Tag

office

Browsing

Why I’m working for myself during my “year off” travelling

The phone call that determined my present lifestyle happened nearly two years ago in the midst of a bout of post-travel blues and a too-short adventure in Colombia. I had just come back from two weeks in Medellin and returning to the grind brought on a feeling not dissimilar to the familiar nag one gets upon putting off a major project. I knew I wanted to travel more extensively, but didn’t know when. When I expressed this to my nomad of an older brother, he gave it to me straight: “Before you look for your next job, just take a year or six months off.”

I have just taken that plunge.

If each job is a stepping stone, my latest move is the first block on a detour that’s taking me South, back to The City of Eternal Spring to travel and freelance from a new place. I‘ve left my job and rid my apartment of the possessions that made it more than just a configuration of walls and halls. My plan: say adios to Toronto and travel South America for a year – tops. This is not, however, a stunt to escape my line of work. I’m part of the group of people who love their work. I’m ambitious. I always was. Since journalism is well-equipped to be transient, I’m taking my assignments – and new ones – with me to Colombia.

During this chapter I’m my own boss, and that is equal parts thrilling as it is uncomfortable. This is week number one of a lifestyle I’ve decided to sample for 12 months. I’m leaving my comfort zone approximately 4,000 kilometres away because I’m curious to know what happens when you hit pause and realize the person you most have to answer to is yourself. Contrary to my routine up until this point, I’m the one who sets my pace and the expectations. I’m the one responsible for the re-evaluations that come with that too. I’m the one who creates the assignment, even if it’s daunting.

This is a decision that comes during an era where articles geared towards career-minded women like me reflect the cultural climate, using words like ”entrepreneur” and “side hustle,” but also terms like “burnout” and “imposter syndrome.” I’m still early in my career and yet I relate to all four of those terms. The first two empower and motivate. As for the latter two… not so much, and I’m not willing to be confined by them.

I’m part of the large group of women who love their work, but I’m also part of the large group of women who spread themselves too thin, self criticize, and go about their work giving more without receiving more, and then judging the final product too harshly. Call me a millennial, but I think that cycle begs for a revamp – and I don’t feel bad for saying that. There is so much I’m appreciative of (my physical being is healthy and intact, I finally have a degree and years of hard work to my name, I’m financially stable, I have a solid support network) that I now want to build upon that, pen stories that have an impact, and not let it go to waste.

In overhauling the day-to-day routine, you decide what you toss out and you move forward with what can make you better. Sometimes, that’s a tough call to make and yes, it’s often daunting, but rarely has succumbing to intimidation led to the best path.

On dark, quiet nights, I often sat alone at my desk after a long work day in commitment to the side hustles that padded the bank account and afforded me the chance to do this. My current exercise: making sure I don’t tear down what I built for myself in confidence.

5 winter office staples for 2017

A change in seasons can already be difficult. It can cause a lot of stress and there are so many things to consider. Do you have your winter tires? Have you regulated the temperature in your house? What on earth do I wear to work now? It seems like only yesterday people were wearing skirts and light blouses to the office. With the weather getting cooler and cooler, it’s sadly almost time to trade them is for sweaters and long-johns.

But, long-johns aren’t exactly appropriate for that corporate meeting you have. Women’s Post suggests these five fashion staples that are winter-ready and office-ready.

Suede Blazer

The right blazer can do wonders to any outfit, even a simple white t-shirt and jeans. Try adding something like a suede blazer to your wardrobe. I am also not suggesting spending $3000 on an authentic suede jacket, but you can find a faux look thats just as fashionable for under $100.

Metallic Faux Suede Jacket- Zara CAD 99.90

Black Ankle Boots

Don’t we love our boots in the winter? Tall ones, short ones, black one, and even red ones. The possibilities are endless. But to keep that chic office look without having to freeze your toes, the black ankle boot is a classic staple. These boots can be neatly placed under black trousers or worn with stockings and a skirt.

Almond Toe Ankle Boot- Le Chateau CAD 99.95

Camel Coat

Having a chic coat can often do wonders in pulling an outfit together. Brighter coats, rather than the usual black or grey, will make you stand out. Don’t be afraid of a little colour.

 

 

Babaton Spencer Coat- ‘Constant Camel’- Aritzia       CAD 298

 

Jewelled Accessories

Your style in the office doesn’t have to necessarily change in the winter— try adding some jewelled accessories. Your office look does not have to be boring and definitely nothing too bold. A statement necklace added to a simple top can complete your outfit. Try a chunky necklace with a knit sweater.

Blue Gem Statement Necklace- Jane Norman         £ 18.00

Oversized Cardigan

A really good cardigan should definitely be an office staple when it gets chilly. You can be cozy and still put together. Try wearing a large cardigan with a wrap belt to cinch the waist.

Draped Neck Cardigan With Belt- Zara CAD 25.90

What’s your office style in the winter ? Leave a comment below !

 

A touch of pink: women-only co-working spaces expanding in Toronto

If you are looking for a chic and modern co-working space, you are in luck. Toronto has added another women’s-only co-working space in the heart of the city. This multi-use space offers female entrepreneurs a place to connect, network, communicate, and help each other build up their brand. This concept is used in other cities like New York, where the offices almost become a retreat for women with the addition of several amenities. The space is supposed to represent the total opposite of a ‘frat-boy’ dominated office space with a fridge full of beer and beer pong.

The hope is that a feminine environment will help women feel comfortable, motivated, and productive. This idea has developed over the last two years, starting with little pop-up spaces at conferences and conventions that were inviting women. Shelley Zells is the founder of The Girls Lounge, a global pop-up space that offers a professional working environment with a chic ambience. The lounges have several pop-up locations in different countries each month.

The Wing in New York City is another popular co-working space that is exclusive to women. A recent study from Indiana University shows that women feel less pressured in a women’s-only environment. The study also concluded that women suffer from higher levels of cortisol in male dominated workspaces and are more likely to socially isolate themselves. The Wing does require membership, which starts at $215/ month. The membership for these places vary and can cost between $100-$700 monthly, although some places offer hourly or day passes.

The Wing New York

These spaces have become a warm and welcoming space for like-minded women to interact and work on their skills while networking. Places like The Wing are popular because of its design layout, which is very chic and clean, with just the perfect touch of millennial pink. There is a special lactation room for mothers and a beauty bar that offers makeup or fresh blowouts.

“The Parlor” The Wing NYC

Some co-working spaces are described as “boutique spaces” and offer various amenities ranging from beauty to wellness. Toronto joins the list of other big US cities/states that have female friendly co-working boutique spaces, including New York, St Louis, Phoenix, Southern California, and Washington D.C.

The most recent Toronto space opened on Sept 18 and is called Make Lemonade on Adelaide St. West. Make Lemonade is all about offering a beautiful office space to help women feel more productive than they would if they were just living out of a coffee shop. The belief behind Make Lemonade is that you can make any situation sweet no matter how sour. The concept of women-only also comes from the saying “empowered women empower women.” by artist and educator, Jenna Kutcher. The aim is to encourage women to get the job done, but to also be empowered along the way with cute and artsy motivational messages that are playful and simply pretty.

Make Lemonade- Toronto

The aesthetic of Make Lemonade is pleasing with tones of pink and yellow, and they offer $25 drop-in passes or full membership rates where you can even get your own office for $500/month, which includes 24/7 access with your own personal key. Women-only co-working spaces are slowly growing in Toronto and Make Lemonade joins other places like Shecosystem on Bloor Street West that offers wellness packages in addition to co-working.

 

What are your thoughts on women-only co-working spaces?

 

5 ways to manage and reduce stress

When I was younger, I would hear news reports that listed the leading cause of death in the world — the number one cause often being stress. I never understood the self-inflicting harm associated with stress and adulthood. When people are younger, they tend to enjoy life, to live freely with caution to the wind. As you get older,  you transition and are shaped by your environment. By adulthood, people tend to have their own personality, which they reflect on to the world and are often affected by change. Depending on a person’s psychology and personality, they treat themselves differently in these stressful situations.

