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5 Tips To Overcome Being Overwhelmed At Work

Work stresses people out. In fact, 1 million Americans call in sick over stress every day and 25% say work is the most stressful thing in their lives. The volume of work, urgency of quarter or year end, competing demands and the need to succeed can merge into a sensation of being overwhelmed. When we’re overwhelmed, we rarely do or deliver our best.

These five tips can help you reclaim control over your time and your experience so you achieve real results with less angst:

1. Organize for Lower-Stress Success

Eliminate stress and increase your odds of achieving your goals by 64% by writing down what you need to do to achieve goals. If you manage a team, insist on transparency on what each team member is doing, where their attention is focused and what their progress is. If you don’t have a tool to see progress on actions and goals yourself, do a morning check-in with the team to align scarce resources in the remaining days. With clarity and transparency, you’ll stop worrying about what isn’t getting done and have more time and the facts to use days efficiently and effectively.

2. Prioritize Ruthlessly

Not everything on your list or the team’s can — or even should — get done. Ruthlessly prioritize where your time and your team’s should go every morning for the rest of the year. Spend your energy on work that ties clearly and directly to your quarter or annual goals and metrics … in other words, those things that actually move the needle for you and your boss. Using the matrix below can help distinguish what matters and make it easier to stop doing and stressing about the rest.

3. Don’t Sacrifice Yourself

When you’re most busy and stressed out (and the weather is bad), it’s tempting to sacrifice exercise and other healthy habits — don’t. Exercise and healthy eating reduce stress and increase your productivity as well as your perceived happiness. In fact, 20 minutes of exercise several days a week improves your happiness and productivity every day of the week! So set aside time even if it’s indoor yoga, stretching or working your own stairwell.

4. Change Perspective If You Can’t Change Circumstances

Examine the root causes of stress and the sensation of being overwhelmed. Which are self-inflicted, which are external and which are your reaction to internal and external conditions? If you can change the circumstances, then set out a plan to effect those changes to create long-term improvement. If you can’t change the circumstances and situation, consider changing how you relate to them. Ask a trusted advisor to give you a candid assessment of where you could revamp your response and reaction to the situation and be open to what you hear. In more entrenched situations, consider a professional coach to help increase your capacity to execute and achieve under duress.

5. Lighten Up

When you find your anxiety or anger rising, stop what you’re doing to stop what you’re thinking. Take a short walk or stand, stretch and take a few deep breaths. Try a few “compassion breaths” to relax and lighten your perceived load:

  • Focus your attention on the sensation of anger, anxiety or stress — is it anxiety about lack of time, fear of failing or forgetting something critical?
  • Rather than shifting away from the sensation, hold it in your attention.
  • Now think about all the millions of people in the world you don’t know that have that same anxiety or worry.
  • Take a long inhale, imaging that you are breathing in the collective anxiety, anger or stress of those millions of people.
  • Exhale, imagining that you are breathing out calm, peace, success or the antidote to those worries to all who experience it, including yourself.
  • Repeat three times, deepening your breath and holding it in longer each time and being more genuine in the compassion you convey with each out breath.

At the end, your sense of being alone with pressure will be replaced with more compassion for yourself and others — and your load will be lighter.

Unfortunately, when you are overwhelmed is the most difficult time to break the cycle – but shifting to and building the habits of success is infinitely better than staying mired in overwhelm:

  • Set and share clear goals aligned with organization objectives
  • Allocate your efforts to achieving your goals above all else
  • Ensure you have the capacity to achieve goals operationally, emotionally, and physically

With more professional and personal capacity, you’ll feel and do great!

About the Author: Deidre Paknad is currently the CEO of Workboard, Inc. Workboard provides apps for managers and their teams to share goals, action items, status and feedback and to automate status reports and dashboards.

photo credit: adrian.coto via photopin cc

5 Ways To Reduce Workplace Stress

Earlier this year, CareerCast shared its list of the least and most stressful jobs for 2014, based on factors like physical demands, hazards encountered, deadlines, and environmental conditions.

Some of the least stressful jobs included seamstress, dietician, and multimedia artist. Unsurprisingly, professions like enlisted military personnel, fire-fighters and police officers were ranked as being some of the most stressful due to the unpredictable conditions and risks involved.

But although some jobs are certainly more harrowing than others, we all deal with work-related stress on a daily basis.

According to the annual Stress and Wellbeing Survey by the Australian Psychological Society, stress levels were significantly higher in 2013 than in previous years, with nearly half of working Australians rating issues in the workplace as a source of stress.

In the US, a work stress survey by Harris Interactive found that 83% of Americans were stressed at work. Unreasonable workload, poor compensation, and frustration with co-workers and commutes were cited as some of their top stressors.

Fortunately, over the years research has uncovered a number of strategies for tackling workplace stress. Here are some simple but effective ways to manage stress in the workplace.

1. Organize your workspace and schedule

Taking control of your environment and schedule can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and stressing unnecessarily.

A study from University College London found that when faced with a messy work environment, people immediately experience a rise in stress and anxiety levels. Before you start work each day, take a few minutes to tidy up your papers, remove any day-old coffee cups, empty waste paper baskets, and open a window to let in some fresh air.

When it comes to your schedule, figure out what you can control (such as when to take your lunch break or the order in which you’ll complete certain tasks) and what is set in stone (the meeting with your boss, for example). This will help you manage your time more efficiently and maintain as much control as possible over your everyday routines.

2. Step outside

Nature can help people respond better to disruptive events, and a study led by the University of Edinburgh shows that people’s stress levels are directly related to the amount of green space in their area. In fact, the researchers found that for every 1% increase in green space, there was a corresponding steeper decline in participants’ stress levels.

So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking a quick stroll in the park. If there isn’t much green space near your workplace, you could make an effort to take a nature walk before heading to work each day.

3. Tune in to distractions

Noisy office environments can be difficult to cope with, but strangely enough, trying to block out the conversation that’s happening two desks over or ignore the sound of your colleague tapping their pen on the table may actually be more stressful than paying attention to it.

Mindfulness experts, like author and journalist Dr. Danny Penman, believe that tuning in to a distraction can prevent you from feeling stressed out. This is because being aware of a distraction and observing the effect it has on your body (tense muscles, clenched jaw, etc) tends to rob it of its power and helps you to relax.

4. Talk it out

Healthy and supportive relationships have been shown to reduce stress, and a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that chatting to your mum on the phone reduces a key stress hormone and causes oxytocin, a feel-good chemical, to be released.

Of course, you may not want to call your mother every time you’re having a difficult day at work, but chatting to a friend or close relative can lower your stress levels and also help you to see your situation from another perspective.

5. Adopt a more positive outlook on stress

Stress is bad, right? Well, not necessarily – according to a research study from Yale University, it all depends how you look at it.

The researchers presented some experiment subjects with information showing that stress can be beneficial, while others were told that it is debilitating. Those who had been exposed to positive information about stress reported improved psychological symptoms and better work performance.

So not only could adopting a more positive attitude toward stress can help you to deal with it more effectively, it could even transform your stress into something good that enhances your performance, health and personal growth.

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(About the Author: Marianne Stenger is a writer with Open Colleges. She covers educational psychology, career development and workplace productivity. You can connect with her on Twitter and Google+, or find her latest articles here.)

photo credit: Kerri Lee Smith via photopin cc

How to Build Your Network Without Burning Out

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. The following is the last post she contributed to our blog, only 10 days earlier. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all.)

The unthinkable happened during the first week in January.

TalentCulture CEO Meghan M. Biro had gone missing. She hadn’t returned a tweet from me for more than three days. Unheard of, I tell you.

Naturally, I was concerned about her well-being. I actually considered contacting Boston area hospitals. But instead, I did what any good friend would do. Resorting to an antiquated strategy, I picked up the phone and called her.

“Seriously Judy, I’m taking a break. I don’t want to burn out,” Meghan told me.

“What? A break from your BFF?” I almost blurted. Then, a calm washed over me, and instead I said, “Good for you.”

This sparked a conversation about how busy professionals like us can continue growing and navigating our social networks without compromising our stress levels. Connection and communication have taken on new importance in today’s 24/7 world of work. Those who manage the energy and minimize the stress are able to stay ahead of the competition, and sustain high performance. But it’s not easy.

