How to Complain at Work the Right Way and Get Ahead | Kanebridge News
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,526,212 (+1.41%)       Melbourne $950,600 (-0.81%)       Brisbane $848,079 (+0.39%)       Adelaide $783,680 (+0.69%)       Perth $722,301 (+0.42%)       Hobart $727,777 (-0.40%)       Darwin $644,340 (-0.88%)       Canberra $873,193 (-2.75%)       National $960,316 (+0.31%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $711,149 (+0.79%)       Melbourne $480,050 (-0.07%)       Brisbane $471,869 (+1.52%)       Adelaide $395,455 (-0.79%)       Perth $396,215 (+0.44%)       Hobart $535,914 (-1.67%)       Darwin $365,715 (+0.11%)       Canberra $487,485 (+1.06%)       National $502,310 (+0.25%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,985 (+170)       Melbourne 11,869 (-124)       Brisbane 8,074 (+47)       Adelaide 2,298 (-22)       Perth 6,070 (+20)       Hobart 993 (+24)       Darwin 282 (-4)       Canberra 809 (+43)       National 39,380 (+154)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 7,927 (+125)       Melbourne 6,997 (+50)       Brisbane 1,822 (+3)       Adelaide 488 (+5)       Perth 1,915 (-1)       Hobart 151 (+3)       Darwin 391 (-9)       Canberra 680 (+5)       National 20,371 (+181)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $750 (-$20)       Melbourne $580 ($0)       Brisbane $590 (+$10)       Adelaide $570 (-$5)       Perth $600 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 (+$5)       Canberra $670 (+$10)       National $633 (-$1)                    UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $700 (-$20)       Melbourne $558 (+$8)       Brisbane $590 ($0)       Adelaide $458 (-$3)       Perth $550 ($0)       Hobart $450 ($0)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $540 (-$10)       National $559 (-$4)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,224 (-134)       Melbourne 5,097 (+90)       Brisbane 3,713 (-84)       Adelaide 1,027 (-3)       Perth 1,568 (-46)       Hobart 471 (-3)       Darwin 127 (+13)       Canberra 658 (-32)       National 17,885 (-199)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,171 (-343)       Melbourne 5,447 (-170)       Brisbane 1,682 (-22)       Adelaide 329 (+3)       Perth 561 (-11)       Hobart 159 (-6)       Darwin 176 (+16)       Canberra 597 (-12)       National 17,122 (-545)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.56% (↓)       Melbourne 3.17% (↓)     Brisbane 3.62% (↑)        Adelaide 3.78% (↓)       Perth 4.32% (↓)     Hobart 3.93% (↑)      Darwin 5.65% (↑)      Canberra 3.99% (↑)        National 3.43% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.12% (↓)       Melbourne 6.04% (↓)       Brisbane 6.50% (↓)     Adelaide 6.02% (↑)        Perth 7.22% (↓)     Hobart 4.37% (↑)      Darwin 7.82% (↑)        Canberra 5.76% (↓)       National 5.79% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 1.0% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.8% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)        Perth 0.4% (↓)       Hobart 1.2% (↓)     Darwin 0.5% (↑)      Canberra 1.5% (↑)      National 0.8% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND         Sydney 1.3% (↓)     Melbourne 1.6% (↑)      Brisbane 0.9% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.7% (↑)      Hobart 2.2% 2.0% (↑)      Darwin 1.0% (↑)        Canberra 1.7% (↓)     National 1.3% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND       Sydney 27.0 (↑)        Melbourne 28.3 (↓)     Brisbane 32.3 (↑)      Adelaide 26.3 (↑)      Perth 34.9 (↑)        Hobart 33.4 (↓)     Darwin 48.7 (↑)        Canberra 27.6 (↓)     National 32.3 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 27.0 (↓)       Melbourne 29.0 (↓)     Brisbane 33.0 (↑)        Adelaide 27.5 (↓)     Perth 38.2 (↑)      Hobart 33.4 (↑)      Darwin 48.3 (↑)      Canberra 33.2 (↑)      National 33.7 (↑)            
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How to Complain at Work the Right Way and Get Ahead

Speaking up gracefully can impress your boss and help solve problems fast

Mon, Apr 24, 2023 8:48amGrey Clock 4 min

Want to advance your career? Learn to complain well.

Stay silent and you’ll stew in resentment and let burgeoning problems fester. Speak up and you can alert leaders to hidden issues, fix the frustrating parts of your job and show you’re ready for the next step up.

Of course, you have to do it gracefully—or risk becoming the department whiner.

“You really don’t want to come in as, ‘Woe is me,’” says Dina Denham Smith, a San Francisco-area executive coach who works with clients such as DocuSign Inc. and Adobe Inc.

In recent months, she has heard from leaders frustrated by hefty workloads and head counts hollowed out by layoffs. Some managers and employees are irked by negative performance reviews they see as unfair, as companies move on from an era of gentle feedback and look for new ways to cull the ranks.

Ms. Smith advises clients to approach their bosses armed with potential solutions. Stick to the facts, and the impact the problem is having on the business. If your team is too small, what projects are suffering? What opportunities are you having to forgo because of this roadblock?

Lay out what you have tried so far to show you have taken initiative. Don’t be accusatory or gossipy. Pitch your proposed fix, but leave the door open for their input.

“Do you see other paths?” Ms. Smith recommends asking. If you rally your manager’s help in figuring out a solution, she will be more bought in and fight harder to get the change done with her higher-ups.

The words you use matter, says Jim Detert, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and author of a book about speaking up at work. He advises avoiding overly definitive statements such as, “It’s obvious we should fix this,” or “It’s so clear we have a problem,” so you don’t alienate anybody who might think it’s ambiguous.

Other triggering phrases involve frequency, for instance, “You never do this,” or “You always do that.” The person you’re complaining to will immediately focus on trying to disprove your point, Dr. Detert says.

“You lose credibility because now you’ve sort of exposed yourself as exaggerating or ignoring inconvenient data,” he says.

Start statements with “we,” not “I,” showing you’re on the same team. To link ideas, use “and” not “but.” For example, instead of saying “I know this is your baby, but we need to move on,” try, “We’ve had a great start, and I have some ideas to take it to the next level.” The listener will feel less threatened, Dr. Detert says.

Remember that fielding complaints can be exhausting for the boss, who is often bombarded daily by pleas for resources, gripes about teammates and vaguely passive-aggressive demands from the head of that other department.

“We’re your workplace, not your babysitter,” says Ted Blosser, chief executive of WorkRamp, a maker of training software. Over the past several years, he says he has dealt with employee grumbles about everything from the company’s optional holiday party to burnout in folks’ personal lives.

These days, with the mood in tech shifting, he advises managers to keep conversations with workers centred on the nine to five. Constructive complaints about the business are fine in doses, he says, recommending workers focus 90% of their communication to higher-ups on general updates and showing they are doing the work. For the remaining sliver that is griping, be positive and concise, he says, and come armed with data to show the problem you are highlighting matters.

For instance, one of Mr. Blosser’s managers scheduled a 15-minute Zoom chat with him to point out that the company’s sales pitch was weak. She tallied up customer reactions and pinpointed the exact slides that weren’t resonating, he says. She didn’t blame the marketing team for the original language that wasn’t working. Impressed with her candour and proposed solution (new slides that ended up closing sales), Mr. Blosser now goes to her when he needs advice.

In addition to impressing a higher-up, complaining well could improve your performance.

A recent study by researchers including Dr. Detert found that sales employees at an insurance company who vented to peers about problems posted a 10% decline in performance. When workers took issues to their bosses, their performance increased by up to 15%. Instead of wasting time grousing, they brought the problem to someone who could do something about it, Dr. Detert says.

Unleashing your complaints without restraint can backfire. When Matt Plummer was denied a promotion at a previous consulting job, he immediately launched into a speech about how being passed over sent a message to all high-performers at the firm. He warned there would be an exodus as a result.

“As you can imagine, it didn’t go over well,” says Mr. Plummer, now the head of Zarvana, a coaching and corporate training firm. Though he earned the promotion during a subsequent review cycle, he says, the senior leader he complained to ignored him for months.

Now, when frustrated by criticism or a project gone awry, he forces himself to pause before deciding what to share.

Adam Steel, a scientist in the Baltimore area, used his commute to a previous employer to vent to an audience of one. There, in the privacy of his car, he would rehearse his points out loud.

“I would have these kinds of fictional arguments,” he says.

