In all the years I’ve been a remote-work advocate, there’s one thing I’ve consistently noticed when talking to remote workers: They almost never want to go back to the office. Recent studies have also shown that only 12% of employees are willing to work full-time from an office in the future.
Though it comes with its own challenges, it’s clear that implementing a hybrid workplace will be essential. It also requires a solid plan for getting your team on board before you decide to go back to the office, even if just for a couple of days per week.
Here are five ways of preparing your team for the switch.
Physical safety and stable mental health are the chief priorities for most employees. Health hazards represent the primary difference between the office as we once knew it and the future of the workplace. So going back to the office naturally raises concerns.
But employees are well aware of these issues by now. Many of them were seriously concerned even before 2020 whenever the flu season was around the corner. A line can be drawn between a top employer who acknowledges employees as the company’s number-one asset and one whose priorities are elsewhere.
Put together a realistic plan to tackle in-office health, including:
Rethinking office paths.
Adding more space between desks.
Periodically running health check-ups on your staff.
Implementinging a strict room-booking system to prevent overcrowding.
Having people come into the office at different times of day.
Keeping routine meetings via video calls.
Present this plan to your employees before you ask them to return to the office so they can be aware of the new changes and suggest potential improvements.
2. Place the individual at the center of your business
Remote work has been challenging enough in the pandemic. In a hybrid setting, these obstacles will only accumulate. Within a hybrid workplace, every individual is likely to struggle with making the schedule work for them. As work keeps switching between the office and their screens at home, they might lose focus and motivation.
This can put a halt on their professional-development goals, leaving them feeling like they haven’t achieved everything they wanted at the end of the year. Giving everyone the freedom to craft a schedule that suits their needs can prove a first good step to take in this regard.
Similarly, the issue of loneliness when working from home will persist for people who still haven’t adapted. Imposing a strict policy as to when people should come to the office won’t work for everyone. The few people who are feeling constricted or find it hard to focus at home will be better off with flexible choices that let them work from the office with their colleagues, even if just on a rotational basis.
To find all hidden problems, talk to your team — to every single person. Anonymous employee-feedback surveys or polls are appropriate approaches to receive the details of sensitive issues they wouldn’t want to otherwise disclose.
3. Ask employees for feedback before making any change
The pre-remote-work era was largely dependent on leadership decisions. Employee feedback was something not all organizations took seriously. Even when they did, surveys were sent too rarely. But working remotely highlighted the importance of listening to employees and meeting their demands. In turn, managers have gained relevant insights into how they could improve employee satisfaction, simply by talking to the people in their company.
Making a change within the hybrid office can always have a severely negative impact. Get everyone to come into the office and you might end up with half of your team sick. Force them to show up at strict office hours and you’ll lose them as they leave for more understanding employers.
Before you decide on anything, discuss it with everyone. Schedules, work processes, tools, concerns, team collaboration and independent wishes are all aspects to bring up before returning to your office.
4. Paving the way for new restrictions
Regardless of how strong your hybrid-workplace plans are, new restrictions are bound to appear, so don’t rely only on your office for specific project tasks. Make sure that everything you’re planning to handle in the office can be done at home too. Prepare a list of policies or guidelines, and don’t ditch a tool that might turn out to be your best on-project communication pathway.
Keep your team culture in mind at this point. Have a list of team-building activities your employees can bond over using video calls in case of a new lockdown. This is also the perfect time to tap into a global talent pool and start hiring non-locally. Bonus points for diversity right so you can benefit from fresh talent and new cultures.
Keep everyone in the loop. Have a document anyone can access to see your roadmap to the hybrid office. Be fully honest when it comes to not being able to do something. If you can’t promise everyone will enjoy using a new collaboration app, let them know. The same goes for any time you need to reduce costs or prepare for a low-sales season.
8Nearly 90% of employees expect CEOs to speak out publicly regarding any new societal or local issues. Displaying trust and interest in keeping your employees safe gives them the mental security they need to worry less about what’s to come. Transparency is the keyword to hold on to as you’re preparing your team to join a hybrid workplace. Forget that, and you’re bound to see a sudden drop in your employee retention rates.