Everyone manages a social network differently. It’s an intimate and personal process. We all have close connections with whom we can exchange ideas and openly vent. That’s typically not a burden on our time and attention. But in this era of digital exuberance, our social circles are growing rapidly. We need to find the signal in our niche, while filtering out the noise of a much broader network. Keeping pace requires a strategy:

8 Tips to Reduce Stress In The Face of Digital Exuberance

1) Schedule Social Sessions: Timing is everything. And quality time counts. When does your network naturally buzz with activity? If you’re a rock star, you might be inclined to check Twitter in the late evening, but if you’re into talent management and business news like me, you’re probably trolling Twitter from 7-8 a.m. Instead of trying to pay attention 24/7, pick one or two intervals each a day to dip into the stream. Don’t just “fly by” with retweets — really dive in and engage in conversations that build relationships. But when your scheduled time is up, move on. Eventually, you’ll adjust to an established rhythm, and so will those in your inner circles.

2) Take Breathing Breaks: Twitter and Facebook interactions can become surprisingly intense. Periodically, take 5 minutes to literally sit back and just follow your breath. Close your eyes, or look away from the screen. Simply being aware of how you are breathing helps regulate cortisol, the “stress-producing” hormone. Count as you inhale – one, two, three. Then hold your breath for several seconds, and exhale to the count of three. Better managing stress “in the moment” gives you more energy later, when you may need to tap into your reserves.

3) Stand Up and Stretch: Once in a while just walk away. Yes, leave the computer behind. This is important to get blood circulating in your body, which delivers more oxygen to your brain. If you prefer not to stand, push your chair away from the desk. Inhale and raise your arms above your head, clasping your hands in a “steeple” position. Look up and gaze at your hands for several moments. Then exhale slowly while your hands float gradually back down to your sides. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to shift back into business gear.

4) Hum with Purpose: That’s right — make noise. Humming actually calms the mind and body. It’s an ancient yogic technique that helps focus attention prior to meditation. The sound reverberates in your skull, and helps your brain rewire your attention. Here’s how: Plug your ears with your fingers and inhale deeply. Pause. Then as you exhale, hum for the reminder of the “out breath.” Repeat two more times. If you feel dizzy, stop. But ideally, it will help release tension and help you focus.

5) Let Filtering Tools Work for You: Sometimes we need to look beyond human behavior for help. If we opened every link that came our way we’d never sleep. Aggregation tools help consolidate and organize the chaos — news sources, blog posts, and other information sources of interest. I’ve set up Google alerts to deliver breaking news on keywords that matter most to me. For less critical topics, I receive news feeds once a week. You can use Hootsuite, Buffer Tweetdeck and Aggregation tools and dashboards to identify relevant content and create a delivery schedule that works for you.

6) Harness Hashtags: Hashtags are the fastest way to share and find relevant information on Twitter. For example, professionals who participate in the TalentCulture community share HR and business leadership knowledge by adding the #TChat hashtag to their tweets. At any moment, anyone can search for #TChat, to see the community’s latest tweets. It’s like round-the-clock access to the most popular human resources conversation on the planet. If you follow a hashtag like #TChat in your Twitter dashboard, you’ll quickly and easily find helpful peers, ideas and advice. Also, when you schedule Twitter posts, be sure to add hashtags that reflect your area of expertise. Your posts will reach people in your niche, even when you’re offline.

7) Leverage Human Relationships: Sometimes, all of us need to unplug for several days or more. When you do, plan ahead. Just because you’ll be off the grid doesn’t mean your networking must come to a standstill. Reach out to several people in your immediate network. Let them know that you’re taking a break, and ask for a little extra support in sharing your work on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — wherever you’re most active. You can even form ongoing support alliances and develop common “social back-up” guidelines. Just remember, you’re not alone.

8) Create a FOMO Free Zone: Perhaps the most important advice I can offer is to honor your social self. Competitive pressure shouldn’t drive your social brand development. Don’t let yourself become obsessed with how other people behave on social channels, or about whether volume or frequency of their activity trumps your own efforts. Whatever your message is, you’ll succeed when you deliver it through your own lens, with your own voice, to an audience that is naturally interested in you. Forget #FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!

Of course, even with healthy habits, it often feels like we’re networking at the speed of light. But hopefully these tips help you slow the pace a bit, focus on what matters, and generate more energy to fuel your social success.

Do you have tips for reducing stress and improving productivity in the age of social networking? What techniques and tools work for you? Share your ideas in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Virgin Pulse + TalentCulture Team Up To Champion Workforce Engagement

Changing The Engagement Game Together

Nearly four years ago, we launched TalentCulture on a simple premise — that talent-minded professionals can transform the “world of work” through purposeful social connections. Our vibrant community continues to grow and evolve, fueled by three core values:

•  Desire to advance the “human side” of business;
•  Passion for innovation;
•  Commitment to open collaboration.

In this spirit we welcome Virgin Pulse to the TalentCulture circle — where we’ll work hand-in-hand to help develop better business organizations from the inside out.

Virgin Pulse — Not Your Father’s Wellness Program

Virgin-Pulse

Learn more about Virgin Pulse

Part of Sir Richard Branson’s famed Virgin Group, Virgin Pulse (formerly Virgin HealthMiles) is the leading workplace health engagement platform. Every day, its “Total Quality of Life” approach empowers more than 1,000,000 participants to improve their health in ways that are meaningful, fun and sustainable. This elevates employee performance and retention, while simultaneously building stronger, more resilient organizations.

The Virgin Pulse philosophy fits naturally with TalentCulture’s emphasis on “seeing employees in 3D.” Together, we aim to advance the concept of “bringing your whole self to work.”

Everybody Plays — Everybody Wins!

What does this alliance mean for you? In the months ahead, look for TalentCulture and Virgin Pulse to:

•  Examine core engagement issues facing today’s business and HR leaders;
•  Investigate the connection between healthy employees and business performance;
•  Exchange benchmarks and insights from our respective communities;
•  Share thought leadership that is shaping engagement standards and practices.

Today’s organizational challenges are highly complex. There are no easy answers, but diverse ideas can lead to innovative solutions. That’s why we welcome everyone to the TalentCulture table — including HR technology and services vendors. We believe that this inclusive environment encourages effective problem solving, and accelerates everyone’s path to progress.

Our relationship with Virgin Pulse promises to add an exciting new level of depth and energy to the TalentCulture conversation. We invite you to join us each day on our combined social channels, as we explore workplace issues that affect us all.

(Editor’s Note:  Save the date for a very special #TChat double-header (BlogTalk Radio interview and Twitter chat) with Virgin Pulse CEO, Chris Boyce on Wednesday, October 23!)

Image Credit: by Mike Baird on Flickr

It's All Good: Employees Are People Too #TChat Recap

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”
–Elbert Hubbard

This week, the TalentCulture community pushed some buttons — as well as some boundaries — by exploring a topic that is seldom addressed openly in the world of work.

In some ways, we all struggle personally. And some of us struggle more than others. But what does that mean for our professional abilities? And why don’t organizations work more proactively to leverage the strength that can flow from our human weakness?

Celebrating The Fully Human Side Of Business

Knowing how tricky it is to navigate these mostly uncharted waters, we asked two of the HR community’s most respected thought leaders to guide us through this week’s #TChat events:

John Sumser, editor-in-chief of HR Examiner.
William Tincup, CEO of HR consultancy, Tincup & Co.

John challenged us with a compelling premise:

“All of the stuff that traditional organizations consider taboo — what if you bring it into the workplace, and figure out how to turn it into creative assets?”

William offered a business case that supports John’s premise. He noted that the process of talent acquisition is designed to eliminate outliers, in favor of a more homogenous workforce. This may make onboarding and talent management easier — but at what cost? If everyone feels obliged to conform for the sake of getting and keeping a job, are we sacrificing the diversity needed to drive world-class innovation?

Obviously, there are no simple answers — but these ideas certainly were conversation starters! After the radio show, the #TChat Twitter stream was blazing with ideas about workplace transparency, professional authenticity, and how to bring our whole selves to work.

(Editor’s Note: For highlights from this week’s discussions, see the resource links and Storify slideshow at the end of this post.)

Starting Small: Accentuate The Positive?

I realize that this week has been devoted to issues that are often repressed or rejected because they’re perceived as “negative.” But does positivity have a place in this discussion? How can leaders introduce constructive changes to create a more supportive culture for everyone? What would you do?

Alexa Thompson, a writer interested in workplace transformation, suggests these 5 ways to apply “positive psychology” principles. The goal isn’t to roll out sweeping corporate initiatives, but to initiate incremental enhancements, tailored to your particular environment. It’s about making small, simple, consistent improvements that build over time. Imagine the sort of progress we might see in personal fulfillment — as well as business innovation — if most organizations lived by these standards:

1) Practice Thankfulness the Smart Way  Employees may be motivated by many different things, but all crave recognition and praise.

