Monday, June 22, 2020
If you're still working from home, you need to start preparing to return to your workplace.
The thought may fill you with dread. Maybe you love working from home. Maybe you're scared of catching COVID-19 when you return to work. Maybe you're just getting used to your new routine and the thought of commuting and going back to your co-workers fills you with anxiety.
Just remember that you're not alone. We've all been experiencing a lot of stress, depression and anxiety since the world was turned upside down and we were required to quarantine at home.
"Uncertainty and unpredictability can really create an unhealthy amount of fear and stress, especially when it's sustained over such a long period of time," says Dr. K. Luan Phan, head of psychiatry and behavioral health at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
Still, when the boss says it's time to return to work, you know that you will probably return to work. So, how do you do it and still feel safe? How do you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to, once again, confront change?
Here's some things to think about:
1. Take your own precautions. Just because your boss says there will be hand sanitizer and social distancing doesn't mean you shouldn't take your own steps to feel safe. So, bring your own sanitizer. Wear a mask even if no one else does. Don't use the communal coffee pot, water fountain, beer keg, etc. Take the stairs instead of the elevator full of people. Some people are much more lax about social distancing and wearing a mask, but you don't have to be. Do what makes you feel safe.
2. Start the transition. So you've been wearing sweatpants and college sweatshirts since you started working at home. But now it's time to get out your adult clothes and figure out if they still fit. (No judgments!) Try on several outfits and think about how you feel in them -- if nothing works it's time to try a little online shopping to get yourself ready.
3. Get organized. It may have taken you a while to set up your home working space, but it's time to start thinking about what you need to go back to work. Start organizing the files, computer cables, workbooks, etc. that you're going to need to take back to the job.
4. Prepare your household. Whether it's kids or pets or partners, consider what will also make the transition easier on them. Do you need to set up a schedule that will mimic the one that you'll have once you're working away from home? Do you need to find new treats or toys for your pets to keep them occupied when you're not taking them for five walks a day? Do you need to prepare more freezer meals for when you're not home to cook when you want?
5. Remember to breathe. When we all first went into lockdown, we had to learn to cope with the scariness of it all, the weirdness of our lives and the uncertainty of what was going to happen. Think about what calmed you then. Was it listening to music? Talking to family more? Doing yoga? You may need to rely on those things again as you transition to working away from home. Rely on what works for you and call on it in the coming weeks as you begin this new change.
Monday, June 15, 2020
Lately, we've all started taking a much closer look at toxic behavior in the workplace. People like Anna Wintour and Roger Lynch at Conde Nast are among those high-powered bosses who are being cited as intolerant and cruel.
Employees and even co-workers are no longer afraid to talk about poor behavior that has affected them personally and professionally. Stories of bullying and discrimination seem to surprise those who are accused of it, which shows how oblivious some people are to their damaging "get ahead" tactics.
Could you be one of them? Could you be someone who is treating people badly and not even know it? Before you end up losing your career over your behavior, it's time to take a hard look at whether you're a toxic person. Some signs:
1. You blame other people. Whether it's a typo in a report, missing a deadline, not being prepared for a meeting, not sealing a deal -- you blame other people. From the minor to the major, you cannot ever take responsibility that you're an adult and are responsible for your own actions and decisions.
2. You have no loyalty. It doesn't matter if you've worked with someone for three days or 30 years, you are willing to throw anyone under the bus for any reason. It can range from snarky comments to others about mundane matters ("Did you see what Jane was wearing? Did she get dressed in the dark this morning?") to more targeted gossip meant to derail someone's career ("I think Brad's age is catching up with him. I mean, this is the third time this week I've had to remind him about that deadline. Poor guy.")
3. You believe it's better to take than to give. Maybe you put on a good front during the latest crisis situations in this country and posted really meaningful tweets about "We're all in this together" and photos of "Love one Another" cupcakes on Instagram, but that's just on the surface. You don't inconvenience yourself for anyone else or always have an excuse of why you can't help in some way: "This is just such a bad time for me! You know I'd love to help, but...."
4. You never apologize. You've always got a million excuses, but never one "I'm sorry....that was my fault." If you do apologize, it's only when you realize you're on Good Morning America and the entire nation has dubbed you to be the latest Karen.
5. You hold a grudge. At night, you lay awake figuring out how to get back at Gary for not holding a seat for you in the meeting or Kelly for not gushing about your latest idea. You don't know if anything was done on purpose to slight you, of course, but that doesn't really matter. Plotting against others and thinking of really cutting remarks or actions against that person are more important than moving on and learning to forgive others.
Do any of these behaviors sound familiar? Are you brave enough to ask others if they see these behaviors in you? If this has become the way you live your life, then you need to make some serious changes. The workplace is different now, just like the rest of the world. No matter how important you may consider yourself, or how "vital" you may be to your company, you can no longer expect others to put up with your toxicity.
Monday, June 8, 2020
Many companies have been great about keeping their job commitments to new hires or even interns in the midst of a global pandemic.
The problem is that many new employees are starting their new positions from their kitchen table instead of the building where the employer resides because companies are still following work-from-home policies.
That presents quite a challenge for the employer -- to successfully onboard a new hire virtually -- and also to the new worker or intern.
If you're one of those who is starting a new job from the comfort of your couch, here's some ways to ensure you still get off on the right foot in a new job:
1. Dress the part. If your new supervisor wants to jump on Zoom for a quick chat, you don't want to be caught in your pajamas or gym shorts with uncombed hair and your home looking like a disaster zone. It's a good idea to start a new job showing your boss that it really matters to you, no matter if you're working virtually. Dress professionally, and set up a workspace that reflects well on you.
2. Ask questions. Whether you're in an office setting or working from home in the early days of a new job, make sure you fully understand how the boss likes to communicate (email, text, Zoom) and how often he or she expects you to check in. Are you supposed to communicate what you get accomplished each day? Or only once a week? If you have problems (technical, employee benefit issues, project management) who do you ask for help?
3. Don't hide. Even the most outgoing people can be nervous when starting a new position, but don't let that be an excuse to hide from colleagues or supervisors. Try to set up Zoom meetings with each colleague -- "Can we chat for 10 minutes via Zoom so that you can tell me a bit about what you do?" is a great ice-breaker in an e-mail. The added advantage of quarantined workers is that many are wanting to connect with another human face and chatting with a new worker through video chat is a great way to get off on the right foot with them.
4. Be helpful. If you know of an app or read an article that might be helpful to a co-worker who is dealing with an issue, forward him or her the information in an email: "I remember from the Zoom meeting that you were researching more efficient delivery methods for that new product, and I just read this article and thought it might be helpful," and then provide the link.
5. Be flexible. Even though many companies have had employees working from home for months, this is still a learning process. They're often making it up as they go, and things may change from day-to-day. You need to stay flexible and know that whatever you do one week may look different the next week. As companies start to phase workers back in to the office, it will probably change several more times. When you show others that you're flexible, can adapt and still be contributing, then you'll be seen as a valuable team member -- no matter if it's at your kitchen table or in the office.
Monday, June 1, 2020
With more than 36.4 million who have filed jobless claims as of May 9, as a result of the coronavirus, even those still employed might be a bit concerned about their job security. How do you know if your job might be in danger?
Tim Sackett, president at HRU Technical Resources, says that there are some signs you’re about to be laid off:
- Unusual behavior. There are closed-door meetings when there usually aren’t. You’re being asked for information that you usually don’t supply, such as updated standard operating procedures, and the latest performance metrics for your group or position.
- Weird vibes. There is "radio silence" from leaders who are normally talkative. Quiet leaders are now over-communicating.
In addition to unusual behavior by leaders in your workplace, you should also be aware of news in your industry and whether experts believe it could be in danger. For example, realtors (read more here)
Monday, May 25, 2020
With more than 36.4 million people filing jobless claims as of May 9 as a result of COVID-19, competition for jobs is fierce. But, there are still plenty of opportunities available. Many industries, like grocery stores and delivery services, have thousands of job openings in the United States right now, and are hiring urgently. The task for job seekers applying for these positions is to find ways to stand out from the crowd to land one of these jobs.
"When there are mass hirings, it’s important that you know what the company — or interviewer — needs," says Juliet Huck, an expert in persuasive communications strategy. "You need to talk about what you can do for them."
So, while you need to be able to discuss your experience and qualifications for the position, the ability to show your interest in the interviewer’s needs by asking some questions puts you at an advantage over other candidates, she says.
"You can say something like: 'I really want to help you. What (read more here)
Monday, May 18, 2020
It can be frustrating to use the big job boards such as Monster, Indeed or LinkedIn if you feel like your resume is being dumped into a black hole, never to be seen by a human recruiter. But there are ways to boost your chances of reaching the attention of hiring managers on such job sites, according to the experts.
Kanika Tolver, a professional coach, says that job seekers applying to the big job boards after being laid off because of the coronavirus will have greater success if they are more strategic. For example, just hitting "apply" to an online job opening will send your resume to a hiring manager or recruiter, in the same pool as thousands of other job seekers. But, if you can find the role on the company’s job board, you can create a profile and apply that way, which could help you stand out, she says.
Job seekers also can improve their chances of finding a job if they create a list of five to 10 job titles or roles that they are qualified for based on their skill set. This allows them to cast a wider net.
For example, if you’ve been searching (read more here)
Monday, May 11, 2020
As job losses mount in the U.S. because of the coronavirus pandemic, job seekers — both passive and active — need to be smart about their next move and have strategies in place to avoid facing more job losses down the road if they choose an industry that could also be in trouble, an expert says
For the more than 30 million unemployed U.S. workers, there is no doubt that some must be looking for work. But even passive job seekers need to keep their options open by being aware of what the job market has to offer. The key for both groups is being smart about their job-search strategies, and searching for jobs in industries that will be viable in the foreseeable future.
Arran Stewart, co-founder and CVO of blockchain recruitment company Job.com, says that while hospitality, leisure and retail are currently being hit with the largest layoffs, other industries will be susceptible (read more here)