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A new survey of 800 UK-based workers by online print provider instantprint has revealed how much typical workplace annoyances can damage business performance.

Well over half of respondents (58%) said that they’re regularly annoyed by colleagues during the workday, with only4% saying they’ve never been annoyed by a co-worker’s actions.

These annoyances can have a tangible effect on businesses, with one in three workers saying they have a directly negative impact on their productivity. When asked to rank office habits based on which is most annoying, the following five came out on top:

  1. Poor personal hygiene
  2. Eating smelly food in the office
  3. Taking frequent smoking breaks
  4. Constant whistling
  5. Being late

You can see the full breakdown of survey results in the blog post here: https://www.instantprint.co.uk/printspiration/be-inspired/how-to-deal-with-annoying-colleagues

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Giving your workforce more freedom to shape their working day is fast becoming the norm, rather than an anomaly. Top talent see it as a hugely attractive perk, and businesses who offer no flexibility run the risk of falling behind. It’s the future way of working, but to implement it successfully, employees have to be able to stay connected so they can take their work with them wherever they go.

New research from Communication providers Plusnet set out to determine which countries are currently leading the way when it comes to remote working and staying connected with the office on the go. Their study compared the 20 most populous EU countries across a range of different factors, to determine which country currently has the most to offer employees looking to work remotely.

Each country was subject to a range of factors: the percentage of people currently in remote work, the number of Wi-Fi hotspots, happiness index score, and seven other factors that affect remote working. A percentile score for each helped Plusnet create a top ten ranking of the countries that make the best fit for digital nomads. You can find the top five nations below:

  1. Netherlands: 682

The highest number of people in remote work (13.7%) and the highest EU Commission Transport Score (1.0) means the Netherlands is the number one place for digital nomads. The Dutch scored highly across all factors, ranking third for the number of Wi-Fi hot spots, number of coffee shops, and Happiness Index.

  1. Germany: 651

Germany is also front lining the move towards remote working, making a great location for digital nomads. It has the most Wi-Fi hotspots, making it easy to stay connected on-the-go, and also ranked highly for co-working spaces (3rd) and EU Commission Transport score (3rd).

  1. Spain: 619

A high number of co-working spaces (1st) and well-priced coffee (4th) means Spain is the third best country for remote workers.

  1. United Kingdom: 598

The UK also makes a good place for people looking for remote work across Europe. Second place for the number of co-working spaces, on top of a good Internet Security score (8th), means you don’t have to travel far to find a suitable place to work safely outside the office.

  1. Poland: 580

Leading the way in Eastern Europe, remote working in Poland will save you on a lot of your expenses, scoring highly for Cost of Living (3rd) and Rent Index score (5th).  Despite the cheap coffee, poor transport score and overall citizen happiness prevent Poland from rising any higher than fifth.

With the growing pressure on employers to introduce more flexible working hours, and how easy it’s becoming to stay connected with the office while on the go, it’s likely remote working will become increasingly popular. If you’re currently remote working or it’s something you are considering for the future, then each of the countries in the top ten would make a worthy choice.

See the full list, here

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Working from home is great: No commute, the ability to have a home-cooked lunch every day, and the relaxation that comes with being able to work in a space that’s truly yours. At the same time, if you don’t do the necessary legwork to personalize that space, telework can end up doing more harm than good.

What does your home office look like?

That question matters more than you might expect. A good home office is a relaxing space that helps you focus and excel. It’s clean, it’s organized, and it’s personalized.

But beyond that, it’s also got the right look, feel, and equipment. Here are the most important components of every successful home office.

Separation of Work and Personal Space

Key to your home office is keeping it distinctive and separate from the rest of your life. If you’re not careful, working from home can wreak havoc on your well-being. Rather than establishing a proper work-life balance, it’s easy to trip up and fall into an “always-on” mentality with work constantly buzzing at the back of your head.

I don’t recommend it.

By establishing your home office as a separate physical space you make that balance significantly easier to maintain. You can train your mind to switch to work mode when you’re in your office and turn off when you aren’t. Ideally, you want a separate room.  If that’s not feasible, your office can take the shape of a particular arrangement of furniture, or even some portable separation walls.