2) Introduce Exercise for Fewer Sick Days and a Healthier State of Mind  Physical activity has long been known as a stress-reducer, and companies who include fitness and exercise as a part of their corporate perks generally register higher when it comes to work/life balance satisfaction.

3) Embrace Creativity  When employees are allowed and encouraged to share their thoughts, business processes can become better streamlined, new products can emerge, and communication can improve.

4) Make Use of Mentoring  Workers who feel like their company invests in their development and cares about their progress usually are more productive. They’re also more likely to remain than those who feel like just another cog in the wheel. A small effort to build knowledge-sharing connections can go a long way.

5) Engage a Happiness Trainer  Happiness trainers draw on psychological research and ancient traditions to teach inner peace, gratitude, kindness and resiliency in the face of adversity — of which there is plenty in today’s workplace.

Has your company tried any of these suggestions? What might work best in your environment, and why? For more ideas from this week’s #TChat interactions, see the resource links and Storify highlights below. This is clearly a topic we’ve only begun to explore, so let’s keep the conversation going. Share your ideas in the comments below, or post in the #TChat stream. In our world of work, everyone is welcome, all the time!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Daylight In The Dark Side Of Talent

SUN 9/29:

JohnSumser

Watch the preview hangout with John Sumser

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed the topic in a post and a brief video interview with guest, John Sumser. Read the #TChat Preview: “Finding Daylight In The Dark Side Of Talent.”

MON 9/30:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro outlined 5 issues for business leaders should be more open and authentic to achieve better business performance. Read: “5 Ways To Keep It Real At Work.”

WED 10/2:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen now to the #TChat Radio Show

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman sat down with John Sumser and William Tincup for an unstructured discussion about norms and biases that keep organizations from making the most of employees who are struggling personally. Listen to the radio recording now

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, hundreds of community members gathered around the #TChat Twitter stream for an open-ended conversation about these issues. As you can imagine, the topic sparked a broad range of opinions, questions and ideas. For highlights from the event, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Engaging The Dark Side Of Workplace Effectiveness

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-engaging-the-dark-side-of-workplac.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to William Tincup and John Sumser for shining a #TChat light on this topic. We look forward to continuing to explore this topic in more depth along with you in the future!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about how to organizations can be more effective at accepting and empowering employees as “whole” humans? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week is a very special week for the HR community, and for #TChat Events, too! If you’re attending the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, join us for a LIVE #TChat Roundtable, as a panel of experts gathers to take on employee engagement!

And next Wednesday we won’t host a radio show — but we will be hitting the #TChat Twitter stream for a lively chat about Age Discrimination in Today’s Workplace, along with Steve Levy and Heather Bussing. Watch for details here in the coming days.

Until then, we’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay

It’s All Good: Employees Are People Too #TChat Recap

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”
–Elbert Hubbard

This week, the TalentCulture community pushed some buttons — as well as some boundaries — by exploring a topic that is seldom addressed openly in the world of work.

In some ways, we all struggle personally. And some of us struggle more than others. But what does that mean for our professional abilities? And why don’t organizations work more proactively to leverage the strength that can flow from our human weakness?

Celebrating The Fully Human Side Of Business

Knowing how tricky it is to navigate these mostly uncharted waters, we asked two of the HR community’s most respected thought leaders to guide us through this week’s #TChat events:

John Sumser, editor-in-chief of HR Examiner.
William Tincup, CEO of HR consultancy, Tincup & Co.

John challenged us with a compelling premise:

“All of the stuff that traditional organizations consider taboo — what if you bring it into the workplace, and figure out how to turn it into creative assets?”

William offered a business case that supports John’s premise. He noted that the process of talent acquisition is designed to eliminate outliers, in favor of a more homogenous workforce. This may make onboarding and talent management easier — but at what cost? If everyone feels obliged to conform for the sake of getting and keeping a job, are we sacrificing the diversity needed to drive world-class innovation?

Obviously, there are no simple answers — but these ideas certainly were conversation starters! After the radio show, the #TChat Twitter stream was blazing with ideas about workplace transparency, professional authenticity, and how to bring our whole selves to work.

(Editor’s Note: For highlights from this week’s discussions, see the resource links and Storify slideshow at the end of this post.)

Starting Small: Accentuate The Positive?

I realize that this week has been devoted to issues that are often repressed or rejected because they’re perceived as “negative.” But does positivity have a place in this discussion? How can leaders introduce constructive changes to create a more supportive culture for everyone? What would you do?

Alexa Thompson, a writer interested in workplace transformation, suggests these 5 ways to apply “positive psychology” principles. The goal isn’t to roll out sweeping corporate initiatives, but to initiate incremental enhancements, tailored to your particular environment. It’s about making small, simple, consistent improvements that build over time. Imagine the sort of progress we might see in personal fulfillment — as well as business innovation — if most organizations lived by these standards:

1) Practice Thankfulness the Smart Way  Employees may be motivated by many different things, but all crave recognition and praise.

2) Introduce Exercise for Fewer Sick Days and a Healthier State of Mind  Physical activity has long been known as a stress-reducer, and companies who include fitness and exercise as a part of their corporate perks generally register higher when it comes to work/life balance satisfaction.

3) Embrace Creativity  When employees are allowed and encouraged to share their thoughts, business processes can become better streamlined, new products can emerge, and communication can improve.

4) Make Use of Mentoring  Workers who feel like their company invests in their development and cares about their progress usually are more productive. They’re also more likely to remain than those who feel like just another cog in the wheel. A small effort to build knowledge-sharing connections can go a long way.

5) Engage a Happiness Trainer  Happiness trainers draw on psychological research and ancient traditions to teach inner peace, gratitude, kindness and resiliency in the face of adversity — of which there is plenty in today’s workplace.

Has your company tried any of these suggestions? What might work best in your environment, and why? For more ideas from this week’s #TChat interactions, see the resource links and Storify highlights below. This is clearly a topic we’ve only begun to explore, so let’s keep the conversation going. Share your ideas in the comments below, or post in the #TChat stream. In our world of work, everyone is welcome, all the time!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Daylight In The Dark Side Of Talent

SUN 9/29:

JohnSumser

Watch the preview hangout with John Sumser

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed the topic in a post and a brief video interview with guest, John Sumser. Read the #TChat Preview: “Finding Daylight In The Dark Side Of Talent.”

MON 9/30:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro outlined 5 issues for business leaders should be more open and authentic to achieve better business performance. Read: “5 Ways To Keep It Real At Work.”

WED 10/2:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen now to the #TChat Radio Show

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman sat down with John Sumser and William Tincup for an unstructured discussion about norms and biases that keep organizations from making the most of employees who are struggling personally. Listen to the radio recording now

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, hundreds of community members gathered around the #TChat Twitter stream for an open-ended conversation about these issues. As you can imagine, the topic sparked a broad range of opinions, questions and ideas. For highlights from the event, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Engaging The Dark Side Of Workplace Effectiveness

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-engaging-the-dark-side-of-workplac.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to William Tincup and John Sumser for shining a #TChat light on this topic. We look forward to continuing to explore this topic in more depth along with you in the future!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about how to organizations can be more effective at accepting and empowering employees as “whole” humans? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week is a very special week for the HR community, and for #TChat Events, too! If you’re attending the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, join us for a LIVE #TChat Roundtable, as a panel of experts gathers to take on employee engagement!

And next Wednesday we won’t host a radio show — but we will be hitting the #TChat Twitter stream for a lively chat about Age Discrimination in Today’s Workplace, along with Steve Levy and Heather Bussing. Watch for details here in the coming days.

Until then, we’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Disasters And Digital News: 5 Ways To Cope At Work

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all. We will forever fondly remember her humor, warmth and wisdom.)

(Origianl Editor’s Note: With the D.C. Navy shipyard shootings, and the recent anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we’re reminded of the stressful effects that 24×7 news cycles can have on employee wellbeing. Here’s timeless advice from a stress management expert.)

This past spring brought a trifecta of tragic news to our nation — arguably throwing a painful monkey wrench of digital disruption into everyone’s work-life merge. Whether it was the Boston Marathon bombings, the devastating Midwest floods, or the fertilizer plant explosion that flattened the town of West, Texas, many of us were alerted to these events within minutes, and had to cope with the news while at work.

Chances are, no matter what headline appeared on your digital device or computer monitor, it had an impact on your emotional well-being — perhaps even eliciting a visceral response. This real-time digital disruption has now reared its head as the latest workplace stressor that both employees and employers must contend with. It’s one example of what I call “The Technology Paradox.”

