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11 posts from March 2014

March 31, 2014

Gwyneth Paltrow ignites outrage from working mothers

G and kids


So after all these years, moms still don't understand we're all in this work life balance struggle together. 

All moms, I repeat, all moms, live with stress, worry, guilt and self doubt when they try to be the best moms they can be and hold a job.

The latest to stir up controversy: Gwyneth Paltrow who struck a nerve when in an interview with E! News, the 41-year-old talked about needing a break from acting so she could spend more time with her children, Apple, 9, and Moses,7, 

"It’s much harder for me,” she said. “I feel like I set it up in a way that makes it difficult because … for me, like if I miss a school run, they are like, ‘Where were you?’ I don’t like to be the lead so I don’t [have] to work every day, you know, I have little things that I like and obviously I want it to be good and challenging and interesting and be with good people and that kind of thing.”

She also pointed out that things are more difficult for her than other moms, because of the demanding nature and unpredictable schedule of her acting career.

“I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set,” Paltrow said.

Ouch! That stung working moms like Mackenzie Dawson who responded with an open letter to Gwyneth in the New York Post. Here's an excerpt from her well written letter:

Dear Gwyneth,

I really enjoyed your recent comments to E! about how easy an office job is for parents, compared to the grueling circumstances of being on a movie set. “I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening,” you said. “When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day, and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”

As a mother of a toddler, I couldn’t agree more!

“Thank God I don’t make millions filming one movie per year” is what I say to myself pretty much every morning as I wait on a windy Metro-North platform, about to begin my 45-minute commute into the city. Whenever things get rough, all I have to do is keep reminding myself of that fact. It is my mantra.

And I know all my fellow working-mom friends feel the same. Am I right, ladies?

We’re always gabbing about how easy it is to balance work and home life. Whenever I meet with them at one of our weekly get-togethers — a breeze to schedule, because reliable baby sitters often roam my neighborhood in packs, holding up signs peddling their services — we have a competition to see who has it easier. Is it the female breadwinners who work around the clock to make sure their mortgages get paid, lying awake at night, wracked with anxiety over the idea of losing their jobs? Or is it the mothers who get mommy-tracked and denied promotions? What about the moms with “regular” 9-to-5 jobs, who are penalized when their kids are sick and they don’t have backup child care?

Those women are living the dream, I tell you!

To both women I say: No one balances work and family without feeling some pain.

Being a working mom is a challenge, regardless of what career you pursue or job you hold.

I can personally argue that any time you spend away from your kids for work, you will be racked with guilt and self doubt over something you miss out on. I get it Gwyneth, missing the daily routine of your kids' lives for a period of time can be emotionally difficult.

The difference, Gwyneth, is the logistics of work life balance are easier for you. You can hire good child care to handle the logistics while you're gone. Can you really compare your struggles as a Hollywood actress to those with desk jobs or even that of a low wage single mothers who juggle work and family? These women live day to day with guilt, and self doubt and fear that they won't be able to pay the bills if their child gets sick and they need a day off work.

So, Gwyneth and Mackenzie and all other working mothers, let's all recognize that most of us want success in our careers and to "be there" for our kids when they need us. Let's rally behind policies that will make it easier for all working mothers to juggle work and family. It's not us vs. them. It's just us! 

 

March 28, 2014

Is there no such thing as "out of office" ?

Remember the days when an auto response that read "out of office" meant that the person was going to be completely unavailable?

Those days are long gone, aren't they?

Today,I got the "out of office" response from someone I desperately needed to reach. I waited. Patiently.

And, a few minutes ago, an email arrived from that person with the information I needed.

I'm noticing that with today’s devices, it's increasingly impossible to really be out of the office and out of touch. It's as if out of office no longer means, "Get lost, I am on a cruise with my family and I am soaking up the sun. I'll respond in five days." Instead, it now  means "You might not hear from me instantly, but I'll get back to you back to you by tomorrow."

If you're like me, you no long believe "out of office" status any more. With that option disappearing, how are any of us really going to disconnect?

Richard Moran, CEO of Accretive Solutions writes: "My advice is when you need to take a break, post the out of office status but add the word REALLY. Maybe it will work and your health, both mental and physical will thank you. Or, only take vacations in places where there is no Internet access. If you can find one."

