Tips For Working Through The Holiday Blahs

Thanksgiving week not only commemorates the pilgrims’ grateful celebration with their Native American neighbors, it also marks the unofficial start of the winter holiday season in the U.S. (including Hanukkah this year).

In most cases, this is the week when U.S. businesses begin rewarding employees with early release days and extra time off to enjoy the festivities.

Not surprisingly, it’s expected that productivity will suffer a bit over the next 35 or so days. But, we do still have jobs to do and work that must get done. The challenge is finding the energy and drive to work when all you want to do is hit the holiday eggnog and cozy up by a crackling fire.

ToDoAs virtual workers and PR pros to boot, we know a thing or two about working smart, so we’ve compiled a few tips to help you stay productive through the holidays:

  • Just say no to big projects – contrary to popular belief, this is not the best time to start in on a big project, especially one that requires collaboration with your colleagues who may be less present than usual. If you really feel the need to get started, though, focus on getting organized. Identify the people, tools and time you’ll need to deliver the best result. Communicate your needs and deadlines to collaborators as soon as possible and build in extra time to account for the holiday schedule.
  •  Plan for time off – whether it’s your own holiday vacation or your colleagues’, it’s important to communicate and plan for coverage and contingencies (weather delays, sickness, etc.). If you need help with an assignment, give your coworkers plenty of notice and information to accomplish the task in your absence.
  • Focus on work – with retailers’ propensity to pre-announce Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals well in advance of the actual sale dates, it’s easy to get sidetracked at work. But limit holiday shopping to personal time and focus your work hours on work. The days will fly by, and you’ll be showrooming before you know it.
  • Stack small tasks – rather than tackling that big project, now’s a great time to attend to smaller, less time-consuming (yet still important) tasks, such as updating your databases or writing a blog post. Get after that stack of small tasks, and you’ll soon be feeling much more merry and productive.
  • Get organized – As the end of the year approaches, spend some time organizing your workspace for success. Clean out your inbox, organize your files, archive old emails, toss old magazines and unsubscribe from unread or irrelevant newsletters.

Don’t let the glow of the holiday lights lure you to the dark side. Stay focused, and make the most of the season to catch up (and perhaps even get ahead) amidst all the holiday cheer. Then in January, when your colleagues are complaining about how far behind they are, you can relax a bit, knowing you rang in 2014 with a fresh start, a clean slate and a great attitude!

Saying Thanks

It’s that time of year again – time to say thanks to clients, partners, staff and others who we have the pleasure of working with. We’re very grateful for everyone who has supported us in one way or another this year – from referrals, to recommendations for great new staff members, to sharing our content and reading, Tweeting, following, liking, Pinning or otherwise spreading the word about what we’re doing at PerkettPR for our clients.

 

Thank you!

As for what else we’re grateful for? It varies, of course, but the overwhelming response from staff was gratitude for family and friends. We think we’re nice people – and we also like working with nice people. Here’s what some of our own nice staff members had to say about what they’re grateful for:

 

I am so thankful for my family and friends as well as clients’ and co-workers’ support this year. While we have likely all had ups and downs this year, Thanksgiving is a great time look back on the good times and good people in your lives and tell them how much you love and appreciate them. Hug your family and friends, be kind to one another, and enjoy every moment of togetherness the holidays bring.

 

I am thankful for my health and home, my work and art. I am thankful for my wife and her wisdom, my children and their innocence. I am thankful for bacon. But I am most thankful this time of year when everyone sets aside their differences to remember what it means to be human and to enjoy one another.

 

Grateful most of all for my family’s health.

 

I am thankful that through my wife Laura’s efforts, 1,500 dogs have been saveed that would have otherwise been put to death.  Check out her efforts at www.dogsneedhomes.blogspot.com.

 

I’m grateful for friends and family – they brighten each and every day throughout the year, but I’m particularly thankful to be able to celebrate them around the holidays!

 

I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the great PR pros at Perkett!!

 

I am grateful for all the men and women in the military that risk their lives for us each and every day.

 

I’m grateful to live in a country where I have the freedom to choose and to make my own way. From the opportunity to work, to vote, to become a parent; to marry who I want, to buy a home, or a car, or a horse if I want to – every day I get to make choices that we all too often take for granted. And of course, I am grateful for friends and family who encourage me to never give up, always believe in myself, and to work hard to achieve my dreams.

 

Happy Thanksgiving – what will you be saying “Thanks” for this year?

 

 

 

 

Thanks From PerkettPR

It’s that time of year again when we take a day off in the U.S. to breathe a little more, slow down (even if for just one day), think about the blessings in our life and thank those around us who make it better every day. I asked the PerkettPR team what they’re grateful for this year, and here are some of the answers:

  • I’m grateful for great friends, family and food this Thanksgiving – not to mention four days of being able to sleep in (forget those Black Friday lines; I’m thankful for online shopping!) – Jennifer
  • I am thankful for my kids – they are the funniest, smartest, craziest kids I know. They teach me more than I teach them and I am amazed by their generosity, patience, understanding, humor, intelligence and politeness every single day. – Lisa
  • I am thankful to have found such a great group of people to work with; I have been renewed with an overall sense of optimism and positivity. Thank you! – Vic
  • A lot can change in a year and this year especially I am thankful for good health, family, and best friends. – Johanna
  • This has been a rough year, but with the hard times, comes the much needed reminder of all the blessings in my life. I’m so grateful that my kids were able to spend some time with my dad before he passed away this fall. I’m grateful for my husband who is endlessly supportive and generous. I’m thankful to have a good job and a fantastic group of colleagues – and one amazing boss — who not only inspire me with their work ethic every day, but understand and respect that we each have personal lives and responsibilities and graciously offer their support when needed. Finally, I’m grateful for this moment — a few minutes in the midst of a busy day to reflect on what’s truly important and give thanks. Wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. – Crystal
  • Things I am grateful for this year – My Dad surviving his first (and second) heart attack last week, the doctors who saved him and the wonderful family and friends that have been so supportive with it all.  Also thankful to have a career I love, the great community that I live in and the health and happiness of my family and friends. – Susan
  • I am thankful for good health! – Stephanie
  • I’m thankful for so many things but one thing I actually smiled about the other day (as I was driving home from helping my son’s first-grade class make cookies for charity) is how thankful I am to have a job that I love that also allows me the flexibility to be so involved in my children’s lives and take part in moments like that that are so special to them and me. – Kristen

From a professional standpoint, I can say that I am most grateful for my team at PerkettPR. They are hard working, intelligent, creative, patient, supportive of each other and fun to work with. They are also extremely loyal and committed to our clients. They get results, and they have a camaraderie that makes our culture what it is – leaving egos at the door, digging in and working together towards mutual success every day. Thanks guys, I’m proud to work with each and everyone of you.

I’m also grateful for our clients. Each time we build a positive new relationship, it’s a feeling of pride. The best clients are honest, open communicators and I’m grateful for what I learn from them – and the respect that they give us in listening to and learning from us – as well as the respect they give me and my team. I’m especially grateful for those clients that rehire us time and time again as they move along to other companies throughout their careers. It’s an honor and a privilege to work with them over the years – even decades! It means they respect us, our work and what value we provide, and we build long-lasting, fruitful relationships and friendships. Special thanks to those clients like Donna Parent at Aternity Inc., Parker Trewin at Mindjet and others who have recently returned that I can’t yet mention!

I’m also extremely grateful for the community that supports PerkettPR every day through reading or participating in interviews on our blog, liking our Facebook or Google+ pages, interacting with us there, sharing ideas, spreading the love for our clients, trying their products and apps, following us on Twitter, inviting us to speak at events, etc. We have met many clients, friends, supporters and industry colleagues through these networks, and it has enriched not only our daily work, but our business.

Thank you!

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Please share in the comments!

 

Being Thankful in Business is a Good Thing – Brands that GET IT

We’d like to wish our US-readers a Happy Thanksgiving and send a HUGE thanks to all of our colleagues, clients, community and partners. We’re thankful for your support, your business and your respect.

Over the course of the last two decades I’ve been told more than once that appearing too grateful in business can be a negative thing – putting me in a position of perceived lesser power. I disagree. I think being thankful in business – and for business – is a good thing and I am happy to see social media bringing it more to light. Businesses who appreciate their customers are more likely to reap the rewards of loyalty, repeat business, positive word of mouth and long-term success.

Since I went on a rampage about my negative experience at McGee Toyota recently, I wanted to also take the time to highlight some businesses doing well by their customers. I think it’s important that as our customer voices become louder and more viral, we use them to celebrate what brands are doing right as well. So while I recently gave personal props to Jet Blue and Ideeli, I also took to Twitter and Facebook to ask my community what companies have done right by them recently, and why. Specifically, I asked, “When is the last time a company or brand went above and beyond to make you a happy customer? What did they do?” Here are some of the answers – below. Thanks to everyone who took the time to share and respond, and kudos to the brands who agree – being thankful in business is a good thing.

Chris Theisen: My fav personal experience from @brewhouse http://bit.ly/d2VGn4

Greg Meyer: We had an event at @sushisambachi – they made us feel at home, tweeted about the event, and provided excellent service

Shannon DiGregorio: The Apple store at the Cambridge Gallaria replaced a broken (my fault) iPhone 4 for free after AT&T was awful to me! Love them!

Kristina Bobrowski: @ArtVanFurniture went out of the way to meet my budget/timing needs, & responded to my praise on here. @netflix impressed me too.. My DVDs weren’t coming- they sent me 3 at once to tide me over while they fixed it

Chad Northrup: It was @supercuts. Got a bad haircut yesterday, so returned in the evening. They fixed it AND made my next cut free #custserv

Frank Eliason: my former company, Comcast has been working hard to improve (google my name and Comcast). My current company, Citi, is working to improve http://new.citi.com/2010/11/together-we-are-building-a-stronger-citi-for-you.shtml

 

And from Facebook, where I did not include my friends’ names because it’s permission-based (vs Twitter, which is public), here are the replies:

American Express has the nicest customer service people I have ever talked to. Except for maybe Southwest’s. They always say things like “we’ll take care of that right now for you” or “make sure you have a great day.” Sounds simple but stands out.

Nordstroms this morning made my entire day – live chat customer support applied a promo code for me after my order was submitted so I would get free shipping on an emergency pair of new heels since the Web site wouldn’t accept the code.

Jouer Cosmetics! BEST customer service. I ordered some makeup and when it arrived two of the lipsticks were smooshed at the top. I called to let them know about it, without any expectations. I just wanted them to know about it. They sen…t me two more lipsticks for free and I got to keep the ones I already had. The lipsticks were like $22 each. Also, Huggies…we got a big box of diapers and one whole sleeve of diapers was defective. The tape wasn’t long enough and every time we tried to put them on the baby, it would rip. I called Huggies and the woman was so apologetic. She sent coupons-one for an entire box for free. You know how expensive diapers are! I was a satisfied customer on both occasions!

I’m a huge fan of  Boston-based Rue La La. Ordered some resin plates. 3 sets of 4. The freight carrier “dropped” them on my front step. 3 of them were damaged. I photographed which patterns were damaged and their amazing Customer Service specialist hunted them down, replaced them AND gave me a $40 credit for all my trouble.

USAA – the very best customer service I’ve ever experienced. Every time I call, they offer to help me with my investments, or just to review where I’m at financially, just to make sure I am ok. They will give advice, give me suggestions where I should be putting money and once even said WOW – you are doing a great job. They never try to get you off the phone or rush you. They will even call and check up on recent investments. They are incredible.

