meeting, advice, tips, tricks, manager, employee
Make Meetings More Enjoyable
Make Meetings More Enjoyable 660 371 admin

Workplace meetings can tend to become a drag and become the bane of the employee’s existence. However, there are ways to make these meetings fun and something to look forward to. Here are some tips and tricks:

  • Reduce the number of meetings. If possible, try to use other means of communication, such as text message or email, to deliver information. This way, the meetings you do hold do not seem superfluous.
  • Follow a timeline and agenda. Having a layout of the meeting will help the team know what to expect and gives them a better sense of control, as they now know what will be discussed.
  • Provide food. Who doesn’t love free food?? Something as simple as coffee and doughnuts can help meetings become the highlight of the week.
  • End with something not related to work. The mood of the team can be tense after a meeting, so ending with a funny video or something light can help everyone get back to work off on the right foot.

Did these tips help make meetings for you and your team? Let us know in the comments below!

Get to Know You: Brian Rendine
Get to Know You: Brian Rendine 1024 1024 MPatton


In today’s get to know you post, we’re talking with our Director of Program Development, Brian Rendine.

I am Brian Rendine, outdoor enthusiast, father of two boys and husband to a wonderful wife!

United EVENTures is an opportunity for companies to improve their team morale through fun and engaging activities that will leave a lasting impression. I am the Director of Program Development and I work with clients to build their team experience with United EVENTures. The client dreams up the team building event that they want to experience and then it’s my job to make it happen. I work with the company to tailor the experience to coincide with a goal their team wants to achieve. If a team wants to work on communication, I’ll work with them to design a program that encourages positive and thorough communication. Long and short of it, I make dreams come true!

The programs and services we offer motivate me to work hard for both our employees and our clients. It matters when you can see that you made a definitive difference and our clients leave with smiling faces.

When I was younger I debated between being a doctor or a teacher. I ended up teaching Physics for ten years before heading out with United EVENTures. I guess there is a common thread in there somewhere; science, coaching, and helping people reach their goals.

You never really know what you’ve achieved in life until you look back on it later. Right now it’s a work in progress, but my two boys are my biggest achievement.  In ten years I hope to be happy, healthy, and continuing to share ideas and change lives.






The Best Career Advice You Ever Got
The Best Career Advice You Ever Got 275 183 MPatton

The best career advice I ever received, I got from my best friend. I was just starting out freelancing and I thought I must be crazy for leaving a steady-paying but difficult job. Am I supposed to convince people to pay me to just write stuff all day? Apparently, yes.

“Just pretend you’re good at it. Eventually, you will be.” She made it so simple.  I’m not confident in my coding skills, but I can say with confidence that I’m willing to learn and have the equipment to do so. My first job rolled in and soon, I was surprised at how fast pretending to be good at my job meant I eventually became good at it.

Pretending you’re good at your job doesn’t mean lie on your resume – far from it. For me, it meant embracing the things I could learn from as much as it meant selling the skills I had. For example, an interviewer asks you this question:

What experience do you have with collaborative software?

Right, Answer: I have experience with Slack, but I’m interested in learning other platforms.

Wrong Answer: I only know of Slack but I don’t use it much.

See the difference?

More than just a poster, it's great career advice.

Great advice for any situation.

But so what, right? Now you’re confident but you’re still not an expert on collaborative software. You don’t need to be. Take time and back up your confidence. Look up tutorials for other software programs and platforms. Familiarize yourself with the basic who, what, how, why and you’ll have confidence going forward. I’ve noticed the more I go on, the less I’m pretending. It was really helpful advice.

United EVENTures CEO and President, Will Leggett’s best career advice is simple and straightforward: Figure out what you love to do in life and then figure out a way to get paid to do it. You will never work a day in your life that way.

Our Director of Program Development, Brian Rendine shares his best career advice: Do something that you love and you will never work a day in your life. I had an Irish Christian Brother in high school teach me Spanish for three straight years, Br. Sheridan, and he not only passed that good advice to me, but also was a living example of how when you love what you do, it’s not work.

