March 13, 2017

Exhausted at work? How to survive the change to Daylight Savings Time

 

                                                                  Tired

 

This morning I woke up in the pitch dark. I looked outside wanted to go back to bed. My clock said it was time to wake up but my body did not agree. Ugh... Daylight Savings Time just robbed us of an hour of precious, glorious sleep.

Today, I'm dragging myself around sleep deprived. The worst part is some experts say this groggy jet lacked feeling could last all week.

Yep, that's right...we might be exhausted ALL WEEK.

The worst part is that many people already were exhausted.  Losing an hour of sleep will mean an already tired workforce will be working on even less shut-eye, says Anna Kwok, vice president for Accountemps in Fort Lauderdale, an accounting staffing agency. A study from staffing firm Accountemps found 74% of professionals admitted to already being tired at work, with nearly one-third saying they’re short on sleep very often.

When we're tired at work, we're less focused, more grumpy and stand more of a chance of making stupid mistakes. In the Accountemps survey one really tired respondent admitted to deleting a project that took 1,000 hours to put together. Another admitted to falling asleep in front of the boss during a presentation. So embarrassing!

Some people are lucky enough to work at companies, like Ben & Jerry's, Google and Zappos, that  encourage napping on the job to promote psychological and professional benefits. I bet those nap rooms are going to be busy today!

The rest of us have to find some other way to fight that tired feeling. Here are some ideas:

  • Take occasional breaks. Get away from your desk and walk around the office.
  • Resist cravings for junk food. Instead, keep healthy snacks around to give you stamina
  • Stay hydrated. It is a key factor in staying awake. Try putting ice in your water bottle; the cold water will keep you lively and alert.
  • Work reasonable hours. This is not the week for launching new all-encompassing projects. Staying late while you get adjusted to the time change can lead to mistakes. 
  • Sit up. Slouching can lead to fatigue.
  • Use eyedrops. Splashing a couple drops in your eyes will make you feel more refreshed
  • Tug on your earlobes. Yes, this sounded crazy to me, too, when I heard it. But because of acupoints on your ears, this is a way to get the brain going. Worth a try.

(If you need them, there are more ideas at popsugar.com)

As you reach for another cup of coffee today, be patient with yourself. It may take a few days to get your body clock back on track. In the meantime, I'm going to go to bed earlier tonight and I'm going to try to follow Taylor Swift's advice  and  "shake It off."

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 10.02.14 AMC

 

 

Click here for full infographic...

March 01, 2017

Getting Ready to Become a Working Mother

It was 21 years ago when I waddled into the newsroom wondering how much longer I could hold on at work until my daughter was born. I desperately wanted to work until the last possible minute, particularly because I had no idea what my life as a working mother was going to be like. Getting ready to become a working mother is tricky. As they say, no one can fully prepare you for what's ahead. By the second week of March I had given birth and the work life balancing act had begun.

Today, my guest blogger shares her experience and perspective as she prepares to become a new mother while continuing to practice law.  Let me introduce you to Laura E. Eggnatz, an associate with Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Hermann, one of the largest independent full-service litigation and transactional law firms in South Florida. Laura focuses her practice on products liability and mass and toxic torts defense litigation. Connect with Laura at leggnatz@sbwh.law. Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with her on life as a new mom.

 

 

Laura E. Eggnatz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been an attorney for almost eight years, and now, as I set out to embark on my career as a first-time mother, I am finding that while pregnancy is without a doubt an amazing and brilliant experience, it is also one of the most stressful. As my due date rapidly approaches and my legal career will be put on hold for a few months, one of the biggest stressors is preparing for maternity leave and figuring out how I will balance the most important aspects of my life—a new baby, my role as a new mother, and a legal career—while still out on leave. I am planning to use the preparation skills I have learned, enhanced and utilized as an attorney to juggle this difficult balance. I offer some suggestions to those in a similar position as me:

1. Prepare an exit plan: I am protective of the work I do, and tend to shy away from relying on others. Yet I recognize I will have no choice when I am out of the office for three months. To combat this struggle, I am creating a spreadsheet of all ongoing matters I expect will require coverage and attention while I am out. I also have had conversations with my supervisors and staff about handling my day-to-day responsibilities. Delegation and learning to “let-go” is key. Having some coverage system in place will ensure an easy transition before, during and after my maternity leave.

