Handling Negative Co-Workers


With one exception, everything about my job is terrific. I work for an upscale hotel which is preparing me for a career in hospitality management. My boss is a great mentor, and most of my colleagues are upbeat and enthusiastic. However, one of them is a real mood-killer. Brittany starts complaining as soon as she walks through the door. Our manager is her primary target, but she makes disparaging comments about everyone, including coworkers and customers. She also loves to gossip and enjoys telling malicious stories about certain staff members. Brittany doesn’t seem to care that hotel guests can often hear her negative remarks. Although I
would like to correct this unprofessional behavior, that might put me on her “enemies list”. If I mention this to my boss, I’m afraid I’ll sound like a tattletale. My co-worker is a real downer. With all this constant complaining and speaking ill of other employees and I am not sure how to handle this individual in the best most professional and appropriate way. What should I do?


Since Brittany’s compulsive griping is affecting both employees and guests, someone certainly needs to address it. It is always a good idea to try and work with the fellow employee to resolve the concern first before involving a supervisor. To keep this on a peer level, team up with some other colleagues and arrange to have a private conversation with Brittany (caution that it does not present as being ganged up on). A group discussion will have greater impact and
minimize the possibility of retribution. For example: “Brittany, we wanted to talk with you because it appears you are not happy working here. We are sorry about that and would encourage you to talk with the supervisor. Listening to you complain has become rather uncomfortable for us. We’re also concerned that customers
who overhear your comments are getting a bad impression of the hotel. So, from now on, we wanted you to know we are not going to participate in any more gripe sessions.” If that approach doesn’t seem feasible, the business implications provide a perfectly valid reason for involving your boss in this concern. Be sure to focus on the work issues and impact on morale, not Brittany’s disagreeable behavior. Explain that her public complaints may be giving guests the wrong impression, so you thought your manager should become aware of the situation. To stay off the enemy list, request that your comments be kept confidential please.

Successful Workdays and Activities

There is no doubt that some days are better than others. How you show up each day matters – your attitude matters. Choosing your attitude is a choice that we make each and every day. There are things we can do to help ourselves and others have productive and successful days with the work we do. Being organized is at the top of the list.
Keep a to-do list: Taking five to 10 minutes at the beginning of each day (or at the end of the day before) to write out a to-do list, on paper or digitally, can help promote focus and foster productivity. Adding to the initial to-do list throughout the day can help you keep a clear idea of your goals.
Keep a tidy workspace: Take a few minutes at the end of each day to clean your desk, removing anything that you won’t absolutely need. Arrange things in a way that works best for you. This goes for digital clutter as well. Computers tend to start up slower when there are lots of files and programs on the desktop, so taking a little time each week to clear your computer of any unneeded files and download any updates may prevent crashes and computer lag. It can also help you find the programs and files you need more readily.
Find a schedule and stay with it: Some people work best when they wake up early, while others find success working at night. Determine the time of day when you feel you’re at your best (most productive and find your flow state) and try to get most of your work done during those hours.
Just as important as choosing a schedule is making sure you can commit to it. Consistency is key in creating new habits that last. Staying consistent with your schedule can also help you be more productive. Having a set of hours when you know you’re going to be working can train your brain to be active during those hours.
Take breaks: Taking 10-15 minutes every couple of hours to stretch your body and focus on something other than work can help keep you energized and excited about your job. You will often face unexpected tasks during the workday; giving yourself small, scheduled breaks throughout the day will give you time to meet these challenges without feeling overwhelmed.
Reduce multitasking: Multitasking may sound like the perfect way to get many things done at once, but unfortunately, this is not true in many situations. You may even find that multitasking can take longer than completing tasks individually.
Identify your distractions: Emails, texts, phone calls, and co-workers are a few common reasons behind distractions. Fortunately, there are things you can do to address these distractions. Schedule specific times to take care of emails, for example, to stay on task and not get distracted by every new message in your inbox. You might choose to put a distracting cellphone in airplane mode or place it in a drawer to reduce the possibility of getting sidetracked by a personal text. While you can’t always schedule incoming phone calls for your job, you may find success with scheduling a block of time to make any outgoing calls.
Automate your job where you can: Perhaps you send similar versions of the same email to multiple people. Create and keep templates for frequently sent emails, so you only need to customize where necessary and send. Digitize your signature to sign documents with a click. Automating tasks can help you stay focused and organized.
Prioritize tasks in order of importance: Begin your day with the largest or most stress-inducing task – the item that must be done today. This might take the largest amount of time in your day, but it ultimately will help your workflows move faster. Completing the largest jobs first can keep you motivated to finish the smaller tasks on your to-do list quickly without using up all your energy.
Schedule your days in “batches” of work: Some people find success with organizing not just their workday, but their workweek. If your job is a mix of phone calls and administrative work, for instance, perhaps you could attend to phone calls Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and spend Tuesdays and Thursdays on administrative tasks. This can help you maximize productivity and concentrate on tasks without feeling like you need to switch tasks at a moment’s notice. This strategy works best for detail-oriented people who don’t mind doing the same type of work for several hours on end.
Identify stressors: Oftentimes, the tendency to procrastinate stems from stressors such as self-doubt, perfectionism, or fear of criticism. Identifying what’s stressing you out can help you find solutions to reduce this stress and make the harder tasks easier to complete.
Meeting success – Ask these three questions:
If you spend time in meetings, as either a leader or participant, you want the meeting to be successful and valuable for attendees. We want the meeting goals and agenda to be accomplished. Try asking these three questions to get to success:
• Was this decision the best one we could make?
• Will it be good for the people in the organization?
• Will it be good for our customers?
If you can’t answer yes to all three of these questions, then you and your co-workers have more work to do.

Most people try to hit the ground running when they arrive in the morning. But how you finish out your workday may be just as important to your productivity. Instead of trying to pack as much as you can into your last few minutes, we are sharing some ideas to increase your efficiency by avoiding these activities. Take a look at these helpful tips (and feel free to share some of yours with us too):

Big decisions: You’re rushed, you’re tired, and you’re focused on going home. Any decisions you make in a hurry usually won’t be as successful as those you consider when you’re fresh.
New projects: You won’t make much headway during the last 10 minutes of the day. Make a few notes if you must, but don’t try to get a jump start on important work when you and your co-workers are finishing current jobs.
Leaving people hanging: Take a look at your commitments from the day. If anyone is waiting for a return phone call or a quick email, get back to them before you leave, as long as you can answer questions quickly and succinctly. You want people to know you value their time.
Obsessing over uncompleted tasks: Checking your to-do list can lead to frustration if you worry about the tasks you didn’t accomplish. Concentrate instead on putting tomorrow’s to-do list together and getting a fresh start in the morning.
Not saying goodbye: You’ll build better relationships by taking the time to say good night to your co-workers and boss. You don’t have to linger, but you can let people know you’re leaving and that you look forward to seeing them tomorrow.

Flexibility – Today’s Workplace Necessity

Shifting work dynamics and the desire for a better life balance has made this an on-going topic of discussion at all levels within our workplaces. Organizations that offer flexibility can help attract and retain top talent, increase productivity, and adapt to evolving business needs.
In the broadest of terms flexibility refers to a working arrangement where employees have input to their schedule to accommodate the varying needs and lifestyles of employees AND we need to meet business goals and needs too. This concept has gained popularity in fact, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, 63% of full-time employees are now working in a flexible role.
Before implementing flexible working hours in your organization, it is crucial that you carefully evaluate the pros and cons associated with this approach. This will allow you to make an informed decision and determine if flex hours align with your organizational culture, employee needs, and operational requirements.

Here are some key benefits:
Life balance: Flex hours enable employees to better manage their personal obligations, resulting in reduced stress and improved work-life balance.
Employee satisfaction and engagement. Offering your employees flex hours shows them that the organization values their needs, leading to higher job satisfaction, engagement, and morale.
Increased productivity: With a flexible schedule, employees are able to work during their most productive hours, leading to enhanced efficiency and increased productivity. This can also help to increase focus and eliminate potential time wasters.
Increased accountability: This form of scheduling can boost employee accountability as individuals are empowered to take ownership of their work and manage their time effectively.
Reduced absenteeism: Flex hours enable employees to handle personal matters without taking full days off, minimizing disruptions and reducing absenteeism. To the same effect, this approach can also help you reduce employee tardiness, especially if your employees are often late due to personal commitments.
Talent attraction and retention: Many job seekers these days value perks and benefits just as much as salaries. As a result, offering flex hours can help you attract and retain top talent in a competitive job market.
Diversity and inclusion: Flex hours accommodate employees with varying needs, contributing to a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Employee health and wellbeing: Flex hours support employees’ physical and mental health by allowing time for exercise, self-care, and medical appointments.
Enhanced loyalty and reduced turnover: Flex hours foster employee loyalty and commitment to the organization, increasing retention and reducing turnover costs.

These are also some potential drawbacks of implementing flex hours that you also need to be aware of:
Difficulty in scheduling meetings: Coordinating meetings can become more challenging when employees have different schedules.
Inequity and perceived favoritism: If you decide to offer flexible work hours, it’s important to do so consistently. Otherwise, it can create feelings of unfairness or claims of favoritism among employees. This, in turn, can lead to morale issues and strained relationships.
Reduced collaboration and communication: When employees have different schedules and they are not present in the office at the same time, it can be challenging to coordinate meetings, share ideas, and have spontaneous discussions. It can also impact your corporate culture, especially if your employees work remotely.
Customer service challenges: Flex hours can result in delayed response times for customer-facing roles, potentially impacting customer satisfaction.
Time tracking challenges: Monitoring employee working hours becomes more complex with flex hours, making it harder to ensure accurate timekeeping and preventing potential abuse.
Burnout risk: Flexible work arrangements can blur the boundaries between work and personal life, potentially leading to overworking and burnout.
Scheduling issues: Flex hours can make it harder to schedule tasks and, as a result, require additional planning and coordination.

If you’ve decided that this approach might work well in your business, the next step is creating and implementing a flex schedule policy. We have created some sample language for your consideration.

Here are some additional tips and best practices to help you effectively manage flexible hours in the workplace:
• Make sure you establish clear guidelines and expectations, especially in terms of communication, availability, and collaboration.
• Set specific core hours during which all employees must be available for meetings and collaboration. This ensures sufficient overlap for teamwork and communication.
• Provide employees with tools to schedule and manage their flex hours effectively. This includes shared calendars, time-tracking software, and project management tools.
• Define clear performance metrics and goals and remind employees that they are responsible for meeting these objectives consistently.
• Evaluate performance based on results and outcomes rather than hours worked. Focus on quality of work, meeting deadlines, and achieving objectives to ensure fairness.
• Conduct regular check-ins with employees to assess progress, provide feedback, and address challenges.
• Regularly review your policy and request employee feedback to identify areas for improvement.

Fertility and Mental Health Concerns

Fertility and mental health concerns are closely linked. Research shows that the depression levels in patients with infertility are comparable to patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. Mental health contributes to direct costs in the form of medically necessary treatments and services — it’s the fourth largest source of healthcare spend in the United States — but also contributes to indirect costs such as presenteeism.
Other significant stats about mental health and fertility:
• Half of women and 15% of men said that infertility was the most upsetting experience of their lives
• Up to 40% of women struggling to get pregnant report experiencing anxiety,
depression, or both — twice the rate of mental health disorders in women who aren’t
experiencing concerns with infertility.
• Carrot’s Fertility at Work survey that found an astounding 89% said that fertility and family forming has negatively impacted their mental health.

Read more about the impact of fertility on mental health here.