What do I mean by paradox? It’s simple. The same technology that helps us keep in touch with family members, communicate with business colleagues, and stay on top of work projects also can deliver an instant punch to the gut in the form of disturbing news. It acts as an assault to the nervous system, creating tension that can diminish work performance.

Bad News And The Mind/Body Connection

Think back for a moment. How did you feel when you heard last spring’s harrowing headlines? Did you experience a mix of sadness, fear and concern? Perhaps your heart raced, your blood pressure spiked or you became short of breath. After-the-fact, putting a lot of energy into thinking about those events can also cause stress and anxiety that linger as ongoing tension.

Even a quick jolt of disturbing news can elicit an intense “fight-or-flight” response that releases adrenaline and cortisol into the blood stream. An unexpected breaking news event can rapidly trigger a stress response in the minds and emotions of people throughout an organization. Although humans are fairly resilient, and the stress response typically subsides within an hour, long-term consequences can develop. For example, studies show that elevated and chronic levels of cortisol can interfere with learning, memory, concentration, the immune system, digestion and metabolism.

So, what does this mean for a workforce that is “always on” in an era of 24×7 global news access? In a today’s competitive, social workplace, where computers and personal devices are ubiquitous, responding to breaking news requires awareness and guidelines that are beneficial to the rank and file. Even as recently as a decade ago, things were different. News traveled fast, but not in the “real time” marketplace that now exists. It’s wise for business managers to take this new workplace stressor into consideration. What to do?

5 Ways To Reduce Stress In The Face Of Breaking News

1) Acknowledge the event: Ignoring traumatic news only keeps feelings bottled up — or forces discussion to go underground. Quick, open acknowledgement provides a foundation for others to express an appropriate level of human concern.

2) Talking about it is OK: Continuous online and offline “water-cooler” discussions will naturally occur in the wake of catastrophic events. That’s human nature. Sharing opinions or feelings can be helpful. However, it’s important not to allow yourself, your team or your colleagues to become consumed by conversations that relive the events.

3) Be sensitive to coworkers: You may not know if a coworker is personally affected by the tragedy. Be thoughtful about how you speak about the event, and with whom.

4) Limit information intake: You may be tempted to follow a story closely after the initial news breaks. However, constantly checking on the latest developments wastes time, and can keep you locked in a vicious cycle of needless stress. If your work decisions or immediate personal life aren’t affected by having access to continuous coverage, then limit your intake — and encourage others to do so, as well.

5) Take time to digest, rest and build resilience: When disaster first strikes, attention spans immediately plummet. Be easy on yourself and co-workers as you regain firm footing. For some, a few moments of breathing, contemplation or a brief walk can go a long way toward processing the event. After the initial shock subsides, engaging in ongoing resilience-building activities can help reduce external sensory stress. Regular meditation, exercise or just listening to calming music can flip your energy and mind to a more grounded view, and away from ongoing drama.

How do you and your organization respond to tragic news in today’s “always on” environment? What ideas do you suggest for others who want to stay aware of news support victims, while remaining focused and productive?

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome. Learn more...)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Digital Breaks: Rethinking Connectivity #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full review of this week’s events and resources? Read: “Your Digital Domain: Who’s The Boss? #TChat Recap.”)

Reset Connections — Reclaim Your Life?

How did you manage your digital footprint during the July 4th holiday? Did you keep your communication channels open? Did you selectively time-out? Or did you leave it all behind and go “off the grid”? Whatever your level of connectedness — how well did that work for you, personally and professionally?

When it’s time for a vacation, are the tools and technologies that make it incredibly easy to connect with others making it incredibly difficult for you to walk away? If so, you’re not alone. Finding the perfect digital fit isn’t easy for any of us in today’s hyper-connected world of work.

Busier: Not Always Better

So, in an era where vacation time is rapidly vanishing, and digital demands are all around us, what can we do to improve our productivity, our peace of mind, and our sense of professional power? Furthermore, what can business leaders and managers do to encourage individuals and teams to optimize their work-life fit?

As summer kicks into high gear, these issues are top-of-mind across the TalentCulture community. It’s a perfect time to discuss solutions. And that’s why we’ve asked two social-media savvy work-life experts to guide us at #TChat forums this week:

#TChat Sneak Peek Video

To kick-off this week’s conversation, Judy joined me for a quick G+ Hangout, where she recommended a smart summer course-of-action:

So tell us…how would you define the ideal “vacation” in today’s hyper-connected world of work? If you could shift your digital work habits to reduce your stress and improve your productivity, what would you change? This is one topic that we all understand. So, please join us, and bring your concerns, ideas and suggestions!

#TChat Events: Digital Vacation vs. Digital Redux

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, July 10 at 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Judy and Heidi team-up for a interview with our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman. Listen live and dial-in with your questions and feedback!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, July 10 at 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, our conversation with Judy opens wide, as she moderates our community discussion on the #TChat stream. We welcome anyone with a Twitter account to join us, as we exchange ideas about these questions:

Q1: Do you (or can you) disconnect from your digital “hive mind”? Why or why not?

Q2: How do we get more time with family, friends and colleagues without compromising our work?

Q3: How does the enterprise balance our personal freedoms and online security issues?

Q4: What can leaders do to encourage digital vacations/resets without compromising productivity?

Q5: What technologies today help us connect and disconnect simultaneously? Good/bad?

To prepare for our discussion, check out Meghan M. Biro’s post at Forbes.com: The Digital Realities of Work/Life Blending. Also, throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Work, Life and Peace: #TChat Recap

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all. We will forever fondly remember her humor, warmth and wisdom.)

The TalentCulture World of Work community was rockin the Twitter stream yesterday, as #TChat-ters tackled the elusive quest for work-life balance. But before we delve into the pearls of wisdom that emerged from the chat, I’m happy to report some community news.

There’s an evolution taking place in the overall scope and reach of TalentCulture, as we move forward into our 3rd year. It’s not just about our popular Wednesday night Twitter chats, anymore. You may be noticing more content and channel choices, along with increased social media momentum. This action is purposeful – intended to add value for every one of us who participates in the weekly chats. We hope this enriches your community experience, and inspires you to invite others to participate. The more the merrier – and the richer, more diverse and more rewarding everyone’s experience will be.

“Work Life Week” in Review

#TChat Highlights

NOTE: To see specific highlights from yesterday’s “work life balance” #TChat session, watch the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.

Click to hear this week’s #TChat Radio interview

The #TChat crew came out of the gate with a discussion on how we track competing priorities in today’s social world and the types of HR technology that are crucial for prioritizing and relationship building. How do we use technology to separate the wheat from the chaff, and infuse meaning into our relationships without drowning in sensory overload?

Multiple people mentioned Yammer – a tool that makes it possible for businesses to create their own social networking sites and incorporate tools to help streamline workflows. This seems to be a big favorite for organizing technology and communications, although some said Yammer isn’t fully understood yet, and its capacity to organize still seems to be unfolding.

Most surprising, when speaking about planning and organizing ideas, classic paper “sticky notes” entered the discussion. It provided a chuckle and an interesting application of caveman like ideas melding with technology. Other ideas for ways to better manage workload and minimize stress included the simplicity of saying “no” to something that will only bring stress with it, and the need to recognize and respond when poor planning and others’ decisions have a direct impact your work.

A resounding proportion of contributors agreed that we are humans who are deeply connected “in real time” with and through our mobile devices.  Many extolled the virtues of virtual work environments and tools. For example, social media phone apps truly make life more livable, with work at our fingertips. But what constitutes smart usage? How do we control what I call the “expectation of instant gratification” when that bell tolls on the phone?

That led to the idea that too often, we get caught up in business demands and lose sight of the “people” part of the work equation. Perhaps it is possible to enjoy a superior quality of life and still be productive. This prompted discussion around balancing our working and living experience with more consciousness. How? Lots of talk about meditation, deep breathing (which I endorse, as you can see in the attached video), and taking time to move beyond the virtual realm and meet work contacts in person.

Staying focused is a skill, but being mindful of the choices we make is also a decision. Sometimes, the very technology that connects us also allows just enough separation between work and family so that we can accomplish several goals from both worlds, almost simultaneously.

The question is, how far can we push that without suffering the downside consequences of multitasking? Ah, now that’s the ontological question of our #TChat times. And each of us is ultimately responsible for finding the best answer for our skills, sensibility and situation. The answer is not just about external tools, structure and processes. Ultimately, the answer comes from within.

#  #  #

NOTE: To see specific highlights from yesterday’s “work life balance” #TChat session, watch the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.

