The Post-Holiday Funk Is Real

Getting out of the post-holiday funk is a difficult task in itself. After a holiday season filled with parties, breaks, food and time off, it can be hard to snap back into work mode. Here are a few things you can do to get out of that holiday funk:


Somewhere around the third week in December work in many offices starts to slow down. There are holiday parties. Customers and clients may be harder to reach. Energy and motivation wanes. And many of us sign off from work completely to spend the holidays with friends and family.

And then January arrives, and it’s time to get back in the swing of things. But, after being out for a week or two, it can be hard to snap back into work mode. If you’re feeling sluggish and unmotivated, you’re not alone. There are several reasons for this kind of the post-holiday funk — and, fortunately, there are things you can do to get out of it as well.

Focus forward
It’s common around New Year’s Day to look back at the past year. Research on construal-level theory suggests that the more distant you are from anything in time, space, or socially, the more abstractly you think about it. Getting out of the office and looking at the whole year leads you to think about your contribution and not just the tasks you did. This is natural and healthy. After all, your contribution in the last year was not the 16,471 emails you sent, but rather the relationships you solidified, the projects you oversaw, and the collaborations you continued as a result of those emails.

But while you’re likely to be proud of some things you accomplished, you may also be thinking about some of your failures. These are often the source of many people’s New Year’s resolutions.

Of course, noticing last year’s failures can be disheartening. And around the new year, you may end up in a cycle of thoughts about what you could have done differently in the past. This kind of rumination can actually heighten feelings of depression and anxiety, which sap your motivation.

When you get back to work, it’s important to start looking forward to the new year rather than back on the past one. Treat the goals you want to accomplish as new challenges and a source of energy not a penance for things you didn’t get done last year. Focusing on the future — and seeing new opportunities to succeed — can help you to generate the energy to get started.

Get specific
Your reflections on the past year might also lead you to commit to making changes. This is a good thing but not if your commitments are abstract, like “be more productive,” “get a new job,” or “become a better leader.”

In fact, these abstract goals can be paralyzing. They’re simply too big to make meaningful progress toward. Instead, turn your goal into specific actions that when added up lead to the desired outcome. This kind of specific plan is called an implementation intention. It requires that you break the general goal down into tasks that can be put on your calendar.

This specificity has two benefits.

First, it requires you to think through what actually has to be done to achieve the goal. You may discover that you don’t know all the steps or that some of the steps are ones that involve skills you need to learn. In that case, you might want to find a mentor or coach who can help you.

Second, being specific forces you to grapple with your densely packed schedule. One reason why people often fail to achieve important goals is that they cannot find the time to perform the tasks that would lead to success. When you try to add new actions to your agenda, you are forced to figure out what can be moved, delayed, or delegated in order to put you on the road to following through on your commitment.

Make the right social comparisons
A third possible source of post-holiday funk is social comparison.

Humans don’t evaluate things on an absolute scale. Instead, we assess our success relative to some standard. Often, we do that through the process of social comparison, in which we compare ourselves to someone else.

There are two kinds of social comparisons. Upward social comparisons involve comparing yourself to someone better off than you are along a particular dimension. For example, you might see a high-school friend who just got a promotion, or a college friend who just bought a car that you dream of owning some day. These comparisons tend to make you feel bad about yourself, because they highlight what other people have that you don’t, whether it’s money, social standing, or particular relationships. Downward social comparisons are comparisons to someone worse off than you. These comparisons generally make you feel good about yourself and your situation.

Unfortunately, both kinds of comparison can sap your motivation. Upward social comparisons can frustrate you, knowing that other people you know are more successful, happier, or wealthier than you are. Because of the way people curate their social media, if you just look at where people are taking vacations or what they post about their jobs, it’s easy to believe that most people are doing better than you are, which may lead you to feel like giving up.

When you make downward social comparisons, you feel better about what you have and what you have accomplished, but you aren’t motivated to continue pushing forward. Instead, it makes you satisfied with where you are and, often, complacent. The energy you need to motivate yourself comes from being dissatisfied with something about the present, along with developing a plan to get what you want.