The exercise got the emotion out, and he’d sometimes realise his concerns were petty or easily slapped down by counterpoints. At the office, Dr. Steel would stress-test his complaints again with a close circle of peers, gauging whether the offending issue was affecting only him.

If so, he would stand down. If not, he’d speak up to his bosses. Calmly.

“So much depends,” he says, “on how you do it.”


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First, the good news for office landlords: A post-Labor Day bump nudged return-to-office rates in mid-September to their highest level since the onset of the pandemic.

Now the bad: Office attendance in big cities is still barely half of what it was in 2019, and company get-tough measures are proving largely ineffective at boosting that rate much higher.

Indeed, a number of forces—from the prospect of more Covid-19 cases in the fall to a weakening economy—could push the return rate into reverse, property owners and city officials say.

More than before, chief executives at blue-chip companies are stepping up efforts to fill their workspace. Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Amazon and JPMorgan Chase are among the companies that have recently vowed to get tougher on employees who don’t show upIn August, Meta told employees they could face disciplinary action if they regularly violate new workplace rules.

But these actions haven’t yet moved the national return rate needle much, and a majority of companies remain content to allow employees to work at least part-time remotely despite the tough talk.

Most employees go into offices during the middle of the week, but floors are sparsely populated on Mondays and Fridays. In Chicago, some September days had a return rate of over 66%. But it was below 30% on Fridays. In New York, it ranges from about 25% to 65%, according to Kastle Systems, which tracks security-card swipes.

Overall, the average return rate in the 10 U.S. cities tracked by Kastle Systems matched the recent high of 50.4% of 2019 levels for the week ended Sept. 20, though it slid a little below half the following week.

The disappointing return rates are another blow to office owners who are struggling with vacancy rates near record highs. The national office average vacancy rose to 19.2% last quarter, just below the historical peak of 19.3% in 1991, according to Moody’s Analytics preliminary third-quarter data.

Business leaders in New York, Detroit, Seattle, Atlanta and Houston interviewed by The Wall Street Journal said they have seen only slight improvements in sidewalk activity and attendance in office buildings since Labor Day.

“It feels a little fuller but at the margins,” said Sandy Baruah, chief executive of the Detroit Regional Chamber, a business group.

Lax enforcement of return-to-office rules is one reason employees feel they can still work from home. At a roundtable business discussion in Houston last week, only one of the 12 companies that attended said it would enforce a return-to-office policy in performance reviews.

“It was clearly a minority opinion that the others shook their heads at,” said Kris Larson, chief executive of Central Houston Inc., a group that promotes business in the city and sponsored the meeting.

Making matters worse, business leaders and city officials say they see more forces at work that could slow the return to office than those that could accelerate it.

Covid-19 cases are up and will likely increase further in the fall and winter months. “If we have to go back to distancing and mask protocols, that really breaks the office culture,” said Kathryn Wylde, head of the business group Partnership for New York City.

Many cities are contending with an increase in homelessness and crime. San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., which are struggling with these problems, are among the lowest return-to-office cities in the Kastle System index.

About 90% of members surveyed by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce said that the city couldn’t recover until homelessness and public safety problems were addressed, said Rachel Smith, chief executive. That is taken into account as companies make decisions about returning to the office and how much space they need, she added.

Cuts in government services and transportation are also taking a toll. Wait times for buses run by Houston’s Park & Ride system, one of the most widely used commuter services, have increased partly because of labor shortages, according to Larson of Central Houston.

The commute “is the remaining most significant barrier” to improving return to office, Larson said.

Some landlords say that businesses will have more leverage in enforcing return-to-office mandates if the economy weakens. There are already signs of such a shift in cities that depend heavily on the technology sector, which has been seeing slowing growth and layoffs.

But a full-fledged recession could hurt office returns if it results in widespread layoffs. “Maybe you get some relief in more employees coming back,” said Dylan Burzinski, an analyst with real-estate analytics firm Green Street. “But if there are fewer of those employees, it’s still a net negative for office.”

The sluggish return-to-office rate is leading many city and business leaders to ask the federal government for help. A group from the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition recently met with elected officials in Washington, D.C., lobbying for incentives for businesses that make commitments to U.S. downtowns.

Baruah, from the Detroit chamber, was among the group. He said the chances of such legislation being passed were low. “We might have to reach crisis proportions first,” he said. “But we’re trying to lay the groundwork now.”


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