BEAM ME UP!

Are you a telecommuter, teleworker, iWorker, eWorker, web worker, virtual worker, portable professional? Or more simply, do you work remotely?

The constant improvement in technology is providing more and more opportunities for people to telecommute in their jobs. No longer do the old excuses carry any weight when it comes to connectivity and access to information as we have email, phone, online chats, web cams, teleconference, smart phones, and the list continues to grow.

According to a Reuters poll, approximately one in five workers around the globe, particularly employees in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, telecommute frequently and nearly 10 percent work from home every day. Unfortunately, the figures for the USA and Europe are much lower.

65 percent of people interviewed think telecommuters are more productive because greater flexibility allowed them to have more control over their work life. Organizations are encouraging their employees to work remotely in a bid to increase productivity, cut costs and improve employees’ motivation by giving them a better work life balance. It also helps keep talented women and mothers in the workforce.

The savings add up too. Telecommuting can save you between $4,000 and $21,000 and 15 to 25 work days a year in travel costs and time.

80% of telecommuters report a better quality of life. Employees who work remotely from home have 25% less stress, they’re up to 20% more productive, and are much more willing to put in extra time on work.

Some of the best places to telecommute are –

1.India
2.Indonesia
3.Mexico
4.Argentina
5.South Africa
6.Turkey

Of course while it all sounds great, for a manager there is a fear of loss of control, and for employees the thought of not seen and forgotten for promotion opportunities. The key is having a good in-person relationship before a telecommuting relationship (a bit like dating before you get engaged!).

And remember… “work is something that you do, not that something that you travel to!”

*graphic by Splashtop

LIE YOUR WAY TO THE TOP

The CEO of Yahoo! has done it, as has the Department of Homeland Security’s Deputy Chief Information Officer, the Dean of Admissions at MIT and a Pulitzer Prize winner for Journalism. They may have achieved great things, but these were all short-lived as their downfall was lying on their CV’s.

As the job market get tougher, more people are tempted to “be creative”. After all, for every job 118 CV’s are received on average and only 35% meet the basic requirements and experience for the job. So where are people bending the truth –

1) Salary
2) Job titles
3) Duties and responsibilities
4) Managing a team
5) Dates of employment
6) Educational qualifications
7) Reasons for leaving

If you are a new to the workforce chances are you will bend the truth on education – giving a higher grade than achieved (47%); claiming to complete a course when only partially finished (29%); offering a different course subject to suit the job requirements (13%); and admitting to having a degree when they don’t (11%).

But if you really want to get that job, you had better change your name to Smith. It turns out having an easy-to-pronounce name gives you a higher chance of getting a job, as people with simpler surnames are perceived to be more “likable.”

START DATING YOUNGER MEN!

Being part of a significant birthday celebration today, made me think just how much longer is it until we can sit on the beach or relax in the mountains without a care in the world.

With all the financial uncertainty in the world, it is no surprise that retirement age is constantly rising. Even women don’t escape this trend – so no long lunches post tennis in the near future it seems.

Germany was the first country to introduce publicly sanctioned retirement in 1889 for workers over 70. It was meant to care for those in old age, and also to undermine a much more radical socialist movement that was brewing in the country. That initiative paved the way for many later social insurance programs, including Social Security in the U.S.

In the UK the average age at which people retire has risen from 63.8 years to 64.6 years for men and from 61.2 years to 62.3 years for women over the past 6 years.

A Gallop survey in the US has the average age of retirement at 67, up from 66 in 2011. A vast difference to the average in 1995 when people retired at 60. Only 6% of people think they will be able to retire before they are 55.

The US and Denmark have the largest percentage of people in the workforce aged 65 and over (25% and 12% respectively)

On opposite end of the scales are Mexicans retiring on average at 73 and the French much earlier at 58.7 years old.

If you retire in the Netherlands chances are you are going to end up living in a retirement home. A whopping 24% of adults over 65 in the Netherlands live in retirement homes, compared to just 6.6% in Australia, 2.3% in Canada, and 2.1% in the U.S.

And if you are a retired single female even worse news… for every 100 women in the world who are over 85, there are only 39 men. Sounds like a good time to start dating a younger man!!!

TEACHERS PET

Thinking about going back to do some more study? A huge number of people have taken advantage of being “in between jobs” to do so – but maybe not as many as you think as most MBA programs reported a decrease in applications in 2011.

People still aren’t straying too far away from existing jobs though as MBA programs that have shown the greatest increase are – finance 83%, management 69% and just over 50% for accounting programs.

However where the students are coming from is changing – with a 46% increase in graduate programs from international applications (China and India topping the list of foreign applicants)

So where to study? This may be a good wish list –

MSc Econometrics and Mathematical Economics
London School of Economics
Acceptance rate: Less than 5%
Approx. Tuition: $30,500 a year.
Alumni: The school has 13 Nobel Prize winners among its former alumni and staff, and over 30 former or current heads of state or government.

Bachelor of Technology
Indian Institute of Technology
Acceptance rate: Less than 2% (approximately 5,500 admissions out of 300,000 applicants).
Approx. Tuition: $1,100 a year (including miscellaneous administrative expenses).
Alumni – R. Narayana Murthy (cofounder and chairman of Infosys); Rajat Gupta (former managing director of McKinsey & Company); Vinod Khosla (cofounder of Sun Microsystems).

MBA
Harvard Business School
Acceptance rate: 12%
Approx. Tuition: $39,600 per year plus many extra fees.
Alumni: Michael Bloomberg, George W. Bush

M.D.
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Acceptance rate: 4%.
Tuition: $34,000.
Alumni: Peter Agre (winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Richard Axel (winner of Nobel Prize in Medicine), Herbert Spencer Gasser (winner of Nobel Prize in Physiology), Haldan Keffer Hartline (winner of Nobel Prize in Medicine).

POWERPOINT OR A PENCIL IN YOUR EYE?

Zzzzzzzzz another boring powerpoint presentation. No doubt we would all rather stab ourselves in the eye with a pencil than have to suffer this fate again. Unfortunately the reality is we all suffer from having to look at them, and also present them.

Surely there must be a better way… or at least some help and inspiration to better refine them and make it more interesting for all parties concerned.

Here are a few top tips to think about when you are next pulling together your slides.

Subject
What are you going to address and does the audience care about it?

What is your role
Leader, Expert, Cheerleader?

Audience
Are they there because they want to be, or have to be and what will they learn?

Format of presentation
What story are you telling?
To make it more interesting please use multimedia, illustrations, photos etc, not just text, graphs or tables.
Stick to one idea per slide for biggest impact

Takeaway
Is it clear and concise, and are there any next steps?

And remember like anything with good taste…. Less is more!

Here are some great examples for inspiration – http://www.slideshare.net/mrcoryjim/smoke-the-convenient-truth-5602255

STUCK IN A JAM

I’m lucky, my commute to the office is easy. Either a 10 minute drive, or I have the option of catching the train which would cost me $1 and get me there in about the same amount of time (hey I am lazy, I choose driving!)

But some people don’t have that luxury and getting to work can be a right royal pain in the….

It seems it’s particularly so in New Delhi and Beijing where 95% of commuters say that roadway traffic on their commute has negatively affected their health.

The Commuter Pain Survey (by IBM) is based on 10 factors including commuting time, time stuck in traffic, and how traffic affects work – and the following countries come out the worse.
1. Mexico City
2. Shenzhen
3. Beijing
4. Nairobi
5. Johannesburg
6. Bangalore
7. New Delhi
8. Moscow

But if you live in Alaska, that won’t be a problem as more people walk to work there than any other U.S. state. And for the other states in the US, you can work out your commute time on the following site -http://www.trulia.com/local#commute

What about public transport I hear you say?

The cheapest public transport is –

Caracas, Venezuela (Metro, Bus=$0.12 – $0.28)
Cairo, Egypt (Metro=$0.17)
Delhi, India (Metro=$0.18 – $0.66)
La Paz, Bolivia (Bus=$0.19 – $0.50)

And the most expensive commute on public transport -

London, England (tube $6.43)
Oslo, Norway (tram, bus, metro, ferry $4.34)
Copenhagen, Denmark (metro, bus $4.20)
Zurich, Switzerland (bus, tram, train $4.08)

Based on an ‘average’ commute – driving your car to work can cost you up to 5 times more a week compared to taking public transport. But, it will also save you on average 6 hours a week in travel time… proving that time really is money!

BINGO!

Always worthy of a giggle in the office is “business speak”.

And I am not talking about the ability to speak in multiple languages in a meeting, rather the over-used terms that everyone has grown to hate (and can make you sound like you are trying way too hard and actually have no idea of what you are talking about).

Over the years I am sure many of you have played “bingo” with certain words in meetings. And it seems these words aren’t going away, just evolving into different, more elaborate ones. Although always great to see that some of the oldies are still in favour!

Forbes is even running a poll to vote on the most ridiculous ones. http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/annoying-business-jargons-12.html

Top tip – What not to say.
So before you get everyone on the same page to drink from the fire hose and give 110%, you may want to drill down and leverage some past learnings while thinking outside of the box. After all we have a hard stop so it will be a challenge to get our ducks in a row by then and take it to the next level.
Phew!

If you know what’s good for your career you won’t use too many of these phrases – instead deliver your message in a clear and concise way, saying exactly what you mean, in the right tone and manner.

And after all… “it is what it is” (no sh*t!!!)