The Power of Music in the Workplace

Whether it’s planned or not – music is a part of our daily lives. Ranging from the rhythmic beating of our hearts, to the playlists we create for ourselves, or even attending a musical event. We know and have experienced the affect that music has on our mood, memories and emotions. But is this appropriate for the workplace? One of the greatest things about music is that it’s an experience. In the office, it is not a tangible substance that we can see, touch or change – but we can perceive the meaning and harmonies differently. Studies have shown that more upbeat music tends to create a positive, happy feeling, whereas slower melodies will often form a calmer, more relaxed environment. There are positive and negative forces behind the debate for music in the office – POSITIVE: Music contributes to a relaxed environment Can reduce stress Encourage a good mood of employees Creates rhythm to which people can work – increasing productivity Acts as a buffer to other office distractions NEGATIVE: Not everyone finds music stimulating Can possibly be more of a distraction, decreasing productivity Different personalities prefer different types of music – can cause office tensions Not appropriate in...Read More

The Future is Female

The 9th of August is National Woman’s Day, but with our natural female flair – the whole of August has become worth celebrating. The 9th is a day which commemorates a march of more than 20 000 women in 1956. A day where women protested laws that suppressed women during the apartheid era. For the 1st time, the world saw the strength of women, and this month, we want to encourage that inner-strength, for yourself & for the ladies around you. The most common benefits of supporting each other as women, include the following: Community – as women, we naturally ‘flock’ together and share information. Being a part of something bigger encourages inclusivity and offers resources and skills that vary greatly. A Solid Foundation for Success – this empowering environment can provide a stable platform for each woman to build upon. This will create a network of successful women, inspiring others to do the same Defeat Imposter Syndrome – a supportive environment allows the freedom to ask questions and speak up. This encourages a sharing of challenges that others may not necessarily understand, unifying women, and creating balance. Even though this kind of behaviour should be second nature, we live...Read More

Finding Financial Independence

As June comes to an end, we have made it through the first 6 months of the year. It’s been a tough year for many. Retrenchments have become an ever-looming reality for thousands of people. As individuals, we are not able to fight the poverty giant or take on the nations unemployment rate, but we can build our own financial independence. By making the decision to control your own finances, rather than letting your finances control you – you can take charge of your life, and enjoy the freedom to live, rather than survive. We have identified 5 tips to create your own financial independence for the remainder of the year: 1 – Set Realistic Financial Goals: have a vision of what you would like to achieve and align it with your current financial status. Give yourself time to achieve your goals, and don’t be afraid to get some financial advice in order to get there. 2 – Don’t Over-Spend: This seems fairly obvious, but as our demand for goods and service increases, so does the necessity to spend. Make a point of spending less than you earn and fight debt where possible. 3 – Identify “The Necessities” in Your...Read More

Skills Required For Administrators In The New World Of Work

This article first appeared on the Skills Portal Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 09:36 Author: Catarina Allison As we sit and stare at the “new world of work” that has become a reality since the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we are forced to face the fact that our job requirements are changing, and our skills are becoming “outdated”. As the market adapts, it’s imperative that we change with it. Staying relevant by attending industry Conferences and Events, that are specific to your job function, will help you to stay on top of the latest trends and will ensure that you are prepared for the changes to come.   Another advantage of attending a conference or similar event, is that they allow you to build a strong network and provide a great opportunity for you to connect with likeminded professionals. The 12th Annual Joburg Secretaries Day Conference will be taking place on 4 – 5 September 2019 and is an event specifically aimed at Administrative Professionals (AP’s), Executive Assistants (EA’s) and Personal Assistants (PA’s).  Catarina Allison, Director of KumaloGreen (the conference organisers) says that “Gone are the days of typing, proof-reading, making coffee and answering phones. AP’s, EA’s and PA’s need to be...Read More

The 3 Rules you Learnt in School that will Improve your Writing

This article first appeared on the Skills PortalWednesday, May 29, 2019 - 09:01Author: Catarina Allison Written communication can have a greater impact on our professional image than we realise. It assists in getting a message across to colleagues, staff, clients and community. By making even the smallest grammatical error, you could be portraying a message of unreliability, inaccuracy, and poor-quality service. Here are 3 basic rules we learnt in school, which still apply in business: Syntax Syntax is the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences.  English generally operates under the SVO order (Subject – Verb – Object). Below we have examples of correct and incorrect SVO order: The cat (subject) washes (verb) it’s paw (object) - correct                       The cat (subject) washes (verb) their paws (object) - incorrect Why is the second sentence above incorrect? Because the cat is singular and is only washing one paw, which is also singular.                              Punctuation There are 12 punctuation marks that are commonly used and using them incorrectly could change the entire meaning of the sentence. Ie: Lets eat Granpa! vs Lets eat, Grandpa! Have completely different meanings. So, unless you want to feast on your immediate family, I suggest you have a...Read More