2. Prepare to stay informed: Most people would encourage a new mother to completely disconnect from work while on maternity leave. That is not something I can do. Although I do not anticipate performing any substantive work, I plan to review my e-mails and stay in touch with my colleagues on a basis that is appropriate and convenient for me. I feel more comfortable with having some contact during leave, rather than being completely out of touch. Even limited communication will be beneficial to a smooth transition back to work.

3. Prepare a return plan: I anticipate experiencing mixed feelings about returning to work when the end of my maternity leave approaches. Here lies the majority of the work-life balance struggle: How can I leave my newborn?  How will I be able to handle a newborn and a career?  How can I be a good mom and a good attorney at the same time? The answers to these questions are unknown to me right now, and may very likely go unanswered. But a flexible plan in returning to work may make all the difference. Before my leave, I will discuss my timeline with my supervisors for returning to work and be upfront about what my work limitations may be once I return, i.e., less travel, doctor’s appointments, working from home when baby is sick. Staying connected and informed throughout my leave is a key aspect of my return plan. For me, this will lessen the overwhelming feeling of getting up to speed after being away and understanding the workload I will have to balance once I return.

4. Prepare for the unexpected: I may sound like I have everything under control—I certainly do not. Part of my preparation for maternity leave is preparing for the unexpected. I am confident that as long as I am prepared and do what I feel comfortable with, the stress in balancing a family and a career during maternity leave will be manageable.

 

 

 

 

February 28, 2017

Tim Tebow Follows His Passion and You Can Too

 

 

Former Florida Gators Quarterback Tim Tebow has lots of fans. He also has lots of haters. 

But Tebow doesn't let the haters get in the way of following his passion. Tebow, who didn't really find the success he wanted in the NFL, has now turned to baseball.

Tebow's detractors say he will never make it as a professional athlete. But Tebow doesn't listen. He continues on.

This morning, Tim Tebow  did an interview on Good Morning America and said the start of his spring training debut at the New York Mets training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, “feels great.” 

Here's what he told Good Morning America:

“Honestly it’s kind of a dream come true being out here with the Mets organization, a bunch of awesome guys, getting the chance to play a game I love,” Tebow, 29, said on “Good Morning America.” “It was just so fun putting on a uniform yesterday, going to warmups, in the stretch line, getting back into the routine, being part of the team and competing -- it was a blast. I’m having a lot of fun.”

Tebow's passion for following his dreams is admirable. Whether or not he makes it as a professional baseball player, he knows he gave his dream his all. Wow, what a role model for the rest of us who cower from "going for it" because we're afraid what people might say or because we are afraid to fail!

On Good Morning America, Tebow acknowledged that critics are still skeptical of his football-turned-baseball player path, but he said he’s “focusing on the love and not the doubt” that lies ahead.

“Obviously you have people on both sides,” said Tebow. “You’ll have people that are out here supporting that are great, and then you’ll also have people that want to bring you down. For me, this is something that I’m doing for the love of it. The love of the game, the love of pursuing passions, the love of being able to live a dream every single day."

So, what if you were able to live your dream every single day? What if you were able to turn something you love doing into a job that pays? Would you be able to get past the haters and doubters?

If you want more fulfillment from your job, or have a passion you want to follow, here are 5 steps to move you forward:

  1. Start the discovery process (research)
  2. Talk to people who have successfully taken risks
  3. Don't make money your primary consideration (any job can pay off with creativity)
  4. Network to learn who can help you
  5. Make a plan

 

Personally, I'm rooting for Tebow. While the haters hate, he's happier than most of them.