#  #  #

Closing Notes & Highlights Slideshow

Did you miss the #TChat preview? Look here.

SPECIAL THANKS from TalentCulture to Judy Martin (who also wrote the recap above) and Cali Williams Yost – the stars of this week’s #TChat triple-header” (Google Hangout – BlogTalkRadio – Twitter Chat). You bring passion and insight to every interaction. Thanks for your commitment and contributions to our community!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: If this #TChat session inspired you to write about social learning or the value of work life balance, we’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (at #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll add it to our archives. There are many voices in this community, with many ideas worth sharing. Let’s capture as many of them as possible.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Join us next week, as we get into the spirit of the season with a very special theme, “Organizations and Social Good.” Tune in to #TChat Radio on Tuesday, Dec 11 at 7:30pm ET, when Mashable Community Manager Meghan Peters, and SVP of Social Impact at The Huffington Post/AOL, Brian Sirgutz talk with Kevin and Meghan about how organizations express gratitude and share with employees and the community at-large. Then join the #TChat  Twitter discussion on Wednesday, Dec 12, 7-8pm ET to share your ideas and opinions. Look for a full preview early next week via @TalentCulture and #TChat. Thanks!

Image Credit: Julia Freeman-Woolpert at stock.xchng

#TChat INSIGHTS Slide Show: Work Life Balance

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-the-quaint-notion-of-work-life-bal.js?template=slideshow”]

 

