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One Bad Apple Is All It Takes To Destroy a Friendly Work Environment

 

It’s al old saying — not to mention a Jackson 5 song — and it’s true: It only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. There’s a recent study from Sweden of just how disruptive workplace “incivility” can be.

While the business world has become increasingly sensitive to the damaging effects of bullying, It turns out just-plain-rudeness is also surprisingly toxic. Small meannesses such as leaving someone out of an email thread, the occasional dirty look, or ignoring a coworker affect not just the direct recipient, but also anyone observing the nastiness.

The study identified five problems incivility causes. Amy Morin, writing for Forbes, summarizes them.

Decreased Job Satisfaction — If there’s a person no one likes to meet with, or if the seating geography of a break room is determined by people avoiding sitting near someone, those times of day bring a negative feeling into an otherwise satisfying work experience.

Higher Turnover Rates — One nasty coworker can result in higher turnover rates because he or she can create an unpleasant environment that no one is happy to stay in, regardless of salary, benefits, and perks.

Sleep Problems — Employees with rude coworkers are more likely to suffer sleep deprivation, most likely from the background stress levels difficult person produces. Obviously, being tired makes this stress harder to deal with and can affect work quality.

Poor Mental Health — Other studies have found bullying and harassment produce negative psychological effects, and this study found a similar impact with incivility.

Rude Behavior is Contagious — When behavioral norms are influenced by nasty behavior, particularly when it goes uncorrected, an entire environment can be ruined. The study found people observing rudeness are more likely to view it as acceptable and begin practicing it themselves. The study even found they were more likely to provoke trouble with their coworkers.

Rude employees are often left with their behavior uncorrected because they tend to be the kind of person who “brings a gun to a knife fight,” and everyone would rather give them a wide berth. Still, this destructive behavior needs to be corrected, no matter how unpleasant it may be to confront the person.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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Asking People to Kick In at the Office Can Lead to Bad Feelings

 

The office can be seen as a great place to pool small bits of money from a bunch of people. It’s not uncommon to be asked to chip in for parties, charities, the purchase of Girl Scout cookies from someone’s child, or going-away or birthday gifts for other staff members. If it’s something you care about, it’s great to be asked. If not, being put on the spot can be painfully uncomfortable, as Diane Stafford of the Kansas City Star writes.

It’s about peer pressure. While they’re typically well-intentioned, collection efforts can make someone feel trapped for fear of not seeming rude or aloof. And there are good reasons a person might be reluctant to kick in. Perhaps money is tight. Maybe the person doesn’t socialize at work. Or maybe a collection is being made on behalf of someone the person doesn’t know, or a cause that he/she doesn’t care about.

When people choose not to contribute, co-workers who do and who want to foster a close-knit workplace can become downright baffled, wondering what’s wrong with the holdouts. Everyone can wind up feeling badly.

Being asked for money can be especially awkward for contract workers, whose attachment to the company is tenuous since it’s likely to be temporary. “Sorry, I have no clue who this person is,” one contract worker told Stafford about being asked to sign a card and donate towards a gift. “I’ve been here a few days. I may be gone tomorrow.”

When parents regularly bring in goods their children have been asked to sell — Girl Scout cookies, fruit boxes, plastic bags, and so on — it’s even worse because co-workers can feel like they’re essentially being asked, “Don’t you like my child?” when asked to buy something.

Stafford suggests the only way to avoid introducing this kind of stress into an office is for the people soliciting contributions to be more sensitive about not engendering bad feelings by thinking more carefully about who they ask for money. They may also seek anonymous ways of contributing — such as posting an order sheet on a bulletin board, or displaying the merchandise for sale in a common space — that allow those who want to contribute do so without pressuring those who don’t.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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Bad Software and Bad Tech Training Is Costing Companies $1.8 Trillion

Cary, N.C.-based IT firm Samanage has just released its State of Work Survey Results. The study asserts that U.S. business are losing as much as 1.8 trillion annually due to software issues.

Samanage surveyed 3,000 workers in January 2016, and found a number of software-related issues, among which was respondents’ calculations that they waste about 520 hours a year on repetitive tasks that could be automated, provided they had the software to do it. (This is the source of the 1.8 trillion figure.)

Employees also complained about slow networks, and collaboration software proved to be specially problematic. For one, thing, 17.4% didn’t even know what collaboration software their company uses, while a surprising 63% said they collaborated via email, an antiquatedly slow method that doesn’t facilitate team discussion that way that chat programs like Slack or Yammer do. Only 7.2% of respondents use chat software at work.

