A career coach is there to help you figure out what you want to do, explore opportunities for professional growth, and support you through a job search. But… It takes time and money to hire a career coach, so you should do your homework to figure out if working with one will help you reach your career goals. And if a career coach is for you, what kind of coach will be the best? Here are five reasons you might consider hiring one.

 

Career Plan

It's hard to know what to do next.

When family or friends try to help narrow down your choices, their advice may not always reflect what resonates with you; it may be based on what you’ve done in the past or what’s the “easiest” career or job. Your coach can help you consider career and job options that are different from what you’ve done previously or that you hadn’t considered.

 

Career Coach

You had a bad experience at another job

If you have or have had a job that caused you anger, sadness, or anxiety, you may be trying to move on from that experience. A lot of people think the next job will fix their negative attitudes, but it doesn’t work like that. A career coach can help you move past those repeated unpleasant experiences and review your assumptions, which may not only impact your job search but also your daily motivation and family life. 

 

If you are unsure that you should leave your job, check out our article on 10 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job

Career Resume

Creating a simple, yet substantive resume is challenging.

To qualify for a job at the level advertised, resumes must demonstrate the correct skills and abilities. It’s important to position your skills in the context of a potential role – particularly transferable skills that don’t match perfectly with the job description. Despite how great an accomplishment may be, not every accomplishment belongs on a resume. By focusing your resume and LinkedIn into one message, a career coach can help you better position yourself. This will help you attract recruiters’ attention by determining which experiences are relevant to the job for which you are applying.

 

If you want a quick fix that isn’t as thorough, look for tools like Enhancv— which will automatically scan your resume and suggest updates. 

 

Interviewing Career Coach

Interviews have gone well, but you haven't landed the job.

Not making it past the recruiter screen? You may need assistance when it comes to connecting your experience to each job. Otherwise, you may continue to make it to the next round but you won’t get past the hiring manager. Practicing with a career coach will help you polish your executive presence, answer common questions, and prepare you for interviews.

 

Promotion Coach

You’re not moving up in your career.

A career coach isn’t just for finding a job. There are lots of coaches around who can help you figure out why you’re not advancing. You can work with a coach to conduct an objective evaluation or review your performance feedback to determine which behavior you should change to move ahead in your career.

Hardly gives you free tools to answer your big career questions.

Career coaches can be extremely helpful, but that one-on-one time comes at a cost. Before you take the leap and pay, test the waters with our interactive quizzes and forum-style career coaching. That way, if you do choose to meet with one of our career coaches, you’ll have your motivations, priorities, and career path ready to be discussed. 

Career Coach
career coach

When do you need a career coach?

You should do your homework to figure out if working with a career coach will help you reach your career goals. Here are five reasons you might consider hiring a career coach.

Read More »

We’ve all been there. When Sunday evening rolls around and you suddenly feel your eyes rolling back in your head. The dread of going to an unfulfilling job is something that makes us all feel isolated and unified, simultaneously. But in the world of the great resignation, you have choices! It’s never been better to be on the hunt for a new job, or even a new career. That’s why we have some handy questions that you can ask yourself to find out if it’s time to say “sayonara” and look to new horizons.

No promotion

Sign #10: You've been asking for a promotion... for years...

You may love your company, so it’s time that you hear some tough love. If you’ve been talking to your manager for years about a promotion or a change of role within the company, you are not getting it. In their mind, you are glued to a specific type of position and they will never see you differently. If you are certain it is time for a change, you’ll be more likely to get it somewhere else.

Coworkers gone

Sign #9: All your work BFFs have already left

Once upon a time, you were surrounded by an amazing group of friends at work, every day. Slowly, those have trickled away finding jobs somewhere else. The new coworkers? They are fine, but you know how work used to be.


You’ll always be comparing your current coworkers to your former work-BFFs. Always. And no one deserves to live in the past like that. It’s time to update your resume, and get going. Plus, doesn’t it mean something if everyone is leaving? If you need a way to track your happiness at work, check out our article on Career Journaling for Success.

Stagnation

Sign #8: You aren't learning anything

Nothing sucks your soul out like stagnation. If you don’t feel challenged on a regular basis, or you feel like you are a hamster on a wheel going nowhere, it’s time to ask for reassignment or a new challenge. If management doesn’t listen to you, then it’s time to leave.
Mission Driven

Sign #7: You don't believe in the mission of your company

Of course, everyone relates differently to their company’s mission, and this is more important to some people than others. But for most professionals, their values need to align with their company. A mission represents where company leadership steers to in the future, and you want to be moving forward on the same road, right?


Want to see if your values align with your organization? Try our free quiz here.

Tired and Overworked

Sign #6: You are overworked, tired, and relief isn't coming anytime soon

This one makes me tired just thinking about it… For years, I was stretched so thin that I couldn’t breathe. Some days I had to hold my pee for hours because there wasn’t time to run to the restroom between meetings. Don’t wait until you burn out like I did. It took me a solid year of depression to drag myself out of the rut I put myself in. If you are overworked, you’ve expressed how little time you have to your manager, and patiently waited for them to do something about it, NEWS ALERT: they aren’t. And it will probably take you leaving for them to realize how much was on your plate.  If you are a manager, check out our other blog post on improving employees’ wellbeing.
Unnecessary Rules

Sign #5: Company management has unnecessary rules

Some rules are put in place just to express power. If you’ve ever been chastised for breaking a rule that shouldn’t exist in the first place, consider what other unnecessary tasks they have you doing without your awareness. For example, no one should be controlling your free time. If your company has a rule that you can’t leave during your lunch break or you can’t watch funny youtube videos while eating lunch at your desk, time to leave your job. You’d rather roll-out than get controlled-out.
New Manager

Sign #4: Your new manager is your arch-nemesis

I think everyone has a story like this. You’ve spent a few wonderful years at a company and maybe even outlasted a few of your managers. Company leadership didn’t loop you in at all when they interviewed your new manager, and lo and behold, your new manager is a Karen. Not just a Karen, but a controlling, micro-managing Karen who makes your skin crawl when you see them. You’ve paid your dues there and if they didn’t feel like they should loop you in on the new hire, they obviously don’t respect you or your contribution to the company. Time to leave your job.
Passion for work

Sign #3: You are passionate about your job, but no one else is

You show up every day energetic and with fresh ideas, and you tackle every challenge with your full heart. You don’t understand why everyone else is dragging their feet or not as excited as you. This is a sign you are too good for your company. Passion is priceless! Your determination should not be wasted on others that don’t see the value you bring. Leave your job, and don’t look back
No Trust

Sign #2: You don't trust management to have your back

Speaking of not looking back… Your manager is RIGHT BEHIND YOU.

Just kidding. They aren’t (at least we don’t think so).


But seriously, you spend 33% or more of your time at work. If you don’t trust your manager or company leadership to take care of you behind closed doors, that’s a sign that you should leave your job for better opportunities. At the end of the day, you need to look out for yourself, but it’s best if you can trust that your boss isn’t going to screw you over.

Feedback
Sign #1: You’ve given feedback and no one is acting on it

We put this at Number 1, because this is sadly what we hear all the time. You filled out a survey, expressing your feedback to management. You also told them the same feedback at your yearly review. And maybe you’ve mentioned it to others at the holiday party. Every time you express your feedback, you are met with nodding heads and complete agreement, yet no one is doing anything about it.


Leaving in these circumstances can be the most freeing! You’ve tried your best, and that is all you can do. Take your great ideas to another company that aligns to your vision of the future, or better yet, create the company you want. Because if the past couple of years has shown us anything, it’s that you have no time to waste on someone else’s bulls*&#.

Allison Braund-Harris

In the 21st century, “work-life balance” has become a buzz word. ADP states “the term was first introduced in the 1970s and 80s as stressed baby boomers strove to achieve a balance between career, family and other areas of their lives.” Now, work-life balance is promoted as the antidote to burnout. Taking vacation days and leaving work at work used to be a sign of this balance but now, with flexible hours, remote offices, and more opportunities to work in a field one is passionate about, it can be hard to define what work-life balance looks like for each of us. It can be even harder to determine if we are achieving it. While Hardly acknowledges there are a variety of work to life ratios that feel healthy depending on your work personality, here is a list of common barriers to attaining the balance you are looking for:

Work-life balance

24/7 access

Regardless of what your work style is, giving colleagues and clients 24/7 access to you can make it impossible to create work-life balance. The scary thing is, most of us don’t even realize we are doing this. While I love the creation of smartphones, one of the huge downfalls is that my work email and slack are always attached to me. I could be at dinner with the family or on a weekend trip with my friends and I still feel the pressure to keep tabs on work because notifications are flying in. Now if you are a person who likes to work on the go, having your work email on your phone might be a godsend, but that doesn’t mean you have to be available all of the time. Instead, make a habit of turning off your notifications for at least part of the day and creating a 48 hour reply rule so that others don’t expect you to be on demand all of the time.

Priorities & planning

Intimately tied to setting access boundaries, understanding that most things are not urgent is crucial to maintaining work-life balance. Setting priorities and having a plan for executing them will help you keep your boundaries consistent. If your goal is to never work past 5pm, you have to be able to determine tasks for the next 24 hours versus what can wait until the next morning. This way you are confident in your decision to stay offline. Similarly, effective weekly planning will help your boss and colleagues feel comfortable not contacting you while on vacation. It is when they feel out of the loop that panic arises and we are unable to detach.

Barriers to work life balance

Job insecurity

This next one is more of a mindset rather than a clear obstacle. Either consciously or unconsciously many of us identify work as our primary source of value. If we earn a high salary or work for a prestigious company it in part identifies us and our accomplishments. While understandable, thinking you are your job can be hugely detrimental to work-life balance. Even if work is not attached to your identity, 99% of us need a job to have financial security. If your job feels like it is all you have, you will live in fear of jeopardizing it. So when your boss asks you to take on more, your natural reaction is to say yes without question. Next thing you know, friends, family, hobbies, and mental health can all fall to the wayside. Combat this by keeping your resume and cover letter updated, networking, and knowing your capabilities. Have confidence in your ability to get another job and that your life is full outside of work to prevent your boundaries from being bulldozed.

Company culture

Another prominent boundary to achieving work-life balance is your company’s culture. While many companies now boast ideals that support employee mental health and encourage time away from work, the reality can look very different. Many times, our bosses and colleagues set the tone for expectations at work so if they aren’t taking a break, we aren’t either. Similarly, if we see that others are praised for staying late or working on weekends, we are likely to follow suit. While we don’t have control over other people’s habits, we can seek out environments where our style of work-life balance is encouraged and at the very least have a candid conversation with our superiors about how our desired balance can be supported.

Not knowing what to do

Lastly, one of the largest barriers to work-life balance is 100% in your control: not knowing what to do outside of work. It is hard to justify time away from your desk when life outside of work lacks purpose or excitement. As adults we often forget the value of having hobbies that don’t bring in money or we aren’t excelling at. Not everything has to be a side hustle for it to be important. Spending time with friends, family (pets included), and nurturing interests outside of work makes you a whole person. Valuing your home life will help you respect it and make work-life balance a priority.

Barriers to work-life balance

Barriers to Work-Life Balance

In the 21st century, “work-life balance” has become a buzz word. ADP states “the term was first introduced in the 1970s and 80s as stressed baby boomers strove to achieve

Read More »

If you’re anything like me, the hardest part about applying for a new job is writing a cover letter and preparing for an interview. It’s not the writing or the talking per se, but trying to remember the crucial aspects of my work experience. When it comes time for my yearly review, I sometimes struggle to come up with my successes, professional goals, or what I would have done differently. 

 

The good news is there’s a solution: career journaling. 

 

A career journal is not simply a diary about work. While documenting office gossip might be entertaining, the point of a career journal is to keep track of your good ideas, contributions to projects, and expectations. For this reason, many find career journals to be the least expensive and easiest form of career development. Hardly recently rolled out a new feature on our app: the Time Capsule, which makes career journaling easier than ever. Below are some tips on how to use it to your advantage.

STAR stories

career journaling, Hardly

One of the most important aspects of a career journal is logging your STAR stories. The Muse states that the STAR method is used for behavioral interview questions. These are questions that usually start with “tell me about a time when…” or “what do you do when…” and center around how you handled a situation in the past. Often answering these questions on the spot can result in rambling or a tangent that misses the mark. The STAR method enables you to answer these questions in a compelling and clear way so that your story hits the nail on the head. So what does STAR stand for?

 

Situation: Start with a situation. Here your goal is to set the scene and give just enough details so that the interviewer can paint a picture in their mind.

 

Task: Second, discuss what your role or responsibility was in the situation you just described.

 

Action: Third, it’s time to shine. Talk about how you reacted and give a play-by-play of how you addressed the situation.

 

Result: Share what your actions achieved. This will wrap up your story in a perfect bow and drive home the point you are trying to make.

 

This method will make your answers to these questions focused and signal to the interviewer your thoughts are well-organized which helps you come off prepared and polished. By journaling these stories in this format you will become intimately familiar with them. The more familiar you are, the more confident you will become telling them. Not only do STAR stories help you prepare for interview questions and yearly reviews, but they also keep you positive about your progress. Sometimes it is hard to recognize our strengths daily or remember times when we really nailed it. Reflecting on these wins can provide a morale boost when the going gets tough. I promise, writing and reviewing these stellar stories is the key success.

Lessons learned

career journaling, Hardly

The next set of items you should keep in your journal are lessons you’ve learned. This is a place where you can dive into opportunities for improvement or take note of why you excelled. Lessons can be learned in a variety of work areas from technical aspects of the job to relational ones. They can come from both positive and and negative experiences. Taking the time to analyze the “why” of successes and failures can provide a playbook for acing the task every time and help you avoid repeating mistakes in the future. The less time you spend relearning lessons, the more you can set yourself up for greater professional success.

#GOALS

career journaling, Hardly

We all know keeping track of our professional goals is important, but do we actually do it? Probably not as frequently as we should. Many of us are encouraged to write smart goals right around our yearly review but other than that, we have little idea if we are getting closer to where we want to be or staying stagnant. Maintaining a career journal can jolt us into thinking more broadly about our careers. So often we can get sidetracked or fall into what is comfortable instead of pushing ourselves. Many of us also get weighed down in the minutia and can’t remember our purpose for work. 

 

Goal setting can help increase our intrinsic motivation and prevent burnout. By journaling, you can connect the work you are doing now to what you want to do in the future. An article referencing Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky states that spending 20 minutes a day writing a narrative description of your best possible future self can help cultivate optimism and an overall sense of happiness. Journaling your goals will not only document where you want to go, but how you are going to get there. This is hugely helpful when looking for a new job position and thinking about whether the position you are applying for will propel you forward or not.

Good advice & good ideas

career journaling, Hardly

My husband always talks about how midshipmen at the Naval Academy are taught to keep a reflective journal noting the words and actions they like and dislike of officers. The purpose of this is to encourage those in training to become the officers they would want to be led by. Similarly, your career journal can serve as a place to keep wise words of mentors and good ideas of your own. Being able to remember the valuable advice of a boss or colleague is priceless. Referencing their words can serve as inspiration and even be passed on to a mentee of your own someday. 

 

Additionally, there is nothing worse than racking your brain trying to recall the great idea you had when you need it most. Your career journal is a convenient way to keep track of solutions that come to mind as you lay in bed and share them with your boss or team the next day.

Our time capsule

career journaling, Hardly

On the Hardly app, you can easily document all of the above as well as your experience at work. The Hardly career Time Capsule allows you to organize and search your work stories so that they are easy to access for interviews and yearly reviews. It also allows you to flag certain entries to be emailed to you in the future so you can gain perspective on how far you’ve come in your career journey.  Lastly, the Time Capsule will take your career journaling to the next level by serving as a more personal place for you to reflect on your work-life balance, reflect on what’s going right in your career, and vent about your current workplace frustrations. Documenting your work experiences can actually be a great form of self-care and reduce stress according to the HECEC at Cornell University

 

Let us know what other functions you would find helpful as a part of your career journaling toolkit and try our Time Capsule out for yourself at app.hardly-work.com.

You may also enjoy…

When I interviewed for my first job at a market research firm in D.C., I distinctly remember them asking questions around ‘culture fit.’ My future boss asked me to take a personality test, while the HR manager asked which values I shared with the company. I later found out that my boss and I were both ENFJs, and the Vice President of HR said she felt like I would be a great fit for that team and the office. Everyone on the team, including my boss and the HR Manager, was a Caucasian female who seemed to have a direct but friendly demeanor. They all enjoyed team lunches and happy hours outside of work but also worked overtime and felt the need to go above and beyond. My only difference was that I am Black. We were a culture fit and 90% of the time we worked well together.  

  

Recently, there has been an uptick in articles exploring the ways in which ‘culture fit’ actually perpetuates bias in the workplace. The worry is that in industries that are struggling to diversify, searching for candidates who fit the current culture leads to more of the same: i.e. white men. But I’m curious, is there an inherent problem with the idea of ‘culture fit,’ or just the implementation of it? If so, how can we improve and change the narrative?

Perpetuating biases

Culture fit, Hardly

According to Jeremy Turpen, executive recruiter in Silicon Valley, ‘culture fit’ creates a clan mentality where hiring managers only seek out their own kind. This mentality focuses on nurturing the already existing tribe and therefore fails to bring in diverse people. He finds this evident in how hiring managers have been trained to scan for ivy league schools and markers of privilege. Even if you are a diverse person who makes it through this initial scan, you can be weeded out during the interviewing process if you aren’t able to quickly create rapport with the interviewer over shared experiences. 

The Intercept highlights this particular kind of situation in an article about a Black woman who applied for a position at Facebook. Even though she was exceptionally qualified, she was passed over for the job and the company told her they were looking for a strong ‘culture fit.’ In the article, she adds that she felt the company did not prioritize her application and that the only other Black person she saw at Facebook was the receptionist.

 

In a Medium article, Stephanie Barnes goes so far as to say “Culture Fits Only” is the Jim Crow 2.0 “Whites Only” sign. She states that ‘culture fit’ has been a way for companies to hide racism. But race is not the only basis on which ‘culture fit’ potentially discriminates. It can also perpetuate sexism, homophobia, ageism, ableism, and more. This twisted version of culture fit becomes clear when hiring managers state that the candidate had the right skills or had great references, but they just wouldn’t fit with the team. When asked to elaborate, they can’t come up with a clear answer as to why they don’t match the company culture, it’s just kind of a feeling. 

An alternative viewpoint

Culture fit, Hardly

These articles are clear examples of how ‘culture fit’ has been distorted. But could it be used effectively to weed people in rather than weeding people out? ‘Culture fit’ often brings up ideas around being of the same ethnic culture, socioeconomic status, personality type. Overall, people think of it as hiring who you’d want to grab a beer with. However, this definition is skewed because it focuses on individual cultural values rather than company ones.

Fortunately, the articles mentioned above provide some hope by illuminating a similarity in companies that use culture fit inappropriately. Most of these organizations don’t have defined values. When companies do not define their culture clearly, they risk perpetuating a homogenized culture. In other words, if recruiters aren’t clear on company culture, they revert to their personal culture to find a match. 

As Stephanie Barnes states, “the purpose of company culture is to ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of mission, values, goals, attitudes and practices in an organization.”

What if instead of asking themselves “do they look like me or have the same college experience as me?” hiring managers asked “does this person thrive in a company that encourages outside-the-box thinking or an entrepreneurial spirit?” Effective culture fit is about helping candidates decipher if this company will help them flourish based on the work-related values. 

The alternative is that companies solely hire based on skills. What happens when company culture is implicit rather than explicit? If you’re very capable and hardworking but prefer structure and instruction, will you excel with a hands-off managerial style? Plenty of companies pride themselves on hosting quarterly company outings and offering unlimited vacation. But if you prefer educational stipends and performance bonuses, will you stay there for long? 

