Dating a colleague doesn't have to make your job awkward as long as you avoid making these mistakes.
Got a crush on a colleague? Make sure you're not doing these things
More than a few romances get their start at the office.
A new survey by CareerBuilder found that more than a third of workers have dated a colleague, and 30% of office romances led to marriage—which makes sense considering how much time we all spend at work.
But for every happily-ever-after “we met at the office” story, there is plenty of love going unrequited over the watercooler. The poll also revealed some surprising reasons why office crushes fail to get off the ground.
The top quality that makes a coworker undateable: A poor work ethic. Despite Hollywood’s romanticization of the slacker guy, it seems that ambition and hard work are attractive traits—especially to women. Ladies are much less likely to date someone who doesn’t work consistently, with 52% saying they wouldn’t vs. 28% of guys.
(Meanwhile those who put their nose to the grindstone have a better chance at having a hand to hold: 11% of workplace daters say their relationship began during late nights on the job, not far off from the 12% who reported sparks flying over happy hour drinks.)
Another big turnoff: serial dating. One-quarter of those surveyed say they wouldn’t date someone who has already dated someone else at work.
Another 21% say they wouldn’t go out with someone who travels extensively for work.
Surprisingly, a disparity in earnings doesn’t kill romance potential. Just 6% say they wouldn’t date someone who earns less money, though slightly more women surveyed (10%) say it is an issue compared to just 2% of men.
In any case, intra-office dating is tricky business and you want to be careful in how you woo a workplace crush. But at least these findings give you added incentive to work hard—it may pay off for not only your career, but for your love life as well.
More on Money.com:
When a promotion kicks you out of the coffee klatch, you’ll need to keep your former peers from becoming your future critics.
Right after you celebrate that well-earned promotion, reality hits: You’re now the boss of people who had been your peers. “When you become a supervisor, the relationship structurally changes, whether you like it or not,” says Good Boss, Bad Boss author Robert Sutton, a Stanford University professor who studies organizational behavior.
Going forward, your work will be judged on your ability to lead people with whom you used to consort and complain. If that’s not enough pressure, you’re now at risk of being the one complained about. Make the transition seamless with these steps.
Sit down with each person to discuss the change in leadership. “You’re in learning mode,” says Linda Hill, a Harvard Business School professor and co-author of Being the Boss. Ask staffers to share their short- and long-term goals, skills they’re building, and obstacles that get in the way of doing their jobs. You’ll convey respect and gain valuable info that can help you achieve buy-in.
Also, if you were promoted over a colleague, “address the elephant in the room” and alleviate worries about your ability to work well together, advises Atlanta social media strategist and job coach Miriam Salpeter.
Step Back Socially
You can be a great manager and preserve friendships by slightly altering your behaviors. Continue attending happy hour, for example, but stay for only one drink, suggests Hill. Allow your staff space to vent. “We all need to blow off steam sometimes,” says Katy Tynan, author of Survive Your Promotion! (Just make it clear to your people that if something is really bugging them, they can talk to you, she adds.)
Also, disconnect from your subordinates on all non-work-related social media. “Many times you’re doing people a favor, since it puts less pressure on what they can and can’t share on their profiles,” says Salpeter. Do let employees know before unfriending them, though, so that they don’t take it personally.
Prove You Don’t Play Favorites
Prepare to make—and to justify—difficult decisions, particularly regarding raises and promotions. To be seen as objective, try to grade everyone using the same metrics, and be sure people know what those metrics are, says Keith Murnighan, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
To show humility, solicit feedback from subordinates on your own performance, says Gentz Franz, a University of Illinois lecturer who studies job succession. “It’s incumbent upon managers,” he says, “to open the lines of communication if they want to create a collaborative work environment.”
Your colleagues and bosses might think of you as the office chatterbox.
When you’ve got the floor in a meeting, do you notice people looking at the clock or their phones?
When you’re chatting over the water cooler, do you find yourself chiming in before your colleagues finish their sentences?
Do you typically go off on tangents when you tell a story?
Do people nod blankly and say “uh huh” a lot when you’re speaking?
Do you notice that people at work prefer to communicate with you via email?
You may be an overtalker.
Most people who talk too much don’t realize they do it, says Annie Stevens, managing partner for ClearRock, a leadership development and executive coaching firm. No matter whether it’s fueled by insecurity or overconfidence, however, this quality can be deadly to one’s career—especially these days.
