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MAR 2015 ALSO INSIDE: Workplace coaching | Sharleen Spiteri | Your spring wardrobe

AV O I D D O O M AT N O O N Booking the perfect business lunch


M A R C H 15 We’re officially making our way out of winter, people! I’m arriving at work in sunlight and very occasionally leaving in it too. We thought that was a good enough excuse to break out the spring wardrobe in Office Catwalk. But we’ve got so much else besides… We’ve got PA Leanne Mallender offering her best advice on booking business lunches, while workplace coach Lindsay Taylor tells you the big benefits that a little guidance could offer your career. Elsewhere, we’ve got all the latest news and reviews, we’ll hear from Sharleen Spiteri of Texas fame and acknowledge the never-ending work of the PA. Have a great month!

UPDATE Pizza, smartphones and kangaroos SAY WHAT?! Long distances and quivering calls

ON THE JOB JOB NEWS The latest career news of choice AVOID DOOM AT NOON Booking the perfect business lunch MAKING A BETTER YOU How much good could a coach do? 60 SECONDS WITH Sharleen Spiteri

LUNCH BREAK BREAKTIME Catch up with the latest reviews and recipes OFFICE CATWALK Spring is coming… AND ONE MORE THING… A PA’s work is never done

Editor George Carey





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With all the dietary advice around, how can you begin to know what food choices to make? This Life Hack article will point you in the right direction. Take fat, for example. For years it has been painted as an evil monster and the root cause of high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity. But scientific studies now show that there are many benefits of eating more fat, and it’s time we started rethinking this essential part of our dietary regime. 1. Essential to brain health Brain tissue is made up of nearly 60% fat? A diet low in fat actually robs your brain of the materials it needs to function properly. 2. Keeps your lungs working properly Our lungs are coated with a substance composed mostly of saturated fat. Premature babies who are lacking this substance are given something called “surfactant” to keep their lungs functioning properly. 3. Boosts your immune system Dr. Michael and Dr. Mary Eades, say that the “loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in the white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi”. 4. Keeps skin healthy Without the proper consumption of fat, our skin can become dry and chapped, which can also open up pathways for infections. 5. Good for your heart Studies have been done on the benefits of saturated fats. One study focused on a population in the Pacific who eat up to 60% of their diet in the form of saturated coconut oil and have shown practically no incident of heart disease.

Australia is to compete at this Eurovision 2015, according to the BBC. Organisers issued a one-off invitation as part of the contest’s 60th anniversary celebrations. “It’s a daring and at the same time incredibly exciting move. It is our way of saying let’s celebrate this party together!” contest supervisor Jon Ola Sand said. Australia will be fast-tracked to the final, which will take place in Vienna, Austria, on 23 May. A total of 40 countries will now compete in the contest. The European Broadcasting Union said Australia had been given a wildcard for the final “to not reduce the chances” of the semifinal participants and because of the “one-off nature” of its participation. The other participating countries will be allowed to vote for the Australian entry – who has yet to be selected – however should their act win the contest, next year’s show will be held in a European city and Australia will be allowed to defend its title. Host broadcaster ORF said: “With the participation of Australia, together with our partners at the EBU and SBS, we have succeeded to lift [Eurovision] to a new global level and to build another bridge for the 60th anniversary.” It is not the first time Australians have participated at the song contest. Singer Jessica Mauboy – who appeared in the 2012 film The Sapphires – provided the interval entertainment at last year’s contest. Australians have also competed representing the UK – including the New Seekers, Gina G and Olivia Newton John – who lost to Swedish pop group Abba in 1974.


