Employers Need To Tread Carefully On The Road Back To Office Working

Open plan office

In some ways the coming weeks and months are likely to be more difficult for organizations and employees than the past year or so has been. With governments increasingly intent on opening up economies effectively closed down by the pandemic, uncertainty is rife.

Employers and staff alike are caught between wanting to go back to something like normal and not wishing to take too many risks, especially since the Delta variant of the coronavirus is pushing spikes in new cases even in countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. where significant proportions of the population have been at least partially vaccinated.

One factor that could be behind the unease about rushing back to normal working habits is a feeling that, just as governments made mistakes in the handling of the crisis, so too did organizations. According to a survey just out from the finance comparison platform NerdWallet, a third of the U.K.’s business leaders are dissatisfied with the way that staff have been managed through the pandemic.

A similar proportion said that financial stability and business productivity was put ahead of staff safety. Unsurprisingly perhaps, more than half of the nearly 1,000 decision-makers questioned said they planned to carry out a review of how they had handled things. However, nearly half have already invested in new equipment designed to improve health and safety and to facilitate social distancing, while more than half have introduced greater flexibility to working hours.

Employers’ definitions of flexibility appear to be, well, flexible. An insight into the current situation is provided by the consultancy Mercer in its latest survey of working policies and practices among nearly 600 employers in the U.S.. The key findings were:

  • Hybrid working — a blend of in-person and remote working — was favoured by vast majority.
  • Predominantly office-based working was the preference of a fifth of employers.
  • Fully remote or virtual-first working was the choice of just 6% of employers
  • A distributed model making increased use of satellite campuses was likely to be adopted by just 4%.

Mercer’s research and analysis suggests that, across all industries, the proportion of the workforce working on-site full-time is likely to be about 40%. The hybrid category will probably be split, with about 29% of the workforce working remotely one or two days a week and approximately 17% doing so three or four days a week. About 14% of workers are expected to work remotely full-time.

The challenge for employers will be deciding how they can retain the employee experience and hang on to talent. Lauren Mason, principal in Mercer’s career business, and Ravin Jesuthasan, global leader of Mercer’s transformation business, suggest five principles to consider:

  1. Empower teams but set guidelines:  Nearly all employers plan to bring in changes to working policies as a result of the pandemic. Nearly half are already actively developing a strategy, while nearly a quarter of employers are in the process of implementing or have already implemented plans. Employers can and should empower teams to continue to work flexibly but they should also establish guidelines to maximize business outcomes and ensure a consistent employee experience.
  2. Keep a pulse on the market and your competition: Flexibility will likely have a high impact on an organization’s ability to retain talent. If employees are unhappy about employers’ flexible working plans, they will be likely to consider other workplaces that might better meet their needs.
  3. Don’t rush to get employees to the office: Employers should focus on returning employees in a way where co-working benefits can be maximized immediately. They should concentrate on making workers feel energized, empowered and engaged to be back together with their colleagues. This may entail phased transitions, where employees may only initially come in one or two days a week, planned team meetings or on-site social events and celebrations to make those early office days more purposeful.
  4. Stay agile: Workers do not want or need a standardized solution. Employers can demonstrate a continued trust and sense of partnership that was so valued during the pandemic by providing options that are appropriate for the work being performed. The key is to give employees some control and flexibility.
  5. Don’t limit flexibility to remote work: Flexible working is about more than remote working. Inclusive flexibility ensures that all jobs can be flexible when needed. Given the massive challenges employers are facing in attracting and retaining workers, options such as flexible schedules or compressed workweeks can be a huge differentiator. Progressive companies are not just challenging “when” and “where” work is done but also how the it is done, who does it and what the work is.
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I am a U.K.-based journalist with a longstanding interest in management. In a career dating back to the days before newsroom computers I have covered everything from popular music to local politics. I was for many years an editor and writer at the “Independent” and “Independent on Sunday” and have written three books, the most recent of which is “What you need to know about business.”

Source: Employers Need To Tread Carefully On The Road Back To Office Working

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More on Work & Jobs

5 Myths About Flexible Work

Flexibility might be great in theory, but it just doesn’t work for us. We have literally heard this statement hundreds of times over the years. It doesn’t matter what industry we’re talking about — whether it’s tech, government, finance, healthcare, or small business, we’ve heard it. There’s always someone who works from the premise that “there’s no way flexible work policies can work in our organization.”

In reality, flexible work policies can work in any industry. The last twelve months of the pandemic have proven this. In fact, a recent Harvard Business School Online study showed that most professionals have excelled in their jobs while working from home, and 81% either don’t want to go back to the office or would choose a hybrid schedule post-pandemic. It’s important to recognize, however, that flexibility doesn’t always look the same — one size definitely does not fit all.

The Myth of the Five C’s

You may be wondering, “If you can recruit the best candidates, increase your retention rates, improve your profits, and advance innovation by incorporating a relatively simple and inexpensive initiative, then why haven’t more organizations developed flex policies?” This question will be even harder for organizations to ignore after we’ve experienced such a critical test case during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Insight Center Collection

Building Tomorrow’s Workforce

How the best companies identify and manage talent. We believe fear has created stumbling blocks for many organizations when it comes to flexibility. Companies either become frozen by fear or they become focused by fear. It is focus that can help companies pivot during challenging times. In the years that we’ve been working with companies on flexibility, we’ve heard countless excuses and myths for why they have not implemented a flex policy. In fact, the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance has boiled these myths down to the fear of losing the 5 C’s:
  1. Loss of control
  2. Loss of culture
  3. Loss of collaboration
  4. Loss of contribution
  5. Loss of connection

Addressing the Fears

Myth #1: Loss of Control

Executives are often worried that they’ll open Pandora’s box and set a dangerous precedent if they allow some employees to work flexibly. They worry that if they let a few employees work from home, then the office will always be empty and no one will be working. The answer to this is structure and clarity. We can virtually guarantee that any organization that correctly designs and implements their flexibility policy will not lose anything.