5 Techniques that Make Minute Taking Easy

This article first appeared on the Skills PortalFriday, May 31, 2019 - 09:25Author: Catarina Allison Over the years, KumaloGreen has trained hundreds of people who come to us for help with their minute taking. Many delegates find taking down minutes very stressful and feel that because they can’t speed write and do short-hand, they are unable to take down minutes effectively. If you are one of those people, we’d like to help you and assure you that, minute taking is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice. Below we have narrowed down the top 5 tips and tricks of note-taking that our delegates have found most useful: Create an outline – This comes from knowing the agenda before the meeting takes place. Using this as a template can help you be prepared for what’s coming and speed up the time of note taking. Use the agenda points as the “headings” and make sure you have enough space under each one for any notes you may jot down.Listen before writing – If you start recording the point of order as soon as the speaker begins, you will be tempted to write down word for word what is being said....Read More

Tips to Help you Clean Up your Digital Chaos

We have come to rely heavily on our technological devices, apps, syncing programs and social media in order to function effectively. But, just as clutter and chaos can cause anxiety and a feeling of being overwhelmed in our physical world, we can experience the same feeling in our virtual world. In fact, it could even be worse in our virtual world. In the physical world, we may be surrounded by ‘stuff’, but these physical objects don’t suddenly jump up at us and demand our attention. Our chaotic work desk, filled with papers, stationery and coffee cups, doesn’t make a noise, or insist on our full focus. Our virtual world, on the other hand – does exactly that. Digital clutter shows up in many different forms. For instance, as we work on our laptops, email notifications pop up, push notifications from Facebook buzz on our phones, and calendar reminders for birthdays ping on your tablet. Another form of virtual clutter is what is commonly known as “virtual hoarding”. Just because we have the ability to store all the emails, files, pictures, music etc that we could ever need, doesn’t mean that we should. The most common reason for this storage is...Read More

5 Ways To Be More Assertive and Less Aggressive

This article first appeared on the Skills PortalTuesday, May 21, 2019 - 09:32Author: Catarina Allison If you google “What's the difference between being assertive and aggressive” the first answer you will get is: Assertive people state their opinions, while still being respectful of others. Aggressive people attack or ignore others' opinions in favour of their own. Passive people don't state their opinions at all. As you can see, it’s essential to build your assertiveness skills, if you want to thrive in your diverse workplace. Here are 5 easy steps you can take that will help you to become more assertive: i) Be a good listener – They say that the smartest people, say the least. Listening to the other person’s perspective shows respect. To show respect, you need to be really listening and not merely thinking of what your own response will be, while the other person is talking. If you really listen you will get to know the other person’s view holistically, which will help you to make your point more effectively. ii) Make eye-contact, and keep a positive posture – Be sure not to stare – that can be a little aggressive, but if you keep eye-contact with someone for about 70% of...Read More

Building Resilience In Your Admin Role

This article first appeared on The Skills PortalThursday, May 16, 2019 - 14:40Author:Cindy Payle When you think about an administrative role, resilience is probably not the first word that comes to mind. But according to Catarina Allison, Director of KumaloGreen Training "being resilient is no longer an option, it’s a necessity, if you want to thrive in your role." Why has resilience become such an important trait in the administrative field? Mainly because of the speed at which companies need to adapt to environmental changes. "In today's complex and busy admin role, things change continuously and things change fast." What does it mean to be resilient? Having resilience means that you are able to anticipate risks and feel comfortable with change, explains Allison. Resilient people are able to "harness the power of change". Resilience refers to an internal strength and flexibility that is not threatened by external circumstances. "When you are resilient, you are able to limit the damage during turbulent times, absorb the hard knocks when things get tough and quickly regroup and bounce back when the worst happens." "This is exactly the kind of skill that will make you an invaluable admin and an asset to your team."   How can...Read More

Stay Super-charged this Winter

As the days get shorter, and the nights get longer, our bad habits start to form. Our exercise gets less, the bread, wine and chocolates get more – and our complaining never stops! As we head into our winter months, we would like to challenge you to keep #TakingControl, and to look after yourself. Last month, we had daily activities to cleanse the mind, focusing on mental health – and this month, we want to expand on the holistic view of health – and tackle the physical aspect. We all know how to keep healthy – we’ve heard it our whole lives: Eat right; Exercise daily; Drink lots of water; Get some proper sleep; blah blah blah…. So why is it so hard? Why are there so many temptations in and around our environment convincing us to the do the opposite? We know what to do, but it just seems like we never have the time to care for ourselves, or the will power to put in the effort needed. In order to achieve our goals, they need to be broken down into bite size chunks. So let’s try to focus on only 4 areas to improve our health: Physical...Read More