A Comfortable Chair

Without a doubt, your chair is the most important piece of furniture in your home office. After all, it is where you’re likely to be spending the majority of your time. If it isn’t comfortable, ergonomic, and well-designed, you’re looking at some serious back problems down the line.

But they are expensive. So with that in mind, you’re better off dropping a bit of cash on a high-end chair now than spending even more to fix the inevitable health issues. The Herman Miller collection is great if you’re looking for a starting point, but your best bet is to do a bit of research and read some reviews.

Alternatively, you could just invest in a standing desk.

Greenery & Artwork

You probably know already that green spaces promote happiness, health, and wellness. People like being around plants. By maintaining green space in your office, you can boost your mood, increase focus, and cut down on stress.

You don’t need to go overboard A few office plants here and there is all you’ll need in that regard. The important thing, at the end of the day, is personalization.

With that in mind, I also recommend gathering art and decor that fits your personality. A painting or two, some desk decorations, and so on. Whatever you need to make your workspace feel like it’s truly yours.

Redundancy

Disaster can strike anywhere, and at any time. If you aren’t careful, you could end up losing hours, maybe even days, of work to anything from an electrical storm to hardware failure. The good news is that protecting yourself from that kind of thing is pretty easy. All you need to do is invest in a decent uninterruptible power supply (with battery backup) and an external hard drive.

Make sure to run a daily, automated backup process too.

A Dress Code

Maybe this last one seems a bit confusing. After all, isn’t one of the biggest perks of working from home that you can do so in your underwear? Yes and no.

There’s been quite a bit of research carried out on how clothing influences our state of mind. And by all accounts, it has a direct influence on how we perform. Stumbling to your desk in nothing but your skivvies might seem pretty awesome, but taking the time to shower, shave, and put on decent clothes can actually have a huge positive impact on your productivity.

You Are Where You Work

Your home office is more than just a workspace. It’s where you set the stage for your job, and where you establish your mood and approach to your work.

Do things right and you’re set for success.

About the Author: Brad Wayland is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.

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There are opportunities that you can take that will help to prepare your business for growth, and help operations to run smoothly even at unexpected levels. By thinking ahead, you will be able to ensure that your business strategy is scaleable,

Make Your Finances Foolproof

  • You should ensure that you have the correct software needed to keep track of your financial situation and allow you to peruse your finances at a glance. This can be done by downloading accounting software such as Quickbooks which allow you to store your invoices, prepare for your tax returns, and analyze your cash flow.
  • You should also make sure that you are getting the right deal on your utility bills. .Utility bills can be draining on your finances, but with the proper knowledge, you will be able to combat this. Click here to find commercial utility suppliers that can suit your business through the unbiased advice of an expert comparison service. This will allow you to garner instant quotes rather than seek them individually as well as see at a glance what each policy has to offer.
  • You should alsocreate a tight budget which reflects your new situation. You may also want to consider altering your business plan so that your goals and expectations reflect this large influx of sales and additions to your customer base. To create a budget, you can either download budgeting software or balance your outgoings and revenue through a spreadsheet.

Hire a Talented Team

  • It is important that you have the right skill sets within your business to support the massive influx of customers and to keep your business relevant and able to expand into new channels.
  • To do this, you should look at industry-specific job listings which attract the right type of employee. You should also ensure that you request cover letters for every application to give you a more in-depth look at the individuals who you are seeking to employ and what they have achieved in the past. You may also want to request a portfolio of their previous work if your business is design based.
  • You should also train your existing workforce by investing in training days, courses and even education based learning that could advance your team’s knowledge and skills. This revenue will come back to you in the form of a more efficient workforce.

Keep Growth Going For Longer

  • You can keep growth going by investing in the right marketing tools. For instance, by keeping up with current online trends and ensuring that you connect with potential customers on social media, you can ensure that you constantly attract a stream of potential customers.
  • You should also constantly update your business and its products to ensure that you are continually improving. You should aim to find ways to deliver new improvements to your products in an attempt to stay relevant and top-quality. For instance, you can expand the number of products that you deliver, to interest new potential customers.
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Distraction is an evil phenomenon which keeps productive people away from achieving their goals. It is quite usual to witness working people lose their peace of mind due to myriad ways of distraction. Even people working in their homes are victims of either nuisance or some other form of distraction.

Research shows that in America, around 50% of the employees say they work only for 15 minutes before they get distracted, whereas 53% of the employees waste more than 1 hour a day due to disruptions!

From continuous noise and brimming inbox to feeling stressed or fatigued, nearly everything may cause people to lose focus. Let us explore the avenues of bewilderment and conclude how you can stay more attentive.

Penning Down Your Goals

Setting goals is not just restricted to New Year’s resolution, but it’s a prerequisite when professional goal setting is taken into consideration. If you don’t write goals, they become theoretical. They become less real, even if you believe they’re real. Writing them down, eyeing them every day, and contemplating about those – makes your goals realistic in true sense. In case, you’re sincere with your goals; you need to set them as well as detail them profoundly. Using a smarter method or just creating as much information towards the prospective goals possibly can help you achieve them.

Sort out the statement of accomplishment

If you’re actually serious about achieving your goals, you require a mission statement. Your goals are not to be procrastinated if you’re serious about it and thus you need to prepare a mission statement which will keep futility at bay. Write a detailed mission statement of 4-5 sentences and display it somewhere in your office and put it up somewhere in your workplace so that you can hover your eyes through it, every day. Whenever you lose focus or get distracted, re-read the mission statement as well as re-think why you’re doing that.

It’s high time for effective Time Management

It is almost impossible to concentrate on your objectives if you can’t manage the time. Become a successful time manager to experience success. Choose a time management system which works well for you. Prioritize your urgencies by allotting the work.

Maintaining a regularity of scanning the growth

One vital way to stay focused on the goals is by tracking and analyzing your growth. Keeping a good track of your goals will help determine how far you have achieved and how much is yet to go. It’s definitely tougher to perform. Use a spreadsheet, your smartphone, or laptop to analyze the results daily. With more passing days, you can analyze more and determine which efforts are providing results and which are getting wasted!

Execute Motivational Practices

To stay motivated, you need to shift your attention. While an inspiration could be motivating, in case you set goals in the correct way, you should have the foundation of motivation which can help you provide the framework for accomplishing your goals. However, it’s the motivational portion which is difficult. Even the most successful people in the world have failed many times. So, don’t be scared of failure. Just don’t let it lose your concentration on the goals. Keep yourself pushing, keep coming, and never give up!

Don’t Check Emails So Often

Studies show that people check their emails around 40 times every hour. Limit that to 3-5 times a day and avoid doing it in the morning. If you’re continuously distracted online, you may cut checking emails and all other social media sites too.

Keep Privacy at Your Workspace

For some people, it might mean closing the room door. You can use separate web browsers for personal and business work. Use your workspace only for work. It will prevent distraction as well as help you psychologically associating your workspace with the product-driven mindset.

   Turn-off All the Notifications

Turning off all the notifications on your laptop and phone might look perplexing at first. However, you’ll surely feel less diverted and extra focused. You can also have improvements in willpower. In case, you wish to be really productive, follow this step today!

   Do Regular Exercise

Exercise helps you live a healthier life. Associate with a good diet, it will help you lead a better life. Exercise helps you to drive yourself. Usually, one’s psyche is equally responsible as physique. If you can push your body a bit more, your subconscious will also support your mind. Slowly, your ability to stay focused improves. Physical exercise also trains your mind for pushing itself to the next level. Do exercise 3 times a week and you will feel your willpower strengthening with time.

Switch Off Yourself from Everything

To stay involved in anything all the time create tactical issues for every moment. It impedes your capability to concentrate on bigger and more innovative aspects of your life. So, put all the entertainment devices, your work, or books away for about ten minutes and stay with your thoughts! ‘Wasting’ one hour per week can save your years. Just switch off yourself for some time on a daily basis, and it will let your mind to breathe a bit more!

Conclusion

All the successful people are not poles apart from you. They work just on what’s significant and overlook what isn’t. Successful people know that they just can’t do everything; therefore they won’t even try. They understand what to concentrate on, and you could do the same. Don’t allow the technology to make you its marionette. Rather, leverage it and become more productive and reach new heights!

