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Building a Work Ethic

What is a Work Ethic and how do you build one?

What is a Work Ethic?

Adherence to Discipline, depending on the result.

What is a Work Ethic? It is a set of values based on an ideology for achieving the desired result.

Work Ethics changes with the result you require to achieve.

Professionalism is a type of work ethic.

Jugaad is a type of work ethic.

Start-ups have and require a changing work ethic.

Work Ethic focuses on the reliability of deliverance

Work ethic is a state of play without supervision/without a deadline for delivery.

How do you build it? By Forming a Habit

Here are some tips for forming the focus habit:

  • Timebox – Give yourself 60-90 minutes to work on a particular task. During that time you can’t rest or engage in any distractions.
  • Accelerate – It can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to build up a concentrated focus. Give yourself time to accelerate into a focused state.
  • Cut Distractions – Practice the habit of turning off all outside noise. Phones, e-mail, RSS, Twitter and visitors should be shut out while trying to focus.

 

Define your Personal Goal & the Professional Goal/result.

Define your parameters for Efficiency.

State your work ethic.

See if it clashes with a define set of ethics which are already in play.

What is Work Ethic?

Work ethic is a person’s belief that the effort they put towards something will lead to a benefit and cause them to strengthen their character and abilities.

It is an internal drive that influences their actions and how much of themselves they will give something to reach an objective.

Having a high work ethic is often part of a person’s identity. It’s not surprising that employers assess employee performance based on work ethic.

A strong work ethic is considered favourably than a weak one.

 

 

 

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Building Workplace Relationships

Building Workplace Relationships

Effective Interpersonal Relationships Are Key to Success

Effective interpersonal work relationships form the cornerstone for success and satisfaction with your job and your career. How important are effective work relationships? They form the basis for promotional opportunities, pay increases, goal accomplishment, and job satisfaction

The Gallup organization studied indicators of work satisfaction. They found that whether you have a best friend at work was one of the twelve key questions asked of employees that predicted job satisfaction. Without a good friend or friends, at work, the work satisfaction of employees deteriorates1

Why you need it?

One it keeps you in Check

It helps you get a second opinion.

You are able to learn new aspects of working for output.

It keeps you clued in on the tempo and pace of the workplace

It doesn't make you a pariah

How you can Build it?

Find common Interests

  1. Share more of yourself at meetings.

    One of the best ways to build relationships is to let others know who you are. This can come by sharing your expertise, knowledge and personality at meetings. Other people will either get to know you, like you or want to hear more from you. They will find you more approachable and thus the chance of building relationships begins to occur. If you are fearful to share at meetings, think ahead of time what you want to say so that you are more prepared.

  2. Speak positively about the people you work with, especially to your boss.

    Get in the habit of speaking positively to others and providing quality feedback about the people who work with. Many times the information that gets shared (whether positive or negative) comes back to the person who is being discussed. People will enjoy hearing that you have said supportive things about them and will know that you are on their side. That will build trust. Be careful of the workplace gossip that is so prevalent and don’t contribute to it.

  3. Improve your interpersonal skills by supporting other people’s work.

    Having a team attitude gives you a big competitive advantage. Ask how you can get involved with others. This will form a closer connection because you are working directly with someone else to help them meet their goals. They will appreciate your support and get to know you better which is vital to creating a more connected working relationship.

  4. Ask others to become involved in your projects or activities.

    Don’t be afraid to ask others for help and bring them onto your projects. The more they can participate in the activities you are working on, the better you get to know each other. You’ll enjoy working with others in getting more things done.

  5. Write thank you notes.

    Write notes of appreciation to the people who are doing exemplary work, making positive contributions and going above the call of duty. These notes can be hard-written, sent via email or done by voice mail. Send them to people above you, below you or at the peer level. Colleagues like to be appreciated and will feel closer to you by having been noticed and thanked for their contributions.

  6. Initiate conversations by asking questions.

    When we first meet someone it can be a bit intimating. We often don’t know what to say or how to say it. Asking questions is a great way for you to listen and let the other person share. They will feel closer to you when they have shared about themselves and you demonstrate you’re interested in what they have to say. Then share something about yourself so the relationship becomes a two-way interaction that can help establish a bond.

  7. Initiate repeated interactions and communications.

    An important part to building relationships is to continue interacting with the person you have gotten to know. As you get to know each other better, personally and professionally, you establish a closer connection that can greatly impact your satisfaction.

  8. Participate in activities with others that don’t involve work.

    As you get to know someone, you might find similar interests that may warrant an outside the work activity. This can greatly impact relationships because you are beginning the process toward friendship. Go out to lunch together during the work day or do things in the evenings or weekends. If you are married, you can visit with other couples to establish more connection at work.

  9. Share information.

    The information you share can be directly related to their work or it can be about a subject you know they will enjoy reading. You are thinking of them and helping them with the right information or content.

  10. Introduce yourself at social work events.

    Social events like lunches/dinners with colleagues, retreats, conferences and holiday parties are good places to interact in an informal setting. If you can reach out and introduce yourself to some of the people who you work with or who you want to know better, you’ll find they are more inclined to let down their guard. It will be easier for you to get to know them and for you to share about who you are—and you’ll become more visible as a result.

 

4

What is Professionalism?

What is Professionalism?

Predictability, Responsibility, Promptness, Pleasant Disposition, Highly Skilled, Adherence to Ethics

Cut the Clutter.

Plumber Example Alec Baldwin talk.

Merriam-Webster defines professionalism as “the skill, good judgment and polite behaviour that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well.” In essence, it is a specific way of thinking and acting in your everyday life, especially while at work.

Ask Yourself does Professionalism vary with time?

Professionalism is the conduct, behaviour and attitude of someone in a work or business environment.  A person doesn’t have to work in a specific profession to demonstrate the important qualities and characteristics of a professional.  Professionalism leads to workplace success, a strong professional reputation and a high level of work ethic and excellence.

Here are 12 ways you can develop and practice professionalism:

  1. Be productive
    Use your time productively at work.  Focus on your job responsibilities and avoid getting pulled into social media, web browsing and phone activity while on the clock.
  2. Develop a professional image
    Project a professional presence and dress appropriately for your industry and organization.  A good rule of thumb is to dress in the position you aspire to have.
  3. Take the initiative
    Ask for more projects to be given to you or think of assignments that will meet your organization's goals.  You don’t want to be under-utilized.
  4. Maintain effective work habits
    Prioritize, plan and manage your assignments and projects.  Follow up and follow through with your supervisor and team members.
  5. Manage your time efficiently
    Establish priorities, set goals and create action plans to meet deadlines.
  6. Demonstrate integrity
    Be accountable for your work and actions while behaving ethically at all times.
  7. Provide excellence
    Produce work and results that reflect a sense of pride and professionalism, often exceeding expectations.
  8. Be a problem-solver
    When you run into problems and obstacles take the time to brainstorm a few solutions and alternatives before you meet with your supervisor.
  9. Be resilient
    Develop coping skills to manage setbacks and challenges with a positive and constructive attitude.
  10. Communicate effectively
    Practice professional online, in-person and interpersonal communication skills.
  11. Develop self-awareness
    Learn to manage your emotions and gain awareness of your emotional triggers so you can manage your reactions positively and productively.  Accept and reflect on feedback to assist as you learn and grow.
  12. Build relationships
    Network with colleagues, customers and clients to build professional cordial relationships, work on teams and collaborate effectively.
3

Understanding Value to a Company

Understanding Value to a Company

Employers want to see their employees succeed, and would prefer to avoid losing top financial performers. By adding value to your employer, not only are you displaying a strong commitment to your team and the business as a whole, but it also holds you in good stride when it comes to career advancement. Here are five reasons why (and how) you should start adding value to your employer:

1. Be a keen problem solver

Employees who are eager to find creative solutions to business problems add value to their employers. Being able to find a solution to a problem can give businesses a competitive edge, especially if it allows employees to focus on other issues. An example of this might be finding a solution to meet a project deadline earlier than expected, allowing you and your team to turn your attention elsewhere.