You can’t stop yourself from making social comparisons, but you can explicitly manage those comparisons to motivate you. For example, you can find a close rival — someone who is doing slightly better than you are along some dimension, but whose performance is close enough to your own that you can see how you could take some actions to reach their level.

You can also make social comparisons to your past self. Take a look at your trajectory. Recognize that even if you haven’t achieved all of your goals, you have improved over time. Use that recognition of your own growth to spur you to keep working to reach new heights.

No one wants to start the year off in a rut. And yet many of us begin January too focused on the past and feeling bad about what we have yet to accomplish. With some small changes in your perspective, though, you can hit the ground running in the new year.

SOURCE: Markman, A. (03 January 2020) "The Post-Holiday Funk Is Real" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2020/01/the-post-holiday-funk-is-real?ab=hero-subleft-3


Happy Holidays from Your Family at Saxon

Happy Holidays! In celebration of the holidays, the Saxon crew has decided to share one of our favorite holiday recipes for this month’s Fresh Brew! We hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season! 

Three-Ingredient Prime Rib Roast

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup finely ground coffee
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • One 12-pound, bone-in prime rib roast (5 bones)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, thoroughly blend the coffee with the salt, pepper and vanilla bean seeds. Set the rib roast in a roasting pan and rub it all over with the coffee mixture, concentrating most of the rub on the fatty part of the meat. Turn the roast bone side down and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°. Roast the meat for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and roast for about 2 1/2 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 125° for medium-rare.
  3. Transfer the roast to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes. Scrape off any excess coffee rub. Carve the meat in 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve.

This recipe was provided by Food&Wine. If you’d like to visit the original source, please click here.

**Holiday Hours

Our office will be closed on Tuesday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 25.

Our office will be closed on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, January 1.

We wish you a happy holiday season filled with family and friends!

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Company Gifts That Workers Hate

Gift cards, water bottles and coffee mugs are just a few examples of workplace gift ideas that employees do not want or make them feel unappreciated. According to a new survey, more than 8 in 10 employees have received a workplace gift that they didn't want. Continue reading this blog post from SHRM to learn more.


Coffee mugs and water bottles emblazoned with the company's logo. Gift cards to stores that employees rarely visit.

These are among the gifts that companies give to workers—and that workers hate, that make them feel unappreciated, and that leave the impression that their employers are thoughtless.

So says a new survey by Snappy, the New York City-based employee engagement company, which found that more than 8 in 10 U.S. employees have received a workplace gift—mostly from managers—that they didn't want.

As the winter holidays approach, and as companies bestow gifts to show they appreciate their employees, the survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers demonstrates that leaders may want to give more thought to workplace gift-giving.

No Logos, Please

Almost 3 in 4 workers would prefer to get a gift without their company logo on it, according to the survey, which Snappy conducted in September.

"Some employees have reported to me that they don't mind some gifts with logos, but they resent feeling like a 'walking billboard' for the company," said Paul White, who has a Ph.D. in psychology and is co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace (Northfield Publishing, 2019). "Others state that when they are given gifts that have the company's logo, the item immediately is disqualified as a gift—because the focus of the item is the company, not the recipient."

White's research into how more than 100,000 employees feel about the workplace found that only 6 percent identified gifts as the primary way they want a company to show appreciation—far below getting words of affirmation (46 percent), quality time with a supervisor or co-workers (26 percent) and getting help from supervisors or colleagues on a project (22 percent).

"Employees are not saying they do not want tangible rewards … for doing good work," White wrote. "But what the data show is that when choosing comparatively between words of affirmation, quality time or an act of service—receiving a gift is far less meaningful than appreciation communicated through these actions. For example, employees often comment, 'If I receive some gift but I never hear any praise, no one stops to see how I'm doing, or I never get any help—the gift feels superficial.' "

Are Companies Catching On?

