmerman deserve to walk away a free man? 

Good question.

Just remember, there's nothing wrong with stating clearly that you don't want to debate this sensitive topic.

If you get asked that by a co-worker today, how will you answer?


July 03, 2013

Love your iPad and want to use it for work? Pros and Cons of the BYOD movement

Work life balance is much easier when you use your laptop or mobile device for work and personal stuff. But it's more complicated than you may realize....



July 3, 2013

Issues surround Bring Your Own Device movement




Just last week, my iPad was stolen from my car. At the time, I had it powered on with my business email account open. Within an hour, I was able to get my service provider to remotely wipe it clean of all data.

While I lost the information and photos I had on the tablet when I wiped it clean, doing so was my choice to make. But in some workplaces, the decision wouldn’t have been mine. An employer could have made it for me.

Mobile is here, and it’s hot. But as more employers embrace the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, questions abound over whether the workplace and the worker are ready for the heated issues that are cropping up. Concerns with using personal devices for business purposes range from expectations of personal privacy to how to control security breaches.

“BYOD is like the Wild West, rules are being created and changed on the fly,” says Ilan Sredni, an Information Technology expert and CEO of Palindrome Consulting in Miami.

A variety of dynamics are driving the Bring Your Own Device trend. Workers are more satisfied when we use our own preferred devices and using our tablets, smartphones and laptops saves an employer money in buying and maintaining equipment. A recent study by CIOInsight shows companies where employees bring their own devices to work save an average of $1,000 per year per employee in service costs alone.

With continuous new technology, many employees want the latest gadgets and ability to balance their work and home lives on their devices — iPhones and iPads or Android- and Windows-based mobile devices. “For me, the iPad is the best on-the-road solution,” said Jeanette Rodriguez, a Boca Raton financial consultant.

“I can Facetime my family or pull up a document from my hotel.”

At some Broward Health System’s hospitals, doctors roam the facilities with their own preferred laptops and tablets, updating patient orders and scouring records online. Dr. Jean-Jacques Rajter, a Fort Lauderdale pulmonologist and former chief medical information officer at Broward Health, says it’s an advantage to have a portable computer at your fingertips to show an image to a patient with a tap on the screen. He uses a laptop that converts into a tablet, enabling him to review his patients’ office and hospital charts at the same time. He accesses information through a Citrix program that stores information in the cloud, he explains. “No patient information is housed on the device.”

Of course, the hospital has taken security precautions and encrypts the doctor’s personal device so if it is lost or stolen, it remotely will be wiped clean — which protects patient privacy. Even more, if the hospital wants, it can track Rajter’s location through the device. And, Rajter must use the hospital system’s user interface designed for desktops, which he says lacks full functionality for looking at charts. “There’s still tremendous room for improvement in the user experience,” Rajter says. “These are the trade-offs for convenience.”

While the hospital has a formal BYOD program, other businesses are allowing it on a more casual, individual basis. And, with the surge in smartphone and tablet popularity, employees are bringing them to work and tapping into company networks, whether employers permit it or not.

Some organizations are tackling security concerns aggressively, requiring employees to install company-issued security or antivirus software on personal devices to protect corporate data from cyber thieves in public Wi-Fi locations.

Others take it further, blocking workers from downloading certain apps or using the camera on their devices during the business day. Sredni says he advises his clients to take measures that include limiting the use of document-sharing programs and requiring complex passwords on personal devices. “There are multiple parameters we can set, but this area is so raw. People are hesitant to tell somebody, ‘this is what I want you to fill out to use your phone here in the office.’ ”

In general, research shows security strategies are all over the map — and in some cases, not sufficient or nonexistent. The most important thing a business can do is have a policy around use of personal devices and make employees aware of the sanctions for breaking it, says Mark Stein of Higer, Lichter & Givner in Aventura, an intellectual property lawyer who specializes in computer and Internet issues.

“The policy has to be relatively easy to enforce and enforced uniformly,” Stein said. That can be a challenge. A Cisco Systems survey of global information technology professionals and young workers found 71 percent of Gen Y workers said they don’t obey IT policies.

Stein says most risk will come from activities employees do on their phones that have nothing to do with their jobs — making discriminatory comments on email, running illegal side businesses online or posting on social media sites. A policy could ban using the corporate network from a personal device or give the employer the right to search a personal device. It may also need to address who the information on the device belongs to if the worker leaves or gets fired. “There is not a one-size-fits-all model for policy around BYOD, but if a business isn’t dealing with it yet, it will have to at some point,” Stein says.