#TChat INSIGHTS: The Quaint Notion of Work Life Balance

Storified by TalentCulture · Thu, Dec 06 2012 07:23:05

#socialhrcamp and #TWI (tweeting while intoxicated)… #tchat influencer http://pic.twitter.com/5MjfkxXOlevyrecruits
Consumers are brand ambassadors. – #Recruiting 3.0 @jeffreytmoore @meghanmbiro at #socialhrcamp #tchat http://pic.twitter.com/UeHIdBXJSocialSalima
Q1 How do u teach competing priorities in today’s high tech social world? #tchatJudy Martin
A1. Having individual, office and division goals helps me deal with competing priorities #tchatGuy Davis
A1: The ability to optimize ideation, focus and to learn to use stressors and challenges to catalyze potential is real #tchatIrene Becker
A1: I believe that we have not even touched the surface of what we can do/accomplish while enjoying quality of life #tchatIrene Becker
A1. Dear 3M, Do you have a gig for a professional stickie user? #tchatMichael Clark
Love those stickies! :) MT @ReCenterMoment: A1 I do my absolute best thinking while running & track by writing notes on stickies #tchatExpertus
A1. Stickies and pen: Never leave home without them. #tchatMichael Clark
A1. if you say yes, give a realistic timeline so you arent left overwhelmed and scrambling #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1. I do my absolute best thinking while running, tracking by stopping to write notes on stickies. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: Lists help – know what you want to accomplish and check your progress in the moment of choice #tchatAlli Polin
A1. I have a desk in my office dedicated to stickies. #tchatMichael Clark
A1. I have lists, lists for my lists, digital lists for my paper lists, paper lists for my digital lists. #tchatMichael Clark
A1 As an #ENFP I’ve had to learn to embrace lists. Hate them. But have to have them. #TChatChina Gorman
A1: Say “No” and Keep Good Relations #tchatNissrine Ghannoum
A1: If an email really can’t wait, someone will pick up the phone or come find you. #tchatAlli Polin
A1..try to do everything and you end up doing nothing..that has always served me well #tchatTrevor Acedne
A1. Research has proven that we spend half our time head tripping (spacing out) #tchatMichael Clark
A1 Focus on your output:what outcome is important to you & then break it down into small steps – mini actions that will get you there #tchatPrabhjit |KaurSkills
A1: If you try to do everything… most will not be your best effort – turn off to focus #tchatAlli Polin
A1. Where is your attention and energy flowing moment-to-moment. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: Set a couple of specific times during the day to answer emails and return phone calls. #TChatRobert Rojo
A1. The most essential skill: tracking moment-to-moment attention and energy. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: Competing priorities? This is where a great team matters – both in and out of the office #tchatAlli Polin
A1. You would not believe how far away from the short-term goal I can get in seven minutes. #tchatMichael Clark
A1. Mary Ellen showed me @Basecamp and I’m a little in love w/ the collaboration. Other than that, Project Pro is my best friend. #TChatCrystal Miller
A1: Have a schedule, know your priorities, be able to multitask and put out fires! #TChatRobert Rojo
A1. I’m using seven-minute timer on my phone. Set goal, hit timer, asses what happened when alarm sounds. Repeat. #tchatMichael Clark
I hear you!! +1 MIL @gingerconsult: A1: Boundaries – no is not a dirty word when you need to keep to task #tchatMeghan M. Biro
A1 you don’t teach competing priorites. You teach being effective, in that moment, moving on. Some self-knowledge re energy helps. #tchatFranny Oxford
A1 Focus and finish. #tchatRoger Veliquette
A1: Competing priorities always come down to choice – you can’t be the one to do it all #tchatAlli Polin
A1: Set priorities for yourself. Handle the most important ones first. #tchatRob McGahen
A1: Boundaries – no is not a dirty word when you need to keep to task #tchatJen Olney
@rezlady A1 My priorities are not in competition; they are more like in rank-and-file. #tchatSheree Van Vreede
A1. I must continuously recenter my performance, real-time tracking as I go. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: Priorities don’t compete if you know at your core what’s most important to do in any moment, and why. #TChatMaya Mathias
A1: When competing priorities are interactions IRL & the bing of your phone, be a role model & ignore it #tchatAlli Polin
A1: strategic priorities shldnt change due to tech, but tactical execution will. #tchatStephen Van Vreede
A1 Make planning a priority over firefighting. Let a few fires burn for a minute. #tchatRoger Veliquette
A1. Otherwise, same as it ever was: Teach preparation in outlining goals, prepare workspace, prioritize, assign deadlines/plan time #TChatCrystal Miller
A1) Competing priorities – gives you the test first and learn the lessons later. #tchatTom Spiglanin
A1: Priorities…what is most important and needs to be addressed gets done first and foremost #tchatJen Olney
A1 multitasking often seems like self imposed attention deficit disorder. #TChatChina Gorman
A1: Leaders at all levels must MODEL what they preach – walk the walk! It benefits the whole organization!!! #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A1. Moment-to-moment performance tracking has never been more challenging. #tchatMichael Clark
A1. Theoretically, the “high-tech” should make it a little easier to collaborate during prioritization phase. In Theory. #TChatCrystal Miller
A1 Impossible to teach multitasking anymore. Important tasks float to the top of the pile. People have to come talk to me now #TChatEnzo Guardino
A1. I have a schedule. I try to stick to it. This ensures I don’t forget anything but also makes sure I don’t over do it #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1: Figure out the highest priority and tackle that and go from there. #tchatRob McGahen
A1. in a age where instant gratification makes you feel like everything needs to be done RIGHT then, you have to set boundaries #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1: You don’t need to teach multitasking…and if you need to learn, you’re already too late. Ask your iPad wielding toddler. #TChatTalent Generation
Q2 What kind of HR Tech could you not live without, and how has it changed relationship building and productivity for you? #TchatJudy Martin
A2 maybe we should do a #TChat on leveraging Yammer! Sounds like lots of experience in group. #TchatCali Williams Yost
A2. Tech, like all opportunities and challenges, is a gigantic energetic opportunity to transform our performance. #tchatMichael Clark
A2 At the moment LinkedIn mobile app. Productivity Faster way to reach more people in merging markets (BRIC) #TChatSimplestream
A2 follow the medium that best engages individuals & preference – HR systems for operational tasks i.e pay & mail,phone,virtual meets #tchatPrabhjit |KaurSkills
A2. Tech and twitter are making me more aware of my power of attention. #tchatMichael Clark
A2. People before tech, and everything else for that matter (including $$$) #tchatMichael Clark
Oops meant to say A2 to my last answer. Not Q2! Sorry! First time participating in chat on iPhone! Tech I love but not perfect. #TchatCali Williams Yost
A2. We must never fo
rget that at best tech helps people. #tchatMichael Clark
A2 except for twitter chats & promoting brand, I don’t use twitter all that much any more. Facebook more fun. #TchatChina Gorman
A2. Behind every device is a beautiful human being with a story. #tchatMichael Clark
A2: in a widely dispersed and decentralized organization I am finding MS SharePoint to be invaluable in creating sense of community #tchatmatthew papuchis
A2: Online market surveys provide access to several “binders of data” in the comfort of your laptop. #tchatSalary School
A2 I can lead workshops at 3, 4, 5am and then go running, come home and take a nap until 8am when my “real” day begins #TChatMelissa Lamson
A2: I would find it difficult to live without social media as I believe it is a critical learning tool & opp to better orgs & wrld #tchatIrene Becker
A2. Smartphone, Google tablet, Laptop or desktop, I need them all have to connect to So Me and email to do my job #tchatGuy Davis
A2 #webex #gotomeeting all online teaching tools #TChatMelissa Lamson
@judymartin8 A2. Hard to argue against mobile phones as the most impactful piece of technology. #tchatJason Ebbing
A2: not “Hr tech” but phone and Skype still best for true client engagement #TChatStephen Van Vreede
A2. I can’t do without #Twitter, and I’ve only been here four months. #tchatMichael Clark
A2. social HR/online talent communities have helped me really learn more about my candidates outside of their resume. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2 @TheOneCrystal is right. In terms of hardware, can’t live w/out my smartphone. #TChatChina Gorman
A2. I COULD live without all of it, but the #smartphone sure has made my life easier, more fun, & much more socially connected #TChatCrystal Miller
A2: Online calendar in which I can maintain both work and personal commitments – everything in one place. #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A2 not in #HR but can’t live without my social media apps to stay connected to my brilliant friends. #TChatChina Gorman
A2. oh, and @wilsonhcg has a great ATS platform that I most def. couldn’t function without on a daily basis :) #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2 Can’t live without our proprietary Web Apps. Makes dealing with 3,000+ employees home/abroad a doddle. Months of work now in days #TChatEnzo Guardino
A2. social HR tech, online talent communities, thought leadership groups, web based platform like @adp #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2: Some form of a computer. It’s easy for me to stay organized with an electronic calendar. #tchatRob McGahen
Q3 Hyperconnectivity is expected for those communicating in the world of work. How do you separate the signal/noise? #TChatJudy Martin
A3. Rhythm of performance transformation: see-assess-transform, see-assess-transform… for the rest of our lives… #tchatMichael Clark
A3. We’ve got to dig psychological ditches until the Seeing Moment strikes. #tchatMichael Clark
A3. Interesting response to Q3 – split between ‘sit back/observe/quieten your mind’ and ‘turn it off/avoid’. #TChatMaya Mathias
A3. We must realize that “work-life balance” is a hazy idea in our minds creating unnecessary stress, tension and unhappiness. #tchatMichael Clark
A3: The energy I use to complete projects (using tech or not) is how it is perceived. When I cannot give good attention, I rest #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A3: Balance is impossible if you spend all of your spare time decoding… get clear on what matters most #tchatAlli Polin
A3 Pause – always helps matters be put into perspective – reflect – identify who can help – be supportive & signpost – don’t indulge #tchatPrabhjit |KaurSkills
A3. FB: Whatever. LinkedIn: Sales directory and pipeline. Twitter: Real-time engagement and transformation. #tchatMichael Clark
A3 Stay focused on what’s important to you. Waste your time & it will show. Every tree bears the fruit of it’s labor. #tchatBeverly Davis
A3: I set my intention with each project, and use tech to support the *intention* with my *attention* #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A3: Noise adds to our stress, signal pulls us in to the conversation because we connect #tchatAlli Polin
A3 Be Human! You cn be active online and for work but- think about how long this tech had been around #simplicity #TchatMegan Rene Burkett
A3 – as a communications professional this is a question I ask myself everyday. It’s always a moving target too #tchatmatthew papuchis
A3 Turn off all devices for at least a few hours every day. Connect with your friends & family without distractions. #tchatHolly Chessman
A3. Speed reading and selective hearing helps :) #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3: Don’t get mired in the crap that surrounds you at work. It just wastes your time. #tchatRob McGahen
A3: Sit back and observe and learn first – then strategize. #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A3. Do you know how to stop thoughts? #tchatMichael Clark
A3. You want to cut down noise in your life? Stop thoughts, silence your mind. #tchatMichael Clark
A3. I’m OCD about deleting/archiving things. I do not want to see a ton of messages in my inbox/text #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3 block time in your calendar 4 hobbies, friends, down-time, kissing your partner… #TChatMelissa Lamson
A3. Sometimes have to tune out or not respond to everything simultaneously. #tchatTerri Klass
A3) Be clear on time-sink vs value add… for me FB is usually time-sink #tchatAlli Polin
A3: Understanding the task at hand can help you avoid dealing with the garbage (and most of it is garbage). #tchatRob McGahen
A3. We can only do one thing per moment. One moment, one thing, one moment, one thing… Track that. #tchatMichael Clark
A3: Most of it is just noise. Learn to ignore it. #tchatRob McGahen
There is no replacement for face to face. @EnZzzoo A3 Multitasking is out. If I’m meeting face-to-face I try to avoid tech… #TChatRoger Veliquette
A3: Schedule time on different mediums – focus. #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A3: The only way to separate the signal from the noise is by avoiding being baited by questions like that one. #TChatMatt Charney
A3. screen the signals – determine quickly if it is relevant – pass on what isn’t and focus on what is #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3 Grabbing meditative moments for some deep breathing – it reduces heart rate and stress instead of shooting from the hip. #TchatJudy Martin
A3: Know what matters to you. SoMe isn’t just about chatting it up (well, for some it is) #tchatAlli Polin
A3. For me signal is an employer like many of you who needs recruiting svcs, noise is all those people trying to sell me stuff #tchatGuy Davis
A3: Focus on one at a time and limit the time on each #SM #TChatLori~TranslationLady
A3: Cut through the BS…if it doesn’t help you be efficient and productive, it is not worth the time #tchatJen Olney
A3. When I can’t think anymore? I shut it off. But truly, I don’t try to “filter” all that much – I tend to take in what I need to. #TChatCrystal Miller
A3 Multitasking is out. If I’m meeting face-to-face I try to avoid tech…only pen & paper. Slower pace but it’s more personal #TChatEnzo Guardino
A3: Be your own best filter of signal/noise. Configure & have filtering tools serve you, not the other way around. #TChatMaya Mathias
A3: Know what matters most in life/work, then invest time/energy there. The rest will come back around if it’s impt. #TChatMaya Mathias
Q4 We have to train others in what I call the CCC – co-creation of a conscious conversation about boundaries and priorities – #Tchat.Judy Martin
A4. We take an
annual two-week retreat to Big Sur, CA without devices and internet connections. #tchatMichael Clark
A4 So is it up to me to control expectation & admit what will be compromised by giving in to the ‘now’? > @ReCenterMoment #tchat”Prabhjit |KaurSkills
A4. We live with a subtle and persistent tension and expectation to be connected. #tchatMichael Clark
A4. Everyone (including me and you) wants everything NOW. #tchatMichael Clark
A4. There needs to be a universal change in expectations. We need to create more realistic turnaround times. #tchatTerri Klass
A4. Large, medium, small organizations and educational communities are looking at Tech-SoMe saying: Now what are we supposed to do? #tchatMichael Clark
A4: Hard lessons in circadian rhythm shifts and learning to manage those boundaries. #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A4: Global teams push us more towards checking email in the middle of the night #tchatAlli Polin
A4: I have had clients who have dropped the ball on projects, resulting in my having to live w/o sleep to finish by deadline~UGH! #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A4: I’ve worked w/recruiters that call me (candidate) 20 minutes after sending me their email asking if I got their msg #fail #tchatAlli Polin
A4: It’s common to jump to a solution! I’ve done it lots of times, in professional and personal life. I’ve learned to slow down. #tchatMark Salke
A4. It would be helpful if everyone had a better understanding of the natural cycles of human performance. #tchatMichael Clark
A4: I should have walked away b4 tak’g last job. Choppy recruitg was a precursor to poor mgt. #tchatbillallemon
A4 I am human, an individual it makes me sad that the immediacy of a response would ruin a relationship- I don’t do the work of a Dr. #tchatMegan Rene Burkett
A4: In a world where a four hour delay ticks people off, it’s hard not to annoy some folks #tchatAlli Polin
A4: Don’t get back to me? No problem, I’m moving on without you. #tchatRob McGahen
A4 Lost business opportunity to secure CEO due to lack of enough timely information to make a qualified decision.#TChatSimplestream
A4 I hear everyday about the frustration of not getting timely valuable/usuable feedback #tchatCASUDI
A4. I once forwarded a job reclassification request without having all the data. That cost me bigtime. NEVER again. #tchatGuy Davis
A4 Often about sensemaking – interpretation & expectation, which on reflection is about listening to the request & understanding need #tchatPrabhjit |KaurSkills
A4: I have delays due to time differences & tech overload… set expectations with clients up front (re: time) #tchatAlli Polin
A4: Cannot go backward…learn from mistakes and disappointments and move forward. #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A4: There are times when some react in the heat of the moment without thinking about the response – that is problematic #tchatJen Olney
@gingerconsult @judymartin8 A4: The best answer is the right answer. Next best, a wrong answer. The only wrong answer is no answer. #tchatTodd MacGrath
A4: I think many ppl fall victim to knee jerk reactions and technology has exacerbated this. When in doubt, use old 24-hour rule #tchatmatthew papuchis
A4: I can’t see ‘too early’ being a problem, unless doing something too quick yields mistakes. #tchatRob McGahen
A4 Over the years, I’ve learned the wisdom of slowing down & reflecting before responding. It continues to pay off, even in crises. #TChatMaya Mathias
A4 Not asking the right questions isn’t the fault of soc med or tech. #TChatChina Gorman
A4 I’m nerdy & squeeze a lot from tech. Often business partners can’t keep up. I do a lot of back-peddling but not a massive problem #TChatEnzo Guardino
A4. I’ve had plenty of employees upset with me if their managers didn’t approve payroll before lock out. never a good situation. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A4.yes!just posted a blog today about candidates needing to be more responsive otherwise another candidate will snatch your dream job #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A4: I’ve been slow to respond to people that get caught in my stream. Unintentional but do they feel slighted? #tchatAlli Polin

