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Office life

Volume 3 | Issue 13 | 2014

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

Bon voyage Booking a business trip

Painless performance appraisals 7 steps for success

OPSA news • Massage your stress away • Network and learn • Who will be the next OPSA Rexel Office Professional of the Year?

Attention grabber Make your CV stand out from the rest

Structured surroundings

Earn poin CPD this ts in issu e

Why a tidy desk is important

06 | Get a good rep Tips from Marlene Mienie

28 | Yummy recipe Mini malva puddings

26 | Toys for toddlers Entertainment on a budget

20 | Coffee break 10 cool facts about your cuppa

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issue 13 2014

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

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

in this issue 2 Bulletin board Short reads for the pressed-for-time PLUS a note from OPSA

PUBLISHER Urs Honegger

4 OPSA invites Network or spa day – you’re invited to both!

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Gerard Peter EDITOR Deanne Dudley

6 Got a bad rep? Sort it out with advice from Marlene Mienie

SENIOR SUB EDITOR Vanessa Koekemoer SUB EDITORS Nicolette Els, Noleen Fourie DTP STUDIO MANAGER Paul Kotze

8 What a performance How to prep for appraisals


14 | Tidy space, clear mind

14 Tidy desk, tidy mind Organise your space


16 Reviews New books, movies and DVDs for your leisure


18 Please like me! Ways to get people in your corner

Tel: 011 468 2090 Fax: 011 468 2091 FINANCE

20 Ten things... ... you probably didn’t know about your caffeine fix

ISSN 2221-6715

OfficeLife is published 11 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 © 1997-2014 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 SMSes 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.

12 Stand out from the crowd Make your CV impressive

20 | Coffee time

22 Jet setters Help for when your boss needs to travel 25 Call for entries You could be the next Office Professional of the Year! 26 Play to learn Tips for stimulating your toddler 28 Delicious recipe Mini malva puddings… yum! 30 Indoor fun Keeping kids busy inside when it’s cold 32 Happy Father’s Day Celeb dads with five or more children

26 | Entertainment for toddlers Office LIFE | 1

ber Remem y falls on

a Father’s D e this year, Jun 5 1 y a d Sun e dads sure all th ial. e k a m o s c e feel spe in your lif

Housework is good for you

Here’s a good reason to pick up that mop, even when cleaning is the last thing you feel like doing… Daily physical exercise as light as vacuuming can dramatically reduce a person’s risk of disability – by up to 30%. The study, which included almost 1,700 adults aged 45 to 75, was conducted as part of a long-term study on osteoarthritis. [SOURCE: WWW.WEBMD.COM]


This year seems to be flying by! The cooler weather is seen as a blessing by some and a hindrance by others. The latter category is generally where children fall. Not being able to play outside as much can leave them feeling cooped up and bored. If you want some ideas on how to keep them entertained indoors, read the article on page 30. While on the subject of kids and play, educational toys can be a huge, and unnecessary, expense. We all want what’s best for our toddlers, but breaking the bank is not an option. Luckily, we have found some helpful advice on stimulating your little ones on a tight budget (page 26). On the work front, if your boss travels, the arrangements usually fall into your lap. It’s not always the easiest or most pleasant of tasks, and can be quite stressful to manage, so be sure to read the advice on page 22 for some inspiration. Then, if you are thinking of getting a new job, you’ll need to polish up your CV a bit. For tips on making it shine, read the article on page 12. We also have a lot of OPSA news to share with you this issue. You are invited to enter the OPSA Rexel Office Professional of the Year Competition (page 25), to have a glorious spa day (page 5) and to attend a networking event that will better explain the CPD system (page 4). As always, I love to hear from you. Whether you have questions, advice, problems or suggestions, please feel free to email me on Until next time, Keep well

2 | Office LIFE

board News to know

Driving comfortably Here are some tips from Tempur on maximising comfort while travelling long distances: • Position your seat so that you can easily reach the wheel and get your feet on the pedals. • Adjust the seat to have your knees slightly higher than your hips. • Change the seat position occasionally by tilting slightly forward or slightly backward. • Avoid slumping forward or sitting in a twisted position. • Consider lumbar support or a seat pad for additional support and comfort. • Frequently reposition your hands on the wheel to take strain off your upper back and neck muscles. • Stop every few hours and stretch or walk around. • Keep hydrated to avoid build-up of lactic acid in over-worked muscles, which can cause stiffness.

Did you know?

• 14 June is World Blood Donor Day. • To qualify to donate blood you must be between 16 and 65 years of age. • You must weigh over 50kg (simply put, because the smaller you are, the less blood you have). • A donation usually entails 480mℓ at a time. • By law you can only donate every 56 days. This is to allow your body to regenerate the red blood cells it lost during your last donation. For more information on where you can make a life-saving donation, please visit

Foot ulcers and diabetics Eliminating foot ulcers could cut medical costs for diabetics by almost half, according to research. A recent US study by The Analysis Group showed that foot ulcers led to large medical bills for diabetics – almost double the other costs of treating the condition, according to health portal McKnight’ Here are some tips by Diabecinn Feetcare cream on looking after your feet: • Wash and dry feet daily. • Use mild soap and warm water. Pat your feet dry, don’t rub them. Use Diabetes Feetcare cream on your feet to prevent cracking but do not rub cream or body lotions between your toes. • Examine your feet daily by checking the top and the bottom for any cracked/dry skin, blisters, cuts, corns, calluses, redness or tenderness. • Take care of toenails by cutting them regularly after bathing. Cut straight and smooth and avoid cutting into the corners of toes. Check regularly for ingrown toenails. • Wear comfortable shoes at all times, especially when exercising. • Always wear shoes and socks. Avoid wearing high heels and going barefoot. Do not wear new shoes for more than an hour at a time, change your socks daily and wear loose-fitting natural fibre socks (cotton, wool or a blend).


I have just attended a seminar on the latest statutory developments in the South African employment environment and there are some very interesting changes that are sure to affect OPSA members. Employment is one of the greatest challenges facing South Africa and I am in favour of any legislation that empowers South Africans to enter the workplace and secure fair, rewarding employment. I am also an advocate of measures that address and eliminate unfair discrimination and open the way for growth and development. While OPSA actively encourages and supports males to enter the office profession, the truth of the matter is that more than 85% of OPSA’s members are female, and females have not always enjoyed the same rights as males in the workplace. Many of the pending changes to employment legislation relate to strengthening the rights of female employees addressing issues like giving females access to resources and opportunities to build meaningful careers. The legislation around female empowerment and gender equality sets out to ensure that at least 50% of all employees, at all levels in organisations, must be female and, under the amendments to the Employment Equity Act, all workers, regardless of their gender (or other discriminatory elements like race, religion, marital status and the like) should receive equal pay for equal work. Another interesting area is the introduction of tax incentives to employers to employ younger people between the ages of 18 and 30 and earning a salary of less than R6,000 per month. This incentive is not meant to create job losses for people over the age of 30, in fact companies will face severe financial penalties if they are found to have retrenched staff to employ younger staff and claim this incentive. It is important that you, as an employee, or as a self-employed contractor, keep yourself updated on changes in the employment environment that could affect your rights and responsibilities at work. Educate yourself and use this knowledge to actively drive your career and advance the office profession. Office LIFE | 3


OPSA networking event OPSA professional designations and CPD What’s in it for me? How does it work? How much will it cost? Do you have questions about professional designations and Continuous Professional Development and whether this is something you should consider to enhance your career and standing in the office profession? Join us for a networking morning hosted by Marlene Mienie, the current OPSA Rexel SA National Office Professional of the Year, and the OPSA Professional Designations Panel, where we will discuss everything relating 4 | Office LIFE

to OPSA’s professional designations and our Continuous Professional Development Programme. We will discuss: • What are professional designations? • What are the OPSA professional designations available to me? • How do I apply for a designation? • Who will assess my application? • Once I am registered, how do I keep up my registration? • What is CPD? • How does CPD work? • What will it cost?

Johannesburg Date: Thursday, 29 May 2014 Time: 8am to 10am Venue: Focus Rooms, Sunninghill Cost: R150 Pretoria Date: Saturday, 31 May 2014 Time: 09:30am to 11:30am Venue: Siyanqoba Private FET College, Garsfontein Cost: R150 To book your place contact Tshego on 012 993 0881 or email her at


Office Professionals

t a e r t e R

To stay at the top of your game, sometimes you need to stop, take a deep breath, let your hair down and relax… OPSA and Rexel Office Products invite you to celebrate Office Professionals Week by joining us on Friday, 5 September 2014 for an indulgent day of tranquil rejuvenation in the lap of luxury at the award-winning Ingaadi Spa. You deserve a day of ‘metime’ and we guarantee you will leave feeling re-energised, rejuvenated and re-inspired. Your day of pampering will include: • A delightful Ingaadi breakfast upon arrival • A delectable Ingaadi lunch • An assortment of snacks to spoil your

senses all day long • A beverage selection • A rejuvenating exfoliation and a full body massage experience with intense hot stone therapy • A facial treatment using Esse products, which includes a full cleanse, exfoliation, soothing mask and tone • A relaxing Jacuzzi or heated martini pool • An indulgent head and neck massage with Ingaadi’s signature Esse oil • Ingaadi’s famous hand massage with invigorating lavender scrub exfoliation treatments

• A revitalising foot massage with limited reflexology points, which includes an escape to paradise with Ingaadi’s extensive lavender scrub exfoliation • E  very guest will receive a pamper hamper valued at R500. • Loads of spot prizes will be given out on the day. • Look out for our special guest speaker on nutrition and health. Date: Friday, 5 September 2014 Investment: R3,500 (excl. VAT) Office LIFE | 5

Training MANUAL

6 | Office LIFE

Earn CPD points

Send the answer to this question to and your correct answer will contribute towards your CPD score: • Name one way you can show that you are reliable.


Building a

good rep A good reputation is vitally important when it comes to making a name for yourself in the industry


ere are a few tips from your current OPSA Rexel Office Professional of the Year, Marlene Mienie, on how to gain and maintain your good professional reputation. Always deliver work within promised timelines By delivering your best, on time, your boss and your peers will become accustomed to the fact that you are reliable. You will be known as a person who not only gets the job done on time, but delivers the highest quality of work. Never ‘over-promise’ and ‘under-deliver’ as you will set yourself up for failure and destroy your reputation over time. Be proactive and demonstrate initiative Be proactive by identifying possible problems before they occur. Never approach your manager without having two or three suggestions on how to resolve a problem. That way you will show your ability to resolve problems before they occur. However, if you are having difficulty identifying the most suitable solution, ask for advice from your manager before implementing the most appropriate solution.

Be respectful and offer your opinion with tact Always treat people with respect and handle sensitive situations with tact. For example, when suggesting another way of doing things, rather than inquiring why something is done a certain way, ask if management has considered doing it another way. Suggesting a new process rather than questioning the current one demonstrates your forward thinking without criticism. Look and act professional Always dress the part and have a good attitude. You certainly do not want to be avoided for being temperamental, aloof, part of gossiping or simply not wanting to assist others. Keep relationships professional! Work friends can become some of your best friends, in and out of the office. Remember that professional relationships always come first. Be careful not to share confidential information as the consequences can be detrimental to your career.


Text: Marlene Mienie Photography: Shutterstock

Office LIFE | 7

Training MANUAL

s p e t 7s to a painless performance appraisal We’ve all done it, we all dread it, but we all experience personal growth from it


eedback’ can be one of the most powerful tools for gaining personal growth in your career, and if approached correctly can, contrary to belief, be a positive experience for both the supervisor/superior/manager as well as the individual/co-worker/ subordinate involved. If your manager needs to set up performance appraisals, chances are you will be assisting, so keep

8 | Office LIFE

these seven tips in mind to make the experience as smooth as possible.


Control the environment Make sure that you think about when and where you should meet for the discussion. Consider the message you want to communicate and how the setting contributes or detracts from the message. Find a quiet meeting place or informal setting where you can

meet alone and undisturbed. Carefully consider the setting and the impact that the atmosphere of the environment in and around the setting can have on the content of the feedback. For example, think about: • The direction the windows face, as you do not want the person to be seen by the general office if the feedback is negative. You do not want to embarrass the person.

• The message that the location of the meeting will communicate. Formal, informal? • Whether there are any distractions.


Give notice When you are planning the feedback meeting, give the person warning or notice about the meeting. Don’t be cryptic about the agenda; tell the person that the meeting is a feedback or performance meeting. Make it clear that the purpose of the meeting is to help with the person’s development. That way the person can prepare themselves for the meeting. You need to give the person time to get their attitude right to embrace whatever is said and use the feedback received as a tool for personal growth. There is nothing worse than being caught off guard and having to contain your emotions before replying to a discussion point, or the feeling that you are being cornered and you have to defend yourself.


Be prepared Make sure that you remain in control of the meeting by having a clear agenda (a list of things you need to say). Also make sure you cover all the items that you want. No issue should go unresolved. Make sure that you are clear in your mind about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Consider, among other things, whether you are using appropriate words and the inflection in your tone of voice. These meetings can often be sidetracked by incorrectly interpreted words and meanings or emotional responses. Particularly important is thinking about how you are going to start as well as conclude the meeting. You want the person to know that the discussion is about assisting them in improving their performance for their own personal growth, not only the ultimate success of the company.


Stick to the facts Everyone is apprehensive when receiving constructive criticism, so make sure that you address the behaviour and not the person. Provide specific examples of behaviour that have occurred. Clearly describe what happened using all the necessary facts including when, where and what happened – say it as it is. It is difficult to argue with the facts. Although it is important not to allow the meeting to turn into a highly emotional one, give the person time to clarify any discussion points from their perspective. Never make any assumptions or conclusions about what happened. It is also important to present the facts in a ‘non-negative’ light. Do not attack or criticise the person.

implementing them, and (v) be presented in a positive light.



Discuss the impact For each ‘behaviour’ that is discussed, factually describe the impact that the behaviour had on the business, their colleagues and even superiors. If a person can understand the negative impact that their behaviour had on others or the organisation, it will assist in creating buy-in from the person in the action plan developed going forward. Present an argument that the reason the behaviour must be prevented from reoccurring is to prevent the ‘impact’ from occurring again in the future.


Moving forward Any feedback meeting should have the goal of personal growth of the person and making them better at what they are doing. Make sure you never close a feedback meeting without summarising the key issues and agreeing on the way forward, so that the behaviour is not repeated and the individual can achieve personal growth. The way forward must be agreeable to both parties. These points forward need to be: (i) tangible, (ii) measurable, (iii) attainable, (iv) the person must be held accountable to

Natasha Sexton CA(SA) and Riaan Rudman CA(SA) are both lecturers in the Department of Accounting at Stellenbosch University.

Acknowledge and re-enforce the change There is nothing more rewarding for a person as well as their supervisor than to see a change in behaviour after a feedback meeting. So keep your eyes peeled and when the person addresses their behaviour, reward them, and tell them – they need to hear about it. By acknowledging the change in behaviour and connecting this change in behaviour with positive feedback, it assists in mitigating the negative connotation associated with feedback meetings and the original behaviour or act. This paves the way for the next feedback session and ultimate success for the individual and the company. In order for feedback about negative behaviour to have a lasting impact, an environment needs to be created for direct dialogue about the facts, which forms a basis of a plan for the future.


Text: Ogilvy on behalf of Stellenbosch University Photography: Shutterstock

Office LIFE | 9

Quest for knowledge


Bling rain


adies, this one is for you. It’s very possible that it rains diamonds on gaseous planets Jupiter and Saturn. At least that is what researchers of the University of Wisconsin in Madison (USA) think. They analysed the temperature and pressure in the atmosphere of these planets and studied new data about how carbon behaves under various conditions. The scenario: methane changes into carbon high up in the atmosphere because of thunderstorms. It falls down through the various layers of the atmosphere and changes because of the increasing pressure. It first transforms into graphite and then into diamond. The biggest pieces are over 0.5cm in diameter, according to the researchers. That’s big enough to use in jewellery.

Why do you get dizzy when you stand too quickly?

Can hair grow on a scar? Nora Els, Johannesburg

Zaf Khan, Shaka’s Kraal


This is because the blood pressure in your head and upper body drop when you stand too quickly. 700mm of blood flows down purely because of gravity. The momentary shortage of blood in your head makes you dizzy and you see black spots. Fortunately, your body is able to do something about this very quickly. It squeezes blood vessels together and then there is enough blood to push up. The medical term for this phenomenon is orthostatic hypotension. 10 | Office LIFE

A head rush could sometimes lead to fainting.


o, when scar tissue forms it will destroy the hair follicles from where the hairs grow. Once destroyed they will never grow back. Scars are always without hair.

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for knowledge

the magazine that surprises

Why does it often help to hit a piece of equipment when it stops functioning? Shane Richards, Durban


his is called ‘percussive maintenance’. Unfortunately this usually only has a temporary effect. In electronic devices it is usually broken connections or loose contacts that cause problems. A hit can restore the connection for a while, but these parts will most likely come loose again and you will have to solder

the contacts again. Corroded batteries are often the fault in a remote control. The oxidised metal conducts badly and blocks the energy supply. A hit could temporarily fix the contact but the real solution is new batteries. Furthermore, it’s best to insert new batteries as soon as possible before corrosion affects the other

parts of the remote. Also, don’t forget to clean the contact points of the remote.


