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http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/toc/08_34/B4097magazine.htmhttp://www.businessweek.com/magazine/toc/08_34/B4097magazine.htm Top Stories Business @ Work Here it is: The first issue of Business Week created in collaboration with readers. In surveys, blogs, and polls, you identified problems at work. Together we found answers.
Readers Voice Their Work-place Problems • Balancing Work-Life Duties • Staying Entrepreneurial • Time Management • Negotiating the Bureaucracy • Generational Tensions • Toxic Bosses Business @ Work By Jennifer Fishbein We've all got workplace problems. So we asked readers to help us identify their six most urgent workplace anxieties for a mid-August special issue of BusinessWeek. No. 1 on the list: balancing work-life responsibilities. Have a look at the other major concerns and what some of our readers have to say.
Balancing Work-Life Duties Angelica Menefee Founder and president of Trampoline, Inc., which designs curricula for elementary schoolsBaltimore, Md.It's a little stressful when you're working from home, because your work and your home are constantly blending. You get up to go to the mailbox and find that you're throwing in a little laundry. But I can attend a school event in the afternoon and then come home, go inside my office, and shut the door until midnight. It's hard to turn off the workday sometimes. If you get in your mind, "I'm going to work from 8 to 4," and the phone rings at 4:30, it's hard not to answer. I think you have to have a lot of self-discipline.
Balancing Work-Life Duties Roger Howard Head of shipping department, data processing company Columbus, Ga.There are fewer people [in the workplace]. Fewer workers and fewer management. And so, you have a lot more responsibility, and you have to work a lot more hours. It makes me tired. I've always been a reader, but I read a lot more now. It's relaxing. It gives you an avenue to direct yourself in. I've been reading a lot of early American history. I just finished a joint biography of James Madison and his wife. Sometimes early in the morning I'll go to the Barnes & Noble bookstore and just read.
Balancing Work-Life Duties Michael Jones Part-time consultant for Six Sigma Gulf Shores, Ala. "Everyone is working harder now than they used to. The world is more competitive. I was a trainer for a major bank, and would leave [for travel on] Sunday afternoon and come back Friday or Saturday, 39 weeks a year. The expectation to work 50 to 60 hours a week was very common. I decided to get into consulting because I'd been working too many hours. I have a lot more control over what I do, and I sleep better. I wish I had made the change a few years ago."
Balancing Work-Life Duties Lisa Blanton Founder and president of the Collings Group, a pharmaceutical consulting company Thornville, Ohio"When I was an employee, I was traveling 50% of the time. I had about hit the wall on travel. I was elite on US Airways for almost 25 years and I had people saying 'hi' to me at the airport. You know there's something wrong when your dog gets mad at you when he sees your suitcase coming out. Work-life balance has become less difficult since I became my own boss. That was the only way to really manage it."
Balancing Work-Life Duties LaMonte Guillory Internet business strategist, San Diego "My work life and personal life were so intertwined; my wife and I started 'host' night. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Kuri [my wife] has to come up with our dinner plans and nightly activity. On Tuesday and Thursday, I drive to meet her for lunch with Tyne [our baby daughter] and I am also responsible for our dinner plans and nightly activity. We swap Saturdays, and Sundays are open. We implemented this strategy—see, I even talk about my personal life in business fashion—so we could bring some balance to our work-personal life."
Balancing Work-Life Duties Lou Hoffmann Founder and president of the Hoffman Agency, a public relations firm San Jose, Calif."Having work-life balance often implies you don't work hard, but that's not the case. The key is having more control of your time and how you control your job. I allow people to work from home or on the road and give people trust and flexibility. With social media, it gets tougher to delineate black-and-white lines between personal life and work life. The one thing that has worked is not feeling like I have an obligation to always be accessible to everyone."
Balancing Work-Life Duties William Gibson CEO, IVY Creek Associates, a consulting group for investment management firms Westport, Conn. "I’m one of the weird people that when I was working in an office, I would get up at five in the morning and I’d get on the train and I’d be in the office at seven. I don’t find that that’s any different now, except I come downstairs and put up the coffee pot, and then I go upstairs and lock the door. With my son going to school in Westport, I’m able to attend his soccer games or go to his events at school. By being able to go to school or soccer matches, I’m running into a number of men and women who are now working at hedge funds or at smaller firms out here in Connecticut, so the networking is in some ways better."
Balancing Work-Life Duties Suzanne Oaks Public relations specialist, Temin and Company Tampa, Fla. "I've developed a greater appreciation of the preciousness of my time [since starting to work from home]. I feel like I've gotten so much better with deadlines. I try to file things early. I have the ability to focus when I'm sitting here in a room surrounded by books and I don't have the phone ringing. [But] now I find my evenings are not necessarily my own. When I should be reading, or asleep, or spending time with my husband at midnight, I find myself checking my e-mails. I'm glad I'm conscious of it."
Staying Entrepreneurial Christine Janssen Founder and president, denken Research and Consulting, a market research firm New York, New York "My target market is start-ups and entrepreneurs. They are cash-strapped to begin with, and now it's even tighter. In response, I am developing some package deals, highlighting the value of my services, and I now accept Visa or MasterCard to help entrepreneurs move ahead with their business plans. You have to be flexible with what's going on out there in the marketplace. You're going to have to cut back on some things, but you can't stop. Who wants to fold? Personally, I have so much invested in my new business. I am going to make it work, come hell or high water."
Staying Entrepreneurial Javier Ortiz Founder, Javier Ortiz Consulting El Paso, Tex. "I always tell my customers that a crisis is the best time in life to really sit down and understand what the hell is happening to everybody. When you're in a crisis, you are actually forced to make a decision. I had a client with a plastics factory who started his company without capital. When his suppliers cut his credit, he finally realized he had been misspending all these years. He shut down part of his plant. He minimized his expenses. He sold assets that he was not using to total capacity, he turned that into cash, and he's got that in the bank. In four, five months, he made changes that he should have made all these years."
Staying Entrepreneurial Steve shelby Founder and owner, FarVision Networks, a provider of computer security services Delray Beach, Fla. "I started my business last April in response to getting laid off from Motorola (MOT). It was the best thing that ever happened to me. You just have to decide, 'I'm gonna make this work.' If I can meet every single expense that I have and put the rest into the business, as long as I have enough to eat and pay my bills, I don't need to be making a large salary."
Time Management Myrna Mitchell Certified Financial Planner Rapid City, South Dakota I've developed A, B, and C days. On A days, I'm fully focused on just work. I put in a full day. On my B days, I permit myself some flexibility. I will check e-mails and check phone calls, but I don't do any client work. My C days, I do nothing. I don't turn on the computer, I don't check voicemail, I allow myself to fully meet my non-business passions. It's easy to turn on the computer every morning and see some e-mails you think just can't wait. But most of the time, these are not life-and-death e-mails.
Negotiating the Bureaucracy Laura Koehne Manager of product training, high-tech market research company Takoma Park, Md. "I have a habit of checking e-mail while I'm supposed to be doing other things. Typing away the other morning, I smelled the sour smell of burning oatmeal. As I rushed across the room to the pan, I thought, am I doing the things that matter? As I read messages, am I letting the important tasks burn away unattended? Now that episode is a metaphorical reminder for me, as I've programmed an alert on my computer to pop up once a day. It gently prompts me to check in with what is most important to do right now, saying: "Is the oatmeal burning?""
Generational Tensions Christina Scott Internet marketing specialist, Eporia Seattle "I'm 32 and there are people here who've just gotten out of college. They are astounded that my boss calls me on Saturday and asks me to do things. I get the jaw dropping. They keep their private life completely separate from work. They are not results-driven. We're such a small company that you can't hide behind the hours that you work. They just get into the job and don't understand that working and producing are not the same thing."
Toxic Bosses Régine Lambrech Former university administratorNew Fairfield, Conn. "Whenever my boss used to rant or rave, I immediately allowed myself to picture her standing there completely nude, and no matter what she said to me, it just bounced off because of the mental image I had of her. I've shared that technique with lots of people because I feel it is so important to be proactive. I always remember Eleanor Roosevelt saying, 'No one can make you feel inferior unless you let them.'"