Author Bio: Aditya works as a Growth Assistant at AirTract, a social platform wherein people ask questions, write articles, share knowledge and experience.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science Engineering and has been working in the field of Digital Marketing for the past two years. He is also a voracious reader and a big sports fan.

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Bringing your business to the top is something that you should feel responsible to do as a business owner. The sooner you are able to adopt this mindset, the sooner you will be able to help your business succeed. Achieving greatness in your business can be a bit of a challenge, but there are many different ways to do this.

Learn to be a more effective leader

If you want your business to grow, you need to know how to be an exceptional leader. There are many books and online courses that you can take that will help you learn the skills that you need. Whether you are working with your clients or trying to better manage your employees, you will need different skills to deal with the different types of leadership. Remember, you won’t become the best leader overnight. You will need to be patient when it comes to your leadership skills.

Show recognition when your employees excel in their position

If your employees don’t feel like they are getting recognized for any of their hard work, it is going to be hard for them to feel like they are a part of the team. Instead of just accepting good work from your employees, you need to make sure that you show them how much you care. Coming up with new recognition ideas will greatly help your organization. With this recognition and praise, your employees will feel much more like they are a part of a bigger team.

Learn how to effectively market in the digital age

We live in a digital age where so much information is being delivered around the world through computers and mobile devices. It is important that you utilize the tools of marketing on these devices in order to take advantage of the massive network of potential customers using the internet everyday. Learning to effectively market in the digital age will help you to have a stronger stance in the digital community which will in turn help to build your brand.

Refine your hiring process

It is important that you only hire the most qualified individuals onto your team. You need to make sure that you have a hiring process that is refined. It is a great idea to look at what you are already working with and see if there is anything that can be improved upon. Working with your HR department to create a better hiring process will take some time. You need to make sure that you are pushing toward a better system that is going to push your business to the top. With the right talent on your team, almost anything is possible.

Pay attention to details and always go the extra mile

As a business owner, you need to make sure that you are always going the extra mile. If you have a grand vision of what your business is capable of, this will help you achieve a greater goal. When you are going the extra mile, make sure that you aren’t getting burned out. Find a flow that you are able to stick with. Once you are able to find a good amount of hours each week that you are willing to work, you will be happy with the amazing success you see. Paying attention to detail and never cutting corners will be something that will push you past your competition.

Once you have implemented these new aspects of business into your organization, you will have a much better chance of bringing your business to the top. Learning the different tools that will help your business succeed can make it easier for you to push past the competition and find greater success in your field.

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At some point in your life, you’re almost certain to be asked to sign an NDA (a non-disclosure agreement).

An NDA is a tool designed to protect companies’ sensitive or proprietary information … whilst also allowing employees to share information within the company freely.

The NDA will carry prohibitions on sharing certain information or assets outside the company: for instance, signing the NDA might mean that you’re promising you won’t share the company’s client list or trade secrets with anyone else.

This is important because it protects companies if you move to a new role with a competitor or if you set up your own business.

NDAs aren’t just used by businesses, though. They can be used by high-profile individuals, to protect them from unwelcome revelations in the media. (Under Donald Trump, for instance, NDAs have been increasingly used in the White House.)

Academic institutions like universities can also use NDAs, and this has been a cause of recent criticism in the UK as some NDAs have been allegedly used to keep misconduct victims silent.

If you’re asked to sign an NDA (or even if you want to create an NDA online for your own business) you should keep these four key considerations in mind:

#1: Does the NDA Clearly Define Proprietary and/or Confidential Information?

Some NDAs are written in quite vague terms that don’t pin down exactly what they do and don’t cover.

The last thing you want is to inadvertently breach an NDA by chatting about something that you didn’t realize was confidential at all … so do make sure that if anything in the NDA is unclear in scope, you get it clarified.

This could potentially mean asking for the NDA to be rewritten. Don’t be afraid to do so: you may well find that the company is more willing than you’d think to reword or even strike out part of the NDA.

It’s important for both you andthe company that you’re clear about exactly what the NDA covers, so it’s in their interests to get this right, too.

If you’re a contractor or freelancer who’s been asked to sign an NDA, it’s particularly important that you’re clear exactly what it covers. You don’t want to be sued by (as Hartley Brody puts it) an “overly litigious client” because another of your clients happened to come to you with a broadly similar idea.

#2: Will the NDA Still Apply Long After This Job is Over?

Most NDAs will apply for a certain period of time after you leave or finish a job … and some will apply for a very long time.

You definitely don’t want to end up in trouble for revealing something you learned a decade ago in a job you held for six months as a new graduate, so do make sure that you (a) know how long the NDA will remain in force and (b) feel that this is reasonable.

Again, don’t be afraid to ask for changes, especially if the NDA might impact on your future career (for instance, it might prevent you working for a competitor within a certain period of time – which could seriously hamper your options in a crowded job market). The time period covered by the NDA may well be up for negotiation.

#3: What Will Happen if You Do Breach the NDA?

It’s easy to sign an NDA thinking that there’s no chance you’d ever breach it … but all it takes is a slip-up for that to happen.Even something as simple and accidental as leaving your work laptop in a bar could be seen as a breach of an NDA, as it could allow proprietary information to be accessed.

Ideally, the NDA should spell out what happens if you break the agreement. You want to be sure that you feel those consequences would be reasonable. Don’t assume that they won’t apply in the case of an accidental breach: your employer might consider you to have been careless or negligent.

The consequences for breaching an NDA could involve a fine, losing your job, or even having to pay damages to the company (which could be quite high). If you’re in a position where you are considering knowingly violating an NDA that you’ve signed, it’s definitely a good idea to talk to a lawyer to get their advice on how to proceed.

#4: What Will You Get Out of the Deal?

If you’re asked to sign an NDA, you’re supposed to get something out of it. In many cases, what you’ll be getting is a job – and it’s not unusual for fresh hires to be asked to sign NDAs as a matter of course (even if these aren’t really necessary).

If you’re asked to sign an NDA at some point during your employment, though, it’s normally considered appropriate that you’ll receive some form of “new and fresh consideration” as a result. This means something like a raise, a bonus, increased benefits (e.g. more vacation days), or similar.

Remember, there’s nothing stopping you from negotiating! If you’re being offered a paltry raise or an insignificant bonus in exchange for signing a document that will severely restrict your short-term career options, then you may well want to ask for something more significant instead.

Don’t sign an NDA if you’re not getting anything out of it. No one can force you to sign an NDA (though it could well be a condition of something you want, e.g. employment). If you’re being pressured to sign an NDA, you might want to consult a lawyer.

While NDAs are an important and necessary tool for many businesses and institutions, they can also be misused.If you’re asked to sign an NDA, don’t just do so blindly: make sure you carefully read the document and seek legal advice if appropriate. Be willing to negotiate, too; the terms of the NDA are not set in stone, and your employer or institution may well be flexible here.

Finally, remember that an NDA is a contract, and that breaking it can have serious consequences – you might not only lose your job but also face a hefty fine, or have to pay damages. If you’re in a position where you’re considering deliberately breaching an NDA, it’s very wise to seek legal advice first.

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Work is inherently, well, work – which can be stressful, exhausting, and hard. While it’s true that work isn’t always fun or enjoyable, it’s important for companies to try creating a workplace that is.

One reason for employers to foster a positive workplace is that it improves productivity, creativity, and teamwork. A study from the University of Warwick found that unhappy employees are 10% less productive than neutral workers – while happy employees are 12% more productive. When employees are happy, they are more relaxed, focused, and efficient.

A positive work environment doesn’t just increase productivity, it also improves employee satisfaction which improves engagement and reduces turnover. In fact, a study from Glassdoor found that 87% of employees expect their company to provide support for a healthy work-life balance. If you’re not fostering a happy workplace, your employees are less productive and less engaged – which negatively affects your bottom line.

One of the most powerful tools for organizations to improve employee happiness and cultivate a positive atmosphere is to cultivate employee feedback.

What is Employee Feedback?

Employee feedback is a process for employees to give and receive positive and negative responses about experiences, activities, and aspects of their job. Feedback is a great way for employees to grow both professionally and personally. By understanding their strengths and weaknesses better, employees are encouraged to develop.

Many people believe that employee feedback can only come from managers. However, feedback has many sources – all with their own value and insight.

For example, organizations can receive feedback from customers about specific departments and employees through online reviews and customer surveys. Managers can use this information to reward employees that excel or train those who are underperforming.

