Email is a convenience that the majority of modern American workers have come to rely on as a staple form of workplace communication. It's fast, foolproof, and gets the job done. With the prevalence of 24/7 email culture, some like Hannah Jane Parkinson at The Guardian, think it's having a negative impact on our lives. When not waking us up in the middle of the night, email is a fact of life and work we've come to need. Therefore, in-person meetings may seem obsolete. When we can check in with emails, why ever talk to another person again? Many of us find ourselves stranded in a "meeting that could have been an email." But according to research, that's not necessarily the case.
As one might imagine, just as a text message is not an adequate replacement for a phone call, an email doesn't always capture what a speaker intended. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Journal, studies have shown that people do not get a full understanding from just an email.
It's long been known that only 7% of communicated information is verbal. That means that 93% of information is inferred by gestures, tone, non-verbal cues, feedback and context.
Author and associate Management professor at Oral Roberts University, David Burkus, also reports that people wrongly assume context and tone in an email, and when sending, are overconfident that their tone is communicated clearly. Studies at New York University concluded that people were more likely to misjudge and stereotype a potential employee candidate over email than over the phone.
While emails are great for relaying quick, factual information such as memos, reminders, documents or deliverables, meetings are preferable for more abstract concepts, brainstorming, and assessment. Meetings also allow for more voices to be heard, and for new ideas to be generated. Email threads can get messy, and while they are a good way to record the train of thought between parties, they ultimately stunt organic conversation.
Especially in a business that has client interaction, face-to-face meetings are a must. A voice on the line does not substantiate a real and complete connection. Even if these meetings are less often, employees and business owners should make them count.
In the end, an efficient process is about the balance between in-person meetings and follow up emails. Written documentation is important, but it should not be the sole form of communication.
Here's a tip: bring food to your meetings, and then your employees will want to have them all the time!
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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 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.
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.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.