2. Show initiative

Being able to pick up tasks as required or without being asked is a trait that many employers value. Showing initiative and helping team members during busy periods of business will not only benefit your employer but will put you in good standing with your team. If you’re aware that one of your colleagues is struggling to get through their workload, offering to help will be well perceived by your colleagues and show your employer you don’t only have your own interests in mind.

3. Continually looking for improvements

Time is money. If you are able to develop ways of improving productivity and increasing efficiencies, you are adding value by saving your employers’ valuable resources. This could come from streamlining a process within the business, or finding a solution for business partnering with internal teams on budgeting and forecasting.

4. Keep your technical skills up to date

Employers are seeking skilled professionals with current skills when they are looking to hire for a new position, but they also prefer candidates who keep up to date with relevant regulation and industry changes whilst they are in the role. Stay abreast of new accounting regulations by attending courses and webinars to keep your skills current. CIMA offers training and courses that can help further your qualifications and develop your technical skillset.

5. Improve your communication skills

The role of accounting and finance has evolved and it now plays a wider role in business. Employers expect that finance professionals are able to confidently communicate with other parts of the business. Improving communication skills allows professionals to interact more effectively within the business when presenting results or innovative solutions. Professionals who are able to communicate findings and explain their impact in a way that the rest of the business will understand is valuable to employers. Strategies for improving your communication skills include public speaking courses, volunteering to draft memos or leading meetings.

Successful professionals are constantly looking for ways they can develop in their careers and are continually improving their skill sets. The best way for finance professionals to improve their skillsets as a whole is to concentrate on one goal or skill at a time.

It never hurts to assess whether you are living up to your employer’s expectations and if you can increase your productivity. Why? When it comes to remuneration and career advancement, the best way to achieve either is by displaying how you have gone above and beyond what is asked of you. Being able to explain how you have added value to a company, with examples, will stand you in good stead when it comes to negotiating a pay rise or career development.

How to Add Value to Your Company & Contribute to Your Team

Everyone wants to get a raise or a promotion, but rare are those employees who ask, "What can I bring to the company?" What they don't know is, knowing how to add value to your company is the first step to getting a raise or promotion.

Companies succeed in part because they hire, train, and retain talented employees that add value to the organization and the people they serve.

Even if your job description looks like a mere to-do list, those tasks are there to achieve a specific outcome. How you execute these tasks affect your employer’s return-on-investment (ROI) on hiring you.

Employees who know how to add value to their job tend to command higher salaries, more exciting projects, and better job opportunities. Companies value talent like this so much that they'll do everything possible to keep that person, even in the event of a recession, layoff, or merger.

In this tutorial, we'll explore the concept of adding value to a company. I'll identify seven different ways you can add value to your company. Plus, I'll provide some job-specific examples of adding value to a company with real-life advice.

Debunking the Myth About Adding Value to a Company

I worked as a part-time Math and Science Tutor for high school students back in college. Since I could only tutor an hour or two on school days, I did extra hours on weekends and summers to earn more.

That was my first understanding of what it took to earn more in the corporate world: more hours, more money.

I applied the same concept when I started working in customer service. But then I wondered, what did it take to go from entry-level customer service associate to trainer, team supervisor, or operations manager? Some of my teammates had been at the same position for years so clearly, the same approach won’t work if I wanted to level-up.

Many employees go about their professional lives equating the years they’ve worked to the value they give. The corporate world doesn’t work like that.

For example, an office manager could spend two years doing a good job ordering office supplies so inventory doesn’t run out. Or that same manager could find ways to help his employer by negotiating discounts with vendors, buying in bulk to save more, or creating a sharing program between teams so supplies don’t stack up in one area, while another one is always lacking.

Such strategies may not be in the manager’s job description. You need to be proactive and creative to come up with these ideas, too. But going that extra mile saves the employer thousands of dollars in expenses annually. That’s how to bring added value to a company.

Now you might say doing similar stuff oversteps your boundaries. It may or may not, depending on your organization’s culture. If you get good results though, no one will complain.

Meeting Expectations, the Prerequisite to Adding Value to a Company

The first question you might ask is, “What can I bring to the company?” In reality, there’s a different question you should ask first:

Are you meeting the minimum expectations or requirements for your position?

Gallup poll revealed that almost 50% of employees don’t know what their managers expect of them. Also, some companies have limited or no official job descriptions at all. Then there are roles where most of the items on your job description are outdated, while the tasks you’re responsible for aren’t even on the list. It can be confusing to figure this out on your own.

If you’re not 100% sure what’s expected of you, you should talk to your manager first before trying to add more to your plate. Ask your boss to enumerate the specific tasks you need to complete regularly and your ad-hoc duties, and how all these tasks impact the company.

If your manager is just as confused or clueless about your role, then it’s even more important that you talk things through. Together, you can define the core objectives and the resulting tasks related to your job, as well as the performance metrics you need to hit so you can objectively say that you met or exceeded expectations.

7 Different Ways Employees Can Add Value to Their Organization

It's not difficult to add value to your company if you know what to do. Here are seven specific actions you can take no matter what your current job is:

1. Good Customer Service

Customers are creatures of habit. They buy the same shampoo, eat the same food, and use the same products or services they love—until another business steps in and offers them something better.

Good customer service then isn’t just about serving the customer’s needs. You should make sure customers are so awed by the quality of service you provide that they wouldn’t think of checking another brand.

2. Bring In More Money

Adding a few thousand or an extra zero to your employer’s bottom line is one of the biggest and most obvious ways of adding value to a company.

This is easy for people in sales and marketing jobs, but what if you’re in IT support, admin, training, or customer service roles? What can you contribute to the team?

First, determine your impact on the bottom line by dividing the company’s revenue with the total number of employees. To increase your average contribution, employees in non-sales roles can:

  • Customer service - upsell products to existing customers
  • Training - train customer service in improving customer experience, and frontline retail staff in new sales techniques
  • Admin roles - make sure everyone has the paperwork, product samples, and other marketing paraphernalia they need to impress potential customers

3. Improve the Efficiency of a Protocol or Procedure

Just because something is working, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. This applies to almost every routine, tedious, and repetitive task you do.

Examples:

  • Monthly reports
  • Client presentations
  • Minutes of the meeting
  • Price quotations
  • Contracts
  • Invoicing and billing
  • Inventory management

Anything that can be streamlined into a series of definite tasks can be automated. Even manual tasks can be streamlined if you examine the process carefully, and eliminate unnecessary steps.

Be careful not to automate or cut corners in the wrong places. You don’t want to take shortcuts that could lead to more problems in the future.

4. Save Resources

As in the office administrator example described above, helping your employer save money makes you a valuable employee.

It’s not just about money though. Completing your work on time, so you don’t have to work after hours counts as savings too.

5. Get Recognized as an “Expert” in a Specific Task

Have you noticed how companies usually have an “Excel guy,” “IT guy” or “Facebook Ads Whiz?” Sometimes their expertise isn’t their main job, but they’re the go-to people when someone needs help in the task they’re known for.

Being an expert in a task can increase your contribution to the company, more so if you help others with their work. If you help others, then they’ll spread the word about you and your contribution will no longer be limited to your own work but extend to the wide array of people you assist.

For instance, as the company’s resident copywriter, your wordsmithing skills can help the HR department write better job advertisements or the admin team to write clearer and engaging company memos. Helping employees from other departments also build your network, so you can count on them when you’re the one who needs help in the future.

Examples of skills you can learn that can be helpful in different roles:

  • Excel can help with anything from building a better invoicing system or a customized product inventory
  • Photoshop can help your employer design better brochures and marketing paraphernalia
  • Website design is great for people who work in small companies that don’t have enough funds to outsource this task, or hire an in-house developer full time. You don’t need to learn programming to create a beautiful site. Discover great WordPress themes on Envato Elements or GraphicRiver.
  • Social media, don’t let your employer get behind on social media. Create online accounts for them if they don’t have one, or offer to update their social media strategy if they’re not getting traction.

