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Workplace Communication

In an era of Casual Fridays and work-from-home colleagues, how can you maintain effective office communication in a changing business climate?

We’ll steer you through changes in business etiquette, and help you successfully navigate through the new realities of workplace conflict and office politics.

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“All first drafts are terrible. I don’t care if you’re Hemingway.” That comes from a writing professor who may as well have been talking about email. No email should be sent without revision. Here's an email etiquette checklist to follow:

Question: “I often feel like an outsider in my office. I am 61, overweight, and have gray hair. My co-workers are in their 20s and 30s. The whole group goes out for “happy hour” once every six weeks ... I usually avoid these get-togethers because I don’t feel comfortable with the youngsters ... Do you think I should start going?” — Old & Gray
In another example of the complex interplay between social media and HR, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reached a settlement on Feb. 7, 2011, in the closely watched “Facebook Firing” case.
As CEO of one of the fastest-growing private companies, Bronto Software’s Joe Colopy says, “It’s hard to understand what it means to be a leader until you’re in a situation where it really matters.” For Colopy, the journey from entrepreneur to CEO has meant completely changing his game. His secrets to keeping employees informed:
If you’re like most people, the last thing you want to hear after you’ve finally worked up your nerve to ask for what you want is a big, fat no. Rejection isn’t fun. But rejection is a great time to take stock.

More than 20 million people have downloaded Bump, an application that allows people to bump their smartphones together to exchange contact information. But that doesn’t mean the end of business cards.

The National Labor Relations Board has settled with a company that fired an employee for posting negative comments about a boss on her Facebook page. The case seems to signal that employee communications that happen via social media constitute protected activity under federal law. Does your social media policy go too far?
In theory, the word “ma’am” is a courtesy extended to women. But many women say it makes them cringe. The best course of action? When in doubt, skip the courtesy term altogether.

In what could be a groundbreaking case, the National Labor Relations Board filed an unfair labor practice complaint last month against a Connecticut company that fired a worker who complained about her supervisor on Facebook. This is the first case in which the NLRB has argued that workers’ criticisms on social networking sites are protected activity.

As a small business owner, you may give good clients gifts during the course of the year to reward them for their loyalty. But deductions for business gifts are limited to a paltry $25 annually per recipient. Strategy: Know all the “ins” and “outs” of the tax rules. With some careful planning, you may be able to maximize the deductions for your business.

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