Entrepreneurs: Open-Office Etiquette

Nowadays, many entrepreneurs choose not to rent a large office space. Rather, many enterprises work in a spare bedroom, garage, basement or another one- or two-room office space. Many cost-conscious business owners are even opting for an open-office plan where multiple staff members work together in a large room.

It would be ideal if each person could have his or her private office, but that is often unrealistic and extremely costly. Therefore, to create peace and harmony a few rules of etiquette should be observed.

1. Respect another’s need to work.

Just because others are sitting nearby doesn’t mean they are available for conversation at all times. Respect one another’s privacy. Act as if there is a door between you and if they appear to be busy, ask if they have a moment to talk.

2. Be aware of smells.

Within a tight space smells can be magnified, so use consideration when packing your lunch or snacks. Try to eat meals in the kitchen, break room or outside, rather than at your desk. Since many people have allergies to scents, forgo wearing perfumes, cologne or strong after shave to the office. Pay attention to your personal grooming as well. Unfortunately, common sense is not so common anymore.

3.Keep noise and distractions to a minimum.

Noisy conversations (either between workers or on the telephone) or habits such as tapping on the desk, fidgeting or getting up and down often can create an annoying distraction to those trying to concentrate. If you want to listen to music, podcasts or videos, use headphones or ear buds.

4. Be tidy.

Your messy desk can be a distraction to others and will detract from the professional image your organization is trying to establish. Keep your belongings confined to your own personal space and tidy up your immediate area each day before leaving work. If you share a desk, be sure to clear away any personal items like coffee cups and office supplies.

5. Respect another’s space.

Just because another’s workspace is within reach of your desk doesn’t make it common domain. Treat each person’s space as if it was a private office. Do not help yourself to anything on their desk or in their area. Ask first or go to the supply closet if you need a pen or a stapler.

6. Don’t come to work sick.

When you work in close quarters, it is easy to transfer germs. Stay home if you are sick. It’s good hygiene to cover your mouth when you cough, keep hand sanitizer on hand, don’t leave used tissues around, and wipe down the desk, computer keyboard and phone from time to time to help prevent germs from spreading.

7. Be considerate.

Respect is key when working in an open-office environment. Act respectful and expect others to act in the same way. Set rules of conduct and reiterate boundaries when they are crossed. It’s best to address problems and concerns directly and diplomatically before they escalate.

8. Be tolerant.

The open-office environment brings together myriad personalities, with different styles. Be tolerant of these differences and find ways to adapt. Everyone is not going to agree with you one hundred percent of the time. Keep an open mind, listen with the intent to learn and focus on the positive aspects of your job.

9. Think like a team.

In order to maintain a cohesive team, do not spread gossip, cause another to feel like an outcast, or grumble about petty things. Hold regular meetings to set goals, share ideas and talk about concerns.

When the rules of open-office etiquette are observed, camaraderie, communication and collaboration will ensue.

Parenting: How to Raise Your Kids So They’ll Grow Into Your Friends

Advice from Alan and Lisa Robertson

Lisa and I have two married, adult daughters, Anna, 29 and Alex, 27, and we consider them and their husbands some of our closest friends.
But we know that’s not true for everybody, and Thanksgiving is often a time when parents wish their relationship with their grown kids could be better. Sometimes the journey from authority figure to friend can be difficult.

Looking back at how we raised them, we now realize that it is no accident that we have such a great relationship with our adult daughters and their spouses.

There are four pillars of our parenting style that we believe contributed to our successful transition.

Be a Parent First As well as being parents, we have had almost 25 years of working with families as we pastored our church here in Louisiana. We noticed one thing led to a lot of difficulty between adult children and their parents: when parents tried to be their children’s friends rather than being their parents when they were young, especially during their middle school to high school years.

We believe that until a child becomes a young adult and begins to mature, the parent’s job first and foremost is to parent, which means to set boundaries, to provide an atmosphere for learning and growing and to provide discipline and nurturing with an even hand. When this model is followed, it is amazing how a young adult will eventually develop healthy adult friendship bonds, because they understand why their parents did what they did for them.

Practice What You Preach—and Transparency. Through the years of raising our daughters, we always attempted to model what we asked of them. Of course, we are human, so we failed at times, but that didn’t stop us from continuing to try to live with integrity.

We also found that when we were transparent and admitted our own faults and mistakes, our children grew to love and respect us for our honesty and our attempts to show them a better way.

In our book, A New Season, we are very open about a lot of our mistakes as a young couple. The only way we could write a book like that is if our grown children were not going to be surprised by what we wrote, but supportive of why we wrote it.

We are Christian, so the Bible is a big part or our value system, but no matter what any family’s beliefs are, parenting will always include building in a value system. Integrity, character and honesty will always lead a child to being a better adult and the best way to achieve that is by consistently trying to live and lead your family in that direction.

Exasperate Less, Encourage More. I’m a former pastor, so please allow me one Biblical reference: in the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes a short challenge to both children and fathers about their relationship. He asks children to honor their father and mother and he challenges fathers “to not exasperate their children.” (Eph. 6:1-4).

Exasperate” means to irritate, annoy and vex to the point to anger. One of things that we noticed has that effect on children/teens is to over-regulate them. In an attempt to build structure and discipline, many parents exasperate their children to the point that they think they can never measure up.

This leads to anger, frustration and sadly, resentment towards one or both parents. From our observation, this seems to be one of the leading causes of estranged adult relationships between parent and child. Of course every family needs boundaries, but don’t overdo it by majoring in minors. Teach your children and encourage them through both success and failure and simplify your family code.

Take Them Along for the Ride. We did a lot of international mission work when I was a full time pastor, and we took the girls. To this day, our children love traveling with us. We also spent a lot of energy sharing our passions with them, for art, education and global affairs. I read a lot of children and young adult series along with Alex when she first got into books; in other words, we were Harry Potter fans together.
This has given us one of many great tools of friendship now as adults; we share many book series back and forth. Anna and Lisa both love houses and real estate and to this day love watching home renovation shows. I’ve encouraged my son-in-laws to get into golf because this gives us another place to bond and build friendship. Laughter, shared interests and travel are great ways to have great adult relationships with your adult children, but that spirit starts when they are young.
We encourage you to think seriously about what your relationships with your children will look like when they are adults and married. Some of the greatest blessings our children have give us is our 4 ½ (one on the way!) grandchildren. Because we are all close, we get to spend a lot of time with our grandkids. We are now doubling down on how we assist our children with them in order to have more great adult relationships with them in the future.

The Importance of Parenting Styles in Early Childhood Development

Early childhood is the most rapid period of development in a human life. Although individual children develop at their own pace, all children progress through an identifiable sequence of physical, cognitive, and emotional growth and change.
A child who is ready for school has a combination of positive characteristics: he or she is socially and emotionally healthy, confident and friendly; has good peer relationships; tackles challenging tasks and persists with them; has good language skills and communicates well; and listens to instructions and is attentive (World Bank).
While you might feel like you spend all of your time dealing with temper tantrums and tattletales, your involvement in your child’s life during early childhood helps to set the stage for the person she’ll become over the next several years. Pay attention to what you’re teaching him or her because they are watching your every move, listening to every conversation and even using your hugs to gauge your relationship and their value.

Education Engrossment

Involvement in your child’s preschool program isn’t the only way you can contribute to his educational success. Taking him or her to children’s museums provides them with opportunities for sensory exploration; working on simple science projects like diet soda pop and mint explosions helps to foster a love for science and learning; and playing counting games helps to reinforce the concepts he’s learned at school. Keep apprised of what’s happening at school for opportunities to expand upon the lessons they’re learning each day.

Young Models

You’re not just your child’s caregiver; you’re the most significant influence in her life. From table manners to social interactions, they are learning every value and skill from you during early childhood; this is particularly important given the messages children are bombarded with from television and computer access that are sometimes contrary to the values in the home. You can teach them how to handle emotions, by labeling your own, helping them to identify her feelings and giving her words to express them hence the phrase, “Use your words.” You teach your child how to handle conflict when she sees how you approach disagreements and arguments in your life; by listening to what your child has to say, you show him or her that they are important and teach them how to listen to others.

Sending Messages

Your interaction with your child during the early years lays the groundwork for his or her viewpoint of himself or herself and their relationships with others throughout their lifetime. When you give them plenty of hugs and kisses, you’re clearly showing your affection, they know they are important because you want to be close to them. When you give them your full attention and show interest in the things that interest them, it helps build thier self-esteem, too.

