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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.

If there’s one technique that can instantly improve your business writing, it’s this: Trim and simplify. When writing in a hurry, it’s easy to include unnecessary words or cram too much into a single sentence. Result: Business writing easily becomes cluttered or “grandiose” sounding. Trimming can eliminate redundancies, while simplifying can make sentences easier to understand.

Many lawsuits result from relatively small, manageable disputes that weren’t dealt with directly, often because HR simply didn’t know what to do or feared making it worse. Here are my favorite strategies for dealing with disruptive conflict, based on the book Resolving Conflicts at Work by Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith.

E-mail, that revolutionary productivity tool, has a dark side. It can create divisions between co-workers, hurt productivity and destroy focus, say critics. Some even draw a comparison between e-mail and gambling. To counterbalance the negatives, companies have been imposing “no e-mail Fridays” or “no e-mail weekends.” Anyone can take measures to keep e-mail addiction from getting out of hand, though.

E-mail, that revolutionary productivity tool, has a dark side. It can create divisions between co-workers, hurt productivity and destroy focus, say critics. Some even draw a comparison between e-mail and gambling. To counterbalance the negatives, companies have been imposing “no e-mail Fridays” or “no e-mail weekends.” Anyone can take measures to keep e-mail addiction from getting out of hand, though.

This should come as good news to anyone struggling to keep up with a demanding daily exercise schedule—and feeling guilty when schedule conflicts get in the way of gym time: A body of research suggests that there’s little risk to carrying a few extra pounds—and there may even be some benefit. Still, there's a big difference between carrying a few extra pounds and being obese.

In the workplace and the sporting world, teams that buy into their coach’s vision have a much better chance of success. How can you get your team all working toward the same goal—your goal? Start by following these four steps to build support:
Make sure your entire staff is on the same page when it comes to responding to FMLA requests. Decide on a contact person and set a policy that lets all employees know. Create a log for recording all incoming FMLA communications. Remember, certifications may come directly from medical providers, who are likely to use fax or mail delivery.

It’s a warm August afternoon, and you’re beginning to feel sleepy after sitting in a conference room meeting for more than an hour. Here are some helpful pointers on how to stay alert during long meetings:

When superjockey Martin Garcia won the Preakness Stakes in May—and with it the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown—Terri Terry deserved a chunk of the credit. The deli owner in Pleasanton, Calif., had given Garcia a job in her kitchen years ago, and then took him to her ranch, where he leapt bareback on one of her mares. He was a natural.

Listen to novices, as their fresh eyes can provide insights that you are unable to see. Young staffers or those who have recently joined your business may see things that are odd, wrong or could be done differently.