IN BRIEF MORE PROOF THAT SMARTPHONES ARE RUINING SLEEP Yet another study confirms that staring at a screen before bedtime can make you take longer to fall asleep, and then sleep for less time, according to Quartz. In this latest study, published in BMJ Open, researchers analyzed a 2012 survey of more than 9,000 Norwegian teens mostly high school students, between the ages of 16 and 19 to determine their screen and sleep habits. They found that about 90% of girls and about 80% of boys use a cell phone in the hour before bed. More than 80% also used computers. The scientists found that the teens who used electronics in that last hour were likely to experience sleep onset latency of at least 60 minutes (meaning they took more than an hour to fall asleep) as well as sleep deficiency, defined as sleeping at least two hours less than they should. One likely explanation of the sleep pattern disruptions is very simple light wakes us up, and smartphones shine light directly onto the face of whoever is looking at the screen of one. That can make a person more alert and less sleepy, and can cause children especially to fall asleep at later times and then report more sleepiness during the day, the National Sleep Foundation notes. The blue light in particular can prevent melatonin release in teens and adults, interfering with an important aspect of regular sleep.

Dough repaid A desperate customer who stole pizza to feed his child has paid the restaurant back 13 years later after making it as a successful businessman. The customer used a cheque he knew would bounce to pay for a meal. It cost $20, but he returned the money with interest at $54.39 as penance. The pizza shop owner expressed his obvious delight by saying this “tops it all”.

Kangaroo burgers A woman was kicked out of McDonald’s after another customer complained about her therapy pet – a kangaroo. Diana Moyer, from Wisconsin, brought the baby kangaroo into a branch in Beaver Dam. But Mrs Moyer and the joey were reported to police by a customer. Mrs Moyer keeps five kangaroos and is reported to often take Jimmy – the kangaroo in question – out in public.

We give you our pick of the top comedy viral videos this month. Click on the text below and enjoy. Tweet us your top videos @olemagazine


Bad lip reading

More mean tweets

Man-shaped Google






I’ve recently started a new role as a manager’s assistant. In my previous job as an administrator I very rarely had to use the phone – I mostly emailed people. My new role involves regularly calling important clients to arrange meetings and I’m a little nervous. Any advice? Dwight, Port Talbot

My wife has just landed her dream job – the only catch is it’s 100 miles away from where we currently live and work. I’m really happy for her and want her to succeed but I don’t want to give up my job. Is there a way that my employers could accommodate me in a new location? What should I do? Richard, Bristol

It can be a little daunting talking to high-profile clients on the phone at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will get. Some people find it helpful to write a little script of common questions and responses and keep it next to the phone – it sounds silly, but it can help reassure you if you get flustered or lost for words.

This really boils down to what your current job entails and how flexible your employers are. If you could carry out your duties remotely – for example working as a virtual assistant – then it’s worth broaching the idea with your boss. They will appreciate that you love the job enough to offer to work from home and the worst they can do is say no.

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on the job

JOB NEWS OMES GOOD NEWS C IN THREES ent test UK employm Reacting to the la ment ve seen unemploy figures, which ha Ingrid 00 to 1.86 million, levels fall by 97,0 id: ctor at KPMG, sa Waterfield, a dire ter record“Just 24 hours af n figures were breaking inflatio re seeing more announced, we’ ng her you’re looki good news. Whet or consumer lens at life through a e, e of an employe the watchful ey ding good. With spen prospects look ployees may be power surging, em ra is right to look fo thinking the time ay that employers m new job, knowing s bigger pay packet be able to justify ws ood. It’s great ne to attract fresh bl ket can increase as a fluid job mar but een businesses, competition betw ways also need to find organisations will .” of boosting loyalty

COMMUTERS WHO ARE BEST AVOIDED Commuting in and out of the UK’s citie s can be tough; not least because you hav e to avoid this list of commuting oddbal ls: Garlic man He enjoyed last night’s meal so much he’s desperate to share it with everyone else! The leg-spread kid Knees pointin g East and West, he’s a personal space inv ader. Head-lolling lady No, madam, my shoulder is not your pillow! The shower-shirker Hanging from the strap, armpits to the fore, why does they always choose YOUR carriage? Boom-voice What a fascinating conversation. Thanks so much for sha ring. Seat-hog A seat just for your bag? Why, of course! And would you like me to shin e your shoes as we travel? Headphone hedonist Their headph ones seem to be speakers and their taste in music should really be kept private. Mr Sniff Somebody find a tissue! The queue queen Pushing to the fore like a demonic banshee – this is my trai n! Rumble guts “Feed me! Feed me !” cries the gurgling stomach from Hell.