I've been on Spring Break this week and I didn't even bother to turn on my "out of office" status. I just checked in periodically and dealt with the email I felt needed to be tended to right away. I guess that's what others do, too.

So, now we all know the sad reality  "out of office" is a lie. If we really plan to disconnect maybe we need to get more specific and try something like this:" I'm not going to be reading or replying to any emails until a given date."

Or, maybe we just need to work harder at setting boundaries and rethink our expectations of others.

How do you react when you get an out of office response? Do you still expect a quick reply?

 

March 25, 2014

Is a friend standing in the way of your work life balance?

Last night I was perusing through Cosmopolitan when something grabbed my attention. It was a list of  things you need to know by your late 20s.

Number 14 on that list: No matter how close you get with a guy, never neglect your closest, most solid friends.

I am well past my late 20s but I have learned that friendships are CRUCIAL to sanity and work life balance both for men and women. They can make life easier for you, or make your juggling act much more difficult.

Here's what I have discovered:

A real friend doesn't insist you attend girls night out or guys night out if he or she knows you have spent very little time lately with your significant other.

He or she asks you to pitch in with driving kids or taking over a piece of a work project, but he or she returns the favor.

A real friend notices when you've had a hard day at work or feel  overwhelmed by the demands on your time -- and listens to you vent without being judgmental. If your "friend" wants you to listen to his or her drama but doesn’t seem to have time for yours, they’re not really a friend.

I've discovered that real friend understands that there might be times in your life when you can only spare a few minutes for a phone conversation and that's all that's needed to keep the friendship going.

In my 20s, I had a very high tolerance for selfish friends.  But as I approach my 50s, I surround myself with friends who I want to make time for because they add something to my life. They make my life better and I think I make their lives better, too.

If a  so-called friend is interfering with your work life balance, don't be afraid to end the friendship and move on. It's a lesson we all learn -- some of us just take longer to figure it out.

Do you have the right friends in your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 20, 2014

Spring Break isn't what it used to be

One day last week, my friend called me and was panicked. Unexpectedly, she was told she needs to travel for work next week during her kids' Spring Break. "I have to go or we'll lose the client," she told me.

Usually, I offer sympathy. But this time, I took a different tactic. I asked her how she'd feel if she stayed home. Would she be enjoy herself and feel like she was on vacation? Or would she be consumed with guilt and worried about what was going on at work without her? I suspect the later.

Don't get me wrong, I treasure my time with my kids. I look forward to spring break every year with them. But while I don't endorse making work a priority over children, sometimes making a sacrifice in your personal life is necessary to keep a job. 

Around me I see working parents unable to get time off to be with their kids for Spring Break. They are scrambling to find a low cost option to keep their kids busy. Even those of us fortunate enough to take time off will most likely stay connected to our jobs by checking our email. Most of us working parents are far away from the days when Spring Break was a time to cut lose and soak up the sun without responsibilities.

I assured my friend that even if she grabs one afternoon of uninterrupted beach time with her kids, she has achieved the goal of breaking from her daily routine. In the end, work life balance is about making work and family blend the best we can -- and not beating ourselves up when life doesn't go as planned. 

 

 

 

March 19, 2014

Do singles get taken advantage of in the workplace?

Are you the one who is asked to stay late? If so, are you the one without kids?

Singles in the workplace say they are the ones who bear the brunt of the workload. They are the ones who are considered most dependable and therefore asked to do more. It was eye opening for me to hear their point of view as I reported the article below for The Miami Herald.

Do  you feel the tension in your workplace between parents and non parents?

 

 

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

 

Jennifer Verdeja, a massage therapist at a South Florida spa, talks excitedly about her job, until the conversation turns to the unfairness of her work schedule. “Just because I don’t have children doesn’t mean I should get the Saturday night shift every week.”

As businesses make more effort to accommodate working parents, the resentment from non-parents is mounting. Early results of a new study of 25,000 workers shows two-thirds of non-parents feel they carry an undue burden at the office and are expected to work longer hours than those with children.

The tension between non-parents and parents on job sites has been especially true in the private sector, according to Project 28-40, the largest ever British study of women in the workplace set to be released on April 2 by Opportunity Now, a UK workplace gender diversity campaign.