How Talking Too Much Can Hurt You
With 67% of people working “a great deal more” than they did five years ago, according to a survey by staffing firm Manpower, workers literally have less patience for distractions. “No one has time to sit down for an hour to get an answer to a question,” says Stevens. Your peers and supervisors may start avoiding you if you are sucking up a lot of their time.
Additionally, if you can’t get to the point in a meeting, your boss may wonder about your ability to communicate with higher ups or clients. Prattling on in an interview could obscure the points that you’re trying to make, and hamper your chances at getting the job.
Women seem to pay a bigger price for being loquacious. A Yale University study found that high-level women who talk more at work are perceived as less competent than men. According to lead researcher Victoria Brescoll, people tend to want to reward males who are garrulous by either by hiring them or giving them more responsibility, while females who talk a lot are seen as domineering and presumptuous.
For any worker, though, the ability to share information clearly and succinctly is an asset, says Stevens. In a world where big ideas can be conveyed in under 140 characters, there’s less tolerance for a verbal opus.
Stevens’s motto: “Be brief, be brilliant, be gone.”
Keep from Being Seen as a Blabbermouth
Become self aware. Watch for those red flags mentioned above. The surest sign of them that you’re talking too much is that you talk over someone who is speaking. “It can be a fatal error if it happens during a job interview, a career killer if done often with your boss, and will alienate co-workers if you’re repeatedly interrupting and hijacking the conversation,” said Stevens.
Strive to pay attention—at least for a few days—to other people’s reactions when you’re talking. Do your colleagues, for example, join in the digression when you veer off topic? You’re probably in the clear.
Pay attention to body language, too. You are likely losing your listener if he or she glances at a clock or a computer, stops making eye contact or is no longer taking notes. “Wrap up as soon as you can,” says Stevens.
Have a script. There are times when you do need to talk about yourself. Develop and memorize a 90-second verbal response so you are prepared with a summary when interviewers or networking contacts say, “Tell me about yourself.”
Similarly, if you’re giving a speech or presentation, outline a few key points before the meeting and stick to them. Watch for those cues noted above as signs you should get back on track.
Details are important in storytelling, but make sure you’re pared down to the essentials. “The annoying companion of over-talking is over-telling, as in disclosing too many, too personal, irrelevant and or inappropriate details,” says Stevens.
Practice active listening. Don’t just be lying in conversational wait for your turn to talk. Pay close attention to what is being discussed and ask relevant follow up questions.
Showing your listening skills can be just as important as showing how much you can talk, says Stevens. “If the person you are speaking with believes that you’re interested in what they’re saying, he or she will think positively about you.”
More from Money.com:
Japan has plans to legally require its workforce to take a break. If only the U.S. would be so kind.
A law forcing you to take vacation days? Sounds like a bureaucratic gift, but in Japan, it’s meant as a workaholic intervention.
Legislation will be submitted in the country’s current session of parliament that will make it the legal responsibility of employers to ensure that workers use their holiday time. Japan has been studying such legislation since 2012, when a consensus concluded that the health, social, and productivity costs of Japan’s extreme work ethic were too high.
While it may seem crazy to Americans to require a person to take a vacation, we suffer from more than a touch of workaholism in this country.
In Japan, 22% of workers toil for more than 49 hours a week; in the U.S., it’s 16%. But in France and Germany, only 11% of the population puts in that many hours, according to data compiled by the Japanese government.
And when it comes to unused vacation days, we are second only to Japan among developed nations. The average Japanese worker used only 7 of the 18 vacation days allotted each year, or 39% of their annual paid leave, a survey by Expedia Japan found. According to a study by Oxford Economics, U.S. workers who had paid time off typically left 3 vacation days on the table. And if you look just at the 41% of U.S. workers who said they did not plan on taking all their vacation, the average number of unused days jumps to 8.
We’re also similar to Japan in another way: the percentage of workers who don’t take any vacation at all. A whopping 17% of the Japanese workforce does not take a single day of paid vacation, compared with 13% of Americans. Both of those figures are startlingly high in light of the fact that there wasn’t a single Australian in the Expedia Japan survey who didn’t take off at least one day in the past year.
Trending in the Wrong Direction?
While Japan is working on decreasing unused days, America seems to be heading the other way. Use of vacation days are at their lowest point in the past four decades, the Oxford Economics study found.
