Stopping Work Space Soreness

A reader writes…

Dear Anita,

I have just started working at a new job a few months ago. I went from working outside and being on my feet all day to spending my day seated at a desk. I have heard that even though you may not be doing much physically, you can still cause serious injuries to your body. What can I do to prevent ailments such as neck and back soreness or carpal tunnel syndrome?

Uncomfortable Woman at DeskThanks for the question! Over the years with the increased use of computers and other technology, a significant number of folks in the workplace have settled in to a more stationary work style behind a desk. But spending 8 hour or more a day sitting is not the way our bodies were designed! Many people are facing aches and pains from inefficient and inadequate workspace set-ups. The official word for this sort of thing is “ergonomics.” Proper ergonomics can make a world of difference in your office life by reducing the potential for accidents, injuries, and poor health. To top it off, being ergonomic makes you a better performer and increases productivity. Who doesn’t like that?

Here are some key areas you need to keep in mind when redesigning your current workspace or moving into another one.Happy Woman at Desk

  1. Keep your feet flat on the floor. As much fun as it may be to dangle your feet during the day, it will not be much fun recuperating from an injured back due to lack of support.
  2. Make sure the top of your monitor(s) is just below eye level when you are seated. This will save you from neck strain and discomfort.
  3. Keep your head and neck in line with your torso and spine. Maintaining this balance will better distribute the weight through your spine and torso.
  4. Try to keep your shoulders as relaxed as possible when seated at your desk. Try rolling your shoulders forward and backward every 30 minutes or so to keep them loose and unwound.
  5.  When typing or using your computer, have plenty of room for your mouse and keyboard. Monitors should be 18-24 inches away from you. Keep wrists and hands in line with your forearms — all while having your elbows close to your body.

If your space needs updating to make it meet your ergonomic standards, talk to your supervisor or human resources representative. Remind them that good ergonomics makes good economic sense. Fewer injuries or illnesses equal a more productive and profitable workforce.

One thing I found to be very helpful is to get up and move throughout the day. Take a walk around the block, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or replace your chair with an exercise ball for half of the day. Not only will this help you feel more comfortable at your desk, but it will often lift your spirits and give you a rush of energy to help you power through projects on your plate.

Here is a quirky video I found on ergonomics in the workplace.

Now I want to hear from YOU! What do you do to keep yourself comfortable and healthy throughout the work day?

Wishing you wellness,

Anita

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Want to receive these tips by email? Simply subscribe for once-a-week tips and tricks for career success!

Color Me Professional

A reader writes:

Hi Anita,

I’m looking for work and want to be presentable when cold calling & interviewing but it’s hard in this heat to not wear something comfortable. What colors should I lean toward when I am going to an interview or cold calling (in person), etc?  I really appreciate your posts and you always have excellent advice.

Hi, Color Curious,         Woman in Grey Suit

Thanks for the question. Color choices say a lot about who you are right off the bat. It shows all sorts of emotions and personality traits and can even evoke feelings from the person with whom you’re interviewing or meeting. Research has shown that nonverbal communication accounts for 85% of communication exchanges between two or more people. Wouldn’t you want to make sure you are communicating the right vibe and professional language when searching for a job or participating in an important meeting? I would definitely hope so!

You want your color palette to be professional, clean, and not overbearing. I suggest sticking with a solid base color and accenting with brighter colors and patterns. Read on to find out which shades make the grade…

  • Navy Blue – This is the most popular color because it presents a sense of strength, dependability, friendliness,  and light-heartedness — all qualities that a hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. I suggest selecting this color for your suit or main outfit components.
  • Gray – The most popular color after navy blue is gray. Gray is the color of intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and expectancy. It provides a neutral canvas for you to wear a bright-colored tie or blouse underneath.
  • Black – Black is a great color to incorporate in your wardrobe for job interviews. It is very commanding of attention and suggests possibility and potential. Interviewers may react to this color as sophistication and polish. It can be overpowering, sending messages of arrogance, so I would use this as an accent color or for a top or bottom, but not both.
  • Red, yellow, and orange – Steer clear of these three strong shades. These colors can be overwhelming and can overpower the senses. They evoke passion, romance, and emotional response — not the best thing for job interviews.

Man in Blue ShirtI only selected these colors as a guideline. Depending on the type of job that you are looking for or the company’s environment, you may want to branch out from this modest color selection. If you need more information or need advice, do your research! Visit the company’s website or even call the office and ask what is appropriate.

What are some of your winning color stories? Did you wear something out of the box that landed you the job? How about some clothing mishaps that you wish you could take back? We all know we have some…

For some more color tips, view this video!

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Want to receive these tips by email? Simply subscribe for once-a-week tips and tricks for career success!

Best Wishes,

Anita

Snoozer or Loser?

A reader writes…

Dear, Anita,

I have been at my current job for about 6 months. I absolutely love working here and want to be the best employee for the company. As much as I try, I have trouble getting to work by 8:00 a.m., and my boss has pulled me aside to discuss the issue. I do not want to lose my job and disappoint my manager and the team. Please help!!

