Working Briefs

Working Briefs

July 13, 2005

Rules for meetings include starting and ending on time

Can't now, off to a meeting, goes the common refrain in many offices.

The meeting is the bane of careers for millions of workers worldwide, with many companies in recent years evaluating their worth and striving to engineer a new structure for all the meeting going on.

But the problem may not so much be the meeting as the way many people approach and conduct them, according to Neil Lebovits, president and COO of Ajilent Finance, a professional staffing firm.

For example, do your meetings start punctually? They should. "OK, well, let's give Bob five more minutes," is a sure sign to Bob he can be late, and a message to people who do arrive on schedule that their time isn't so valuable.

Also, do your meetings conclude when they're supposed to? If your weekly 30-minute session is usually a 70-minute marathon, people are going to dread it and look for reasons to skip it.

Keep your guest list - yes, considering them your guests can be better for everyone - pruned to only the people truly relevant to the topic to esure that peripheral employees aren't resentful of their wasted time.

`Workends' more common in 1990s, study finds

A study done by office manufacturer Steelcase has found Americans were more likely to work weekends in the high-flying 1990s than they are today.

Called the Nature of Work, the 2005 study looked at the length of a typical work week and the reasons why so many Americans feel compelled to "turn their weekends into workends."

The survey of 700 U.S. office workers revealed that many employees work on weekends because of increased workloads.

In all, 49 percent of the employees said they work more than 40 hours each week, down from 53 percent in 1997.

The survey, which compared the way men and women work, found that 62 percent of the men were more likely to stay at work past 40 hours. By contrast, just 39 percent of the women worked more than 40 hours per week.

When researchers asked the respondents why they work on weekends, 48 percent said their workloads are heavier and require more time. In 1997, however, a majority - 75 percent - said they took work home on weekends because they liked working at home, or they felt that their employers had an unwritten rule requiring that they take work home.

The survey, conducted in January, has a margin of error of 4 percent.

Water cooler gatherings convey most office news

When you want information about company news or office politics, you go to:

A. Your boss

B. Joe, three cubicles away

C. The water cooler

If you chose C, you're in good company.

According to the research and consulting firm ISR, American workers are more likely to gravitate to the water cooler to exchange ideas, gossip or evaluate rumors. What's more, most - about 63 percent - say they get the majority of their information about the company they work for from information gleaned from others while standing around the water cooler.

The data from ISR shows that federal workers are more likely to rely on office gossip than others. Of those polled, 68 percent said talk around the water cooler often addressed important workplace or company matters. In all, 65 percent of high-tech employees get important news about their employer from the gossip circulating around the water cooler, and 48 percent of financial service employees say they are able to get substantial information that way.

The margin of error for the surveys is 5 percent.

From Associated Press and Boston Globe reports

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