                                              Q5: What are the steps you use to deepen, improve your relationships in today’s world of work?

A5 Be authentic. People know and feel when you are true to what you believe. #TChatLori~TranslationLady
A5. 140 characters can be transparent, revealing people in profound ways. #tchatMichael Clark
A5. don’t let titles scare you.people are people-just talk to them openly.You’ll be surprised how laid back high status people can be #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5 Show you care & really are interested /want their success #tchatCASUDI
A5. Be authentic. Let people know what you care about. Then be sure to ask them too. #tchatTerri Klass
A5. Lose your fear of engaging people that you find interesting. We are all the same! #tchatMichael Clark
A5. FOLLOW UP QUESTIONS. don’t let conversation die. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: Locate those who want more than a virtual friend or retweets and show ’em I care #TchatMegan Rene Burkett
A5. Step one: Engage via SoMe. Step two: Engage via phone/skype. Step three: Engage IRL #tchatMichael Clark
A5. be yourself, say what you want, be open. you’ll find people w similar values who want to engage in convo with you #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: Talk to people! Be yourself. But don’t forget to get the job done. #tchatRob McGahen
A5. F2F mtgs outside the office for coffee or lunch and discuss needs of their (univ) dept. and how career ctr can help #tchatGuy Davis
A5: Old-school phone conversations and real-life meetings trump all else. Clients love knowing they can trust you! #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A5: Get to know WHO people are, not only WHAT they do #tchatAlli Polin
A5. I look forward to collaborating professionally with many of you. We have important work to do. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: Same thing I did without tech- show the real me, stimulate meaningful dialogue, continually chat with my soul mates :D #TChatMegan Rene Burkett
A5: Getting out from behind the desk, talking to ppl, try to learn and find out what’s going on in their lives. #TChatRobert Rojo
A5: Focus on giving rather than receiving. #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A5: Focus on giving more than receiving. #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A5: Be consistently transparent & genuine at work = better chance of reciprocity of same by co-workers. Relationships Improve #TChatKeith C Rogers
A5. #TChat’s taking engagement and collaboration off devices and into real-time-real-life. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: Being present, listening deeply & keeping it real. #TChatMaya Mathias
A5. If i’ve completed my work early I make sure I ask other coworkers “how can I help you” they appreciate it. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: IRL is a gift – maximize the time together. #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A5: Pay it forward. Always. #TChatMatt Charney
A5 Join a company based on its culture and values and if they align with yours. The relationships will develop easily after that. #TChatTheJobChaser
A5 Be helpful, supportive & giving without expectation. Engage & build trust. Work together & value team input. Be yourself. Inspire #tchatPrabhjit |KaurSkills
A5. Go out to lunch or coffee and share non-work stuff. #tchatTerri Klass
A5. I try to participate in employee engagement situations: I.e. volunteering, ornament exchange, s
ocial media team competitions #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5. Best way to improve relationships in world of work: Don’t stop engaging. Ever. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: continue to learn, understand and appreciate different cultures, etc. to show respect for colleagues and clients around globe #tchatmatthew papuchis
A5: Doing the best job possible is the best thing you can do. #tchatRob McGahen
A5. Tweetchats are a great way to get to know others and their views. #tchatTerri Klass
A5. I work remotely so it’s extremely important to pick up the phone (even for something stupid) and actually talk to someone #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: Focused listening – Intently listening to the person speaking rather than preparing my next comment #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
a5: Focus plays a huge part! Giving other people my focused attention matters #tchatAlli Polin
A5: This doesn’t always work, but I never take myself ‘too’ seriously. #tchatMark Salke
A5. I try not to get too sucked into my black hole of work and occasionally “step out” and engage in casual conversation #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5 There is no substitute for IRL #tchatCASUDI
A5: Make real time for real connection: listen, respond, ask questions… #tchatAlli Polin
A5. Being present, listening deeply and keeping it real. #TChatMaya Mathias
A5 I call my recipe “POLARITIES” > Politeness, Clarity, Smilies. :-) My correspondence blueprint…friendly and to the point #TChatEnzo Guardino
A5. Go beyond the twitter picture. Let others know me personally, not only the brand I represent. Though I do love my company. :) #TChatLexie Forman Ortiz

The Quaint Notion of Work-Life Balance: #TChat Preview

I was at a meeting the other day and this person who was carrying a laptop bumped into me — checking her email, she wasn’t looking where she was going. The part that sticks with me is that she wasn’t really phased. No, she laughed it off as a by-product of multitasking. Welcome to the weird world of work, where we’re actually getting less done — and at a lower level of quality — by trying to do everything at once, by being connected 24/7 through devices and social media.

What would happen if you slowed the pace 10 percent? Would your job be in jeopardy if you didn’t read email after 8 pm? Would your family and friends not talk to you if you didn’t answer texts, tweets and emails immediately? Probably not, in fact, hyper-connectivity may be making us less mentally and emotionally available to important people in our life.

I’m as guilty as the next person of paying more attention to my smartphone at times when people are sitting across the desk from me, so I decided we should delve into the topic of slowing down, personally and professionally, on this week’s #TChat Radio and #TChat Twitter. Maybe it’s possible to do a better job in less time if we learn how to disconnect a bit. Could it be less screen time will help us better manage our time and improve our ability to prioritize, while boosting productivity? It’s worth a spirited discussion, one in which we’ll even look at how to use technology to help us slow down — as counter-intuitive as that might sound.

Before you sign off for the day (yeah, right!), here are this week’s questions:

Q1: How do you track competing priorities in today’s social world? Is it helping or hurting your ability to prioritize tasks and build deeper relationships?

Q2: What kind of HR Tech could you not live without, and how has it changed relationship building and productivity for you?

Q3: Hyperconnectivity is expected for those communicating in the world of work. How do you separate the signal/noise?

Q4: Has a business relationship, potential recruit ever suffered because you responded too quickly/slowly, without enough data? How?

Q5: What are the steps you use to deepen, improve your relationships in today’s world of work?

Of course, #TChat takes place every week on Twitter, and this week there’s special dispensation for being online during after-work hours (a quaint concept in today’s world). So join us Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 7:30pm ET (6:30pm CT, 5:30pm MT, 4:30pm PT, or wherever you are) for #TChat Radio, and Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 7 pm ET for #TChat. As a community we’ll tackle the difficult task of how to balance the world of work and personal life more effectively, and also discuss when technology helps and when it hinders.

Joining us to weigh in this subject near and dear to their hearts will be Cali Williams Yost (@caliyost), CEO of Flex + Strategy Group (parent company of Work + Life Fit Inc.), and Judy Martin (@judymartin8), founder of WorkLifeNation.com and a contributor to Forbes, NPR and other large news media outlets.  Be connected and strive for balance in all areas of your life. This ain’t easy. Chat soon!

Image credit: Erix! via Flickr

Work-Life Balance? It's Just "Life" #TChat Recap

 Sometimes we find zen. A moment of harmonic convergence in our lives when all things family, friends, co-workers, employers, work and life become one.

Sometimes. Work-life balance. [sigh] Wait, who are we kidding, right?

We don’t time zone travel with a head cold on a flurry of work trips for balance. We don’t wake up every 1-2 hours for to soothe the savage 8-month-old baby “beast” for balance.