on the job

WORKING HAPPY Do you work in a happy environment? If you’re not too sure, Amy Johnson’s latest Lifehack post should point you in the right direction. • Communication matters to the whole team In a happy workplace, you will rarely see staff surprised by new changes or ideas they previously didn’t know about. • The goal of the company matters People feel excited about the team moving forward, and they are always thinking of ways to achieve the company goals. • You’re an integral part of the team You should feel that you are an important part of the team, with useful skills and talents that make you great at your job. • Gossip is not acceptable Co-workers are willing to openly resolve issues, instead of creating cliques and dividing the team. • Everyone is open to change The team should know that their leaders can manage change well, and everyone should be open to new ideas and concepts. • Growth is encouraged Employees don’t feel that they are stuck in a dead end role, rather they view their jobs as opportunities. • The mood is positive Although everyone is focused, the room is not in stony silence, and you are more likely to see people smiling than frowning.

COUPLES S HOULD SPLIT CHIL DCARE Over three quarters of employers welcome s hared pare ntal leave (SPL) accord ing to a surv ey by Workingmu It found tha t 81% welc omed shared pare ntal leave, with 19% saying they would find it difficult. Some 13% were still u naware of SPL and 19% were a ware, but unsure wha t impact it might have on them. Over half [5 6%] said th ey were still prepari ng a policy on it with challenges including in creased paperwork for smaller b usinesses and concern s about the complexity of dealing w ith mums a nd dads wh work in diffe o rent organis a ti o n s . Many said th ey had eith er adapted th eir compan y maternity package, fo r instance, reducing w they offere hat d to mothe rs in order increase w to hat they off er to dads.

THEY SAID KPMG’s Ingrid Waterfield “If staff walk out the door, goodwill and knowledge frequently follow”

on the job

LET’S DO LUNCH Booking client lunches can be difficult – do you go for upmarket and swanky? Or simple and laid back? PA LEANNE MALLENDER takes us through what to consider when you’re booking that all-important business lunch

on the job


hether you’re booking a business lunch for yourself and a client or on behalf of your boss it can be a tricky one to judge. This used to be one of my duties when I worked for a UK-based, German-owned company after I finished university. I would be responsible for finding “somewhere nice” for a business lunch whenever the directors from the head office were travelling over for a meeting. If the “Germans were invading” (not my words) then it usually meant the company was on the cusp of a major contract with a big retailer, so it was all hands on deck to seal the deal, and every detail mattered. As the director of the UK office lived over an hour away from where we were based, the responsibility fell on me, as the local girl, to find a suitable location. This initially filled me with dread, and after the panic that ensued after the first time I was asked to do this, I resolved to be as organised as possible from then on. FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES First of all, familiarise yourself with the restaurant options in your area. Once you know what’s out there it all becomes a lot easier the next time you come to book a table. If you work in a big city you should be spoilt for choice, but if you’re located somewhere more rural your options might be a little limited. However, you can make this work in your favour if you approach it in the right way. The company I worked for was located in a small town so I became familiar with the local restaurant staff and was able to negotiate special deals if I booked a client lunch with them. They also got to know my boss’s requirements so that if I ever had to book last minute I didn’t waste precious time going through the finer details. That being said, don’t get stuck in a rut – ask friends and colleagues if they’ve found any hidden gems recently to keep things interesting, and remember to choose somewhere with the right atmosphere for that particular meeting. DECISIONS, DECISIONS If you are unsure of where to book, select a few of the best places in the area, each with a different feel, and ask the client which of these suggestions they like the sound of. This prevents you from choosing somewhere they don’t like but also minimises the risk of the client

“Remember to ask if there are any people with special dietary requirements, as this will avoid disaster further down the line” selecting a venue outside of your budget. If you’re booking a table on behalf of your boss, make sure he or she forwards all of the necessary details such as preferred date and location in good time to give you a better idea of what you’re looking for. Also, remember to ask if there are any people with special dietary requirements such as vegetarians, vegans, or people with allergies or religious requirements as this will avoid disaster further down the line. The more in advance you can get hold of this information, the better, as the restaurant may need to make special arrangements for your guests.

