"Happy wife, happy life," is an expression that all good partners keep in mind. It's not so far off from what a boss should think about on a daily basis. In his or her case, the expression goes, "Successful business, happy employees." A recent study by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick's Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy revealed that happy employees are 12% more productive. A boss is only as good as his or her employees' combined effort. That's why it's essential that employees' happiness be prioritized. Here are some tips for building your office community and productivity.

1. Capitalize on Happy Hour

What better way to get happy than to go to Happy Hour? There's a reason why most bars and restaurants give deals right after the work day. They want you and your coworkers to take a seat and stay a while. Many workers have a mentality that at 5:00, it's time to leave. But spending that extracurricular time with your coworkers in a non-work environment can help you bond and learn more about each other.

2. Do Something Nice

According to Drew Hendricks of Forbes, not only is charitable giving healthy for the soul, but in a business context, "it provides networking and marketing opportunities while also increasing the business's presence in the community." Organizing a voluntary outing among coworkers is a great way to give back without having to give up a day off. Knock off both good karma and publicity with one stone!

3. Test the Boundaries of Teamwork

Another fun and effective way to see how your team can work together outside of the office is to do some kind of group activity, like Escape the Room, in which your coworkers will be tasked with solving riddles to escape from a locked room. These kinds of things encourage working together and troubleshooting in a fun environment, which can then be translated back into the office.

4. Bring in Lunch

At many offices, lunch occurs between the hours of 11 and 4, continually, with people ordering in food from several different restaurants, or going out on solo missions to pick up bland sandwiches. Establish one day per week when everyone sets aside an actual lunch break and eats together. It's like a family dinner.

5. Treat Yourselves

If you can't manage to get the whole department together for lunch, bringing in a simple box of doughnuts can create the same effect. A little bit of sugary encouragement never hurt anyone, in moderation of course.

6. Celebrate the Small Things

Sometimes people get a little touchy about knowing things about their coworkers' personal lives. But there is a healthy amount that coworkers should reveal. For example, their birthdays! Even small things like singing Happy Birthday can have a huge impact and boost morale.

7. Be Silly

Coworkers a little stuck-up? It's time to hit the nearest karaoke bar and see what vocal chops your team has. If you need some inspiration, here are some perfect office karaoke songs for the Madonna in all of us.

If you're looking for ways to get closer to your coworkers and start feeling like a team, it's time to start bonding.

Coworkers are people, too.

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Developing further skills can boost your career at any stage.

Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.

Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.

But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.

Tableau

Tableau's data visualization capabilities are comparable to Domo and Power BI.

Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.

Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.

More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.

Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.

Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.

Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.

The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

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Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.

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