One would think, given research and books like White's that demonstrate how people feel about workplace gifts, that companies would adjust their gift-giving practices. Often, they don't because no one asks employees what they thought about the present. Workers are in a tight spot: If they complain or don't seem enthused, they may be seen as ungrateful or demanding, White said.

In fact, the Snappy survey found that of those workers who got a gift they didn't like, 9 in 10 pretended they liked the gift anyway.

"The leader needs to be interested in what the meaning or message of the gift is, [but] most often, it is a rather thoughtless process," White said. "In work relationships, it is the thought that counts. For employees who value gifts, either giving everyone the same item or giving them a generic gift with no thought or personal meaning is actually offensive."

Cord Himelstein is vice president of marketing and communications for HALO Recognition, an employee rewards and incentives company based in Long Island City, N.Y. He said he thinks companies are paying attention to their gift-giving practices. He noted recent data from WorldatWork showed that about 44 percent of recognition programs get updated or changed every year.

"If management isn't actively listening and applying feedback in a systematic way, then there's no point in offering gifts at all," he said. "Nailing down the right balance of rewards that employees really love takes time and effort."

Best and Worst Gifts

Respondents said that some of the "worst" gifts employers ever gave them included a pin, a plaque, and a gift card to a store they'd never visited.

In fact, more than 3 in 4 said a gift card is less meaningful than an actual gift, and almost 9 in 10 admitted that they'd lost the gift card or forgotten that it had a balance on it.

"Gift cards feel transactional and impersonal," said Hani Goldstein, co-founder and CEO of Snappy. "Employers fail to realize that gift cards put a price tag on the recipient's value and make them feel like they're worth $25. Our research points to one key insight: The most appreciated gifts aren't impactful because of their actual monetary value. What matters most is what the gifts are and how they are given."

Employers should remember that things like pins and plaques, Himelstein said, "are commemorative add-ons, not whole gifts, and should always be supplemented with more substantial and appropriate rewards."

Employees also described some of the "best" gifts employers gave them, which included an espresso machine, a trip to Paris, an iPad and a television.

White noted that such expensive gifts can be impractical for a company. They may be appropriate in rare situations, White said, such as rewarding a worker who reached an exceptional goal or recognizing someone who's served long and well.

"Generally, meaningful gifts between employees and supervisors are more impactful when they are personal and thoughtful rather than pricey," he said.

Himelstein said more expensive gifts—at least those more expensive than mugs or pins—"aren't only practical, it's a best practice."

"Nobody wants a cheap gift for their hard work, and employees can always tell when the company isn't trying," he said. "Also, don't lose sight of the fact that you don't need to constantly shower employees with expensive gifts to make them feel appreciated."

SOURCE: Wilkie, D. (14 November 2019) "Company Gifts That Workers Hate" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/employee-relations/Pages/gifts-workers-hate-.aspx


Thanksgiving Pie with the Saxon Family

Happy Holidays! In celebration of the holidays, the Saxon crew has decided to share one of our favorite holiday recipes for this month’s Fresh Brew! We hope you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! 

Four-Flavor Sheet Pan Pie

Ingredients

Crusts:

  • Two 14.1-ounce boxes refrigerated rolled pie crust (4 crusts total)
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Apple Pie:

  • 2 pounds mixed apples (such as Granny Smith, Gala and McIntosh), peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt

Sour Cherry Pie:

  • 2 cups drained jarred sour cherries, plus 3/4 cup juice from the jar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Pumpkin Pie:

  • 1 1/3 cups canned pure pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 large egg

Pecan Pie:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup roasted pecan halves