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It only takes one toxic worker to wreak havoc and negatively impact an entire workplace. Toxic coworkers not only make work dreadful and unpleasant, but they harm the productivity and morale of everyone around them. They create unnecessary drama, erode the culture, undermine the values of the company and destroy trust within the team.
According to a Fierce Inc.study, four out of five employees currently work or have worked with a potentially toxic coworker. Randstad conducted a study exploring why employees leave their workplace and found 58% have left or are considering leaving due to negativity, office politics and disrespectful behavior.
It’s easier said than done to not allow the toxicity of one person to affect your own work especially if you have to work closely with them. Working with a toxic coworker is a powerless and draining experience. Furthermore, it’s not always easy to identify a toxic coworker especially if you consider them to be a friend.
If you feel drained or negative after interacting with them, this could be a sign they’re toxic. Toxic behavior can manifest through words, body language, disrespecting boundaries, hoarding information, purposely undermining others, not following through on promises or commitments, insults and rumors, to name a few.
Here are three ways you can identify a toxic coworker and set healthy boundaries.
Employees with a victim mindset will always talk about how much they hate their job, their boss, their team or the company. There’s a difference between having a bad day and someone who revels in creating misery for others. Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn Los Angeles Lawn Care, explained, “the more people they can get to share in their discontent, the better they feel.”
Despite being disengaged, toxic coworkers will make excuses for their performance when given constructive feedback with the belief that it’s a personal attack against them. Moreover, they hold grudges and never lose a chance to share how they’ve been wronged even if those situations have been rectified.
Those who are new to a company are prone to being swept up into the negativity as they’re eager to make friends and unaware of a toxic persons patterns. For this reason, it’s important to do pulse checks to see if this is a cultural thing or a person thing.
Here are some coping strategies to help you bounce back from a toxic encounter and stay mentally strong:
Surround yourself with uplifting coworkers who take responsibility and learn from their mistakes
Seek out your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or professional help to learn how to better manage the situation and have a safe space to talk about it
Talk to your HR department and keep the conversation based on facts rather than an individual’s personality. Be prepared to provide specific examples of incidents
Incorporate social activities you can look forward to after work
Practice gratitude and meditation
They Gossip More Than They Knowledge Share
Gossip is the root of many internal company problems. It breeds negativity and spreads quickly. Yasir Nawaz, digital content producer at Pure VPN, said, “toxic colleagues drain your energy and are a constant source of demotivation at work. The worst part is you may not realize you’re in the company of a toxic colleague until it’s too late.” He added, “there’s one sure-fire way to identify one; someone that constantly talks about others behind their backs.”
Melanie Musson, insurance specialist for Buy Auto Insurance asserted, “gossip doesn’t help build a stronger team; rather, it tears down teamwork. Chances are, if they gossip to you, they’re also gossiping about you.”
Another warning sign a colleague is toxic is if they refuse to share knowledge with you that prevents you from being able to do your job. As a victim of a former toxic coworker and boss, I know how detrimental their impact can be not only on my work and mental health, but also to the team and overall workplace. In my experience, my former coworker excluded me from meetings, team activities and withheld information that prevented me from being able to do my job well and used it against me.
Musson explained, “toxic people put themselves first. They really don’t care about others and use others’ misfortunes as a way to move forward at work. If a team member is struggling, the toxic coworker may take the opportunity to show how they excel in that same area.”
Eventually, I set a boundary with her where I started documenting every incident before confronting her. Then, I worked around her to find the information I needed and limited my interactions with her altogether. Be aware, setting healthy boundaries will often push toxic coworkers to react negatively. However, those who are the happiest and most productive are the ones who set healthy boundaries and those who aren’t used to having boundaries set with them are likely to take offense.
Here are boundaries you can set with a coworker that gossips:
Empathize and redirect them to focus on what’s working or to speak with their manager
Refuse to participate by excusing yourself from the conversation when they start gossiping
Focus on positive gossip that celebrates others instead of participating in negative gossip that hurts morale
Communicate your boundaries letting them know you don’t like to talk about office politics
Surround yourself with people who would rather share knowledge than spread gossip
Use key phrases such as “this sounds like a rumor and I don’t want to hear it”, “I’d rather engage in conversations that are positive and uplifting” or countering with “is that a fact or gossip?”