That’s me and my family at any rate this past few weeks. But, we wouldn’t give it up for all the zen in China because the intrinsic rewards outweigh the work-life imbalance — enjoying what we do and loving our family. In fact, it’s not even really about balance or imbalance — it’s the highly integrated work-life world that we ride for joy (and that runs us down in fear).

And if I’m your employer, I’m going to do everything I can to foster the emotional connectivity and encourage the internal motivational drive, as well as moving the motivation needle externally with “rewards” when appropriate. But I want you to work hard, I want results, I’m going to focus on pay-for-performance and if your position allows, I’m going to let you do it as you see fit (when, where and how). I will be empathic and trust you, but I will not be a pushover.

And if I’m your employee, I’m going to demand flexibility in exchange for regular, quality output whenever, wherever and however I’m doing it. I want to take time off when I need it, regardless of the reason, and I don’t want to be questioned. I want your empathy and your trust and I will reciprocate. I want to to be pushed and pulled and challenged to learn as long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing in the context of what you’re doing.

And as China Gorman suggested and I concurred: “It’s just life.”

Cali Williams Yost and Leanne Chase, two of our insightful #TChat-ers, have some innovative ideas about work-life flexibility: Find a way to like what you do and keep doing it, over and over again. The mindful workplace presence of frenetic zen will take care of the rest.

If you missed Monster Thinking’s pre-cap, you can read it here: Desperately Seeking Balance: Reconciling Work and Life. And here were the questions from last night:

  1. Who’s ultimately responsible for managing work-life balance: the employer or the employee?
  2. What are the benefits/drawbacks of being salaried/exempt vs. hourly/non-exempt? Which would you prefer?
  3. How does company culture effect work-life balance?
  4. What role does technology and social media play in the work-life mix? Is connectivity a blessing or a curse?
  5. What are some things employers and managers can do to improve work-life balance?
  6. How important is work life balance to top talent when assessing new opportunities?
  7. What are some of the most effective or creative “perks” your company offers for work-life balance? Which do you wish they’d offer?

Also last night, we gave away two tickets to the Care.com Care@Work event, Focus Forward to @DrJanice and @leanneclc – Congratulations!

With a dash of worklife flexibility luck @MeghanMBiro may even make an appearance in New York City!

See you next week. We are already looking forward to it. Thanks very much for joining us.

Balance: Reconciling Work and Life: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charneyone of #TChat’s moderators, on Monster Thinking Blog

It’s interesting that the genesis of work-life balance really started, with, well, Genesis: somewhere, between creating the heaven, the earth and all things in between, even God needed a day off to rest.

We’ll leave interpretations up to the theologians, but there’s a pretty firm, historical precedent that’s been followed for millennia: everyone deserves a break now and then.

In our increasingly interconnected age, however, omniscience and omnipresence aren’t Biblical constructs, but the burden of having a Blackberry.

The real price of real business in real time is that real time is rarely one’s own. The movie 9-5 (“It’s a way to make a livin“) seems a historical anachronism for more than its polyester pant-suits. In a blink of an eye, the 8 hour day that the title (and oh so catchy theme song) suggest seem to have all but disappeared.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Increasingly, employers are realizing that the key to attracting and retaining top talent, and getting the most out of employees, requires creating a work-life balance that’s actually balanced. And workers are starting to realize meaningful work, and by extension, a meaningful career, aren’t mutually exclusive from having a life outside the office.

Tonight’s #TChat will explore work-life balance and it’s far ranging implications on the world of work (and life). Join the conversation at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT as we look at ways that work and life can coexist, and even thrive, in today’s business environment.

#TChat Questions and Recommended Reading (5.10.11)

Here are tonight’s #TChat questions as well as some recommended reading designed to inform, and inspire, tonight’s conversation about work-life balance:

1. Who’s ultimately responsible for managing work-life balance: the employer or the employee?

Read: The Case for Work/Life Programs by Freek Vernermeulen.

2. What are the benefits/drawbacks of being salaried/exempt vs. hourly/non-exempt? Which would you prefer?

Read: Family Friendly Employee Benefits: Create A Win-Win For Hourly Workers by Donna Fenn.

3. How does company culture effect work-life balance?

Read: 5 Great Ways To Create A Winning Company Culture by Carmine Gallo.

4. What role does technology and social media play in the work-life mix? Is connectivity a blessing or a curse?

Read: Technology at Work: The Creation of the Anywhere Worker by Connie Blaszczyk.

5. What are some things employers and managers can do to improve work-life balance?

Read: 5 Keys to Staying Civil When Work Calls On Your Off Time by Judy Martin.

6. How important is work life balance to top talent when assessing new opportunities?

Read: It’s All About Engagement by Jayson Saba.

7. What are some of the most effective or creative “perks” your company offers for work-life balance? Which do you wish they’d offer?

Read: Do You Have Work Life Balance? by Thad Peterson.

NOTE: We’ll be extending this conversation at Care.com’s Care@Work event series, Focus Forward at the Times Center in New York City on June 1st and we want you to join us. Tonight after #TChat, we’ll be giving away one ticket to this invitation and innovation only event focused on shaping the future of work. We will randomly select someone from tonight’s #TChat to attend.

Tune in tonight to find out how and learn more about the Care@Work event at http://www.icareatwork.com/

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman and Meghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW. Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

The Art of Saying "No" for Work/Life Balance

Written by Kirsten Taggart

How many times have you said “Yes” when you really wanted to say “No?” We strive to make our friends, family, and employers happy by doing favors when asked, but sometimes its okay – necessary, even – to just say no.  This doesn’t make you selfish or rude, but the way you say it shouldn’t leave the inquirer in bad spirits. When it comes time keep these five tips in mind.

1. Be polite and respectful. A graceful rejection will leave a much better impression than a defensive one.

2. Don’t lie. Saying no is best in its simplest form. You should never feel required to state your reason, so don’t feel pressured to give an excuse.

3. If it’s a task that can be completed another day, let them know that you will be able to help at a more suitable time.

4. Offer to ask around to see if someone else is available instead.

5. Hold your ground. If they ask again, calmly apologize and reiterate that now is a bad time.

It’s important to prioritize and choose your “yes’” wisely so as not to become overwhelmed. Don’t lose sight of the importance of personal time!

Falling Asleep at Work Increases Productivity

(Editor’s Note: This guest post is by our talented colleague, and friend Cathy Taylor. Cathy is a social media expert who helps businesses develop comprehensive communications strategies to achieve business goals and objectives. More of Cathy’s insightful articles can be found on her blog.)

Imagine going to work and finding the boss has roped off a section in the back of the office for the new sleep pods set to arrive next week.

Sleep pods? Are you serious?

A few minutes later you wander past the HR director’s office and she confirms an order was placed for ten new sleep pods. She adds that a new policy will go into effect next quarter. All employees who need a nap during the day will be encouraged to use the sleep pods for twenty minutes after lunch. As you walk back to your cubicle scratching your head you are reminded of that day last month when you locked yourself in the bathroom stall to catch some Z’s. It couldn’t be helped. It was either take a nap or startle your coworkers with a thud sound as your head hit the desk.

This sounds like a far-fetched idea but more companies are beginning to embrace the idea of sanctioned naps during day. Companies like British Airways, Google, Nike, Pizza Hut and Procter & Gamble have implemented policies that allow employees some downtime in the office.

The concept of workplace napping is attributed to former Harvard researcher Sara C. Mednick. She advanced the idea in her book, “Take a Nap! Change Your Life!” Feedback from employees who are afforded the opportunity to snooze at work say it’s so much better than a cup of coffee in the afternoon or a snickers bar.

However, there is no denying workplace napping is counterintuitive in the United States. It begs the question: How long before company leadership begins to view napping as a competitive advantage?

Here are some compelling arguments for workplace naps from Dr. Mednick’s research:

1) It results in increased memory and productivity among workforce.
2) Dr. Mednick cites epidemiological studies that show decreases in heart disease and stress.
Workplace naps restore proficiency in a variety of critical skills… and can produce improvements previously observed only after a full night of sleep.
3) 51% of the workforce report that sleepiness on the job interferes with the volume of work they can do.

At the moment, workplace napping is still a long way from becoming prevalent in the U.S. According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, only five percent of employers allow their workers to take a nap during the day.

Scheduling nap time at work requires a huge shift in the way we think about work. And as more employers look for ways to fill job vacancies, enhance employee engagement and retain the best workers taking a nap might not be such a bad idea. Nap time at work may no longer be just for slackers!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng