Centerpiece

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You know the types: the co-worker who seeps negativity and hostility; the gossip-monger; or the critic, who always nitpicks others’ work. So, what happens when you have several in one workplace? In some cases, a toxic work environment is a result of a laissez-faire manager ...

What makes an employee productive? Unproductive? “The key factor you can use to make employees miserable on the job is to simply keep them from making progress in meaningful work,” say researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer.

In addition to giving job-specific tests, the best way to tell if applicants carry the skills to perform specific tasks is to ask very direct questions about how they’ve used each skill in the past. Here are some sample questions hiring managers can use to spot whether these 10 important “soft” skills are present:

It’s hard to know exactly what new tech ideas will make the biggest im­­pact on business in the near future and change how we do things. But, according to John Brandon, here are a few worth keeping an eye on: predictive technology, HTML5, high-resolution displays, social analytics, speech for business, business-ready storage.

Small business owners often clash with the IRS over the classification of workers. Usually, the employers claim certain workers are independent contractors; the IRS says they’re employees. If you’re challenged by the IRS, don’t throw up the white flag so fast.

Prepaid gift cards are an increasingly popular tool to motivate and reward employees. However, employers often weaken the impact by simply handing them out without a strategy. Get the most out of prepaid cards with these tips:

Americans simply don’t know how to take a vacation. Only 57% of U.S. workers use all the vacation days they’re allotted, compared with 89% of workers in France, a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found. How to turn it around? Try an “unlimited time off” policy.

While a casual dress policy may be a great way to boost morale during the warm days, tank tops and flip-flops are more appropriate attire for the beach than for the office. The key is to strike a balance between implementing less-stringent dress policies and getting employees to dress appropriately.

The greatest compliment CEO Paul Spiegelman gets from candidates who apply for jobs at his company comes in the form of a question: Why is everyone smiling? He says the answer is simple: They’re happy. Here are 10 tips for creating a culture of fun in your workplace:

Environmental psychologists know that sensory experiences impact the way we work. Here’s what they say: 1.  Keep red to a minimum. 2.  Grow a leafy green. 3.  Face the entryway. 4.  Make small adjustments for comfort. 5.  Declutter but not too much.

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