Archive for August, 2010

Workforce Feels Need to Stay Connected

The recent economic downturn has
American workers stressed, overworked and anxious, but many are turning to technology to help them cope. According to a survey released today by InterCall,  the world’s largest conferencing and collaboration services provider, workers are using technology to stay connected (sometimes even secretly), work harder and maintain job security to survive the economic recovery.

Take note managers: Nearly one in two Americans (48 percent) who use technology in their everyday jobs say that they are now required to do more work with fewer resources due to the current economic climate. As an example, nearly one third (30 percent) feel that they need to stay connected to work 24/7, even during weekends, breaks or holidays. However, 72 percent say that advanced technology, such as conferencing and collaboration tools, enables them to work faster, better and improves their morale – because they see the company providing them with the right resources and tools to ‘do more with less.’

While the economic climate has even driven workers to use conferencing from locations they don’t want their boss to know about, there is good news for stressed employees. Advanced technology makes it easy for most workers to feel connected anytime (80 percent) which is important considering almost one in four employees (24 percent) fear that if they don’t stay connected
to their work during their time off, they may be seen as less committed to their jobs.

“Despite the incredible pressure facing American workers, they value technology and the tools that keep them easily connected as an important resource to ease their anxiety about their job,” said Kathleen Finato, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, InterCall. “Companies can really impact overall morale and enhance employees’ job performance simply by providing their employees with the appropriate devices and services that will make them feel empowered.”

The survey polled 2,500 knowledge workers in March about their attitudes and behaviors as they relate to technology in the workplace as well as new trends in the down economy. Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Increased productivity – More than four out of five American workers (81 percent) say that technology helps them be more efficient and more productive at work.
  • Job security – One quarter (25 percent) of American workers say their job security is partially dependent on their supervisor seeing they are connected to work even after hours.
  • Men are sneakier – Men are twice as likely than women to conduct business from locations they choose not to disclose to their bosses, colleagues and customers.
  • Competition in the workplace – Three in five workers (58 percent) say that technology gives them a competitive edge over colleagues in the office.
  • Comfort rules – Some employees (5 percent) even use conferencing to take meetings so they can wear what they want and avoid wearing typical meeting attire such as suits, ties or even shoes!

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While backpacks are incredibly handy to help kids carry schoolbooks and supplies, they can also be harmful if improperly fitted or overloaded. With so many sizes, shapes, and styles to choose from, selecting one for your child’s frame and needs can be confusing. But considering about half the students aged 9 to 20 experience back pain from backpacks, it’s important to make sure yours makes the grade. Use the following tips as your guide.


  • Look for two wide, padded shoulder straps. This helps evenly distribute the weight of the backpack and increases comfort. Narrow straps can dig into the shoulders.
  • Select backpacks with a padded back. Padding in the back offers extra protection against book edges and sharp, poking objects.
  • Get a waist belt. A waist belt helps anchor the pack to avoid swaying while walking and helps distribute the backpack weight better.
  • Look for multiple compartments. This further distributes weight and makes it easier to find smaller items that might otherwise get lost in the chaos.
  • Think small and light. Find the smallest backpack to accommodate your child’s folders, books, and school supplies. The backpack should be no wider than your child’s torso and constructed from a lightweight, nylon-type material vs. leather or traditional canvas.

Although many students like the ease of wheels, some schools don’t allow them because they pose a tripping hazard. Check with your school first.


  • Pack with care. Put your heaviest items in first, on the bottom and closest to the back. Organize smaller items in the compartments.
  • Lighten up. Packs should weigh no more than 10 to 15 percent of your child’s body weight. Preferably on the lighter side. For example, if your child weighs 70 pounds, the pack should weigh between 7 to 10.5 pounds.
  • De-clutter. It’s easy to keep shoving extra papers, folders, and other items into a pack, but a few ounces here and there quickly add up to pounds. Regularly cull through the pack to eliminate old papers, unneeded school supplies, or video games. Carry only essentials and store the rest in the school locker.


  • Adjust the straps. Position the backpack snugly, close to the body. The straps should hold the pack two inches above the waist and never more than four inches below. Make sure the straps allow free movement of arms.
  • Double up. Although kids may think it looks cool to casually sling one strap over their shoulder, this doesn’t evenly distribute weight and can quickly strain neck, shoulder, and back muscles.
  • Lift with caution. Your child should be able to put on and take off their backpack without difficulty. Avoid twisting the torso in the process. Bend at the knees, grab the pack with both hands and place arms through the straps.
  • Stand tall. If you see your child leaning forward or backward to carry the backpack, it’s too heavy.

With these basics in mind, your child can wear their backpack comfortably and safely all year long.

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