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Men Are Freezing Women Coworkers Out of the Workplace – Literally

It may be the dead of summer in the northern hemisphere right now, but the must-have clothing item for white collar women isn’t a breezy blouse and matching culottes. It’s a desk blanket. Female office workers around the world brace for hot weather by bundling up—even as their male colleagues type away in shirtsleeves.

There’s a simple reason: Office temperatures are designed for men.

A new study confirms that women’s body temperatures are much lower than the standard used to set air-conditioning levels, making women much more prone to feeling uncomfortably cold. The study was published online in Nature Climate Change (paywall).

Though the new research is based on a small sample size of 16 women, it replicates previous findings. One study found that the standard metabolic rate used to set office temperatures is as much as 35% higherthan the average female metabolic rate.

Others have shown that women feel comfortable with room temperatures of around 77°F, compared with men’s preference for less than 72°F. For comparison, the US government recommends office temperatures be between 69°F and 73°F (20.5°C to 22.8°C).

The discrepancy dates back...

How to Restore Public Trust in Government, Without Paying a Single Cent

More than three out of four Americans don't trust the federal government. In 2014, only 24 percent of Americans said they trusted the government to do what's right "always or most of the time." Sixty years ago, in 1964, that figure was more than 50 percentage points higher -- 77%. (Source: Pew Research Center, 2014)

Government leaders know that communication is a vital government function.

Recognizing this, nearly 20 years ago, in 1996, Vice President Al Gore formed the Federal Communicators Network.

"The Vice President's vision was to reach federal workers with important reinvention messages, promote a climate in which reinvention can flourish, and create a grass-roots demand to break down agency barriers to reinvention." (Source: National Partnership for Reinventing Government)

Unfortunately, however, the vice president's vision was not realized. In 2013, only 50.3 percent of the federal workforce was satisfied with the communication they receive from their leaders. They don't feel like they get enough information about:

  • Goals and priorities
  • News about their agency generally
  • Information about what's happening outside their immediate sphere of work

See the table below from the PPS showing the decline in employee satisfaction with leadership communication over just...

5 Leadership Behaviors to Move Up on Your List

Many leaders drive others harder than they need to. What results is a constant push for their team to achieve those goals. Meetings consist of checking the lists of things to be fixed and get done now.

Recently I listened with awe as leaders described a change of heart following my Coaching for Breakthrough Performance workshop, where we spent significant time on skills that build relationships. Many described their newfound recognition of moving relationship-building with their stakeholders higher on their priority list.

One poignant example came from a retail leader who told how her days are filled with meetings with store managers. Her normal way of operating is to walk into each store and make lists of problems and then spend her time with the managers telling them what they needed to fix. After the workshop, she committed to spending time in the following week just listening to the store managers.

Many leaders need to move these relationship-building behaviors up to the top of their priority list:

Listening: When I ask a leader’s stakeholders (especially direct reports) about opportunities for the leader’s improvement, I often hear “I don’t feel heard” -- even (especially) about well-respected seasoned leaders. Many...

The Future of HR in Government

This is the first article in a two-part series on the future of human resources in government.

Much has been written recently about the future of HR, both inside and outside of government. One article went so far as to suggest splitting HR into administrative and organizational roles because of the general perception that HR is more of a transactional activity focused on compliance and paperwork and does not add significant value to the larger organization.

In government, this perception is exacerbated by the size of the workforce and the myriad laws, rules, regulations and oversight that require a high degree of record keeping. These factors, coupled with the many protections that often lead to complaints about selections, promotions, and disparate treatment, among other things, make compliance a must. The problem is that as long as government HR staff and activities focus primarily on transactions and compliance, managers will continue to see them as a necessary evil, rather than crucial partners who can help them achieve their goals and objectives.

While the perception of HR in government has never been strongly favorable, the federal environment has changed and the HR community has not kept pace. The issues include:

  • Government organizations...

Study: Rudeness Is Contagious

It’s certainly annoying to interact with a rude co-worker. But even worse: That person’s behavior can make you ruder, too.

Uncivil behavior is contagious, a new study found. The report, in the Journal of Applied Psychology, claims that your jerky tone of voice or snappy retort can actually negatively impact your fellow desk jockeys long after you leave the office.

Researchers from the University of Florida asked study participants to engage in 11 simulated negotiation exercises with partners over a seven-week period. They found that a subject who perceived rudeness in one interaction was subsequently perceived as rude by his next partner. The effects lasted for up to a week.

Study co-author Trevor Foulk explained on Gizmodo:

What is so scary about this effect is that it’s an automatic process—it takes place in a part of your brain that you are not aware of, can’t stop, and can’t control.

So what if your mean co-workers are rubbing off on you? Previous studiessuggest that witnessing rudeness is correlated with poorer performance on both creative and rote tasks. That means that witnessing—and internalizing—rude behavior could snag workplace productivity, in addition to making the...