Directions

  1. For the crusts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Unroll 3 of the pie crusts on a lightly floured work surface. Stack them on top of each other. Roll out the thick, layered dough to a 15-by-21-inch rectangle. Press into a rimmed baking sheet so that the crust comes up the sides and hangs over slightly. This will be the bottom crust. Chill until ready to use, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Use the remaining crust for the top of the pie. Unroll it on a lightly floured work surface and roll it to a 14-by-18-inch rectangle. Cut the dough in half so you have two 7-by-9-inch pieces. One half will be the top crust for the apple portion of the pie. Cut the other half into 1-inch diagonal strips to use for the lattice on the cherry pie. Place the rectangle and strips on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill until ready to use.
  3. For the apple pie: Toss the apples in a medium bowl with the sugar and lemon juice. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and cook until thickened, about 1 minute more. Cool completely.
  4. For the sour cherry pie: Place the cherries in a medium bowl. Whisk 1/4 cup cherry juice with the cornstarch in a small saucepan until completely smooth. Add the remaining cherry juice and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy, about 30 seconds. Pour the sauce over the cherries and gently fold to combine. Cool completely.
  5. For the pumpkin pie: Whisk together the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and the egg and in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.
  6. For the pecan pie: Whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, eggs and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fold in the pecans and set aside.
  7. Once all fillings are made, begin assembling the pie. Remove both baking sheets with dough from the refrigerator.
  8. Visualize the sheet pan is divided in half lengthwise and then crosswise so you have 4 equal quadrants. Each quadrant will hold a different pie filling. Prick the bottom crust all over with a fork.
  9. Add the pie fillings in this order: Add the apple pie filling to the upper left quadrant of the crust; spread it to cover a 7-by-9-inch rectangle. Moving counter clockwise, pour the pumpkin filling right under the apple pie filling and spread it the same size as the apple filling. Spread out the cherry filling next to the pumpkin filling. Fill the top right empty space with the pecan filling.
  10. Cover the apple pie quadrant with the reserved rectangle of dough. Lay the pie strips out diagonally over the cherry pie quadrant. Press any remaining strips of dough around the edge of the pie to thicken the rim. Crimp the edge of the pie, making sure to incorporate and crimp together the dough from the apple quadrant. Brush the edges and the dough on top of the pie with egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut decorative slits in the apple pie crust.
  11. Bake until all pies are set and the crust on the apple pie and cherry pie is golden brown and crisp, 55 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes.

This recipe was provided by Food Network. If you’d like to visit the original source, please click here.

**Holiday Hours

Our office will be closed Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29. We wish you a happy Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and good food!

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How employees really feel about asking for time off during the holidays

A new study reveals that 51 percent of employees feel uneasy about asking to use their vacation days during the holidays. Continue reading this blog post to learn more.


Are employers checking their PTO list? They may want to check it twice, according to new data, workers may be leaving vacation days on the table during the holidays because they feel uncomfortable asking for time off.

More than half of employees (51%) feel uneasy about asking to use their paid time off during the holidays, according to a new survey of more than 2,000 employees from management and technology consulting firm, West Monroe Partners. This discomfort was even more prevalent in smaller companies with smaller staffs, where employees work more closely with their managers and colleagues.

Michael Hughes, managing director at West Monroe Partners, says part of the reason employees are so nervous about asking for time off is the expectation that they have to be available 24/7. An employee may also be concerned they will appear to be slacking if aren’t in the office with many companies being short staffed to begin with, he says.

“With the war for talent, people are being asked to do more and more because either they’re shorthanded or can’t find people,” Hughes says.

Nearly two-thirds of employees working in the banking sector felt uncomfortable asking to use their PTO, according to the survey. Although Monroe Partners did not specifically review why this might be the case for banking, Hughes says he thinks that, like other service industries, bank employees often have to work during the holidays to attend to customers.

Banks were hit hard during the 2007 economic recession, he adds, and some have been cautious about beefing their workforce — forcing current employees to carry heavy workloads. But, he adds, this is fairly common across many industries.

“I think it’s something that impacts industries across the board,” he says. “[But] just based on the study banking is one that sticks out.”

West Monroe Partners recommends companies close the office on days other than just federal holidays and accommodate for remote working or flexible scheduling.

Training managers to fairly process PTO requests may also be necessary, the report notes. Managers can do a better job of having open conversations with employees around PTO and job satisfaction.

Despite worker’s anxieties, employers should communicate the importance of taking time off during the holidays, Hughes says. It’s good for workers to get time to rest, he adds. If employees are unhappy in the office, it will likely trickle down to the customer experience.

“A lot of it is just personal health,” he says. “If you give people the opportunity to recharge, they’re going to be more productive when they’re happy.”

SOURCE: Hroncich, C. (7 December 2018) "How employees really feel about asking for time off during the holidays" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.benefitnews.com/news/how-employees-really-feel-about-asking-for-time-off-during-the-holidays?brief=00000152-14a7-d1cc-a5fa-7cffccf00000


How To Not Get Stuck With Other People's Work Over The Holidays

Begin preparing yourself at work for the holiday season so you aren’t stuck with others work during the holidays. Read on for more tips that will help you to avoid being overloaded with work.


Few people find themselves happy when they are inundated with work on vacation days that had been planned in advance. The month of December is a busy month. People are trying to finish up projects before the holidays and leaving for vacation. Sometimes, finishing up a project involves dumping it or part of it onto someone else’s work plate, many times a junior employee or someone in a non-management position. You don’t have to feel helpless. Here are three tips that will help you to avoid being overloaded with work:

1. Plan ahead.

When you are approaching a time of year in which you know that many people take off from work, take time to plan ahead. Know when your deadlines are, break the work into chunks and get to work now. If you know that a particular colleague has a tendency to hand off work just before they leave for their vacation, inquire with them ahead of time to give yourself more time to complete the work. Stay on top of your work so that you have some room for projects that arise unexpectedly.

2. Distribute the workload among your teammates.

Just because you receive a work assignment does not always mean only you have to complete it. Work can be shared, and allowing others to take on some of the work is an important management skill. The higher you rise in your career, the more you will depend on others to support you in achieving work goals.

If you are part of a team, ask your manager if the work can be distributed among multiple people. The more you spread out the work, the less work each person has to do and the more efficient and productive each person can be.

3. Prioritize the work.

Not all work has to be completed now. Some tasks can be done later. Look at the work that has been passed on to you, and break the work down into individual tasks. Successful people prioritize. Can the tasks be completed after the holidays? If you are unsure, ask your manager or the person that passed the work along. Make no assumptions. Ask for information to make a decision that ensures the quality of the work product and that your vacation is not compromised.

Prepare yourself at work for the holiday season so you don’t get stuck with other people’s work. Plan ahead, share the load and prioritize. Leaders don’t work harder. Leaders work smarter. Be happy this holiday season. Work smarter, and demonstrate your leadership.

SOURCE: Blank, A. (4 December 2018) "How To Not Get Stuck With Other People's Work Over The Holidays" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/averyblank/2018/12/04/how-to-not-get-stuck-with-other-peoples-work-over-the-holidays/#2ce47b263006


How To Stay Sane During The Holidays

Do the holidays cause your stress levels to rise? The holiday season can be the most stressful time of the year for many people. Read on for tips on remaining balanced, healthy and happy during the holidays.


The holiday season can often be the most stressful time of the year. It's often when we gather with our family, sit through a performance review with our boss, and plan for the new year. One cannot help but feel a mix of joy and anxiety as they approach this time. If you're feeling the pressure of the next few weeks, you're not alone!

As fitness and wellness expert Carrie Dorr says, "When it comes to being healthy, few of us realize that mental well-being is key to holistic health and remaining balanced in busy times. Our social calendars can take a toll on our mental and physical health." As the founder of Life Smart, Carrie is a go-to online wellness guide dedicated to providing women with the tools they need to enhance their holistic health through fitness, nutrition, and mental care.

She shares her best tips for remaining balanced, healthy and happy during the holidays:

Fitness

Even a 5 or 10-minute workout can significantly improve your overall well-being both physically and mentally. As Carrie explains, "Exercise makes your body stronger and also stimulates the production of endorphins which combat stress."