Nurturing Development

Your involvement in your kiddo’s early years affects thier brain structure. Nurturing parental involvement has been associated with a larger hippocampus in children. The hippocampal region of the brain plays a primary role in activating the autonomic nervous system in response to stress to help the body cope. A larger hippocampus insinuates that children nurtured early in life have a larger capacity to cope in stressful situations. Furthermore, the hippocampus plays a key role in memory and learning, contributing to a child’s academic success.


Learn to Love Yourself- You Worth It!

I know too many people, men and women, who don’t know just how special they are. They’re either busy focusing on the negative, or they’re surrounded by so many negative people that they don’t even know there was anything in life to be positive about.
I know exactly what it feels like to be your toughest critic, to blame yourself for the simplest of mistakes, and to wish with all your heart to be living somebody else’s life. I have suffered from an eating disorder, I have written down how much I hate myself and how “stupid” I am, I have even harmed myself. So I’ve been there. I know what it means to see no worth in yourself and everything you do.

What if I told you I was wrong for believing those things about myself, and you’re wrong for believing those things about yourself? Because we are wrong. So wrong! It’s the good kind of wrong though. We are all worth so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

I know at first it’s hard to believe and you don’t want to listen to the people telling you how wonderful you are. It’s even harder when you’re not surrounded by people who tell you how loved you are. I’ve been in that spot, and it’s an incredibly dark place to be. Say hello to the sunshine though, because I’m going to give you some tips as to how to start loving yourself a little more each day!

1. Get rid of the negative influences in your life

First step to loving yourself, get rid of the people that don’t love you.

Love is an action, a choice—not a feeling. So anybody who claims they love you but doesn’t make time for you, doesn’t make you feel special, or treats you like you’re unimportant—they do not love you and they are a parasite. They are eating away at your self-confidence and happiness. Get rid of them. They are not good, not important, and most importantly, they are not worthy of your precious heart and time. You’re beautiful, unique, and amazing—don’t waste your time on people who don’t question why you’re not famous for being awesome, duh!

2. Take more time to do the things YOU want to do

If your friends call you up on your day off and they want to go to the movies, you really don’t have to say yes. If you wanted to stay inside and read your favorite book for the 233rd time, do that! Just because the people around you do one thing, it doesn’t mean you have to do it too.

Next time you’re invited out or you find yourself doing something with friends or family out of obligation, ask yourself if it’s something that you really have to do. If it isn’t, is it something you genuinely want to do? If not, politely decline, and just do you.

3. Take that step out of your comfort zone

Do you want to take a painting class? Are you interested in that yoga class at your gym? Do you want to talk to that cute guy/girl in your history class? Just do it! You really won’t be sorry you did.

The things you are scared to do the most are the things that you’ll regret the least! I used to be so scared to go to the gym. I’d hype myself up the night before, doing research on all these cool exercises and routines that I wanted to try. Then in the morning, I would get to the gym and end up on the elliptical or stair-master for an hour because I was so worried what everybody in the gym would think of some newbie trying to go hard on the weights. Eventually, I got a personal trainer to help give me a confidence boost. It totally worked.

So if you think people are watching or will judge you, it’s okay to feel like that, but don’t let it cripple you, or stop you. Just do whatever it is you want to do anyway! You’ll be great as long as your heart is in it!

4. Be active!

Active doesn’t mean two grueling hours of power lifting at the gym.

It could be as simple as going out for a walk around the block, jogging in place while you watch your favorite T.V. show, or doing 15 minutes of stretching when you wake up in the mornings.

Activity is whatever you want it to mean, but it’s important for you to get up and give your body a little work out every couple days or so. Not only does this mean positive results physically, but internally too. Your body releases endorphins (the feel good stuff) when you’re active, so you’ll feel more energized, optimistic, and ready to tackle everyday situations that are otherwise frustrating.

5. Meditate

Take a few minutes once a day to just breathe, to bring all your thoughts and emotions together.

6. Compliment Yourself

I don’t care if this one sounds silly. It works. When I get ready in the mornings, I find at least one thing I genuinely like about my look/outfit that day.

