workplace practices

can I refuse overnight business travel?

A reader writes: Our company is switching software for our management systems. We have two locations in our area, and the company is telling us that we are to close our offices and all of our staff are required to travel three hours away with two overnight stays to be trained on the new system. […]

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my employer fined me $90 for being late

A reader writes My company has a ridiculous late fine policy: you will be fined $2 for every minute, starting from 9:01 a.m. So if you come in at 9:05 a.m., that’s $10 you gotta pay up in cash. (This is not somewhere where down-to-the-minute coverage would be essential. It’s just typical deskbound, back-end work. […]

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how do you throw a great office holiday party?

I usually publish a lot of questions about holiday parties in between Thanksgiving and Christmas — which isn’t always enough time to change anything for that year. So here are two early questions about holiday parties as this week’s “ask the readers” questions, in the hopes that it’s early enough that the advice can be […]

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what subjects are totally off-limits for office chat?

A reader writes: This morning while browsing my local news site, I came across the column of a local life adviser for the site. The column usually musters a respectable handful of comments, but today it sort of blew up into a discussion. The subject of the column today was things that should never ever […]

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can we make hot-desking work in our office?

Before we get into this letter, a definition. Hot desking = an office design that eliminates assigned desks, instead having people find a new work space each day. It’s sometimes used in offices where people are frequently out (on the road, working from home, or at another site), rather than having lots of desks sitting […]

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why do our meetings run on so long?

A reader writes: I’m trying to figure out if I’m a crabby cynic or if I’m missing some genetic code that makes people enjoy sitting in meetings. I work in a very busy legal department in a non-attorney role. Too often I have observed that when a new process or other change is announced at […]

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