workplace practices

Is your office normal? Workplace practices can be wildly different from office to office. Here’s a reality check on yours.

there’s a white noise war in my office

A reader writes: When my company mandated a return to in-office work, I did not expect the biggest problem to be the office noise machine. But hear me out. During the pandemic, my company installed a Bose speaker system in the ceilings of our large open office to play white noise (actually brown noise, which […]

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my job makes me feel like I’m the worst kid in gym class

A reader writes: I work a job that is typically considered high-stress in a low-paying industry. My workplace and the satellite offices will get together on days the workplace is closed to clients and take us for a (paid) day of team-building fun. We go bowling, play paintball, go to arcades, that sort of thing, […]

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how to cope when you don’t have an assigned work space

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes: I have a question for your readers, if you’re willing to throw this to them. My office is starting to mandate that we come back in person (the reasons why are a whole separate can of worms), and the model we’re returning to is not […]

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I think my employee is being abused by her partner

Content warning for discussion of abuse below. A reader writes: I have been a director at my organization for a few years now in a small town. We have a staff of 23. Some have been here for 20+ years, some are new, but it’s a pretty great group of people and we all work […]

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how should we handle remote work and extreme weather?

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes: I work for a small nonprofit, and most of our employees telework full-time. They live all over the state, some in urban and some in rural areas. We have been experiencing regular major extreme events (fires, floods, storms, etc.) that have substantial impacts on the […]

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no one wants the office an employee died in four years ago

Warning: this letter includes a death by suicide. A reader writes: I work for a small company (about 150 employees) that is about to merge with another company. We are in the midst of planning for allocating offices and reconfiguring our space to make it work, but our leadership team is stuck on what to […]

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how can I get our employees to arrive on time?

A reader writes: My organization operates in a very traditional office setting: business professional dress code, strict lunch hours, and a strict 9-5 day. In theory, this is for efficiency and to allow employees to feel more separation between their work and personal life. However, new staff tend to struggle with it when they first […]

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what are the minimum benefits an employer needs to provide?

A reader writes: What do you think are the absolute minimum benefits an employer should provide? I’m a business development consultant, and work with a lot of start-ups assisting in total compensation development. I, of course, try to work with my clients to develop the most competitive benefits package they can afford. However, I’ve often […]

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I desperately need breaks between my back-to-back meetings

A reader writes: I’m looking for some practical advice to create breaks between meetings. I started a new job about six months ago and the meeting culture here is slowly killing me. My old workplace had done some improvement work that resulted in, among other things, hour-long meetings being scheduled from :00 to :50 instead […]

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