Sometimes the tension is subtle, exhibited in squabbles over who comes in on the weekend or gets holidays off. In other instances, clashes are overt, resulting in claims of discrimination that explode into lawsuits or force new policies.

Employers often unwittingly feed the conflict. While more than 70 percent of mothers are in the workplace, companies may forget that 42 million working households have no children under 18, according to 2012 U.S. Census data.

“The real problem is the structure of the organization,” says Donna Flagg, the author of Surviving Dreaded Conversations and founder of The Krysalis Group, a management consulting firm. She says managers often are terrified of someone throwing a discrimination claim at them and tend to tread carefully around pregnant workers or new parents. In doing so, they unwittingly create a double standard.

“There has to be an objective measure in place that applies rules equitably to everyone,” says Flagg. “Only a handful of companies have achieved it and most are a long way off.”

Sandra Rodriguez, a Miami market research professional, says she is often baffled by the accommodations working parents receive. “It’s as if they have a valid excuse for coming in late, leaving early and taking sick days.” A non- parent would be reprimanded for similar behavior, she says.

She also resents that the parents in her workplace receive more flexibility, and that she is expected to work more hours than coworkers who are married with kids.

“My personal time is less respected,” Rodriguez says. If there’s work to be completed after normal business hours, Rodriguez gets asked to stay late. “It’s like I don’t have anything important to do, so it doesn’t matter if they ask more of me.”

Alisha Forbes, a manager at a multinational firm who has no children, says she experiences similar expectations — and she resents it. “If we [non-parents] cannot stay late, contrary to the attitude that parents receive, there is pressure to come up with a valid reason to justify our unavailability.”

A 2008 British study showed that single women, in particular, were bearing the brunt of the new 'long hours' culture, with 40 per cent regularly putting in unpaid overtime — markedly more than single men of the same age (26 percent) and working mothers (17 percent.) Today, single women still argue that while the challenges faced by working mothers are being acknowledged, the extra burden being placed on childless women goes unnoticed.

Men without children have complaints, too. The notion that a “work-life balance” should apply only to working parents infuriates Stan D’alo, a South Florida customer service technician. D’alo found that when he wanted time off to participate in tae kwan do tournaments, his manager gave him a hard time. “They allow others flexibility because I’m dependable. I’m expected to make more sacrifices,” he says.

D’alo also resents that his parent colleagues try to use kids as leverage when asking for raises. “I have had people who work at lower positions whine that they should make more money than me because I have no children.”

Flagg said organizations still haven’t figured out how to allocate time off, dole out promotions and set rules around flexibility in a way that is fair for all. However, employers have come to realize that by making the lives of working parents manageable, these workers contribute more to the organization.

“There are responsibilities that having children requires and a reality to demands they place on you” she says. “But there’s a tension that is intensifying in workplaces. If it festers and is not addressed, it will gain energy and create a lot of ill feelings.”

Conversely, parents hold resentment too, the report shows. Only a third of the women (34%) believe that the opportunities to advance are equal between women who have children and those who do not.

Working mothers like Janna Montgomery, who has a special needs child and has used the Family Medical Leave Act, says single mothers are the ones that suffer most and, she believes, are automatically viewed as less committed.

In some ways, it’s a gender issue, she says. When a man has children, he gets promoted but a women has to work harder to just keep her job, she says.

Working parents also hold the widespread view that if they work flexibly, they will progress slower than their peers, regardless of contribution.

Leslie Smith, a partner in the Miami LAW office of Foley & Lardner, said firms like hers have begun focusing on making this a non issue. “Everyone has a perspective formed by specific instances or circumstances,” she said. “At law firms, attrition is a big issue.”

The goal has to be not only to keep lawyers, but to encourage them to work with each other. “We need collaboration and that means the working environment has to be attractive for all.”


 

 

 

March 17, 2014

Where does luck come from?

St. pats


This morning, I opened an email from Paula Rizzo who writes The List Producer, one of my favorite newsletters. In today's edition, she pondered the question, "Where does luck come from?"

I had been pondering the same question myself when I went to the racetrack on Friday. It was my birthday so I wondered if I should be particularly lucky.  One of the women I was with had amazing luck. She would scrutinize the horses a bit and then bet. She won nearly every race. I won a few, too, and used a completely different method. I bet on the horses I felt were lucky. I used the hunch method. The two of us went about placing bets differently, but both of us created our own luck.

So, where does luck come from? I mentioned to friends while at the racetrack that I was going to bet small and therefore win or lose small. And, if I lost, it would be okay. For me, it's more important to be lucky in life than to win bets or raffles or even bingo games.  In life, I believe I'm very lucky. 

I know a successful woman business owner who gets angry when someone tells her she has been lucky in her career.  "My fortune has been earned," she will say. Along those lines, you might consider Sara Blakely lucky.  Sara is founder of Spanx, a multi-million dollar undergarment company. She is the world's youngest self-made female billionaire. Sara heard a lot of "nos" before she heard "yes". She brought a unique shapewear product to the market at the right time and convinced department stores to sell it. Sara will argue her success has been anything but luck. She will tell you that it's been all about hard work determination and dedication.

Rizzo asks: "Is it luck that opens doors in our life or is it our hard work and determination that pushes us forward? I think that it’s a little bit of both! When I look back at the good things that have happened to me — sometimes I’m the one who creates my own luck! I think that Oprah puts it perfectly, ”I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been ‘lucky.’”

I completely agree. To me, luck comes from believing things will go your way. If you believe you can find work life balance, and you are prepared when opportunity comes knocking at your door, you can create the path to happiness and career success as you define it. That's part luck, part attitude.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 

March 13, 2014

How smartphones make us ignore our kids

 

Smartphone
Have you ever ignored your kids because you were on your cell phone?

I hate to admit it but I definitely have done it. It's so hard to balance work and family and stay off your phone when you're around your kids.

ABC reports that researchers from Boston Medical Center went undercover in 15 local fast food restaurants to observe nature's parenting playground. Watching silently from a distance, they observed the interactions between family members, noting in particular the reactions children had when mom or dad punched away at the portable keys.

 

"It's just like people watching, basically, except we were taking very detailed notes about observations," said Dr. Jenny S. Radesky, a fellow in developmental behavioral pediatrics at Boston Medical Center and lead author of the study published in the journal Pediatrics.

 

Parents in 40 of the 55 families observed were absorbed in their mobile devices, according to the study. They seemed more distracted when they were typing and making swiping motions with the fingers than when making phone calls. And almost a third of the parents used their devices continuously throughout their meal.

 

Now, what I think is interesting is that some kids didn't even notice while others acted out to get their parents' attention. Our kids shouldn't have to fight for our attention when we're right next to them. We should be able to eat in a restaurant without using our smartphone.

My big concern is the message we're sending to our kids.

How many of you have seen teens at restaurants on their smartphones? I just raised my hand.

When parents do it, kids do too. We're sending our kids the message that it's okay to ignore us. 

The reports authored noted: "The conclusion I wouldn't draw from the study, is that we need to completely remove these devices when we are with our children," she said. "But it does raise the issue that we need to create boundaries for these devices when we are with our children."

 

So parents, are we trying too hard to balance work and life that we've let our smartphones interfere with family time? 

 

 

 

March 12, 2014

Managing a business through personal challenges

A friend of mine recently lost her mother. She confided in me that some mornings, she's so grief stricken, she can't get out of bed. It's a problem because she runs a business and relies on it for her income. When we think about work life balance, many of us tend to think it's all about juggling work and children. But sometimes, it's about juggling a business with unforeseen events in one's personal life. 

I tackled the topic in my Miami Herald column today. The biggest take away for business owners: learn the art of delegation!

 

For entrepreneurs, life events can disrupt business, too

 

 
Jackie Velazquez is a business owner who is just returning from surgery and now continues her busy schedule.
Jackie Velazquez is a business owner who is just returning from surgery and now continues her busy schedule. 
CARL JUSTE / MIAMI HERALD STAFF
 

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

There’s nothing more exciting than breaking free of a cubicle and starting your own business — until you discover the drawbacks.

While entrepreneurs make their own rules, set their own hours and decide how they want to do business, they almost inevitably discover they lack a safety net when their personal lives get challenging. Many tackle divorces, medical setbacks, childbirth and loss of loved ones while still handling deadlines, tackling customer issues and making payroll.

Earlier this month, Jackie Velazquez tried to keep her 13-year business operating while undergoing surgery to prevent breast cancer. “The first thing that goes across your mind is how can I accomplish this and not miss work.”

