Archive for October, 2012

Census Report Shows Steady Increase in Home-Based Workers

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

In 2010, 4.2 million more people worked at home than a decade before, according to a report released October 4 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Home-Based Workers in the United States: 2010” contains findings from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the American Community Survey. According to the income survey, the number of people who worked at home at least one day per week increased from 9.5 million in 1999 to 13.4 million in 2010, growing from 7 percent to 9.5 percent of all workers.

The largest increase occurred between 2005 and 2010, when the share grew from 7.8 percent to 9.5 percent of all workers, an increase of more than 2 million people.

The survey revealed that median household income was significantly higher for mixed workers, those who worked both from home and at a location outside of the home. They had a median household income of $96,300, compared with $74,000 for home workers and $65,600 for onsite workers.

According to the American Community Survey, 5.8 million people, or 4.3 percent of the U.S. workforce, worked the majority of the week at home in 2010. This is an increase of about 1.6 million since 2000.

Estimates from the 2010 American Community Survey indicate that the Boulder, Colorado, metropolitan area had among the highest percent of workers who worked from home most of the week, with 10.9 percent, followed by Medford, Oregon (8.4 percent); Santa Fe, New Mexico (8.3 percent); Kingston, New York (8.1 percent); and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, California (7.9 percent).

The survey suggested that although nearly half of home-based workers were self-employed, government workers saw the largest increase in home-based work over the last decade. Home-based workers increased by 133 percent among state government workers and 88 percent among federal government workers. There was a 67 percent increase in home-based work for employees of private companies.

“As communication and information technologies advance, we are seeing that workers are increasingly able to perform work at home,” said Peter Mateyka, a Census Bureau analyst and one of the authors of the report. “These changes in work patterns have both economic and social implications. Researchers and policy makers, including those in the fields of technology, transportation, employment, planning, and housing, will find this report helpful in future transportation and community planning as well as technological trends.”

Other highlights:

  • About 10 percent of those who worked exclusively from home were age 65 or older in 2010.
  • About 25 percent of home-based workers were in management, business, and financial occupations.
  • Home-based workers in computer, engineering, and science occupations increased by 69 percent between 2000 and 2010.
  • Mondays and Fridays were the most popular days to work at home for those who work both at home and at another location.
  • Metro areas in the Southeast, Southwest, and West had the largest percentage of workers who worked from home.

What Makes People Happy at Work?

Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Millions have been spent to find the answer to that question. Countless studies have been done to unlock the Rosetta Stone of employee satisfaction. Retention is analyzed, measured and debated. You might be thinking, “Hey! Pay me a hundred grand and I’ll make myself happy doing almost anything!” The quick answer is always money, but countless studies show that after the basic salary needs are met, other factors take over as primary satisfiers. So, after reading the books and studies, and being a student of the modern organization for decades, I’ve come up with a short—albeit simple—list of the things I believe people want.
A short commute
New studies are revealing that commuters who spend more than two hours a day in transit value that extra time at approximately 50K a year (over the minimum salary of $75,000). In other words, once someone makes at least 75K, they’d rather give up the extra cash if it means they don’t have to commute that far every day. No wonder it is becoming commonplace to work from home a day or more a week, even for management positions. Not only is the cost an issue, the waste of up to ten hours a week away from home is a huge dissatisfier.
Being in control of your own work
When women began to leave the workforce in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, to start their own companies, conventional wisdom said it was because they hit the glass ceiling. When the recession hit, even more men and women turned to entrepreneurial ventures, giving up on conventional job hunting. Many young graduates don’t even look for a job, preferring to jump into their own businesses before they even leave school.
They all have one thing in common: they want to be in control of their own career destiny. And those who are most satisfied in a conventional job are those who tell me, “My boss leaves me alone to do my job. He doesn’t breathe down my neck.” They are in control of their own work.
They are listened to
All of us want to have our opinion count. It means we matter and are valued. A leader who is smart enough to ask his or her staff what they think—and then really consider what they say—will have satisfied employees.
They are cared about
Their leaders want to know how their weekend went. They know the names of their children. They will allow them to leave work for some unavoidable personal matters. They spend a few minutes chatting about their lives. Employees don’t feel that they are not a cog in the wheel of productivity.
They are given freedom
Freedom can come in many forms. In one workplace, they don’t count sick days—they just expect people will get their jobs done. If their work is done they can leave early. In another workplace, they aren’t tethered to their desks, or checked on to make sure they are on task—they are measured by their output. In another workplace, there are no time cards. Working from home is another form of freedom. It can be as simple as allowing people to take breaks when they need them, versus at a specific time.
Having mission-driven work
If people believe they are working for a greater good, satisfaction is a byproduct. It’s one of the reasons non-profit organizations attract quality employees, even though they pay less than the big corporations. It’s also why we are seeing some high powered executives chuck it all and dedicate themselves to the cause they believe in.
Being challenged and able to grow
For many people, learning new things and developing in their jobs is at the top of their satisfaction list. That means getting regular honest feedback, being given new tasks, and exposing them to new experiences is what drives their satisfaction engine.
By: Joan Lloyd

Leverage Strengths

Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Recognize the unique value of an individual and you offer recognition that
works. Focus on and leverage a person’s strengths and you demonstrate how he
or she can make a unique contribution to your organization.
Numerous studies have shown that if a manager focuses on employee strengths
rather than weaknesses their people will be more productive and committed to
your success.
  • Offer additional training in an area where someone excels.
  • Redistribute responsibilities to better leverage strengths and interests.
  • Offer new opportunities so employees can discover untapped strengths.

National Drug Facts Week begins Jan. 28, 2013

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Observance provides teens with information on the science about drug abuse

The third annual National Drug Facts Week will be held Jan. 28 through Feb. 3, 2013, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced today. This week-long observance will bring together teens and scientific experts in community events across the country to discuss scientific facts about drug abuse. National Drug Facts Week is a NIDA initiative.

National Drug Facts Week encourages community-based events where teens ask questions of addiction scientists or educators familiar with NIDA’s scientific materials. Events can be sponsored by a variety of organizations, including schools, community groups, sports clubs, book clubs, and local hospitals.

With events often held at schools, the observance has been moved to late January to give teachers and counselors more time to plan drug information activities.

“This week is designed to counteract the myths teens have about drug abuse, often reinforced by their peers, the Internet, and the entertainment industry,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “When given the facts from people they trust, teens are in a better position to make good decisions about drug use.”

NIDA provides an online toolkit that advises teens and their sponsoring organizations on to how create an event, publicize it, find an expert, and obtain scientific information on drugs. NIDA will support event holders by offering its popular teen booklet, Drugs: Shatter the Myths, free of charge as well as a new online National Drug IQ Challenge, a 10-question multiple choice quiz that teens and adults can take to test their knowledge about drugs.

National Drug Facts Week is being supported by many federal agencies, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP); the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at NIH; the Office of Safe and Healthy Students in the U.S. Department of Education; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the U.S. Department of Justice. Each agency will post National Drug Facts Week information on its website and will encourage the development of special events linking experts to teens.

“America’s success in the 21st century depends on our ability to educate our children and help them make decisions that will keep them healthy and safe,” said ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske. “This administration is committed to using science to educate young people and inform policy in order to help raise a new generation of healthy and safe young people.”

The Office of Safe and Healthy Students in the Department of Education will reach out to schools across America to encourage activities during National Drug Facts Week. “In too many cases youth don’t understand the harm caused by illicit drugs or misuse of prescription medications,” said David Esquith, director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students. “They want and need accurate and clear information. That’s what National Drug Facts Week is all about.”

DEA will again share in efforts to promote the week. “Asking questions and getting honest answers are essential to making good choices, particularly when it comes to drug use,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “National Drug Facts Week is a great opportunity for teens and young adults to learn the facts and develop healthy habits they will keep for the rest of their lives.”

Also during National Drug Facts Week, NIDA scientists will hold their annual Web chat with teens around the country. Drug Facts Chat Day will be held Jan. 31st from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Schools can register by going to http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/chat. Registration is offered on a first come first serve basis, and the website offers information on the popular annual chat.

Organizations wishing to hold events during National Drug Facts Week can now register at: http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov or email: drugfacts@nida.nih.gov. Organizations that register can receive free teen booklets and other advice and information about holding successful events.