Fears of keeping your job, being passed over for promotions or lead projects, coming back to a staggering pile of work, or feeling like you’re the only one who can do your job all push Americans to stay at the office—or, when they do actually take a holiday, to do some work remotely. Employment website Glassdoor found that 61% of us have logged on while we were supposed to be logged off.
This shift can hurt us big time when you consider that employees who use more vacation days end up with better performance reviews, according to internal research by audit firm EY. Increased vacation time has also been linked to increased worker productivity, other research has shown.
Japan has another key piece of legislation that the U.S. lacks: It guarantees workers 10 paid days off a year.
Unlike most other countries with advanced economies, “the United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers any paid vacation time and is one of only a few rich countries that does not require employers to offer at least some paid holidays,” noted a report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think tank. Nearly a quarter of Americans receive no paid days off at all.
Considering that workers in the European Union enjoy—and use—a minimum of 20 paid vacation days and as many as 13 paid national holidays, it seems Japan isn’t the only country that could use a little legal help taking a break.
First came standing desks, then treadmill desks, now say hello to surfing desks.
To hear Joel Heath tell it, standing was just too hard.
“I started experiencing pain in different places,” he told Fast Company about his experience using a stand-up desk. “I just felt like there had to be a better way. I started to play with the idea that if you put a subtle rocker under the foot, you could move out of a sedentary state.”
So Heath created the Level, a surfboard-like platform that requires users to constantly shift their weight in order to keep their balance. FluidStance, the company behind the product, says that research conducted by the Heeluxe Testing Lab in California shows that introducing movement beneath one’s feet increases heart rate by 15% compared with sitting.
It’s the next evolution of the standing desk, which grew in popularity after studies showed that sitting for long periods of time could be bad for your health.
Kent Hatcher, ergonomics director and engineer at HumanTech Inc., likened using the Level to balancing on a stability ball, which requires your core muscles to work continually to keep you from falling over. “I see a product like this being great for some conference rooms, or occasionally used by people at a standing desk,” he says. “But it would take a period of acclimatization to get good at using the mouse and keyboard while wobbling around.”
Indeed, similar products like treadmill desks have been shown to affect performance-related tasks like typing. Heeluxe’s testing of the Level found no statistical difference in the number of typing errors made by Level users compared with those sitting at a desk, but even the occasional typo might be worth it. “Generally, the scientific community seems to think that the overall health benefits of standing and movement on the muscles and skeleton outweigh any sort of [performance] declines,” Hatcher says.
Level has clearly tapped into an enthusiastic niche market. The company’s crowdfunding campaign, launched on Jan. 12, raised $126,255 in less than a month—more than three times the original goal of $40,000.
FluidStance offers three different versions of the product: the Original Handmade Level ($389), the American-made Level ($289) and the Pacific Level ($269). That’s a lot more than the $22 you’ll spend building your own standing desk, but it certainly looks like more fun.
10 healthy picks that'll keep you satisfied and energized on the clock
Ever wonder what the experts who teach others how to eat healthfully pack in their bags to snack on at work? The right grub can help you stay focused, energized, and full for hours, so you can concentrate on the tasks at hand and maintain the stamina to stay awake during meetings (even the boring ones). We asked nutritionists to share the healthy foods they nosh on throughout the day for lasting body and mind benefits. The results will have you looking forward to snack time.
Full-Fat Cheese Stick Wrap
“My primary go-to snack is a cheese stick wrapped up in a mini high-fiber wheat wrap,” says Marjorie Nolan Cohn, RD, CDN, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. “I choose regular cheese sticks, not the low fat or fat free variety. I love this snack because the cheese stick is high in protein, the wrap is high in fiber, and because I’m not avoiding fat (in the cheese stick) it keeps me full for longer. It’s super portable—I prep it ahead of time so that I don’t even have to unwrap the cheese stick while I’m working.”
Oatmeal and Peanut Butter
“I keep rolled oats and a jar of natural peanut butter in my office so it’s always available,” says Nolan Cohn. She scoops ½ cup of rolled oats into a mug and adds hot water and a tablespoon of peanut butter. The whole grain oats are high in filling fiber, the peanut butter offers a punch of protein, and the warmth is really comforting on a cold day, she says. Bonus: Oatmeal contains zinc, which may help boost your immune system, making you less susceptible to those water cooler germs.
