Before their shift, Japanese train workers' smiles are rated by a computer. "Smiling helps our interaction with the passengers. I think the atmosphere becomes more relaxing with a smile," one worker says.
What do AOL, software maker Ezenia and a small business that sells shopping bags have in common? They all count "digital nomads" among their workers. In increasing numbers, America's telecommuters are ditching the home office, taking their laptops and setting up shop in coffee houses, libraries, bookstores and, now, "co-working centers."
Employers should just say no to 401(k) debit cards, which are designed to let employees tap into their retirement fund with a signature and a card swipe, Kris Dunn writes. While workers say they like the ability to borrow, critics contend it makes it too easy to spend when more savings are needed.
Organizations can fail if the leader can't rally workers for action when needed, writes Robert Bruner, dean of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. It's critical workers believe the leader is doing the right thing at the right time, there is a credible plan and they feel an emotional connection to the leader's message.
Leaders who focus on the process and not the people ruin the shared vision experience, Dan McCarthy writes. Instead, managers should focus on getting key people together, doing prep work, setting the agenda and goals, fostering creativity and efficiency, then communicating the vision.
If you want to hang on to your best workers, you have to treat them well. That means protecting them from irate customers or higher-ups, Wally Bock writes. Good managers should also help workers develop their skills and aid them in achieving personal objectives.