The Week That Was

Gobble, gobble; turkey, turkey. “The Week That Was” will be off next week for Thanksgiving, so read these top five stories from for the week of Nov. 12.

1. Does Obama Win Mean Big Labor Is Back?: The tides of organized labor in the workplace could change given Tuesday’s re-election of President Obama, writes blogger Dan Bowling.

2. Is Optimism Contagious in Your Organization?: It’s difficult to be optimistic about someone else’s abilities when we have no control over the outcome of their work — but that may be the key to progress, writes columnist Marshall Goldsmith.

3. Turn Gossip Into a Productivity Booster: Managers should find ways to discourage time-wasting chatter and instead focus on turning productive gossip to the company’s advantage. Talent Management editor Frank Kalman has more.

4. It’s Time to Drop the Focus on Competencies: Performance management could use a back-to-basics approach. Pairing a coaching and development model with a social platform can help. Editor Jeffrey Cattel has the story in this issue’s special report on performance management.

5. Employment Gaps: Still a Stigma for Hiring Managers?: The election may be over, but a key issue during the campaign is still on people’s minds: jobs. See how hiring managers view candidates enduring long-term unemployment, writes Talent Management editor Jeffrey Cattel.

In Other News …

As round-the-clock work takes over employees’ lives, more and more people are finding that their most productive hours are not during the work day at a desk but at night in bed just before turning in for the night.

The Wall Street Journal this week offers a detailed look into the proliferation of working while in bed, interviewing a number of experts who say the idea, while comfortable in theory, may not be best in practice.

The article highlights studies that say a new generation reared on mobile devices and flexible work are spending much of their time pecking out late-night emails and connecting with co-workers and customers in other time zones from bed.

Some companies have event fitted office space to allow employees to work in more comfortable positions. Is this a good idea?