To maintain control and smooth operation of your organization, it’s imperative that you set standards and clearly communicate them. Organizations should provide clear guidelines on the types of flexibility offered (for example, remote work, reduced hours, asynchronous schedules, job sharing and/or compressed work weeks) and create a centralized approval process for flexibility to ensure that the system is equitable. It is also helpful to have a calendar system for tracking when and where each team member is working.

You must also commit to training everyone on these standards — from those working a flexible schedule, to those supervising them, to all other coworkers. Education and training will help your team avoid “flex stigma,” where employees are disadvantaged or viewed as less committed due to their flexibility. Training can also help organizations to ensure that successful systems and structures that support flexibility are maintained.

Myth #2: Loss of Culture

While you may not see every employee every day, and you may not be able to have lunch with people every day, culture does not have to suffer with a flexible work initiative. However, it is essential that teams meet either in person or via video conference on a regular basis. At the Alliance, we recommend that companies and firms first define what culture means to their individual organization and then determine how they might maintain this culture in a hybrid or virtual environment.

Many organizations with whom we’ve worked reported that they found creative ways to maintain culture during months of remote working during the pandemic. Many Alliance members organized social functions like virtual exercise classes, cooking classes, happy hours, and team-building exercises to maintain community. Additionally, it’s important to take advantage of the days when everyone is physically present to develop relationships, participate in events, and spend one-to-one time with colleagues.

Myth # 3: Loss of Collaboration

As long as teams that are working a flexible schedule commit to regular meetings and consistent communication, then collaboration will not be compromised. It’s important for all team members to maintain contact (even if it’s online), keep tabs on all projects, and be responsive to emails and phone calls. We always recommend that remote teams also meet in person occasionally to maintain personal contact and relationships.

For collaboration to be successful, remote employees must not be held to a higher standard that those working in the office. Additionally, technology should be used to enhance collaboration. For example, when companies are bringing teams together for brainstorming sessions, virtual breakout rooms can facilitate small group collaboration and help to ensure that all voices are heard. Some organizational leaders have also incorporated regular virtual office hours for unscheduled feedback and informal collaboration.

Myth #4: Loss of Contribution

We have often heard leaders say: “If employees are not physically at their desks in the office, then how will we know that they’re actually working?” But with endless distractions available on computers these days (from online shopping, to Instagram, to Facebook, etc.) you really don’t know what your employees are doing at their desks, even if they are in the office.

In fact, they could be searching for a new job (that offers flexibility!) right before your eyes. It’s important to clearly communicate what is expected of each individual and trust that they will complete the job within the expected timeframe. All employees should be evaluated on the quality of their work and their ability to meet clearly defined performance objectives, rather than on time spent in the office.

Myth #5: Loss of Connection

Technology now enables people to connect at any time of the day in almost any locationMeetings can be held through a myriad of video conferencing applications. Additionally, calendar-sharing apps can help to coordinate team schedules and assist with knowing the availability of team members. Even networking events can now be done virtually. For example, one of our team members created a system for scheduling informal virtual coffee chats between partners and associates to maintain opportunities for networking and mentoring during the pandemic.

It’s important to know what your employees and stakeholders prefer in terms of in-person, hybrid, or virtual-only connection. In a recent survey conducted by BNI of over 2,300 people from around the world, the networking organization asked the participants if they would like their meetings to be: 1) in-person only, 2) online only, or 3) a blend of online and in-person meetings.

One third of the participants surveyed said that they wanted to go back completely to in-person meetings. However, 16% wanted to stick with online meetings only, and almost 51% of the survey respondents were in favor of a blend of meeting both in-person and online. This is a substantial transition from the organizational practice prior to the pandemic, with a full two-thirds of the organization saying that they would prefer some aspect of online meetings to be the norm in the future.

A recent 2021 KPMG CEO Outlook Pulse Survey found that almost half of the CEOs of major corporations around the world do not expect to see a return to “normal” this year. Perhaps a silver lining of the pandemic will be that corporate leaders have overcome their fears of the 5C’s and will now understand how flexibility can benefit their recruitment and retention efforts — not to mention productivity and profitability.

By:Manar Morales & Ivan Misner

Source: 5 Myths About Flexible Work

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Critics:

A flexible work arrangement (FWA) empowers an employee to choose what time they begin to work, where to work, and when they will stop work. The idea is to help manage work-life balance and benefits of FWA can include reduced employee stress and increased overall job satisfaction. On the contrary, some refrain from using their FWA as they fear the lack of visibility can negatively affect their career.

Overall, this type of arrangement has a positive effect on incompatible work/family responsibilities, which can be seen as work affecting family responsibilities or family affecting work responsibilities. FWA is also helpful to those who have a medical condition or an intensive care-giving responsibility, where without FWA, part-time work would be the only option.

Types of flexible work arrangements

References

The Pandemic Revealed How Much We Hate Our Jobs

Until March 2020, Kari and Britt Altizer of Richmond, Va., put in long hours at work, she in life-insurance sales and he as a restaurant manager, to support their young family. Their lives were frenetic, their schedules controlled by their jobs.

