Dress code – does your company have one?

This recent blog post from 4Imprint about dress codes was interesting.  In general, attire is much more casual than it used to be.  Of course that varies dramatically by region, by industry and other factors.  We do have a dress code in our employee handbook and we do talk to new hires, especially recent college grads, about what is appropriate to wear to the office, what is appropriate to wear to events where they are representing us or our clients, and what to wear in casual work situations.  College really doesn’t teach that!  The blog post recommends an employee fashion show, illustrating clothing dos and don’ts.  We gathered photos from various places for our own do or don’t wear illustrations. Being specific, with photos or a fashion show, helps ensure everyone has a common understanding of what is appropriate for your company and what you mean when you say terms like “business casual”.

Two of the sentences of our dress policy often referred to are: “A good rule of thumb is that if you are not sure if something is acceptable, choose something else or inquire first. Also, it is generally better to be overdressed than underdressed.”  Both are good points to keep top of mind.

We are a professional consulting team which is reflected in the work we do and also in how we present ourselves. In office or off site client meetings call for professional dress while Fridays are often more casual. It is rather nice to see a suit and tie once in awhile! Does your company have a dress code?

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Late Afternoon Energy Boosts

 

 

Stress-Free-ProductivityIt’s late afternoon, you’re dragging, what do you do to energize for the rest of the day?  Lots of strategies here from caffeine, which means the newly opened coffee shop around the corner has seen several visits from us already, to taking a brisk walk.  Those walks might be walking meetings or just a good chance for a change of scenery and a change of pace.  This article from Fast Company has many great ideas that might work for you. Research shows late afternoon might be the best time for team meetings or brainstorming.  It also might be the best time for your social media postings, while others take a break with their social media they just might see your posts!

Each of us needs to determine how we can best optimize our days.  Plan ahead, do tasks at the ‘right time’, and sometimes take a break to refresh can all help us keep our productivity high all day long.

2 clients, 2 projects, 3 days, over 300 phone calls!

phone photoWe had two projects over lap this week.  One client needed us to follow up on survey results and another asked us to invite customers to participate in an important event.  Both projects were at the stage where it was time to leave email behind and make phone calls. Between the two projects, two team members have made over 300 phone calls quickly, all in just a few days.  One person even came in at 5:30 AM so he could connect with the East coast early in their business day. 

We were able to exceed goal for both projects.  We did leave a lot of voicemails but had great conversations with everyone who answered their phone.  A conversation is a great chance to meet your objective but also check in with advocates, see what other activities they might be interested in, see if anything has changed for them or their company, and answer questions. A lot of talking, but well worth the time!

Our Interns, and Summer, Are Almost Gone!

Hard to believe it but school is about to begin for our interns, and school starting is often seen as the sybolic end of summer.  It’s been great having them with us.  Two are employees of one of our clients, which we have hosted in our office, and one we claim as our very own.  So many benefits, for both them and us. 

They have learned much of the ins and outs of customer advocacy but that’s only the beginning.  With very little experience in an office beforehand they also learned communication skills, how to dress, business etiquette for meetings, and that lunch with your friends might allow for a different set of manners than when in a work setting.  They all go to great colleges but there is a lot about day to day behavior in the workplace that they have no way to learn until they are in the workplace! 

We benefit as well.  Nothing like having your documentation tested by someone with fresh eyes and that has never used any of the referenced applications!  We’ve been able to accomplish much more with their help. While we might have to do some teaching or reviewing they have been able to contribute from day one, allowing us to get to ‘wish list’ projects.  Having interns also provides a growth opportunity for Referential staff. Mentoring others is valuable experience and we did match each intern to staff for the bulk of their work. 

Being honest, we’re looking for a great pool of talent to help us not only in the summer but throughout the school year and just possibly to join Referential, or one of our clients, once they graduate.  We’ve had interns for years and the set we have now is great, we’ve been very happy to work with them.  And we must thank them for introducing us to a wonderful fried chicken restaurant, another benefit!

Take Your Vacation – All Of It!

Last year fully 54% of American workers did not use all their vacation according to this post from Business 2 Community written by Kristen Carlson.  Taking time away to refresh and recharge is valuable but do you know just how valuable? This article from Inc by Lolly Daskal has some interesting statistics.

When we do go on vacation 3 out of 5 of us do some work, some more than others! If you don’t take your vacation you’re likely to have higher stress levels and negatively impact both your cardiovascular health and even your year end performance rating!

At Referential we believe taking vacation is important.  We just did a quick mid-year reminder to everyone of how much vacation they have already used this year and how much they still have available. We encourage early planning for time off at the holidays, which is really important for us as our clients still need our services. We are open and stagger time out of the office so as to continue to provide coverage.  We discourage carry over, we’d rather people take their full vacation and get the associated benefits each year.  So far team members have had staycations, attended music festivals, visited the Caymans, the Dominican Republic, Spain, France, and Seattle, to name just a few places, with more exciting locations in plan.

Be among those that take all of their vacation time each year!  You’ll feel better and perform better as well.

Facebook: 500 New Users Every 60 Seconds

Whether personally or professionally, it’s likely you use Facebook.  Just last month Facebook hit the milestone of 2 billion, yes billion, users.  Nearly 25% of the world’s population uses Facebook.  These stats and others are in a recent post from Business2Community by Mandy Edwards, 20 Facebook Statistics for 2017, here.  

Did you know Shakira has the most Facebook fans of any musician? Or that 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound?

From a business perspective 40% of Facebook users have never liked a business page, yet Facebook is the social platform marketers say is most important.  If you have decided Facebook is a good channel for your business, how do you make your business page stand out? Are you reaching your social, and more specifically, your Facebook goals?  Let us know.

Good Things Come in Threes – Three Interns!

Good things do come in threes and in our case it means three interns this summer.  We have an intern working on a variety of Referential projects. The other two interns are with us courtesy of one of our clients that wanted increased resources for their projects this summer.  Each Monday for the last 3 weeks one has started.  They are students at St Mary’s, UC Berkeley, and Cal State East Bay, with a variety of majors.  We’ve paired them with “buddies” to help train and mentor them.  It’s great to add to the pool of advocacy experts. 

And in case you are wondering about the phrase ‘good things come in threes’, read this blog post from Historically Speaking.  The examples range from the three little pigs, genies always granting three wishes, to a saying from Confucius.   

And from StackExchange:  Good Things Come In Threes – has a definite positive connotation. From fairytales to Hollywood blockbusters, “the rule of three” (Latin-“omne trium perfectum”) principle suggests things that come in threes are inherently more humorous, satisfying and effective than any other number of things. 

We certainly believe that good things do come in threes!