Sunday, July 18, 2010

Go Green at the workplace

Most of us are very prompt and eco friendly when we talk of our homes but leave our ecp friendly attitude behind when we reach our workplace. Its high time we start adopting environment friendly habits at workplaces as well. Some people do argue that it is the duty of the employers to install green products in the office and they do not have much say in these matters at office. Let’s see if we can make a difference.

1. Turn off your lights: Lights are the biggest killer of energy in the corporate world. Many offices have a mall staff working nights but they leave the lights on in areas where there is no one working. The simplest thing you can do is to turn off your lights when you don’t need them. When you go out of the office for lunch or to some other room, turn your lights off.

2. Turn things off at the power : We generally leave the power on while switching off the computers. Sometimes it may be necessary for charging them, but leaving them on all night is not a good idea.

3. Optimize Energy Settings on Your Computer: Use energy settings that will put the machine into sleep mode if not used for a certain period of time. This helps to shut off the monitor when not in use and helps to save electricity. Remember Screen savers do not save power. If you are going off for a longer period, it is best to shut down the computer.

4. If you are planning to replace older computers at work, switch to using laptops and notebook computers. They use around fifty percent less electricity than desktop computers. True, they may be costly, but in the long run, they will be more cost effective along with the being more friendly to environment.

5. Refill printer cartridges rather than throwing them. Refilling them is cheaper than buying a new one. Moreover, you are not buying more and more plastic.

6. Trying being Paperless: There is no point in printing out every notice, memo or email that you get. Store them online and use less paper. If it is really important to print, then use both sides of the paper for printing. Use smaller left over papers for making notes. Try to use the back side of old documents for drafts and notes. Avoid color printing and print in draft mode whenever feasible.

7. When buying paper, try buying greener options such as chlorine-free paper or alternatives made from bamboo organic cotton etc.

8. Do not use disposable cups, plates, or other such items in your office.. Bring your own reusable cup and plates and avoid using plastic utensils. Bring a reusable bottle filled with water which can be filled up from the water cooler.

9. Catch the bus to work : Not only do you save on petrol and money, you also end up lessening the carbon footprint. Each car that you take off the road saves thousands of liters of greenhouse gases ever year. Moreover, it relieves you from the driving hassles every morning.

10. Recycle : Depending on the kind of waste you generate, recycle whatever you can. These days, we have the concept of e-waste for electronics such as old cellphones, chargers, DVDs, CDs, inkjet cartridges, and computers. Even these items can be re used and recycled.

It is said “ Be the change you want to see in the world” So, do not wait for others, but take the action now. Small things add up. If 100 people do 100 small things it starts to make a big difference.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What is your SQ?

High IQ is passé, Having High EQ is still needed, but it is SQ that will lead you to the top. Research has revealed that most admired and charismatic leaders have highly developed SQs. So, let us find out what exactly is this SQ?

It has been an old practice to measure intelligence and qualify people on the basis of their IQ (the Intelligent Quotient). Societies like MENSA International only allow members who score highly in their IQ tests. But these tests measure the rational intelligence that is used to solve logical problems. It was believed that the people who have higher scores are more intelligent.

But then authors such as Goleman came up with another measure that not only makes us aware of our feelings but those of others too. This was called the EQ --.Emotional Quotient. According to experts, a highly developed EQ can help people become better at understanding and managing others. It makes them more empathetic and compassionate towards others.

But recently, authors such as Dana Zohar and Ian Marshall have introduced a new dimension to human intelligence. It is called the Spiritual Quotient (or SQ). This is the intelligence used to answer questions on meaning and value of life, it seeks fulfillment and happiness at the workplace. The concept of spirituality at workplace is increasingly becoming popular. Till now, workplace was considered a place to earn money to live a better life – but not as a place where you can connect with others. This created a conflict between values of life and working only for money. All humans in general are spiritual – to curb these tendencies in workplace to be able to move forward was becoming the ultimate paradox for all. No wonder, then we tend to feel curbed, and choked, unable to unleash our true selves to our colleagues as the workplace for long has been considered as a place of race towards the top rather than for peaceful co existence.

In such circumstances, IQ is totally inadequate while EQ can still help create more meaningful relations at work, but what is needed is the ultimate intelligence of compassion, balance, peace and a belief in good for all. In more direct terms, spiritual intelligence motivates people to balance their work schedules to spend more quality time with their families. It will help executives understand the importance of ethics in business and CSR (corporate social responsibility) will not remain just another yardstick to measure performance.

Thus where IQ solves the logical problems, EQ helps us in more meaningful relations with emphasis on self awareness and social skills. SQ helps us to understand our core values and makes us more active to create new situations according to our desires. These qualities sustain long term business development and build strong corporate cultures that promote high morale and prevent loss of talent.

SQ is transformative in nature. It provides the necessary courage and conviction in times of paradigm shift and chaos. Creativity, Innovation, Clear communication, being Visionary are some of the key indicators of a High SQ personality.

