Colorful Ways to Improve Productivity
Looking for ways to energize your office during the long, dreary winter months? Research shows that a little color, if used correctly, can work wonders in the workplace.
1. Forget beige and mauve. 60% of the 1,223 Canadian office workers polled in a recent Xerox Canada study would like to add the color blue to the workplace. Blue has been proven to have a calming effect on the brain and can reduce stress.
2. Red, a power color, projects courage. Red is the color to wear for an important meeting or crucial sales call. Take heed before you start painting your office walls… too much red could be distracting or trigger feelings of hostility.
3. A good rule of thumb when choosing wall color is to consider a shade that would be found in nature, such as sage green, lemon yellow, or cantaloupe orange. Interestingly, orange has been shown to help jumpstart creativity in the workplace. For a quick color fix on a white wall, hang colorful art that can be easily rotated or removed when necessary.
4. The Xerox study also revealed that color reduces errors by 80%. Use a highlighter to mark important sections on forms and applications that you need completed to help eliminate mistakes. In addition, highlighting the amount and the due date on invoices is shown to increase payment response by up to 30%.
How colorful is your workplace? Send us a photo or email describing your work environment. The office most in need of a color makeover will receive a copy of The Inspired Workplace: Designs for Creativity and Productivity by Marilyn Zalinsky. E-mail us your entries by Friday, February 17th, 2006. Good luck!
About the book: The Inspired Workspace takes readers behind closed doors into the creative soul of more than 40 successful firms, offering a rare and intimate look at work environments that contribute to the bottom line. From Paris to New York to Beijing, from the home studio to the office cubical to corporate headquarters, this book shows readers how to set the stage for creativity. The Inspired Workspace is a must for managers, employees, business owners, CEOs, and the self-employed everywhere.
New OFCCP Rule Goes Into Effect February 6, 2006
The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued a final rule that clarifies the definition of an "Internet Job Applicant.” The OFCCP has outlined guidelines regarding the new law.
On February 6th, all federal contractors and subcontractors covered under Executive Order 11246 will be required to maintain strict records on individuals that qualify as Internet Applicants.
According to the new law, an individual is considered an "Internet Applicant" if each of the following four criteria are met:
• The individual submits an expression of interest in employment through the Internet or related electronic data technologies,
• The contractor considers the individual for employment in a particular position,
• The individual's expression of interest indicates the individual possesses the basic qualifications for the position, and
• The individual at no point in the contractor's selection process prior to receiving an offer of employment from the contractor, removes himself or herself from further consideration or otherwise indicates that he or she is no longer interested in the position.
Individuals who meet all four criteria of this definition must be solicited for race/ethnicity and gender information, and be included in an adverse impact analysis.
For an in-depth look at what the new law entails, we recommend that you check out Monster's "Pathway to Compliance" PDF.
Staying Safe and Sound - Eliminating Hazards in Your Workplace
A few years ago, when I was working as a writer in the communications department of a large New York City metro area hospital, I received a call informing me that my shipment of 12 large boxes of newsletters were mistakenly delivered to the small, high-traffic space in front of our administrative assistant’s desk, rather than to the mailroom. Surely, our security department would not be pleased if they discovered a dozen boxes partially blocking a busy doorway during their frequent safety rounds. I checked to see who was available to help me move the stack, but the few co-workers who were in their offices were busy. “No problem,” I thought to myself. “I’ve been working out. I’ll just do it myself.” Unfortunately, the boxes were heavier than I expected. During a failed attempt to lift one, I fell backwards into the wall and felt a painful, burning sensation in my lower back. The rest of my afternoon was spent in the emergency room.
Often when we hear the words “workplace hazard” we think of factory workers wearing hardhats and protective goggles. However, employers must remember that safety is an issue for all employees, including those who spend most of their day sitting behind an office desk.
Improper lifting of heavy items accounts for a large amount of office injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals first consider the weight of the object, as well as how high and how far it needs to be lifted. Lifting impulsively can result in severe back injuries. If you or your employees must lift something heavy, be sure that the recommended lifting guidelines as outlined in the CDC’s Office Safety Manual are followed. Adhering to simple lifting techniques can prevent back injury and expensive worker’s compensation costs.
According to the CDC, falls are the most common office accident. Falls are 2 to 2.5 times more likely to happen in an office, rather than non-office, environment. The most common causes are
- tripping over an open file cabinet or desk drawer,
- bending while seated in an unstable chair,
- tripping over exposed wires,
- using a chair or boxes as a makeshift ladder,
- slipping on wet floors, and
- tripping on loose carpeting or over objects stored in hallways.
Luckily, these hazards are easily preventable by taking the proper precautions. Employers should institute periodic checks of the office environment to ensure that items are stored properly, office furniture is in good working condition, and walkways are safe and clear.
Ironically, simply sitting behind a desk can cause serious physical injury. UCLA’s Ergonomics department offers tips on their website for those glued to their computer workstations. Proper posture, monitor and keyboard positioning, and chair height are crucial to avoiding eye, back, & neck strain, headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome. It is also highly recommended that workers make time for “stretch breaks” to encourage blood circulation, and look away from computers to give eyes a needed rest.
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers their own detailed ergonomic guidelines for employers in order to ensure a safe and healthful working environment. OSHA requires that all employers display a poster informing employees of their rights under theOccupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Beginning February 1, OSHA will also require that employers in certain industries post a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in their organization during the year.
By reviewing workplace safety guidelines with your employees, investigating & correcting possible hazards, and staying on top of the latest information on ergonomics, you will help ensure that there are no job-related injuries in your organization. Hopefully, by making safety a top priority, your employees will think twice before attempting to lift something like a heavy box by themselves. I know I’ve learned my lesson!Share the article: