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5 ways to keep a harmonious working environment

Regardless of the type of work you do, you will always have to interact with people at one point in your day. You’d have to coordinate, plan, implement or simply chat with them. The success of your work sometimes depends on how stable your working relationships are with your colleagues.

Individual differences in the workplace may either make or break an organization. Different personalities, culture and norms sometimes cause conflicts in the workplace.

So to prevent any unnecessary feuds, here’s a few tips to help you promote harmonious atmosphere in the workplace:

1. Be open
Whether it may be for advices, feedback or even plain small talk, make sure your stance is open and welcoming. Make your colleagues comfortable with you so they can share thoughts and substantial work-related ideas with you. Not only that, but suggestions as well as complaints could spring forth in a comfortable atmosphere. Make sure you make them feel like their voices are heard, because primarily you’re both just humans at the end of the day. A little kindness couldn’t hurt. You could readily make use of it too, so be ready to hand it out too.

2. Appreciate the little things
People work better when they feel that even the smallest efforts are recognized. You may not be in charge of a lot of people in your company, but your subordinates could use a sincere little thank you once in a while. Before you know it, the atmosphere in the office is that of gratitude and motivation. If people feel they are grateful to be in an organization, they will be motivated to go the extra mile.

3. Stay away from gossip
Any idle gossip is fun at first but could breed paranoia and hurt in the long run. Office environments could use a no-gossip rule any day. Gossip is hurtful and shameful, plus it robs the company of precious working time.

4. Breed teamwork
One of the best ways to develop teamwork in an organization is to make sure each one feels valued and recognized. Make an atmosphere where there is respect towards other people’s opinions and ideas. Instead of barking out orders, make sure ideas are well-discussed. If the people feel ownership for the ideas and plans to be done, they will be motivated to push through with it.

5. Be thankful…vocally
Saying thank you is one habit that could do magic for your organization. If people feel valued, they will genuinely work happily. Even in simple favors like holding open the door or the elevator or even letting you get coffee first when you bump into each other in the pantry, being thankful and actually saying it out loud could do you wonders.

5 Ways to Tell a Person is Trustworthy

We have all encountered a lot of people in the circles that we belonged to. Friends and acquaintances from school, academe, church, business and colleagues, it is but natural for us to mingle with others.

Not only in the professional arena of our lives, but more importantly on a personal level, we surely have been familiar with the craft of reading people’s characters on the way they carry themselves before we even want to talk to them. An eye twitch, a certain way they hold a conversation and the overall aura they exude, these all give an impression. And the same goes for us, as well.

Here are six ways to tell whether a person is trustworthy (these are not a definite guarantee, but they might be helpful at some point):

1. Eye contact
Keep appropriate eye contact with the person. When talking, the person who does not waver in looking into your eyes as he speaks usually is telling the truth. Well, some may say that it can be out of practice that he has mastered in looking straight in the eye. But mostly than not, only the one who can make a direct eye contact is the one who can say that he is telling the truth.

2. Body Language
Other than having eye contact, body language is also very much interesting to note. Observe people on the way they carry themselves if they are confident or nervous. Why are they fidgeting? It could be that he is anxiously keeping something to himself.

For business oriented-people and during some negotiation activities, they have learned that by sitting with cross legs and pointing your toes to the person you are convincing has a telepathic effect whereby he seems to believe in what you are saying. Usually, they are convinced. That is magic of it.

3. Keeping Appointments
A man is as good as his word! Now you can start to trust him on this. Seldom can you meet that when you agreed to meet for an appointment, he is there on time. Of course again, business-minded people really do this. They are on time. Because time is of essence for these people. Relatively, time means money for them. Business opportunities come with punctuality on business matters. They don’t miss chances.

Again, he can be trusted on this or maybe not. It all depends on the motive of the person. Then again, we must go back to the first two considerations: eye contact and body language.

4. Respect for Elders/Others
When a person respects his parents, it is sure that he will also have a respect for other elderly and even his partner in life. It is true that respect is not being asked for, but it is earned through one’s good regard to people not only the elderly.

5. He walks his talk
A man is trustworthy if he ‘walks his talk’. This would reflect that he is also God-fearing. He does what he believes in what is good for all.