Why is Employee Feedback Important?

There are many benefits to fostering a feedback-friendly company culture. To start, employees genuinely appreciate and want feedback on a consistent basis because it helps them develop and contribute more. In fact, 82% of employees said they value negative and positive feedback. Feedback can help reinforce positive behavior or shed light on areas with which employees need to improve.

Employee feedback also helps develop the culture and support career growth within the organization, which were almost twice as important as compensation and benefits to employees in a recent study from Deloitte. By emphasizing employee feedback initiatives, you are empowering your employees and developing a culture of growth and learning.

Further, the employee feedback loop is a great exercise to improve communication and listening skills for managers and employees. Delivering feedback effectively requires receiving the information, processing the details, and translating it to the employee in a constructive manner that is actionable and aligned with the organization’s goals. Acquiring the skills needed to provide feedback to employees is an excellent leadership trait that can have positive effects throughout your entire company.

Likewise, employees that receive feedback from their direct managers are more confident and proactive – with 75% saying that they would bring up issues to managers more often if they were receiving feedback from those managers regularly.

How to Get Started with Employee Feedback

As you can see, employee feedback is an excellent way to develop a positive working environment. So, how do you get started with implementing employee feedback initiatives?

The quickest way to implement employee feedback processes is to hire a professional employer organization (PEO). PEOs are companies who specialize in providing professional employee services like feedback and employee reviews. Since most business owners are not feedback experts or HR professionals, outsourcing those tasks to organizations who have experience and knowledge may be more efficient than building it from the ground up internally.

If you decide to take on employee feedback yourself, you’ll still want to find resources and tools to support your initiatives. Developing an effective feedback process will take a lot of time and energy – so, any solutions to streamline or automate tasks will go a long way.

For example, companies can use survey software like Officevibe to collect, report, and track employee feedback and satisfaction anonymously online. This simple solution increases the efficiency within which you collect and analyze employee feedback.

In addition to outsourcing and automating feedback processes, employers should look for opportunities to train managers on feedback skills and best practices. While surveys and other feedback channels can provide a nice pulse of the company, managers should also be able to read their employees based on tendencies and behaviors. Training leadership on communication and listening skills can also help improve the effectiveness of their feedback.

Finally, companies should use exit interviews from past employees to understand the pitfalls of their organization better. If your business is experiencing high turnover, it’s likely indicative of a serious issue – using exit interviews to collect feedback from employees leaving your company will likely mean honest and transparent responses about the problems that exist within your company.

Companies are constantly looking for ways to improve employee satisfaction and engagement. Increasing these organizational areas can drastically improve productivity and retention rates for a business. Keep the advice above in mind as you start making improvements to your employee feedback processes.

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Even though the concept is far from new, whistleblowing has received a lot of public attention in recent years. Newsworthy, dramatic cases like Wikileaks and names like Edward Snowden have captured the public’s – and the law’s – attention. The latest attempt by US lawmakers to increase protection for whistleblowers comes in the form of the Protecting America’s Workers Act 2019.

What is whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is technically defined as the act of telling the authorities or the public that the organization you work for is involved in illegal or immoral activities. Apart from the exciting, high-profile cases, like Wikileaks, recently, or Watergate, back in the 70s, whistleblowers emerge all the time, throwing light on less exciting, but just as dangerous, problems in the industries and sectors they work in.

People generally split whistleblowing into external and internal types. If you tell people outside the organization you’re whistleblowing on, it’s considered external. You might tell the media or the organization in charge of the sector in question.

Likewise, telling the authorities within the organization you work for is considered internal. There are pros and cons to both approaches – when you tell externally, there is often more pressure on the organization in question and some might say that translates into a higher likelihood that they’ll feel forced to make changes.

On the other hand, inside organizations, people may feel that internal whistleblowing is fairer. It doesn’t have the connotations of disloyalty that might come up when telling “strangers” or the media about your company’s wrongdoing. That said, with no outside pressure, there’s also a risk that your whistleblowing will prompt lots of smiling and nodding, but not much else.

