Archive | January, 2018

Madison, WI has the Best Work-Life Balance in the U.S.

January 18, 2018

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When it comes to work-life balance, the Midwest is where it’s at! And according to SmartAsset, Madison, Wisconsin is the top dog. Spectrum Brands World Headquarters is proud to call Madison our neighbor. Many of our employees live in the Madison area. In fact, it used to be our home until we moved just a few minutes away to the suburb of Middleton.

How does one assess work-life balance? SmartAsset looked at things like average number of hours worked, average hour of weeks worked per year, average commute time, housing as a percent of income, and concentration of recreational establishments. It’s no secret that we love Madison, and this article is one of many that hits the point home!

Here’s an excerpt from the SmartAsset article.

1. Madison, Wisconsin

Our data shows that Madison has the best work-life balance in the country. Working opportunities are plentiful: The unemployment rate is only 2.2% and the city has a labor force participation rate of 86.5%. For those two metrics, Madison ranks first and second, respectively.

Workers here also have plenty to do on their time off. About 2.1% of establishments in the Madison area are dedicated to arts, entertainment or recreation, a top 10 rate. There are also plenty of places to grab a beverage and hang out with colleagues as well. Madison has the eighth-highest concentration of bars in our study.

Image via SmartAsset

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Time to Update Your LinkedIn

January 16, 2018

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January is the perfect time to give your professional profiles a makeover, especially your LinkedIn. Here is an easy checklist you can follow at the beginning of each year:

  • Update your current position title and company if need be.
  • Include your biggest wins from the past year in your description.
  • Add any awards, accolades, or volunteer opportunities from the past year.
  • Update your profile with a relevant photo.
  • Update your general bio.
  • Connect with new coworkers and connections you’ve made in the past year.
  • Endorse a few coworkers in hopes that they’ll return the favor.
  • Write a recommendation for someone who made a big impact on your career success in the last year.
  • Share a status update, or comment on a few other people’s updates.
  • Browse your network and see how your connections have grown professionally over the past year. Congratulate them on their successes.
  • Set up a coffee date or lunch with three connections who can help you grown professionally in the upcoming year.

Remember to follow Spectrum Brands on LinkedIn, and read our tips on how to instantly improve your LinkedIn profile.

Image via Esther Vargas/Flickr.

 

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Take Control of Your Workday: Block off Your Calendar for Y-O-U

January 11, 2018

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Seriously, what did we people do before digital calendars? How did a meeting ever get scheduled? While technology has made our work lives a lot easier, it has made certain tasks too easy–like grabbing an hour of someone’s time for a meeting.

If you feel like your work day is taken over by other people’s requests for your time and that you can’t get any of your own work done, it’s time to take control of your calendar. Those same digital calendars that allow you to plan meetings allow you to block off your calendar too. Remember? So make an appointment–with yourself!

If you have a daily or weekly task that is constantly pushed to the wayside, block off a time period in your calendar right now for it. For example, if you need more time to plan for Monday morning’s big meeting every Friday afternoon, block it off. If you need 30 minutes at the end of every day to de-stress and catch up on email, schedule it in. If you need 2 hours of uninterrupted reading time every morning, queue it up.

Not only will this strategy keep you on task, but it will keep you in control. And that’s the first step in being productive!

Image via Leif Harboe/Flickr.

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Are You Too Casual at Work?

January 9, 2018

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Feeling comfortable and confident at work? That’s great news! Get along swimmingly with your coworkers? Even better! But there’s one caveat to the above dream situation: is it possible to act too casual at work? The answer is yes.

Whether you’re new to the workplace and adjusting from life in the classroom to life in the boardroom or if you’ve spent years working with the same people, it’s easy to let professional courtesies slide. But when it comes down to it, work will always be different from home, even if you begin to feel at home while you’re at work.

Avoid the following situations that miss the mark when it comes to professionalism in the work place.

Casual Faux Pas 1: Being Too Truthful. 
You have a big project coming up but you haven’t even started yet. You announce to your team, “Yeah, I’ haven’t really started yet. I should probably get on that.” Not good. Even if you aren’t feeling motivated lately, don’t broadcast your tardiness to your team. Your concern should be finding your focus and getting the work done. Your coworkers are relying on you.

Casual Faux Pas 2: Getting Too Comfortable.
Even though your coworkers arrive at 9 AM, you’ve been rolling into work at 9:30 AM every day. Your boss hasn’t seemed to notice so now it’s become a habit for you. Eeek! You may think no one is noticing (just because no one has said anything) but the truth is, they have. An occasionally flexible schedule is a privilege. Don’t ruin it for others.

Casual Faux Pas 3: Talking Too Slang-y. 
It may be tempting to respond to a work email with a phrase like “Sweet.” Or shoot down an idea during a meeting by saying, “That’s crazy.” But save the slang for your friends. In a work setting, it’s best to keep things professional. Professionally-minded vocabulary is less emotional and let’s face it–you’ll sound smarter.

Image via rkeetch/Flickr.

 

 

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Want to Meet Your Resolution? Take the Unplugged Challenge.

January 4, 2018

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Name one resolution that you didn’t meet last year. Now tell me why. It’s because you didn’t have enough time, right? Most likely. Well, what if you gave yourself the gift of time? It may sound impossible but it’s not.

This weekend, take 48 hours to truly unplug. Imagine the amount of free time you’ll gain when you stop checking email, social media apps, the news, your phone, and whatever other distractions consume much of your day. A recent study found that we spend almost 5 hours per day on our phone. That’s almost 10 hours you can take back for yourself this weekend.

Spend your newfound free time pursuing one of your new year’s resolutions whether that’s reading a book, starting a new hobby, heading to the gym, or enjoying quality family time. When you start chipping away at your goals, you’ll feel great–and it may motivate you to keep going. Now that’s a great way to start off the new year.

Image via Kipp Barker/Flickr.

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6 Ways You’re Secretly Annoying Your Coworkers

January 2, 2018

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New year, new beginnings, right? Starting the new year on the right foot is the way to go–and that means making sure you and your coworkers have a good relationship. We all have annoying bad habits, but in the workplace, sometimes we have to be more careful. We’re working in tight spaces with others, and something small could be a big pain to another person. Here are a few things to be aware of when you’re in the workplace.

Problem: Your perfume is too strong.
Solution: Save the scents for after work. It can give people headaches.

Problem: Your music is playing too loudly through your headphones.
Solution: Turn it down a notch–and ask your neighbors if it’s too loud.

Problem: You interrupt people in meetings.
Solution: Wait for them to finish their thought completely until you chime in.

Problem: You’re taking personal calls at your desk.
Solution: Head to the lobby or outside instead.

Problem: Your lunch smells.
Solution: Eat in the cafeteria instead of at your desk.

Problem: You’re disrupting coworkers too much.
Solution: Unless it’s urgent, send an email. Don’t interrupt their work session especially if they have headphones on.

Image via Michael Lokner/Flickr.

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