Look in the mirror before work, school, whatever, and tell yourself one thing that you like about the way you look. It could be as silly as, “My teeth look really white today.” That’s awesome! Blind the world with your pearly whites! Guess what? The more you make yourself find something you like, one day you’ll look in the mirror and you’ll find something you like about yourself right away. You’ll look in the mirror and you’ll say, “Dang, I look gorgeous today!” even if you’re just wearing a baggy pair of jeans and a sweater. It’ll happen.
Loving yourself is hard because nobody knows your mistakes, flaws, and thoughts as much as you do. It’s so easy to beat yourself up when you miss something, forget something, or make a silly mistake, but I challenge you to be patient with yourself. I challenge you to follow some of these tips and to stick with them to see how loving you is achievable. You’re awesome and I know it, so it’s time you knew it, too.


Relationships these days have taken a new twist of discussions and openness. People make inquires to ascertain the true nature of their partners with hope to unravel what draws similarities between them or to discover what they may not be able to tolerate in the relationship as time goes on.

I culled up some questions that seem a bit nosy but hold truth and are necessary in understanding your partner.

1. The current trending question today is ; What are you bringing to the table?(Asides food just incase you don’t get it.)
2. What is your greatest achievement so far in your life or career?( They want to know if you have some genius in you.)
3. Do you have an addiction? ( Who knows if the person is sex starved or lives on weed)
4. How did your last relationship end?( Important)
5. Do you have a sustainable means of income? ( Sustainable development
6. Describe your family in one word.( Social, Conservative, Spiritual etc)
7. What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in life so far?
8. What are you currently saving for financially? ( Who knows it could be a trip to Paris or ..)

9. What is a family tradition your family practices?( Very important, who knows if they eat raw beef on
10. When was the last time you had sex? ( The Body count inquiry, skip that)
11. Can you do without makeup? ( For the ladies, can you reduce your slay tendencies)
12. Love or money which is the most important element in a relationship? ( This is subject to political debate and has no one straight answer.)
13. What was your childhood experience like? ( Absolutely necessary, there could have been violence and sexual abuse, who knows?)
14. What will you do if you find me in an awkward position with a lady?(Scenario question 60 marks)
15. What’s the one moment in your life you wish you could call back?( Listen to this attentively.)

Biography of the Contributor

Francisca O. Okwulehie, a Masters student of Philosophy at the University of Lagos, is the Author of Tari’s Golden Fleece. She loves reading Crime and African Fiction. A Philosopher in the morning, an Entrepreneur at noon, and a Writer at night. Her story has been featured in the Afriworiliterary project, ‘The Different Shades of a Feminine Mind.’ She has a penchant for Highlife and Alternative music.

How To Keep Money From Messing Up Your Marriage

The Beatles said all you need is love, but a solid marriage needs a good financial management strategy as well. Money problems are the number one source of conflict within a marriage, according to Smart Money. The best way to avoid money problems in marriage is to create a money plan before the wedding. If you’re already married, you can still work with your spouse to set goals and make a plan that will reduce stress in the marriage

Make a commitment to work together.

Any problem, including money issues require you and your spouse to vow to work as a team to solve the problem. It will involve a willingness to listen and respect each others feelings and ideas.
View the money situation as “ours”. Although there are two people in the marriage, you are a single couple going through life as partners. His earnings are your earnings and visa versa. That also means his student loan is your student loan and your consumer debt is his consumer debt. This is especially important if there is inequity, such as one spouse earns significantly more or one has more debt, which can lead to resentment.
Make financial goals as a couple.

This includes long-term goals such as retirement and children’s college funds, as well as short-term goals such as vacations and home improvement. Also make budgeting goals that cover all expenses, but allow each spouse a little flexibility. For example, if your husband eats out too much, set a dining out allowance that doesn’t break the bank. If you spend too much on clothes, set an allowance that allows new items without overdoing it.
Decide who will be the main money manager.

While you need to work together, choose the more financially responsible person to pay bills, prepare taxes and manage investments. However, the non-money manager should still review accounts and the current financial situation on a regular basis.
Open a separate credit account for each spouse.

While many financial advisors advocate having joint bank and savings accounts, each spouse should have an account in his or her own name for credit purposes. This is especially true if one spouse is dependent on another financially. If there is a death or divorce, you don’t want to be without good credit.
Be willing to compromise. Money fights often start over perceived inequity. One spouse makes or spends more, or has more debt. As a result, one spouse expects all the change to come from the other. But you’re working as a team, and you both need to make changes