Then the pandemic shutdown hit, and they, like millions of others, found their world upended. Britt was briefly furloughed. Kari, 31, had to quit to care for their infant son. A native of Peru, she hoped to find remote work as a Spanish translator. When that didn’t pan out, she took a part-time sales job with a cleaning service that allowed her to take her son to the office. But as the baby grew into a toddler, that wasn’t feasible either.

Meanwhile, the furlough prompted her husband, 30, to reassess his own career. “I did some soul searching. During the time I was home, I was gardening and really loving life,” says Britt, who grew up on a farm and studied environmental science in college. “I realized working outdoors was something I had to get back to doing.”

Today, both have quit their old jobs and made a sharp pivot: they opened a landscaping business together. “We are taking a leap of faith,” Kari says, after realizing the prepandemic way of working simply doesn’t make sense anymore. Now they have control over their schedules, and her mom has moved nearby to care for their son. “I love what I’m doing. I’m closer to my goal of: I get to go to work, I don’t have to go to work,” Kari says. “We aren’t supposed to live to work. We’re supposed to work to live.”

As the postpandemic great reopening unfolds, millions of others are also reassessing their relationship to their jobs. The modern office was created after World War II, on a military model—strict hierarchies, created by men for men, with an assumption that there is a wife to handle duties at home.

But after years of gradual change in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, there’s a growing realization that the model is broken. Millions of people have spent the past year re-evaluating their priorities. How much time do they want to spend in an office? Where do they want to live if they can work remotely? Do they want to switch careers? For many, this has become a moment to literally redefine what is work.

More fundamentally, the pandemic has masked a deep unhappiness that a startling number of Americans have with the -workplace. During the first stressful months of quarantine, job turnover plunged; people were just hoping to hang on to what they had, even if they hated their jobs.

For many more millions of essential workers, there was never a choice but to keep showing up at stores, on deliveries and in factories, often at great risk to themselves, with food and agricultural workers facing a higher chance of death on the job. But now millions of white collar professionals and office workers appear poised to jump. Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, set off a Twitter-storm by predicting, “The great resignation is coming.”

But those conversations miss a much more consequential point. The true significance isn’t what we are leaving; it’s what we are going toward. In a surprising phenomenon, people are not just abandoning jobs but switching professions. This is a radical re-assessment of our careers, a great reset in how we think about work. A Pew survey in January found that 66% of unemployed people have seriously considered changing occupations—and significantly, that phenomenon is common to those at every income level, not just the privileged high earners.

A third of those surveyed have started taking courses or job retraining. Pew doesn’t have comparable earlier data, but in a 2016 survey, about 80% of people reported being somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs.

Early on in the pandemic, Lucy Chang Evans, a 48-year-old Naperville, Ill., civil engineer, quit her job to help her three kids with remote learning while pursuing an online MBA. Becoming “a lot more introspective,” she realized she’s done with toxic workplaces: “I feel like I’m not willing to put up with abusive behavior at work anymore.” She also plans to pivot into a more meaningful career, focused on tackling climate change.

The deep unhappiness with jobs points to a larger problem in how workplaces are structured. The line between work and home has been blurring for decades—and with the pandemic, obliterated completely for many of us, as we have been literally living at work. Meanwhile, the stark divide between white collar workers and those with hourly on-site jobs—grocery clerks, bus drivers, delivery people—became painfully visible. During the pandemic, nearly half of all employees with advanced degrees were working remotely, while more than 90% of those with a high school diploma or less had to show up in person, CoStar found.

Business leaders are as confused as the rest of us—perhaps more so—when it comes to navigating the multiple demands and expectations of the new workplace. Consider their conflicting approaches to remote work. Tech firms including Twitter, Dropbox, Shopify and Reddit are all allowing employees the option to work at home permanently, while oil company Phillips 66 brought back most staff to its Houston headquarters almost a year ago. Target and Walmart have both allowed corporate staff to work remotely, while low-paid workers faced potential COVID-19 exposure on store floors.

In the financial industry, titans like Blackstone, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs expect employees to be back on site this summer. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon recently declared that remote work “doesn’t work for those who want to hustle-. It doesn’t work in terms of spontaneous idea generation,” and “you know, people don’t like commuting, but so what.”

There’s a real risk that office culture could devolve into a class system, with on-site employees favored over remote workers. WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani recently insisted that the “least engaged are very comfortable working from home,” a stunning indictment that discounts working parents everywhere and suggests that those who might need flexibility—like those caring for relatives—couldn’t possibly be ambitious.

Mathrani’s comments are yet another reminder that the pandemic shutdown has been devastating for women, throwing into high relief just how inhospitable and precarious the workplace can be for caretakers. Faced with the impossible task of handling the majority of childcare and homeschooling, 4.2 million women dropped out of the labor force from February 2020 to April 2020—and nearly 2 million still haven’t returned. Oxfam calculates that women globally lost a breathtaking $800 billion in income in 2020. Women’s progress in terms of U.S. workforce participation has been set back by more than three decades.

Despite Mathrani’s assertion, there’s little evidence that remote employees are less engaged. There is, however, plenty of evidence that we’re actually working more. A study by Harvard Business School found that people were working on average 48 minutes more per day after the lockdown started. A new research paper from the University of Chicago and University of Essex found remote workers upped their hours by 30%, yet didn’t increase productivity.

All this comes at a moment when business and culture have never been more intertwined. As work has taken over people’s lives and Americans are doing less together outside the office, more and more of people’s political beliefs and social life are defining the office. In thousands of Zoom meetings over the past year, employees have demanded that their leaders take on systemic racism, sexism, transgender rights, gun control and more.

People have increasingly outsize expectations of their employers. This year, business surpassed nonprofits to become the most trusted institution globally, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, and people are looking to business to take an active role tackling racism, climate change and misinformation.

“Employees, customers, shareholders—all of these stakeholder groups—are saying, You’ve got to deal with some of these issues,” says Ken Chenault, a former chief executive of American Express and currently chairman and managing partner of General Catalyst. “If people are going to spend so much time at a company, they really want to believe that the mission and behavior of the company is consistent with, and aligned with, their values.”

Hundreds of top executives signed on to a statement that he and Ken Frazier, the CEO of Merck, organized this year opposing “any discriminatory legislation” in the wake of Georgia’s new voting law. Yet those same moves have landed some executives in the crosshairs of conservative politicians.

That points to the central dilemma facing us all as we rethink how we work. Multiple surveys suggest Americans are eager to work remotely at least part of the time—the ideal consensus seems to be coalescing around three days in the office and two days remote. Yet the hybrid model comes with its own complexities.

If managers with families and commutes choose to work remotely, but younger employees are on site, the latter could lack opportunities for absorbing corporate culture or for being mentored. Hybrid work could also limit those serendipitous office interactions that lead to promotions and breakthrough ideas.

Yet if it’s done correctly, there’s a chance to bring balance back into our lives, to a degree that we haven’t seen at least since the widespread adoption of email and cell phones. Not just parents but all employees would be better off with more flexible time to recharge, exercise and, oh yeah, sleep.

There’s also a hidden benefit in a year of sweatpants wearing and Zoom meetings: a more casual, more authentic version of our colleagues, with unwashed hair, pets, kids and laundry all on display. That too would help level the playing field, especially for professional women who, over the course of their careers, spend thousands of hours more than men just getting ready for work.

There are glimmers of progress. During the pandemic, as rates of depression and anxiety soared—to 40% of all U.S. adults, quadruple previous levels—a number of companies began offering enhanced mental-health services and paid “recharge” days, among them LinkedIn, Citigroup, Red Hat and SAP.

Some companies are offering subsidized childcare, including Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Home Depot. More than 200 businesses, along with the advocacy group Time’s Up, recently created a coalition to push for child and eldercare solutions. It’s essential that these measures stay in place.

We have an unprecedented opportunity right now to reinvent, to create workplace culture almost from scratch. Over the past decades, various types of businesses have rotated in and out of favor—conglomerates in the ’60s, junk bonds in the ’80s, tech in the ’00s—but the basic workplace structure, of office cubicles and face time, has remained the same.

It’s time to allow the creative ideas to flow. For example, companies are stuck with millions of square feet of now unused office space—sublet space soared by 40% from late 2019 to this year, CoStar found. Why not use that extra space for day care? Working parents of small children would jump at the opportunity to have a safe, affordable option, while having their kids close by.

Now would also be a good time to finally dump the 9-to-5, five-day workweek. For plenty of job categories, that cadence no longer makes sense. Multiple companies are already experimenting with four-day workweeks, including Unilever New Zealand, and Spain is rolling out a trial nationwide. Companies that have already tested the concept have reported significant productivity increases, from 20% (New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian, which has since made the practice permanent) to 40% (Microsoft Japan, in a limited trial).

That schedule too would be more equitable for working moms, many of whom work supposedly part-time jobs with reduced pay yet are just as productive as their fully paid colleagues. Meanwhile, the 9-to-5 office-hours standard becomes irrelevant, especially when people don’t have meetings and are working remotely or in different time zones.

While we’re at it, let’s kill the commute. Some companies are already creating neighborhood co-working hubs for those who live far from the home office. Outdoor retailer REI is going a step further: it sold its new Bellevue, Wash., headquarters in a cost-cutting move and is now setting up satellite offices in the surrounding Puget Sound area. Restaurants might get in on the act too; they could convert dining areas into co-working spaces during off hours, or rent out private rooms by the day for meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Some of the shortcomings of remote work—the lack of camaraderie and mentoring, the fear of being forgotten—may ultimately be bridged by new technology. Google and Microsoft are already starting to integrate prominent remote-videoconferencing capabilities more fully into meeting spaces, so that remote workers don’t seem like an afterthought. Augmented reality, which so far has been used most notably for games like Pokémon Go, could end up transforming into a useful work tool, allowing remote workers to “seem” to be in the room with on-site workers.

There are plenty of other ideas out there, and a popular groundswell of support for flexibility and life balance that makes sense for all of us. Will we get there, or will we slide back into our old ways? That’s on us. Companies that don’t reinvent may well pay the price, losing top talent to businesses that do.

“We aren’t robots,” Kari Altizer says. “Before, we thought it was impossible to work with our children next to us. Now, we know it is possible—but we have to change the ways in which we work.”

By Joanne Lipman

Source: COVID-19 Changed Work Forever | Time

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References

The Best Stretches To Improve Flexibility

Can’t bend over and touch your toes? You might think flexibility is something you’re born with — you either have it or you don’t. While your flexibility level does have ties to genetics (we can’t all be contortionists), you might be surprised to learn that you can build flexibility just as you can build strength, endurance or speed

Just like anything else, developing flexibility takes practice. It takes just as much consistency as does building muscle or getting in shape for a marathon. It may not be easy, but it’s definitely doable, and you can get started with these simple ways to become more flexible. 

Read more: The best ab exercises for a stronger core

1. Start and end each day with static stretches

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Static stretches allow for deep, isolated stretching. Getty Images

Holding static stretches may be the simplest method to improve flexibility. Static stretching includes all flexibility exercises that involve holding a muscle in a stretched position for a substantial amount of time, usually around 30 seconds. This allows you to isolate and deeply stretch a muscle. Starting and ending your day with static stretches — just for 5 to 10 minutes — can make a big difference in how flexible your muscles feel on a daily basis. 

Static stretches you might already be familiar with include: 

Some advanced static stretches include: 

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2. Perform dynamic stretches before and after you exercise

gettyimages-1280798947
Dynamic stretches improve mobility. Getty Images

Dynamic stretches, in contrast to static stretches, continuously move your muscles and joints through their full range of motion. This type of stretching feels much more vigorous than static stretching and may even get your heart rate up. 

Dynamic stretching doesn’t isolate muscles as much as static stretching; rather, this type of active stretching works multiple muscles at the same time and teaches you how to engage your muscles and joints to support deeper and more fluid motion. Performing dynamic stretches before your workout makes for a good warmup, and engaging in a few after your workout helps return your body to its resting state (rather than just stopping cold after an intense sweat). 

Examples of dynamic stretches include: 

3. Mash your muscles a few times each week

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Foam rolling helps break up tight muscle and fascia. Getty Images

You might feel inflexible due to adhesions in your fascia, a type of connective tissue that covers your muscles, bones and joints. What people refer to as “muscle knots” often actually occur in the fascia (though your muscle tissue can develop knotty areas, too). 

If you have a lot of these adhesions, which can develop from long periods of sedentary behavior as well as from intense physical activity, try adding self-myofascial release to your routine. Self-myofascial release is essentially self-massage with the goal of “releasing” those tight knots from your body tissues. You can do self-myofascial release with a foam roller, a lacrosse ball, a muscle roller or a massage gun. 

These myofascial release exercises can help:

4. Practice rotational movements

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Often overlooked, rotational movements influence flexibility greatly. Getty Images

Your ability or inability to fully rotate your spine and ball-and-socket joints (hips and shoulders) greatly influences your overall flexibility level. Your spine, hips and shoulders dictate most of the movements you make on a daily basis whether you realize it or not: Every time you step, reach, bend, turn, sit or stand, you’re using your spine along with your hips or shoulders. If you don’t actively practice rotating these joints, you’re missing out on your potential for flexibility. 

Try these rotational exercises to improve flexibility: 

Creating a flexibility training program

In addition to your usual exercise, such as lifting weights or walking, try dedicating a few minutes each day to flexibility training. Time constraints may make it hard to prioritize flexibility exercises, but if you really want to get bendy, you’ll have to commit to a regular practice. 

Here’s one way to incorporate flexibility training into your workout routine:

  • Morning: 5 minutes of static stretching, focus on the lower body
  • Before workout: 10 minutes of full-body dynamic stretching
  • After workout: 5 minutes of myofascial release on the muscles you worked
  • Before bed: 5 minutes of static stretching, focus on the upper body

By dedicating just a few minutes at a time, you can achieve nearly half an hour of flexibility training each day you exercise. 

You can always slightly cut back on your active exercise time to incorporate flexibility work. For example, if you usually walk for 60 minutes a day, walk for 50 minutes and end your walk with 10 minutes of stretching. In the end, becoming more flexible is all about prioritizing flexibility as a goal.  

By: Amanda Capritto Dec. 4, 2020

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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MadFit

Not flexible? Follow along with this 30 min stretch routine designed to help increase flexibility! Great for beginner’s or anyone in need of a great stretch! 👉🏼THE MAT I USE (Exercise 6X4): http://gorillamats.com?aff=19 (MADFIT10 for 10% off) ⭐️SHOP MY COOKBOOKS! 100+ RECIPES: https://goo.gl/XHwUJg ⭐️ SUBSCRIBE TO MY MAIN CHANNEL (what i eat, recipes, vlogs): https://goo.gl/WTpDQk OTHER VIDEOS: ➤ PREVIOUS VIDEO (“Liar” Ab Workout): http://bit.ly/2klS0xs ➤ AT HOME WORKOUTS: http://bit.ly/2klS0xs ➤ MORE STRETCH ROUTINES:http://bit.ly/2kqnWkl 📷 GEAR I USE: CAMERA: https://goo.gl/rVQzXd 42.5mm LENS: https://goo.gl/oLRc2u TRIPOD: https://goo.gl/ihp5br MICROPHONE: https://goo.gl/fPzkRN GOPRO: https://goo.gl/D6eMwL ✘ I N S T A G R A M: @madfit.ig ✘ T W I T T E R: @maddielymburner ✘ F A C E B O O K: facebook.com/madfit.ig ✉ C O N T A C T (business inquiries): madfit95@gmail.com

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Stock Market Crash: The End Game And Down The Rabbit Hole

For a stock market to crash, prices must fall. That is obvious. But what if stocks rise and the value of money falls? Is that a crash? If the value of money drops 30% but the market rises a little, is that a bull market?

Not many people would argue against the premise that it is the Federal Reserve’s liquidity actions that have levitated the U.S. stock market. Sadly, in an attempt to keep the whole economy from imploding it has inflated stock asset values to ridiculous levels. Jay Powell, the Fed Chairman, made it clear in a recent interview that they were committed to supporting the U.S. economy and to protecting it from the effects of anti-Covid measures, for as long as necessary and for as much as needed, and clearly indicated that would be for a long time.

This is the trend of that Federal Reserve support:

The Federal Reserve's total assets
The Federal Reserve’s total assets Credit: Federal Reserve

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(Chart courtesy of the Federal Reserve’s website)

This QE or however you want to brand this liquidity provision (liquidity equals cash, provision equals printing assets that turn into money) is clearly going to run and run for a long time because every time the Fed slackens its swapping of fresh government-backed quality assets for other people’s sketchier assets, down flops the stock market and then up pops more QE to keep the market from crashing Hindenburg-like in flames.

When the Fed tapered in 2019, down went the market and crash went peripheral global economies as U.S. dollars were sucked from the global economic plumbing. The U.S. and the world economy is hooked on the Federal Reserve’s money printing. By swapping golden government debt for other parties’ riskier, perhaps very risky, debt the Fed yanks the world’s dodgy assets holders out of the mire by their hair, thus avoiding a spiral of insolvency. The potential damage of that terrifying comeuppance is what sparks all bailouts, allowing broken companies and economies to stagger on, most likely towards even greater fragility.

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The weird thing is this: If these liquidity operations keep going on, the Federal Reserve will in effect own all its citizens’ homes and all its creditworthy (and not so creditworthy) corporate debt and thus have liens on most of the economic assets of its citizens and producers. It will have in effect nationalized, though probably by accident, the country, having bought it with government paper. 

However, if it brings this process to a halt the market will crash and everyone will instantly be a lot poorer, while if it carries on at some point it will glut the market for its paper, up will go interest rates and down will go the value of bonds and the reality of a much poorer economy will bite.

However, it seems that the Federal Reserve is not going to let the stock market crash whatever the outcome.

But if a dollar in 2023 or 2024 buys significantly less and the market hasn’t rocketed accordingly, you are getting your reset in a chronic way rather than through an acute event of a 30% retrenchment on your portfolio. This will be the aim, once again to smooth the process by spreading it out over a decade or two rather than take the pain in an awful three or so years of restructuring.

Yet make no mistake, the U.S. stock market is a house of cards, and as the Malaysians discovered when they propped up the price of tin, there is a finite nature to keeping a market away from its natural equilibrium and you must spend increasing amounts to do it. At some point you run out of credit and down goes the market to its correct level.

How long the U.S. can continue to debase its credit while maintaining its credibility is the key question in this ongoing drama and every country in its time has gone beyond that point and sunk into crisis. If the U.S. chooses to corner its markets, that time will approach rapidly. With continued QE the system will become more fragile still so to the catalyst needed to breach that fixed market corner will get smaller and smaller until the slightest of nudges will break the spell.

Inflation solves all these problems as it gives the flexibility for economic activity to rebalance as few can keep up with all the different developing prices. It creates impetus for people to get their money moving and crushes debt with negative real interest rates and also stealthily rebalances the actual value of those debts. Switching inflation on and off is a known, even though central banks ludicrously claim otherwise.

But will the stock market crash now? Hearing Jay Powell speak it appears they are prepared to die on the hill of QE. So the market will not be allowed to take its natural course. This means the market will crash but only when and if there is a downfall moment. There has to be a readjustment for a global economy that has lost at least 10% of its output with still more damage to come.

Some governments will aim for a chronic economic development while some will go for an acute one if they can shift its blame onto someone or something else.

As such, investors should pray that the new incoming U.S. administration doesn’t find a neat scapegoat to blame a reset on, to get that out of the way early in their term.

For anyone who is not a diehard buy and holder, the near future must be one where an investor’s fingers should stay hovering near that sell button because the tightrope walk the Fed is walking for the sake of the U.S. and world economy is going to be a precarious one.

Clem Chambers is the CEO of private investors website ADVFN.com and author of 101 Ways to Pick Stock Market Winners and Trading Cryptocurrencies: A Beginner’s Guide.

Chambers won Journalist of the Year in the Business Market Commentary category in the State Street U.K. Institutional Press Awards in 2018. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Clem Chambers

 Clem Chambers

I am the CEO of stocks and investment website ADVFN . As well as running Europe and South America’s leading financial market website I am a prolific financial writer. I wrote a stock column for WIRED – which described me as a ‘Market Maven’ – and am a regular columnist for numerous financial publications around the world. I have written for titles including: Working Money, Active Trader, SFO and Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities in the US and have written for pretty much every UK national newspaper. In the last few years I have become a financial thriller writer and have just had my first non-fiction title published: 101 ways to pick stock market winners. Find me here on US Amazon. You’ll also see me regularly on CNBC, CNN, SKY, Business News Network and the BBC giving my take on the markets.

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George Gammon

Stock market crashes and the 👉QUESTION ON YOUR MIND IS 👈..Are we now in the “end game?” This has been the fastest stock market crash, as measured by a 10% decline from a market high, in history. Worst week since 2008 global financial crisis. As we all know, the system now is much more levered and precarious. So what happens now? Does the stock market crash further? Is this the next 2008 style financial crisis? Will this lead to a recession or even a depression?

These are the questions everyone has, and they’re the questions I’ve been asking myself. In this video I’ll do my best to outline the systemic risks in the current system, why the federal reserve doesn’t have as much control as people think, and why this maybe the black swan event people have been expecting. If you’re interested in the future of the economy THIS IS A MUST WATCH VIDEO!

In this stock market crash end game video I’ll discuss the following: 1. The current systemic risks. 2. Jeff Snider’s work showing the Fed isn’t in control. 3. Is this the end game? I give you my opinion and what is the deciding factor for me. Link to Peter Schiff video from clip. Peter is one of my favorites, I’d strongly recommend checking out his channel and podcast! https://youtu.be/NjzYRtK6i_M For more content that’ll help you build wealth and thrive in a world of out of control central banks and big governments check out the videos below! 👇 🔴 Subscribe for more free YouTube tips: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpvy… Do you wanna see another video as incredible as this? Watch “Kyle Bass Predicts HSBC Collapse In 2020! (Here’s Why)”: https://youtu.be/QwjiIIht0bw Watch “Repo Market Bailout: TERRIFYING Unintended Consequences Revealed!”: https://youtu.be/-2wJWzoSjRo Watch “2008 GFC: Everything You Know Is Wrong! (Truth Revealed)”: https://youtu.be/Ku58GQ5dcKU#StocksPlummet#MarketChaos#GettingWorse?

How to Keep Your Team Energized During the Holidays

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.

Related: Preparing Ecommerce for the “New” Holidays

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.

Related: 4 Tips to Fight Employee Disengagement During the Holidays

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

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Work It Daily

NEW FREE MASTERCLASS: Laid Off & Looking – 6 Steps For Bouncing Back After Being Let Go: https://workitdaily.lpages.co/how-get… Resume Mistakes Guide FREE DOWNLOAD: https://www.workitdaily.com/free-resu… FREE Cover Letter Samples: https://www.workitdaily.com/cover-let… More FREE Career & Job Search Resources: https://www.workitdaily.com/resources In today’s video JT goes over some ways a manager can keep their virtual team motivated while everyone is working from home during quarantine. Working at home can be isolating and demotivating, so it’s important to build a strong bond with your team and keep checking in with them to make sure everyone is feeling ok. Get your daily career advice: https://www.workitdaily.com/https://twitter.com/workitdailyhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/jtodonnell/https://www.facebook.com/WorkItDaily/https://www.instagram.com/workitdaily…https://www.facebook.com/groups/WorkI…https://www.linkedin.com/company/work… ______________________________________ More from Work It Daily: Questions To Ask In An Interview: https://youtu.be/Y95eI-ek_E8 Common Interview Mistakes: https://youtu.be/6KnJtVnE_FA Answer – “Why Do You Want This Job?”: https://youtu.be/-1umUFfIicY Behavioral Interview Questions: https://youtu.be/gOBCQ9Di0Bo What Hiring Manager Want To Know: https://youtu.be/RTvYvZ9VHDc How To Write A Cover Letter: https://youtu.be/kdUafTx82OM#JTTalksJobs#WorkFromHome#VirtualTeam

Tracking The Recovery: What Manufacturers Can Learn From One Another

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The recovery from COVID-19 in manufacturing will not be one uniform push. Rather, just as the virus worked its way across the globe, the recovery will be uneven as disparate regions and sectors move toward the next normal.

This won’t make things easy for manufacturers. But the one advantage of a staggered recovery is that it allows you to draw on the insights of regions and sectors that are ahead of you in the cycle. And based on several podcasts I recently recorded with colleagues who advise on manufacturing across the globe, everyone seems to be facing the same key challenges.

Supply and demand

No doubt the biggest disruption that manufacturers have experienced in this crisis are interruptions to their supply chain. When China closed down early on in the pandemic, there was a short spell where manufacturing around the world continued as usual. But then the last container ship left China—and that was that. Manufacturers knew just when supplies would run out. And if you are manufacturing a car, even just one missing part means no car.

So what’s the lesson manufacturers can learn here? That supply chains going forward must be more agile and resilient. Manufacturers now and in the future must have the flexibility to adjust their supply chains in terms of geography, sourcing, and complexity when a crisis hits. This means cost may no longer be the most critical factor when it comes to supply chains. Keeping costs down has its advantages—but not when it means closing a factory down due to a lack of parts.

Being flexible also means having the ability to retrofit production to accommodate changing market demands. The ability to simplify and reduce their product range and cut down on the complexity around the production process was what allowed many manufacturers to keep operating in this crisis. This is especially important given that demand for certain products practically dried up during the early stages of the pandemic while demand for others soared. No one knows when demand as we knew it will bounce back—especially with many economies now in recession.

Health & safety

The well-being of workers is top of mind for all manufacturers right now. While the shift to remote work was highly challenging, figuring out how to keep workers safe who could not work remotely was even more so.

Manufacturers have worked hard to provide PPE for employees who remained on the factory floor. But some manufacturers are being more creative about worker health, coming together to privately fund consortiums that provide a range of health needs, including regular testing. Others have reworked their floor layouts to increase distance between workers. And as more workers return, temperature checks and other personal health safeguards are being deployed.

Digital

Digital will be connected to every aspect of the recovery from COVID-19, from worker safety to reorganizing supply chains. As such, any digital plans and investments in the works pre-pandemic will undoubtedly need to be sped up. And manufacturers who haven’t embarked on the smart factory journey or invested in the connectivity to make it happen will need to start playing catch up.

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But digital is playing an important role in the here and now. Digital has not only enabled remote work, but also the work that has had to stay within a factory. Using technologies such as apps and wearables, employees can be warned if they are straying too close to other workers. Advanced tools for taking temperatures are also helping employers monitor health and keep their staff safe.

Digital technologies—AI, IoT, analytics—are also critical in the near term. With the trajectory of the virus still unknown, businesses will need to rely heavily on forecasting and scenario planning to inform their business strategies. The more data they can gather and analyze, the more complete the picture will be. These technologies can also help manufacturers illuminate supply chains and address complexity.