 

 

 

February 20, 2017

The New Ways Working Women Are Defining Success

What is success? 

If you asked a room of 100 people, it's likely each would have a different answer. And, they should.

For most of us, success is living our life with purpose, knowing what are dreams are, and figuring out how to break through the inevitable inner and outer resistance we will hit along our path to achieve them, says Mina Shah, who considers her success speaking on stage and motivating others.

Over the weekend, Mina, and a dozen other speakers at the 2017 Office Depot Foundation Women's Symposium, motivated more than 1,000 women to define success in new ways. 

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There is nothing more energizing than being in a large ballroom, filled with energetic women who want to build awesome businesses, reach bigger heights at the companies they work for, or find new career paths that excite them. When I walked into the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach on Friday for the Office Depot Foundation Women Symposium that' what greeted me.

One of the most important messages Mina offered was not to be hindered by our fears or by naysayers, and stop short of our personal definition of success. "Most people work hard enough to feel the pain, but not enough to get the benefit of the reward," she said. 

A new definition of success...someone who breaks through doubt.

"No matter how accomplished you are or how much personal work you have done, you'll experience occasional doubt...and that doubt could mean the difference between success and failure," said Karen Pfeffer, co-founder of Fire Power Seminars. Pfeffer said success is pushing past doubt, busting through barriers and moving forward with determination, focused on what you want. She entered the male-dominated field of banking and became the first woman president of the Florida Bank Marketing Association. She now has a successful company that puts on empowerment seminars and does breakthrough coaching. 

However, if you think success is only about making money in the for profit business world, think again. Almost any business idea you come up with can be turned into a non profit, and there is a lot of start up capital available for non profits such as grants and foundation money and charitable giving of real estate. Speaker Sherry Watson, CEO of The Power of Purpose, a nonprofit consulting firm, gave an inspirational look into how women are earning good incomes while building nonprofits that better the world. "It's about taking our entrepreneur ways and bringing that forward, bringing solutions." Watson said with a nonprofit you can start a company, and change the world. The steps to building a non profit are on Waston's website: The Power of Purpose. She also suggested www.NonprofitWebclass.com.

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How else are women redefining success?

There are making the right connections, not in the old way, but in a new way.

Kavita Sahai of BIGplans, said early in her career, she saw the power of networking in action when she befriended an administrative assistant, who later persuaded management to give her a job at a private equity firm. "You are one conversation away from achieving your dreams," she said. "Have more conversations."

To achieve the success most of us want, when we have those conversations, we need to be able to fill in the blank: "I'm your go-to girl for ______ " Once we know what we need and what we can offer, success is in our grasp, Kavita said.

                                                   Kavita

Now, if there's a woman who has defined success in an intriguing way, it's Vernice Armour, America's first African American female combat pilot, who calls herself "FlyGirl"

Armour went from beat comp in her city, to a combat pilot who served two tours overseas in Iraq. She now is a motivational speaker, pulling in a six-figure salary through her keynotes, group coaching, seminars and executive retreats. Her big message: Who needs a runway? Take off from where you are."

Often, women wait waiting for the right moment, the right circumstances to make their move. Instead, "just move into action from wherever you are," she advises. "In order to be successful, you gotta get gutsy." When Armour realized she had a voice and something to say, she took a workshop on public speaking, and moved into action. Clearly, she is good at what she does. She had the whole room of women cheering, laughing and interacting. 

 

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One of the most impressive women who has defined success her way, despite obstacles, is Mary Wong, president of the Office Depot Foundation. Mary suffers from health issues, but pushes forward to accomplish amazing things for the foundation, which gives children tools to succeed in school, among other contributions. Wong sent a clear message at this year's Women's Symposium that today's working women are defining success in new ways and she encourages women everywhere to be A Difference Maker (#diffmkrwomen).