Another issue is that one in five employees have downloaded apps that haven’t been vetted by their IT departments — this is a dangerous problem to have, both for company security and for prevention of viruses and malware. It may have something to do with the fact that 36.8% think that their company’s software — that is, IT-sanctioned apps — are outdated. 12.2% want more mobile-friendly tools and 9.5% think greater cloud access to their document would be useful.

Clearly there’s often a troubling disconnect between IT departments and employees, and insufficient training in how to leverage what their apps can actually do for them. This may lie at the heart of problems the survey uncovers. When employees aren’t properly taught how to master their software, IT is overwhelmed with support requests. As IT struggles to get through the workload, they wind up further infantilizing employees by implementing a quick fix without educating the employee on what’s happened before racing on to the next support request.

Software — on the desktop, in mobile devices, and in the cloud — offers companies and their employees amazing new capabilities. Maybe we just need to slow down a bit to make sure we all know how to use it.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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How to Avoid Frauds — And Being Hacked — on LinkedIn

Many of us are receiving more LinkedIn connection requests these days from people who seem to be strangers. When you receive a request like this, it’s hard to be sure how to respond. After all, it might be someone to whom you’re indirectly connected, and you don’t want to be rude. On the other hand, it may be part of some kind of fraudulent scheme, or worse, a hacker attempting some “human engineering” on you.

So what could a stranger be after, anyway? According to Ondrej Krehel of CSO, it’s likely to be phishing of some sort. Hackers use phishing to collect bits of seemingly innocent information that can be combined and built upon. One group of reportedly Iranian hackers posed as corporate headhunters on LinkedIn in order to acquire emails from within their targets’ companies. A hacker can glean information from business emails — such as job titles and a company’s organizational structure — that gives him leverage to phish higher and higher up the food chain. Some hackers make it to the top, posing as management capable of order subordinates to transfer funds to an account controlled by the hacker.

And of course, there’s the potential for planting malware on targets’ computers. The Carbanak cyber gang is believed to have made off with $1 billion from more than 100 financial institutions world-wide. Krehel says that fraudulent LinkedIn requests have some traits in common to keep an eye out for:

  • Hackers often use stock images of attractive women as profile pictures. Unfortunately, they may also use pictures of actual professionals to appear more credible.
  • Hackers may misrepresent themselves as recruiters for firms that may or may not actually exist, or list themselves as “self-employed.”
  • Hackers have lately been copying real profiles, which is especially tricky since an external search will lead you down the same rabbit hole.
  • A hacker’s fake profile will be littered with an abundance keywords to ensure the profile pops up in as many searches as possible.

So who can you trust among the LinkedIn requests that pop out of nowhere? See if LinkedIn shows you as being indirectly connected to the person already. You can also try a Google search to learn more about the person, bearing in mind that it won’t protect you if someone stole and identity outright. You can also try directly calling the company they claim to work for. Before you click the Accept button, whatever you do, think twice.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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Oversharing His Holiday on Facebook May Not Have Been the Best Idea

Many of us love to share the details of our lives on Facebook with our friends. For some people, it’s as if something didn’t even really happen if it’s not in a Facebook update. A great meal, a child’s silliness, and our vacation pix are all likely to be presented for our friends’ online amusement. But it’s that last one that cost Rodney Jones his job, according to Eric Goldman writing for Forbes. It’s a cautionary tale for social-media devotees.

Jones used to work as the activities director for Accentia Health and Rehabilitation Center of Tampa Bay, Florida. When he needed surgery on his shoulder, Accentia granted him three months of FMLA medical leave. Before his return, his doctor felt Jones needed more recovery time, and Jones offered to return to Accentia for “light duty.” Accentia decided instead to grant Jones an additional 30 days of non-medical leave, after which he’d return to work with a “Fitness for Duty Certificate” from his doctor in hand.

So Jones went to Busch Gardens Theme Park in Tampa twice and took a three-day trip to St. Martins. Naturally, he posted pictures of his good times on Facebook, including a “picture on the beach, posing by a boat wreck, and a picture of … wading/swimming in the ocean.”

When he reported for work, Accentia fired him. His supervisor stated the reason for termination as being that Jones had shown poor judgement as a supervisor and due to “the negative impact that his Facebook posts and text messages had among the associates as Accentia Health.” It’s not unreasonable to imagine the company felt he’d tricked them into giving him more leave than he really needed.

Jones thinks the company believes he abused his FMLA leave, and he took Accentia to court — he claimed they’d interfered with his FMLA leave. The judge was not impressed with his arguments and dismissed the case.