Velazquez, owner of Miami-based Smarttarget Marketing, planned ahead for her business, creating targeted direct marketing lists. She asked clients to place requests by a specific date and informed them that she would be hard to reach for four days. She will do the same for an upcoming surgery with a longer recovery.

Meanwhile, she tried to adjust client expectations and answer email as much as possible from her hospital bed. Still, she says, she worries that clients will go elsewhere, or tasks will go unnoticed. “There is never a good time to be gone from work when you are a business owner. If your phone is ringing and you’re not answering it, money is not coming in.”

Undoubtedly, running a business, especially in today’s economy, is not easy and comes with stress. Most entrepreneurs say that they work long hours — an average of 55 hours or more — and 97 percent work on weekends, according to a 2013 Small Business Pulse survey by The Alternative Board, a business consulting firm. Handling life’s upheavals can be a serious concern for entrepreneurs whose jobs extend well beyond 9-to-5 hours.

One such challenge is childbirth. Even with the flexibility of working for themselves, few women entrepreneurs report giving themselves the luxury of three-month maternity leaves. “When you are dedicated to your business, you simply cannot in good conscience check out completely,” said Jessica Wilcox, founder of MoneyClip Direct, a direct mail advertising publication for businesses in South Miami-Dade.

Wilcox quickly learned that juggling isn’t just a metaphor. After giving birth, she gave herself a short one-month maternity leave before returning to sales calls with baby in one hand, invoice in the other. “If I’m not working, money is not coming in and the company is not growing,” she said.

Most importantly, she adjusted her expectations to sustain the business rather than build on it, holding on to existing advertisers rather than courting new ones. She worked just enough to handle “all those little things that can fall by the wayside if you’re not paying attention.” Now that her son is 1, she has hired child-care assistance and recommitted to expanding her business.

The larger the small business, the more challenging it can be to balance the rigors of running it with the demands of life and unforeseen events. A 2013 Small Business Annual Survey by U.S. Bank found that owners with employees are less likely than solo entrepreneurs to have enough time for friends and family and more likely to have their life defined by their business. But the successful ones understand the role their team plays.

Lisa Cann said her team is the only reason that her Pembroke Pines cupcake/dessert business remains open. For the past few years, she has juggled marriage counseling, health issues and financial concerns. “It has been so stressful,” she says. Throughout, she has relied on her employees at Royal Treatz to handle the day-to-day tasks while she focuses on the higher level work.

“I had to get them to realize we’re a team. I don’t want clock punchers. I want employees who are happy to be here and want the business to survive.”

Cann said she scaled back some, closing a kiosk in the Pembroke Pines mall. She continues to operate her storefront/party room with eight full-time staff, whom she relies on to handle sales, communicate about inventory and decorate cakes. “I’m one person wearing lots of hats. But if you hire well, train them right and build trust, your employees will run the business when you can’t.”

Read more...

 

Click here for the full results of The Alternative Board Survey.

March 11, 2014

Dealing with Workplace Drama

Have you ever dreaded going to work because you don't want to deal with the drama going on at the office? 

One day, riding to the office, I just knew there was going to be a big scene because my co-worker was going to publicly tell another colleague that she had enough of his slacking. Of course, the slacker was someone she had dated who had dumped her. Such drama! 

Expert Marlene Chism says those who say, “I don’t do drama,” usually have the most drama. She also says drama manifests in different forms, and all of us experience our fair share of it. Ignoring, avoiding or denying drama only increases its power, she says.

Today, Marlene is my guest blogger. She is an international speaker, consultant, leadership coach and author of Stop Workplace Drama (Wiley 2011). She is currently working on her next book, From Drama to Enlightenment, Leadership Skills for Transforming Culture. Marlene, whose website is stopworkplacedrama.comoffers advice that all of us can use. 

Marlene

Improving Workplace Relationships: Three Responses to Dealing with Drama

There are many habits that can contribute to workplace drama.

One habit is taking the bait. It’s those times when you put your foot in your mouth, or you get drawn into an argument or communication exchange that you later regret, yet it happens again and again. It’s like you are a big carp swimming in a river and you see this juicy worm and you bite the hook. The other person is the fisherman who reels you in.