Workplace

It’s becoming abundantly clear that the workplace will be a much different place post-pandemic. Even as the virus comes under control, it won’t be business as usual. With virtual work now an accepted—or at least expected—mode of working, leaders will need to rethink their workplace strategies. And the changing and uncertain environment will require new skills and roles—especially as the need for forecasting and scenario planning increases.

As operations begin to ramp up, manufacturers need to think about some key questions sooner rather than later. How do you get virtual teams to work together effectively and productively? How does remote work impact your talent and HR policies? How will manufacturers need to reimagine and redesign roles to accommodate changing needs and markets post-crisis? Flexibility will be key in order to optimize productivity and thrive in the new normal.

Recovery

 Recovery is about more than bringing workers back and ramping up production. For many manufacturers, it’s also about finding opportunities. Opportunities to scale innovative processes that worked well at the start of the crisis. Opportunities to leverage digital tools to greater effect—such as the use of scenario planning and remote work. And even opportunities to merge or acquire new entities.

It’s not insensitive to understand the opportunities a crisis presents. As seen in the past, all crises will have their winners and losers. Manufacturers that see how this is an opportunity to assess the future of customer value, their business models, and their capabilities and assets are more likely to be the winners.

Manufacturing post-pandemic

No one, of course, knows when COVID-19 will abate and how markets will react. For right now, uncertainty is the only certainty. That means scenario planning is the mantra of most manufacturers as they prepare for the current and future business cycles.

But overall, there’s consensus that resiliency is more important than anyone realized. Resiliency in this context means the ability to reconfigure your processes and operations and strategies to meet whatever comes next. Because if there’s one thing manufacturers definitely agree on, it’s that this crisis is far from over.

Vincent Rutgers is the Global Industrial Products & Construction (IP&C) Sector leader with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) and a Consulting partner with Deloitte Northwest Europe based in The Netherlands. The IP&C sector is among the largest in Deloitte’s global portfolio in terms of revenues and covers six segments, including: Aerospace and Defense, Construction companies, Industrial Conglomerates, Industry Products, Heavy Machinery and Equipment, and (Japanese) Trading House clients. Vincent directs a global network of partners and professionals to grow Deloitte’s relationship with strategic clients, delivering the full suite of business solutions and capabilities that Deloitte has to offer.

Prior to joining Deloitte, Vincent worked in various consulting roles for other professional services firms. His distinguished 30+ years of experience includes roles within industry focused on production process optimization for global manufacturing and telecommunications companies including Texas Instruments, Philips and AT&T Network Systems.

Vincent holds an MBA in Marketing from TiasNimbas Business School and a Bachelor in Commerical Engineering from Twente university, both in The Netherlands. He also completed post-graduate courses in marketing management and strategic thinking from Wharton Business School in the United States.

bevtraders-2

5 Questions If You Launching a New Business

5 Questions If You Launching a New Business

Successful entrepreneurs share some common traits. You have definitely heard about many of these. Passion, motivation, self-belief, flexibility, hard work and networking, right?

But there’s one trait which overrides all – ‘’asking the right questions.’’

If you are planning to launch a new business, you have multiple challenges that stare you in the face. At any given point of time, you’re asking yourself whether you should do something or you shouldn’t do something. In fact, there are millions of questions that you face. But only a few of them actually matter, ones that you should really ask yourself to get started right and lead your business in the right direction. You need to know what those questions are.

Given below is a list of five questions that are essential to your success as an entrepreneur.

1. Is my market segment profitable enough?

Before you start to operate your business, you should find out whether that market offers opportunities for making sufficient revenue. On the surface, the market you pick may look like a promising one. But the truth emerges when you dig deeper and explore. Nowadays, most market segments are highly competitive because they have been so saturated.

Do adequate research and make sure that the market you choose will allow you to build a profitable business.

2. What are my target audience demographics?

Your business can’t win them all. To achieve success, you must reach a specific group of people who have a specific need. The challenge for you, as an entrepreneur, is to identify that specific audience.

It requires you to know as much about your target audience as possible. Once you have collected that information, you’ll find yourself in a better position to reach out to them and make a real impact. Start your research by looking at the key demographics of the geographical location that’s on your radar. Study groups of people in terms of their age, gender, income range, marital status, occupation and education among others.

3. What are the needs of my potential customers?

Now, move on to the next vital piece of information: customer needs. Why would people purchase your product or service?

The answer lies in understanding what your customer needs are. If you are going to start a business in health and fitness, you need to find out what your customers care about. Are your customers looking for home-based exercise? Do they have time to attend a gym? Conduct thorough research and connect with friends and colleagues who are conscious about their health and aspire to lead a happy and disease-free life, for insights.

That way, you’ll be able to craft a product which fits in with the actual needs of your customers and marketing will be easier too.

4. Who are my key competitors?

To beat competitors, you need to know and understand competitors. When you start a new business, one of the first things you should ask yourself is what your key five or ten competitors look like.

Find out who your top competitors are so that you can learn from them and improve your own offer. When you keep a close watch, you’ll always be aware of the changes they make to their marketing and advertising, which in turn reveals new processes and strategies. Use different tools for researching content strategies, display ad strategies, ranking strategies etc. It will help you size up the competition really well.

5. What are my business goals?

Be crystal clear about what you want to achieve from your business – both for the short and long term. Not just business goals, you should also take your personal and financial goals into consideration. Knowing your expectations from day one will help you make the right decisions.

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