MIND YOUR MANNERS – TOP TIPS FOR PROPER ETIQUETTE Who pays? Generally speaking, if you have arranged the meeting then it should be your company who foots the bill. But if they insist on paying, it looks rude to refuse. Always offer to pay your half before accepting. Bad service: If you’re not happy with the service you’re getting then complain – but handle it delicately. If your client chose the venue they may be embarrassed that you’re not happy, so don’t make a big song and dance about it. Likewise, if you’ve booked the restaurant and are mortified at the bad service, apologise to the client, but remain calm – losing your temper at the waiting staff will only reflect badly on you. To drink or not to drink? It’s generally safest to let the client decide for themselves, so going somewhere that does serve alcohol is a good idea. But remember, this is business not pleasure, so keep a clear head!

on the job


B E T T E R YO U LINDSAY TAYLOR, co-director of Your Excellency, talks to GEORGE CAREY about workplace coaching – what it is, what it isn’t and what you can get out of it…

on the job

WHAT IS WORKPLACE COACHING? Coaching is the term used for a programme of one-toone sessions that enable you to gain great awareness and an understanding of how to accelerate and achieve your full potential. According to the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), coaching is a ‘skilled activity which should be delivered by people who are trained to do so’. With no regulatory body here in the UK, there are many individuals out there claiming to be ‘coaches’ with little or no specialised training or qualifications. Worryingly to me, only yesterday I read an article written by a ‘coach’ who transposed the terms ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’ as one and the same thing. Whilst mentoring is an incredibly useful development tool – whereby a more experienced, knowledgeable and skilled colleague supports the development of a more inexperienced colleague or member of staff – it is not coaching. Mentoring is generally a longer-term relationship with an emphasis on a directive approach, whereas coaching is a shorter-term programme with more emphasis on a non-directive approach. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY NON-DIRECTIVE? Whereas a directive approach provides advice and solutions, a non-directive approach is based on the coach asking open, thought-provoking questions of the coachee. This allows space and time for the coachee to express themselves – in their own way – and come up with their own solutions. When you come up with your own solutions you have a sense of empowerment and confidence in putting into action those ideas and solutions. A good coach has been trained in listening and communicating effectively. Sometimes it’s as much about what the coachee doesn’t say as what they do say – or how they say something or react to a thoughtprovoking question. SO WHAT ELSE MAKES A GOOD COACH? Good coaches work with you to ascertain your goals and outcomes and develop a truly personalised and bespoke programme. They will help you identify the tools and thinking that you need to be successful in your role and ensure you have the motivation and confidence to move forward. I personally believe a good coach is

“Sometimes it’s as much about what the coachee doesn’t say as what they do say ” one who holds a coaching qualification and preferably is a member of a professional body of coaches – demonstrating their commitment to the profession. WHAT DOES A COACHING PROGRAMME LOOK LIKE? Typically, we run programmes of five 90 minute sessions. Each session is about a month apart in order for you to explore and practice the skills learned during that session. A good coach will have your ultimate success and development as their goal – so ideally will be available between sessions (via telephone or email) so that you have the instant support, feedback and opportunity to discuss your learning experiences. WHAT WILL I GET OUT OF A COACHING PROGRAMME? As I’ve emphasised earlier, because each coaching programme is bespoke and personalised to the individual, what you will specifically get out of a coaching programme will be very different to your colleague. In essence once you’ve identified what skills and learning you need or want to develop yourself, a coach will work with you to ensure you achieve these. BENEFITS OF WORKPLACE COACHING • • • • • • • • • • • •

Create and accomplish goals Attain greater job/career satisfaction Improve work/life balance Increase productivity Enhance conflict management Transition effectively to new position/promotion Become more assertive Manage others more effectively Increase self-confidence Become more decisive Become more self-aware Know your road blocks and how to get through them.

on the job


SHARLEEN SPITERI The Texas lead singer tells Olé about 25 years behind the microphone and the band’s latest album, Texas 25, that looks back at the glory years

What prompted you to make this album?