They Use Passive Aggressive Comments Rather Than Compliments
Matt Satell, CEO of Prime Mailboxes said, “toxic employees are often those who purposely undermine the capabilities of others so they can stay ahead of their competition.” They thrive on finding fault, negativity and holding people back.
Here are a few examples of passive-aggressive behaviors and comments:
Giving the silent treatment
Responding with sarcasm or disguised insults
Rejecting feedback and others perspectives
A cynical attitude
An air or superiority
Nich Chernets, CEO of Data for SEO said “in my experience, toxic people tend to complain a lot, even in the situations when everything is good. They’re looking for an audience that will constantly listen to their problems. In the long run, these people bring a lot of negativity to the work process and burden others with unnecessary things.” John Stevenson, marketing specialist at My GRE Exam Preparation added, “in turn, this creates an environment where other members of the team cannot work at full capacity because they’re too busy watching their backs.”
You can cultivate positivity through uplifting interactions with other colleagues, listening to motivating podcasts and finding the good in the work you do. It’s easy to lose motivation when a toxic coworker undermines your abilities and believes their role and contributions are more valuable than everyone else’s.
Here are some ways you can remind yourself of your hard work and contributions:
Keep a running document of your achievements and wins
Copy and paste recognitions from emails, client/manager reviews and Slack comments into the running document
I’m a Leadership Coach & Workplace Culture Consultant at Heidi Lynne Consulting helping individuals and organizations gain the confidence to become better leaders for themselves and their teams. As a consultant, I deliver and implement strategies to develop current talent and create impactful and engaging employee experiences. Companies hire me to to speak, coach, consult and train their teams and organizations of all sizes. I’ve gained a breadth of knowledge working internationally in Europe, America and Asia. I use my global expertise to provide virtual and in-person consulting and leadership coaching to the students at Babson College, Ivy League students and my global network. I’m a black belt in Six Sigma, former Society of Human Resources (SHRM) President and domestic violence mentor. Learn more at http://www.heidilynneco.com or get in touch at Heidi@heidilynneco.com
Toxic Coworkers | How to Deal with Toxic People at Work // Do you have a toxic coworker? Or even worse, several toxic workers. Nothing make a toxic work culture faster than having these difficult coworkers and having to deal with toxic coworkers every day. If you have toxic work colleagues, you need to know how to cope with toxic coworkers. You can disarm toxic people in the workplace, and while it won’t totally heal a toxic work environment, it can make your day to day in a toxic workplace slightly more tolerable. In this video I will show you how to deal with toxic coworkers – it’s six simple strategies that will disarm toxic person at work and help you survive until you can escape the toxic environment at work. I’d love to know which strategies you would implement or how you have dealt with toxic coworkers in the past. ****************** Stop settling for mediocrity, it’s time to glow up your career. Attend the free LIVE workshop on December 2nd at 12pm EST. glowupyourcareer.com ************* Think I might be the right Career Success Coach for you? Learn more & apply: capdecasolutions.com/coaching Accelerate your job search, get Hired in a Hurry hiredinahurry.com ****************** More videos to help deal with difficult coworkers and toxic workplaces: TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT: 14 Signs Your Workplace is Toxic (and How to Cope) https://youtu.be/GEJBaigzUcA COWORKERS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS https://youtu.be/XjhF3xQE1lM How to Work with People You Don’t Like https://youtu.be/x1S5EPX0Jik HOW TO HANDLE DIFFICULT COWORKERS | Dealing with difficult people at work https://youtu.be/R-nI-IpQYbo POSITIVE ATTITUDE AT WORK (HOW TO STAY POSITIVE AT WORK) https://youtu.be/wVKUB0-ZHvM ****************** SUCCESS HABITS & RESOURCES Join my private community, the Strive Squad (it’s free!) https://www.facebook.com/groups/striv… I’m all about productivity tools, great books, and sanity savers in general. Browse my favorites in my Amazon Store: https://www.amazon.com/shop/jenniferb… Get your bookworm on when you’re on the move. Audible is my OBSESSION, and it helps me read an extra 1-2 books per week. Get 30 days free: https://amzn.to/39d3U3W Try my 30 books in 30 days challenge, and make it easier with Kindle Unlimited (your first month is free!): https://amzn.to/3ftIBMB Being the best means you keep your knowledge up to date, for this I love Skillshare! Get a free trial: https://bit.ly/3l3oTbJ What Am I Wearing? I hate wearing the same thing twice and I love saving money, so 95% of my wardrobe is from Rent the Runway. Wanna try it (and save $30): https://bit.ly/3995mnT ****************** LET’S HANG! I post more content and videos on LinkedIn – follow me there https://linkedin.com/in/jenniferbrick Daily career glow-up videos on TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@jenniferbrick… You can also follow me on: Instagram: http://instagram.com/capdeca Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ccJenniferbr… Twitter: https://twitter.com/jennifer_brick Sometimes I write stuff for Thrive Global https://thriveglobal.com/authors/jenn…
This year, the holidays are different from any other that we have had in the past. Many families have been quarantined together all year long, struggling to balance the lines between work and home. Being on calls, virtual meetings, and attending online conferences, while feeding small children and pets is exhausting. Work feels like it is never-ending, and many are struggling with burn out. We all are due for a much-needed time off — to properly be strengthened as individuals, and as a team.
As 2020 ends and 2021 feels uncertain (work circumstances, vaccines, etc.), here are a few ways you can help your teams’ recharge and enter 2021 feeling refreshed and ready to handle any new (or old) challenge that comes.
Incentivizing health and wellness during the holiday season
Balance is the name of the game. Think through the different policies and practices that have been in place this year and evaluate whether those have been working. 2020 has been the year of transition to remote working, and virtual collaboration. Workplace stress along with family/personal responsibilities can cause burn out and fatigue that affects productivity and effectiveness in all areas of life.
As a leader, be willing to be generous and flexible. Take a closer look at your rules and norms and figure out the areas where flexibility is available. See if you can build in additional days off, such as mandatory mental health days. Or for the holidays, ask, can the team spare mandatory blackout periods i.e. no work emails after 5 pm during the months of November and December.
Send out intentional and thoughtful notes to your employees for the end of the year. Acknowledge the struggles and imperfections with the transition and any new policies. Go the distance with a small, handwritten note dropped in the mailbox to your team mates. This will make people feel special and remind them that you are thinking of them.
Provide gifts that encourage relaxation and recharge. For example, gift cards are a great way to deliver options for local massages, nail salons, float tanks. And if these shops are still not open due to COVID restrictions, your team members will have something to look forward to in the future, all the while supporting a local, small business.
In the upcoming months make connection a priority, and aim to conduct a few group activities, such as virtually led meditation workshops or virtual exercise classes. Teams could also hire a therapist and conduct a workshop to discuss tactics to monitor stress and wellness, especially with increased responsibilities around the holidays.
Make wellness a priority for your teams and prepare your people through the message that their well-being is important, and their ability to recharge in the next few months is a top priority. Employers that can do this successfully will reap the benefits of increased commitment and productivity as the new year comes around.
Protecting time and energy
Research has shown that the priorities of younger women and men have changed, as they seek more opportunities for a flexible workplace. In 2021, it’s more likely that we can expect a hybrid solution between in-office and virtual working. The best way to adopt these new norms, and prepare teams is to open the lines of communication and reduce the stigma of having conversations around what a flexible work-life looks like. By hearing the concerns of people and teams, managers can problem-solve on challenges and focus on what is working for the future.
Now that most of the year has passed, take time to ask your employees if they have the proper tools for their home office. Engage, and see how as a company you can support their work environments through stipends for speedy internet, office supplies (paper, pens), and proper furniture (i.e. lumber supported chairs). Offer reimbursements or deals on chairs and tables that could be used in the home.
These upcoming months are also a perfect time for individuals and families to find ways to give back to the community and volunteer. Ask if your teams are interested in volunteering for the holidays and help source virtual or in-person events they can attend. Volunteering has been shown to increase a sense of purpose and fulfillment. You could also volunteer together as a team, to continue to build outside work relationships and connection. For example, our team had recently come together and wrote encouraging messages to seniors online. We were able to give back, while catching up with people on our lives outside of work.
And lastly, take this opportunity to reflect with your teams. Evaluate the office tools that have worked or ones that would be nice to have. This could be anything from virtual conferencing tools to online collaboration services. In addition, evaluate team communication and whether there needs to be changes or if things are working smoothly. Ask how people believe this last year went, and what they expect to happen in 2021. Encourage and support their views and show grace when at all possible. 2020 has been difficult, and this holiday is a great time to take time to breathe and recharge together.
By: Brenda Pak Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer
When the news is constantly negative and the world seems down, are you going to take your business down with it? Of course not!
It’s time to rise up and get your business in gear during these difficult times. Get those gears churning and make your business a success in even the toughest of times.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, it’s time for you to look into some of these actionable business tips. Just keep reading.
1. Save, save, save
One of the biggest problems that businesses have is that they don’t have enough cash in the bank for when bad times come. When there’s a slow down in your business or a slow down in the economy in general, you have to be prepared.
Think about this as a savings account.
It’s highly recommended that everyone keep six months’ worth of living in their savings account. This means that you should have at least $3,000 in your savings account if you spend $1,000 a month. This includes all living expenses like rent, food, utilities, gas, and more.
You should have enough in your business’ savings to cover six months of employee pay, supply pay, and more. If you’re not keeping this amount in your business’ account, you need to reevaluate how your business is operating and allocating its expenses.
2. Take care of your great employees
The best thing you can do to keep your business running on a positive note is to take care of your employees. You need to recognize who your most valuable employees are and take care of them as much as you can.
If you continuously take care of your best employees, they’re more likely to work harder and stay longer. Having faithful employees is great, especially when it makes for a great environment for your customers.
The employees that you’re taking care of will appreciate your friendly and encouraging workplace over others they may have worked at. The point in caring for these employees is to make your workplace stand out. Take advantage of your great employees and show them that you care so that you can stand out for making them stand out.
3. Say goodbye to bad employees
It is never too early to fire a bad employee. While you should understand that giving second chances is okay, you should know when to fire them.
A bad employee isn’t an isolated issue. These are people who are interacting with your business’ customers and other employees. They could be making a bad experience for everyone else.
If you’re finding that one of your employees is building a poor experience for your customers and employees, it’s time to say goodbye.
Before moving on from this idea, we should explore second chances though. It may be useful to have an unspoken system when it comes to disciplinary actions for poor employees.
You may want to give one or two chances for small, isolated incidents. If an employee has blatantly made a customer have a poor experience, you shouldn’t be shy about hiring someone else for that position.
4. Look at yourself before anyone else
If something in your business is consistently going wrong, your probably the reason why. This is why you should always look at yourself before anyone else when it comes to workplace mistakes.
You have a great influence on your workplace, from your leadership style to your workplace rules to even your mood. It’s important to recognize how you could positively and negatively impact your workplace.
Make sure to evaluate yourself before pointing fingers. Even if an employee made a mistake, you should think about how you could have poorly communicated your expectations.
5. Listen to your customers
The customer is always right, at least the majority of the time. They know what they want, and it’s your job to help them get what those things are.
As your business grows, your customers will tell you what they want. Whether it’s through your social media channels or directly to an employee, it’s important to take down any complaints or suggestions.
Make sure that you tell your employees that they should always make a note of what the customers have been saying.
6. Trust your gut
Your gut is normally right when it comes to split-second decisions. Go with your gut.
In business, you’re going to come across a lot of decisions to make. Sometimes, you’re not going to have the time or the energy to get into a full-scale investigation for every question and problem. That’s the perfect time to depend on your gut.
Focus your time and energy on bigger decisions. Let your gut lead you when it feels strongly about something.
7. Keep your business separate
You need to keep your business life separate from your personal life. Keep them separate when it comes to everything.
Your social life will thank you when you’re keeping your work life at work. You shouldn’t be working on work tasks at home, just like you wouldn’t bring your children to work with you every day.
You should also make sure that your personal and business accounts are different. You never want to tap personal money into your business accounts. It’s going to be a tough call to make if your business is ever on the downturn, but you need to make sure that your business is sufficient outside of your personal savings account.
Getting More Business Tips
Getting business tips like these are great for any business person who’s looking for a little bit of inspiration and encouragement. You should always be looking to take in great information like the seven tips we shared in this post. If you have more specific questions to ask, contact us here. We’d love to hear from you and help you with anything you need.
By: Adam Jacobs / Managing Director Bubblegum Casting & Hunter Talent
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