October 26, 2018

The Roundup: Best conference swag, getting along with co-workers, and time off for voting

In this week's Roundup, examples of great conference swag, and tips for what to do when you don't like your co-workers. Plus, what employers are doing to boost voter turnout.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Managing Editor, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

Conference swag winners

Who doesn’t love free stuff? And at conferences and trade shows, there’s a plethora of branded items at the ready for your eager fingertips. So, here’s a pretty straightforward question from Quartz this week: What makes good conference swag?

The publication asked some of the frequent conference-goers on its staff. The key feedback in the admittedly non-scientific survey? “A good freebie is useful, reusable, and – crucially – high-quality.” And apparently, bad swag is better than no swag.

Examples of the good stuff include notebooks, tech items like battery packs and headphones, a good bag, and good quality, comfortable t-shirts.

Don’t like your co-workers? Here’s how to deal

CNN offers some advice on what to do if you like your job, but don’t like your co-workers. The article notes that success in part depends on your relationship with co-workers, so even if you’re not bosom buddies with them, it makes sense to at least have a friendly relationship with them.

If you’re not getting along with co-workers, here are CNN’s suggestions from workplace experts Lynn Taylor and Amy Cooper Hakim:

  • Have a private discussion - by going out to lunch, for example – and ask specific questions like “What can I do to help our working relationship?” Taylor suggests starting by focusing on your own shortcomings with this line of questioning. Then, when sharing what bothers you about your co-worker, start and end with a compliment to cushion the constructive criticism.
  • Set boundaries to create space without being offensive. For example, in dealing with a micro-manager, schedule set times for status updates, or create a document that they can access regularly.
  • Sometimes, you have to limit direct and/or ongoing interaction with the person you don’t get along with. Workplace expert Cooper Hakim suggests figuring out alternatives, such as flexible schedules or working remotely.

Employers taking more active role in driving voter turnout

More companies are taking responsibility for boosting voter turnout by giving employees time off to vote, Bloomberg reports.

“A record 44% of U.S. firms will give workers paid time off to vote on Nov. 6, up from 37% in 2016, according to reports from SHRM,” the article states.

Bloomberg notes that the U.S. lags behind other nations in election turnout – and in midterm elections, like this year, turnout rates are historically lower than for presidential elections.

“Business leaders say they can help, and hundreds have come together this election cycle to do so, often as part of broader corporate social responsibility strategies. ‘This is a more neutral way for them to engage, in that this is non-partisan,’ said Marick Masters, Wayne State University professor of business who researches business and labor political action.”

The Washington Post reports on specific initiatives that companies have launched to drive their workers to the polls. These include:

  • offering two hours of paid time off to vote on Election Day if workers request it in advance.
  • a company-wide voter registration initiative, providing details about early voting, absentee ballots, and voting locations.
  • assigning “voting captains” in each office, and holding registration drives to educate workers.
  • supporting and promoting campaigns and projects such as “Time to Vote” and ElectionDay.org.
  • implementing a “no meetings” day to reduce barriers to voting.

The Washington Post adds that companies are increasingly looking more closely at their policies to make it easier for their workers to vote.

“In a year when interest in the midterm elections has reached a fever pitch, nonprofits that are focused on voter turnout say they’re seeing a noticeable uptick in the enthusiasm and creative approaches that many employers are using this year to get more workers to the polls — whether by closing stores or offices, making paid time off or flexible work arrangements available, or by trying to remove obstacles to voting, such as securing transportation for workers or discouraging meetings for the day.

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