Some people love the push and rush associated with stress-related work deadlines, and some people crumble at the slightest sign of disruption. From personal stress in your relationships to professional stress related to your job, they are all causing you harm that may end up being a silent killer.

A recent survey conducted by job site Monster Canada, found that stress is the leading motivator of people leaving their jobs. Results indicated that employees in Quebec and Ontario feel overworked. The study found one in four Canadians quit their job in 2016 due to unbearable work related stress. Causes are often related to poor salary, location, age and most importantly a work- life balance. While some companies support a positive work-life balance, other jobs can be so demanding there is no work-life balance.

Understandably everyone is different. So maybe you’re on the grind, a business entrepreneur, working for your family, living your dream job, but always remember to support the healthiest version of your self and that includes you mental health and managing stress. Women’s Post has compiled some short tips on how to live a more relaxing lifestyle.

Just Breathe

Sometimes, we all need a little break — just a small moment to ourselves. Deep breathing is often found to calm your heart rate and promote a state of relaxation. Five deep breaths are all you need. Maybe even try breathing exercises or meditation and set aside ten minutes in your day.

Relax

Just take a day, or a couple  days off if you need to regain control of your life again. When you take a day off, commit that day to your self and putting your priorities first. Get a massage, read a book, go shopping, go to a movie alone, and find time to enjoy your own company and activities you love.

Healthy eating + activity = a healthy mind

On the note of relaxing, it’s vital to also spend time focusing on your diet and exercise. Sometimes these activates escape us and the thought of sleep is much more appealing. While sleep is fantastic, working out also hits you with a rush of feel-good endorphins so you end up feeling really fantastic after a workout. Our diets are also very important. A recent study found that eating too much pasta can trigger depression. Now don’t go giving up your favourite foods — just adjust your diet accordingly.

Say No

Sometimes saying ‘no’ can be the healthiest thing to do for your self. No excess burdens and obligations. Don’t feel bad about what other people think. Do things for your self, don’t over commit and prioritize! If you rather take the time off to go see a movie than volunteering this weekend, do it! Make yourself happy.

Love and Care

Spend time with those you love, speak about your problems, your friends and family should be a positive source in your life. Spend time with the people that make you happy, even quick phone calls to the one you love can help alleviate daily stress. Too often we spend our time around people who are full of negative energy and are emotionally draining. You should just cut that negativity our of your life.

Just remember that in the end, life waits for nobody, so if you’re finding it hard to keep up, just take a break and I hope by reading this you feel less stressed already.

Share some peace and love in the comments below!

Are shorts ever acceptable at work?

It’s the age-old question: can I wear shorts to work?

According to most experts, the answer is usually no, which is unfortunate during those hot summer months of July and August.

The question surrounding appropriate work-wear is an age-old and genderless one. Sure, women can wear dresses, skirts, or even a classy pair of capris, but those items aren’t necessarily comfortable. Often, women wear tights, nylons, or spanx underneath those form-fitting outfits. Men, while their suits are probably more comfortable, are still forced to wear lots of layers. The pants, dress shirt, coat, and of course, the suffocating tie. How much easier would it be if women and men could wear shorts to the office?

Can men wear shorts to work?

Of course, whether or not shorts are acceptable to wear at work depends on the workplace. If the office environment is generally more casual, then shorts should be acceptable. However, if you do choose to wear shorts, make sure they are classy. Skip the denim and choose a solid coloured material. Pick shorts that are either pleated, bohemian-style, or a fitted cotton base with a belt.

Try to pair it with a matching blazer to make it appear more business-class than summer-class. Always wear a blouse with your shorts with matching jewellery and either nice sandals, heels, or closed-toe flats.

Pair the shorts with a matching blazer

Despite the availability of these “dress shorts”, most people still think it’s inappropriate to wear them to the office — and they are right. You have to be very careful about how you present yourself to your boss and coworkers. Unless you are prepared to pair these shorts with blouses and blazers, just like you would with a pair of pants, then don’t bother. It’s easy to look sloppy when wearing shorts, so a little extra care is needed to make it work.