Rubbish excuses pay off


Forget it. You can’t go to Jupiter to harvest diamonds.

Your device will break faster if you hit it harder and more often.

Join the quest for knowledge


raintainment is the magazine that fascinates, surprises, captivates and gives answers to questions you never thought you wanted the answers to. Braintainment has a clear focus to introduce you to the entertaining world of knowledge through intelligent content on technology, science, culture, history, health, psychology and much more … and presents them in a unique way compared to other magazines. Braintainment is a quirky read that connects knowledge with entertainment and is your trusted companion on your ongoing quest for knowledge.

ant to seem reliable? Well, make excuses for things that are not your fault such as the weather or traffic. This was apparent from research done by the University of Pennsylvania (USA). The scientists had an actor speak to people on a rainy day. He asked if he could borrow their cellphone. If he preceded the question with excuses about the weather, he had success in 74% of the cases. Only 9% of the people gave him their phone when he didn’t apologise for the weather. It apparently makes you look reliable even if the excuse is silly.

A sweet smile can do no harm if you want to get something done.

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Office LIFE | 11

Training MANUAL

12 | Office LIFE

Cracking your CV

Don’t let your CV get the best of you. Here’s how to get it in tip-top shape


Vs can be tricky to get the hang of, even after you’ve been working for a number of years. Whether you’re reentering the job market after years at the same company or whether you’ve just graduated, we’ve got expert advice on all you need to know. Make it count When it comes to CVs, it’s important to follow some general guidelines. The rule of thumb when it comes to the length of a CV, says Tamara Wolpert of Viv Gordon Placements in Cape Town, is to keep it concise. It should be short, but still contain all the relevant information such as dates and places of study. Work experience should start with your most recent job, working backwards, listing the names of the companies you worked at, dates you were employed, titles as well as a brief list of duties and achievements. In-depth look Ever wished you could be more creative with your CV? Well, according to Tamara, you can, especially when applying for a more creative job such as a graphic designer. Nevertheless, she advises against making the CV look too busy. “Make sure all the relevant details (employment/education) are clear. There’s nothing worse than searching for information on a CV.” Another important topic is your duration of employment. In Tamara’s opinion, if you’ve only worked for a company for one or two weeks, it’s usually not worth mentioning as it only clutters up your CV. If you’ve worked for a number of places for three months or so, she

says it would be best to consolidate this experience as too many of these would look cumbersome. It also looks bad if you’ve been somewhere for six months, then eight, then two months, and so on. However, to avoid misrepresenting information on your CV, Tamara suggests finding a way to make it look uncluttered and more presentable. She maintains that when writing your CV, the general rules to go by are to only add the necessary (industry-specific) information, never write in uppercase, and if you’re just starting out, keep your CV to a maximum of one to two pages. Don’ts for CVs According to Sindi Mtshali, Associate at DAV Professional Placement Group, there are a few things you can leave out of your CV to make it more concise and effective. 1. Personal information Sindi suggests steering clear of subjects such as religion, sexual orientation and political affiliations. “Some companies worry that if they interview you and they don’t give you the job, they could be sued for discrimination. Don’t run the risk of having your CV dumped in the ‘do not interview’ pile because of your religious references.” 2. Personal attributes Another big don’t for a CV – your picture. “Most employers shouldn’t – and legally can’t – care about your appearance. Vanity references put hiring managers in the awkward position of evaluating you based on your appearance.” 3. Irrelevant clubs and memberships Adding your long-forgotten club and membership years to your CV may just

Back in action Been out of the job market for a while? Take a look at how you can make a killer comeback… • Start positive by writing a summary of your qualifications or a summary on the best reasons to hire you. • Keep it new and fresh – only focus on recent accomplishments. • Diversify your experience, in other words if you’ve worked for the same employer for a number of years, list the different roles and positions you’ve held at the company. keep you from your dream job. Bottom line: employers do not care. Sindi recommends focusing on what you learnt. “Did you gain valuable leadership experience as chess president? Well, that’s nice. Can you provide an example of a time you used your leadership skills to achieve measurable results? Even better.” 4. Lies, fallacies and fairytales “This should go without saying. Overembellished education or work experience should not be present in your CV at all.” Sindi states that it’s not always better to include more than you have to on your CV. Employers usually scan through in order to find the professional accomplishments and work experience that they’re specifically looking for. Rather than focusing on the wrong things, try to tailor it to the position you’re applying for.

Sources • Tamara Wolpert at Viv Gordon Placements. Visit for more or contact them on 021 422 1037. • Sindi Mtshali at DAV Professional Placement Group. Visit for more or contact them on 011 217 0000 (JHB) or 021 468 7000 (CT). • How to Fill Out a Resume After Being at the Same Job for Over 20 Years by Sara Mahuron,


Text: Danica Potgieter Photography: Shutterstock

Office LIFE | 13

Training MANUAL

14 | Office LIFE

Tidy desk, tidy mind How to combat clutter


idiness triumphs when it comes to productivity in the workplace. Think straight and work efficiently rather than wasting time looking for ‘lost’ items amid a mountain of paperwork, water bottles and NikNaks packets. Here’s how to organise your desk. Create a space for everything on your desk Some ideas include: • Inbox Use a standard stackable letter tray to store documents like memos, printouts and random things placed on your desk by colleagues that don’t yet have a purpose. • Incubate box On top of your Inbox tray, stack another letter tray to put items that are ‘on hold’. These are items like articles you’re thinking of reading, ideas for potential projects, and information about events you might attend. • Action file Put papers that require more than two minutes of your time in an accordiontype folder. These might include forms to fill out and documents that need to be proofread. This way, they’re easily accessible when you get round to doing them. • Current projects rack Use a file rack or small file box with folders to store active projects. Allocate and label one folder per project so projects are easy to find. • Filing cabinet Put completed projects, general reference items, and anything else you might want to look at again in a filing cabinet. Use simple flat folders that are organised from A-Z as they take up less space than hanging folders.