Companies have terminated employees for social-media activities plenty of times before, especially when the employee says one thing to a company — or a judge — while Facebook updates reveal the opposite to be true. If Jones has just enjoyed himself without having to show everyone, he’d have had a job to return to from vacation…sorry…leave.

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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The 10 Healthcare Benefits You May Have and Not Know About

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, covering 10 “essential” healthcare services became law. Add state-required benefits and extras insurance providers offer, and you may have benefits you don’t realize you have. Caroline Banton of GO Banking Rates has put together a list of 10 unexpected common forms of coverage.

1. Diet Counseling and Obesity Treatments — 16 states require dietary or nutritional screening, and bariatric surgery to reduce the size of patients’ stomachs is now mandated in 23 states. Seven states require coverage for recently diagnosed diabetes.

2. Psychiatric Therapy — If your company has 50+ employees in its plan, or if you’re in an exchange, CHIP, or most Medicaid programs, the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act forbids insurance companies from charging higher co-pays for mental health visits.

3. Discounted or Free Health Clubs — Increased competition caused by the ACA has some insurance companies sweetening their products by adding coverage for fitness tracking/management and help with health-club membership costs.

4. Chiropractic Services — Some states offer coverage of chiropractic as a rehabilitative service. You can check out your state at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website.

5. Autism Screening and Therapy for Children — With 1 in 68 children on the autism spectrum, the ACA requires insurance companies to pay for preventive services including screening at 18 and 24 months. 43 states and Washington D.C. require coverage of autism services.

6. Smoking Cessation Programs — Treatment for tobacco addiction is categorized as a “mental health services and addiction treatment,” so the ACA’s required coverage also applies to rehab and treatment for other additions. The American Lung Association has details on the coverage mandated by the ACA.

7. Gender ReassignmentHuman Rights campaign has information on over two dozen insurance companies that cover transgender-related health care.

8. Pre-Natal Folic Acid Supplements and Breastfeeding Supplies — The ACA requires covering breastfeeding support and supplies, as well as folic acid supplements. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists additional covered preventative services for women.

9. Acupuncture or Massage Therapy — Some insurers are covering alternative treatments such as these. Your best bet is to check with your provider.

10. Hair Prosthesis — Most insurance companies cover the cost of a wig if prescribed by a doctor. Beyond that, some states require coverage as an essential benefit.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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Facebook at Work Is Taking Up Some Other Companies’ Slack

When Facebook announced Facebook at Work in 2014, it made sense as a natural extension of a service most people already knew how to use. The platform’s appeal to companies is obvious and hard to argue with: Nobody already using Facebook needs any training to use the product, and that’s almost everybody. Employees simply use at-work identities separate from the ones they use elsewhere.

A company adopting Facebook at Work also instantly acquires their own mature internal social networking platform, and this one — unlike, say, standard Facebook — has no ads to get in the way. Though it may make some firms uneasy that no one knows yet how Facebook plans to make money off Facebook at Work, the company says they already have about 300 corporate clients using the product, according to The Motley Fool.

The most obvious competitor for Facebook at Work is Slack, the messaging platform that’s taken business by storm. Slack is clean, fun, modern, packed with customization features, and also free of public social platforms’ ads. However, it does come with a bit of a learning curve, and that means training and/or time lost to gaining familiarity with the way it works. Microsoft’s Office email clients and Alphabet’s Gmail are other platforms that have long dominated messaging, groups, and file sharing for enterprise, but they can be cumbersome to use and lack some of the instantaneous feel of a true social platform.

Motley Fool is suggesting that LinkedIn may also be nervously watching the progress of Facebook at Work. Though LinkedIn’s employment-networking features aren’t yet mirrored in Facebook’s product, it’s unknown what other business-related functionality Facebook plans to add going forward — of course, it could also be argued that LinkedIn shouldn’t worry considering how unlikely it is that companies would want to make it easier for their employees to seek jobs at other companies through a social network they themselves provide.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants at Work Too

What can we say? Love happens. And it happens plenty at the office, as CareerBuilder’s just-released annual Valentines Day report reveals. 37% of people surveyed have dated someone from work. And 33% have actually married someone they met at the office, such as, the report notes, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Brad Pitt.

The survey was conducted for CareerBuilder by Harris Poll from November 4 to December 1, 2015. It included 3,252 full-time, non-governmental workers across a range of company sizes and in a variety of industries. Here’s what they found out about office amour.

12% of peoples’ office romances began late one night at the office, while 10% bubbled to the surface at Happy Hour and at chance meetings out in the world. 9% got hit by Cupid’s arrow at lunch. Nearly one in ten reported their relationships were the result of love at first sight. Not everyone acts on their feelings, of course, with 8% deciding they’ll just settle for having a platonic work spouse.

26% of women dating at work have gone out with someone higher up in the company. 20% of men have done the same.

Many work couples — about a third — conclude it’s best to keep their connection secret. (Maybe this is partially because 17% of office romances involve at least one married person.) Of the couples loving on the QT, 25% of them have inconveniently bumped into other coworkers out of the office. 17% admitted their relationship, while another 10% just said, “Nope, nothing happening here.” Lying may not matter anyway, since 65% of people surveyed said they were very confident they knew of all of the hookups — public or otherwise — in their offices.

What about office romances that don’t last? 5% of people surveyed said they’ve left a job as the result of a broken heart.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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The 5 Best and 4 Worst Jobs at Walmart

As a nation, we tend to pay a lot of attention to Walmart as one of the country’s most ubiquitous employers. Now Terence Loose, writing for Philly.com, has put together a list of the five best and four worst jobs you can have at the massive retailer.

Note: Walmart has just announced they’ll be increasing their minimum wage to $10 an hour, and giving all of their U.S. employees at least a 2% pay raise. The figures below reflect salaries before these increases go into effect.

The Five Best Jobs at Walmart

  1. Store Manager: Who knew you could make $150,000-$250,000 working at Walmart? It reportedly comes with a “great benefits package” and the chance to work with a diverse array of people. On the other hand, it’s hard: You’re responsible for supervising everyone, meeting financial goals, inventory, payroll, and managing merchandise shipments.
  2. Assistant Manager: The average pay is $48,311 if you count benefits. The job entails meeting store sales and financial goals, guideline compliance, associate supervision, and customer service supervision.
  3. Shift Manager: You might have to work weird hours, but you can make a bundle, $78,000 if you count the $18,000 cash bonus and the $3,200 stock bonus, among other things. It’s great for getting training and moving up, though it comes with long hours and is tough on one’s work-life balance.
  4. Pharmacy Manager: If you’ve got a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy or PharmD and have a pharmacy license, you can expect to make an average of $160,000 a year for being in charge of a Walmart pharmacy.
  5. Order Filler: Working out of a distribution center moving product onto Walmart trucks will get you an average $43,120 yearly. You’ll also be 21% happier than other Walmart employees, according to CareerBliss (requires sign-in).

The Four Worst Jobs at Walmart

  1. Cashier: At an average $9 an hour, the physically demanding job of checking people out is no party, with high stress levels, difficult shifts, and fewer hours in slow seasons.
  2. Inventory Control Specialist: Hours tend to be long and late for the people who are responsible for inventory coming in and going out of a store, and you’d make an average of $10 an hour.
  3. Sales Associate: Sales associates are Walmart’s floor staff who earn an average of $9 an hour, doing an assortment of in-store tasks, including fielding customers’ questions.
  4. Customer Service Manager: The worst managerial position, making a mere $22,470 a year, these folks get change for cashiers, prep and audit cash registers, and handle customer complaints and concerns. They also train employees.

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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Where Stress at Work Comes From May Depend on Your Job

Sometimes it’s obvious where workplace stress comes from. Maybe it’s person you don’t get along with or that you have too much work to get done. Every job has its pressures, and they can do a lot to determine how you feel about your work or even getting out of bed in the morning.

In January 2016, job-searching site CareerCast, asked its readers to chime in on what stresses them out, and they’ve just published the results of their survey.

What CareerCast found is that the top stressors are:

  • Unpredictability: 26% of respondents overall cited changing job responsibilities and expectations as their biggest source of stress. It was selected by even higher numbers of academics (40%), engineers (33%), and customer service reps (30%).
  • Workplace environment: In second place overall, 21% of readers talked about their work environment, specifically their interactions with bosses, coworkers and clients or customers. This was especially an issue for 30% of IT people.
  • Deadlines: 20% of respondents felt stressed out by deadlines. Many people hate them, some love them, and some need them to be productive. 33% of readers in the entertainment field listed this is their primary stressor.
  • Safety of others: Worry about others’ safety was cited by 16% of CareerCast’s readers overall, but was cited more frequently by people in transportation (41%) and healthcare (50%).

Other less common sources of stress reported by respondents included length of the work day or week (7%), personal danger (5%), nerves about promotion (3%), and work travel (1%).

The study’s findings suggest that when you’re thinking about the best career for you, you’d be wise to take into account the kind of stresses you’re likely to experience in it and how much stress it involves in general — here are CareerCast’s previously published careers stress rankings you might want to have a look at.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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