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Social Media’s Reach

#Socialnomics 2014 by Erik Qualman.

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The choice is how well we do it”- Erik Qualman

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Family-Friendly Workplace

Integritive’s own John Miles was featured in a recent WNC Parent Article titled “Family-Friendly workplaces go beyond typical policies” by Paul Clark

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Flexible work options? Paid family leave? Some businesses are more family friendly than others.

Some, especially small businesses run by parents, let employees bring their children to work on snow days. And some go as far as to reimburse parents for the costs   of adoptions.

Jodi Rhoden had to miss a lot of time at her business, Short Street Cakes in West Asheville, because of her son’s snow and sick days. The experience prompted her     to extend a benefit to other workers, giving them an hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. The paid time off, which amounts to about a week’s worth of        work a year, can be used to take care of a sick child and is an unusual benefit for hourly workers in the food industry, Rhoden said. But Short Street Cakes already  pays its workers a certified living wage, so this furthers its appreciation of them, she said.

“If you’re losing hours because your child is sick, it’s hard on the family budget,” she said.

John Miles is CEO of Integritive, a website design and social media marketing agency in Asheville. But, more importantly, he’s a father. “Our business is 13 years  old, and our ethos over all is the family comes first,” he said.

One employee at Integritive works half a day from home during summer so as to tag-team child care duties with the spouse. The employee knows what’s expected, performance-wise, Miles said.

“There’s an ethos here that if your kid is sick or there’s a school event or performance, you can make up the time at another time,” Miles said. That may mean working at night or during part of a weekend but it’s better than disappointing your child, he said.

“From my perspective, if the family is happy and taken care of, people will be happier in the workplace, ” he said. “If your mindset is, I’m missing my kid’s lacrosse game, your work probably won’t be as high quality. I’ve seen families where work was first, and the look on the kids’ faces was one of neglect. You won’t get to your deathbed wishing you had worked more. You’ll wish you had spent more time with family. I want to have a clean slate.”

He leaves work early on Mondays to coach his son’s lacrosse team. He wouldn’t miss it for the world, he said. Workers at Integritive are invited to bring a child on whatever permutation of Bring Your Daughter to Work Day applies. It’s good for the child to see what his or her parent does all day, and it’s good for the parent to know that their child understands, Miles said.

“Generally, the little kids don’t last the whole day,” he said. “We’ve had kids make smoothies for everyone and answer the phone for an hour. It gives them a taste of what their parents’ lives are like.”

With 330 employees in the Carolinas, HomeTrust Bank doesn’t have family-friendly policies per se, but that’s because it is family friendly, said its employment specials Sara Phillips.

“The culture here is warm, kind and caring,” she said. “A lot of us have seen each other’s families expand and the children grow up through the years. That creates a special bond.”

Employees at HomeTrust may use paid time off to care for their children or parents. The bank pays for short- and long-term disability insurance for workers, which allows new mothers to have some income while they’re out with newborns. Through the North Carolina Bankers Association, it offers a scholarship program that helps children of employees attend college. Tuition reimbursement for its workers allows them to set good examples to their children that pursuing additional education is a valuable thing to do, Philips said.

“But more than anything, we provide employees with a safe, stable, happy environment where they can make a good living and leave at 5 p.m. to spend the rest of their time with their families. At 5 p.m., the work is done,” she said. “We celebrate each others family milestones and achievements. Just yesterday I got an invitation for an employee’s baby shower.”

Source: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/life/family/2014/04/12/family-friendly-workplaces-go-beyond-policy/7658437/

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Five Tips to Make Your Desk Space More Efficient

Picture 2Day in and day out, many of us spend our time sitting at a desk. This little space consisting of a desk, chair, and perhaps a cubicle wall or two is where we are expected to do our best work; where we are to create, solve problems, and keep ahead of deadlines. Even if you have your own corner office, at the end of the day it’s often the desk area itself where you spend most of your time. Here are a few tips to make your workspace as effective as possible.

Keep it Clean

It’s difficult to get work done when your mind is cluttered, and a desk is often a projection of what’s inside our minds. Cleaning off your desk doesn’t mean magically accomplishing all of the work that’s piling up, but it does neatening up all those piles. Get a filing cabinet or a shelf to sit things on. No matter what it takes, keep your desk area, and your mind, as clean and uncluttered as possible.

Rethink the Desk Chair

While some people may find sitting in a chair ideal, it isn’t the only way to be at your desk. Maybe you would be more alert if your raised your desk higher and stood instead? Maybe sitting on an exercise ball is the best way to get your creative juices flowing. Even if a traditional chair is right for you, make sure you have a comfortable one that gives good back support – there’s nothing like an aching back to take away your focus.

Add Color

Few things add energy like a few bursts of color. Pick colors that inspire you, and add them to your workspace in any way you can. If you aren’t able to do something dramatic like painting the walls, adding some colorful accents to your desk, or a bright painting to a wall. Color will brighten up a boring space and get those creative juices flowing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Julian Treasure: 5 Ways to Listen Better

How many times have you walked out of a business meeting and realized that you can only recall less than half of what was said? How often have you walked away from a conversation and wished you could remember what they had just told you? Have you ever had a debate with a co-worker over whether or not something was explicitly explained? These common workplace occurrences are the result of our declining listening skills. Now that information is so often conveyed through a written email or text, and answers can be looked up at any moment via the internet app of a phone, our listening skills are hitting a decline. But listening is still critically important tool in our everyday lives.

In his talk, Julian Treasure states, “I believe that every human being needs to listen consciously in order to live fully.” Without strong listening skills, we have miscommunications, we are forced to repeat information over and over and miss out on critical subtleties in exchanges. Listening connects us to the here and now; it roots us to the world around us. Take a moment and listen carefully to his reasoning of why we need to listen more, and how we can take steps to do it better.

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Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership

Drew Dudley starts this talk with a hard question, “How many of you are completely comfortable with calling yourselves a leader?” So many times in life and in business, I have seen great moments of brilliance, great moments of leadership from people on my team and from clients. Many of these people though would never call themselves leaders. We’ve come to a place where many of us equate leadership with a specific title: CEO, President, Vice President, etc. But the truth is that leadership can from anyone, anytime. In my business, I allow my employees to create their own job titles. This practice gives them the freedom to think and act outside the box and it gives them the powerful opportunity to acknowledge publicly what makes them so special.
In his talk, Dudley quotes Marianne Williamson who said, “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, and not our darkness, that frightens us.” Dudley espouses, and I concur, that we need to recognize that leadership is often found in small moments that impact others, that change the way another person thinks or feels. Take a moment and think about how your life would change if you embraced your small moments of leadership.