The following is a guest post by Vicky Oliver, the best-selling author of five books, including 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions. If you’d like to be considered for a future guest post on Money Q&A, check out our guest posting guidelines.

301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions We’ve become accustomed to looking to the tech industry for innovation when it comes to how we communicate. But one idea that tech mavens made popular, the open workspace office plan, is proving to be a flop — actually hindering the communication it intended to promote.

Companies as diverse as energy bar maker Clif Bar, financial services company Square, and gaming company Kixeye have opted for the open layout. CEOs and upper-level managers tout it as a way to facilitate communication and interaction among co-workers, but let’s not overlook the boost to the bottom line in build-out savings.

What the company gains in construction savings, however, is squandered in lost productivity. The new configuration puts an end to offices with doors — and any semblance of privacy in general. Not only has productivity plummeted because of noise and disruptions, but any enhanced interaction appears minimal.

Some bosses also prefer open floor plans for minimizing social media browsing on company time, and for keeping employees from slipping out before the end of the workday. The configuration means staff must work in a fish bowl. Any staff members gunning for a co-worker’s job can monitor their every move.

Strategies for Surviving the Open Workspace Office Plan

Clearly, thriving in an open-office layout requires a strategy. Use these survival tactics to confront the situation:

Stake out your niche.

Are you the type who could study with the TV blaring? Write term papers in high-traffic coffee shops? Unless you’re accustomed to focusing regardless of the commotion around you, find a corner seat — preferably one that you can pick up and angle toward the wall. Determine where the loud talkers tend to gather, and move as far away as possible.

Transmit all internal and external affairs.

Just because team members can huddle up for planning and debriefing, don’t assume the communication chain disappears. Share information with peripheral teams, supervisors, or clients for whom it’s important to keep well briefed. Stick to the chain of command in terms of your written communiqués. [click to continue…]

Open a Lending Club IRA and boost your retirement


How Does a Credit Union Work? The Credit Union National Association reports that over 105 million Americans are members of a credit union. This makes up nearly a third of the population. But, a majority of Americans still use traditional banks to manage their money, and younger generations are reportedly less likely to use credit unions simply because they don’t understand and often ask – how does a credit unions work.

How Does a Credit Union Work?

There are many benefits of switching from a bank to a credit union, but it can also be a hassle to make the move, which also requires you to reroute all your bill payments, direct deposits, and other forms of incoming and outgoing payments. If you’ve considered leaving your banking institution for a credit union, but you’re not sure if the benefits outweigh the hassle, keep reading to decide whether or not credit unions live up to the hype.

Government-Backed Funds

There are a lot of misperceptions about credit unions that prevent people from exploring this option for their financial management, including the idea that credit union funds are not backed by the government. This is completely unfounded, as the National Credit Union Administration insurance exists as the federal government’s protective shield for credit union consumers, similarly to how FDIC insurance works.

Better Interest Rates on Savings Accounts and Loans asserts that, compared to banks, credit unions tend to offer higher interest rates on savings accounts and lower interest rates on loans for their consumers. For example, a 36-month auto loan from a credit union comes with an average interest rate of 2.71%, which is significantly lower than the 5.26% average interest rate a bank would charge for the same loan.

If you want to find the best mortgage rate, personal loan rate, or interest rate on a savings account, switching to a credit union could save you thousands of dollars in interest than if you stay with your traditional banking institution and take out a loan through them. [click to continue…]

Open a Lending Club IRA and boost your retirement


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