Need help with any of the skills listed above? Check out these tutorials:

 

25 Ways to Create Value at Work—According to Bosses

The world looks different now from how we shop to what we do on the weekends.
Unemployment has skyrocketed, we use the word furlough more frequently, and working from home looks a lot less glamorous than many previously thought. While COVID-19 has shifted us into working in a new reality, what about the people whose work, thus far, has been relatively unaffected?
People are working from home and getting the job done, but are still left wondering in these uncertain times, how do I keep my job? How can I add value at work to show my boss I’m an asset? What do employers like to see, so I can do my best to continue working now and in the years to come?
We spoke with nine bosses and asked them about valuation creation at work, what it looks like to them, and how you can create value today. Here’s what they had to say.

What Does Creating Value at Work Look Like to You?

Being a Team Player

“Creating value is more than being good at your job. In my experience, you also need to be a team player, and by that, I mean you need to uphold the purpose and values of your organization through your work and through your interactions with colleagues. You also need to be able to stretch beyond your comfort zone. Teams sometimes must adjust their vision and strategy to align more closely with overall organizational goals. When this happens, you may be asked to take on different projects, and it’s important that you are able and willing to do so.” - Stephanie, Vice President, Corporate Communications in the Medical Devices Industry

Trusting Your Employer

“Creating value looks like an outward expression of the belief and trust you have in the company's environment and future. Behaving like you truly care and are engaged with your position brings value to your job and to the company.” - Jennifer, Office Manager in the Dental Industry

Communication

“During COVID-19, value creation has been centered around one's ability to communicate and remain calm and collaborative. Within the Food and Beverage industry, supply chains are being stressed, and hard decisions are having to be made (allocation and shorting of customers, delays, transit issues). How employees respond to this pressure and communicate internally and externally sets them apart and makes them pivotal to the stability of the organization.” - Angela, Key Account Manager in the Food Ingredient Industry

Contributing in a Meaningful Way

“It means contributing in a meaningful way that accelerates or sustains company growth. So, not just doing your job, but doing the job that matters!” - Solu, Director, Business Operations in the Technology Industry and Executive Coach

Being Flexible

“As a hiring manager, I’ve had the chance to work with strong players, but the ones that stand out are the ones that can work with a bit of ambiguity and not have all the answers and communications completely spelled out. Mainly because everything that is happening now is new and can change in an instant. Being able to just ask the questions collectively helps us discuss what may be around the corner. “ - Ginny, Director of Recruiting in the Technology Industry

Considering Internal and External Stakeholders

“I think of value creation in two parts for both internal and external stakeholders. Value is created for our customers by providing solutions to their problems and top-notch service. We put the people back in recruiting and make it a human experience. Internal value creation comes from team collaboration, training, demonstrating our core values, and participating in process improvement initiatives.” - Suzanne, Partner in the Recruiting Industry

Thinking Critically

“Being able to critically think and not just be a task rabbit. If I give a member of my team a project to complete, I want and need them to look at it from every angle. They need to be able to efficiently execute the task and hopefully do so without a tremendous amount of guidance and hand-holding. They have to be able to critically think of what is being asked of them and have the confidence and autonomy to complete the task. Now more than ever, that is valuable.” - Erin, Events Director in the National Education Nonprofit Industry

Finding and Keeping Business

“Right now, creating value is all about seeking new business and keeping existing business. Many of our marketing programs were canceled or postponed for Q2 and Q3. In order to keep the business afloat through 2020 and beyond, we need to make up some of that work in Q3 and Q4.” - Brielle, Digital Marketing Manager in the Marketing and Advertising Industry

How Can Employees Create Value at Work?

Be Positive

“By coming to work engaged and ready to support the team or the systems, they are bringing vibrance and energy that can be felt by customers and their peers. That attitude and positivity is a value that can't be taught, but when present is one of the most powerful things an employee and effectively a company can possess.” - Jennifer, Office Manager in the Dental Industry

Be Electable

“An employee can stand out by being electable. To be electable means not only mastering your job, but always raising your hand to help others and take on additional tasks. Employees stand out when coworkers can call on them to help. It's never fun to have a teammate that only wants to do their job and go home. After all, we are in it together! However, be mindful to not wear yourself too thin and remember when it's ok to say your plate is full.” - Suzanne, Partner in the Recruiting Industry

Be Customer-Oriented

“Finding creative ways to meet customers’ demands or being able to defend and explain the reason expectations can't be met.” - Angela, Key Account Manager in the Food Ingredient Industry

Be Proactive

“Find something that needs fixing or improving and present ideas on how to do so to your manager.” - Anonymous

Be Vocal

“I see a lot of value in employees who say something when they see an unmet need within the team or the organization. You should have the courage to speak up, but before you do, you should give some thought to how that need could be met. Company leaders do not have all the answers—the views of people deep in your teams are valuable.” - Stephanie, Vice President, Corporate Communications in the Medical Devices Industry

Be Focused

“Prioritize and communicate what matters and let go of what doesn't. If you are doing the same thing over and over again, that's an opportunity to take a closer look and ask, what value does this bring?” - Solu, Director, Business Operations in the Technology Industry and Executive Coach

Be Forward Thinking

“Look at the week ahead and the projects that need to be completed and offer to take them on. Is there something they know I need to get done but maybe they can take off my plate to further support the team or be prepared for the meeting with the CEO, offer to step up. Also, value can be created in seeking out their own professional development. As a large scale conference events director, our entire team is having to pivot and learn how to move a week-long professional development conference to a virtual experience, so I need my team researching, seeking out knowledge that can help them do their job better. For me, that is huge.”  - Erin, Events Director in the National Education Nonprofit Industry

Be Creative

“This crisis is calling for creativity. We all need to think about our job and businesses differently. The more new ideas we can bring to the table, the better enabled we will be to save the economy.” - Brielle, Digital Marketing Manager in the Marketing and Advertising Industry

Fifteen Ways to Show Your Value at Work

 

Jan 24, 2019

 

By Blaine Loomer

The unemployment rate is higher than in the past and for many companies, business isn’t exactly booming. The best way to keep your job is to show your employer that you are so valuable that they simply can't live without you.

Here are 15 sure-fire ways to increase your value to the organization:

  1. Be part of the bottom line. If you want to be valuable to your company, then you need to help it make money. The company measures its ROI on you, so you should measure the ROI on yourself as well. Focus on the activities that use your time, skills, and resources most effectively to connect back to the bottom line.
  2. Remember that time is money. Your most valuable commodity is your time; spend it wisely. Don't invest eight hours in putting together a presentation when you can deliver the same results with less prep time. Management will value the content of your message, not a bunch of fluff and pretty artwork.
  3. Sing your own praises (but not too loudly). Your work generally won’t speak for itself. You must speak for yourself. Make sure that managers understand the effort you put into your job and the results you produce. A bit of modest bragging will not only help you come promotion time, but it will also help discredit any attacks levied against you. Provide the right amount of information about yourself, but don't beat your accomplishments to death. Too many trips to the boss's office may work against you.
  4. Recognize “deal or no deal” situations. Most people don't negotiate well because they really want what the other person has and they don't want to risk losing it. But whether it's a big contract, a job, a promotion, or a new car, you have to be willing to walk away. When you are willing to do so, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much better your negotiations turn out. Suddenly, what you offer carries value, and the tables often turn.
  5. Get smart. Too many people don't understand the basic operation of their companies. Familiarize yourself with the organizational chart and reporting structures. Study and understand the financials. You never know where your life may lead. Learn as much as you can along the way, even though what you're learning may not seem relevant at the time.
  6. Be a confident innovator. When you pitch your ideas to management, be prepared to defend your views and also to receive criticism. Management will challenge you simply to test your level of enthusiasm for the idea and its viability. There are a lot of variables to consider, and management wants to know you've thought about them. If you support your ideas with solid research and show some passion, management will be more likely to embrace your concept. Continue to build on your work value with our seminar class on developing "set up" skills.
  7. Keep an eye on your e-trail. Save all important e-mail and electronic data. If you have ever received an e-mail from someone asking you to confirm something, that person is likely covering himself. This is not a bad thing, and in many cases can clear up any confusion later. Disk space is cheap compared to the trouble it may save you.
  8. Don't be afraid to say no (assuming that you're doing such a great job your company can't afford to get rid of you). If you don't set limits, you will find yourself on a perpetual treadmill.
  9. Know which rung on the ladder is right for you. Do you want to be responsible for the success or failure of your company? If so, move up the ladder. Do you want to go home at five every day and forget about work until the next morning? Then moving up the ladder is not for you. The important thing is that you do your job to the best of your ability and that you are happy doing it.
  10. Shut up and listen. If you don't know what you don't know, then seek out some experienced advice. A mentor can warn you about things you may never have considered and keep you from being blindsided by unforeseen events or costs. As difficult as it may be, admit to yourself that you don't know everything.
  11. Learn the difference between e-communication and real communication. Communicating with people is an opportunity not only to transfer information but also to build relationships with them. In an age of electronic communication, our conversations are becoming increasingly impersonal. Effective employees must be able to interact with people and solve problems. If you can't interact with people directly, you have no value.
  12. Add sales to your skill set. When it comes to You, Inc., there is only one person on the sales team: you! Despite what your resume says, adding sales to your skill set is a must. Whenever you are trying to pitch a new idea to your company, you'll need a sales pitch that is convincing and sound. Moreover, if you are vying for a promotion or raise, you'll need to be prepared to pitch yourself. Be ready to defend your views and have answers for the tough questions. If someone disagrees with you, be ready to support your ideas with solid research and your own enthusiasm. You’ll soon persuade people to see things your way.
  13. If it isn't broken, don't fix it. The only reason to change something is to make it better. In business, change is often confused with progress. Likewise, employees feel the pressure to constantly make changes to keep up the appearance of productivity and to prove their worth. Put a time limit on your own goals so that you don't chase a bad idea longer than you should. In addition, if the system, idea, or product you currently have in place works well—then let it be, and concentrate your efforts on changing the things that truly need it.
  14. Get a life. It's good to be committed to the company, and corporate accomplishments are rewarding; but when all is said and done, a lifetime goes by quickly. Try not to take your job home with you. I am a firm believer that you get what you give. If you are happy, those around you will be happy as well.
  15. Say “no” to working vacations. When you take your vacation, take your vacation! Don't offer to check e-mail and voicemail while you are away. I have made this mistake and I can tell you if you do it, you might as well have stayed at work. A lot of companies offer rewards and perks like club trips or weekend getaways. Although these are great and can be a lot of fun, they are not vacations. They are still about the company, and you will still be working. You'll just be out of the office.

Finally, if you spend your workdays worrying about losing your job, you are probably headed for trouble. Push those negative thoughts out of your mind and focus on the work you do and how you add value to your company. Demonstrate positivity and a can-do attitude to your team. Work smarter than your competition and you’ll get ahead, every time. Continue to build on your skills to be an integral member and join our on-demand class on the subject.

Part of increasing your value at work also includes motivating yourself to take control of your own career. Click here to learn more about this AMA webinar.

7 Ways To Add Massive Value To Your Business

There are seven secrets to add value in your job and in the world around you.  Any one of these ideas or concepts can be sufficient for you to become financially successful. When you begin to combine these ideas together, you’ll begin to move ahead more rapidly in your financial life than you ever have before.

1. The Faster The Better

The first way to increase value is simply to increase the speed you deliver the kind of value people are willing to pay for.

Successful people know everybody is impatient.  A person who didn’t realize that they wanted your product or service until today, now wants it yesterday. People perceive a direct correlation between speed and the value of your offering.

A person who can do it for you fast is considered to be a better and competent person offering a higher level of quality than a person who does it slowly, or whenever they get around to it.

2. Offer Better Quality

The second key to creating wealth is by offering better quality than your competitors at the same price.

And remember, quality is whatever the customer says it is.  Total quality management can best be defined as: “Finding out what your customer wants and giving it to him or her faster than your competitors.”

Quality does not just mean greater durability or excellence in design.  Quality refers, first of all, to utility, to the use that the customer needs to put the product or service.  It is the customer’s specific need, or the benefit that the customer seeks, that defines quality in his or her mind.

3. Add Value

The third way that you can become wealthy is by looking for ways to add value to everything you do.

Remember, if everyone is offering the same thing, these factors of the product or service become the basic minimum, or the expected norm in the market.

If you want to stand out as a person or as a producer, you have to “plus” whatever you are doing so that your customer perceives you and your offering as being superior to that of your competitors.

You can add value to a product or service by improving the packaging or the design.  You can increase its value by simplifying its method of use.

Apple transformed the entire world of computers by making them easy to use for the unsophisticated person.

Simplicity became an enormous source of added value for Apple, and for countless other companies that have followed the same route.

4. Increase Convenience

The fourth way of increasing wealth is by increasing the convenience of purchasing and using your product or service.

Fast food stores by the thousands are a simple example of how much more people are willing to pay for convenience than they are if they have to drive across town to a major shopping center or a major grocery store.

5. Improve Customer Service

A fifth way of creating value and increasing wealth is by improving customer service.  People are predominantly emotional.

They are greatly impacted by the warmth, friendliness, cheerfulness and helpfulness of customer service representatives.  Many companies are using customer service as a primary source of competitive advantage in a fast changing marketplace.

6. Changing Lifestyles

The sixth key to creating wealth is changing life styles, and the impact they are having on customer purchasing patterns and behaviors throughout the country.

There is a national trend toward cocooning, or staying at home more and to making the home environment more enjoyable.  People’s tastes are very different from the tastes of people a generation ago.

More people want to travel and take vacations, thereby creating a boom in the travel, leisure, resort and cruise industries.

Changing lifestyles and demographics can create opportunities that will enable you to offer a product or service to a clearly identifiable market that can make you wealthy in a short period of time.

7. Offer Planned Discounts

The seventh key to creating to wealth is just planned discounting.  This involves finding ways to sell higher and higher volumes of products and services to more and more people at lower and lower prices.

You’ve heard it said that, “If you want to dine with the classes, you have to sell to the masses.”

How could you offer a product or service of good value at an even lower price?  How could you squeeze out the costs of getting that product or service to the customer and pass the savings onto him or her?

When you begin thinking of increasing the speed at which you deliver your product or service, improving the quality, add value at every stage of production, increasing the convenience for your customers, giving better customer service, catering to changing lifestyles and trends and finding ways to reduce the actual cost, you will be astonished at the incredible number of ideas and possibilities that exist around you.

And remember, one idea of insight for benefiting customers in a way that no one is currently offering can be the springboard that launches you into a life of financial success and achievement.

 

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Office Romances: The Dos & Don’ts

Office Romances: Pros & Cons

How to Approach an Office Romance (and How Not To)

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Lots of people meet their partners at work, and yet dating someone in the office is often frowned upon. Some companies even have explicit policies against it. So what if you and a colleague have been flirting and might want to explore a relationship? Should you steer clear? Should what’s right from a professional perspective override what’s best for your personal life?

What the Experts Say
There are perfectly good reasons why coworkers fall for one another, says Art Markman, a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. “You spend a tremendous amount of time at work and, if you put people in close proximity, working together, having open, vulnerable conversations, there’s a good chance there are going to be romantic relationships,” he says. Research shows that we also tend to fall for people who are similar to ourselves, says Amy Nicole Baker, an associate professor of psychology at University of New Haven and author of several papers on workplace romance. And “the more familiar you are with the person, the more likely it is that you’ll become attracted to one another,” she says. If you’ve become romantically interested in a colleague, proceed carefully. Here are some things to think about.

Know the risks
Before you act on your feelings, it’s important to think through the risks — and there are quite a few. Of course, there’s the chance that the relationship won’t work out and that there will be hurt feelings on one or both sides. There are also potential conflicts of interest. Markman references the dual relationship principle, an “ironclad rule” in psychotherapy that therapists cannot have any relationships with patients beyond their professional one. Obviously, the same rule doesn’t apply between coworkers — many people are close friends with colleagues, for example — but “having multiple relationships with someone creates potential conflicts of interest that can be hard to resolve,” he explains. If you’re dating your teammate, do you put the team’s or the individual’s interests first? There are also reputational risks. “Your professionalism may be called into question,” says Baker, “especially if people don’t see your motives for entering the relationship as positive.” Some colleagues may think you’re giving your romantic partner preferential treatment or vice versa. “Having a relationship with someone higher up in the organization can create an alternate explanation for why you’re succeeding,” says Markman.

Have the best intentions
If you’re aware of these risks and still want to move forward, research shows that your intentions matter. Your coworkers’ reactions will reflect what they believe your motives to be, says Baker. When they perceive you as having “ego motive” — seeking out the relationship to serve your own needs, whether it’s to get ahead in your company or for your own excitement — they will clearly think of you less favorably. On the other hand, “studies show that coworkers are generally positive if they perceive that you’re falling in love and genuinely care about each other,” she says. So, before you jump in, check your motives and consider how others will perceive them. Having positive intentions at the start may also help guard against hurt feelings and misunderstandings should the romance eventually end.

Know your company’s policies
Many companies prohibit employees from dating coworkers, vendors, customers, or suppliers, or require specific disclosures, so be sure to investigate before you start a relationship. “Follow the rules and try to understand the reasons they’re in place,” Baker says. “You ignore them at your peril.” If you’ve already violated a policy, she suggests you “come clean early” because “the longer you persist, the worse the consequences will be.” Markman says that he’s seen companies “lifting those regulations in recent years both because they’re hard to enforce and they haven’t changed behavior.” For him, this is a positive. “The rules need to recognize the reality of the world and, when it comes to workplace relationships, we want to teach people principles for making good, adult decisions, not to legislate through punishment.” Rules are also evolving because of the #MeToo movement. For example, at Facebook and Google, you can only ask a coworker out once, and if the person says no or gives you an ambiguous response (“Sorry, I’m busy”) you’re not allowed to ask again.

Stay away from your boss and your direct reports
No matter what your intentions are, it’s best not to date your managers or subordinates. “It is a bad idea to get involved with anybody who is in your chain of command — up or down,” says Markman. Baker agrees: ““We know from research that the outcomes aren’t as good; the perceptions are more negative.” That’s because this is where conflicts of interest are most stark. It’s hard to be objective when giving someone you’re dating a performance review, for example. And you don’t want people to think that you’re being unduly favored; it can erode your own confidence and hurt the team’s morale. Both experts acknowledge that boss-employee romances do happen — and sometimes those relationships work out. However, if that’s something you’d like to consider, they suggest you “take action immediately” to transfer to a new boss or reassign your direct report to another team.

Don’t hide it
Both Markman and Baker agree that it’s important to be open about the relationship with your coworkers and boss. This might be tough advice to follow, especially if you’re not sure where the relationship will go. “You don’t have to tell them after the first date,” says Markman, “but letting people know reduces the awkwardness” and increases the likelihood that they’ll be positive about the relationship. Besides, “if you don’t tell anybody, people will still figure it out,” he says. Baker adds that clandestine romances tend to have poorer outcomes and can be “corrosive” to other relationships. “Secrets tend to erode our trust in one another and, when the truth comes out, people are going to feel lied to,” she explains. Keep your disclosure simple and straightforward. You might say something like, “We went on a few dates, but I’m sure you can understand that I don’t want to get into more detail about our personal lives.”

Make sure that your manager is one of the first to be informed. If this feels unnecessary, put yourself in your manager’s shoes, Markman says. Wouldn’t you want to know that two people on your team, or a team member and a colleague from another group, were dating? Then “let your bosses make the call on how to staff you. They may prefer you not work together. By telling them, you’re allowing them to make informed decisions.” Whether or not to tell HR will depend on the company policy and on how much you trust your colleagues in the department to handle the situation. “If you have an HR department that’s good, you might want to have a record, especially if the relationship goes sour,” says Markman. “If your HR dept has a reputation for being all about checking boxes, don’t tell them.” There’s another important caveat: LGBTQ employees may not feel comfortable disclosing a relationship with a coworker, especially since you can still be fired in many states for being gay. “While many workplaces have become more diverse, they haven’t necessarily become more inclusive,” Markman says. “Many people may not feel comfortable talking about their relationships.”

Set boundaries
While you want people to know what’s going on, you don’t have to subject them to your relationship. Baker and her colleagues did research on flirting at work and found in two different studies that “People who frequently witness flirting… report feeling less satisfied in their jobs, and they feel less valued by their company. They’re more likely to give a negative appraisal of the work environment, and they may even consider leaving,” she says. She points out that these are correlations, not causations, but it’s a good argument for avoiding any public displays of affection and remaining professional at all times. “It makes life easier and less uncomfortable for the people around you,” she says. You also want to set up boundaries with your partner. “As unromantic as it may seem, you need to have an open conversation about how to talk about your relationship and how you’ll navigate the risks,” says Markman. We like to believe that “love takes precedent over other things — that’s why there are fewer prenuptial agreements than there should be” but you don’t want to “let work tensions spill into your relationship and vice versa.” Consider having rules about when and how you’ll talk about work — and your relationship — with one another.

If you break up
Of course, not every romance will work out and if you or your partner decide to end things, it’s best to be prepared. There’s no reason to mince words: “It’s going to be very painful,” says Baker, but “you still need to be open about the break up.” Markman agrees: ““If you’ve been telling people about the relationship, keep them updated on the fact that you’re no longer together.” And try to remain as professional as possible. “Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship has said something less than sympathetic about an ex,” says Markman, “but you have to be civil as if nothing ever went wrong and hope that the other person will do the same.” If you find it too awkward or painful to continue working alongside the person, you may need to consider leaving the job or at least transferring to another department. No matter how the relationship turns out, it’s worth following some of Baker’s most simple advice: “The less drama, the better.”

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • Know the many risks of getting involved with someone at work
  • Familiarize yourself with your company’s policies – and the rationale behind them
  • Talk through what you’ll do if the relationship doesn’t work out

Don’t:

  • Pursue a coworker if you’re not serious about a relationship
  • Date someone who you have a reporting relationship with
  • Try to hide the relationship from your manager or colleagues – it will only erode trust

Case Study #1: Always keep it professional
Heather Townsend and her colleague, Alex, were both working at one of the Big Four accounting firms when they became interested in one another. But they were hesitant about getting romantically involved. “We thought dating at work was faux pas. I wouldn’t even have more than one glass of wine with a coworker,” she says. Still, the attraction was there and, while they never openly flirted, they were “friendly” over instant messages.

After three months of uncertainty over where things were headed, Alex “finally said on instant message, ‘Do you want to go to dinner with me?’ and I said, ‘Yes.’” On their first date, they talked about how they would handle the situation in the office. “We were both very career-focused and agreed that we wanted to always keep it professional so that our careers wouldn’t be impacted.”

Heather told one friend at work that she was dating Alex, but they waited a few months before disclosing their status to HR. “While it got serious very quickly, we wanted to be sure,” she explains. Eventually, though, they were upfront with HR in part because they were at different levels of the organization and wanted to do it before any conflicts of interest arose. “We said something like, ‘We’re dedicated to the company and we don’t want this to affect our careers but we fell in love. What should we do?’” The HR managers responded positively. The couple worked with HR to make sure they wouldn’t be on the same project and that Alex, who was more senior than Heather, wouldn’t be responsible for her performance reviews or advocating for her promotions. “There was no way he could write an unbiased review,” she says.

Once they had that support, Heather told her boss and a few other colleagues. “That’s when the gossip started,” she says, “but we didn’t let it bother us. We kept working hard and rose above it.” Still, she was concerned about the potential impact on her reputation. “I didn’t want it to seem like I was doing well at the company because of who I was dating, and I didn’t want people to think I didn’t take my career seriously.” So, she and Alex made a conscious decision to treat each other like co-workers first and foremost whenever they were in the office. “I didn’t stop by his desk or kiss him on the cheek or have casual conversations. We would go out for coffee, but we always met by the elevator.”

Heather left the company about nine months into their relationship for unrelated reasons, and she and Alex wed several years later. While they no longer work together, they are still happily married.

Case Study #2: Why secrecy doesn’t work
When Becca Pierson (some names and details have been changed) worked at a large tech company, she was assigned to help a new employee, Meryl, onboard. After getting to know one another over several months, the two women started dating.

“We were on different teams, but we interacted regularly,” Becca explains. “Though I wasn’t her manager, I was more senior, which made me nervous. I thought it would look really bad to my team if they knew I was dating someone who was at the same level as them.”

They chose to keep their relationship a secret. “It was complicated because she wasn’t out of the closet,” Becca explains. “She’s from a country where being gay is essentially illegal.” Although the secrecy made “things more exciting in a way, more romantic and special,” it also caused a lot of anxiety. Becca couldn’t tell her friends — at work or outside it — what she was doing a lot of the time. “It was weird that no one knew the relationship existed. It felt like going back in the closet. I think when you’re hiding a work relationship — whether you’re gay or straight — it can feel that way.”

They dated for close to a year and were able to keep the secret that whole time. “I don’t think anyone ever knew,” she says. Becca feels like the secrecy ultimately broke them up. “I didn’t feel like it was a real relationship; it was almost like living a double life.” She even felt somewhat relieved when it ended. “I didn’t think I could do it for much longer. She wasn’t out to her family, and we couldn’t imagine how that would ever work.”

While Becca and Meryl remain friends, Becca says that the whole experience has made her want to steer clear from having another relationship at work.

Case Study #3: When it doesn’t work out
Jordan Lu (names and some details have been changed) fell for his coworker, Susan, after they’d been at the same investment bank for less than three months. “We hadn’t been working together that long. She’d joined the company before me.”

He felt like the romance didn’t present a conflict of interest because there wasn’t a reporting relationship between them. “Though I was technically senior to her in terms of hierarchy —she was an analyst and I was an associate — she did not report to me and I wasn’t involved in assigning her work, managing or evaluating her,” he explains. “We did sometimes work together as part of a big team but were never on the same team when we were dating.”

This was the first time Jordan had ever been involved romantically with someone at work and he says he was “extremely naïve” and didn’t consider the risks. “I don’t think either of us thought that far ahead to be honest. We sort of stumbled into the relationship.”

Since it was casual at first, they didn’t think to tell anyone. But when it got more serious they felt like it was too late. “It just seemed odd to raise at that point, several months in,” he says. “She was being considered for a promotion, so we didn’t want [the disclosure] to potentially impact that process.” They each had a friend at work — someone Jordan had known for a while and Susan’s roommate — who knew about the relationship. “They were both people we trusted to a high degree.”

Eventually, however, the relationship fizzled and the pair broke up. “That was the most awkward part of it all,” Jason says. “We ended up having to work much more closely on different projects, and, though it was always polite between us, there was definitely an incredible amount of tension and simmering resentment,” he says. “While it was never apparent to others, it was not pleasant.” The situation contributed to his departure from the company. “It was so awkward, and I felt like we both needed space.”

How to Handle an Office Romance

Workplace romances can lead to long-term relationships—and even marriage—but they can also result in uncomfortable situations for the people involved as well as their co-workers.

In the worst-case scenario, intertwining business and pleasure could result in an unplanned, unwanted job search, as people can get fired due to workplace relationships or be forced to resign because of a relationship gone wrong.1

That said, office romances do happen. (Just ask Bill and Melinda Gates, who met on the job.) Given how much time people spend at work, it's not so surprising that people may develop crushes or fall in love.

The Reality of Office Romance

A Viking study reports that 74% of UK office workers aged between 25 and 34 said they have been involved in an office romance. The majority of them would consider doing so again, even though they felt that it impacted work:

  • 53% would consider a relationship with a colleague in the future.
  • 29% have had a one-night stand with a co-worker.
  • 52% believe office romance decreases productivity and creativity.2

Tips for Handling an Office Romance

If your new relationship involves a co-worker, make sure your office romance does not interfere with your career—or your significant other's! Here are our best tips.

Check the Company's Office Relationship Policies

Before you begin a relationship with a colleague (or as soon as possible after it commences) take a look at the company policies about dating co-workers. Many companies, large and small, have hard and fast rules against relationships developing between coworkers. If it is against the rules, you have to ask yourself: "Is it worth it?"

Even if relationships are allowed, be discreet and prepare for any consequences.

Depending on the company, your human resources department may need you to sign a contract, inform managers or co-workers, or follow other guidelines or rules.3

Be Very, Very Certain 

Before entering into a relationship, make sure it's the real deal. Are you bonding over an intense project requiring late nights at work or shared frustration at a boss, or do you have a connection that extends beyond the office? Make sure you know the answer to that question before beginning a romantic relationship.

Maintain Decorum and Professionalism

Don't let a romantic relationship affect the quality and efficiency of your work. Bottom line: You don't have to keep your relationship a secret, but you don't want to have it so on display that it makes your colleagues uncomfortable. Plus, if there is evidence that an office romance is affecting work, one or both of you may be asked to end your romance or, worse yet, find another job.

Be aware that co-workers may be on the lookout for bias. You never want a co-worker to think, "Joanne is just agreeing with Jose's plan because they're dating." Avoid sitting next to each other in meetings, having lunch together daily, or acting in general as a unit. Also, do not send personal messages using your work email or chat client.

Avoid Dating Someone in a Higher or Lower Position

Office politics and hierarchy should be top-of-mind, particularly when it comes to office romances.4 Choosing an entanglement with a co-worker—especially one at a different seniority level—could dramatically affect your salary or movement within your company.

Office relationships are particularly problematic if one partner manages or supervises the other.

Your best bet is to avoid dating people you regularly and routinely work with.

Save the Romance and PDA for Outside the Office

No matter how in love you feel, there should be no public displays of affection at work. Stick to the same professional behavior with your significant other at the workplace as you would have with any other co-worker. That means no holding hands, no kissing, no affectionate nicknames, and definitely no supply closet liaisons.

Address Relationship Issues After Work

Never, ever fight or argue at work. Any personal disagreements should be dealt with outside the office. This is another sign that colleagues will notice, and it may cause suspicion that your relationship is affecting your work.

Plan for the Worst

Agree at the beginning of the relationship how you will handle a potential breakup. Avoid a messy falling out. It isn't just you and your partner who are involved, it's your entire office and the future of the company's dating policy.

If you do decide that either of you needs to move on, do it on your terms. Start a job search before you have to—and don't give your love life as a reason for leaving when you interview for your next role.

Consider Leaving the Company

You may decide that your new relationship is more important to you than your current job. If the relationship does get serious, one member should strongly consider a new position outside the company. That way, you can separate your career paths from the relationship.

Office romance: The good, the bad, and the occasionally ugly

While 79% of Americans who've dated a coworker have tried to keep it on the down-low, in 83% of cases, colleagues have found out, a new report from Zety found.

Let’s harken back a moment to the pre-pandemic office experience: Most people are at work for approximately eight hours daily. The two most common sizes of US businesses feature 100 to 499 employees (5,339,918 companies), and 1,000 to 1,499 employees (5,976,761 companies).

There are lunch and watercooler breaks, and, of course, grabbing a drink at the end of the day. In other words, for someone single and ready to mingle, not only is there the potential to meet an appropriate like-minded person, there are opportunities within the construct of a day in which the suggestion of meeting up is perfectly organic.

Sure, a glass-half-empty type might say “the odds are good, but the goods are odd,” but work has provided many a person with good friends, and for some, romance. The career website Zety recently conducted a study looking at the state and successes of mixing work with romance, and have dubbed it a “tricky business.”

For 50 years, researchers have concluded, consistently, that one of the most powerful predictors of attraction is … proximity. Love may be miraculous and mysterious, but most often happens to people who are physically close.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Is work the best dating source?

The Zety report begins with a surprising outcome: More couples (18%) said they met through work than the dating app Tinder and social media, combined. Zety surveyed 1,000 Americans, who admitted some conversely unsurprising facts: 89% of those polled admitted they have felt attracted to a coworker, and 58% said they’ve dated a coworker.

Apparently, secrets are, indeed meant to be broken, because 75% of respondents tried to keep their relationship a secret from colleagues, only to have them discover the romance 82% of the time.

Ethical matters

And like dating at university, there’s the issue of balance of power, a matter of ethics. While some couples can overcome it, dating anyone but a peer can have ugly results that include termination, and, at the very least, a hostile work environment. The study found:

  • 57% dated a peer
  • 24% dated a subordinate
  • 11% dated their boss
  • 8% dated a high-up, but not a direct manager

Both men and women are reluctant to date their direct managers, men (11%), women (12%), and men are more likely (28%) to date a subordinate than women (18%), but 14% of women and only 5% of men said they’d date people in more senior positions.

Zety’s report also revealed that for those who had sexual relationships with their bosses were “motivated by very universal passions, not at all specific to the manager-report relationship” as 66% admitted being sexually attracted to their boss, 52% wanted to have fun, and 12% slept with a supervisor in the hope of a pay rise or larger bonus.

Gender dynamics

Women are more likely than men to grow serious about an office romance; 72% of women said they dated their office crush long term, but only 59% of men did so. More women (25%) than men (13%) said their office romance had a negative effect on their work relationship with their crush. For 25% of women versus 13% of men, office romance worsened their work relationships with their partners. For 34% of Gen Z and millennials combined and 20% of Gen X and baby boomers, office romance improved their work relationship.

Romance results

So what happened in these romance-in-the-office situations?

  • 33% formed a regular relationship
  • 31% dated for awhile
  • 21% hooked up a few times
  • 14% slept together once, and that was it

Saying an office romance has a 50-50 chance of working isn’t just a flip comment: The Zety survey revealed that 51% of office relationships end in a break up (according to the American Psychological Association, 40% to 50% of US marriages end in divorce, with that rate rising with each subsequent marriage).

With age comes wisdom, and apparently, office heartbreak. Zety found that the older someone is, the more likely they were to have had their hearts broken, here’s a generational look at who eventually broke up with their crush:

  • 69% of baby boomers
  • 56% of Gen Xers
  • 44% of millennials

A glimpse into real-life office romance

Office romance “really depends on several factors” said A Very Good Agency owner Polly Beale, who met her business partner and husband, Len Dickter, 18 years ago, while working at an advertising agency in London, where she’s from.

“It worked for us because we met as [equal] creative partners.” The job required consultant Beale to work many hours daily with Dickter, who was “a very senior permanent employee.” A year into the job, Beale asked Dickter out. “We told maybe one of two people in the office who were trusted friends, but otherwise we kept it quiet,” Beale explained. “At the time I was in my late-30s and was a single mum.”

Focused on her infant daughter Lola, now 19, as well as the master’s degree she was finishing, Beale said she and the few-years-younger Dickter took their time, “because we both knew it was special.”

“I think it worked, because after a few months of dating, we went our separate ways professionally,” she said. “My contract had run its course, and I accepted a better job offer.” After dating two years, they married and had another daughter, Ava, in 2007.”

The couple eventually moved to Los Angeles (Dickter is American). “We now run a very successful advertising and film production company with other partners [in Los Angeles].”

Their initial work experience informed how they work together today. “We manage different clients and hold different roles within the company and it’s important that we respect our partners and ensure that our marriage doesn’t affect any aspect of our business,” she said, work relationships “can be very hard for colleagues. There can be tension, favoritism and stress if anything goes wrong.”

“Our relationship is very mature and settled. We have worked together for longer than we have been together,” Beale said. “We have to be very open with our colleagues and each develop separate professional relationships with them. We’re together a lot. We never bring any marital strife into work. That’s just how it is for us. It just works.”

Work vs. personal relationships

Whether they end up together or not, Zety’s report reminds there’s still a work relationship to consider: 54% said nothing changed, 28% said their work relationship improved, and 18% said their work relationship suffered.

In a situation where one partner is another’s direct report, changing departments or leaving the company may be the only recourse, but the Zety survey showed 57% of couples did not quit, 18% said their partner quit, 15% said they quit and 10% said they both quit.

Despite the draw and allure of dating a coworker, for women: 23% said it was a good idea, 35% said they didn’t know, and 42% said it was a bad idea; for men, 33% said it was a good idea, 39% said they didn’t know and 28% said it was a bad idea.

Just a hook-up

Respondents also addressed the idea of “simply” hooking up with coworkers, and 35% did so outside of work, 26% did in the actual office, 21% did at a work party, 13% on a business trip and 5% during a company off-site event.

“Men reported fooling around more eagerly than women on business trips (15% versus 9%, respectively), while women were more likely to hook up outside of any working space (42% of women versus 31% of men).”

Extracurricular activities

More men (46%) than women (37%) cheated on their then partners with co-workers. Interestingly, there was no difference whatsoever in the ratio of “cheaters” across generations.

Gossip guys and girls

Coworkers dating is too tempting of gossip not to spill the tea among the other coworkers, as 36% of respondents said they’d spill to other colleagues, and 21% said they’d report it to HR or higher management.

Younger generations are more loose-lipped, as 36% of Gen X and 31% of baby boomers would drop the knowledge of an office affair. While only 14% of the “older generation” would share the info with higher-ups or HR, 24% of the younger people would do so.

And here’s a stereotype broken: 23% of men are more gossipy, and would tattle by telling management or human resources about an office couple than 16% of women.

Zety asked respondents how they’d react to a coworker approaching and asking what they should about a crush they have on someone at work. Respondents replied: 42% would refrain from giving advice, 36% would encourage them, 22% would discourage them. People 39 or older would keep their opinions to themselves (47%) much more than people 38 or younger (37%).

Methodology

Zety used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to survey 966 American respondents who were:

  • 59% male
  • 41% female
  • 9% were 24 or younger
  • 52% were 25 to 38
  • 27% were 39 to 58
  • 12% 59 or older

These 6 Surprising Office Romance Stats Should Be A Wake-Up Call For Organizations

This is the second Valentine’s Day since the #MeToo movement erupted in 2017, and these new survey results reveal that office romance is still alive and well. Despite organizational efforts to curb or discourage employees from engaging in workplace romance, these six stats highlight what most of us already knew—that there's no stopping coworkers from canoodling. Instead of trying to eliminate romance at work, the following should serve as a wake-up call  to organizations that they need to step up and help employees deal with their attraction at work.

1. More than half of employees have engaged in an office romance.

Workplace romance is not an issue that impacts just a handful of rogue employees. According to the survey, produced by job site Vault.com, 58% of employees have engaged in a romantic relationship with a colleague. A surprising 72% of those over 50 years old have been romantically involved with a coworker.

Why does attraction at work happen so frequently? Social psychologists have found that mere exposure to someone can increase our attraction to them. To illustrate how this works, college students participating in a study were shown photos of faces. Participants saw the photos of some faces up to 25 times, while other faces were only shown once or twice.  The more the participants had seen a photo of a particular face, the more they reported liking it. In other words, mere exposure to the photograph increased attraction to it. In a similar study, participants had short, face-to-face contact with one another. Once again, more exposure led to more attraction. Individuals preferred those they had seen more often to those they had seen less frequently. Repeated exposure to the same coworkers day after day has a similar effect and will naturally fuel more attraction at work.