At the end of the day — judge your office accordingly. While comfort is key in increasing productivity, there is also something to be said about dressing to impress. Here at Women’s Post, we don’t think it should matter what you wear as long as you rock your job. But, it’s not always that simple. Your best bet is to ask around — and maybe start on casual Fridays just to be safe!

 

Would you ever wear shorts to the office? Let us know in the comments below!

How to return to work after a holiday

Is anyone else struggling this week? It’s hard to return back to work after a holiday or vacation, which is weird since you’d think everyone would be refreshed and ready to put their heads back in their books. You’ve had time to rest, sleep in, watch movies, and binge eat cookies. Isn’t that enough?

Not really. Most people find it really difficult to return to their work responsibilities following a holiday or vacation. Our minds just aren’t ready to process the large influx of emails on our computer or the stress of completing the project left on our desks before the holidays. It’s not time yet! Don’t worry, you can get through it. The first week will be terrible, but here are some tips to help you survive it:

Take it easy: No, this does not mean shirk your responsibilities. It simply means not to set your expectations really high. Try not to plan any big meetings or deadlines for the first few days, or at least until you get to today’s emails. Set mini-goals for yourself and take two to three short breaks throughout the day so that your mind has time to adjust to this new routine.

Don’t feel bad about admitting it’s too much: Your co-workers or boss may be all gung-ho about getting back into their routines, but when they ask you to start a new project or move up a deadline, don’t be afraid to say “I’m still catching up from last week, can I get back to you on Monday?” The first week back will be hell, so be honest with yourself and others. If you take on too much, you will get overwhelmed and start to feel anxious about going to work every day.

Remember you aren’t alone: At the same time, don’t complain to your co-workers how much you hate being back at work and how wonderful your vacation was. Chances are, they don’t want to be in the office either. Don’t pile work up on their desks.

Make sure your workspace is clean: If you are organized and your desk looks fresh and clean, you will feel a bit less anxious about all the work you have to do. It also gives you something else to do in the office wen you need a bit of a brain-break.

Create a new routine: Once you are comfortable and ready, take on a new project or start a new work routine. This will make you a little more excited to be in the office, and light a fire for creativity and productivity. Start your day off slightly differently, whether that’s changing your morning coffee, adding in a few workouts, or simply reading the newspaper — the morning will set the tone for the rest of the day. You can even start having lunch with various co-workers. Think of it like starting a new job. When everything is fresh and inventive, that’s when you work the best. You just need to figure out a way to re-create that feeling.

Plan for the next week: This week was lax, but now it’s time to get back to work. Make sure you are super organized for the following week. Be on time to every meeting, present at every deadline, and on top of all your projects, new or old! Spend some time over the weekend planning your lunches, snacks, and coming up with personal deadlines for your work.

How are you feeling about being back to work? Let us know in the comments below!

How to survive the dreaded office holiday party

The invites are starting to come in, and there it is — the dreaded office party. That one time of year when you are forced to mingle with your coworkers and suck up to your boss. What could go wrong?

The answer: so many things! That’s why Women’s Post has put together a few rules to help you navigate this awkward and potentially hazardous social custom.

Rule #1: Go! For those of you who are introverts, don’t get along with your coworkers, or just dread going into the office on a regular basis, this is your time to shine. It may not be your idea of a fun time, but mingling with your coworkers and your boss is integral to your professional success. Think of it as the ultimate networking opportunity. Not only can you discuss your vision for the company, but you can also get to know your superiors as individuals — and this can lead to a closer relationship between you all.

If you don’t attend, you may be singled out later in the new year. There may be inside jokes floating around that you can’t comprehend! Don’t be the one people talk about at the water cooler.

Rule #2: Dress to impress. No, that does not mean wear your low-cut dress that just manages to cover your ass with your six-inch stilettos. My suggestion would be to go classy. If you want to wear something skin-tight to show off your amazing body, feel free — just make sure it is still work appropriate. It is an office party after all. Try a black cocktail dress with some sexy red lipstick. Professional, yet flirty and fun. Avoid white if you plan on drinking red wine!

If classy just isn’t your thing, go all-out cheesy with an ugly Christmas sweater paired with an bold lip colour (purple, blue, or gold). Note — this will give the impression that you want to be the life of the party. Only choose this option if you want to stand out!