Protection under OSHA

In many cases, whistleblowers bring issues to light because they are genuinely concerned about the safety and wellbeing of their working conditions or co-workers. In reality, many don’t have the best experience when they do. When scandals and problems involve big, secretive organizations, like governments and secret services, whistleblowers can be arrested and tried as traitors, and even imprisoned for their actions.

In less high-profile situations, even regular people who dish the dirt on their employees can sometimes be made to wish that they hadn’t. Employers can punish them for their actions, doing things like firing them, demoting them, punishing them, or harassing them.

In the US, punishing or firing someone for whistleblowing is prohibited by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. If you’ve informed about dangerous practices in your work and have been treated negatively as a result, understand that this is illegal, and find a law firm that will be able to successfully provide legal representation to help you seek justice.

New whistleblowing protections

Since the 1970s, a number of attempts have been made to increase protections for whistleblowers via the PAW act. In fact, since the OSH Act in 1970, there have been 15 attempts to increase the power it sways. The latest attempt, co-sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ed Markey (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), was introduced on February 7, the anniversary of the Kleen Energy Plant explosion in Connecticut in 2010.

This act, PAWA, contains many items and is not just limited to whistleblowing. Among others, it seeks to reverse the recent rollback of OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rule and reinstate the Volks rule, which gave OSHA the ability to enforce recordkeeping requirements for five-and-a-half years instead of six months.

Specific reference to whistleblowing appears later in the act when PAWA seeks to improve whistleblower protections for workers who call attention to unsafe working conditions. It also looks to extend the time allowed to file a whistleblowing complaint from 30 to 180 days.

This improved protection would add to the protection already afforded by the No FEAR Act of 2002, which seeks to discourage federal managers and supervisors from engaging in unlawful discrimination and retaliation, and the groundbreaking Sarbanes-Oxley Act also of 2002, which was raised in response to a number of high-profile corporate affairs in the late 90s, including the Enron and WorldCom scandals.

Other whistleblowing laws

The US intelligence community has its own whistleblowing regulations, most notably The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). Whistleblowing legislation around the world varies, with some countries offering whistleblowers very advanced protections and others, almost nothing. Whistleblowing in the EU is protected at EU level, with member states adding their own protections at a local level.

Whether enough ordinary Americans win a degree more protection under PAWA remains to be seen. As things currently stand, individuals have a medium level of protection and would be well advised to seek professional help before informing the authorities of a suspected problem in their workplace. Many firms will be able to provide you with legal representation or advice or will be able to refer you to a firm that can.

There are also a variety of tech apps and approaches that can make the process better, or even render it completely anonymous which, in theory, means that you wouldn’t have to worry about anything we’ve just said! Whether they are totally anonymous, we can’t guarantee, but if you feel that there’s something going on in your work and the world should know about it, take a look at this series of articles about whistleblowing as anonymously as possible.

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Keeping yourself organized in any aspect of your life can be tricky at times, forcing yourself into a routine that keeps your home or office clean and organized can be difficult to make yourself stick to.

Write Everything Down

Let’s face it, you’re busy and sometimes things just slip your mind. This could be a deadline at work or a birthday or anniversary. Relying solely on your memory for everything you need to remember is only going to complicate your life.

To simplify your life, write everything down, from grocery lists to deadlines to birthdays. There are plenty of apps that can help you with this, so you don’t need anything except your phone to track your life.

Get a day planner or task manager for your phone, or a paper one if you prefer, so you can keep track of everything even easier.

Make Back Ups of Everything

From your computer files to your keys, you should have a back up of everything important. Try scanning important documents like birth certificates, insurance paperwork, and other important documents, putting them into a secure folder. Even scan your photos so you have digital copies, just in case you lose the originals. Then find a secure place for the original copies of those documents and put them somewhere secure; if you have a safe, that’s a perfect place for these.

Keep a Password List

While it is recommended to never keep your passwords written down anywhere, this means you may not remember your passwords to some things. There are secure apps where you can keep track of your passwords, or you can hand write them down and put them somewhere you won’t lose it.

Have an Inventory

Take the time to make an inventory of your home, you can do this for cleaning supplies, canned food, and even toiletries. Now you will know exactly what you have of each thing, so you will not keep buying the same thing over and over, because you think you don’t have it.

Give Everything a Home

Keeping a house or office organized means everything has a home, where it should go when it is put away. If you know where everything goes, you can keep everything put away easier, since you will not have to stress about finding a place for something that is in the way.