• Dump boxes Have a dustbin so you can throw away items that are no longer of use and a recycling bin for used paper that can be recycled.

need in hardcopy format. After printing a document and completing its action, place it in the recycle bin. You’ll have a copy of it on your computer, so there’s no need for it to clutter your desk.

The who’s who of paperwork David Allen’s work-life management system and book, Getting Things Done (GTD), suggests a step-by-step system for dealing with plentiful paperwork. Process Put all papers on your desk in your Inbox tray and then go through them one by one. Ask yourself if you can act on the file. If yes: do it if it takes less than two minutes, delegate it if you’re not the right person to do it, or defer it to your Action file or Current Projects rack for attention at a later stage. Organise If the file has no action for you, trash it, or recycle it if you don’t need it. Put it in your Incubate tray if you aren’t ready to deal with it or archive it in your filing cabinet for later reference. Review It’s important to process your Inbox daily. It’s a good idea to do it at least twice a day: once around noon and again at the end of the day. Try to make sure you empty your Inbox by the end of the day so that a fresh Inbox awaits you in the morning. Move completed files into your filing cabinet and transfer files from your Incubate tray into your Inbox (if possible) on a weekly basis. Go through your filing cabinet and get rid of files you won’t need again on a monthly basis.

Take your books home Take home any books that you don’t use regularly. This will give you more desk space to work with.




Trash those printouts Contribute to paper conservation and minimise clutter by aiming for a ‘paperless office’. Print only documents you really

Limit those photoframes Pictures of loved ones are a reminder of what’s important in life and they might be a great comfort on a bad day. However, an excessive number of photos might be a distraction and take up a lot of space. Rather store photos on your computer and watch a slideshow of an abundance of your pictures during a break. Eat away from your desk Eating at your desk makes way for trash like food wrappings and cans to clutter your desk. Food and drinks are also likely to damage your computer or phone if messed. Rather keep your desk clean and functional by eating somewhere else. It’s also a good excuse for a mental break from work and you’ll probably enjoy your meal more without phone or computer interruptions. Just do it Give those papers on your desk a place and purpose. Keep a punch, blank file folders and a label marker at your desk. With these items in reach you don’t have an excuse to put off filing.


Text: Laura McKeen Photography: Glovatskiy

Office LIFE | 15



What is new this month?

On DVD – Escape Plan Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) is the world’s leading authority on structural security. After analysing every high-security prison and learning a vast array of survival skills so he can design escape-proof prisons, his skills are put to the test. He’s framed and incarcerated in a master prison he designed himself. He needs to escape and find the person who put him behind bars.

Book – A Hippo Love Story By Karen Paolillo In 1992, when her geologist husband was sent to a remote bush camp in Zimbabwe at a time of severe drought, Karen Paolillo stepped in to save the lives of a group of hippos who were going to die. With help from the British animal charity Care for the Wild International, she raised over 26,000 pounds to feed them and give them their own artificial water source as their habitat, the Turgwe River, had completely dried up. Skeletons By Jane Fallon Jen has discovered a secret. It’s not hers to share, but is it hers to keep? If she tells her husband Jason, he might get over the shock but will he forgive her for telling the truth? She might drive a wedge between them.

16 | Office LIFE

On the big screen – Transcendence Releases 30 May Dr Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of antitechnology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. But when his thirst for knowledge turns into a quest for power, the bigger question is, can he stop himself? On the big screen – Grace of Monaco Releases 23 May Grace Kelly is a huge movie star with the promise of a glittering career when she marries Prince Rainer of Monaco in 1956. Six years later, with her marriage undergoing serious difficulty, Alfred Hitchcock offers her the chance to return to Hollywood to play the part of Marnie in his next film. But France is also threatening to annex Monaco. Grace is torn and forced to choose between the creative flame that still burns within her and her role as Her Serene Highness, Princess of Monaco.

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Training MANUAL

18 | Office LIFE

Getting people to

like you

10 steps to being a more approachable person


ou may think that being liked is not important, especially in an office setting. You’re not there to make friends, right? So why make all that effort, when you don’t even like half the people yourself? Well, the truth of the matter is that the workplace can be a little bit like high school. Those who are popular seem to get ahead… But being liked is not something that comes easily to us all. Some are cynical and don’t see the value in trying, some are genuinely unfriendly and are not interested in others and their lives, and others just don’t know where to start. If you fall into the latter category, there are a few things you can try.

Things to remember • Not everyone will like you all of the time. And that is okay! • Be yourself. Putting on a façade will become tiring in the long run. • Don’t try too hard. You don’t want to come off as creepy or desperate. • Read the signals. You may want to approach someone, but they may not be in the mood to talk. • Don’t be offended if others aren’t as friendly as you. Focus on those who are.

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Get your own self-esteem issues in check first. If you believe you are worth liking, others will too. Be genuine. Ask people about their lives and their work, and care about the answer. Most people like to talk about themselves, so showing an interest will appeal to them. If you can remember to ask how their daughter’s graduation went soon after the event, that’s an added bonus. Get excited. Enthusiasm and positivity are contagious. Find things you are passionate about and focus on those. Your happiness will draw people to you. Share, but don’t overshare. Add to conversations with personal experiences, but be wary of sharing too much. People like those who are relatable, but they don’t like those who share info on their athlete’s foot over lunch.