If your schedule doesn't allow for workout classes or gym sessions, at the very least, make time to breathe and stretch—every day. "Breathing relaxes our nervous system and helps to lower both heart rate and blood pressure. Flexibility and range of motion are key to posture, dexterity, and vitality!" Carrie says. She recommends doing both together daily.

Last but not least, don't forget to put together a workout playlist. Music is a powerful motivator and can have an amazing impact on your exercise. From Carrie's experience, matching the song to the pace of your workout helps optimize it. Higher beats per minute (BPMs) for faster exercise like cardio and lower BPMs for slower exercise like strength training and yoga. Check out Carrie's playlist for this month here.

Nutrition

Snack well and often to keep your metabolism humming and to avoid binging. Keeping nutrient-dense snacks on-hand, such as nuts, is a good way to build the habit. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Keep a bottle on your desk for a visual reminder.

"With cold and flu season, increased travel and exposure around more people over the holidays," Carrie says, "it’s important to eat foods that help boost your immune system so you can prepare for the cold and flu season ahead." Some examples include fruits and vegetables (they pack a serious antioxidant and fuel your body with the essential vitamins and minerals), bone broth (an amazing tonic that helps repair the gut lining and reduce inflammation) and meals seasoned with ginger, turmeric, onions or garlic (they are well-known fighters of infection, bugs and bacteria).

Another key aspect of your nutrition is your sugar intake. As refined sugar tends to alter your immune system for hours after consumption, it makes you more vulnerable to germs. Replace high-sugar treats such as soda, candy bars and cupcakes with slices of apples, pear or a cup of blueberries. If you're really craving one of those sweets, Carrie recommends trying out healthy cookie recipes here.

Mental health

Anticipating losing sleep? Do not let that happen! It's essential for your body to repair itself and while most of us love to do it, there are times when insomnia will creep in. To reduce the anxiety and pressure around sleep, Carrie finds it helpful to maintain an evening practice that sets the stage for a relaxing night. Write down five wins (big or small) of the day before bed in a journal. What's a better way to enhance your mood?

Surprisingly, another way to feel good about yourself is to put your time and energy in service to others. Do something kind for another person without expectations. "Kindness can shift you out of your own singular perspective, where it’s easy to be consumed by personal obligations and problems, into a place where you remember that we are all in this together!" Carrie Says. There are so many simple ways to do this on an ongoing basis and even more opportunities around the holidays. Among other things, you can adopt a family for gift-giving, help feed the homeless in your community or visit the elderly at a local senior center and sing with them.

Most importantly, during the holidays, be sure to have FUN! If you are feeling overwhelmed by the season, shift your focus to the memories that await you. Plan out some seasonal things to do: go see a local play, bake cookies, play holiday songs on the piano, or be goofy with friends in public and laugh. A little laughter goes a long way.

SOURCE: Joseph, S. (2 December 2018) "How To Stay Sane During The Holidays" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelcyvjoseph/2018/12/02/how-to-stay-sane-during-the-holidays/#596473932750


Pecans, Marshmallows and Sweet Potatoes?

Happy Holidays! In celebration of the holidays, the Saxon crew has decided to share one of our favorite holiday recipes for this month’s Fresh Brew! We hope you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! 

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow Streusel

Ingredients

  • 12 large sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes, scrubbing them well to remove any dirt. With a fork, prick the sweet potatoes in a couple of spots and place them on a sheet pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center goes in easily.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and flour together until it’s crumbly-looking. Add the cinnamon, salt, pecans, and marshmallows; fold the streusel topping together to combine.
  4. Slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise down the center and push the ends towards the middle so it opens up. Stuff the sweet potatoes generously with the streusel topping and return to the oven. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and brown.

This recipe was provided by Food Network. If you’d like to visit the original source, please click here.

**Holiday Hours

Our office will be closed Thursday, November 22. We will be open Friday, November 23 from 8:30 a.m. – noon. We wish you a happy Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and good food!

Give It A Try & Share It!


6 tips to balance your work, family time

Climbing the career ladder as a bachelor or bachelorette is challenging enough, but having a partner or loved ones at home can add a significant level of complexity and even some guilt. There are a few ways to help manage the constant balance.