Even when you learn to identify the bait and swim right past that juicy worm, a few miles downstream you see a juicy piece of cheesecake and before you know it, you are being reeled in again.

It seems those who love to pull our triggers know just what bait to use. If you get wise to the worm, they figure cheesecake will work.

You mother knows how to bait the hook. When you call her, she answers with “Well hello stranger!”  Her innuendo of calling you “stranger” is manipulation to make you feel guilty for not calling more often. Yep, she knows just how to reel you in. It works every time.

In your professional life it’s the employee who shows up in your office with yet, another major life catastrophe that keeps her from performing. You feel sorry, offer some leniency and your kindness backfires. She calls in sick the next day.

If you want to stop being reeled in, here are the steps for improving workplace relationships:

1. Awareness
You must first recognize the trigger. If you can recognize the pattern, you can be prepared for the next time.

2. Offer No Reaction

Avoid the temptation to get the last word or to prove the other person wrong. Don’t resort to sarcasm or defensiveness. Simply take a breath and offer no response.

3. Listen and Acknowledge
To listen so the other person feels heard, acknowledge their emotion without agreeing with the content. Here are three examples:

*Wow. That must feel terrible.

*It sounds like you are frustrated with me. (Breathe)

*Sounds like you need some space.

In the workplace, it helps to have the compassion to listen but the wisdom to not get drawn into drama.

 

 

March 05, 2014

Can Candy Crush help with work life balance?

 

 

I love playing Sushi Toss on my iPad. It's uncomplicated fun! However, I'd rather spend my time hearing about my kid's day or catching up on phone calls with friends. So, I keep my game playing to a minimal.

Still, I can see the mindless appeal and I could see how it helps some people create a better work life balance. This week, I interviewed a few gamers and had to laugh when I hung up the phone. Boy some people really get into playing online games! I could hear the excitement in their voices as I conducted the interview and they explained the appeal of Candy Crush, Mafia Wars or World of Tanks and why they spend hours playing them. Sure, some of these people may be addicted, but as long as gameplay does cause harm to their home lives or careers, I say "enjoy!"

 

Here's my take on online gaming from today's Miami Herald. Do you think playing online games is a waste of time?

Are online games a waste of time or relief for the mind?

 
 
 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">FUN AND GAMES:</span> A smartphone user plays the ‘Candy Crush Saga’ puzzle.
 

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

 

After a day of negotiating legal contracts, Gail Serota sinks into her couch with her iPad and immerses herself in playing Candy Crush. The Miami real estate attorney finds playing the mobile game relaxes her. "It's a good stress relief."

Whether for relaxation or diversion, full time workers are squeezing time into their schedules for mobile games. They are launching flying birds, flicking onscreen candies and building words on virtual boards using their smartphones or tablets. Spil Games reports about 700 million people play online games, or about 44 percent of the world’s online population. And those numbers are expected to rise.

The habit can be addictive — and not just for actor Alex Baldwin, who was kicked off a plane for refusing to turn off his phone in the middle of a Words with Friends match. Other players admit to being so immersed they have left their children stranded at sports practices, gone late to work and even injured themselves as they tried to reach new levels of play.

Serota of Weiss Serota Helfman reluctantly acknowledges that at times, she has become so caught up in completing a level of Candy Crush that she has arrived late at an event. “When you’re in the moment, you’re focusing on the game and you’re just not thinking about other things.”

Not long ago, most gamers were young men playing on at-home consoles. Now, the advent of smartphones and tablets has changed gaming so much so that 46 percent of players are women, according to Spil Games’ 2013 state of online gaming report.

“We have so much on our minds and just want an escape,” says Marci Siegel, a medical recruiter and working mom who enjoys Candy Crush and Words with Friends. Siegel estimates she spends about seven hours a week playing the games on her phone. “Sometimes, my day is so crazy that I need a little guilty pleasure.”

Critics contend online games are a time waster. Gamers argue it brings balance to their lives by offering entertainment, stress relief, social connections and mental stimulation. For players that log in with Facebook or Google Plus, the games allow friendly competition and social interaction.

Recognizing the appeal, employers have begun finding ways to leverage gaming in the workplace. Tapping experts, they are designing games to motivate workers, recruit talent, teach new skills, boost performance and encourage wellness.

Read more...