“Well, 25 years already felt like a really significant anniversary, but it was only when we looked at all the old photos that things felt so much more real. With this album, we didn’t just want to make a ‘greatest hits’ again – that can be a bit lazy! We wanted to document our history – 25 years, as a band, when you think about it, that’s like ‘woah!’ Also, it’s important, because there are really not that many female-fronted bands who make that. We play these songs all the time, so now they just feel like part of my everyday life and routine, but this anniversary prompted us to listen to our tracks with fresh ears.”

What has it been like revisiting the old tracks?


“The songs took on a whole new meaning for me, because we considered them so much more. Parts of the songs which might not have seemed so important suddenly became so poignant to me, I suppose because I was singing them with a whole new perspective now. When we are all writing together, different parts of each song mean different things to each of us. And then that changes again when I sing the songs; when words come out of my mouth, they can mean something totally different again. It’s natural because I’m going to add my own emotion to them.”

How have you kept the album fresh?


“I’d already worked with the producers Truth and Soul on my solo album Melody, and I really loved the way that they put a record together. I knew they would have a great approach to this album, because although our fans and people who know us have grown up with these songs, the Truth and Soul guys hadn’t heard them before we went into the studio with them. They wouldn’t know a Texas song if it hit them in the face! So when we played ‘I Don’t Want A Lover’ to them, it could have been a demo, for all they knew. They were coming to it completely fresh.”

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lunch break

BREAKTIME desktop dining WEST END W AT C H

SPICY COUSCOUS SALAD Serves: two Prep: 10 minutes

CLARENCE DARROW ‘Clarence Darrow’ returns to the Old Vic, with Kevin Spacy once again creeping the boards of his own theatre. Here he takes time out from playing everyone’s favourite Machiavellian politician, Frank Underwood, to play a man who’s politics are more pious than power-hungry. This David W Rintel monologue is named after the US civil liberties lawyer and his fight for equality and human decency in a grubby world. Darrow is famed as one of America’s greatest orators, whose words were laced with more than a little humour. And who better to play him than the great dramatist of the age, Mr Spacey himself? His whole arsenal is on show here, from barn-storming diatribes about the state of the nation, capped off with rousing calls to action, to more considered but no less eloquent or alluring treatise on labour law. The death penalty-focused finale is pant-tingling stuff.

INGREDIENTS • 100g couscous • 220g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained • 100ml hot chicken stock • zest and juice 1 lemon • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped • 25g flaked toasted almonds • handful mint leaves, chopped • 2 tbsp natural Greek yogurt • 1 tsp harissa METHOD Tip the couscous and chickpeas into a bowl and pour over the stock. Cover and leave for five to 10 minutes until the couscous has absorbed the stock. Allow to cool a little. Toss through the lemon zest and juice, pepper, almonds and mint. Spoon into a container, then top with the yogurt and a drizzle of harissa.

lunch break



Unfinished Business

Mark Knopfler

Out now Vince Vaughn stars in Unfinished Business as a small business owner who must travel to Europe to close the most important deal of his life. Inevitably, everything goes wrong. Travelling with his two associates (Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco), what begins as a routine business trip rapidly goes off the rails in every conceivable way as they somehow end up at a fetish event and a global economic summit. Look out for a great performance by Nick Frost too. March 17 Mark Knopfler’s eagerly-anticipated eighth solo album, titled Tracker, features a stellar core band of Glenn Worf on bass, Ian ‘Ianto’ Thomas on drums, John McCusker on fiddle and Mike McGoldrick on whistle and flute alongside Knopfler on guitar and long-time collaborator Guy Fletcher on keyboard. The unmistakable Knopfler sound on the record has been drawn from the artist’s experiences over time. “It’s about me tracking time – looking at people, places and things from my past,” Knopfler said. Beryl and Basil are the two stand-out tracks.

POWER HOUR SEEN ON SCREEN If you prefer Beyoncé to boxing, then Seen on Screen could be the workout for you. Bonnie Parsons, founder and former backing dancer, has created classes in which you can learn the routines in famous music videos such as Crazy in Love and Britney Spears’s I’m a Slave 4 U. It proved a huge hit, and sign-ups for 2014’s classes tripled. Due to high demand, they are opening a new centre in Manchester this month. If you don’t live there or in London, copycat programmes are popping up all over the country.

