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Volume 2 | Issue 7 | 2013

www.officelife.co.za

Official Publication of OPSA (Association for Office Professionals of SA)

Top of the pops Become an effective leader

How to Keep your anger in check Date a co-worker Help your kids with their homework

Workaholics anonymous Too much time in the office is bad for your health

WDuIraN ble

Horrible bosses

12 | Hire right Get the best person for the job

t to

Don’t run for cover: here’s how

14 | Right balance Making time for hubby

oc iati on

ard Businesscs he holder ss SA Guide-Dogs A

30 | Go green Carpooling


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issue 7 2013

contents

Official Publication of OPSA (Association for Office Professionals of SA)

Lite side 2 32

PUBLISHED BY Panorama Publications (Pty) Ltd. Private Bag X4, Kyalami, 1684, South Africa. 92 Campolino Road, Kyalami. Tel: 011 468 2090 Fax: 011 468 2091

News Riddle me this

OPSA advice

5  What makes a great office professional?

PUBLISHER Urs Honegger

Training manual

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Gerard Peter EDITOR Kate Kennedy SENIOR SUB EDITOR Vanessa Koekemoer SUB EDITORS Nicolette Els, Noleen Fourie DTP STUDIO MANAGER Paul Kotze

08 | Stepping forward

LEAD DESIGNER Mauray Wolff TRAFFIC & PRODUCTION MANAGER Celeste Jacobs

6 Are you the office hothead? Tips to keep your anger under control 10 Slave driver If your boss is a demanding one, these tips will help you 12 Now hiring Find the right person for the job 20 Dating at the office If you’re going to do it, follow this advice

Best practice

GROUP ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER

16 Zero Inbox Day Keep your inbox clean 18 Overtime is dangerous Don’t jeopardise your health for your job 23  OPSA’s Office Professional of the year 26 Sell, sell, sell Don’t make these mistakes when trying to close a deal

Urs Honegger ADVERTISING SALES Amanda Potgieter amanda@panorama.co.za SUBSCRIPTIONS subscriptions@panorama.co.za Tel: 011 468 2090 Fax: 011 468 2091 FINANCE accounts@panorama.co.za

14 | Get the balance right

ISSN 2221-6715

The expert speaks

8 Stepping forward Tips for effective leadership 28 Committed to change Engaging with employees pays off

OfficeLife is printed on partially recycled paper

OfficeLife is published; 12 times per annum. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this magazine in whole or in part is prohibited without prior written permission of Panorama Publications (Pty) Ltd. Copyright © 1997-2013 Panorama Publications (Pty) Ltd. The views expressed in OfficeLife are not necessarily those of Panorama Publications and the acceptance and publication of editorial and advertising matter in OfficeLife does not imply any endorsement or warranty in respect of goods or services therein described, whether by OfficeLife or the publishers. OfficeLife will not be held responsible for the safe return of unsolicited editorial contributions. The Editor reserves the right to edit material submitted and in appropriate cases to translate into another language. OfficeLife reserves the right to reject any advertising or editorial material, which may not suit the standard of the publication, without reason given. OfficeLife is published by Panorama Publications. These rules apply to all competitions and giveaways in Officelife: 1: Email entries are restricted to one per person or email address. You may enter via SMS as many times as you like. SMSes are charged at R1.50, including VAT. Free and bundled SMS don’t apply. 2: Staff members of Panorama Publications, the sponsors of the prize, their advertising agencies as well as any immediate family may not enter. 3: Prizes are not transferable, and may not be converted into cash. 4: The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into. 5: Panorama Publications staff cannot be held liable for any prizes that go missing, or are damaged in the post, or may cause harm to the recipients. 6: Please note that by entering our competitions you are opting into the Panorama Publications’ database. Should you receive any unwelcome communications, you will be given the opportunity to unsubscribe. 7: Panorama Publications makes every effort to contact prize winners on either the email address or mobile number used to enter the competition. Prizes that are not claimed within 90 days of the winner being published, will be forfeited. Prizes returned by the post office as unclaimed will be forfeited.

Home base

14 Get the balance right And you’ll have time for a job and a family 24 Helping with homework Your children are going to need your assistance sometimes 30 Come together Carpooling is a great way to go green

WIN… 4

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24 | Helping with homework Office LIFE | 1


D

r Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, offers one of the best definitions of leadership I have come across. He says “leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” When you think about it like this, being a leader doesn’t seem difficult at all. I always thought of myself as the kind of person who needed little external validation; I knew my capabilities and didn’t need someone constantly pointing out how well I was doing. It wasn’t until someone made a point of telling me what a good job I was doing that I started to believe I was capable of more. My amazing boss pushed me forward a little bit at a time, while remaining a trustworthy safety net on whom I could fall back if I ever needed to. Thanks to her, I now believe I am capable of so much more than I previously thought, my career has progressed, my future is brighter and I’m no longer annoying people who pay me a compliment by denying I deserve it. Have you had someone like this in your life? In business, it’s usually the man who is seen as a leader because he most often holds the high office – MD, CEO, COO, CFO. Working his way up the corporate ladder does show a good measure of leadership and management ability. But it does not mean that there is no room for a different kind of leader, at all levels of business. Women have an exceptional capability for nurturing, which makes us uniquely able to apply Dr Covey’s definition and make a difference to the lives of those around us. On page 8, Brenda Eckstein offers some practical advice for being an effective leader. Tell me about the person who told you about your worth and made you believe it at officelife@panorama.co.za.

Kate ‘til next time.

2 | Office LIFE

Office

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The Visifix Flip Business Card Holder is perfect for networkers who always have tons of business cards that need organising. The rotary index helps you to store them in an easy-to-view manner, and with 200 double-sided business card pockets, it can hold up to 400 cards at a time. The holder is made from high quality plastic and the pockets are easy to add and remove, allowing you to change their positions according to your method of sorting. There are three up for grabs, worth R1,000 each. How to enter: Send an email with the word Durable in the subject line to officelife@panorama.co.za or SMS the word Durable to 45782. R1.50 per SMS. Please include your name, physical address and a daytime contact number with your entry. Entries close 15 November 2013. The Durable range of products are distributed by Silveray Stationery Company and are available from leading stationers nationally and all Office Active outlets – www.officeactive.co.za. For more information visit: www.silveray.co.za or follow us on www.facebook.com/silveray.statmark.

College-educated career women no longer childless crones Women who dared to prioritise an education or career over family may have earned a spinster label once upon a time. Even contemporary films never fail to represent career-oriented childless women as cold and unfeeling monsters incapable of looking up from their BlackBerries. But times they definitely are a changin’, as new research reveals that these women are having babies after all. In what philly.com describes as “a turnaround from previous decades,” childlessness in college-educated women in their late 30s and early 40s fell by 5% between 1998 and 2008. Bruce Weinberg, an economics professor at Ohio State University and the co-author of the study, says that these findings break with the cultural narrative of career-minded women often sacrificing having children: “One of the major economic stories of the second half of the 20th century was that highly educated women were working more and having fewer children. It is too early to definitively say that trend is over, but there is no doubt we have seen fertility rise among older, highly educated women.” Weinberg speculates that although fertility treatments are a factor in this shift, they don’t entirely account for it. But considering that marriage is now being perpetuated by the upper-class, the same socioeconomic class that is procuring these degrees and obtaining these careers, a delay on motherhood could easily factor into that privileged timeline. (Source: Mommyish.com) Office LIFE | 3


OPSA ADVICE

Office Professional?

What makes a great

Make sure you get it right

D

o you remember the first time you tasted a McDonalds burger? If you were anything like me you thought the burgers were fantastic but, 15 years on, the novelty has worn off and the only reason most people buy McDonalds is because it is fast, cheap and predictable and now a mainstay for those in a hurry or on a tight budget. You career can be viewed in a similar way. When you start your first job, you are enthusiastic, positive and focussed on performing. But all too quickly, you may settle for being good but not great. To stay happy and successful at work, you need to make a real IMPACT on the job. I= Information expertise You need to be able to skilfully manage the latest information technology and be the eyes and ears of your manager. That means channelling in only the important stuff, keeping up with industry trends and developing strong relationships with key people. M = Maturity Tact, balance, discipline,

judgement, and discretion are all key components of your job. Don’t keep score, don’t take things personally, never betray confidences and never, ever gossip. P = Political skills Just as your manager needs to develop alliance-building skills, you also need to develop your interpersonal abilities. A = Adaptability Change is a constant. You need to learn to adapt to changes in technology, organisational structures, in management styles, and in today’s dynamic environment, ever-shifting markets. C = Communication Establishing a non-threatening working vocabulary between yourself and others in the organisation is very important. Office professionals often work in extremely high pressure situations and the ability to make your point quickly and without upsetting anyone is crucial. T = Taking initiative The ability to discern when it’s essential to assume a more direct role in this job is not the accomplishment of a single day or a few simple rules; instead, it’s a lifelong balancing act, one which depends on the people we work with, the circumstances we are facing directly and, just as important, the emotional atmosphere in the room. Remember, you are the only person who can ensure that you build a satisfying, rewarding career. The keys to this are to never stagnate but always keep on growing. Commit to your personal development, to networking and building your PA community within your organisation.

i

Text: Samantha Brown Photography: sakkmesterke

Office LIFE | 5


Training MANUAL

Are you the office

hothead?

5 ways to ensure you don’t get hot under the collar

6 | Office LIFE


also offers career counselling. “Intense emotion hinders rational thinking, which in turn obstructs constructive decisionmaking and productivity.’ Don’t rub salt on the wound You don’t have to get a bad reputation for losing your cool at the office. There are ways to reel in a temperamental outburst during an argument.

E

motions and the workplace sometimes go together well, such as when your passion motivates you to complete a project. Other emotions such as anger can create a negative environment or give you a bad reputation if you allow them to make you lose your head. Anger delays healing A study by Ohio State University analysed 100 participants who had agreed to receive standardised blister wounds on their arms for signs of how anger can repair or delay healing in a wound. After monitoring the wounds for eight days and measuring the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol in the repair process, it was found that people with low control over their anger were 4.2 times more likely to take over four days to heal when compared to those who had higher levels of anger control. Now imagine how anger can delay healing in workplace relations and the office environment after an argument. Although it’s not always easy to stay calm when you find yourself caught in a stressful situation or argument, after losing your temper you most likely feel guilty or worried about how you are being perceived by colleagues or superiors. “Losing your temper indicates an inability to manage your emotions in front of colleagues,” says Janine Taylor, a Cape Town counselling psychologist who

1

Speak up! One of the common reasons for losing your temper is keeping discontent inside until it boils over. “It is essential to speak up if you are not feeling heard,” Janine advises. “Be sure to voice your opinion frequently and monitor your anger levels.” If you are always dealing with a colleague who does not carry their weight and winds up shovelling more work your way, for example, instead of fuming inwardly about it and risking losing your cool during a discussion with them, try to speak to them about how their behaviour impacts you. Nip temper explosions in the bud by dealing with situations when they are still minor irritations instead of full-blown frustrations.

2

Listen to your body Your body can provide important clues that an outburst is on its way. According to the book Keeping Your Cool When Your Anger Is Hot by June Hunt (Harvest House Publishers), such signs include a churning stomach, clenched teeth, a dry mouth, hard/fast breathing, sarcastic language, a racing heart, and high-pitched speech. Take note of these so that you read the warning signs that your emotions could be starting to boil.

3

Take action When faced with these warning signs, try to disengage from the discussion for a bit. “Escape for a walk to the bathroom until you have calmed down in order to discuss matters sensibly,” Janine suggests.

Try to give yourself a quick, calming pep talk. “Remember, self-talk is essential in calming yourself,” Janine says. “Also take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out your mouth while visualising calming images.” Examples of selftalk that could calm you down include mantras such as: ‘Take it easy’ or ‘Don’t say anything; just breathe’. Stepping away from the situation for five or ten minutes could also help you gain perspective on things so that you return with a clearer, more logical, stance.

4

Ask questions If you are in conversation with a colleague or manager whose words are working your last nerve, try to ask questions instead of becoming emotional. “It is essential to make sure you understand what is being said, so be sure to ask questions that will give you clarity,” Janine advises. An example could be asking for clarification on what is being said, bearing in mind that misunderstandings or unclear self-expression could be catalysts to an argument. Make your focus striving for a solution to the problem, as this will be more conducive than if you just want to win.

5

Phone a friend If you find yourself dealing with someone who gets your blood boiling despite your best efforts to stay cool, it could be a good idea to call in a third party. “Aim for mediations where issues can be discussed with the person involved alongside a mediator to keep it civil,” Janine says. “Avoid colleague gossip, though – you can never quite tell when it will leak and to whom.”

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Text: Giulia Simolo Photography: Yuri Arcurs

Office LIFE | 7


The Expert SPEAKS

8 | Office LIFE


Stepping forward

Leadership tips for women (and men!)

W

omen in leadership roles have many competing demands impacting on them constantly. They sort out the washing, listen to the children, stack dishes, make urgent business calls, brush their hair, smear on lipstick and yet calmly walk into the boardroom minutes later. Female leaders often take challenges like this in their stride. At least we don’t usually have to worry about ladders in our pantyhose anymore! Seeing the bright side and treating problems as challenges are just some of the characteristics that enable female leaders to achieve remarkably. Juggling our business and personal lives prepares us for the ‘war zones’ we often face. And if we acknowledge that every one of us is a leader in at least one aspect of our lives, we have a great deal to be proud of. As an executive coach, I find that women (and men!) benefit from simple relevant practices and I’m going to share three tips with you. Tip 1: Breathing practice This simple practice works well if applied consistently. All it takes is commitment to doing the practice every day at roughly the same time for at least three weeks. If done properly, this three-minute practice can change your life. It becomes a tool which you can use in the moment. Instructions: Stand against a wall, making sure that as much of your body is connecting with the wall (or door)

as possible. Now take a deep breath, making sure the air fills the bottom of your lungs first. Slowly take in air, filling to the top. Hold your breath for a few seconds. After that, slowly release the air. Empty your lungs from the top down until your lungs feel empty. Take one or two normal breaths and repeat. Your goal is to get up to five deep breaths with no normal breaths between. So what is the point of this practice? Firstly, it helps you develop a posture of confidence. When we are stressed or tired our bodies often sag forwards. This upright posture counteracts that. It also helps us to feel more in control. In addition, by opening up, we benefit through taking in more oxygen. And by concentrating on our breathing we can’t think about much else. So this helps to clear our minds and immediately after the practice, we can respond to situations rather than react, as we have reduced the emotion that is making us feel stressed. By creating a pause in our activities, we can fill that space with positive thoughts. However, to add this practice to our toolbox, we need to do it every day in order to create new pathways or habits. This tool becomes our default so that when we need to use it, we remember and do this self-correction automatically. This practice works well in all domains of our lives. Tip 2: Peripheral vision Another practice that has helped many of my clients involves developing our

For more information on executive coaching, leadership development, or for a conference speaker or workshop presenter, please visit www.strategy-leadership.com, contact brenda@strategy-leadership. com or phone 082 499 3311.

‘peripheral vision’. We are often so engrossed in the task at hand that we don’t pay enough attention to what is happening around us. As a leader, this is important in the broader context. We need to constantly scan the environment, assessing change and looking for threats and opportunities. To encourage awareness, simply examine all three mirrors in your car when you get in. This way you get the different views of what is happening behind you. Do this each time you stop (obviously not while driving!). This sounds so simple, yet it is surprising that most of us don’t do it automatically. Again, do this every day for three weeks to create new habits. It is interesting how developing our peripheral vision impacts on all aspects of our private and business lives. As leaders, we are in the driving seat – let’s function more effectively. We need to notice changes and be able to tune in, using all our senses. Tip 3: Executive coaching Whether you aspire to a leadership position, or sustaining a current leadership role, a good executive coach can help you to turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones. This takes away stress, enables you to enjoy balance and achieve more. A shift in your way of being brings great benefits. This coaching can take place in person, via phone or Skype. Find a coach that suits you and your needs. Being effective as a female leader in business presents many challenges and we need to be able to draw on our inherent strengths. By following the three tips above, we can enhance our leadership skills in business and this can translate into benefits in our home and community lives as well.

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Text: Brenda Eckstein Photography: Khakimullin Aleksandr

Office LIFE | 9


Training MANUAL

Slave driver How to deal with a demanding boss

Y

ou never imagined dealing with a demanding boss would be on your job description, but there are ways to manage your boss successfully.

Identify them Demanding bosses are usually high performers. They are goal-focused, visionary, charismatic and driving. The downsides, however, often involve being impatient, blunt and even confrontational. When dealing with your boss, spot common signs that they are demanding. “You might hear things like ‘Could you just do this over the weekend?’ or ‘I need some urgent help with this for my meeting first thing tomorrow,’” says Pat Roberts, partner of Change Partners Coaching in Johannesburg. While most people are happy to help out occasionally in an emergency, sometimes this demanding behaviour becomes a habit. Know thyself According to Joseph E Koob, author of the book Succeeding with Difficult Bosses (Infinity Publishing), self-awareness is an important part of dealing with a difficult boss. If we are self-aware we are more in tune with how we act, feel and think, and the other side of this coin is understanding others. “The more you can understand what is driving your boss’s behaviour, the better you will be able to handle the situation in a positive and constructive manner for all 10 | Office LIFE

concerned,” Koob says. Often we find ourselves calling our bosses difficult without really pinpointing what it is about them that we are battling to deal with. Koob suggests thinking of specific things that frustrate you about your boss instead of using a generic term so that you gain better insight into understanding your boss’s behaviour. Hey, who’s the boss? It can be easy to fall into the trap of letting your boss rule your life or emotions. Here are ways to prevent it from happening: 1. Know what is – and what isn’t – expected of you. That team project might call for extra hands but working every weekend is not on your to-do list. “Be clear about what your job description is and make sure you do it well,” says InnerLifeSkills Master Business coach Glenn-Douglas Haig, who specialises in personal empowerment. “Take pride in your work. If it is solid then you are in a better position to stand up to an unreasonable boss when the time comes.” 2. Focus on having quiet strength when faced with conflict. “Stand in your personal power in a calm and dignified way. The minute you raise your voice, you have lost your power,” Haig says. 3. It can be easy to let a boss’s criticism make your self-esteem hit the ground. But as Haig warns, “Make sure you don’t confuse work

comments with personal ones.” Knowing the difference between a personal and business-related comment will help to prevent you from taking unnecessary things on your shoulders. Set boundaries You’re not just an employee – you’re a person with a life outside of the office. If you feel you need to set more boundaries at work, it’s vital that you speak up. “Request a meeting with your boss,” Haig suggests. “The important thing will be your positive attitude. Don’t get all ‘heavy’ and complain about what you don’t like about your boss’s behaviour.” If you focus on what they’re doing wrong, it could just snowball into blame and negativity, and cause an argument. “Rather think of how you do want your boss to treat you and devise a few practical ways in which he can change his behaviour towards you,” Haig says. An example could be to suggest to your boss that he/she requests your assistance on a project early on instead of leaving it for the last minute, which creates a stressful experience. “Then suggest that it would make your work life even more productive if your boss tried to do these things,” Haig says. “Offer solutions rather than just pointing out the problem.”

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Text: Giulia Simolo Photography: Piotr Marcinski


How a demanding boss can change their spots It’s not easy being a boss. “Most bosses are under pressure to get results, so they fall into the trap of trying to solve their team’s problems instead of empowering the teams to find their own solutions,” Haig says. “This causes a bottleneck of pressure on the boss and he feels like he’s the only one who knows how to do things.” Haig says bosses can allow their staff members to become problem solvers by asking spiral-up questions that bring out the best of them. Spiral-up questions are those that are positive, uplifting and productive, as opposed to spiral-down which is negative, descending and destructive.

Office LIFE | 11


Training MANUAL

About Skills Galaxy Skills Galaxy is not just recruitment; they are your ‘blue sky world’. Creating relationships is critical to everything done at Skills Galaxy. They make a point of understanding the culture and business of their clients as well as the current and future career growth needs and aspirations of their candidates. www.skillsgalaxy.co.za

12 | Office LIFE


Now hiring Finding the right person for the job takes a little bit of time, but it’s worthwhile

L

et’s face it, there’s more than experience or credentials to finding the right person for the job. Every company has a particular culture, whether you are aware of this or not. You can probably tell whether someone will fit in straight away, within the first few seconds. The employee needs to be the right ‘fit’ for a company, and this is where the more challenging part of your recruitment process comes in. Spend a little more time screening CVs and conducting interviews – it will help you to make an offer to the best possible applicant. So many South Africans are desperate for work and this tends to bring a multitude of applications for each position advertised. It can be daunting going through each CV carefully, so here are some tips to assist you with reducing the pile of CVs down to a manageable collection. Make sure you have a checklist of specific requirements that are non-negotiable ahead of your screening process.

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The covering letter A covering letter should always give you quick indications of whether this particular candidate has the relevant requirements for your job. A good way to ensure applicants have read through your requirements is to have a ‘call to action’ somewhere in your advert. Perhaps you could ask them to state the most recent book they read and why they enjoyed this particular book. If the applicant tells you about this in their cover letter, you know they have thoroughly read through your requirements. Many job seekers send their CV through to a large number of adverts and will not

necessarily read the actual requirements. Putting at least one ‘call to action’ in your advert will quickly assist in reducing the number of CVs you will spend too much time on.

2

The CV Weed out the applicants who have not followed your instruction with the ‘call to action’ as this is a clear indication of no attention to detail. Some CVs are poorly constructed with spelling and grammar errors, so pay close attention. For example, if you are hiring a PA whose main responsibility is to do minute taking and formalise this to send to your board of directors, why would you interview someone who hasn’t even bothered to check the spelling in their own CV? Look for details like hobbies and interests as well as experience to try to get a better idea of whether this person is someone you would like to interview. Most position dependent, on-the-job knowledge can be taught, so don’t let a lack of experience or qualifications automatically discount an applicant. Pay close attention to the duration spent at each job as well as the reasons for leaving. Don’t forget, a lot of people work contract positions so even though it may seem that someone has job-hopped a lot, this could be due to contract positions.

3

The interview We’re almost there. Once you’ve narrowed down your pile of CVs, you need to make contact with your applicants. I always find it more sensible to have a telephonic chat to ascertain the person’s communication skills. Again, for example, if you were recruiting a receptionist you would definitely not wish

to employ someone who has terrible communication skills over the phone as this is one of the most crucial parts of your business. The first engagement with your company starts with your receptionist. Don’t forget to make sure that these applicants fall within the salary band you have on offer. Avoid wasting time by establishing this up front. Performing this exercise will reduce the number of applicants you now need to meet face-to-face. As well as establishing whether someone is competent for the job, you need to ask questions that reveal more about their personality. If your company thrives on team work and lots of socialising, it might not be ideal to hire someone who is extremely reserved and quiet and prefers to work on their own. Make sure you find the right fit, otherwise this person will not last in your business.

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References Make sure to obtain at least three references from anyone you are considering for the position. This will give you an idea of what the person is like on various levels. Make sure you check things like time keeping, absenteeism and disciplinary records. When you’re on the fence as to whether or not to pursue the person further, a reference call can sometimes give you the right answer. Sure, this process may take a bit longer, but the reward is that you’re more likely to hire someone who is committed to the position and the company, and who won’t want to leave within a few months of joining.

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Text: Shanna Petley, Skills Resourcing Manager, Skills Galaxy Photography: Goodluz

Office LIFE | 13


Home BASE

Get the

14 | Office LIFE


balance right With a bit of planning, it IS possible to have it all

S

o you’ve found your niche in the business world, but the lure of love and family has also been impossible to resist. Who can blame you? It’s what biology designed us for, after all. But gone are the days when having a family put an end to a woman’s career. Having it all means doing it all In many instances, traditional roles prevail however, and the working woman still tackles the bulk of the household duties – often purely because we’re wired that way. Let’s face it, how many of us can step over the ruined rubble of a kiddy play-date before we roll up our sleeves and get cleaning? And somehow, when it comes to remembering to stock up on household cleaning products and toiletries, most men won’t notice that stocks are low until the last square of loo paper has slipped off the roll. The result is that many married career women end up burning the candle at both ends… and then in the middle too. Hardly a recipe for love and romance. Often it’s not a recipe for doting mothering either. Happy space The trouble is, without finding time to nurture our relationships they very soon fall into a state of neglect. A good marriage can provide a healthy foundation for running a home, raising children and handling the challenges of a stressful career. Having someone ‘on your side’ can make even the toughest situations more tolerable. People who are unhappy in their relationships are seldom happy in other areas of their lives.

We also underestimate the value of feeling loved and beautiful. Isn’t it odd that our single friends will buy gorgeous lingerie, schedule pamper sessions and stay in shape… but those of us who have someone in our lives will often stop prioritising these things. While many of us will find time to maintain our homes, gardens and filing, we don’t find time to maintain ourselves or our marriages. It’s a date We often hear the old cliché about setting a regular date night with our spouses. For some of us this might feel too contrived to really work – or it may take so much planning that it turns into a stressor. But time together as a couple is vital, partly because it reminds you of how you were before the craziness of family took over. But also because, like it or not, most women thrive on feeling beautiful and cherished. So do this: • Diarise regular ‘happy time’ together – whether it’s dinner out, a hike together, or a movie that doesn’t include animated characters. • Prepare for this time together so that you can build some anticipation. Wash your hair, paint your nails, plan a dropdead-gorgeous outfit – not only for your partner, but also for yourself. • Focus on each other during your time together. If you can’t resist the ping of a BlackBerry message, then turn the phone off. Lack of attention is disrespectful and will only perpetuate the sense of division you’re trying to dispel. • Take some time to discuss a few family matters in a positive way. It is easier to ask for help with domestic responsibilities over a glass of wine than it is over a sink of dirty dishes. Many husbands skip Daddy Duties because

we manage them with such an iron fist. Ask for his input and he may be more than willing to share the load. • Enjoy yourself! Show that you are happy during this time together so that it doesn’t become a grudge event. Put a little thought into making it pleasant for both of you, and make it work. Don’t allow yourself to slide into a negative place; if you’re strong enough to bend the will of a child you can do the same for yourself. • If you can only manage to be alone once a week or even just once a month, remind each other about it often. Love notes sound corny, but an affectionate (or even naughty) SMS is simple to send. Remember the love So often our partners become our verbal punch bags when we’re under pressure. This may be due to resentment, or because we take it for granted that they’ll forgive us more readily than anyone else. This may become a habit that can erode a happy relationship and make the whole family unhappy. There’s an old saying that the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. The reverse applies too. While the passage of time may dull the initial thrill of romance, remember that it was once there and it can be rekindled. There was a time when your heart skipped a beat when he phoned you and when you’d go the extra mile just to spend a few minutes together. Those feelings are as good for you as they are for him. Keep love in your schedule and the reward will be a relationship that supports you when all else fails.

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Text: Brigitte Billings Photography: Preto Perola

Office LIFE | 15


BEST PRACTICE

Zero Inbox Day Don’t let your mail pile up

500 you have 500 new messages

16 | Office LIFE


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he Zero Inbox Day: For me it is a mirage or better yet, Halley’s Comet, seen once every 75 years. But I do manage to get my inbox to under 20 emails by the end of each day. Some of you may be asking, “What is a Zero Inbox Day?” Well, before you continue reading, quickly check your inbox. How many emails are currently sitting there, read and unread? Let me guess, most of you have 500+ (especially Gmail users) including LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter notifications, and the odd important client email you forgot to reply to. I have this conversation with my staff on a weekly basis: you have got to get your inbox as close to zero as you can! It is nearly impossible to keep track of which mails you have replied to, and which you still need to reply, if you just let them pile up. The best habit to get into to help control your inbox and reduce the number of mails you have sitting there, is to use your mails as your task list. Get started If you start by using your inbox as your project management software and make your emails your tasks, you’ll find them much easier to manage. Follow these guidelines to help you reach the Zero Inbox Day goal: 1. Email sent by a friend, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, basically anything not work-related: DELETE or ARCHIVE it immediately. Do not let your work inbox get cluttered with friend’s emails or notifications. (If you get mails from

spammers/lists you don’t want to get mail from, click the unsubscribe mail immediately.) 2. Email sent by a client or supplier: generally all mails that you receive need to be actioned, and then followed by a reply to the contact. 3. Your reply to the email is essentially you closing a task in your project management software. When you close a task it gets archived or deleted, so do the same with your email. Once you have replied then consider it ‘actioned’ and move it to your client or supplier folder, and out of your inbox. I use Google apps and find it easier to archive my mails than to sort them into folders. The Google Apps search functionality is so effective that you actually don’t need folders, but this is up to you. Just a tip. 4. Emails that you don’t want to reply to straight away because you may be waiting for info from someone else you can just leave in your inbox until you are ready to reply to them. As long as you keep your inbox filled with only mails that still need to be replied to, you will never forget to reply to anyone again. Email response There are many blogs out there that talk about how and when to email. I have found these tips helpful: • Don’t sit on emails, reply as soon as you get them. • Keep emails short and to the point. • If your inbox has the feature, click Send & Archive. • Ask to be taken off CC mails that you are no longer needed on.

About the author

Daniel Marcus is a 30-year-old Chief Executive Officer of conferencing and events company Living Your Brand. Daniel started Living Your Brand after a series of both successful and unsuccessful business ventures. These experiences paved the way for building the successful business he runs today and working with such brands as Bentley, Nando’s, Investec, Nedbank Capital and Nedbank Private Wealth, RMB and Vodacom.

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Text: Daniel Marcus, CEO, Living Your Brand Photography: Grounder

Office LIFE | 17


BEST PRACTICE

18 | Office LIFE


Overtime is

dangerous

Spending 11 hours in the office could be the death of you

A

study conducted last year by the University College London (UCL) found that those spending more than 11 hours at work have a 67% increased risk of having a heart attack when compared to those working an average eight-hour day. A separate study undertaken by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health found that these workers are also twice as likely to suffer from major depression with a 2.5% higher chance of suffering at least one adverse depressive episode after six years. Workaholics “Research on the topic is prolific, indicating just how serious and widespread the trend has become,” says Professor Jacques Snyman, Clinical Executive of Agility Channel’s Zurreal4 employers programme, an integrated human capital management solution. “Already South Africa is regarded as the third most workaholic nation in the world

with a 2011 study by Ipsos Global and Reuters finding that a mere 47% of the country’s working population take their allotted vacation days. With a growing body of evidence irrevocably proving the link between long working hours and potentially life-threatening health complications, it becomes clear that corporate South Africa must take an increasing amount of responsibility for the health of their employees.” Managing workaholics According to Snyman, workaholics must be identified early on and managed via an integrated, holistic and personalised employee wellbeing programme. “Typically, these employees are more likely to ignore obvious health warning signs to avoid taking a day off and are less likely to seek medical advice, believing that the problem will simply disappear in time. It becomes key to proactively identify those at risk and refer them to a professional assistance programme before they

become yet another statistic in a research study,” Snyman warns. A holistic and integrated wellness programme that enables the overall management of employees will assist employers in doing just that. Key to the identification process is the integration of all assessment touch-points, such as behavioural data like absenteeism, work hours and annual leave taken; clinical data collected from self-reported health assessments; and stresses in the home or lifestyle. The aim is to identify the workaholics and not leave them to their own devices to eventually seek help, as, by this time, it could already be too late. Input vs output “Corporates, and employees, must also realise that increased input almost never results in increased output,” says Snyman. “Typically, your best work takes place between hours two and six of a working day. By hour nine, you’re working at a fraction of your capacity and your productivity steadily declines with each passing hour as fatigue, and eventual exhaustion, sets in. In the long term, you will get no more out of an 11-hour working day than you would from spending eight hours in the office. This must be the saddest finding of all as these individuals are exposing themselves to potentially life-threatening health implications for, essentially, no reason at all.”

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Text: Bespoke Communication Photography: Pressmaster

Office LIFE | 19


Training MANUAL

20 | Office LIFE


Dating

at the office How do you deal with an office romance?

W

e all know the saying ‘Don’t mix business and pleasure’, but for some people the office is an ideal place to meet a new partner. So how do you go about having a relationship with a co-worker without it jeopardising your job? The honeymoon phase of the relationship is the most difficult to manage in terms of an office romance. We tend to be far more daring and brazen. Flirtatious banter, hair twirling and longing smiles can be irresistible to new lovers. Before you get caught messing around in the stationery cupboard, you need to come back to reality for just a moment. An office romance needs rules, especially if you are concerned about preserving your professional reputation and integrity. Here are eight tips to keeping your job and your partner. 1: Stay clear of the water cooler Office gossip can very easily result in career suicide and an office relationship increases the risk of you becoming a

target. Managers and directors will all be privy to details shared by gossipmongers. Resist the urge to spill specifics about your exciting love life to colleagues. Keeping quiet about your love life at work will preserve your professional identity. 2: Watch your body language Sexy glances and flirtatious hair flicks are great in the bedroom, but not so desirable in the boardroom. Sure, your tight pencil skirt and hot french white blouse make a sexy statement, and you know it. You want him to think about you when he’s sitting at his desk or trapped in a meeting. Be careful not to overdo this. Keep things classy. Dress smartly and appropriately, and don’t advertise your lust around the office. 3: Remember that you still have a job to do It is very easy to get caught up when involved with someone new and even more so when you share a letterhead or office with them. Remember that an impressive CV and matching interview probably got you the job, but hard work will keep it. You need to be even more

committed than before to delivering the goods. If you start to slack, your boss will have his suspicions about your relationship. Stay focused in meetings and keep your deliverables at an all-time high. If your work ethic remains a priority, so will your career advancement. 4: Tell important people Tell influential people as soon as the relationship develops beyond a fling. Bosses will be impressed by your honesty. Schedule a meeting and tell them about your involvement with your colleague. This sets up an open dialogue to discuss their concerns as well as yours. 5: Formulate an office navigation strategy with your new partner You might behave professionally but, if he doesn’t, things could take a nasty turn for both of you. You need to come up with a joint plan to keep your love life out of the office. Discuss rules and appropriate office behaviours early so that you are consistent when dealing with colleagues and superiors. If you worked closely together on projects in the past, you may Office LIFE | 21


About the author

Life skills and Business coach As a previous shareholder and senior manager of a large private company and a Martha Beck certified life coach, Tamara has grown to understand the invisible rules and nuances of business and personal success. Through honest opinions she inspires people to make more conscious decisions and to shift into a space of growth and achievement. 083 254 4003 tamara@tassness. co.za www.tamaraassness.co.za

decide to ask your boss to move one of you on to a different project or to switch to another division. This allows both of you to grow as individuals professionally without being clumped together and held jointly responsible because of your relationship. 6: Keep disagreements out of the office If you are fuming with your guy for blowing you off last night to watch the rugby with mates, resist the urge to call him out about it at work. Keep your work cap on and focus your energy on getting things done. Don’t sulk or act childishly in the office as this draws negative attention from colleagues. It is important to deal with the problem, but it needs to be handled at the appropriate time and place. Avoid the urge to get relationship advice from your friend in accounts. You need to start relying on resources outside of the office for support and encouragement if you are serious about your career. If you are feeling overwhelmed, a coach may be a good option to help you stay more grounded and focused at work. 7: Channel the positive energy When we are happy and fulfilled in a wonderful relationship, it shows. We tend to be more creative, focused and energised. This is a perfect time to be bold and take on challenges. Channel this wonderful energy into your job. Going that extra mile or finding a fresh

22 | Office LIFE

angle to solve a problem could really catch your boss’s attention. 8: Have discretion You will obviously chat about work and share information with each other. This is a risk for bosses and colleagues who expect a certain amount of confidentiality and discretion. If one of you is more senior, sharing this type of information could jeopardise both of your careers. Try to keep your work out of your love life. It is important for both of you that you are regarded as individuals forging your own paths. Avoid getting too involved in your partner’s issues at work and resist the urge to defend or fight each other’s battles. It is essential that you both behave like adults and take responsibility for your own work-related problems. An office romance can be extremely successful if you take the above rules into account. Don’t let the relationship cloud your vision. I urge clients to keep a journal. Write about your dreams and aspirations and stay committed to them. They may change over time but, if you are a career person, the chances are your career will always be important to you. A journal will help you to focus on what you want. Spend time dreaming and imagining the future you wish to create for yourself. Set amazing goals and continue to work towards them with focus and intention.

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Text: Tamara Assness Photography: Anneka, Sergey Peterman


OPSA NEWS

And the winner is… Who is the new OPSA Rexel SA National Office Professional of the Year?

Marlene with her trophy

S

ecretaries Day 2013 is one that Marlene Mienie won’t forget in a hurry. Held at Misty Hills conference venue in Muldersdrift, OPSA’s ‘It Works for Me’ conference culminated in the announcement of 2013’s Office Professional of the Year, and Marlene took the crown. Who is Marlene? Assistant to Justin Hewett, the Managing Director of Avroy Shlain Cosmetics (Pty) Ltd.

Find out more about Marlene in the next issue of OfficeLife!

How did the assessment process work? Five finalists were selected after a series of peer-reviewed assignments. Each finalist had to do a half-hour presentation to the delegates attending the OPSA ‘It works for Me’ Secretaries Day conference. A panel of judges assessed the candidates and this score was combined with guests

The five finalists (from left to right): Corrie Fourie, Chipo Moyo, Marlene Mienie (winner), Tanya Engelbrect and Jacqui Brodie

voting for their favourite presentation by voting on interactive voting pads, which captured the scores in real time. Who were the other finalists? • Corrie Fourie – Fresenius-Kabi SA (Pty) Ltd • Tanya Engelbrecht – Sasol Mining (Pty) Ltd • Chipo Moyo – CEF (Pty) Ltd • Jacqui Brodie – South African Post Office What did the winner receive? R15,000 cash sponsored by Rexel Office Products and an opportunity to attend OfficeSA, South Africa’s premiere conference for office professionals. Where can I find out more? To see photos of the event, visit OPSA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/#!/ pages/OPSA/. Office LIFE | 23


Home BASE

Helping with

homework

You come home after a long day at the office and face yet more work – getting your child to do the work sent home from school

24 | Office LIFE


R

emember the days when you had homework – and hated it? Well, times may have changed, but school hasn’t. Your child probably also has a strong aversion to doing schoolwork at home. But if you are able to help your children manage their time – and show them that you are there to assist where needed – they will be better equipped to deal with it. Here are 15 tips to help them on their way…

1

Keep in touch with your child’s school. Go to PTA meetings and get a feel of what is expected of your child. If you have a better understanding, you will be able to help her more successfully. Create a homework-friendly environment. Provide a space that is well-lit, comfortable and quiet and make sure your child has all the stationery and books she needs. Sit together and set up a regular timetable for homework and studying. Make sure to factor in exam times and extramurals and keep it where everyone can see it. It will help you all keep on track. Balance work and play. Your child will respond badly if she is not able to attend a party because she has to finish her homework. Rather allow her to make up for the time later on. A little flexibility can go a long way, but make sure the hours are still accounted for. Speak to your child and see what type of studying method works best for her. Some children need regular breaks, while others find this distracting. Keep it down! Make sure that, at the allotted time, you refrain from making too much noise in the house. Also remove distractions like blaring TVs, cellphones and music. Help your child learn to plan her time. It’s a good skill to have and will help her immensely. Get her to explain to you how much needs to be done, and then look at breaking things up into manageable chunks. Work at your child’s pace – if she takes longer, she will need more hours factored in. Resist the temptation to do her homework for her! It sends the wrong message and doesn’t allow her to learn what she is supposed to. Encourage and help by all means, but don’t take over!

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Monitor her work. Never assume that it is being done – children can be sneaky if they have something better to do (which is everything else where homework is concerned). Ask her about assignments and tests that are coming up and stay on top of it without being too overbearing. A simple, ‘That project is due soon, isn’t it? How are you doing with that?’ should remind her that you are tracking her progress. Keep communication open. Let her know that you are there when she needs help – if she feels overwhelmed or she doesn’t understand something, she needs to be able to speak to you. Set a good example. Your child is more likely to read her set work if she sees you reading often. Show her your organisational skills by keeping shopping and to-do lists. Praise hard work. Make a big deal if your child performs well at school. Get granny to phone her and congratulate her on a test mark, or mention to people when your child is in ear shot how proud you are that she is studying so hard. Institute a reward system. Just small things, like an afternoon ice-skating or baking her some special treats. Even though hard work pays off in results, children appreciate special notice from you as well. Try to explain difficult concepts by making the problem relevant to your child’s life. If it’s a maths problem, try explaining visually. Get coins and take some away to demonstrate subtraction and so on. Use drawings and visual aids and try your best to make it fun. It’s the best way to hold their attention. Remember that teachers have so many kids in their class that they cannot give individual attention all the time. You may need to help your child understand on a level she is comfortable with. If you feel like your child is unable to cope – and that you are not helping her adequately, speak to her teachers. They often have some valuable advice and may even know of a tutor or some extra lessons that could help you. They may also realise that your child needs things explained to her in a different way.

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Text: Deanne Dudley Photography: Serhiy Kobyakov

Office LIFE | 25


Think MORE

Sell, sell, sell Six common blunders sales people make and how to fix them

26 | Office LIFE


unique about the buying process and who is actually involved. Problem Buyers have become increasingly sophisticated, knowledgeable and accountable to their companies for containing budget. It’s the trend now to have a few people involved in making a buying decision. Solution Get close to the buyer, suss out their personality style. Is it amiable, expressive, analytical or driven? Now adjust your behaviours to match their style. Also adjust your sales process so that it is in tune with the buyer’s process. “I understand you are still in the evaluative stage of the buying process. What do you suggest as the next step, a live demonstration or a meeting with one of our clients?”

Blunder 1: They don’t know the customer’s industry Salespeople believe their product offering is valuable to all companies across the board. They end up irritating the buyer because he/she hasn’t got the time to give a free education to a disorganised salesperson. Problem They don’t research or prepare before seeing a prospect face-to-face or over the phone. No one has the time or inclination to answer “So tell me, what is your company all about?” The buyer will naturally become frustrated and irritable with this pathetic approach. Solution Search the internet, phone their switchboard, understand what they do, who’s who in their structure, their top products/services, what is hot (read the ‘news’ tab on their website), see what others say, who their competitors are, what their plans are and what connection point (link) you can use when you meet. For example, “I see your company is launching an aggressive marketing campaign into East Africa to promote your server platforms (now use your link or ‘connection’ point) and I’d like to share with you how our outlets use the internet in that region to shorten their lead times to market. How does that sound, Peter?” Blunder 2: They don’t know how the buyer buys Salespeople try to exploit the sales opportunity without finding out what’s

Blunder 3: They give a ‘generic’ pitch with a ‘generic brochure’ You are on familiar territory when you talk about your product; it’s your comfort zone and passion, and it is so much more tempting to stay there rather than stray onto the prospect’s unfamiliar turf. Problem The seller never clearly identifies the buyer’s needs and wants so the pitch, at best, is a ‘spray and pray’. Solution During your conversation with the prospect, listen to them, focus your attention on what they say and how deep their ‘pain’ is. Don’t think about what you are going to say next. Put yourself in their shoes, empathise and start looking at what is required together. Blunder 4: They allow prospects to bully them Salespeople often give in to prospect’s demands, especially falling for the ‘discount trap’ or the perceived threat “If you don’t do X, the deal is off.” Problem We crumble too quickly when the prospect becomes demanding. This leads the prospect to correctly assume you are weak and lack backbone. Solution Aim for a deal that makes sense for the buyer and seller and is a win-win outcome. If either party feels it is a lose situation, resentment creeps in and eventually, anger and bitterness. When the last minute demands come up, hold your ground and the customer will reflect on the fact that you mean

About the author Clive Price is the Managing Director of The Peer Group. Clive has a BA (Econ) from Wits University and a Post Graduate Degree in Learning Psychology from London University. He is also a registered Personnel Practitioner and a Fellow of the Institute of Training Management South Africa.

business, and are not a pushover. This inspires TRUST, which is what you both really want. Blunder 5: Salespeople often avoid closing the deal Remember closing starts from your first encounter and every point of agreement leads towards a final yes. Problem Salespeople put so much time and effort into the process of finding opportunities that they appear wasted when it comes to the easy business of closing. Or is it that most salespeople are so scared of rejection that they often delay the close by saying something really odd like “I’ll get back to you”? Solution Summarise the points of agreement and check the ‘yeses’ are out on the table, before calmly moving into an alternative close. Then SHUT UP. The first person to speak loses. Blunder 6: Salespeople ignore objections Remember the more valid objections you receive, the luckier you are. The prospect is really interested and is just checking that this is the right deal for them. Problem Salespeople see objections as red lights and obstacles to getting a deal. Solution Learn how to isolate the objection and have the courage to ask “What else would they like to raise?” Get everything out into the open and see this as a green light, a golden opportunity, to get involved with your prospect. Never bury an objection because it will come back to bite you.

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Text: Clive Price Photography: Lisa S

Office LIFE | 27


The Expert SPEAKS

M

any companies make the mistake of employing a person and then leaving the person to their own devices. But one company took the challenge of engaging with its staff and reaped huge rewards. Here’s how Softline VIP changed things around for its staff. Perhaps there are a few things that will work at your company too. Softline VIP, part of Softline, a member of the Sage Group, found that engaging with the employee significantly increases staff retention in addition to having positive effects on revenue growth and productivity.

The research Softline VIP was facing a unique challenge, says Anja HartmanWeitz, HR Director for Softline VIP. “Staff costs comprise 54% of the company’s total revenue expenditure, which is quite an eye opener when you consider that around 30% of the employees here had less than two years of service at the time.” The company conducted an internal survey in 2004 and found that only a third of its employees were truly loyal and planning to stay, while the others felt trapped in their positions or were looking for other opportunities outside the company. “The results were quite startling and we had to find a way of engaging with our employees to reverse their opinion of the company,” says Anja. The company launched a longterm programme that aimed to give employees a sense of accomplishment by providing necessary resources and showing care and concern for them. “We started the process by launching a recognition programme that rewarded employees for excellent work done. We also took a closer look at what our employees value in order to identify what drives them and what satisfies them in the work environment,” says Anja. The findings As a result, the company invested in electronic equipment that was designed to make the work environment more efficient and

Committed to change Engaging with employees pays off

28 | Office LIFE


embarked on initiatives that were aimed at instilling its values and corporate culture in employees. “The process was done from a ‘caring’ perspective, taking an interest in health and general matters such as highlighting breast cancer awareness month, financial tips and advice and recycling, to name a few,” says Anja. “Communication is the key. We made sure that every employee was aware of the organisational structure and the role that they play in it. We provided each employee with a concise job description that highlights what the company expects from them and how they can achieve success,” she says. Feedback Management training and development was also a focal point for the company. “Having a strong management team at the core of the process that is capable of leading the company on its journey is crucial to the success of it,” says Anja. The process involved employees giving feedback to managers in terms of their management style – a rather insightful process that highlighted a few aspects managers could focus on.

The results The internal survey was repeated three years later, in 2007, with quite a dramatic change in opinion. “Little over half of our employees were truly loyal and planning to stay, which was a staggering improvement of 14%. The number of employees who were not planning to stay had reduced and the number of employees who felt trapped in their position had reduced by 16%. We also showed consistent growth in profit during the three year period,” says Anja. “It is however an on-going process that requires dedication and a steadfast goal to work towards.” Their dedication has reaped its benefits, with Softline VIP placing second in the medium category of the 2010 Deloitte’s ‘Best Company to Work For’ survey. “This is the second year that we have participated, having placed fourth in 2009 in the same category of 300 to 2,500 employees.” Some of the engagement drivers that were identified from an employee perspective in the process are: • Having the skills and resources • Work/life balance • Good communication • Remuneration, rewards and benefits • The trust in leadership “When we asked our employees if we were an employer of choice, 92% of respondents agreed with the statement. That alone tells me that our strategy is working,” concludes Anja.

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Text: Watt Communication Photography: Andrey_Popov

Office LIFE | 29


Home BASE

Come together Carpooling to work could be necessary and beneficial 30 | Office LIFE


average car emits 133g of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per kilometre. This is second only to a domestic flight emitting 158g of carbon dioxide per kilometre. The alarming situation is the rate at which these carbon dioxide concentrations are growing and contributing to global warming by adding to the build-up of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide being the most present) in the atmosphere. The reality of it all According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 83% of Australians who drive to work or study do not have a passenger and in the USA, census data revealed that single occupants commuting are around 75%. The next time you’re on the road, notice how many others are driving on their own too, when in fact there is room for passengers in the majority of vehicles. While we’re travelling to and from work alone, clocking up billions of kilometres, spending a fortune on petrol and pumping tons of emissions into the atmosphere we could, and should, be doing our ‘green’ bit by carpooling. How’s that going to help? By carpooling to work, individuals save the energy that would have been used and carbon dioxide emitted from their private vehicle. As a result, energy is used and carbon dioxide emitted only in one vehicle instead of four or five vehicles. Carpooling saves a lot of energy and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide generated and released into the atmosphere, thus slowing global warming.

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arpooling, also known as ride sharing, or forming a liftclub to get to the office may well alleviate a number of problems and prove to be valuable. Read on to find out how. What’s the big deal? The UK Department of Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs reported that the

The thinking behind it Formal carpooling is thought to have emerged in the mid 1970s due to the oil crisis, rooted in politics and oil cartels at the time. However, the crisis we are faced with nowadays regarding the nonrenewable resource of oil running out and contributing to global warming, also welcomes the idea of carpooling. What’s in it for me? • Significant cost savings Firstly, you’ll save on petrol, as the costs of petrol should be shared among the carpool. Secondly, tolls and parking costs are also likely to be divided among the carpool and the cost of some office parking

permits are reduced for multiple occupant vehicles. Find out whether this is the case with your office parking. Thirdly, city driving is notorious for causing accelerated wear and tear on vehicles as stopping and starting wears out engines, brakes, gearboxes and tyre tread. Curb this by reducing constant driving of your vehicle by carpooling. • Less traffic on the roads Just think of how many thousands of vehicles would be off the roads if everyone carpooled. This would decrease congestion on the roads, making trips faster and cutting petrol costs and car maintenance even further. Some countries, like New Zealand, have designated lanes for carpools to ensure travel is quicker for carpoolers. • Reduced stress of having to find a parking bay at work, as carpooling should ease onsite parking. Also, if you’re not the driver you’ll have some time to carry out other tasks during the drive, like preparing for a meeting. • Travel more securely There’s always safety in numbers. • Better social networks By sharing a ride with people, you’ll meet and get to know them. A carpool is also the perfect space for a pep session before the daily grind, as well as a platform to bounce off ideas. How to do it If you’d like to form a carpool, get talking to family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. While not everyone works in the same office block as you, many people might come from and need to get to a nearby area. If you’re only looking to share lifts with people in your workplace, circulate an email putting forward your idea. A number of online services also provide a good choice of people to carpool with, matching your area, schedule and personal preferences like smoker/non-smoker, gender and even music choices. Check out www.findalift. co.za for more information.

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Text: Laura McKeen Photography: Stefano Lunardi

Office LIFE | 31


Lite SIDE

Riddle

?

me this

Test your general knowledge with these questions supplied by Trivial Pursuit

James Bond 7. Which of these locations does not appear in the 2006 Bond film Casino Royale – Prague, The Bahamas, Monte Carlo or Montenegro? 8. What actor plays the James Bond who, when asked if he’d like his martini shaken or stirred, says, “Do I look like I give a damn?” 9. Which US president named Ian Flemming’s From Russia With Love 32 | Office LIFE

in his top 10 favourite novels of all time in Life magazine? 10. What was the first James Bond book – Dr No, Goldfinger, Casino Royale or Moonraker? 11. In which movie does Bond investigate the theft of a space shuttle? 12. Which Bond actor once came third in a Mr Universe body-building contest? Kissing 13. In what country might you kiss the Blarney Stone? 14. Which two pop stars did Madonna lock lips with at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards? 15. How many categories of kissing did the ancient Romans come up with – one, three or 15? 16. Who painted the art nouveau The Kiss? 17. What ‘kissing’ fish can be found in an aquarium? 18. What US chocolate manufacturer produces bite-sized chocolates called Kisses?

Answers 1. Indonesia – home to the Grasberg mine in the province of Papua 2. Jamie Foxx – “Yea she’s a trifflin’ friend indeed” 3. Atlanta 4. Johannesburg – otherwise known as Egoli 5. Au – from aurum, the Latin word for gold 6. Michael Johnson 7. Monte Carlo – glamourous Monaco city featured in Never Say Never Again and Golden Eye 8. Daniel Craig – he debuted as Bond in the 2006 film Casino Royale 9. John F Kennedy 10. Casino Royale 11. Moonraker 12. Sean Connery, in 1950 13. Ireland 14. Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears 15. Three – Osculum, a kiss on the cheek; Basium, a kiss on the lips; and Savolium, a deep kiss 16. Gustav Klimt – it’s about as romantic as paintings get 17. Gourami 18. Hershey

Gold 1. In which country is the world’s largest gold mine located? 2. What actor sang the opening lines of Kanye West’s Gold Digger? 3. What mythical, fleet-footed female lost a race because she was picking up Aphrodite’s golden apples? 4. Which South African city is known as the City of Gold? 5. What is the chemical symbol for gold? 6. What US athlete wore golden shoes in the 1996 Olympics?


1930 1 000 000 Breeding Pairs

1956 141 000 Breeding Pairs

1980 69 000 Breeding Pairs

2005 57 000 Breeding Pairs

2009 25 262 Breeding Pairs

2012 22 683 Breeding Pairs

SEE THE REALITY BEFORE IT‘S TOO LATE The endangered African penguin needs your help. So don’t be short-sighted. Act now. Adopt a penguin today at www.sanccob.co.za and support SANCCOB and their partners in conservation to save our proudly South African penguins.

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