In addition to exposure, employees have something in common with their coworkers (their work), and they have some additional information about their coworkers that they might not have about a potential partner they meet on a dating app or in a bar. They know, for example, that their coworker is at least responsible enough to hold down a job and is likely not a serial killer.

2. Almost half (41%) of employees don’t know their company's policy regarding office romances.

This is just more evidence that organizations are dropping the ball when it comes to romance at work. Those organizations that do have policies clearly aren't communicating them effectively, and most likely many others have no policy at all. If more than half of the workforce has engaged in workplace romance, it's critical that the organization guide employees on how to go about pursuing romance in a professional manner.

3. Almost one in five employees who were in a committed relationship have had an affair with a colleague.

Apparently cheating on a partner with a colleague is relatively common. Although 19% of employees admitted to stepping out on their partner with a colleague at work, a surprising 44% of employees have known colleagues who had affairs at work or on business trips. These relationships are particularly problematic for organizations, because these employees will naturally want to keep the relationship secret. If the organization is unaware of the relationship, it makes it more difficult to monitor to ensure there is no favoritism and to guarantee that professionalism is maintained in the office.

4. Most couples keep their relationship secret.

It's not only cheaters who keep their relationship secret, most of those employees (64%) who had participated in an office romance kept it secret, and only 16% were comfortable enough to tell everyone including their superiors about their relationship. Not only does this make it harder for organizations to keep an eye on the couples, but it makes employees become suspicious about whether their coworkers are canoodling. Rumors can start, even about platonic friendships, and when they're not true, the repercussions can be devastating.

5. A whopping 18% of employees reported having a random hookup with a coworker.

According to Vault.com, 18% of employees reported that they had a random hookup with a coworker. Consent is the obvious issue with random hookups. If one party feels coerced, then it’s no longer a consensual hookup, it’s sexual assault. Organizations need to teach employees how to obtain consent before they hook up.

6. Almost three in four (72%) would participate in an office romance again if given the chance. 

This statistic should be the most worrisome for organizations, because it reveals that workplace relationships are not going to disappear anytime soon. Some have speculated that the #MeToo movement discouraged employees from dating coworkers, but this statistic suggests that the workplace is still high on the list of places to find romantic partners. With almost three quarters of our employees interested in romance at work, organizations need to step up and guide employees through the entire relationship process.

It's Valentine's Day and I realize it may not seem like the most romantic move to get your organization involved in your plans to hook up with a coworker. In fact, that is probably the last thing you want—human resources involvement in your love life. But given the high numbers of employees engaging in these relationships, there are bound to be problems. In order to make sure that everyone feels safe and comfortable with these relationships, it is imperative that the organization get involved—even on Valentine's Day.

The Dos And Don’ts Of Office Romance In The Age Of The Digital Meet-Cute

My friend Melissa has been working from home since her office closed in March.  When the firm hired a new account manager this fall, she found herself faced with something many of us know all too well: a new office crush. A very messy studio apartment in the Zoom background and a few other clues gave Melissa the sense that her new crush was in the “quarantining-alone” camp.

After a meeting ran late, Melissa checked her Slack one last time for the day and found a message. It was her new work crush, asking if she was free the following evening for an after-work “one-on-one.”  Melissa was excited, but a little wary. While the message seemed to be work-related, she couldn’t help feeling butterflies at the thought that she and her crush might be inching toward becoming something more than co-workers.

She’s certainly not alone in her situation. A recent study showed that 89% of workers admit being attracted to a co-worker and 58% admitted to dating a co-worker in the past.

So if more than half of us have dated someone we worked with, this certainly begs the question, is office romance ever a good idea? With so many of us conducting presentations from our living rooms, have the rules for office flirtations changed?

It’s complicated.

Office romance often carries negative connotations, but the data shows that it isn’t always just about having some flirty fun at work... In fact, 33% of office romances turned into a serious relationship. What’s more is that 22% of married couples in the U.S. met at work.

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And should we be surprised? Often, our social lives and our work lives are firmly enmeshed.  Now that many of us are working from home, a lot of the normal social activities that used to fill our calendars are out of the question. So, is it any surprise that we’re feeling some extra fondness, and maybe a few heart palpitations, for those fuzzy faces on Zoom?

So how do you navigate the murky waters of workplace romances, especially now that our work lives look so different? Here’s a few dos and don’ts to help you along.

Do: Know your company’s policy.

Remember back when your job gave you actual physical documents instead of emailed PDFs? How about when they dropped the 40-lb employee manual on your lap on the first day of your onboarding? Well, if you’re considering whether or not to become involved with a coworker, this should be the first place you go.

Workplace romantic relationship policies fall across a spectrum. Some companies explicitly prohibit relationships, while others may have no policy at all. In many cases, employees may not be aware of where the policy stands. A survey found that 41% of workers were not aware of their company's policy on romantic relationships.

Often a company's policy will not explicitly prohibit relationships, but will have strict rules about them.

Here’s what a common policy might look like:

 

  • Employees engaged in a romantic relationship must disclose the nature of their relationship to HR or another relevant department
  • Employees must sign a “love contract” indicating that the both are entering into the relationship consensually
  • Certain certain types of relationships (e.g. between employees in different managerial levels) are banned
  • Public displays of affection in a work environment are banned

 

These policies can vary greatly, so make sure you know where your company stands before you make a move!

Don’t:  Engage in a superior-subordinate relationship 

Romances between managers and subordinates are typically viewed as the most problematic. A study by the Society for Human Resources Management found that of the companies that have an explicit work romance policy, 99% forbid romances between superiors and subordinates. Most companies make explicit rules around these kind of relationship because of concerns of sexual harassment, favoritism, and conflicts of interest.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, and increasing visibility of sexual harassment and assault within many industries, companies have made policies more transparent and explicit. Google, which provides regular training to address workplace conduct, has stated that they expressly discourage any relationships between individuals in which one reports to the other, and would move individuals to a different department should such a situation arise.

Beyond the “letter of the law” there are many reasons why relationships between superior and subordinates are problematic. Remember that the optics of a relationship to the rest of the office may be much different than the way things feel in private, and you’ll never know what negative repercussions might come from such a relationship.

Do: Take it slow

A rule of life and love that applies well to office romances: it’s always good to take it slow. In fact, a wise mentor of mine always told me that if I want to speed up, I need to learn to slow down.

Whether or not your office has policies that discourage or forbid relationships between co-workers, embarking on a relationship with someone you work with always has the potential to make things at work a lot more complicated. Twenty percent of women and 13% of men surveyed said that their romantic relationships worsened their working relationship with their partners. And in 33% of cases, one or both ended up quitting their job because of the relationship.

It’s worthwhile to take things very slow and weigh the benefits and potential pitfalls before you begin a relationship at work. Remote work and social distancing provide all the more reason to move slowly. If things are really clicking even without the accidental brushing of hands on the vending machine, it might be worth exploring. But with your work performance, the opinion of your co-workers, and even your job on the line, proceed with caution.

Don’t: Try to hide it.

So, after all the nervous mental hoops and deliberation, you decided to take the plunge and start a relationship with someone at work. You might be tempted to try to keep it a secret, in which case you wouldn’t be alone: 75% of people who became involved in a romantic relationship at work tried to hide it.

But here’s the kicker: in 82% of cases, their co-workers found out anyway. Honesty may not always feel like the best policy, but it has a better batting average than keeping secrets.

Once you know where your company stands, it’s best to disclose the nature of your relationship to the appropriate people. If you have an HR department, you’ll probably want to discuss it with someone there. You know the culture of your workplace best, and you’re not required to send a mass email spilling your guts to the entire company. But transparency is your friend, and getting ahead of something by educating yourself can help protect you in the long run, in the event that any issues may arise.

If you’re saying, “But that takes away all the fun!” I would refer you back to the previous “Do,” and ask you very straight, “Is it worth it?”

So to answer that sticky question: Is it ever a good idea?

Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule.

You’re the best person to judge the situation, the person, and the workplace involved. Make sure you are informed about the company’s stance. And like with any other romantic relationship, put yourself first, and tread lightly.