Workplace boundaries, the power of networking, and positive news from China

Welcome to the Small Business Run Down. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.

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Today we’ll look at which boundaries workers don’t want to cross with colleagues before taking a quick trip to check in on the good things happening with women SBOs in Iowa. Plus, some surprising numbers coming out of mainland China that have nothing to do with tariffs.

Blurred lines and casual attire cause problems for coworkers

Leave your kids and dogs at home and don’t even think about hugging anyone in the break room, or so says the majority of respondents in a new study about workplace boundaries and how behavior impacts productivity and workplace satisfaction. While companies are trending toward more flexible, casual environments, not everyone is pleased when employers let pets or children come to work — and two-thirds of respondents believe that athleisure wear has no place in the office, no matter how comfortable.

The Number: 46%. Social media also causes consternation among workers, with 46% of survey respondents reporting that they felt pressure to accept a colleague’s request to connect on a social media platform. 

The Quote: “With open floor plans, always-on communication, social media, and casual workplaces, today’s employees feel increasing pressure to share more with their coworkers, often leading to crossed boundaries.”

Networking proves important for supporting women-led business in Iowa

Networking is vital for all SBOs, but for many female entrepreneurs it’s an especially crucial way to learn about resources and find sources of support and education. In Iowa, Kendra Aarhus, the founder of YOU Conferences, has created a program to offer women biz owners a way to routinely connect with and support each other. Nice job, ladies!

The Number: 2. Each year, the 2 YOU Conferences allow Iowa women to gain important skills and connections to grow and empower their businesses

The Quote: “It’s kind of a dog-eat-dog world out there, and women were needing the community and the support to help grow their businesses.” 

Finally … a positive story about China!

We’ll end the day with a look at an interesting study commissioned by HSBC Private Banking that found that Asian business women face less gender discrimination than their western counterparts. The ability to raise capital was also significantly better in China, Singapore and Hong Kong than in the U.S., U.K. or France.

Anyone know how many women participated in the most recent round of trade talks between the U.S. and China?

The Number: 17%. Only 17% of women entrepreneurs in Mainland China reported facing gender bias, compared to 54% in the United Kingdom and 46% in the US.

The Quote: “This study makes it clear that more must be done to give female entrepreneurs the same chances as their male counterparts.”

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