If you need storage containers, make them easy to access and clearly labeled, so you don’t have to hunt for something when you need it. Never label a storage box as “miscellaneous,” it will become your catch-all and everything can get disorganized fast.

Jennifer Ford Berry, author of the Organize Now! series, says that when you first start working on finding homes for things, you should “first, ask yourself where can you put it that is the closest place to where you’ll use it. Try to put all like items together—things like gift wrapping, pens, sweaters, cups, and glasses should all be in the same place. After that, it’s like kindergarten, with zoning, where craft supplies would go one place and backpacks in another.”

Declutter Regularly

Set aside time every week to declutter your home. If you do it weekly, and everything has its own home, it won’t take long to do every week, especially if you make it a habit to put things away when you are done with them.

You do not need to do it all in a single day, either. You can easily arrange a decluttering schedule, so you tackle your pile of unopened mail on Monday, pick up the living room on Tuesday, organize your office on Wednesday, etc. This can help you make decluttering less intimidating.

Keep Only What You Need

The more stuff you have, the more things you have that are potential clutter. Go through your belongings at least every six months and determine what you do not need. Take an inventory and write everything down, then in six months look over the list and determine what you used. If you haven’t used it, you can probably get rid of it.

Know Where to Discard Items

When you are getting rid of things, you need to know where to take everything you decide to get rid of. Do you prefer donating your items? Pick a specific place to donate them to. If you’re looking to sell things, determine what you want to do to sell everything. Having set places to take things you’re getting rid of will help you get them out of the house right away; leaving the things you want to get rid of sitting around doesn’t help you keep things organized, it just adds another layer of clutter.

Shop Only to Replace

Before you buy anything, throw out an old thing or something you don’t use. If you’re buying a new pair of jeans, get rid of that old ripped up pair you never wear anymore. This way you aren’t just bringing in new things, you’re still keeping clutter reduced.

This also goes for food, cleaning supplies, and toiletries. Don’t overstock on things for the “just in case” moments. Having an overstock of things just takes up valuable space and contributes to clutter.

Prepare the Night Before

Getting ready in the morning is much less stressful when you prepare the night before. Take the time to put together whatever ingredients you’ll need for breakfast and lunch tomorrow, so you don’t have to waste time hunting for what you need.

Lay Out Clothing

One of the big stressors when it comes to getting ready in the morning is figuring out what to wear. Instead of hurriedly rummaging through your closet in the morning, lay out your clothes the night before. Then you can get dressed much quicker, saving you time.

Prep Your Launch Pad

Your launch pad is wherever in your house you leave your coats, keys, and anything else you need to take with you when you go somewhere. Before going to bed, re-pack school bags, gym bags, and work bags getting everything each bag needs put where it belongs. If you’re going to need a coat or umbrella, put it with your bags. This will let you get out the door much faster.  

Make Schedules and Deadlines

To keep organized, you need to have a schedule, otherwise, you can end up wasting time on unimportant things.

Don’t Procrastinate

The more time you spend procrastinating a task, big or small, the less time you have to complete it. If something needs to be done by Friday, don’t wait until Thursday or Friday to start it, this will lead to a disorganized mess for you to clean up later, and you won’t be giving the task the attention it needs.

Procrastinating also makes it harder for you to motivate yourself to get the task done when you finally go to do it.

Instead of procrastinating, just do the task earlier and you will find your life becomes less stressful and disorganized as a result.

Delegate Responsibilities

Having a more organized life means you know when your plate is too full. Whether you are delegating tasks to a team at work or splitting up the chores in the house, it’s good to learn when you need to delegate to others. Go through your to-do list and determine what tasks could be delegated to someone else, then go delegate them to that person.

If you have children, you can use Molly Maid’s list of age-appropriate chores to help you find a task for every member of your family.

Delegation is a vital leadership skill both in your professional life and your home life, because it helps make everything more efficient.

……………….

About the Author

Auz Burger has a Bachelor’s in English Literature and minors in media communications, professional writing, history, and women’s studies from Washington State University. She is a freelance editor and writer who writes for many sites. Connect with her on Twitter at @AuzBurger.

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