Dear, Sleepy,

Getting yourself moving in the morning can be a difficult task for the non-morning types. It is far too easy to reach over and snooze your alarm 4 times or to stand in the shower for an extra 10 minutes while you wake up. These and other time-takers can cause serious delays. It is very important that if you are required to be at work by 8 a.m., that you are. In fact, I’d say it’s important that you be at your desk ready to work by 8 am; nothing impresses a manager more than someone who’s reliable and eager! Punctuality and time management are ranked very highly by employers and your peers.

Before we get started, I want to hear from you!

So what are some tips to stop sneaking into the office 10-15 minutes late? Here are a few that I have found helpful in the past.

Prepare at Night for the Day Ahead

Before you settle down for the evening, make plans to organize a few things for the next day. If you bring a lunch to work, go ahead and get it ready for the quick grab-and-go on your way out for the day. Check the weather and select the clothing that you want to wear the next day. Have your shoes and jacket by the door, along with your car keys and briefcase/purse, so you won’t be searching frantically for them when the morning minutes begin to disappear. If you can, shower at night to save yourself about 10-20 minutes for other things that may come up.

Set an Alarm or Two

It is sometimes as difficult as raising the dead to get out of bed in the morning.  Sometimes, the only thing that would get us out a slumber would be an atomic bomb or the smell of crackling bacon and fresh chocolate donuts. Do yourself a favor and set two alarms. Just in case the first one fails (or you subconsciously give it the silence smack), you will be sure to wake up.

Make and Maintain a Routine

If you make a plan for your pre-work mornings, you are more apt to anticipate and adapt to changes and upsets that may occur. When a plan is place, you can be more certain that you are not forgetting your cell phone on the kitchen table, or to let the family dog back in the house, or leave with two different shoes on. The more established your routine is, the easier and quicker it will become second nature.Snooze

Be Aware of Other Routes to Work

We all know that accidents happen and hope that it isn’t while we’re on the way to work. Hitting traffic is a common occurrence with commuters but can happen unexpectedly and put a damper on your daily drive. If a traffic jam rears its ugly head, be prepared to take an alternative route to work. Navigate these roads and clock how long it takes you. One day, it maybe your saving grace between being on time and arriving past the opening bell.

Plan to be Ahead of Schedule

My final piece of advice is to always plan your morning schedule around arriving at work 15 minutes before you are supposed to be there. If you need to be at your office by 8, plan your morning around being there at 7:45. It will make your morning less hectic, and if you have some time to spare, you can enjoy a cup of coffee at your desk or take some time to unwind before the day gets moving.

A Few Additional Tips

If you just can’t get the above changes going, trick yourself by setting your clocks ahead 15 minutes.

Also, if you are going to be late, let your boss know rather than trying to sneak in behind his or her back. Trust me, bosses know when you’re not there on time – and if you lie about being on time or try to hide your lateness (or worse – give a different excuse every day), it just makes matters worse.

Readers – What do you do to streamline your morning routines? I’d love to hear about them!

Best,

Anita

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Tackling Employee Tensions

A reader writes:Conflict Resolution

Dear, Anita,

I am having trouble resolving a conflict between two employees in my office. The tension has been mounting and appears to just be getting worse as each day passes. How can I face this problem head on and arrive at an acceptable solution for both parties?

Dear Trouble Tackler,

Personality conflicts and disagreements are bound to arise in the workplace. As a manager or supervisor, you must be prepared with the tools and knowledge to resolve uncomfortable conflict that is brought to your attention at the office. It would be so much easier to sweep the issues under the rug and hope that they just disappear, but the longer you wait to dispel the tensions, the larger the problem can and will become.

First and foremost, make it very clear that you are a neutral party and that it is best to have a human resources representative present during any and all discussions. This can be helpful down the road in case termination or suspension may be needed to end the conflict. Select a room that is away from other employees and where distractions will be limited.

To get the ball rolling on resolving the workplace conflict, you need to call a meeting with all of the parties involved and gather as many facts and evidence as possible. Hearsay and “he said, she said” will not be of any use in these situations. Encourage the people involved to use “I feel” language versus “You do/did” Conflict Resolvedverbiage and coach them to listen to each other’s feelings. Once feelings are presented on both sides, get down to what the root issues are that are causing this “possible” negativity. To lighten the air in the room, it may be helpful to ask both parties to evaluate and share what they view are positives in their working relationship.

Next, ask both parties what actions they are willing to take to change the situation and what they would like to see changed in the behavior of the other person. Each person must accept responsibility for part of the dispute in order to move forward proactively. You want to develop a win-win solution that has the highest rate of a successful outcome.

For a few more quick tips, check out  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Resolving Conflict in the Workplace quick guide online.

I personally enjoyed this video by The Ninja Leadership Academy. View it here or see the video below:

I hope these steps will be helpful for you during your first conflict resolution adventure. Please, readers, share any extra tips and tricks that you have used with positive results!

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Best of Luck,
Anita

Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
%d bloggers like this: