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Friday, March 28, 2008

Gifting In The Office

Gifting in the office can be difficult. You never want to spend too little or too much, but how do you know what just right is? We turned to an expert for advice. Lisa Friedman is a gifting expert. Her website not only tells you what to give, but helps you remember when to give it.

Lisa, what are the must give occasions in the office?
There are two occasions that are ABSOLUTELY necessary to give gifts in the workplace: Administrative Professional Day (4/22/09) and National Boss Day (10/16/09). Birthdays and holidays are not necessary to give gifts but should still be acknowledged whether it is with a group lunch, a secret Santa, or even a birthday cake for everyone to share.

It’s always difficult to buy for your boss. They know how much you make, so you don’t want to over buy and seem like you don’t manage your money properly and/or are trying to score points. On the other hand if you spend too little you may seem like a cheap skate. What occasions must you buy for a boss? How much should you spend? Do you have any no fail gift ideas?
While you don’t want to seem like you are trying to score more points with your boss, you also don’t want your boss to think that you do not appreciate this opportunity as well as his/her mentorship. I suggest either giving your boss something that he/she can use at the office from a personalized notepad to a stress relief kit. If you want to give something more expensive, ask the other employees to chip in on either a lunch for your boss, a favorite bottle of wine, to even a personalized leather portfolio case.

At some offices it seems like someone is always collecting for a group present. Am I obligated to participate? Can I purchase my own gift?
While you may want to give your own gift, I suggest that you go in on the group gift so that you don’t offend everyone or give them the wrong idea. If you really want to give your own gift, perhaps just give a card and a small token such as a piece of candy or chocolate.

What are some great inexpensive ideas for co-worker gifts?
Gifts for co-workers can range from hilarious and pointless gifts to very functional. Below are my top four favorite co-worker gift ideas:
1. Notepad Mouse Pad from See Jane Work.
2. I’m not a Plastic Cup
3. Bob’s Your Uncle File Folders from See Jane Work
4. Personalized Moleskin Notepad

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

“Stress Busters” – My Top Tips for Handling It All

By Nina Restieri
President, momAgenda

As a mother of four, founder of my own company, loving wife, loyal friend and community activist, I understand the constant struggle of balancing it all. That’s what drove me to start momAgenda, a range of stylish organizational tools meant to help busy women keep all of the pieces of their personal puzzle – family, career, home and social life – together. But we all know that even the most trusted tools sometimes fail you, which is why I have developed the following three rules to live by:

Keep It Consistent
I find that everyone is happier in my house when there is an established routine. When the kids are young and you don’t have the structure of a full day of school, it is a good idea to create structure in the home. Regardless of your own schedule, you as a mother will benefit from this as well. Set up a schedule that incorporates preschool, naps, meals, baths, play groups, and activities. Make sure to leave time in the schedule for play!

Seek Support
Nobody can do it all alone. Make sure you rely on your partner for emotional support as well as assistance with household duties and parenting responsibilities. If your children are old enough, make them an active member of your house as well. Try delegating chores, for example, your seven year old can clear the table at the end of meals, your six year old can set the table with you, and your teenager can help with dishes or yard work. Write it all out for them so they won’t be confused – plus it provides satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment when they check off a chore.

Take Time for Yourself Each Day
This one can be hard. We put so much energy into our kids and don’t think to take care of ourselves. I remember once trying to take time to meditate when my kids were young; I snuck up to my room while our babysitter fed the kids dinner. My middle son promptly came upstairs to my locked bedroom door and started knocking loudly. When I didn’t answer he started repeatedly hurling his body against the door! I learned my lesson; now I schedule my breaks for when the kids are at school. You can also try it when they are napping, out on a play date, or when you have help. Here are some ideas for your break time: take a bath, read a juicy magazine, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, or call a friend and catch up. Do what works for you!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Using Color to Organize Your Office Files

by Diana Peck
President, Jamie Raquel, Inc.

When you stop to think about the significance of color in our everyday lives, it’s fascinating. As infants, our mothers wrapped us in pink, baby blue and yellow. As children, we played games such as “Red light, Green light” and understood their meanings of Stop! and Go! Today, we appreciate the beautiful colors that appear with the changing seasons, or the colors that represent our favorite holidays. We wear color to demonstrate our loyalty to a team or company, and wear color to highlight our styles and personalities.

It’s refreshing to see the changing workplace, as color makes its way into the offices of women and men everywhere, as more and more professionals make use of color for both office supplies and business accessories.
Three years ago, I began using color to organize every file and paper in my office. I’ll share a simple way to organize a home office, as the subject matter is universal.

First, treat all your paper documents as you’d treat files on your computer. They are easily located and retrieved when they are grouped in small file folders, as part of a larger folder group.

For example:

  1. I use Green to signify a folder group of every document related to money. In the “green section” of my file cabinet, you’ll find green file folders individually labeled as part of a larger group, such as “FINANCES – Bank Statements”, “FINANCES – Income Check Stubs”, “FINANCES – Investment Accounts”, “BILLS – Mortgage Statements”, “BILLS – Utilities”, “BILLS – Credit Cards”, etc.

  2. I use Blue to signify important records. In the “blue section” of my file cabinet, you’ll find blue folders labeled “INSURANCE – Declarations Auto/Boat”, “INSURANCE -Declaration Home”, “INSURANCE – Pending Medical Claims”, “RECORDS – Social Security Cards”, “RECORDS – Birth Certificates”, “RECORDS – Immunization Cards”, etc.

  3. I use Yellow to signify anything related to family issues. In the “yellow section” of my file cabinet, you’ll find yellow folders labeled “SCHOOL – Report Cards”, “SCHOOL – Teacher Orientation”, “BOYS – Sports Schedule/Contacts”, “BOYS – Volunteer Schedule”, “FAMILY – Vacation Docs”, “MOM – Weight Loss Group”, “MOM – PTA Handouts” “DAD – Coaches Docs”, “DAD – Baseball Boosters”, etc.

I hope this small example of using color to stay organized assists you in simplifying your office both at work and at home. Eliminate stress when your child informs you five minutes before his baseball team meeting, that his coach needs a copy of his birth certificate, or when your boss makes an immediate request for a copy of last month’s profit and loss statement. Now, every important document will be easily located and at your fingertips in seconds.