Our redditors have also shared heir answers with us:

  • Document your wins and tell your boss about it OFTEN, not just during your annual performance review.
  • My best advice was work your butt off for something you’re passionate to achieve. Having done this I’ve accelerated quite quickly in my chosen career which is surprising for my age. I’ve only realized this was good advice 3 years later when it paid off.
  • Listen, don’t just hear. It is amazing what you will learn when your mouth is closed and ears are attentive.

So tell us in the comments, what’s the best career advice you ever got?

TGIF: Get the Most out of Your Friday by Preparing for Monday
TGIF: Get the Most out of Your Friday by Preparing for Monday 575 340 MPatton

Fridays in the office are basically dedicated to staring at the clock, making excuses to get coffee, and ducking your supervisor lest they give you a project that makes you stay past 5:30. But the clock watching coffee marathon on Friday can lead to an overloaded and chaotic Monday.

There is a solution to your conundrum: work. I know the concept of actually accomplishing something on a Friday is a little on the radical side but hear me out. Using your Friday to get ready for Monday, you’ll be more prepared and less swamped Monday morning. Clear these small tasks off your desk and they’ll add up for an easier week.

weekend-1756858__340Clear out your inbox and voicemail. Catch up on all your emails and voice mails. Use your clock watching time to follow-up with coworkers, clients, and customers. Don’t start a long email convo back and forth – just be short, sweet, and to the point so you don’t end up with extra stuff to add to the pile. Finishing up your communication for the week means no surprises on Monday morning and no weekend texts or phone calls.

Prep for meetings. One of the companies I used to work for loved Monday morning meetings. Sometimes the meetings were productive and sometimes we all took turns bumbling around and shuffling papers to hide that we were unprepared. If your Mondays and Tuesdays are booked with meetings, carve some time out of the day on Friday to get prepped; make info packets, tweak your power point, double-check your reports. Prepping on Friday means you’ll have a few extra minutes to stagger around on Monday morning and shake off that zombie feeling before you hit the conference room.

Don’t dive in to any big projects. If you have a presentation or a big project coming up, leave that for the middle of the week. Starting something big just before the weekend can throw you off when you come back to it two days later. Odds are, you’re not planning to take the work home with you over the weekend. If you have a big project, don’t just jump in with both feet at 10am on a Friday. Break the project down into small sections, do some outlining and a little bit of research so you have something to show if your supervisor wants an update.

Make a donut run. Seriously, make a donut run. You’ve cleared out your inbox, got your Monday prep ready and you’ve got a good handle on that next big project. Take your fifteen and go off site and bring back some glucose encouragement for the rest of the team.

Not every Friday is created equally and, of course, you’ll probably have days where you’re so busy you don’t notice the day fly by or days when the clock never moves forward. Keeping your Friday lightly busy and organized will help you at 8am on Monday.

things to do, jersey, weekend, getaway, activities, camping, flea market, lambertville, new hope, princeton
Spotlight on the Sunlight: Jobs that get you Outdoors
Spotlight on the Sunlight: Jobs that get you Outdoors 960 635 MPatton

One of my first real jobs out of college had me sitting in a cubicle (yes, the dreaded cubicle) facing a wall that was painted a bright, cheerful yellow. The sunny yellow of the wall didn’t do much to mitigate the fact that I wasn’t  seeing actual sunlight.

If that weekend itch to get out into nature, go hiking, kayaking, or just hang out with friends around a bonfire starts to become a week-long sting, a career in the great outdoors may be calling you. A lot of outdoor careers are in the sciences or recreation but you don’t have to be field botanist or a survival expert to find a career that incorporates the outdoors and your interests.

Sports Instructors:

Ski and snowboard instructors usually work in the hospitality industry or for a sports complex or training center. Instructor roles tend to rely more on history and experience than educational background. Ski and snowboard instructors generally also assist with trail maintenance and ski patrol and instruct people at all levels of ability. IMG_0135Instructors will need a good skill level and a working knowledge of gear, environment, and terrain, as well as weather patterns.


Gardening, landscaping, and running a nursery or greenhouse can get the sun on your back and the dirt under your fingernails. If you’re interested in running your own small business, this could be the opportunity you’re looking for. Owning and operating a landscaping company or a nursery gives a people person with a natural sales talent the opportunity to work outside, be creative, and work with people.

Nature Guides:

If hiking, trekking, and camping is your thing look into being an outdoor or recreational guide. Outdoor guides may require certification in certain areas like white water rafting and wilderness first aid. Nature guides work in a myriad of businesses: hospitality, travel, scouting, summer camps and with corporate outing ventures, much like United Eventures, to get groups of people from all walks of life engaged in outdoor activities.


Nature and art are closely entwined. Nature and wildlife photography can take you outside in a variety of landscapes and environments. Photography can be a dynamic and adventurous complimentary career; it’s not uncommon for guides and sports instructors to use body cameras to capture film and stills of their stunts, guide trips, and treks for promotional purposes. If you’re more of a people person, wedding and family photography can give you the opportunity to see new and interesting locations while helping families create memories to last a lifetime.

Environmental Impact:

Working in the green industry can take you outside for a cause. Surveying, forestry, and Ranger positions can keep you poised to make an environmental impact. A career in forestry allows you to help manage and clear forests in a sustainable and restorative way and promotes conservation, restoration, and stewardship of public and private lands. Some jobs in forestry require a Bachelor’s Degree or two-year certification. Some ranger positions require a background in law enforcement while others are geared towards educating the public on things like wildlife, outdoor safety, and environmental impact.

Better than a sun lamp.

Better than a sun lamp.


Not everybody can just ditch their day job and run off into the sunset after going all Office Space on the fax machine. Find a project or nonprofit agency that gets you outdoors and giving back. Volunteer for a team clean of your local park, or assist with trail maintenance on popular local hiking trails. If you’re interested in finding volunteer opportunities by you, check out VolunteerMatch or with your state or local parks and recreation department for what volunteer opportunities are available.


If the mountains are calling and that sunlamp on your desk isn’t doing you any favors, get out there. The world is waiting.

daily, exercise, fitness, workplace
How to Squeeze Extra Exercise Into Your Day
How to Squeeze Extra Exercise Into Your Day 960 640 Emilie

In today’s world, so many of us work 9 AM- 5 PM with very sedentary lifestyles. It’s hard to feel like we are active enough when we are forced to spend most of our days sitting down. Here are 5 great ways you can get moving, despite your hectic schedule.

1. Bike to lunch. We’ve all heard of people who bike to work, but for many of us this simply isn’t possible. Instead, try grabbing a bike rack and bringing your bike with you to work. That way, you can bike to a lunch spot nearby! If you want, you can bring a spare change of clothes with you in your car in the morning, and that way you don’t even have to bike to lunch in your work clothes. Or, if you prefer, find a lot to park in between home and work. That way you can drive most of the way, but you can bike whatever distance to work that you’d like!

2. Have an hourly “Stagnancy Check.” Some fitness watches already have a feature for this specific purpose- lightly vibrating whenever you haven’t moved for an hour. The more you pay attention to how much time has passed since the last time you walked around, the more you will realize how much time you have spent sitting. To do your own stagnancy check,  take a short walk around your building once an hour. It doesn’t have to be long, just enough to get you moving. You can even use your walk to grab coffee, or take a detour when visiting another room or office. Or if you prefer, climb up and down a few flights of stairs, just to get the blood flowing!

3. Book exercise into your schedule. Often when we’re really busy, the hardest part about exercising is that the day just gets away from us. Plan your exercise into your schedule, and block it off just like you would a meeting. When meetings and other commitments arise, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of moving your workout in order to make room for that commitment. But when you make this into a habit, it doesn’t take long before exercise is rarely in your schedule. Avoid rearranging your daily exercise slot to make room for other commitments. When you do have to rearrange your workout schedule, treat it the same as any other meeting, and only rearrange it if you have time to put it elsewhere in your schedule for the day.

4. Change your morning routine. When you have to get to work early, it’s incredibly difficult to wake up any easier than you absolutely need to. However, there are so many benefits to exercising in the morning. In general, working out in the morning will rev your metabolism, and keep it boosted throughout the day. Additionally, by exercising before you eat breakfast, this forces your body to reach into your fat stores for energy, instead of simply using energy from meals you have eaten earlier in the day. That means more fat loss! So if you don’t have much time in the morning, try exercising before you leave for work in the morning, and then grab some breakfast once you arrive at the office. If you are trying unsuccessfully to wake up earlier, force yourself to wake up 5 minutes earlier each day. Sticking to these small increments can be challenging, and it won’t be easy at first, but it will slowly adjust your body to waking up earlier each morning.

5. Help out your kids. When your life consists of being a constant chauffeur for your children, when do you find time to exercise? Try participating in some of the same sports as your children (or at least sports nearby). Finding ways to be active while your children are at practice is a good way to get in some extra exercise, and the more you learn about your kid’s sports the more you will have something in common to talk about and enjoy! While your child is at soccer practice, see if you can get a soccer lesson from someone local in nearby fields. You can also grab a yoga mat to do some yoga at the park nearby, or simply bring a change of clothes and go for a walk or run while your kid is at practice! Search for nearby tennis courts, pools, golf courses, racket ball centers, and other ways to be active right nearby.

twitter, team building, best of twitter, #teambuilding
The Best of #teambuilding That Twitter Had to Offer…
The Best of #teambuilding That Twitter Had to Offer… 1024 768 admin

We went searching on Twitter this week to see who had the best #teambuilding posts. Here is what we were able to find! Take a look and leave some comments.


happiness, healthy living, office, workplace
5 Simple Changes for a Happier and Healthier Workplace
5 Simple Changes for a Happier and Healthier Workplace 960 640 Emilie

It seems like every year offices become more and more focused on productivity and streamlining processes, and less focused on the health and happiness of employees. But not only should we care about the wellbeing of our employees because we want them to be happy, we should also remember that keeping employees happy and healthy actually improves productivity. When employees’ health and happiness rates drop, so does burnout and turnover rates. So whether you are an employee or employer, here are 5 ways you can make simple changes to make the office your happy place.

1. Increase views of vegetation and green space. Studies have shown over and over that happiness increases when we have regular scenic views or are surrounded by other greenery. Of course, the ideal scenario is to have an office with a large window overlooking a park or other vegetative view. However, most of us don’t have this as a viable option. Instead, try bringing additional plants into your workplace. If you do have a window near you, try rearranging your desk or chair so that you have better sight-lines to see outside. Being surrounded by plants and vegetation instinctively improves our mood because of biophilia, which is the term that refers to our innate connection to other living systems. Having these plants to water each day and take care of will make you feel more cheerful.

2. Foster those friendships. It shouldn’t be surprising, but having those close friendships in the workplace is incredibly important to being able to maintain the tedium of the daily grind. Often times the people we work with are more important to our happiness than the actual work itself. Employers should try to foster interaction, group bonding and acceptance amongst their employees. Remember, happy employees means a better work environment and more effective productivity.

3. Make your workplace your own. We spend so much time decorating our homes. We hang up pictures of our family and favorite memories, we decorate with our favorite decor, and we buy new furniture to make each room reflect our identity. But why do we spend so little time making our workplace feel like home? After all, we probably spend more waking hours there than in our actual houses. Try finding a new shelf for your desk, or get some cubicle wallpaper. There are tons of ways you can spruce up your workspace through personal mementos and your own design flairs. Making your workspace feel homey should be just as important as making your actual house feel like home.

4. Get moving! We all know that during the work day it is difficult not to be too sedentary. However, there are many small ways to be more active throughout the day. Treadmill desks have been shown to benefit postprandial glucose levels and cholesterol levels, and both treadmill and standing desks have been shown to improve psychological wellbeing. You can also try bringing some light weights to use as you are on phone calls, or take a quick walk around the building every hour or so to stretch your legs.

5. Work for flexibility. Research has shown that flexible workplaces result in increased feelings of empowerment as well as improved quality of life. Employers should be aware of this relationship in order to increase happiness and efficiency within their employees. Of course, employees only have limited control over how flexible their workplace is, but there are several ways you can work to increase flexibility. A flexible workplace is one in which you are allowed to complete your work in convenient ways. Be firm about not completing tasks when you are not available, such as outside of office hours. On the flip side, when you are allowed flexibility, prove that you can accomplish the task effectively even with added leniency.

Gilchrist, Kathryn, Caroline Brown, and Alicia Montarzino."Workplace Settings and Wellbeing: Greenspace Use and Views Contribute to Employee Wellbeing at Peri-urban Business Sites." Landscape and Urban Planning 138 (2015): 32-40. Web.
Chaiprasit, Kemakorn, and Orapin Santidhiraku. "Happiness at Work of Employees in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Thailand." Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 25 (2011): 189-200. Web.
MacEwen, Brittany T., Dany J. MacDonald, and Jamie F. Burr. "A Systematic Review of Standing and Treadmill Desks in the Workplace." Preventive Medicine 70 (2015): 50-58. Web.
Subramaniam, Geetha, Peck-Leong Tan, Balasundram Maniam, and Ershad Ali. "Workplace Flexibility, Empowerment and Quality of Life." Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 (2013): 885-93. Web.
DiPirro, Dani. "5 Tips to Make Work Your Happy Place." Livehappy. N.p., 26 Jan. 2016. Web.
Jason Fried, Tedx Midwest, Ted Talk, Productivity, Workplace, Interruptions
How Your Workplace is Secretly Killing Productivity
How Your Workplace is Secretly Killing Productivity 960 638 Emilie

Jason Fried, who wrote Rework along with co-author David Heinemeier Hansson, is an expert at reanalyzing the way we assume our workplace is productive. In his Tedx Midwest Ted Talk, he takes an inventive look at what allows us to work productively. Shockingly, he claims that working within the office actually hinders us from being productive or accomplishing any meaningful work. Instead, we must wait until we get home, or work at some other time of day in order to successfully accomplish tasks.

But why is this? Fried argues that work can only be done productively when people are given long stretches of uninterrupted time. He compares work to sleep: if someone was constantly interrupting you as you were trying to sleep, would you ever be able to reach a deep sleep? Of course not. Work, he says, is the same. Work can be done efficiently and effectively when we have been working for long, uninterrupted periods. The problem arises when we have constant distractions that rip us from any productive flow state which we have entered.

The reason why the workplace reduces productivity is the same reason why so many of us worked productively in the library or coffee shop back in college: people are the most productive when they do not have distractions, or the distractions they have (email, Facebook, instant messaging) can be answered on their own time. The workplace uses constant check-ins and meetings with the idea that this will keep everyone working, therefore increasing productivity. However, with these constant interruptions, most people enter the office each day and never end up having even a few hours of uninterrupted time. By the time you account for brief check-ins and un-wanted conversations, most of us rarely have a full hour of uninterrupted time during the day. This means that we aren’t ever able to work on anything thoroughly and deeply.

Fried’s suggestion is to limit interruptions that demand people to acknowledge the meeting or check-in at a specific time, and to increase communication which people can check on their own time. By using email, instant messaging, and collaborative platforms like Slack, it is easier for workers to finish what they are doing, and to then work on these other forms of communication when it is productive for them to do so. Fried further suggests that we should decrease check-ins and meetings, reduce personnel in meetings to only the essential people needed, and that we should establish weekly or monthly “No Talking Afternoons” in which no one in the office is allowed to talk to one another in order to decrease interruptions.

So if you’re looking for ways to increase productivity, start making changes that allow your workers longer and more frequent periods of uninterrupted time. Remember that the most important thing is to make the workplace a location people want to work because it allows them to accomplish their tasks efficiently.

feng shui, workplace, work, desk, productivity, positive energy
10 Ways to Increase Productivity through Feng Shui-ing Your Workplace
10 Ways to Increase Productivity through Feng Shui-ing Your Workplace 960 640 Emilie

We all know that having a clean, tidy desk can make us feel more organized and productive. But often the days get busy and it’s hard to prioritize the cleanliness of our work spaces. However, with these simple tips, we provide you some easy ways to increase your productivity and positivity by easy changes to your workplace environment. Each tip revolves around the practice of feng shui, an ancient Chinese practice which utilizes the rearrangement of objects in specific locations in order to maximize a positive flow of energy. By following feng shui principles, it can create a warmer, more productive place for us to do our job in. The best part? These changes alter the very flow of your workplace, so even when it gets a little messy, you will still have a better place to work in.

1. Orient your desk so that it faces the door. This helps for two reasons. First, it means that you will face people as they enter your office, making you feel more grounded and in control. This is why it is referred to as the “command position.” Second, it will mean that any client or coworker who enters your office will see your face as they enter, making them feel more comfortable. You do not need to be perfectly in front of the door, but you should be looking at it, from the opposite wall.

2. Keep nature prevalent in your office. This can include a small aquarium, plants, or wind chimes; all of which embrace one of the five elements as according to feng shui. Experiment with putting things on different walls/corners of your office, because various placements may have a better flow than others.

3. Be aware of pointed or irregular objects. Feng shui seeks to increase positive energy called chi. The opposite of chi, called sha chi, increases the flow of negative energy. Sha chi is present through irregular and pointed objects, especially when these irregular shapes are in places that infringe on your workspace. For instance, make sure pointed edges of your desks and tables aren’t pointed towards you or clients as they enter. Be aware of how branches outside your window or shadows from buildings outside interfere with your indoor space. Try rearranging what’s inside your workspace to make sure such shadows and outdoor objects interrupt your workplace in less intrusive ways.

4. Increase circular, softer edges. In opposition to sha chi’s relation to straight lines and pointed edges, you can find chi through softer shapes, like circular and soft edges. These shapes are meant to increase flow and circulation, instead of abruptly disrupting flow.

5. Use mirrors. A lot of the time we can’t remove sharp edges in our workplace. We work around a lot of things with sharp edges: desks, computers, filing cabinets. Sharp angles and long straight lines tend to increase the “speed” at which chi travels around the room, making it feel more negative. In order to reduce the speed and make chi travel more slowly, utilize mirrors in your workplace to make it travel more gently.

6. Embrace sense of smell. Smell is a far more powerful tool than we think. In fact, we hardly ever remember how much smell can do! Smell can help with memory, and importantly here, it can help with clarity. Specifically, feng shui believes that citrusy and peppermint based smells with help increase mental clarity in the workplace. You can use candles, fragrant sprays or incense to help put these smells in your office.

7. Learn the importance of color and cardinal directions. In accordance to feng shui, each of the five elements (fire, water, earth, wood, and metal) are associated to different colors and cardinal directions, each of which are attached to certain meaning. Depending on what you want your space to emphasize, you can choose to pay extra attention to these cardinal directions and colors. But remember, feng shui is built around balance. The best workplace will find a balance of all of these elements.

  1. Wood– Creation and Growth- East- Green
  2. Fire– Power- South- Red
  3. Earth- Agriculture- Center- Yellow
  4. Metal– Money- West- Grey and White
  5. Water– Communication- North- Black

8. Remove objects of your “past life.” Are there pictures on your desk with friends you don’t see anymore? Are there awards on your wall from activities you are no longer involved in? Remove these pieces of your past life and embrace pictures and reminders of what currently is bringing you joy in life. By surrounding your office with memories from the past, this creates stagnant energy instead of creating a positive, moving flow of energy which could be embraced by what you currently find exciting and moving.

9. Keep as little on your desk as possible. According to feng shui, energy in your workspace is the most positive when you only keep what you absolutely need on it. That means your computer, phone, pencil holder, maybe a stapler and only the few pieces of paper you need. Imagine how fresh the energy in your office would feel if you only pulled out a file as you needed to use it, and then it went right back in a filing cabinet. Keep your coffee and laptop handy, but keep everything else hidden away until you absolutely need it. And then, remember to put it back away after.

10. Clear out that clutter. Okay, I know I said these are suggestions that help despite clutter, and they do! However, your flow of energy is never going to be as positive as possible as long as you have clutter around. Spend one day filing away anything that is an older project which you are not currently working on. Keeping around these old projects in your line of vision is the ultimate way to feel stagnant energy. By organizing and decluttering, it keeps the energy around you light and fresh.

So there it is! By keeping the energy around you warm and light, it will help not only your productivity, but also your positivity. And the best part is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it. Feng shui principles can easily be embraced with spending very little money, or no money at all. It’s all about rearranging and understanding flow. So good luck with your new and improved workspaces!

Samborn, Hope V. "Go With the Flow: Tapping into Positive Energy in Office Decor through Feng Shui Principles." American Bar Association Journal 87.10 (2001): 76-77. Web.
Bonaiuto, Marino, Elena Bilotta, and Angela Stolfa. "'Feng Shui' and Environmental Psychology: A Critical Comparison." Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 27.1 (2010): 23-24. Web.
Leffler, David. "BEING SOLO: How to Feng Shui Your Law Office." GPSolo 27.5 (2010): 58-59. Web.
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