FLYING HIGH

30,000 up and deciding what to do with your time? On holiday then it’s a no brainer… sip champagne and watch movies! But if you are travelling for business it’s another story.

While you may think people work on a plane, the reality is just 10% of people do. Topping the list is reading for pleasure (32%), reading business publications is next and then watching movies.

But here are three good reasons to get some things done –

1. You are physically tied down to your seat and it’s usually too uncomfortable to sleep
2. No phone calls or co-workers interrupting you
3. The movies available are usually very average (airline dependent)

And here are some ideas on what to do –

Sort
Sort out and file all the information floating around in random locations on your laptop

Cleanse
Clean out your email… Enough said!

Learn
Download Podcasts on topics you have been meaning to catch up on for ages, but never seem to get the time to do so

Read
Catch up on the news – set up your RSS feeds and clip the pages to read on the plane. Or read that book you have been meaning to for ages – old school hard copy style, or on your kindle.

And don’t feel guilty for keeping to yourself on flight, only 2% of people actually engage other passengers in conversations.

*Survey by GO Airport Express

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

STATUS SYMBOLS

Gone are the days of the 1950’s when the most prized status symbol was a toaster and foam sofa, and in the 1960’s a washing machine. Today it’s all about houses around the world, haute couture clothes, cars, art, wine, private jets, yachts and even a trophy wife.

But not in Britain where Hot Tubs are the new status symbol there!

In a survey released today hot tubs are thought of as the greatest status symbol followed by a walk-in wardrobe, US style Sub Zero fridge and music speakers in every room. It looks like everyone will be popping the champagne and getting into their swim suit post Olympics.

Other newer items that have hit status symbol prestige are –

Specialty bikes (as in the peddling type). Retailers of custom bikes command only 14 percent of the market, but 44 percent of the dollars and it’s nothing for someone to spend $30,000 on one that isn’t even made to race.

If cycling isn’t your thing, how about an elite fragrance? A fragrance that is designed from your DNA Genetic code and customized individually.

If you are all about animals a Chinese buyer recently paid $200,000 for a racing pigeon, while another paid $1.5 million for an 11-month old red Tibetan mastiff dog named Big Splash (the world’s most expensive dog)

But if you are old school and still like splurging on a car, in Singapore you can now park your pride and joy in your living room at this new apartment block (apartments go for between $7.5mill and $24mill)

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/luxury-car-in-condo-apartment-at-scotts-road.html

HARD CORE EXPATS

In the current economic climate more and more people are looking for opportunities to work overseas. Unfortunately gone are the days of huge “expat benefits” as most overseas postings are now proving to be desirable due to lower tax rates, education and safety.

But don’t despair, if you are really up for a challenge then there are still a few places that are “hardship postings”. Hardship posts are based on factors such as pollution, disease, political violence, climate, health care and availability of goods and service, and you can usually demand anywhere from a 10% to 40% premium on your base salary, plus other living allowances.

What countries top this list? India and China both have five cities each in the top twenty hardship posts, but the winner is Lagos, Nigeria. (FYI – the list doesn’t include cities at war)

No. 1 Lagos, Nigeria
Overall Grade: Very High Risk Location
Problems: Infrastructure, Crime, Pollution, Disease & Sanitation, Medical Facilities, Availability of Goods and Services, Political Violence & Repression, Culture & Recreation

No. 2 Jakarta, Indonesia
Overall Grade: Very High Risk Location
Problems: Pollution, Disease & Sanitation, Medical Facilities, Political Violence & Repression, Political & Social Environment, Crime

No. 3 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Overall Grade: Very High Risk Location
Problems: Political Violence & Repression, Political & Social Environment, Culture & Recreation Facilities, Housing, Climate, Disease & Sanitation, Education Facilities

No. 4 Almaty, Kazakhstan
Overall Grade: Very High Risk Location
Problems: Pollution, Disease & Sanitation, Medical Facilities, Physical Remoteness, Housing, Climate, Education Facilities, Infrastructure, Communications, Culture & Recreation

No. 5 Mumbai, India
Overall Grade: High Risk Location
Problems: Pollution, Disease & Sanitation, Infrastructure, Political Violence & Repression, Climate, Medical Facilities

So off to HR you go to negotiate your new job!

*Based on figures from ORC Worldwide

‘TIL DEATH DO US STYLE

Where has our sense of style and poise gone people? The days of making an effort to look nice to go out for dinner or to a friend’s party. We have all become lazy and default to jeans and t-shirts… the highlight may be taking off your flip flops and putting on a pair of shoes if you are a guy, and high heels if you are a girl.

The current new group of celebs coming through are not helping – after all Justin Beiber is always seen wearing tracksuits that look like P Diddy’s hand me downs, and Kristen Stewart wears converse high tops to red carpet affairs.

So what are the golden rules of being suitably dressed for a function?

1. At no point in your lifetime is it ok to wear jeans to a wedding
2. Guys – never wear a singlet unless you are 70 and it is under a shirt or you are on a sporting field
3. Black Tie means formal attire. Men wear tuxedos, women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates.
4. Formal means the same as black tie, but men sometimes wear a long tie instead.
5. Cocktail is an elegant dress for a woman (LBD) and a dark suit for a man. Informal is actually the same as cocktail (so don’t assume it means casual).
6. Business casual think country club
7. Casual – the only time jeans are acceptable.
8. You can’t buy taste, so stick to simple.

And if in doubt, dress up, not down.

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.”