Rule #3: Actually talk to people. Sure, attending is good and all, but if you don’t make yourself visible, there is no point. Make sure your boss notices you — and not in an “oops I tripped over a chair and knocked over the Christmas tree” kind of way. Go up to him/her and say hello. If you don’t know anything about their personal life, ask them what their plans are for the holiday.  Be genuinely interested in their life outside of work. Ask questions and actually listen to the answers so you can follow up at a later date. Don’t bring up reports or your last business meeting unless your coworker or boss does first. Try to keep the conversation casual and really get to know the people you work with.

If you get nervous talking to people you don’t really know, come up with a few conversation topics ahead of time that you can throw out in case of awkward silence. Holiday plans are a staple conversation starter, but you can also try complimenting a person’s outfit, talking about the music, or asking what they are drinking. Don’t be afraid to say “Oh, I see someone I haven’t spoken with for a while” if the conversation is really dull and you want to get the hell out of there.

Rule #4: Don’t get smashed. This may seem like a silly, obvious rule. Who would get drunk at an office holiday party?? The answer may surprise you. When surrounded by superiors, some people turn to a glass of wine, pint of beer or a cocktail to ease the nerves. But, know this, the more you drink, the less aware you are of your actions. It’s easy to use alcohol as a way to loosen up, but it’s just as easy to lose track of how much you are actually drinking. My suggestion would be to get to the point where conversation flows, but you can still walk in a straight line. Pro tip — order wine or beer instead of the mystery holiday cocktail the bar is serving. Who knows how much alcohol is actually in it!

Don’t be the person who kisses their boss in a fit of passion or starts to do the Macarena on the bar. There’s no coming back from that.

Rule #5: Time your entrance and exit depending on what you want out of the party. If you are dreading this office celebration, decide what you want out of the evening and plan accordingly. For some, this may involve taking advantage of the free drinks and appetizers, saying hi to the boss, and then quietly making your escape — just enough to show your face so people know you were there.

If you want to network in the hopes of getting more involved in your company, try to go mid-evening after your coworkers are a bit more loose and ensure you actually mingle. Hang out around the bar so you can catch people as they are waiting for their refreshments. If you just want to have fun, arrive late when the “networking” aspect is done and the only ones left are the partiers. Maybe suggest a nightcap with the few stragglers still going strong around midnight.

Remember that above all else, enjoy the party. This is your chance to get to know Sue from the cubicle next door; to meet your boss face-to-face in a casual environment; and to show your coworkers your personality. Enjoy the free food, the company, and don’t forget to have fun!

It is a party after all!

When Should We Start Work?

Monday morning or not, it’s difficult to make it into the office by 9:00 am everyday. The process of showering, making breakfast, feeding your children and the dog, all while squeezing in (or at least thinking about) an intense work out can be tough on anyone.

After the morning routine, it only makes sense to be a little winded when walking into the office at such a seemingly awful hour. Don’t let it get to you though. There’s science to back up the reason as to why you feel so tired.

An Oxford University researcher claims that starting work before 10 a.m. are ‘torture’ and a ‘serious threat’ to your physical and mental health.

Dr. Paul Kelley’s study says that before age 55, our bodies are attuned to sunlight and circadian rhythms, and we can’t be trained by routine.

The cure? Dr. Kelley recommends a start time for high school students of 10 a.m. and university students of 11 a.m. Any earlier, he says, and grades and productivity will suffer. And knowing the sleeping patterns and addictive social media habits of Generation Y, that’s definitely not a bad idea.

At a school where Dr. Kelley was headmaster, he shifted the start time to 10 a.m. and found that the top grades at the school rose by 19 per cent that year.

In the meantime, Dr. Kelley also recommends getting some sleep! There does not need need to be a study to remind us that sleep deprivation takes its toll on our bodies. Turn off your phones, switch off the lights, and get some shut eye. Einstein slept 10 hours/night and napped, too!

What sort of work hours do you hope for? Let us know in the comments below!