BOOK THIS KANADA-YA This award-winning tonkotsu specialist awaits only for those willing to endure a pretty hefty wait. But, believe me, it’s worth it. The ramen really is fantastic, reflected by the large contingent of Japanese and Chinese diners always present. The broth, for example, is the result of pork bones simmering away for 18 hours. When combined with the noodles that are made on site and the mouth-watering array of ingredients, spectacular results ensue. 64 St Giles High St London

lunch break

LOVES Wear your tech on your sleeve: iPhones are so last millennium, it’s time to get on board with wearable tech

Fitbit Charge HR Fitbit Charge HR adds heart-rate tracking to an already solid fitness band at a great price, but all the kinks don’t feel fully ironed out yet. £119

LG G Watch R Although its stark design and beautiful face makes this the first smartwatch you might actually be happy to be seen wearing, its Android Wear software has a long way to go before it’s anything more than a passing novelty. £199.99

Withings Activité Pop Fitness on your wrist has never been more convenient or more stylish than on the Activité Pop, an everyday watch with fitness intelligence included. £119.99

Misfit Flash

Pebble Steel

Samsung Gear 2 Neo

Equal parts fashionable and functional, the Pebble Steel leaps to the top of the smartwatch heap, but does so by improving existing tech rather than adding something totally new. £149.95

The Gear 2 Neo offers the best balance of features and price among Samsung’s three 2014 smartwatches, but it falls short of must-have status. £169.95

The Misfit Flash is a versatile, easy-to-use and extremely affordable fitness tracker that can be worn swimming, too, and it even kind of works as a watch. £49.95

lunch break

O F F I C E C AT W A L K The days are drawing out: Dare we dream of spring around the corner? Take the plunge and get yourself a new office outfit

3 1








1 ASOS, wide leg crepe trousers, £35

1 Schuh, Red or Dead renton brogue, £80

2 River Island, beige check blanket coat, £80 3 Zara, shopper bag, £29.99

2 Charles Tyrwhitt, pink puppytooth shirt, £29.99, slim navy tie, £24.99

4 Office, nude patent stilleto, £65

3 M&S, Autograph trousers, £40

lunch break



EMMA MURREY discusses the never-ending plate spinning involved in the working life of every PA

Emma Murrey PA

Did you agree with the columnist? Think you can do better? Email us with your “And one more thing” of approx. 300 words to

Working for a boss whose job you know you could do 10 times better is something everyone experiences. Never is this certainty more irritating than for the PA, especially when your boss expects you to make tea and fetch their lunch, all the while ‘reorganising’ the paperwork you’ll inevitably have to straighten out later. Gone are the days of the PA being a glorified secretary and waitress rolled into one. The modern PA needs to be a ruthless bureaucrat, agony aunt, spindoctor and business-innovations guru simultaneously, all the while maintaining an outward appearance of calm efficiency to clients and co-workers alike. Indeed, many offices would simply grind to a halt if they failed to turn up to work. So what are you expected to say, inundated with agendas and client emails, when your boss asks if you’d ‘pop out’ and get their lunch? Well, “OK, sure” is the usual response, even if it means staying an extra hour in the office and this is fine, indeed such gestures (and let’s be frank, they are gestures – they’re not in your job description) are good for your career and maintaining a positive relationship with your boss. But gestures they remain, and your boss should be aware that every occasion is a personal favour and not a professional obligation. They should be aware that the same person they discuss business strategy ideas with in the morning is the same person who makes their tea in the afternoon. So, next time they ask, mention your schedule and workload – don’t gripe about it – but ensure they know just how much work you have and the time frame you have to do it in. Instead of just saying “yes”, perhaps a “yes, but I’ll have to do this after work if that’s OK?” is a better response – presenting the situation so as to prevent your boss from becoming complacent and expecting these favours as standard. Hopefully, your boss will take a couple of seconds to consider your day, your schedule and how ‘popping out’ may affect that, them, and indeed the whole office. Who knows, next time they may even make the tea for you

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