Great Customer Service Department. UPS driver sees me at the mail box five blocks from my home. Stops next to my car. Shouts out “Mr. Corbett, I have a package for you.” Now that is great customer service and an employee who lives well the brand!!! Kudos to UPS!!! Living the Brand!

I also think TMobile has done some serious investment in training their reps. I used to think they were awful, now its almost a pleasure to call in. They make you feel like they are on your side – they say things like “yeah, that would make… me mad too” or “that would definitely not fly with me.” You can’t even get mad because they are so helpful now. I’ve been having major BB issues & the third time I called in the rep said, “well, this is ridiculous that you’ve had to call three times, after you get this replacement, *I* am going to call YOU”See More

The Ritz-Carlton has the absolute best customer service in the world. No matter the property, it is top notch. Bali, Jamaica, etc. – all superb. No one comes close.

Zappos. Order something at 10:00 at night and it’s on your door the next day for free with free return shipping if needed . . . Great example of a company that built it’s culture based on customer service from the day it started as a way to differentiate itself.

Pizza Hut in Big Rapids, MI………..awesome service and the C.J.’s special cannot be beat.

USAA is the best. They go above and beyond every single time.

I have to say that Spectrum Health in Reed City has an outstanding policy for good customer service. If someone asks for directions the employee won’t just point and explain. They escort them to the place with a smile on their face! And during parking lot construction they provided men driving golf carts who were at the car before it stopped to pick you up and take you to the door! Way above and beyond is their policy. They tell employees, “Surprise them (your customer). And they do in a good way.”

I third USAA

Readers – if a brand or company has done right by you lately, won’t you help spread the word and thank them here in the comments? Thanks for reading!

Thanks from PerkettPR

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you enjoy some time with good friends and family and remember all that you have to be thankful for. Inspired by the “thankful videos” posted on Facebook by our client, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, we, too, wanted to share what we are thankful for this year. Here are some of the personal and professional things that some of the staff at PerkettPR wanted to share – how about you?

  • The unbelievable real friendships that I’ve been able to build out of “internet” friendships
  • A great boss that keeps us on top of trends, ahead of the “next best thing” and always pushes us to do better and be better
  • Good health for myself, husband and kids and the extra wisdom to appreciate it
  • Feeling like I share actual office space with people because of the closeness I feel to my colleagues
  • Watching my kids grow and learn
  • Having a supportive and fun team to work with
  • To be working for an amazing organization, whose members impress me every day with their dedication and super-human efforts
  • For my wonderful family and that, someday, my daughter will sleep through the night
  • Good health and great friends
  • The opportunity to engage with co-workers and clients that are continually teaching me new things
  • My wonderful, impish, impulsive, clever 2 year old and the joy he brings to my life (despite the call from daycare that he bit another child)
  • My job, the fact that I get to work virtually, and most importantly the amazing people I’m fortunate enough to work with each day
  • Smart, engaged colleagues who push themselves daily to deliver results
  • The good health of the people I love
  • The daily laughs, good health, and endless support of my sisters, Mom, extended family, and good friends.
  • Working for a company (and with my rockstar co-workers)—that exude passion, creativity, and brilliance on a daily basis
  • My healthy family
  • My truly wonderful co-workers who bring new meaning to the phrase “team work”
  • Clients and team members with great personalities and contagious passion for what they do every day!
  • Having a roof over my head, food in my belly, wine in my glass, and the best family and friends in the world!
  • A healthy family
  • My job – and to have the ability to provide for my family when others are less fortunate
  • A tight group of friends and family and the ability to live closely, so I can hug them often
  • The chance to work with colleagues and clients who have a great sense of humor
  • A healthy family
  • The amazing community that has supported PerkettPR this year: clients, industry colleagues, loyal and amazing staff