Clients are stepping into the conversation, too. The country’s biggest banks and financial institutions are conveying an anti-Bring Your Own Device message to their law firms, accountants and service providers.

Recently, the global chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs’ legal department publicly announced said he is concerned over a potential breach in confidential financial information and doesn’t mind if his lawyers have personal smartphones in their pockets — he just doesn’t want them to use the same devices for business.

Home Financing Center of Coral Gables, a large South Florida mortgage lender, has a similar concern over keeping customers’ personal information confidential.

It has blocked employees from accessing company information from a personal laptop or mobile device and it restricts employee use of personal cellphones at the office to emergencies only, says John R. Allen, vice president of operations.

But even as companies try to limit BYOD, technology is advancing to make it more practical for workers who argue it increases their productivity. Kevin V. Michael, managing partner of Invizio in Coral Gables, which manages technology for small businesses, says technology already exists that allows users to sign in with a business or personal profile and access different information and applications or add a work phone number to a personal cellphone. “Those technologies to support multiple identities are still evolving and we expect that to get even better.”

Still, the biggest issues around BYOD may be the ones the employees themselves raise. Does the information on personal tablets or phones go with them to new employers? Does the boss even need to know you’re using your personal devices for work purposes and if he learns, can he access information on it? And, of course, the ultimate concern is whether employees are owed overtime for their off-the-clock use of mobile devices.

“With a personal device, there’s a traditional expectation of privacy,” said Niza Motola, special counsel with Littler Mendelson in Miami. “Employers may ask workers to sign something that gives them no expectation of privacy.”

Motola says the BYOD trend has made it evident that with the rapid advance of technology, the laws and workplaces haven’t caught up. “The lines are blurred on what’s personal and what’s professional at work and that’s only going to get more obvious.”



July 02, 2013

I'll get to it, whenever. Is that okay?


I've been wanting to write a book for years. It's a career goal. I know I will get to it someday. But I haven't really committed to when that someday might be. And, frankly I don't want to.

These days, we're told to be goal oriented. We're told our goals won't get accomplished unless we write them down, put them on our calendar and tackle them a little piece at a time. I get it. I've seen that approach work for ambitious people. 

The problem for me is --- work life balance.

By that, I mean priorities. Sometimes, they get in the way of ambition and career goals. 

My oldest daughter is going to be a high school senior this school year. My middle son will be a junior. All of a sudden, I realize that the window of time to influence my kids character and values is short, just like other working parents warned me it would be. As much as I want to write a book, I want time with my teens that seems so fleeting. For now, writing a book is still a career goal, it's just not a priority.

Sometimes, I'll run into people who ask me how my book is coming along. I feel guilty saying I haven't even started it.  But the more thought I've given it, I've decided it's okay to have goals that I'd like to do -- some day.

1. Losing the guilt is an important factor in your happiness level.

I would bet, many of you have a career goal or life goal that you haven't tackled yet, something you've wanted to do for years. That list might include growing your business, landing a promotion, or maybe taking a job overseas. But for right now, something else takes priority, something that makes you happier   -- maybe it's spending time with an aging parent or a young child.  My advice: lose the guilt. 

2. Know the difference between some day and never. 

I have about six more years with kids in the house to influence their life direction. I have decades after that to focus on my ambitious career goals.  I know I will succeed in getting the book done because my definition of success is giving myself permission to work toward my goals on my time frame. It's not about proscratinating forever and then having regrets that some day never came. It's more about writing down the goal, understanding your priorities and re-evaluating your time frame.

3. Happiness matters more than checking off a goal.

Each of us make choices constantly between work and family, exercising and relaxing, making time for others and taking time for ourselves. For most people, sacrifices and hardships are a necessity when balancing work and a personal life. Trying to do it all and expecting that it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disaster. My friend wants to grow her bookkeeping business to more than $1 million in revenue in the next two years. It's her career goal. She also wants to be hands on in caring for her aging father. Yesterday, we had a heart to heart. As we spoke, she began to realize she couldn't do both at the same time. She admitted that for now, she is more fulfilled by spending time with her father on the weekends than by seeing her business explode. She may hit the $1 million mark -- some day. It's a great goal, but so is being happy with her choice for now.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating you let procrastination hinder career success or find an excuse to justify putting things off. I'm just saying that while it's fabulous to celebrate career accomplishments, it's also okay re-evaluate personal choices and priorities and set your own time line -- without beating yourself up over it.

As for me, I'm keeping a file of book possibilities. When you see me on tour, you will know my "some day" has come.