Hardly’s social impact

Culture fit, Hardly

What if ‘culture fit’ was not only neutral, but actually worked against prejudiced hiring practices? Hardly stands firmly against homogenization in the workplace and strives to promote diverse perspectives and inclusion. The difference is, we believe ‘culture fit’ could help us in the fight against perpetuating bias in the workplace.

Hardly’s platform uses blind hiring practices until after the candidate and company match. While we are still figuring out the balance between hiding too much or too little, the goal is for employers and employees to match without revealing factors such as age, race, gender and even which university you attended, which often lead to bias hiring. Unlike LinkedIn which requires a picture of oneself, Hardly allows users to express themselves in a more robust way. Instead of focusing on ones background, user profiles showcase their future. The platform utilizes assessments to analyze work-related values. Values link to organizational structure preferences, management styles, priorities, and more. This ultimately helps candidates and companies select one another based on complementary factors. The goal is for them to align on values, goals, and expectations rather than on superficial markers.  

There’s one more factor that differentiates Hardly’s use of culture fit from companies who select only like-minded people. We help hiring managers focus on who is complementary rather than the same. While we do believe candidates and companies should share overarching values and goals, differences can be advantageous. That is part of being the right fit too! For example, it’s important to balance out risk-takers with risk-averse individuals in an organization. If you lean too much in one direction it could cause problems. It’s better to have both.

Conclusion

Let us know what information you would want disclosed or hidden, and how you think companies can fight workplace bias. We invite you to tell us stories of how the hiring process has included or excluded you in the past. As always, your feedback is an important part of our growth and development!

You may also enjoy…

Last month, we talked a lot about motivation: What type of motivators there are, how companies can keep employees engaged, and what works best for you. We quickly realized understanding motivators is only part of the equation when it comes to finding a company that fits your individual values. Another important aspect that determines whether or not you’ve found your match is your definition of work-life balance. In other words, do you like your work and personal life to bleed together or be kept separate? Lastly, there is the matter of organizational culture. Do you lean towards an individualistic model of management or a collective one? These three aspects combined make up one’s work-life values. 

 

Recently, Hardly’s consumer insights have pointed towards four different work-life value profiles. Based on consumer research, we found many people fall into one of the following categories with slight variations based on where they are in their career trajectory:

The Discoverer or Trailblazer

Work-Life, Hardly

If your work is also your passion, you are probably in this category. Discoverers and Trailblazers think outside the box and want to be on the cutting edge of their field. They find themselves motivated at work simply because of internal desires. They love the challenge without a need for additional rewards. Therefore, they allow their work to permeate throughout their lives. While everyone needs money to live, these curious employees are more concerned with whether their work is engaging and purposeful. 

 

Visually, their work-life balance is like a swirl with work and play mixed together. You might find discoverers and trailblazers talking about work with their friends over dinner or reading articles on the topic just for fun. As one survey participant described, work-life balance is “being self-employed, having a daily blend of life and project work.” Others might burn out from a lack of delineation, but members of this group are energized by this style of work. 

 

Discoverers and Trailblazers fit best with a company culture that values adaptability and agility over rules and tradition. Given the freedom to try new things, they love to be a force of change for the greater good. They prefer to be given more freedom and flexibility to make changes as they see fit.  When their boss offers them the opportunity to do things differently, they thrive. 

 

This work-life style’s favorite perk is flexible dress codes, business travel, and employee outings so they can continue to blend work and play.

 

So what’s the difference? Discoverers are still novices. They like to try new things but aren’t necessarily leading the pack with their new ideas. Trailblazers are a bit more seasoned and are innovating at a higher level and willing to take more risks to make their vision a reality.

The Apprentice or Captain

Work-Life, Hardly

This group holds the most “traditional” work-life values. Apprentices and Captains are happy to pay their dues in the beginning and earn the benefits that come with being at the top. Their motto is “work hard, play hard.” They separate their personal life from their professional one, believing turning their passion into a paycheck would ruin it.  Apprentices and Captains believe structure and clear expectations are required to be productive. They value efficiency and are more inclined to push themselves when stimulated by external benefits, rewards, praise, and above all, respect. Having their hard work acknowledged by other people and/or in exchange for something quantifiable sustains their engagement. 

 

They value giving their all to their job when they are present. Then, checking out completely when it’s time to enjoy friends, family, and hobbies. As one participant stated, work-life balance is when “work stays as work, and my time off is respected.” 

 

Apprentices and Captains fit best with a company culture that respects level of rank and responsibility. They value a chain of command and specific processes.  Apprentices and Captains prefer organizational cultures that care less about face time or hours online and more about accomplishing tasks. In addition, praise from the boss goes a long way. The best perks to entice this group are early Fridays, milestone gifts, and performance bonuses. 

 

The difference between the two is that Apprentices are still at the bottom of the totem pole but are eager to climb the corporate ladder. Captains have already worked their way up and are role models for those they manage. To the Apprentice, a Captain’s success represents a promise that hard work pays off in the long run.

The Collaborator or Mentor

Work-Life, Hardly

Collaborators and Mentors are a bit more nuanced. They are motivated by outside forces, but they don’t mind if their personal and professional lives become intertwined. A survey participant nailed this idea when saying, “[work life balance is…] enough sleep, eating healthy, time to workout/hobbies, but paid enough.” Their balance comes from their sense of duty to others and being able to complete personal tasks throughout the day alongside work.

 

Collaborators and Mentors don’t mind answering emails on the weekends or entertaining clients in the evening. But, their high level of productivity is dependent on others acknowledging  their accomplishments. In addition, they like to pursue goals as a team rather than individually. Their motto is usually “we win together, and lose together!”

 

Collaborators and Mentors match well with a company culture that functions like a large family or tribe. They love to be surrounded by like-minds and want to make sure there is consensus among colleagues before moving forward with new ideas. Believing each person is a valuable member of the team, they don’t want to feel like they are competing against their coworkers. They flourish at a company where getting to know one another holistically is encouraged and rewards are intertwined with collaboration and socializing outside of work. Their favorite perks are wellness programs, free social outings after work (hello, trivia night), and employee discounts on everything from gym memberships to meals.

 

Earlier in their career, Collaborators work well with those at the same level as them. On the other hand, Mentors are more focused on facilitating interdisciplinary work across the company. They lead their teams while fostering open dialogue amongst employees of all ranks. Many times, Mentors are protective of their younger Collaborators and invest a lot of time in nurturing their growth.

The Striver or Challenger

Work-Life, Hardly

Strivers and Challengers are highly motivated by internal feelings of autonomy, mastery, and connection to their projects. However, they still value separation of church and state (metaphorically). Feelings of accomplishment and purpose at work drive intrinsic separators, and they like to detach from work and experience these same feelings from friends, family, and hobbies. 

Their work provides a great amount of fulfillment in their lives, but it is not everything. They are at their best when they can compartmentalize the two as they see fit. As one participant stated, “my ideal work-life balance would be the ability to have a complete disconnect between work and personal life. I’m fine with talking shop outside office hours with other folks, but I want to be able to control when and where.” Strivers and Challengers are most productive when they are able to dive deeper into their specific interests and have a designated workspace to concentrate.

 

People in this camp fit best with companies that foster a bit of competition. Strivers and Challengers are very self-motivated and prefer to work for organizations that focus on achievement at an individual level. They typically have tunnel vision when working on a project and hold themselves to a high standard. In addition, they want to work for companies that stress individual accountability and self-promotion. They appreciate it when their boss offers them a challenging assignment and respects their free time. This work-life value profile’s favorite perks are professional development stipends, unlimited vacation time, and stock options.  They also value companies that promote employees based on individual performance. 

 

While both prefer working solo, Strivers are still trying to prove their individual value to a company whereas Challengers have most likely either reached the top where they get to call the shots or have gone out on their own. For example, Challengers make excellent solo-consultants, writers, artists, etc. Basically, the more they can tie their own work to their success, the better. Both tend to be successful at entrepreneurial endeavors due to their ambition and intrinsic motivation.

Conclusion

These four work-life value profiles are trending but are not yet set in stone. We would love your input to get a better idea of what other buckets exist and which work-life values are most popular. Click here to check out our app and take the survey to find out which work-life value you’re most aligned with. We look forward to incorporating your answers!

You may also enjoy…

How to motivate employees and keep them engaged is a question management teams continue to ask themselves. Long gone are the days when Joe joined the firm right after graduation, was promised a pension in exchange for loyalty, and stayed for 20+ years at the same company. Now, the reality is searching for jobs has become more like a dating game. It’s not enough for a job to offer a livable salary and standard medical benefits. Employees ask themselves whether the brand matches their values, what the company culture is like, and how the organization will contribute to their personal and professional growth. 

 

However, figuring out the best practices to motivate employees isn’t just about getting the best talent to choose your company over others. A Forbes article states highly-engaged teams are on average 21% more profitable and have 59% less turnover. Earlier this month, we explored how employees could motivate themselves intrinsically and extrinsically. Here are some tips on how companies can motivate employees by celebrating milestones effectively.

Make sure the connection is clear

Motivate employees, Hardly

While my motto has always been the more celebrations the better, the event must be linked to a specific achievement or mission in a work setting. It’s like when you tell children, “Good job!” without telling them what it is for. They don’t know which behavior to repeat. So, it’s mucho importante to make sure whether it is a gift, party, or pat on the back, you provide a clear explanation to go along with it. 

 

Secondly, when celebrating an individual, team, or everyone in the organization, connect the dots to how their actions fulfill the mission. Oftentimes in the daily grind, we lose sight of the big picture, but zooming out reminds employees why they do what they do. By mixing the extrinsic motivation with intrinsic feelings of being part of a greater purpose, you keep your employees doubly engaged.

Celebrate personal milestones

Hardly team

Another way to motivate employees is to show you see them as whole people, not just workers. The best way to do this is to celebrate personal milestones. 

 

Try congratulating them on anniversaries, baby showers, and accomplishments related to their hobbies. One time at work, my boss took the team out for lunch to celebrate a colleague who had just run a marathon. Doing this shows your employees they are valued and cared for in more ways than one. Additionally, well-rounded employees who have a healthy work-life balance are less likely to burn out, break down, or quit. Celebrating non-work-related achievements, even in small ways, is a great way to encourage this balance and implement a company-wide “life first” policy.

Don’t go big or go home

Motivate employees, Hardly

As a manager, you might feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to make a grand gesture every time a team member does something celebration-worthy. However, when it comes to motivating employees, the level of thoughtfulness is more important than the level of extravagance. 

 

Something as simple as buying an employee’s favorite breakfast sandwich and leaving it on his or her desk with a note goes a long way. Want to celebrate the whole team but don’t have the budget for an office party? Give them an early Friday as a way to say thank you for their hard work.  

Encourage colleagues to celebrate one another

Motivate employees, Hardly

Remember, as a manager, it’s not all on you. The best strategy to motivate employees is to create a company culture of gratitude. By encouraging employees to celebrate their colleagues’ hard work and achievements, appreciation becomes woven into the fabric of the company. This creates a breeding ground for productivity, high performance, and loyalty. Just like in the Olympics, many athletes give it their all for their teammates. What drives them is not wanting to disappoint one another. They encourage one another to be their personal best. 


 While these tips are sure to motivate employees to continue doing great work, there is a bonus. Celebrations offer an opportunity for colleagues to connect in new ways and even become friends. In a recent meeting, a leader at Hardly expressed that one of the keys to having a happy and healthy work-life was comradery within the company. So remember, colleagues that play together, stay together!

You may also enjoy…

My time in Japan has come to an end and I am now in the process of PCSing. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the term is used to describe the hellish moving experience for military members and their families that happens on average every three years. What makes this process so painful? All of the emails, phone calls, and signatures required to move myself and my belongings from one place to the next. Some are important and some aren’t but the one time you select “off” on your notification setting or throw items is the virtual trash, you will regret it.  Therefore, operating on a zero or one scale isn’t an option.

 

I need a spectrum or gradation. It would be amazing if I could turn my notification setting to off but still be alerted whenever an email titled “PCS” came through. Then, I could filter out the unimportant stuff when trying to remain focused.

 

Moreover, there is nothing worse than being bombarded with rings, dings, and pings when you are in a work rhythm. But, some people, topics, and projects are worth the distraction. The problem is most platforms only allow you to have all the notifications or none at all. That’s where the Hardly app comes into play. Let me introduce you to the notification setting filters of my dreams:

Notification Setting #1: Give certain people a VIP pass

Hardly Notification Customization

I love my grandmother to death but I know a conversation with her will last hours. Even when we both have the intention of simply checking in, our conversation becomes tangential and any work flow I previously had dissipates.  A phone call from her, while wonderful, is the ultimate distraction.

And I’m not alone. In our last team meeting, coworkers mentioned that their family group texts were at the top of their distractions list and something they wish they could filter out when they are in Zoom meetings or quickly approaching a deadline. We all want to know what Uncle Jack thinks about the latest COVID restrictions, just not when our website edits are due by the end of the day.

Without Hardly, my only option is to put my phone on silent or constantly be swiping away messages off of my laptop screen. With Hardly, I can silence my family drama while still receiving notifications if my deployed husband tries to contact me. Communication is few and far between so making sure I see his messages is a must!

This feature of the notification app is a game-changer. It gives you the power to hand out passes to the very important people you need to be in contact with to stay on top of your work while pressing the pause button on distractors (we want to hear from them, just not now!)

Notification Setting #2: Allow top-shelf topics to come through

Hardly App Alert Manager Notifications

In addition, the Hardly app allows you to filter notifications by topic. I love that my workplace values coworkers getting to know one another personally, not just professionally. However, I can do without the string of nonstop notifications from coworkers sending each other cat pictures while I am trying to enjoy a dinner date or working on writing a blog. 

I love this notification setting because I can limit distractions while allowing alerts from the blog or social media channels. Meaning, when my phone buzzes in the middle of getting some great thoughts down on paper, I know that it’s a notification pertinent to my work and actually worth checking. Any app that prevents me from losing my train of thought over random conversations is a winner in my book.

Notification Setting #3: Push through priority projects

Hardly App Alert Manager Notifications

Lastly, while other applications allow you to filter notifications by person or category, our software offers customization like never before. You can filter your notifications by urgent words. For instance, any messages that say “urgent,” “end of day,” or “ASAP,” can bypass my do-not-disturb notification setting on my computer so that I don’t miss anything pressing.

 

Don’t believe me? I bet you can think of at least one time where you had your notification setting off and when you turned it back on realized you had missed a question or request that was time-sensitive. Hardly will make sure you can keep your focus without missing anything that requires your immediate attention.

Why does all this matter?

Notifications Hardly Superhuman

The percentage of employees that would rather go back to their daily commute than continue sorting the deluge of emails and Slack or Teams messages. Source: Superhuman

Not sure if a notification filtering system will truly have an impact on your remote work experience? Superhuman just released a new survey that found nearly two in three remote workers would rather go back to their daily commute than continue sorting through the avalanche of emails and chat messages. Additionally, over half of men and women say they can’t go more than 5 minutes without opening a notification for an email or work communication.

 Click here to learn more about the Hardly app and let us know which notifications you love filtering out! Need more tips to keep the distractions out and the productivity in? Read our blog on how to overcome notification nerves

You may also like…

In elementary school, I planted trees; cleaned up the beach; and made recycle, reduce, and reuse posters every Earth Day. After a month of learning about “going green” and estimating our own carbon footprint, I remember telling my parents they couldn’t purchase an SUV, and we needed to stop using plastic straws and be more sustainable.

Since then, my environmental awareness has taken a nosedive. However, this spring, I have been thinking about whether remote work supports sustainable living. Are we all sustainable superheroes now that we don’t commute in our pollution producing cars? Or, have we become extra energy consumers working from home?

Hardly, More Sustainable

From one office to thousands

While the future of work is unknown, we can all agree that going back to a commute would be tough. Eliminating daily commutes to work in gas guzzling cars is a major point for the affirmative side. No commute means better air quality, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and less consumption of fossil fuels. Sounds like sustainable living to me!

Highway vehicles alone put out almost 35% of the total nitrogen dioxide and contribute to the 3.3 million world-wide deaths due to poor air quality every year. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in the USA came from transportation in 2017. Conversely, remote workers in the United States avoid emitting 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gasses every year, which is the equivalent of planting 91 million trees.

Sustainable living in a singular office

While getting to one office might have had a negative impact, working in one might have been positive. Companies were making huge efforts to reduce their carbon footprint before the pandemic. Fast Company shared how Shopify launched a sustainability fund in 2019, committing to invest at least $5 million every year into technology and projects to fight climate change. Since then, they have offered remote work to all of their employees indefinitely.

Whereas before they could control their sustainability by making environmentally friendly choices for one massive building, they are now dealing with “more than 5,000 offices scattered around the globe. All these offices have different heating systems, different energy grids, and each employee making different decisions now that they’re untethered from a central office.” Therefore, sustainability is not only less controllable but also less trackable. Without clear data, the jury is still out on which is better for the planet.

Hardly, More Sustainable

Different region, different impact

In addition to the inability to track everyone’s home energy usage, where you live and work complicates the questions of whether working from home is having a positive or negative effect on sustainable living. BBC brings up two important factors.

The first factor is workers in other countries, such as Norway, were using electric vehicles at high rates. Therefore, the lack of a commute is far less impactful there than in other countries that are highly reliant on petroleum, including the US and UK. In other words, sustainable living practices were already in place.

Additionally, cities where public transportation is used at large to get to and from work might not see any major changes in energy consumed since buses, trains, and metros are still running.

Where you derive your energy matters

Secondly, where your energy comes from plays a role in determining whether working from home positively contributes to sustainable living. For example, if you live in Iceland (where a significant amount of clean geothermal energy powers commercial buildings), virtual work is not scoring you many brownie points. Conversely, if you live in a U.S. city where coal power is the main source of commercial electricity but many homes have solar power, remote work could have a positive impact.

Similarly, the temperature varies greatly across the U.S. and the globe. In places like Florida where the heat is treacherous, fossil fuels are pumping from every home all day and required in large office spaces. Therefore, cutting out the cooling of big buildings could be beneficial. Versus if you live in San Francisco where the weather is mostly mild, heating or cooling systems might be turned off when leaving the house so the change is negligible.

Hardly, More Sustainable

Small habits or big changes

Do the small habits of individuals or the big changes at the corporate level make the difference? I don’t have the answer, but here is some food for thought:

Let’s take the use of paper and plastic. I don’t know about you, but I print various things when I’m at work, using someone else’s printer. Every time there is a meeting, we receive a paper agenda, which everyone throws in the trash on their way out, and a paper copy of the Powerpoint presentation (even though it was emailed to everyone the night before). But, when working remotely, I let the digital version suffice. Who wants to pay for all of that paper and ink?

On the other side of the coin, I see plastic Starbucks cups on everyone’s desk at the office, a product of getting their morning vice on the way to work. Yet,  my guess is  most drink the energizer from a reusable mug when working from home.

Also, what about the lights? In my apartment, I get great natural light all day so I don’t use much electricity, while my office is required to power overhead lights from 7am to 5pm.

More Sustainable? The takeway

Not everyone is environmentally conscious. Therefore, minor habits might not hold a candle to the millions of dollars that corporations can put into environmental efforts. For example, Zapier offset 647 tonnes of carbon through reforestation and Microsoft charges an internal fine of $15 per metric ton of carbon emission to encourage its departments to be as sustainable as possible.

At Hardly, we are striving to be environmentally conscious on all fronts. From our commitment to the sustainable packaging of products to our CEO’s use of S’well bottles, Hardly is making sure we do our part as a company of remote workers. Are you doing yours?

You may also like…

The coronavirus swept the globe in the spring of 2020. What we thought would be a temporary illness for some has become a pandemic for all, for months on end. While the continuous spread of the virus might be coming to an end shortly, the wounds are deep. Work-wise, the impact is mixed; some negative and some positive. As I began pondering the future of work post-pandemic, I found I had more questions than answers.

If you read my article from last week, you know that remote workers aren’t interested in going back to the office full-time. However, they are also missing the collaboration and community that in-person interactions bring. Companies are happy to reduce their expenses by not paying for large office buildings while maintaining a productive workforce. But they also recognize the need for some physical space at least part-time.

The future of work will move towards a hybrid model. Gone are the days where all employees commute to the same building and sit at the same desk from 9-5. However, working in isolation from makeshift home offices 100% of the time will not become the new normal. Companies will allow purpose to dictate the use of office space and employees will have a choice. But more is unknown than known about work in 2021; these are the macro questions I’m grappling with…

Will remote work be an equalizer or widen the gap?

Remote work might provide more opportunities for underrepresented populations to thrive in the white-collar job market. On the other hand, going virtual might be one more thing that boxes them out. Specifically, I am interested in the impact remote work will have on women and gender inequality in the workforce. In a BBC interview, Melinda Gates said that women were clustered in low-paying jobs pre-pandemic, and therefore were 1.8 times more likely to lose their jobs. Women who didn’t lose their jobs were forced into balancing housework and work in an environment where they are both constant and competing.

In my eyes, there are two potential paths. First, remote work will help partners share household duties more equitably. Plus, the flexibility will prevent women from having to make difficult choices between children and career. Without long commutes and strict office hours, both parents will have the ability to work full-time if they choose, and participate in household chores such as cooking dinner, doing laundry, and picking up the kids. Men can spend more time inside the home engaging with their children and contributing to household chores, giving women more time to advance in their careers.

However, just because they can doesn’t mean they will. Jean-Nicolas Reyt states that women have a more difficult time advancing professionally because they are more likely to prioritize their family responsibilities over their careers. In the future, working from home might intensify these feelings making women less present, focused, and productive.

Future of Work, Hardly

Will companies start to employ a more international workforce and what does that mean for domestic workers?

Remote work has expanded opportunities for international teams, but are domestic employees still more desirable? This year, our company hired four international employees, all in different time zones. From Thailand to Japan to London, Hardly has been able to pull talent from every end of the globe. Part of me thinks we are trendsetters. Without location being a factor, the talent pool is only narrowed by language and experience. With new platforms to make working with international teams seamless, distance will play a less prominent role in hiring.

Now, we have a “virtual first” style of work: designed for the remote worker rather than adapted. Everything will be saved to a cloud, and onboarding processes will be automated. Hiring international remote workers won’t require managers to do duplicative work or go out of their way, it will just be the standard. While there are many positives to hiring internationally, there could be negative consequences for the domestic workforce. US workers might be pushed out by companies trying to maximize profits by hiring people from countries where the cost of living is significantly lower and therefore, so is their wage. But currently, companies are rewarded for supporting America and Americans through job creation. Just like there has been a push to buy local, hiring local might become a new grassroots movement.

Future of Work, Hardly

In the future, will workers and companies alike be dehumanized?

The pandemic has caused many of us to become more humanitarian. While some believe a shutdown is the best way to save lives, others believe keeping the economy running is the protection we need. Either way, we all agree that human lives have value and should therefore be treated with care. But what makes someone human and what makes us care about them? Without the break room chats or company holiday parties, the person on the other side of the email becomes faceless. 

Some say they know less about their coworkers since working from home. People don’t discuss their children in passing, their quirky habits aren’t observable from across the room, and personality goes unseen with more communication via email. Without the ability to connect in-person, we run the risk of being degraded to worker bees.

However, some have had the opposite experience. Zoom has provided them a window into coworkers’ lives outside of the office in a very real way. A colorful painting in a colleague’s living room may lead to a conversation about their experience in Thailand, or seeing books may lead to a conversation of Russian authors.

If video chats and Slack conversations aren’t enough to help management form relationships with their team, they might not be as empathetic when a personal matter comes up. Employees won’t feel cared for and therefore won’t feel connected.  On the company side,  a lack of physical spaces makes it more difficult to embody a mission or culture. In other words, companies could become empty shells where people simply work to earn a paycheck and nothing more. A soulless company attracts soulless employees who only complete the bare minimum because they don’t believe in the work they are doing. To avoid this, companies will have to encourage coworkers to converse on a personal level and find a way to keep the company’s personality alive and well in a virtual setting.

Final word

If I’m honest, I have so many more questions about the future of work. Will people become more or less defined by their work? Will there be a great migration from urban areas to small suburbs? What new skills do you need to be a competitive candidate in the remote work scene? These topics may be seeds for next year’s articles but until then, use them as food for thought and if you have any predictions about the future of work, leave us a comment on our social media below!

You may also like…

Years ago when I lived in DC, I would get off at Farragut North Metro Station every morning and pass by the WeWork on K Street.  I would imagine myself sitting against the huge windows sipping a cappuccino, signing up for speaker events and book signings, and networking with fellow young professionals of all industries.  To me, coworking spaces were lands of opportunity; symbols of working on my own terms, community, and collaboration. Flexibility at its finest. Lack of structure left room for pervasive creativity, and the flow of people breathed new life into each day.

Coworking Space, Hardly

Fast forward to 2020 and the realization that I could potentially be living in San Francisco after leaving Japan.

I was excited about having the opportunity to join a coworking space. In such a big city there was a variety to choose from; some dedicated to providing a space for female entrepreneurs to network, some marketed towards those in the arts who want to be in an interactive cultural hub, and some focused on becoming your one-stop-shop for morning coffee, conferences, lunch dates, and happy hour cocktails. One coworking space even had yoga rooms, nursing areas for new moms, and beauty counters! I promise I’m not the only one who was buzzing about these new spaces. Prior to the pandemic, coworking spaces comprised less than 5% of the market but were the fastest-growing type of office space in commercial real estate, said Forbes. In fact, they were expected to make up 30% of the market by 2030 according to JLL.

Here comes Covid-19! So what now? The pandemic that many of us thought would be over by now has changed the way we do life and business forever. A Stanford study found that remote workers are 13% more productive. A recent Gartner study suggested that 74% of CFOs plan to permanently shift to more remote work post-COVID-19. In addition, the whole reason people were told to work from home was to prevent them from gathering in one space, so I initially thought that COVID would be the death of coworking. However, after careful consideration, I have done a 180.

My prediction: coworking spaces will begin to thrive during and post-pandemic and here are the three reasons why:

Coworking Space, Hardly

People miss the social interaction and sense of community

I am a social butterfly. Too long in isolation and I am itching to see another human. Yes, I know we have these cool techy devices that allow us to FaceTime, but it’s not the same as striking up a conversation with someone next to you.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the flexibility and that my commute to the couch takes two seconds. But I don’t think the pajamas and pancakes make up for the camaraderie I feel when I’m in an office setting. Humans are social beings. We are better together!

Now, you could make the argument that Zoom meetings and chat platforms provide just as much opportunity for social interaction, but 9 times out of 10 I am more engaged in a conversation when I am physically with the person rather than looking through a screen. An Inc. article stated that 45% of those surveyed said they specifically missed social connections at the office the most. 

Coworking spaces provide a solution to this. We can be unsociable worker bees for three days out of the week and then get to interact with our team members in a rented space for a couple of hours on Monday and Friday to bond, brainstorm, and feel the sense of community around us.  

Coworking Space, Hardly

People want to create more separation between their personal and professional lives

One of the difficulties with working from home is that there is no physical delineation between work and home. This makes it difficult to mentally draw the line too. Using the same space for our personal and professional lives causes work time and playtime to blur. Yikes! 

While there is the perk of being able to do loads of laundry or prep dinner between traditional work hours, we are also answering emails and working on deliverables after six o’clock. For those of us who live on busy streets or with a roommate, it’s hard to get the peace and quiet we need to focus on the task at hand. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. My heart goes out to the mothers and fathers who are trying to run a daycare or 3rd-grade classroom while working.

Bottom line — people are starting to remember some of the benefits of commuting to a secondary location where their only job was to do the job they were getting paid for! Coworking spaces could provide the perfect balance between going into a corporate office and working from our living rooms. You won’t be expected to show up at 8 a.m. sharp  or take sick leave every time you have a dental appointment, but you will have a place away from the distractions of your home to work efficiently. Who said you couldn’t have your cake and eat it too?

Coworking Space, Hardly

Conventional corporate offices are unnecessary and expensive, but companies realize employees need a place to work together in person

It’s no surprise that companies are thrilled that productivity is up and expenses are down. Fast Company stated long-term lease signing in NYC plummeted 72% in the second quarter of 2020. Companies are either relocating their headquarters or nixing them all together.

Companies are finding that “remote only” is not a sustainable long-term solution. Collaboration, onboarding, and team management are just a few aspects of work that are done better in person and affect company culture and profitability. Once again, it could be coworking spaces to the rescue. 

Instead of wasting money on huge office buildings 365 days per year, coworking spaces allow for companies to make office space purpose-driven rather than obligatory. With the ability to sign short-term flexible leases for the month or reserve conference rooms by the hour or the day, companies can save goo-gobs of money and still provide employees face-to-face interaction when needed.

So what do coworking spaces need to do to become the future of work?

For one, safety is key.  Remember, gathering in a space with a bunch of strangers is counterintuitive to being COVID conscious. Therefore, plans for sanitation and spacing are key.

Secondly, marketing might need to shift more heavily towards corporations playing into their desire to save money and have a flexible office space.

Thirdly, coworking spaces have to continue to innovate and maintain their personalities. Instead of being a skeleton for companies to fill, coworking spaces should still have their own theme or mission and attract companies and individuals based on that. As usual, it’s all about finding a happy medium.

Would you join a coworking space? Why or why not?

You may also like…

Remote work is definitely not going away any time soon and we’ve seen some benefits to it as well: less commute, which means more time to catch some zzz’s or hang with the family. However, it can also pose some challenges as we mentally and physically face our new norm. Over the last couple of weeks we have been talking about individual physical and mental wellbeing. If you are a manager, you may be thinking this all sounds good and dandy but “how do I promote employee wellbeing when my team is remote?” Sit back and relax because I’m going to share a few tips that can help boost the wellbeing of your team today.

Not only will your employees appreciate your active stand on ensuring their wellbeing, but it actually helps with team and company productivity!  As stated in a Forbes article, studies have shown that supporting your employee’s wellbeing positively impacts a company’s performance. Now you got to give it a try since it’s good for the bottom line. Am I right?

Let’s start with getting in the right mindstate, a relaxed one. A deep breath in for one, two, three, four, and hold for four. Breath out for one, two, three, four. Now, don’t you feel better? A quick and easy way to calm those nerves. Share with your team! Now that we are nice and calm, let’s dive right on in.

Champion Flexibility

Employee wellbeing, Hardly

While many of us have been working from home for some time now, it never hurts to reinforce flexibility on your team. As a leader of your team, you help set expectations and influence team morale. As such, it is important that your employees and team members feel comfortable stepping away from their laptop. What this pandemic has shown us is that more than ever, people need to think about their physical and mental wellbeing. Ensuring your team knows you are a champion for flexibility goes a long way and demonstrates that you trust them.

I remember when I first started working remotely some years ago, I was so paranoid to have my instant messenger status say “away.” I felt like I had to always be on since there was no way for people to see me in the office. I also didn’t want people to think I was taking advantage of working remotely. It wasn’t until my leader shared that it is okay to step away, take a breather, go for a walk that I felt comfortable. I felt such a sense of relief, like a weight was taken off of my shoulders.

Up until then, I didn’t realize how much it actually affected me. Stepping out to go for a walk around the block when I need a break from the screen has been huge. Make sure you not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk. Employee wellbeing will increase when yours increases.

Check-Ins (no agenda needed or required)

Employee wellbeing, Hardly

When you are in the office, it is easier to pick up on cues that a direct report may be going through something or just that they are not 100%. In this remote world, it is more difficult to see that. It’s not like we can just swing by their desk and check in. It takes more of an effort now. Check in with your team outside of team meetings just to see how they are doing. It doesn’t always need to be business so these check-ins can be to catch up, reflect and have non-work related conversations. No agendas are needed,  just what is on someone’s mind. Feel free to do this as a team or individually. As Ryan Lynch, managing partner from Beardwood & CO, says:

“When you are talking to any of your team, it’s important to be truthful, specific, and positive. Remote working has made this even more applicable.”

This is a small effort as a manager or leader, but can impact your team in a good way. Sometimes we just need to talk about non-work related items. While these don’t need to be long, these check-ins can also impact your relationship with your direct reports, improving team morale.

Set Boundaries and Expectations

Employee wellbeing, Hardly

While working from home can be so beneficial, it can be quite difficult separating work life and your personal life as it’s basically the same four walls now. I no longer have the hour-commute, but there goes that separation from being in the office to a home setting. As many of you, I have found myself working longer. This can lead to fatigue and burnout.

As your team’s leader, take it upon yourself and set those work and personal boundaries for your team. Let them know you don’t expect them to always be on. If an email comes in after hours, you don’t have to answer it right away. A healthy balance between work and personal life is needed, especially now. Let me tell you, burnout is real and setting those expectations with your team helps alleviate the stress of needing to constantly answer those “off hour” emails or calls. Encourage those boundaries and set expectations for “off work” hours.

With flexibility, open communication, setting expectations you can easily and actively  help your employees thrive in a remote environment. Let us know how these work tips work out for you and what strategies you put into place that puts your team’s well-being as a priority. 

You may also like…