The Best Places in Singapore to Take Pictures

Always wanted to go on a photography escapade? Singapore has a lot of potential for some great photographs you can be proud of taking. But forget Marina Bay and the Esplanade – they’re not the only landscapes you can take pictures of.

In fact, there are more gems just waiting to be taken that the Lion City has to offer! Grab your DSLR now and hop on the MRT to these camera-worthy places:

1. Tiong Bahru
This neighborhood isn’t just well known for its beautiful historical murals painted all over building facades and alleys – it’s also bustling with boutiques, patisseries, and trendy cafes, and what makes it more lively is the people who come to the market every day to buy fresh produce, from flowers to fruit, to even fish.

2. Chinatown
If red is your favorite color, then this neighborhood is awash in it, complete with lanterns and decorations stretching out as far as the eye can see. Here in Singapore’s Chinatown, you can buy just about anything, and the best part is that you’ll always see a good amount of foot traffic no matter the time of day.

3. Little India
Little India will definitely be a delight for street photographers, and can be visually summed up as one thing: an explosion of color. Store fronts are graced with vibrant floral garlands, and the bustling streets just scream Indian culture with every corner.

4. Central Business District
If you’re into the soaring architecture that Singapore is known for, head on to the Central Business District during mealtimes and be sure to point your camera up to get an interesting perspective on the towering offices and skyscrapers.

5. Singapore Botanic Gardens
Former “experimental garden” turned UNESCO world heritage site, this place is the stuff of any nature/forest photographer’s dream, complete with hectares of giant canopies hovering over carefully manicured gardens. Just don’t get stuck, though – they close at 12 midnight.

6. Punggol Jetty Park
This place is right beside the Botanic Gardens MRT station and also boasts of plenty of nature to go around. Once an execution site during WW2, it has today become a peaceful beach that’s just great for taking photo-walks during the blue and golden hours.

7. Bishan Park
Of course, the blue and golden hours are best captured with some reflective tricks, and Bishan Park is a huge man-made river plain just waiting for you to take some of your most cherished works. You can even switch up some unique angles by walking into the river during low tide.

4 Awkward Wedding Situations (And How to Deal With them)

Even if you’ve planned your wedding meticulously several months ahead of time, you just never know what could happen on the day itself.

Awkward situations happen during weddings all the time, which is why you should know what to do and how to deal with them before things get out of hand. Here are a few to get you started:

1. The No-Show Photographer/Planner
Two photographers should be there, so that one can still take pictures if the other isn’t there. If you’re not sure that both of them will be there, have a good friend who knows their way around a DSLR on standby. In a worst-case scenario, a smartphone with a good camera will have to do.

If your wedding planner doesn’t show up, improvise with your best man/maid of honor to make sure that the itinerary goes according to schedule.

2. The Bad Blood in the Family
There may have been some bad blood between your spouse’s parents (i.e. separated or divorced), and that needs a lot of careful planning beforehand.

It might be a good idea to assign them seats far from each other during the ceremony and the reception. Talk to your partner beforehand to get an idea on their current situation, and be sure to talk to your spouse’s parents to make them feel welcome. The same could go if your parents are the ones who have bad blood.

3. The Really Spirited Guests
Or at least, have had some spirits. Sure, a drink or two can make things a little more festive, but there will always be that one guest who likes to have a little too much fun. What do you do with guests like these?

Quite a few, actually – you can limit the selection and quantity of alcohol during the reception to make sure no one gets buzzed. Be sure to tell the guests beforehand about what you want, or more specifically, don’t want to happen during your wedding.

4. The Guests Who Invite Themselves
Dealing with guests who RSVP even though they haven’t been invited can be a little tricky, especially if they’ve been friends of yours for some time. Start by being gentle, but firm in telling them that the venue is fully booked and that you can’t handle last-minute invites due to budget constraints.

Before you do anything, it’s important that you take a few deep breaths and keep a level head. You won’t be able to solve anything when you’re panicking. Be sure to weigh your options carefully with your partner, and keep in mind that communication is key.

5 Caffeine Benefits for Coffee Lovers

Singapore has the 7th most number of branches of Starbucks per capita, according to telegraph.co.uk. And it makes sense, for a country with people who like to be productive. But not everyone is a fan of coffee; there are many people who avoid caffeine, on the grounds that it is unhealthy and addicting. But is caffeine all bad? No, according to science. Studies have shown that caffeine has a lot of benefits for the body and the brain. Here are a few of those benefits.

1. Burn fat
Aside from being a stimulant (and the reason why it keeps you awake) caffeine has also been proven to aid in burning fat. This means that caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3% to 11%. However, this effect may diminish with constant coffee consumption; the longer you have been drinking coffee, the less it would have an effect on your metabolism.

2. Improve physical performance
Coffee can improve your physical performance as it can increase adrenaline in the blood. This is what people usually refer to as a ‘caffeine’ buzz when people feel like they’re more alert and can respond faster to stimulus. Adrenaline is the flight or fight hormone, which readies the body for intense physical exertion. Additionally, the breakdown of fat cells also frees fat and allows the body to use it as fuel, giving more energy to the body. On average, caffeine can improve physical performance by 11% to 12%.

3. Lowers the risk of diabetes
According to studies, coffee drinkers are at less risk for developing type 2 diabetes, by about 23% to 50%. These studies conclude that a daily cup of coffee is recommended to avoid type 2 diabetes, with each daily cup reducing your risk by about 7%.

4. Protect from Alzheimer’s
There is not much we know about Alzheimer’s. What we do know is that caused almost 2 million deaths in 2015 and that until now there is no known cure. However, there are things that you could do to avoid contracting Alzheimer’s, and consuming coffee just might be one of them. According to some studies, those who drink caffeine lower their risk of getting Alzheimer’s by up to 65% compared to those who do not.

5. Reduce the risk of suicide and depression
There are many studies that show the benefits of drinking caffeine for those suffering from depression. According to a ten-year study with 86,000 participants, the risk of suicide is reduced in those who drink coffee, compared to those who don’t. According to another study (this time created by the Harvard School of Public Health) women who drank at least four cups of coffee were less likely to suffer from depression by about 20% than non-coffee drinkers.

3 DIY Upcycled Planters

Singapore has the perfect weather for growing your own plants. If you want to add a bit of nature to your indoor space (whether it’s your bedroom, office, or kitchen) you don’t have to shell out money to buy a new flower pot or planter. Chances are, you already have the perfect planter lying around, and all you need is just a bit of DIY magic. Here are a few ideas to help you find your next planter.

1. Colanders
Planters are basically just containers with holes. And what’s a colander if not a container with holes? If you have a colander that’s just lying around the house, unused, it may be a good idea to upcycle it and turn it into a planter. Spruce up your colander planters by painting them with bright colors, add soil and seeds, then let the plant do its magic. If you find yourself falling in love with the ideas of colanders as planters, you can include other appliances in your garden. Other kitchen items you could use as planters include kettles, pitchers, and even old rice cookers.

2. Tea Tins
Tea Tins make the perfect planters for that vintage, rustic look. Chances are, you already have a few of them lying around the house. Simply drill a few holes at the bottom, add some soil, then some seeds, and you’re good to go. You can also use other tin cans you have lying around your house, like cans of sardines, peas, and soup. Just make sure to check for any sharp edges that your tin may have, and sand them off if there are any.

3. Baby Jars
Baby Jars are already perfect for planters just as they are, but you could spruce them up with a bit of DIY to create a mini-garden. You can use jars of any size, and using clamps and screws, secure them on a piece of wood. Then, you can hang the wood on a wall or any flat surface for a rustic and charming wall décor. You can even opt to do away with drainage holes and use plants that don’t need soil (simply fill the jars with water) or plants that don’t need a lot of water (like succulents). Just remember to use the right kind of soil mix to avoid flooding the bottom of the jar.

To create this project, mark where the food jars would go on the wood. Then place a clamp, and drill the clamp into the wood with screws. Then place the jars into each clamp, and tighten the clamps around the jars. Then with a hook and a piece of string (that is strong enough to hold the wood and jars) hand the wooden board onto a hook.