Image

Revitalize your workspace with these quick and simple changes

I used to think that I worked best in a high-stress environment. After all, with the path I’ve chosen to take in business, it’s kind of a prerequisite to success. I realized, though, that while I’m often confronted with stressful situations, my productivity is highest when my pressure to work comes from a place of passion and drive, as opposed to stress and fear.

One of the biggest changes I made that helped me to work consistently from that place of positivity was to revamp my workspace, so that I could work productively for hours without feeling like I was going out of my mind. It all came down to following a single rule: if it feels right to me, than it’s right.

I spend a considerable amount of time in my office, so for me, a sterile vision of metal and beige just won’t work. Given the amount of time that most of us will spend living in our workspaces over the course of our lifetimes, it makes sense to make our them look attractive to us.  For me, that means vibrant colors, lots of natural light, a wooden desk, and a vase of fresh flowers. When I walk into my workspace, I feel great about it.  It really is one of my favourite spaces. The emotional response you pull from your workspace should mimic the way you feel about your work. I don’t want an office environment that makes me feel bored or overwhelmed. Peaceful, focused, alive — these are feelings I get from my workspace.

If my workspace is a mess, chances are, so am I. It automatically makes me feel stressed, overwhelmed, and disorganized. That being said, an empty desk and bare shelves makes me feel uninspired and a little lost. It reminds me of an Albert Einstein quote: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?” I like having artwork on my walls and meaningful knick knacks on my desk, and real reference books that I can pull off of shelves.

I’ve been known to burn scented candles in my workspace, but by far, the best thing about my office is the smell.  Real wood and fresh flowers and books and a breeze from an open window. I’m sure if I bothered to run the numbers, I’d find that it’s improved my productivity by a factor of 10. Scents do have a measurable effect on productivity. I think I read somewhere once that lemon and lavender produced the most significant positive results, but for me, it’s the wood and the books that do it.

There may of course be the down side of working for an employer who rejects the idea of these changes to a work environment. My reaction to that was to get a new employer — namely, myself! I live by the idea that my work should support my lifestyle, not suppress it. That, of course, might not be a feasible option. But why not do what you can? Clean up, add a photo, buy a plant, and relax! Work is a necessary part of life, so it might as well be enjoyable!

Girl Crush: Mindy Kaling

I’ll admit it: I was late getting into The Office. I had seen an episode here and there, and knew I had a giant crush on John Krasinski, but until two weeks ago never sat down and watched the series as a whole.

I’m here to tell you that I watched eight seasons in two weeks and I’m not sure if I’m happy with that statistic yet or not. What I am happy about is how The Office introduced me to my new favourite lady: Mindy Kaling.

On The Office, Kaling plays Kelly Kapoor, the lovable office chatterbox, but she also holds the title of producer, writer and she made her directorial debut in season 6 with the episode “Body Language.” Now Kaling is the creator of the show The Mindy Project, which she also stars in, writes for and produces. The Mindy Project is a fun show that takes place in an Ob/Gyn clinic, and is the perfect show to fix your post-Office withdrawal. (This is coming from someone who is almost done with The Office and quickly needs to find her next television obsession.)

As if Mindy Kaling doesn’t already seem like the busiest woman in show business, she wrote a book called Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) which I finished in just over a day and then promptly lent out to all my friends. Kaling covers a wide variety of topics including chest hair, one night stands, punching your best friend in the nose, and her own funeral wish list.

Kaling’s book left me in hysterics; it felt like I was reading the diary of my best friend. Her cheek-in-tongue humour perfectly captures the tone you would use while out for lunch with your girlfriends, and her brutally honest tales of Hollywood fame are refreshing.

The reason why I love Kaling is because she has worked hard her entire life to get to where she needs to be. When she couldn’t find roles that suited her, she wrote her own. She produced her own work until someone noticed her, and then she became the only female on the writing staff at The Office. She works 16+ hours a day. She is not afraid to be completely herself and show herself at her most unfiltered and unflattering.

Mindy Kaling is warm, personable, talented and very, very funny.

And once I finish making her a friendship bracelet, she will officially be my best friend.

Follow Andrea on Twitter @andreeahluscu.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.