Many people falsely believe that being more religious makes you spiritual. Wrong. Religion has nothing to do with spiritualism. Nor is SQ related to any particular religion. Spiritualism is a way of life. It is more to do with their inner self and giving wings to your true nature. Naturally, if you are able to work in a place which gives you full freedom to work and unleash your creativity.


Much has been written about the importance of having a mentor in the workplace, a person who can guide you through the ups and down take you under his or her wing, and nurture your career. But in reality, finding a good mentor can be a tough ask.

Traditionally, A mentor is an individual, who is more experienced and generally older, who helps and guides another individual’s development. Generally, this terminology is used to refer to the person who guides you in the workplace. These relationships usually evolve depending on the need and requirement of the mentee. Many a times, we start following a senior person in our offices whom we admire. This may happen unconsciously or consciously. But the more we admire a person, more we try to act like him or her. But the actual mentor-mentee relationship takes place only when the senior person (the mentor) starts taking interest in your career and gives his/her guidance. Usually this guidance is not done for personal gain.

Although the major benefit from this association is drawn by the mentee, even mentors have much to gain from a mentoring relationship. This is an opportunity for mentors to showcase their ability to identify and develop new talent. Talking/discussing professional and personal issues with new and young professionals helps them keep in touch with the latest happenings and brings out new perspectives for them as well. Moreover, being able to share their expertise, or just wanting to help out, be a positive influence, or give back something to their community is an important motivator for mentors. But no matter what the reason for being a mentor is – people find it a very enriching and rewarding experience that also contributes to the organization and the profession.

But whether you are a mentor or a mentee, it is important to keep few things in mind as that this beautiful and life enriching relationship is not soured. Trust is the basis of a mentoring collaboration-a base on which all other aspects of the relationship is built. And it should never be broken.

For a Mentor, it is useful to draw the boundaries of the association. There are certain things which should be avoided such as :

• Financial help in mentee's business or life pursuits Doing so in a formal mentoring partnership changes the relationship and causes a conflict of interest. You are unable to be neutral and objective to the performance and have a higher stake in his/her success propelling you to do more than required. The mentee could even become totally dependent upon you or start taking your support for granted.

• Doing the actual work for your mentee – Sometimes in order to be more helpful, the mentors start doing the work of the mentee such as handling projects, writing reports etc. But this practice is more harmful rather than helpful. Not only are you as a mentor doing extra work, you are making the mentee dependant without teaching him anything.

• Playing personal counselor –Usually, a true mentor will not limit their helping to work-related issues and provide advice for life situations as well but it is important to maintain a thin line which should not be crossed. It is one thing to advise the mentee regarding situations and another to get involved personally. Thus mentors should never get personally involved in the lives of their mentees.

For a Mentee:

• Decide what you need in a mentor – It is better to choose someone working in the same functional area as you are, as well as someone who shares your values. Many organizations have started formal mentorship programmes, but it is still not much in vogue in Indian companies. So, you might have to do your own matching.

• Never ask your direct supervisors to be your mentor – There is too much of a conflict in this relationship. Better have someone with whom you can talk freely about career and workplace issues. You do not want them asking about your latest project when you need advice on another issue.

• Avoid a mentor who is too controlling, judgmental, or a know-it-all – You do not want to be controlled like a child. Some mentors become too possessive. Stay away from them. Look for someone who is positive and will be happy to guide you and share his/her experience with you.

• Look for someone who is trustworthy. You must feel safe in order to reveal your weaknesses. The role of mentors is to help mentees feel comfortable. Make sure the person you are choosing as a mentor can keep things confidential. Or else all your weak points and mistakes that you shared will become part of the office gossip.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stress in student life - III

College time is one of the most interesting time of life where you can discover your own self and your hidden potentials. This is the time to experiment and choose a path that will take you to the top. So follow these simple tips to de stress yourself --

1. Plan your schedule. Yes, boring as it may sound, but this is the best way to plan your work, study, assignments, presentations etc. Get the right information from the start. Be clear about the kind of assignments, presentations that you are required to give. Most of the universities follow a fixed academic calendar. Get a copy of it and refer to it when planning your work. Most of the teachers give adequate time for handing in assignments --- be sure to give it on time to avoid last minute hiccups. If you are on time, you will not have to run around them alter seeking extensions. Make a realistic timetable and make sure to follow it.

2. Work on your weakest point. This is very important. You must know the area where you are lagging. Some students are good in written work. Some are better in oral presentations. Take time to look for your shortcomings. Take the help of friends and family to recognize yours and work around those shortcomings. There may be six or seven subjects in a semester. Instead of leaving the harder one to the last – work on it more than others. This way you will be saved the panic attacks at the last minute.

3. Prioritize. It is important to be able to differentiate between important tasks and not so important tasks. There will a time when you need to make hard choices. You should be able to make realistic assessments of consequences. It is your choice to whether you want to your assignment or go for the movie. Whatever decision you make will have effect on how you make further progress in your college. Needless to say, handing over assignment should be more important than going for the movie.