Chicken Salad Portable Pack
The Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad by Good Foods is delicious and comes in single serving containers—ideal for taking to work, says Mitzi Dulan, RD, author of The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way Thin. They’re made with Greek yogurt and have 20 grams of satisfying protein in a 4-ounce portion for just 150 calories. (The packs are also available in 6-ounce portions depending on where you buy them.) The protein helps you to feel satisfied while the carbohydrates provide fuel for your brain. The almonds also offer satisfying healthy fats so you won’t feel starving two hours later.
A Low-Sugar Snack Bar
Kind bars are a top pick of the “Nutrition Twins,” Lyssie Lakatos RDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames RDN, CFT: “Our recent favorites are the Nuts & Spices bars,” says Lakatos Shames. Flavors include Madagascar Vanilla Almond and Caramel Almond & Sea Salt. “You can see and pronounce the ingredients, they’re delicious and only 5 grams of sugar per bar so you get an energy boost without the sugar high and crash that can follow if you eat high-sugar granola or snack bars,” she says. Most of them are about 180 to 200 calories per bar, and are satisfying with 5 to 6 grams of protein and 6 to 7 grams of fiber.
Fresh Fruit and Cottage Cheese
“I love to put about 1 cup of fresh strawberries with about 10 grapes combined with 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese together for a snack,” says Dulan. The strawberries are loaded with more vitamin C than an orange and a Harvard research study showed that eating two or more serving of flavonoid-rich berries like strawberries or blueberries may be associated with delaying memory decline. Strawberries are also naturally low in sugar so they won’t cause a blood sugar spike that will leave you crashing and burning, says Dulan. Grapes are a satisfying and delicious snack that provide antioxidants, which can help to promote overall health. The cottage cheese packs a full 14 grams of protein to give you energy for only around 100 calories.
These “peas” (also called garbanzo beans) are a good source of satisfying protein and fiber. If you can’t find packaged roasted chickpeas in a store, make your own by draining them for 5 to 10 minutes and then patting with a paper towel or cloth until they are completely dry. Then, roast them at 400 degrees F for about 45 to 60 minutes until the chickpeas are crispy and brown. Pull them out of the oven, then add flavoring like lemon juice, sage and pepper rub, or a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce or barbecue sauce. Return to the oven to bake for about 15 minutes more until the seasoning is absorbed. “These are different, fun to eat, and provide long-lasting energy with the fiber-filled quality carb and protein combo,” says Lakatos.
Pita Pocket Tuna
Try making a snack with seal-pack tuna in water on half of a whole-wheat pita pocket, says Lakatos Shames. The water-packed tuna is a satisfying, protein-packed snack and convenient because you don’t have to open a can. Use a fork to spread the tuna into the pocket, and you have a power-protein mini meal for just 70 to 80 calories. The whole-wheat pita provides fiber and carbs for energy on top of the protein in the tuna. Nutritionist Jim White, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios, likes to spread his tuna on light rye or multigrain Wasa crisp crackers for a simple snack and a crunchy cracker nosh that doesn’t contain added sugars you might find in white flour crackers. “This snack is a great way to increase your protein and not eat anything heavily processed with too many added ingredients like you might get in a protein bar,” he says.
Nut Butter and Banana on Bread
White recommends snacking on whole grain bread with ¼ of a banana and 1 tablespoon of almond butter to hold you over before lunchtime. It tastes like a treat but gives you lasting energy without a crash like some energy bars will. “This is also a great option for a late afternoon snack if you plan to exercise before returning home from work,” he says.
Greek Yogurt Parfait
If you have a fridge or cooler available, White suggests combining plain low-fat Greek yogurt topped with about ¼ cup of unsweetened dry whole oats, nuts, and wheat flake mix (muesili). Including a serving of yogurt helps you get needed calcium, the oats and muesli contain fiber, and the nuts provide additional protein (and crunch!). Make the snack versatile by adding cinnamon, fresh berries, or a variety of nuts. The options are endless!
Fresh Green Beans
Green beans are a great way to satisfy a crunch craving. “I like this snack because not only is it very simple to pack and assemble, you also feel accomplished by eating vegetables outside of your main meals,” says White. Green beans contain about 20% of your daily-recommended intake of vitamin C. Pair these with hummus for a snack that fills you up, thanks to all that fiber and water content.
More from Real Simple: