Monday, January 18, 2021

Tips For Staying Productive When Working Remotely

 

"Persistence – the ability to keep moving forward in spite of difficulties."

Byron Pulsifier

 

In the wake of COVID-19, most companies are requiring or recommending that employees work from home for the foreseeable future. This mandate can be stressful when you're used to working in a bustling office or visiting with clients face to face. If you don't often work from home, it's helpful to have a grasp on how to stay focused, engaged and productive.

In this issue, we share some advice from Patrick Lucas Austin, a technology columnist for TIME, on how to succeed at working remotely.

Location, location, location. Try to find yourself a dedicated and comfortable spot to work that you can associate with your job and leave when you're off the clock, recommends Austin. This means getting off the couch and definitely out of bed. Try to set up a dedicated home office where you can close the door and shut out distractions. To prevent spreading COVID-19, avoid working from public places such as coffee shops.

Find a buddy. Just because you must work remotely doesn't mean you must be socially disconnected. Austin points out that social interactions — even with coworkers via Slack — can alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. Find a colleague you can talk to or text when you're feeling the need to chat with someone. Alternatively, buddy up with a friend who works elsewhere and is going through the same experience. It's also helpful to hop on a social video call.

Have a plan. When working alone, it's critical to keep a more structured daily schedule than usual. When you go into an office, the structure of your day is influenced by other people. Austin encourages professionals who are working from home to schedule multiple breaks into their day, whether it's playing with their dog or pausing to grab the day's mail.


Consider how you're communicating. For clear communication, go beyond email and use other digital tools that can better replicate the in-person office experience. Look to tools such as videoconferencing services, Slack or Zoom. You can also explore screen sharing to ensure members of your team are on the same page. Austin also recommends boosting camaraderie and bringing a smile during these difficult days with a remote lunch date. Invite everyone on your team to enjoy a meal together via videoconferencing. It's a way to connect with colleagues and help everyone still feel like part of the team.  

Remember everyone works differently. Managers should remember that not every employee wants to work from home, which can make for a stressful switch. Austin recommends that leaders communicate as much as possible and help employees struggling with the change.

If you're not used to working remotely, it can be a big adjustment—for you and for your team. If you're grappling with the new remote reality, it helps by making sure you have a dedicated spot to perform your job and connect with your clients and team members. Then, be sure to stay connected and have a plan for your day. Remember that it's a process. Give yourself—and your team—some grace.

 

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Patrick Lucas Austin is a technology columnist at TIME. His work has also appeared in Complex, Gizmodo, The Wirecutter, Consumer Reports and others.   


Monday, January 4, 2021

Powerful Principles For Navigating Through A Crisis


 

"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."

Arthur Ashe

 

In these uncertain times, sales leaders and business owners wonder how to make the best decisions, both at work and in their personal life. While there's no scientific formula to follow, you can use a framework to lead with ethical intelligence.

Bruce Weinstein, a business ethics speaker and an author for the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, says now's the time to reflect on some powerful principles that will help you navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Principle No. 1: Do no harm. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and clinical social workers are taught in school, "First, do no harm." Weinstein says this principle also applies to professionals who don't work in healthcare. The best thing about this principle, Weinstein says, is that it doesn't take anything to apply it. It is a principle of restraint. You can apply this principle by following your company's guidelines, as well as those of the government, by staying home now. Weinstein says if you're carrying the virus but don't know it because you don't have any symptoms and haven't been tested, you will be unwittingly violating the "Do No Harm" principle by being out in the world.

Principle No. 2: Make things better. Ethical leaders are also committed to making things better during the pandemic. Consider Microsoft, which donated $1 million toward the Puget Sound response fund. Microsoft is doing this because it is the right thing to do. Weinstein says this is a great example of how ethical leadership is good for its own sake and good for the leader's company, too.

Principle No. 3: Respect others. According to Weinstein, ethical leaders show respect for people by keeping their promises, telling the truth and projecting confidentiality. When you work from home, there are more distractions than you'll find in an office setting. There's no one watching to keep you on track. All pose risks to the promises we've made to employers or clients. Weinstein says promise-keeping is a two-way street. Companies that lead with ethical intelligence do all they can to assist employees during a crisis, including providing flexibility, when possible, with respect to childcare and other crucial needs.

Think on this: What will you do to make sure you minimize distractions at home and honor your promise to your employer or client? How are you helping your company keep its promise to employees?

Principle No. 4: Be fair. Weinstein says that to be fair is to give to others their due. Darden Restaurants, whose properties include Olive Garden and other casual eateries, has established a paid sick-leave policy for its 190,000 employees. In so doing, the leadership of Darden Restaurants is displaying ethical intelligence. Not all companies are in a position to offer such a benefit but those that can create incredible loyalty among employees.

Think on this: What will you do to ensure that you're treating your employees and customers fairly during the pandemic? What are you doing in your personal life to be fair—such as when stocking up on supplies, will you leave enough for others who need them, perhaps more than you do?

It takes commitment and courage to live by these principles every day. But when you do, you show that you're striving to make a difference in a tumultuous time in history.

 

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: As The Ethics Guy®, Bruce Weinstein's keynote speeches, training programs, webinars and online courses help companies promote ethical leadership at every level. The result is an engaged and satisfied workforce, more and better clients, and a strategy for long-term financial success.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Five Tips For Dealing With Unexpected Change

 

"New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings."

Lao Tzu

Seasons of change are understandably challenging, especially when the change is unexpected. It's one thing to know that change is coming, and you have time to prepare yourself and your team. It's totally different when you're caught by surprise.

Author and speaker Karima Mariama-Arthur says that your perception of change influences your response to it. How you view change can lead to a positive or negative outcome. In this issue. we share Mariama-Arthur's guidance on what to do when change happens and you must pivot with it.

1.    Acknowledge that the change is the new normal. Denying the existence of change doesn't do any good. The most rewarding course of action is to acknowledge its presence and effect on our way of life, says Mariama-Arthur. In the new TED Talk called Coronavirus Is Our Future, global health expert Alanna Shaikh shares insights on the global pandemic in a straightforward and approachable way. She makes clear that our collective, human experience is the new normal. She urges that while we cannot escape the multi-faceted impact of this crisis, we can admit our vulnerability to it and acknowledge its influence on our global ecosystem.

2.    Explore your feelings about the change. Mariama-Arthur says it's important to sit with your thoughts as you navigate change. Becoming intimately acquainted with what you feel will help you see things clearly and make better decisions about what matters the most. Because the enormity of the change itself can be so distracting, seldom do we take the time to self-reflect and explore our emotional well-being, which includes self-awareness and self-management.


3.    Prepare for it. Taking appropriate action in the direction of change will help make certain that things go more smoothly for you. And the earlier, the better, notes Mariama-Arthur. Preparation requires asking yourself key questions about where you are now and where you intend to be, as you reimagine yourself in the "new normal." What resources will you need? What sacrifices will you need to make? How much time will be required? Get clear on the strategy and tactics that will help you overcome any roadblocks to your success.

4.    Rely on your support system or create one. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, remember that you don't have to go it alone, reminds Mariama-Arthur.  Managing change can be burdensome, but even more so when you try to do everything by yourself. Instead of flexing your misanthropic muscle, reach out to your support system—those valued individuals who are ready and willing to help in a time of need. Don't have a support system? Create one. Resources are everywhere.

5.    Give yourself grace as you move forward. Change is a process. At times, you may feel on top of the world—like nothing can stop you. During others, not so much. When you find yourself on the lower end of the totem pole, don't beat yourself up. Give yourself the grace to move forward even when you are not feeling or performing at your best. A bad day is not a deal breaker, but rather an opportunity to step back and begin again, says Mariama-Arthur.

Sometimes life is unpredictable, and you must confront difficult changes. Instead of denying the change, follow the steps above to get through it and come out better on the other side.

 

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Karima Mariama-Arthur is author of the 2019 NAACP Image Award-nominated guidebook, Poised For Excellence: Fundamental Principles of Effective Leadership in the Boardroom and Beyond. Mariama-Arthur also serves in an advisory capacity on select corporate boards.