Watch your body language. Unfold those arms, lean in a little when you speak to people and make regular eye contact. In other words show people you want to speak to them – be approachable. Be kind. Help people when and as you can. Don’t make it to your own detriment, but dropping someone off when it’s on your route home will make them remember you as someone who cared. Have a sense of humour. Not all of us are ace joke tellers, but if you can laugh at yourself, you’ll be more likeable. People don’t gravitate towards those who take themselves too seriously, so relax. Talk to everyone. Don’t only speak to those who can further your career. Be genuinely friendly and say a quick hello to everyone you see. Keep conversations short though – you don’t want to keep yourself and others from their work. Have good manners, even when you’re having a bad day. Snapping at people, not greeting them when they address you or having a little cloud over your head all day is a sure-fire way to make people steer clear of you. Work on being laid-back. If someone makes an off-colour joke, uses your coffee mug or borrows your stationery and doesn’t return it, relax. These are small things, and not worth being difficult about.

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Text: Penelope Peter Photography: Shutterstock

Office LIFE | 19

10 cool things


20 | Office LIFE

about coffee It’s your morning pickme-up, but how much do you know about your favourite brew?


The word ‘coffee’ originally came from the Arabic word qahhwat al-bun, which translates as ‘wine of the bean’. As such, early European coffee-drinkers called it ‘Arabian wine’. Legend has it that Ethiopian shepherds first noted the side effects of caffeine when goats who had eaten coffee berries became ‘frisky’ and ‘danced’. Coffee was originally eaten by African tribes, who mixed it with fat and made ‘energy balls’. Coffee grows on trees that can reach up to 9m in height. The coffee bean is actually a seed inside a bright red berry.


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Coffee is the second-most traded commodity in the world (oil being the first). A Belgian man called George Washington (no relation to the American president) invented instant coffee in 1906. Caffeine kicks in 15 to 20 minutes after you consume it. 10-20g of caffeine is considered a lethal dose. Don’t worry though, this equates to 17.75ℓ of coffee. Finnish people drink the most (12kg per person per year), Brazil produces the most (54,500,000 bags a year), and the US imports the most (over $14 billion worth) coffee in the world.

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Office LIFE | 21


Jetting off

22 | Office LIFE

How to make business travel painless

Booking checklist If you are asked to book a trip for your boss, Jinx says you’ll need the following info about the passenger: ✓ dates of the planned travel ✓ full name and surname ✓ identity number for local trips ✓ passport number for international trips ✓ passenger’s cell number ✓ frequent flyer information ✓ any specific dietary requirements (for in-flight meals and hotel bookings)


ravelling for business can be an exhilarating experience but it can also be stressful and exhausting. Especially if proper arrangements have not been made. Larger companies may have a department which handles your arrangements or you could be asked to make your own bookings. Local trips can be booked online, but for international multi-leg trips to different cities, you’re better off going with the professionals. “Dealing with an agent ensures the best routing and fares,” says Jinx Glanville, travel manager at Sea-Jay Travel. “They can also help with land arrangements, visa information and provide pertinent destination alerts or advice on travel insurance.” If you are asked to book a trip for your boss, you’ll need his travel dates and personal information. “You must have the passenger’s full name and surname, his identity number for local trips and passport number for international trips,” says Jinx. “You will also need his cell number, frequent flyer information and any specific dietary requirements for inflight meals and hotel bookings.” Arranging flights Contact your travel agent or book your flights as soon as possible. Early bookings generally qualify for discounted rates while last minute bookings often attract penalties. Find out about your company’s policy on business and economy class travel before you book. If you are travelling overseas, try to land the day before the meeting so you can get a good night’s sleep before work. Travel visas Jinx says that visa delay times at the various consulates vary between 24 hours and 14 working days. “Many consulates are not prepared to issue emergency visas so even if the journey is not finalised, go ahead and apply for the visa,” she says. Requirements also differ from country to country; visit the consulate website to find out exactly what is required for an appointment. If you aren’t sure, check up on country visa requirements. (SA citizens now require a visa for the United Kingdom.) Office LIFE | 23


Accommodation If you’re going on a business trip to a branch overseas, ask a colleague at the international office for advice on accommodation. Locals know the city layout, morning traffic congestion and going rates and will be able to suggest the right hotel. If not, contact a travel agent for reputable hotels in safe neighbourhoods. Also check on amenities offered at the hotel. Do you need to be near the airport? Do they offer a Wi-Fi service? Is breakfast served early? Do they offer room service?

for and the amount on the back of the receipt – just in case the cash register ink wipes off. Travel insurance You do need travel insurance for international business travel. But check with your medical aid first – some schemes cover it on certain plans. If you are not covered, ask your employer to take out a policy. Most countries require proof of travel insurance with the visa application.

Car hire and public transport If you are planning on driving overseas, you need to apply for an international driving permit (IDP) through the Automobile Association (AA). You must have a valid South African driver’s license to apply. For public transport, do a little homework (before you leave) on how the system works, where you will need to purchase tickets or cards and the closest stations or depots to your hotel. This is where Google becomes your friend.


Text: Gina Hartoog Photography: alexsalo images, wisiel

Your luggage Check the airline’s weight limit before you pack. Rather pack under the limit and leave a few extra kilograms for items which you may purchase on your trip. Check the weather forecasts before you plan your wardrobe. Most airlines only allow passengers to take one piece of hand luggage on board. Liquids, gels and pastes must be in containers no larger than 100ml and must not exceed one litre in total. All containers must be placed into a small, clear, re-sealable plastic bag. Finances You may be asked to use a credit card or cash. Pop an A4 envelope or plastic sleeve into your briefcase to keep all till and payment slips so you can show your trip expenditure. Take a moment to jot down the date, what you paid

Earn CPD points

Send the answer to this question to and your correct answer will contribute towards your CPD score: • Name three things you need to know about the passenger before you book their flight. 24 | Office LIFE


Hand luggage packing checklist

✓ Passport with visa ✓ Plane/train/hotel tickets or vouchers ✓ Foreign exchange or credit card ✓ Travel insurance papers ✓ Glasses or contacts (Get a prescription from your optometrist in case yours gets lost/broken.) ✓ Digital camera and laptop ✓ Plug adapter and/or voltage convertor ✓ Chronic meds ✓ Prescription for chronic meds (in case you lose them; also proves to customs that your meds aren’t illegal) ✓ Gastro, pain and allergy meds ✓ Ointment for bites/stings ✓ Comfortable shoes (remember your feet will swell during a long trip) ✓ Toiletries (just enough for on the plane) ✓ Appropriate clothing for the weather at your destination ✓ Another change of clothing (in case your checked-in suitcases go missing)

Are you South Africa’s best office professional? Entries are now open!


art of any professional body’s mandate is to acknowledge the outstanding achievers in its constituency, those who excel and who serve as inspirational ambassadors to people in the profession and those wishing to pursue a career in the profession. For 32 years, OPSA has been hosting the OPSA Rexel National Office Professional of the Year Award. We have drawn winners and finalists from the private, public and NGO sector from a number of provinces and, of late, both men and women. This year we are once again putting out the call for South Africa’s crème de la crème to come forward and receive the acknowledgement you deserve. You can enter yourself or nominate a person you feel epitomises the administrative profession. “Rexel Office Products has been the proud sponsor of the OPSA National Office Professional of the Year Award for the last six years. The Office Professional of the Year Award programme serves to acknowledge and reward skill and competence in the office environment. High-capacity office

professionals and office managers play an important part in the overall success of any organisation. We further recognise and respect the role that these individuals play as decision makers in the procurement of office supplies. It is therefore our aim to ensure that they are kept informed and have access to the latest stationery and office products, which are designed to help them increase productivity with minimum effort,” says Bill Bayley, Managing Director of Rexel Office Products South Africa. We are looking for individuals who: • serve as inspirational role models to others in the field. • deliver exceptional administrative support services. • offer innovative inputs into their organisations. • contribute to a high-performing team. Finalists in the competition will receive 10 CPD points and the professional designation CMOP (Certified Master Office Professional). The winner will receive 20 CPD points. The winner will also receive an assortment of prizes, including a cash prize of R15,000 from Rexel and an opportunity to attend South Africa’s leading conference for office professionals, Office SA (sponsored by Siyanqoba Private FET College). Applications are open and the application form can be downloaded from the website Entries close at 5pm on 11 July 2014. For more information contact the award convener, Samantha Brown, on 012 993 0881 or email her at


Text: OPSA Photography: Shutterstock

Office LIFE | 25

Working MOM

Fun times How to stimulate your toddler without breaking the bank

26 | Office LIFE


e don’t all have tons of cash to buy the ‘latest and greatest’ gadgets that will help our kids learn all they need to know. But guess what? You don’t have to – the answer is to spend time with your child in a meaningful way. Here are five ways you can help your toddler learn while still having fun. 1. Floor time It’s pretty simple: you just sit on the floor and play with your child. Here are some fun things to do on the floor: • Roll a ball back and forth to each other. • Build… build anything: LEGO, blocks, towers, stacks. Building does amazing things to the brain for logic, maths, ordering and grouping, and fine motor skills. • Play with animals, stuffed toys, anything that involves both of your interaction, conversation and focused attention. • Toy cars – you can build a ‘track’ with your building blocks for you to race in.

Gaya from Little Bo Babies is a mom of twin girls and runs an online store that offers baby products and advice to new and seasoned moms. If you’d like to contact her, you can reach her at gaya@littlebobabies. com. Little Bo Babies is an online community for moms and momsto-be. Visit the site at

2. Table time Teaching your child to sit and stay on a chair by a table (not a high chair or car seat) takes the kind of self-discipline that will stand your child in good stead in the school years. Learning how to sit still and focus is a skill of such value it should be called a ‘gift’ rather than a skill. Some fun things to do during table time: • Puzzles – fantastic for logic, maths and a sense of accomplishment. Peg board puzzles are great for little fingers, and when they are two or three years old you can start expanding to three- to 15-piece connected puzzles. • Play dough – cheap to buy, super easy to make. It’s a great recipe. • Drawing – ‘fat’ wax crayons are great for little fingers. Chalk is fun as well. • Painting and finger painting. • Tea party with you and the dolls. 3. Outside time Scheduling some outside time every day does great things for health and imagination. Here are some fun things to do, even when it’s cold outside: • Fill a basin with soapy water and let them ‘wash’ their tea set. Don’t worry

if (when) they get wet, it’s part of the learning process. • Water painting – use a paintbrush and water to ‘paint’ on the outside wall, driveway or paving around your house. • Pavement chalk – such a fun way to use art outdoors. • Kick a ball. • Climb a tree. • Play catch. • Have a picnic. • Play peekaboo. • ‘Camp’ with a blanket tent or a real tent. 4. Outing time Do you: 1. Buy your groceries and then fetch the kids, or 2. Fetch the kids and then buy your groceries? I know most of us do option one. It’s just so much easier! Sadly, we rob our children of valuable tools in life if we always do the hard work while they are away. Tools like: • Social skills: Ask your child to smile and say hello to the cashier, and thank you to the packer. • Task order and completion: They will see you with a shopping list, keeping to the list, and finishing shopping with groceries in hand from the list. • They will learn that different rules apply in different places. The shops, church, granny’s house and the library all have different rules that we need to abide by. You don’t have to buy groceries every day, so find other things to do to get you out of the house with your kids: • Go to the library. • Visit family and friends. • Go to the park. 5. Bored time This is a funny one, isn’t it? Don’t stimulate your child every minute of the day. Boredom is the mother of creativity. Embrace it. If need be, plan it.


Text: Little Bo Babies Photography: Shutterstock

Office LIFE | 27


28 | Office LIFE

g n i d d u p a v Mal cupcakes

This perennial favourite is twice as nice when made in individual portions INGREDIENTS For the cupcakes • 2 large eggs • ¾ cup brown sugar • 3 tablespoons apricot jam • 2 tablespoons melted butter • ⅔ cup full-cream milk • 1 teaspoon vinegar • 1 cup cake flour • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate • 1 pinch salt Sauce • 80mℓ cream • 40mℓ water • 1 tablespoon butter • 80mℓ brown sugar Topping • 250mℓ fresh cream, to whip • 60mℓ icing sugar METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. 2. Beat the sugar and eggs together until the sugar has dissolved. 3. Add the apricot jam and melted butter and whisk/beat to combine. 4. Stir the vinegar into the milk and

then pour that into the egg mixture and stir through. 5. Sift the dry ingredients and whisk together before adding to the wet ingredients. Whisk to form a smooth batter. 6. Line a muffin baking tray with large, high-sided cupcake casings. 7. Pour equal amounts of the batter into each of the 12 casings. 8. Bake in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes. Check if they are done by inserting a knife into the middle of one of the centre cupcakes and if it comes out clean, they are done. 9. While the cupcakes are in the oven, place all the sauce ingredients into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat. 10. Once the cupcakes are done, remove from the oven, poke several holes over each surface and pour one tablespoon of sauce over each cupcake. 11. Allow to cool completely in the muffin tray before adding the topping.

The cream topping is delicate and, as many of you will know, it is very easy to whip cream into butter; the line between a stiff peak whipped cream and butter is a fine one and easy to cross. If you do whip your cream into butter, simply add a little more cream and gently whisk together until it returns to the whipped cream stage. 12. To make the cream topping place a metal/glass bowl and your whisk/ beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes (cream is temperature sensitive so the cooler the temperature, the better the finish on the whip). 13. After 15 minutes place your cream and icing sugar in the bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form, then spoon onto your cupcakes and serve. 14. If not serving immediately, store the whipped cream in the fridge, but it will lose its whip over time so if this happens simply beat it again. Recipe sourced from

Office LIFE | 29



games Cold and miserable days are the pits for children who love being outdoors. But, they can be brightened up with some fun and creative indoor games

30 | Office LIFE

Dots and squares On a piece of paper, draw a grid of dots, as shown. Give each child a pencil and explain the rules to them: • The first player draws either a horizontal or vertical line between two dots (flip a coin to decide who goes first). • The next player then takes a turn to do the same. • Keep taking turns until a box is formed. The player who drew the last line to complete the box claims it by writing their initials in it. • If you close one box, you get another turn. • When you can’t draw any more lines, the game is over. Count the amount of boxes each player owns – the one with the most wins!

Dots and squares

General knowledge This is a great game for older children, as it makes them think. You will need a piece of paper and pen for each player and a counter (you can use the stopwatch on your cellphone if you like). Here’s how to play: • On a piece of paper, draw the letters of the alphabet, spaced out, with a circle around each one. If your kids are smaller, perhaps leave out the more difficult letters like Q, X and Z. • Give each player a piece of paper and draw vertical columns for each category – try using ones like ‘animals’, ‘girl’s names’, ‘boy’s names’ and ‘places’. Keep them very generic to make it a little easier. • To start the game, one player closes his/her eyes and stabs a letter. Now,






Girl's Names Betty



Boy's name Bob






players have 30 seconds to come up with an animal, girl’s name, boy’s name and place that begin with that letter. • The player gets 10 points for each valid word he gets in 30 seconds. • Keep going until you run out of letters (or until the kids seem niggly), then add up the scores to see who’s won.

Guessing games This is a great game for younger children. Choose an object in their bedroom and give them three clues so they can guess what it is. When they think they have the answer, they must bring the object to you. You can help them out by telling them when they’re hot (near) or cold (far).

Finding fun Create a checklist and get the kids to scour the house trying to find the objects listed. This will give you at least 15 minutes of peace to do whatever you want to do. You could say ‘Find something rough’, ‘Find something purple’ or ‘Find something that smells nice’. It’s also a good way to teach younger children about colours and textures.

Obstacle courses Create an indoor obstacle course by moving furniture and stringing wool around the room. The child must not touch any string, or they must start from the beginning. You can expand on this by leaving clues after each obstacle detailing what they must do next. Perhaps they have to hop three times on one leg before they continue, or fetch mom an apple. Be creative. Office LIFE | 31


Celeb broods These celebs sure have their hands full this Father’s Day!

Brad Pitt Number of children: six He and partner Angelina Jolie have a mix of adopted and biological children: Maddox, Zahara, Pax, Shiloh, Knox and Vivienne.

Brad Pitt

Justin Chambers Number of children: five The Grey’s Anatomy star and his wife, Keisha, have daughters Eva, Isabella, Kaila, Maya and a son, Jackson. Robert De Niro Number of children: six The actor has two children each with three different women – Raphael, Drena, Aaron, Helen, Elliot and Julian, as well as four grandchildren.

Charlie Sheen Number of children: five This strange star has a daughter, Cassandra (29), with his former high school girlfriend, two daughters (Sam and Lola) with ex-wife Denise Richards, and twin sons Max and Bob with exwife Brooke Mueller. He also has one grandchild. Eddie Murphy Number of children: eight Eddie has Bria, Shayne, Miles, Bella, Zola, Christian, Eric and Angel, who was conceived with ex-Spice Girl Melanie Brown, and proven to be his daughter via DNA testing after he disputed paternity. Steven Spielberg Number of children: six Max, Theo, Mikaela, Sasha, Sawyer and Destry are a mix of adopted and biological children, and Jessica is his wife Kate Capshaw’s child from a previous marriage.

Justin Chambers

Robert De Niro

32 | Office LIFE

Eddie Murphy

Steven Spielberg

Photography: Shutterstock

Charlie Sheen

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OfficeLife Magazine Issue 13  
OfficeLife Magazine Issue 13