Drop Multitasking

It may be tempting to get on a work call while you are playing with your kid or out with your spouse, but the act makes you less present for your family and your client. Instead, whenever possible, choose which one you want to focus on at that moment.

Only Make Commitments You Can Keep

Stay honest in what you are capable of, as family needs sometimes will trump work needs, and vice versa. Frank conversations are easier than broken promises, particularly if you respect that both your family and your work are of equal importance and that which takes precedence depends not just on your values, but on the circumstances of the moment.

Build in Work into Vacations

It is counterintuitive, but consider setting aside an hour or so during family days or vacations to get work done. The thoughtful act puts you on the offensive (choosing your time) rather than the defensive (worrying about getting away), raises your chances of actually being productive and allows you to get the work out of the way so you can be completely focused on your loved ones later.

Know Your Family Absolutes

Most loved ones or families have absolute priorities, like always eating dinner together or always attending a partner’s event. Discussing and establishing the non-negotiables allows you to know the boundaries and creates a level of flexibility around the less important activities.

Separate Temporary From Permanent

A month of late nights and early mornings is different than a five-year career-only focus. Honestly look at the pattern of your work at the moment, assess where things are headed and avoid panicking over what could be a short-term imbalance.

Explain Your Work to Loved Ones

It can be easier to keep work at work, but try sharing some details of your current career track with your family. Even the youngest members or the least experienced loved ones may give empathy and perhaps will show more flexibility in their own needs after they better understand why you are struggling with balancing everything in your life.

 

You can read the original article here.

Source:
Brown D. (25 September 2017). "6 tips to balance your work, family time" [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://workwell.unum.com/2017/09/6-tips-balance-work-family-time/


It’s the most stressful time of the year: 5 tips to get your employees through the holidays

It’s that time of year again. Employees are preoccupied with thoughts of holiday shopping, party planning and visiting relatives, and the stress of it all can seriously impact their work. So what can you do to help?

While stress is a year-round issue, there are more obvious triggers for it around the holidays. Mark Malis, the head of global human resources at LifeWorks, assembled a list of five common causes of stressduring this time of year, and what you can do to tackle them.

1. Heavier workloads

Employees taking more days off means less time to get things done. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed with work and holiday deadlines coming up fast.

The fix: Help your employees relax a little by making them feel valued. Let them know their hard work isn’t going unnoticed. You can even encourage employees to identify which colleagues are going the extra mile, and reward them with gifts.

2. Unhealthy eating

Plenty of sugary food options are always floating around during the holidays. All of the cookies and eggnog can really make your employees feel sluggish.

Encourage your employees to make better choices by hosting a healthy potluck. You can even turn this initiative into a weight loss competition to keep the good food choices going.

3. Finances

With the average American shopper expecting to spend almost $1,000 this holiday season, it’s no wonder money is on everyone’s mind.

Financial wellness workshops or budget planning seminars could really help your employees come up with a realistic budget and control their holiday spending. The less they’re worrying about money, the more employees will be able to focus on their work.

4. Depression

The holidays aren’t a joyful time for everyone. Some employees could be struggling with sad memories that resurface around this time of year.

When it comes to mental health, openness is always a good way to go. Encourage employees to discuss these feelings with each other in a supportive group setting. This can allow employees to help each other find solutions and make anxious workers feel less alone.

5. Illnesses

With the holiday season comes cold and flu season, too. Getting sick when you have a million things to get done can be disastrous.

It’s important to remind your employees about good hygiene practices. Make it clear that anyone who’s sick needs to stay home; the last thing you need is half the office out with the flu. Distributing handbooks or posters with tips to stay healthy can be a big help, too.

 

You can read the original article here.

Source:
Mucha R. (16 November 2017). "It’s the most stressful time of the year: 5 tips to get your employees through the holidays" [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.hrmorning.com/its-the-most-stressful-time-of-the-year-5-tips-to-get-your-employees-through-the-holidays/


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