News and advice on management and the business environment — September 2015

Warner Brothers announces the release of The Accountant comic book, while research shows that taking vacation days can boost productivity and lead to a pay increase.


The Accountant is now a comic book

Cinematic blockbusters and superhero comics seem to be inextricably linked these days, so it should come as no surprise that the film The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck, will be released as a limited-run comic — just in time for the movie’s January release. Warner Bros. senior vice-president Drew Crevello made the announcement at this summer’s San Diego Comic Con, explaining that he thought the character of an accountant who moonlights as an assassin "really lent itself to that [comic book] treatment." Vertigo Comics, an imprint of the Time Warner-owned DC label (publishers of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) is handling the project.


Why you should use all your vacation time

Vacation time

If you didn’t take any time off this summer, you might want to book a vacation ASAP. Taking a break from work will not only boost your productivity by as much as 31%, according to research by US consultant Shawn Achor, but it may also lead to a pay increase. In a study conducted by analysis firm Oxford Economics that was released by the US Travel Association last year, employees who used all their vacation time were 6.5% more likely to receive a raise or bonus than those who left 11 to 15 vacation days unused.


Playing nice is a problem

Navigating a company’s colourful cast of characters can be tricky for finance execs, say chief financial officers. In a Robert Half poll of more than 2,200 US CFOs, 39% said learning to interact with a variety of personalities was the greatest challenge for finance professionals when working with other departments. Also cited were managing stress from crisis situations (22%), prioritizing conflicting deadlines (19%) and conveying financial data in nonfinancial terms (19%).


Working hard or hardly working?

Speaking of colourful characters, human resources firm CareerBuilder asked employers to reveal the strangest nonwork activities they found employees doing on the job. Their answers included some doozies, such as taking a sponge bath in the bathroom sink, looking for a mail-order bride, sabotaging a coworker’s tires, flying drones around the office, drinking vodka while watching Netflix and sleeping on the CEO’s couch. Is it any wonder why we don’t all get along?


Emotional errors

Your emails may express more than you think. Andrew Brodsky, a Harvard PhD candidate in organizational behaviour, has published a study that shows unintentional errors can make a stern email be perceived as downright nasty or a pleasant one take on a joyful tone. Why? Because emails can theoretically be proofed to perfection, a typo can make the sender seem more truthful or authentic, thereby amplifying his or her underlying emotion.