 

 

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Honored to be in the company of Mary Wong (and her dog) at the 2017 Office Depot Women's Symposium

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 14, 2017

How to Celebrate and Survive Valentine's Day in the Office

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Florists Paul and Gail Kerbel prepare for Valentine's Day


If there's a day when most workers want to leave the office on time, it's Valentine's Day. My advice: make that clear from the moment you walk in the door. The more you say it, to yourself and out loud, the more it will happen. We all know that if you have plans tonight, and your boss is not understanding, it will lead to resentment. So, start early in the day to prepare for a timely departure and make it clear to your boss - or your customers - that you have that goal.

Now, at the office today, there may be drama. Workplaces, regardless of their size, have their own dynamics. Everything from receiving flowers to professing love for a co-worker to keeping the details of a budding romance a secret makes celebrating the holiday in the workplace potentially awkward.

Some people will get flowers, and want to show them off, and why shouldn't they?

Florist Paul Kerbel of Floral Promotions in Plantation said most men realize sending flowers to their partner at work will score them points: "It’s all about that ‘wow’ and showing every other person in the office that they are dating or married to a gem.” My friend Raquel has given her husband a roadmap. She has provided him details on the type of arrangement she prefers and the time she wants the bouquet to arrive for the optimal response from co-workers (early morning is ideal!). Gotta love a woman who knows what she wants! 

Should you send a man flowers at work? Probably not. Although some men receive orchids or other arrangements at work,  radio personality Ron Castronovo says men most likely will get teased, and feel embarrassed if flowers arrive for them. Instead, he suggests wine with a love note.

With bouquets arriving throughout the day, Valentine’s Day can get awkward for singles in the workplace. Wary of feeding the office rumor mill, singles often hide their gifts or cards that accompany flowers, particularly if they are dating a co-worker. Also, some singles plan to tweak their daily routines on Valentine’s Day to avoid being out to lunch alone with a co-worker of the opposite sex and have it misconstrued as a romantic date.

“There is a lot of judging on Valentine’s Day,”  Nicole Gerber, a single, 31-year-old legal assistant at RAS Boriskin in Boca Raton told me. Sometimes, people just are oblivious to how their behavior affects a co-worker, she says. “It inconsiderate to show off and say ‘look what I got’ when there is someone who is not sharing their holiday with anyone. It’s just not something anyone should do.”

Of course, there is a sneaky alternative to the unfulfilled arrival of flowers, balloons or chocolates: Send them to yourself. You may be surprised to know that about 14 percent of women plan to send flowers to themselves for the holiday, according to a 2016 Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey published by Statistic Brain Research Institute in California. Miami relationship coach Gladys Diaz thinks it's a sign of empowerment. “When you think about it, the longest-lasting relationship in your life is the one with yourself. Why not show yourself love?” Diaz says, adding that no one has to know the sender. “If anyone questions you, the simple answer is, ‘I don’t want to get into it … that’s personal.’”

Showing appreciation for colleagues also is a nice thought on Valentine’s Day, but be careful. Even giving casual gifts to a co-worker can be risky. A Miami banker says a well-intentioned box of chocolates for someone she considered her “work spouse” turned into a conversation about her being “flirty.”

Clearly, tact is required to navigate the emotionally charged holiday at the office without crossing boundaries or making anyone feel uncomfortable. So, face the day cautiously and show your co-workers some love. That's what the day is all about!

 

 
 

 

February 01, 2017

Here's How to Leave Work On Time

 

Leaving

 

One evening at the office, I had packed my laptop, slung my purse over my shoulder and stood up from my chair to head home. At that moment, a co-worker sauntered over to my desk asking for help on a project.  I noticed earlier in the day, she had been chatting away with another co-worker and had wasted about an hour shooting the breeze. Now, she was stuck staying late at the office and if I helped her, I would be, too.