4. Develop a stress busting hobby. As said before, it is the duty of a student pay adequate attention to their studies, but at the same time, it is equally important to have a well balanced life which can lead to all round development. There are so many extra curricular and co curricular activities in any college. You can choose any one of them and develop yourself in it. Use this activity when you are stressed out or are unable to concentrate on your studies. This could be in form a a sport, dramatics, singing, dancing or any other enjoyable activity which can make you feel happy again.

5. Make a group: It is very important to have like minded people or people whose company you enjoy around you. Find yourself some good friends on whom you can depend on. Act as each other’s cushions during difficult times. Help each other out and most importantly, give each other a good advice. It is good to have some people Loneliness can make the challenges of your new life seem much worse.

6. Stick to a healthy lifestyle. It is important to take care of your health when you are working hard. A healthy body keeps stress away and gives rise to a healthy mind. A good diet can work wonders and lift your mood and help in coping up with the pressures. Avoid using alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with stress, as these can negatively affect your mood as well as your health Yoga and meditation are very helpful activities for managing stress.

7. Manage your sleep. In one of the famous dialogues in the mystery “ The Bourne identity” – the protagonist who is a secret agent shares his secrets with a partner and frequently repeats that “Rest is a Weapon”. And this is true in our normal lives as well. Sleep deprivation can cause irreparable damage to our health and work if continued for a long time. As a student, when you are required to work under multiple pressures, having a good sleep at night is an advantage you can use effectively.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stress in student life - II

The profile of an ordinary student has undergone a sea change. These days, a student is not only a student. He has commitments related to employment, personal relationship, and family responsibilities in addition to educational matters. Most students realize this and are quite capable of juggling these multiple responsibilities, but at times, the stresses and strains of coping with multiple roles and their crosscurrents impact adversely upon students. And this is why it is very important for students to adopt some cushions and stress busting techniques in their lives.

Student life is a very exciting and wonderful phase of ones’ life. It is here that a person learns to experience first hand the problems, difficulties and pressures that he/she will face in future. Hence, it is equally important that these students also learn how to cope up or overcome these problems as well. Thus this can also turn out to be the most pressured and stressful phase of life. The time is limited and a lot has to be achieved. Young students try to pack up so many things together in their college years that they end up losing everything.

Let us take a look at some of the factors that cause problems or difficulties to students.

1. Change in Study process : Coming to a college or university after a protected school environment is a transition which overwhelms majority of students. The learning process changes dramatically from classroom teaching to lecture format with focus on self study and broader perspectives. Teaching is no longer confined to blackboards and one book, but encompasses so much of reading material that new students start getting lost. After the first few months, when the pressure of assignments, presentations, exams starts building up, students crack up. Research has shown that under-achieving students have not developed effective ways of coping, or their problems are so overwhelming that their coping mechanisms are to no avail.

2. Change in Lifestyle : Not only does the studying process changes, the whole system changes as the world starts looking at you as an adult and thus starts the process of finding the identity and a place in the world. This is a big psychological upheaval. It also involves many challenges at a practical level. Not all students get a chance to study at a place near to their homes. They are either required to travel long distances, stay in a hostel or put up in rented accommodations. All this requires a change from their previous lifestyle and even the routine eating and cleaning seems to be a big burden.

3. New opportunities : There are a multitude of activities that a student can choose from and get involved in, based on his/her interest. These are but not limited to be sports, social and political activities, dramatics, Literature and so on. The student must involve oneself in such activities as they help in developing a well rounded personality but the other part is that all these activities also need to be given time to gain something out of them. Thus there can be a constant conflict to give time to activities which are enjoyable and activities which are vital.

4. Personal relationships: There is a change in the way the youngsters view relationships today. As a part of growing up process, they get more freedom from the parents and in fact, demand it. They have their own social circle and fear of rejection is very high. They have to keep up with the peer pressure and under such circumstances end up doing things they never wanted to do.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stress in student life - I

Student life in particular is increasingly becoming more and more complex and difficult with rise in the number of young people opting for higher studies as compared to previous years. The students in fact, never had it so good before. There is a plethora of job opportunities and various new and exciting career avenues which they can take up today.

But with all these good things comes responsibility. The responsibility is towards their own self to realize their own potential, to their friends and family and to the society at large. Since the youth today are more confident and seek independence pretty early in life, they also have to cope with the consequences of their own independent decisions and here in lies the challenge to which they must rise. When the students go headlong into the process of being independent without realizing the responsibility that comes with independence, the conflict arises. And this is when the stress kicks in. The balance which is required is missing and then the promises being to break and falter.

It has been seen that about 50% of American students who enter college do not complete their graduation. And as per U.S. Census figures, only 6 out of every 10 high school seniors go on to college in the following year. The main reason for this dropout has been attributed to the high stress and complexity involved in college studies.