Author Archives: bizcombuzz

Young Workers’ Loneliness Affects Companies

Even before COVID-19 forced employees to work from home, many millennials and Gen Z hires experienced loneliness and emptiness on a professional level, according to a recent survey. Using the well-established  UCLA Loneliness Scale, health insurer Cigna surveyed more than 10,000 people and found that more than 80 percent of Gen Z and 69 percent of millennials not only considered themselves lonely but found that their values conflicted with their company’s.

The reasons for loneliness, at least, are likely a result of isolation due to communication styles, researchers conjectured. Younger workers tend to forego telephone calls in lieu of electronic messaging via text and e-mail, which limits one-on-one contact. The preponderance of telecommuting further adds to the sense of isolation, the survey’s authors speculated.

Another finding saw a connection between social media use and loneliness. Heavy social media users were more lonely than light social media users, confirming the theory that having hundreds of friends on social media does not help individuals feel more connected.

Related research has found that lonely workers take more sick days and miss more work as a result of stress. They also are less committed to their work and therefore often receive lower performance ratings. Loneliness can be nearly as contagious as the flu, making the problem one that managers need to heed, especially in light of the pandemic.


  1. What problems can you foresee if a manager approached an employee to discuss that individual’s feelings of loneliness or mental health?
  2. What are some ways companies can help their employees avoid alienation and loneliness?
  3. What can employees do to help themselves feel less lonely and isolated on the job?

From The Wall Street Journal

Make the Last Day of Class a Great One

[Instructors: This post was written before COVID-19 closed our campuses. Still, many of the activities listed below are still applicable.]

In the busy weeks at the end of a semester, it’s easy to overlook creating meaningful activities for the final day of class. However, the last meeting can provide an excellent teaching opportunity that also reinforces pedagogical objectives. Below are ideas for activities on the last day of a term.

Connect coursework to future careers. This activity is tailor-made to the business communication classroom. Discuss why effective writing and oral communication can help advance careers. Cite from surveys and studies that talk about employers’ most wanted qualities in new-hires—excellent communication skills always top the lists. Then have students work together to discuss how they foresee using what they have learned when they enter the workplace.

Review course objectives. Provide an overview of the course’s goals, touching on how the assignments and tests helped to teach and reinforce those goals. Then allow students to work in small groups to create informal presentations of their favorite assignment.

Ask the class to address future students. Having current class members write letters to future students forces critical thinking and reflection. Request that current students include what new students can expect to learn and to give advice for success (e.g. do the readings, go to office hours, and the like.) Note: Be sure to obtain permission from current students to distribute the letters in the future.)

Assign an in-class reflection about individual experiences. Give students a prompt to guide them through a written reflection about what they learned about course content.

Share projects. If students have worked on a major project, have them share their work. Allow students to move around the room to see what their classmates have achieved.

Have a potluck. Students love free food, and a celebratory potluck in the classroom (or outside on a nice day) is a fun way to end the semester. Provide a sign-up sheet so all students commit to bring something.  [COVID-19 take on this activity: Ask students to bring a favorite treat to the last session. Allow each student to explain the choice.]

Give a mini-quiz. Have students write three of the most important takeaways from the class. Give them 10 minutes to write, after which you can ask a few students to volunteer to read their responses and explain their reasoning. These “quizzes” can be added to the final grade or not.

Whatever you choose to do on your last day, The Guffey Team wishes you a wonderful summer! See you in the fall!

Harvard Prof Says Hard Work Isn’t Enough… Cover Letter No-Nos… Making Slide Presentations Short and Effective

Harvard Prof Says Hard Work Isn’t Enough

Hard work alone is not always enough to succeed in the workplace, according to new research published by Harvard professor Laura Huang. Huang says that many times racial stereotypes, gender inequity, and just plain unfairness surpass doing a job well.

In her new book, Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage, Huang identifies tips to further careers.

  • Know your strengths. Be aware of what separates you from others and adds value to an organization. Define your “circle of competence” and focus on what you do best.
  • Understand your limits. Know what you cannot do, but do not let those constraints define you. Focus instead on what makes you unique.
  • Surprise skeptics. The best way to overcome skepticism is to find commonalities, which Huang labels “points of connection,” and relate these shared ideas or experiences in a way that elicits a positive response: think storytelling.
  • Control how others perceive you. Be mindful of how others see you. If they have the wrong impression, guide them away from those incorrect notions by leading them to the real you.

From Harvard Business School

Cover Letter No-Nos

Since cover letters are critical for hirers to learn more about an applicant, experts suggest avoiding the following standardized phrases to avoid turning readers off.

To Whom It May Concern. The best choice is to address a cover letter to a decision-maker, but if a specific individual is impossible to locate, write “Dear Hiring Manager.”

Hope to hear from you soon. “Hope” suggests the possibility of not hearing from the hirer. Instead write “I look forward to speaking to you soon about the job opportunity.” 

I believe, I think. These phrases are unnecessary; why else would you write what follows? Write assertively, “I am the best fit for the position because of X, Y, and Z.”

Finally, a cover letter should never describe how a particular job will help the applicant or that the job seeker needs the job. No company is in business to help employees’ careers. Rather, the cover letter should explain how the applicants’ skill set will help the firm.


Making Slide Presentations Short and Effective

 Research has shown that people simply cannot listen and read slides at the same time, making long talks accompanied by wordy slides ineffective. However, a company with an odd name—PechaKucha, Japanese for chit chat—offers an antidote to long, text-heavy PowerPoint presentations.

Developed in Japan by two European architects some 15 years ago, PechaKucha (pronounced pe-chok-cha) was originally a slideshare presentation format. PechaKucha the company named itself after that format and was formed in 2018.

PechaKucha presentations use the 20×20 formula, a highly efficient narrative format that recognizes audience’s limitations and that has gained popularity over the last decade. It allows speakers no more than 20 slides that advance every 20 seconds, making the presentation last no more than six minutes and 40 seconds, similar to a YouTube slide show. The platform is used by students and businesses alike to drive a point home succinctly and effectively by cutting the copy and keeping the material snappy.

The app doesn’t offer users many options, which helps keep presentations short and more interesting. Slides may only contain images and a few words of text.