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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.

Executive coach Michael Neill was conducting a seminar a few years ago when a woman stood up, “dripping with disgust,” and pointed at him. “The problem with you,” she said, “is that you give people hope.” It started Neill wondering where hope had acquired such a bad name. What he found was that critics of religion often accuse those belief systems of giving people “false hope.”

One way you can increase productivity of knowledge workers is by breaking down time barriers. That is, build in time for them to share knowledge. Example: Boston-based Millennium Pharmaceuticals discovered that researchers didn’t have time to share lessons from experiments. So it dubbed a small group of scientists “knowledge intermediaries.”

Members of the U.S. armed forces are happier with their work than employees of top companies such as Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Microsoft and Disney. So says a new survey by online career-guidance web site CareerBliss.com.

If you feel as though you’re doing more but getting less done, it may be because you’re still multitasking. Leadership expert Stever Robbins may have put his finger on why: You like to multitask. “Just don’t expect to accomplish very much doing it,” he says. Robbins has developed a system that can help you maintain concentration and do more in less time.

Of all of HR’s priorities, keeping good employees is on top. You can be a hero in the post-recession years ahead. Act like one: Be brave enough to communicate the truth to both employees and to company execs. Assert your key role by trying the following:
As Dianne listens to her iPod, she taps out an e-mail on her iPhone and watches the TV screen—all while walking briskly on a treadmill. But Dianne might be clearer-headed if she went for a run without gadgets.
If you have employees preaching about your products or services via blogs, Twitter or other social networking sites, beware a hidden risk. The FTC has issued new Enforcement Guidelines that require employees to disclose their relationships with their employer whenever they post comments or positive reviews about their employer’s product on a social media site.
Disputes between co-workers and between employees and their bosses are almost inevitable—which is why every HR professional must know how to gather the necessary facts to find out what’s going on. Take some time to think about and plan your inquiry even for simple, seemingly routine issues. If the situation is complicated or raises a red flag about possible legal claims, a well-planned investigation can be critically important.
If you've received an invitation to a party at your boss’s home, yes, you do have to RSVP, attend, dress appropriately, mingle and send a thank-you note afterward, says Barbara Pachter, a leading expert in business etiquette and communications. And turn off your cell phone!

On average, American professionals spend 5.6 hours each week in meetings that 71% say “aren’t productive.” If you'd rather spend those hours creatively engaged, try these tips for making the most of meeting time. (You can pull off one of these even if you're not the one who called the meeting!)