Most of us find it is hard to leave work on time. A quick peek at email before heading out the door can turn into a half-hour delay. And then there are those last minute requests that push us into overtime. Many of us fail to prioritize and find ourselves staying late at the office finishing something we could have done earlier.

Whatever the reason you're leaving late, it’s possible to do a better job getting out of work on time. Here’s how to make it happen:

Ramp up communication. I often have scrambled out the door way past the time I was supposed to stop working. One year, I resolved to leave by 6 p.m., which required starting my day promptly. I talked to my manager about my plan. By doing so, rather than just trying to bolt when no one was looking, I got his buy in. He understood my goals and changed his habits of making late afternoon requests. Managers, customers and co-workers become less likely to drop to-dos on your lap toward the end of the day when you establish a pattern of leaving on time and communicate your schedule.

Understand the consequences. Many times, I have spent double the amount I should on something because I started it when I was tired. Research shows working longer hours doesn’t contribute to higher productivity. In studying a variety of research, the Harvard Business Review found working more than 40 hours a week could make some workers less productive, put them at risk for making mistakes, and create the appearance of poor time-management skills.

Plan your day before arriving at work. I have learned the hard way it’s easy to get distracted by email, social media or talking to co-workers during the day. If you want to leave after eight hours, you need to be efficient within those hours. Rather than go with the flow of the workday, know what you need to get done when you walk in the door. When you plan your workday before you arrive, you should make a psychological commitment to that departure time. Some days may not go as planned. Many will.

Give yourself a 20-minute window for departure. If you wait until 6 p.m. to start packing up, you likely will get delayed by distractions. Once you’ve set your departure time, block out the 20 minutes prior to that time on your calendar to clean up any last daily details.

With some change in habit, you can actually get out the door on time. Of course, you have to believe it is possible -- and resolve to make it happen.

For more, read my Miami Herald column on leaving work on time.

 

December 07, 2016

Getting through rough patches in business

We all go through rough patches at work, whether we are the employee, the manager or the business owner. Some are more easy to navigate than others. I always appreciate when someone successful talks about a rough  patch and how he or she steered through it.

BethRecently big time corporate executive Beth Kaplan came to South Florida to address a women's organization. Instead of giving the typical "I made it to the top" speech, Kaplan spoke about the rough patches she has hit in her career and how she handled them. To me, that's valuable insight!

Kaplan has hit more than one rough patch. First she worked at Rite Aid, where there was a massive accounting scandal. She managed to leave with her reputation in tact.Next she worked at Bath & Body Works as executive Vice President of merchandising where she spent a ton of time ina different city, away from her family. She left when she could no longer handle the work life balancing act.  Next, she worked as president and COO of Rent the Runway in 2013, a New York-based online company, that loans  designer dresses and accessories to women for special occasions. She left that position in October 2015 and today she is a strategic advisor and board member at Rent the Runway.

In an interview with Wharton's Knowledge@Work , Kaplan explained that a key part of steering through rough patches is knowing how to exit a job with grace.

 “It’s amazing to me that people don’t talk about how to leave an organization. They all talk about how to join one, but they don’t talk about having to leave.”  she told  Wharton. She noted that Bath & Body Works had an extensively documented six-month onboarding process, provided in a large binder to new hires, which made no mention of how people should behave when leaving the company.

She talked with her boss, and together they designed a program with which, Kaplan said, she compiled all her insights and learning, and then “left with grace.” 

Kaplan outlined “certain ground rules” about leaving with grace. Be transparent with your manager, she said. “You go to your boss and say, ‘Look, I found this other opportunity, but I really care about this organization and I’m very thankful for everything you have given me.’ By the way, say that even if you don’t mean it.” Ask your manager how you can help make the situation a win-win, and discuss how much time it will take to wrap things up, she added.

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Kaplan recently shared a few stories and lessons learned from her career with 220 of South Florida’s leading women at The Commonwealth Institute’s Leadership Luncheon at Jungle Island she and had lots of wisdoms to impart. Fortunately, Lisa Cawley Ruiz, (pictured to the left)  a content marketing manager at Kaufman Rossin, one of the top 100 CPA and advisory firms in the U.S., captured  those insights. She originally posted them on her firm blog but allowed me to share them with my readers as well.

 


Here are Kaplan’s top four tips for success:
1. Your reputation is your most valuable asset. It is your personal brand, and  follows you wherever you go.
2. Don't underestimate the impact you have on other people. Our behaviors (positively or negatively) affect those around us more than we realize, which is why it’s important to solicit quality feedback frequently.
3. Make a graceful exit.
How you leave a company is just as important as how you enter.
4. Pick the right partner. “We don’t always agree, but he always has my back,” Kaplan says of her husband. “He reminds me of the things that are most important in my life.”


Kaplan acknowledged that women often feel pressure to conform to expectations, and sometimes have to make decisions that may not be popular. If you’ve given a decision careful thought, you should stick by your choices, she said. “Never apologize for something you’ve thoughtfully considered.”

When the decision in question is whether or not to take a job, thoughtful consideration includes conducting due diligence on a company’s culture. As Kaplan learned the hard way through her experience of seeing Rite Aid nearly collapse in a high-profile financial scandal, culture can make or break a company. (The right culture makes steering through rough patches more doable!)


Recent reports have blamed a mean girl culture for numerous departures at Rent the Runway. However, while in South Florida, Kaplan said culture has been one of the top priorities for the leadership team at Rent the Runway.  The online clothing rental startup recently changed its compensation structure, eliminating bonuses and raising salaries in order to underscore its trust in employees, shift employee focus to long-term strategic thinking that can help scale the business, and create a culture of learning that encourages feedback, she said. Giving your team members “unvarnished, truthful and constructive feedback,” is important. And if an employee is no longer a good fit, address it sooner rather than later.

Kaplan's final piece of advice for busy women: Find a way to unplug and recharge. For some, it may be taking a vacation, working on a hobby or spending time with friends. For Kaplan, it’s ballroom dancing.


December 02, 2016

What you need to do at the office holiday party

 

                               Holiday party

 

This weekend I am attending my husband's holiday office party. By now, I have been to enough holiday parties to know there are unwritten rules. So, I know to tread carefully. I also know that office holiday parties are important -- maybe more so than most people realize. If you are thinking of skipping your holiday party, don't do it. The boss knows exactly who was there and who wasn't.

Now, let's say you do go and you decide to make the most of your company's generosity. Do so cautiously. One year, my husband's co-worker made a big pig of himself by ordering two meals -- a giant steak and a full size lobster. I guess he figured it was the company's dime, but he came across as someone who would run an expense account up just for the heck of it. Not a good impression to leave on the boss.

Holiday office parties can be landmines for embarrassing behavior,  or they can be huge opportunities to impress the boss and strengthen relationships with co-workers. Here are a few tips from many years of navigating the office holiday party.

1. Eat something before you go. Take a nibble on something small but sufficient to soak up any alcohol you ingest quickly. (It's a good idea to pace yourself on the alcohol, too) I have been on the wrong side of this one so I speak from experience.

2. Dress appropriately. We all know what that means --  no sleazy outfits, no ratty shoes, no stained clothing. Ask ahead what people are wearing so you don't show up too overdressed or too casual. 

3. Mingle. It's easy to hang out with the people you already know well but this is great chance to get to know co-workers from other departments or managers who might be helpful in the future. Introduce yourself so you don't spend the whole night talking to someone who has no idea of your name.

4. Make conversation with your boss' significant other. You may not realize it, but significant others have a huge influence on your manager's perception of you. Making the extra effort to converse with his or her other half can help your career. When my husband considers raises, I can't tell you how many times I have pleaded someone's case, so again, I speak from experience.

5. Arrive timely. We joke around in South Florida that people are on "Miami time" but at a holiday party arriving late deprives you of the chance to hang out early in the night when people are most talkative and drinks are just beginning to flow. Even if you don't really want to attend, showing up on time and scooting out shortly after should be enough for people to remember you were there.

6. Be receptive. If someone kisses you on the check, don't stand there like a cold fish. If someone shakes your hand, look him or her in the eye and welcome the introduction. If someone pinches your tush or hugs you too long, that's another story. Let them know right away that you find it offensive. Using humor is a good way to do that.

7. Show appreciation. Before I leave, I always say thank you to the person who planned the event, and the person who paid for it.  Someone put in a great deal of effort hoping you would have a good time and someone spent money to make it happen. Even if you didn't have the best night of your life, not only is saying thank you the nice thing to do, but it also makes you stand out because most employees don't.  

Monster.com has some tips as well, including some advice for the party planner. 

My favorite part of the holiday party is seeing my colleagues dressed up and in a good mood. How about you -- do you love office holiday parties, or dread them?

 

 

November 07, 2016

Good news for workers, employee perks are back!

During the recession, companies pulled back on perks as they cut costs. But now hiring has resumed, salaries are rising, and the fancy perks are back and more creative than ever. 

That's good news for those of us trying harder than ever to strike a work life balance! The even better news is companies are trying harder to find the perks their workers really want. After all, what good is a perk if it doesn't improve our work lives or personal lives, right? 

A growing number of employers are introducing enticements such as cooking classes, student loan assistance, spot bonuses, standing desks, paid leave and free snacks or meals. Other popular benefits that we are seeing more often are onsite meditation, yoga, mindfulness — programs that help workers de-stress.

Recent research from Glassdoor.com, a California-based jobs and recruiting website, found that more than half (57 percent) of people said benefits and perks are among their top considerations when considering accepting a job, and that four in five workers say they would prefer additional benefits over a pay raise.
 
At minimum, most employers offer the basics — medical, dental, vacation, 401k. But more companies are adding to those offerings.  “When employers offer perks, they get something back: They get happier, more focused, more productive employees,” says Andrea Lubell, whose company Innergy Meditation is about to open a Miami Beach studio but has been going to workplaces and doing onsite meditation with employees as a perk.
 
According to a SHRM survey, the three top benefits employees say are important to their job satisfaction are paid time off, healthcare/medical benefits, and flexibility to balance life and work issues. 
 
With a little digging, I found some interesting offerings. If your employer doesn't offer them, it may be worth asking. 

POPULAR EMPLOYEE PERKS IN SOUTH FLORIDA

Food:

Free food

Some businesses provide regular catered lunches. Other companies offer snack rooms, juice bars and visits from food trucks. At Brightstar Credit Union headquartered in Tamarac, employees are provided free healthy snack options including granola bars, smoothies/protein shakes and salads. O’Connell and Goldberg in Hollywood has created an ice cream bar and even holds ice-cream meetings twice a week.

Discount sign

Discounts: About 20 percent of workers say employee discounts are what they value: discounts on cruises when working for a cruise line, dining or shopping when working at certain restaurants or retailers, or on services when working for dentists. Fort Lauderdale cosmetics dentist April Patterson at Dr. Patty’s Dental Boutique and Spa gives her employees a free whitening every three years and free teeth cleaning twice a year, along with discounts for family members.

Happy hour

Happy hours and social events: From hosting a team-building bowling night to taking employees on weekend cruises, employers have caught on that work outings are a fun way for employees to bond while building morale. Future Energy Solutions in Fort Lauderdale does regular team outings to local trendy play spots.

 

Pingpong

Play time: Pool tables and ping-pong tables may seem like distractions, but some companies have recognized their usefulness as creativity boosters. Ultimate Software in Weston has an indoor basketball court for employees to shoot hoops. Fort Lauderdale staffing company Hayes Locum has said its ping-pong table is one of the most used things in the office.

 

Meditation

Stress relief: Some local employers are bringing in masseuses to the office to work out people’s kinks; others are offering yoga classes and guided meditation. At International Creative Designs in Fort Lauderdale, employees can bring their pets to work — a guilt and stress reliever.

 

Contests  Run

Contests and reward programs: Some companies are rewarding outstanding workers with the opportunity to leave early or take a day off. At NextEra Energy in South Florida, all 10,000 employees can use PowerBucks to recognize and reward other colleagues. The PowerBucks are used to enter monthly raffles and win prizes.


For my full Miami Herald article on this topic, click here. 
 
 
 
 

October 24, 2016

How Working Mothers Can Return to Work

I was at Starbuck's a few weeks ago and ran into a fellow journalist who I hadn't seen in many years. She was with her teenage daughter and struck up a conversation with me about how she wants to return to work after taking a decade off to be home with her children.

My first thought was...that's not going to be easy. In almost every profession, including journalism, technology has changed how we do our jobs. If my friend wants to apply for a job, she will be competing for jobs against people who have embraced that change, particularly young reporters. So what's the answer? Will my friend be able to return to work?

A few days later, I heard Gloria Samayoa speak at an event and mention that her digital marketing agency, SapientNitro, is piloting a return to work program in its Miami office. The program aimed at transitioning experienced professionals back into the workforce was successful in other offices and the agency thought Miami would be a good place to try it, too. The two conversations led to a Miami Herald column on "Returnships" which are similar to internships but for experienced workers who go back to work on a trial basis and receive one-on-one mentoring during that time period. The goal is to turn the experience into a permanent, fulltime position. 

After interviewing two mothers who participated in these "returnship"programs, I'm convinced this is a great option for anyone looking to transition back into the workforce with a gap in his or her résumé. 

You can click here for the full Miami Herald article. Here is a link to a list compiled by iRelaunch of companies that offer career re-entry programs. 

Below are some great tips from women who have returned to work.

 

Jax and Mom-1

Ellen Kalis and her son Jax. Ellen, took four years off and now works at SapientNitro

 

TIPS FROM FOUR FEMALE ‘CAREER-RETURNERS’

1. Carol Fishman Cohen of Boston returned to work at Bain Capital after 11 years out of the full-time workforce. She eventually founded iRelaunch.com, a firm that connects employers with returning professionals. Her advice: “Get clarity around what want to do now at this point in your life. Once you know where you want to work, get to know the company you are applying to really well.” She also advises taking courses or refreshing skills before applying for full-time jobs or return-to-work positions. “Get into the mindset that you are open to training and the feeling you can do it.”

2. Amy Brenner Schaecter of Weston returned to work after more than a decade at home. First she went to a PR firm, then in-house at a multinational company. Her advice: “When you get back to work, make friends with a smart millennial. The synergy is awesome.”

3. Ellen Kalis participated in SapientNitro’s Returns Program after a four-year hiatus. Her advice: “You have to have confidence in your skills. If you go in and show your value right away, companies will see that. Even though I needed more ramp-up time than a millennial or someone who came from that position, hopefully I am adding value somewhere else.” Kalis is now a full-time public relations lead for SapientNitro, Canada and the Midwest. Ellen published an awesome blog post about her experience.

4. When Carol Hansen returned to return to work in New York after 10 years as a stay-at-home mom, the industry she had left —marketing/advertising — was transformed. Hansen’s transition through SapientNitro’s return-to-work program had its challenges: It was her first time working with millennials, balancing work and family, and digital storytelling. Her advice: “Jump in and raise your hand to help with any project. In doing so, talk to people in all areas of the company,” she said. “Even if I didn’t make it past the returnship period, I knew I needed to learn more and make myself relevant. I saw areas where I was strong and got a reading on areas where I wasn’t.” Hansen is now a full-time senior user experience designer at SapientNitro in New York.