Making a Success of Remote Working for the Long Term

During the spring wave of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, almost half of all employees in the UK were working from home at least some of the time. Whilst this was, of course, a scary time for everyone, there was also a sense of banding together, battening down the hatches and maybe even a little excitement at being able to work from home for the first time. Many adapted well to this strange new set-up. Kitchen tables became digital business hubs and spare bedrooms make-shift Zoom boardrooms.  

But that was nearly 10 months ago, and the short-term shift to remote working has gradually become a more permanent, fundamental change in the way we work. And many are now realising the potential pitfalls.  

Driven partly by the resurgence of the virus following the summer, and also by shifting attitudes of employers who are now realising they can trust their people to get the job done and remain productive without their watchful eye, remote working is here to stay in some capacity. A recently released survey from KPMG showed how 68 percent of CEOs plan on downsizing their offices to reflect this shift, and it seems that what was the most popular employee benefit of the last decade has been fast-tracked some 20 years in the space of 10 months. 

That’s all well and good for those who have adjusted well or have properties large enough to accommodate a home office. But not everyone wants to be working from home. Some miss the buzz of the office and the social aspect of a workplace. Others may miss the ‘me time’ that a commute afforded them. Indeed, many new members of the work-from-home community may have contributed to the startling increase in divorce rates and break-ups.

 Maybe that open-plan family room wasn’t such a good idea after all. Regardless of which camp you’re in, remote working in some form is here to stay. So how can you make a success of it? Here are some pointers from someone who’s been a member of the work-from-home clan for more than two years now. 

Create a dedicated space. 

The biggest change that new work-from-homers will need to make as a short-term solution shifts into a permanent new reality is creating a space in their home that’s sole purpose is work.  

Kitchen tables, the sofa or cluttered box room just won’t cut it anymore. Even for organisations that switch to a 3-2-2 model or a variation of it (that’s three days in the office, two working remotely and two days off at the weekend), it’d be a struggle in terms of professional mindset to move from office to sofa and maintain the same attitude, output and productivity. 

A dedicated space helps create a more seamless transition between workplace and home working. It will induce a professional mindset when you enter and aid focus. This dedicated space should ideally be cut off in some way from distractions and general home noises.  

I don’t think I would have been nearly as productive over the last two years if every morning was a trip to the kitchen to turn the laptop on and there I stayed until 6 p.m. That close a proximity to the fridge certainly wouldn’t have helped things either! 

Play around with the ambience.  

One of the big benefits that many would have enjoyed when starting their first few remote workdays is having total control over the office environment. Radio station? Pick your favourite. Too warm? No need to negotiate opening a window with an always-cold coworker.  

For long-term remote working, it’s good to play around with the ambience of your home office to find what works best.  

As an example, I always find talk radio is a great backing track for the morning rush to clear the inbox and check on campaigns. But the post-lunch lull requires a lively Spotify playlist at full blast to maintain productivity.  

Others find that certain tasks, such as a blog or technical writing, can be easier to focus on with softer background noise such as rain sounds or even a YouTube video of general office background noise (I kid you not, and I’ve tried it, and it does work on occasion). 

Have a play around with lighting too. Natural light is always best for alertness and attention, whilst for those who like to work into the evenings, softer lamp light may be less harsh.  

Finally, have a think about the temperature of your room. Whilst it’s very tempting to create a snug office that’s always warm, research has found that we tend to lose focus and productivity in rooms that are too warm. After all, if you’re a bit tired after a long drive, you don’t whack the heating on – you open the window for some fresh air.  

Force yourself to stay connected.

Remote working presents a challenge to both extroverts and introverts.  

For the former, not being surrounded by co-workers, a lack of “real” conversations or office socialising are a real problem when it comes to working from home. They thrive on these interactions and, as such, working alone at home can become frustrating and isolating.  

On the flip side, for introverts who likely gravitate toward remote working more naturally, there is a danger of slipping into a mindset that starts to resent or even fear the Zoom or MS Teams call sound after a few hours of peace. For the more introverted, the office forced social interactions. Remote working can quickly see you start to actively avoid the group chats and digital socials.  

Whichever camp you may be in – and it can be a bit of both depending on your mood and how fatigued you are – forcing yourself to stay connected is critical for long-term remote working. 

And force yourself to stop working, too. 

This is probably the biggest problem for the WFH community. For a workforce that was increasingly becoming an ‘always-on’ workforce, working from home has exacerbated the problem – especially when the makeshift workspace was the kitchen table or living room armchair.  

But it’s critical for the long-term success of remote working to force yourself to STOP. If your organisation has still enforced a 9-5 or equivalent working hours – just work those hours then shut up shop for the day. If your employers are really forward-thinking and allow for both remote working and flexible hours too, then make sure you’re pacing yourself too.  

recent survey from The Office Group found that working longer hours was the biggest contributor to burnt-out millennials, alongside the inability to separate work and personal life.  

Remember, you’re no good to anyone if you burn out from overworking. And it’s detrimental to your physical and mental health. So take a break, try to switch off when your day is done and resist the late-night email check.  

The best ways I’ve found to deal with this is actually leaving the house when a particular working shift is done, either to walk the dog or a trip to the shop. It breaks the work mindset and helps you to switch off. Give it a try!  

By: Arthur Wilson Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Modus Create, Inc.

Modus Project Manager Samantha Park sits down with Co-Founder Jay Garcia to discuss how remote life differs at Modus from other organizations, share some of their techniques to make remote work easier, and talk about some of the challenges they’ve experienced working in a non-traditional environment. Ms. Park elaborates on the flexibility and independence that remote work provides, and discusses the expectation and reality of remote work, how to create a work-life balance, and tips for staying focused and on track. Modus is always on the lookout for people who want to work in an environment where they are challenged to grow and do great things with awesome people. Think you have what it takes to work with us? Check out our open positions at https://moduscreate.com/careers​ Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and turn on notifications! https://mdus.co/subscribe​ Sam on Social Media: Twitter – https://twitter.com/sparkps126​ LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/samantham…​ Blog – https://moduscreate.com/blog​ Timestamps: 0:24​ – Working remotely at Modus 0:50​ – Going fully-remote for the first time 1:38​ – Dealing with loneliness 2:08​ – Expectation vs. reality of remote work 2:33​ – Drawing a boundary between work and life 3:29​ – The flexibility of remote work 4:14​ – Building an office space at home 5:16​ – Leading Modus while remote Modus Create is a disruptive consulting firm based on the model of an open-source team dedicated to making the best software on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it. Together with our customers, we build products that empower people with breakthrough services and experience. Modus is always on the lookout for people who want to work in an environment where they are challenged to grow and do great things with awesome people. Think you have what it takes to work with us? Check us out at https://moduscreate.com/careers#workfromhome#remotework#employeeinterview#workculture#collaboration#collaborationtools#creativethinking

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Creating Empathetic Workplaces

Workingmums.co.uk hosted two employer workshops on how empathy can be used to create a more engaged, productive workforce in November led by Oliver Hansard and Joss Mathieson from Catalyst Thinking Partners.

Opening the first workshop, Hansard said that, in a world where we are in control of so little that is going on, empathy is a key skill. It is no use having technical ability without having the skills to unlock people’s potential, he stated. He argued that empathy is generative rather than passive, meaning that it guides people’s actions.

Mathieson said Covid has shown the importance of engagement and regular communication and added that empathy is crucial for dealing with a culture of change. If change is handled badly and with a lack of empathy, it can knock people sideways for months, he said. People’s attitude to change is deeply personal, he added, so we need to understand what it means to individuals to ensure people are able to deal with it effectively.

Hansard and Mathieson asked what people understood by the term empathy. Empathy is not only about understanding another person’s perspective, but it guides what actions should be taken and what support might be required. In volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times we also need VUCA leadership is required, said Hansard and Mathieson, that is, leadership focused on being Valiant, Understanding, Compassionate and Authentic:

Valiance is about not being afraid to show that you don’t know everything, to ask what others think and to do the right thing;
Understanding is about understanding how others feel;
Compassion is about being consistently thoughtful, even in challenging circumstances;
Authenticity is about being genuine and honest and not being afraid to show vulnerability, for instance, to talk about what it is really like living through this pandemic.

Hansard and Mathieson pointed out that there is often a discrepancy between how empathetic CEOs think they and their company are versus what employees perceive. A recent workplace empathy survey from Businesssolver showed, for instance, that 68% of CEOs think their companies are empathetic, compared to 48% of employees, and that 76% of employees think empathy leads to greater productivity compared to 52% of CEOs. Moreover, 70% of employees think greater empathy results in lower staff turnover, compared to just 40% of CEOs.  

In their Empathy Manifesto, Hansard and Mathieson have called for a cultural shift around empathy and referred to how Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, had put empathy at the core of innovation to understand the different needs of customers and appreciate different perspectives. Microsoft has shifted from a ‘know it all’ culture to ‘learn it all’ as a result.

Empathy Compass

As a framework, Hansard and Mathieson outlined their Empathy Compass which has empathy at the centre, surrounded by self, team, organisation and customer. They said empathy for yourself is your “North Star”. By understanding how you are feeling, you can be more empathetic to others and more resilient. They emphasised the importance of finding time for yourself amid family and work demands.  

In a team setting, empathy involves listening to others and being prepared to act on what they say, being honest rather than hiding bad news and taking the group with you. It can involve ensuring people take time out regularly to care for others in the team, testing things out and listening to feedback. 

When it comes to customers, empathy is about listening to their needs and adjusting products or services accordingly, whether they are internal or external clients. It is an opportunity to show you care and value customers and it drives loyalty. 

There are two dimensions to organisational empathy – top down empathy demonstrated by senior managers and bottom up empathy that builds from the sum of other acts of empathy – teams, customers and self. 

Hansard and Mathieson discussed how to attract and hire empathetic candidates and said it is about having the right behavioural frameworks and asking candidates at interview about what they think empathy is and requesting that they give examples of how they have demonstrated this. Also, they can be asked about their personal values and the employer can assess the cultural fit against their organisational values, if they have been clearly defined.

Participants then discussed examples of empathetic leadership in their own organisations, including weekly videos from CEOs about the need for everyone to take care of themselves; leaders who are mental health first aiders; role models and influencers who generate empathy; leader drop-in sessions; leaders who give people permission to take time out; a focus on domestic abuse; employee audits that ensure employers know about the different problems affecting different groups; treating employees like consumers; and a focus on adaptability to change and on how an empathetic culture supports this.

Mathieson said it is important to be aware that different cultural contexts need to be taken into account and that a different empathetic approach may be needed for different stages of the pandemic. Hansard said listening needs to become an organisational habit as does demonstrating that what is being said is being taken on board. Mathieson said employers need to listen more than they talk.

Listening hard

In the second workshop, participants explored empathetic listening or what one participant called “listening hard”. They focused on the reciprocal empathetic relationship between employer and employee and the importance of creating an environment of trust where employees feel they can be open and honest and that what they say will be acted upon. There was also a discussion on how an empathetic culture could boost understanding of customer needs and help deliver better services. Better listening can sometimes be enough to push things forward in itself if people feel they are being heard. 

Hansard said there are three types of empathy: cognitive empathy or empathy by thought – the ability to see another’s perspective; emotional empathy – the ability to feel another’s emotions; and generative empathy – which generates empathy in others and leads to action, if not by the listener then by others. Receiving and witnessing empathy has a profound impact and generates empathy for others.

They outlined their ACORN method of generative empathy which is based on:

Attention – listening with full attention and not imposing your own perspective; 

Curiosity – exploring what the other person is thinking or feeling and checking that you have heard and understood correctly;

Observation – noticing all signals, including body language and emotions

Reflection – being a mirror and testing what people are saying, for instance, stating: ‘I think what you are saying is…’ This can be helpful even if you get it wrong as it might make the person think about the issue in a different way if done well; and

Next steps – working together to identify action for you and for them.

Participants then took part in an empathy breakout session to try the ACORN method for themselves, working in trios where one person shared a challenge or problem, one person listened to another and another observed.

Reflecting afterwards, some participants described the difficulty of letting go of the feeling that they needed to find a solution to people’s problems rather than just reflect them back and find a supportive way forward. Mathieson said intentional listening has to be practised regularly and developed “as a muscle”. This is particularly important for building resilient organisations, promoting inclusion and helping people to navigate agility and change. 

Hansard and Mathieson have developed a six-month empathy training programme for leaders which shows significant boosts in leaders’ ability to listen and teams’ ability to behave empathetically as well as increased trust. The leaders who have taken part say it is transformative, helping teams feel more connected and able to be more honest and open.

By: Mandy Garner

If you would like to know more about the Empathy Manifesto and the work Hansard and Mathieson do, please contact them on oliver@hansardcoaching.com/ www.hansardcoaching.com and joss@changeoasis.com/www.changeoasis.com.

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Vyond

This Vyond template video: https://vynd.ly/3kkeDLY features tips on how to meet challenges with a little proactive empathy. #nationalworkingparentsday#remoteteams#trainingvideo The new normal for today’s workplace is “no normal,” and every team member brings their own conditions with them, be it cooped-up kids, bottlenecked bandwidth, or a particularly disruptive dog. Effective remote collaboration depends on having explicit discussions about empathy and team norms. Start the conversation with your teammates with our new video template. Create your own animated video with Vyond. Start a 14-day free trial: https://vynd.ly/2JgHhB7 Check out our template library: https://vynd.ly/39vOoQP For more Vyond Studio tips and tricks, make sure to visit our Resource Center: https://vynd.ly/2Joci5W SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW VYOND: Facebook: https://vynd.ly/39mr4SH Twitter: https://vynd.ly/3csPnjS Instagram: https://vynd.ly/2ws2bWS Linkedin: https://vynd.ly/3cwKw18

The Balance Between Your Personal & Work Life Is Simple To Be Successful At Work: Live

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) conducted a study to determine which countries offered their workers the best balance between personal life and work life . The researchers considered a number of factors including average work hours , personal time, and number of working moms. In the end, the Netherlands took first place with a rating of 9.3 out of 10, while several countries in America ended up presenting a very bad rating.

Not being able to balance work and life can put your health at risk. In fact, many studies have shown that people who work long hours and do not have time for themselves have a 33 percent greater chance of having a heart attack, and a 13 percent greater risk of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, there are many ways to balance your personal and business life to protect your health .

Put into practice the following tips that will change your life:

1. Get rid of unnecessary activities

Many entrepreneurs work longer hours than they should because they are wasting their time on unnecessary or low-value activities. Find out if this is your problem by recording every minute of your time for a few days. Then review what you wrote down and identify the activities that do not add value.

Eliminate distractions like checking social media or taking personal calls while you work. These activities may not take you more than a couple of minutes, but they add up. You should also analyze if you are wasting a lot of time on activities that someone else could do. For example, if you are wasting time going to the supermarket, maybe you could hire someone to do it or order the supermarket at home.

Getting the most out of every minute of the day is essential to find the balance between work and personal life. By cutting back on non-value-added activities like distractions and errands, you can work fewer hours and take care of your health.

2. Schedule social activities on a recurring basis

Studies have shown that having an active social life is important for health. People who isolate themselves from others increase their chances of dying sooner by fifty percent. But making time for social activities can be tricky, especially when you’re trying to grow a business. One way to overcome this is by scheduling recurring social activities with your closest friends.

For example, plan to have one dinner a month with a group of friends. Put this activity on your calendar, and now you can organize your work schedule around dinner, and not the other way around. This strategy is effective because it forces you to make time to disconnect and have fun with your friends. Think of this social activity as a meeting with an important client, something you can’t cancel regardless of how busy you are.

3. Learn healthy ways to cope with stress

Being an entrepreneur is stressful. No matter how many activities you cut off your list or how often you see your friends, you can’t escape stress. Chronic stress has a negative impact on your mind and body, which can lead to dangerous health conditions such as cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. But this does not mean that living under stress will shorten your life expectancy. The key to finding a balance between work and health is learning to manage stress.

Get into the habit of taking a step back from stressful situations, just for a few moments to calm down and collect your thoughts. For example, let’s say a client sends you an email demanding something almost impossible. If you feel like your heart is racing and your blood is starting to spike everywhere, get up from the computer and take a walk, even through your office. If you can go for a walk, do it to calm the thoughts that were accumulating in your head. Going for a walk, even for a few minutes, reduces stress and brings clarity to the head.

Dr. Michael Galitzer, author and physician, recommends entrepreneurs to practice deep breathing to relieve stress. Put one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Begin to breathe deeply from the abdomen to fill your lungs with air. As you slowly breathe in and out, focus on how your abdomen rises and falls. This will make you focus on something other than what is causing you stress and it will be easier to calm you down. Inhale for a count of four, hold the breath for another four seconds, and then exhale for a count of four. Using one of these methods to deal with stress can calm your mind so that you are better prepared to handle the situation that stressed you out.

As an entrepreneur, you are most likely not used to putting yourself first. But it is important to understand that doing so does not mean putting your business aside. By following these tips, you can find the perfect balance between your work and your health, and be more successful than ever in the business world.

By: Brendan M. Egan Founder & CEO of Simple SEO Group

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Practical Wisdom – Interesting Ideas

In today’s video, we are going to share with you, tips you can use to achieve a balanced life. Whether it’s your work, family or any other area in your life you need a balance in, these tips should help you achieve them. #Work&Living More Videos: 10 Legit Ways To Make Money And Passive Income Online – How To Make Money Online – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAj0Z… 10 Signs You Were Born To Be Rich – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0gtV… HOW THE RICH HIDE THEIR MONEY AND PAY NO TAX – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXou5… 7 Types Of Income Of An Average Millionaire – How To Become Rich – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPNN_… 10 Steps To Financial Freedom – How To Be Good With Money – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihne3… References: http://bit.ly/2PHFMM8 Music: (Dreams) by Bensound.com Practical Wisdom – Interesting Ideas

Future Of Work: We Can’t All Become Coders

The future of work is changing rapidly. Artificial intelligence is changing the workplace. Slowly it is displacing humans on manual tasks. More importantly, in the next decade, even some knowledge-based jobs will be replaced by innovation. This can leave people feeling unsettled. In today’s workplace, there’s a noticeable feeling of uncertainty. The reason for this unsettled feeling is that we are not all used to change.

Change is inherently scary.

The good news is that change truly makes us better in our life. It is an opportunity to grow and evolve. A lot of us, according to World Economic Forum, more than 30% of us will need to learn new skills so that we can get better jobs.

In 2018, 2019, many coding camps sprung up and everyone wanted to learn to code. According to coursereport, the bootcamp market grew by 49%. Artificial Intelligence is leading the new wave of innovations. People who are currently in jobs ripe for displacement are re-training themselves to become coders.

The truth is that not everyone can be coders and not everyone should be coders.

Programming is a job that requires abstract thinking, logical thinking, and attention to detail. For people who are not used to that mindset, simply learning to code using a book or a course won’t lead to a fulfilling career.

You want to retrain yourself on skills that align with your interests and passions.

In the age of emerging technology: artificial intelligence, big data, virtual reality, and robotics, there are plenty of jobs that will require technical understanding but at the same time involve more human skills. These jobs won’t be replaced by technology any time soon.

As a part of retraining and re-skilling, how about thinking of the alignment of Ikigai. Ikigai is the Japanese concept of finding your reason for being. In the center of passion, mission, vocation, and profession is ikigai. It’s a purpose for living, and a reason for being. Many credits this concept as the blueprint for happiness.

Below image illustrates what it means to find happiness through Ikigai.

In the age of change in the workplace, it’s an opportunity to find your ikigai. Some of us are in jobs we currently love. What if these jobs are going to be replaced, too? That is okay. In the age of innovation, just like our jobs that are transformed, we can transform, too.

The question to ask yourself is: Can you revise your current profession, add, subtract, modify, to create a new job for yourself that will lead to Ikigai in the future of work.

Reliance on the status quo

In change, there’s almost a need to cling onto the status quo. According to psychologists, we have an inherent status quo bias that prevents us from being comfortable in change. Because uncertainty is uncomfortable, you tend to work harder at your current jobs.

But, what you need is to self-reflect on what your ideal profession should be in the future workplace. Through self-reflection, you can figure out an action plan for yourself.

In some ways, embracing new challenges is the cure for our collective future of work problems. Often, it’s not the new challenge that leads to the result of finding your ikigai. It’s the journey along the way that leads to other avenues of exploration that will lead to finding your ikigai.

The journey is never ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment.

Antonio Brown

Be prepared for a longer and more elaborate journey. The future is complex. The road is winding. Innovation does not happen overnight. Think in terms of years and plan accordingly.

Modifying the status quo

One of the best ways to ease yourself into the future workplace is to modify your existing status quo to integrate technology. Think of yourself as a self-sustaining company. If corporations are integrating technology to automate processes, how can you integrate technology into your life?

Many people learn to code to solve problems in their daily life. If you are an artist, how can you leverage new technology to display your artwork, generate your artwork, and sell your artwork to more customers? If you are a doctor, how can you leverage new technology to automate your workflows in a way that will allow you to focus on the patient? If you are a shop keeper, how can you leverage new technology to help you sell online to a wider customer base? If you are a marketing manager, have you thought about what it would be like to work with a team located across the world serving clients worldwide?

Opportunities Created

Modifying the status quo often leads us to new opportunities created. In surgery, new robotic technology is improving procedures every day and helping doctors to develop less invasive procedures. At the same time, there’s a new type of assistance required in these types of surgeries. Nurses and surgical assistants are learning to load equipment for the robots, monitor their activities while learning to adapt to this new working environment.

There will be manual work that will be completely replaced. But, at the same time, there will be many new industries and jobs opened. If you keep your eyes open while you try your hands at different types of new jobs, then you may find new jobs that are more fulfilling.

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conumdrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.

Martin Luther King

If there’s an urgency, you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish. Your life may be re-energized because you are learning every day.

Evaluate and use all the skills that you have

Innovation is happening every day. Have you evaluated all the skills that you have? Skills that will not be easily replaced are emotional intelligence, creativity, communication, judgment, critical thinking, etc..

Create a worksheet for yourself where you list out all the skills that you have. Circle the ones that you think you are best at. Then, envision a job that will use all of your best skills.

According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of our children now entering primary school will hold jobs that don’t exist yet. According to McKinsey, by 2030, demand for jobs that require a higher level of cognitive skills such as emotional intelligence, creativity, communication, judgment and critical thinking will rise by 19% and in Europe by 14%.

With new technology, there’s also more of a need for new kinds of service jobs that use a combination of human skills in conjunction with technology skills. This type of service job will involve interacting with an AI-enabled system to come up with solutions.

Learn to be empowered by information and automation

One of the pitfalls of technological innovation is often that we are inundated by information and feel bogged down by automation. In your own daily life, are you using data and technology to help you to become more efficient? Are you learning to deal with a global workforce and a global clientele?

Many traders at investment banks are learning to code so that they can track market movements and build models that will work better.

Many marketing consultants are automating their marketing flow to manage the ever-increasing amounts of newsletters, press releases, and campaigns that they have to run. They are spending more time analyzing customer behavior from data generated by marketing software.

Many parents are hiring babysitters, tutors, and housekeepers to manage their family life better. Many of them are learning to work remotely freeing up time to spend with their children. Some of them are outsourcing parts of their current jobs by using Fiverr and Upwork so that they can also free up time to up-skill in their careers.

Create your own job if one doesn’t exist

If you are like me, you look at your list of skills that you are good at and you are not sure which subsets you want to pursue. You are not sure what job can best use your skills. Then, give yourself time to figure it out. There are many opportunities to find freelance work that will allow you to try out different career paths.

Often, hands-on experience is the best way to learn whether you truly enjoy a certain job. Many entrepreneurs try and fail at many businesses before succeeding in one. Keep trying to move your needle closer to the finish line. It’s almost a requirement to keep trying.

No one gets it right the first time.

As innovation dynamically grows in the marketplace, by trying to create your perfect job, you are also up-skilling your skillsets. You are going with the tide to figure out what job you will truly enjoy in the future workplace.


Future of work can be scary if you are not used to change. But, it’s even more scary if you don’t try. The solution is not to pigeon-hole yourself into jobs that may not fit you just because there are more jobs in that area. Instead, try to use all of your best skills to come up with a job that you are best suited for.

Check out my website.

Jun Wu is a Hybrid Journalist for Technology, AI, Data Science. She has a background in programming and statistics.

Source: Future Of Work: We Can’t All Become Coders

WorkingNation highlights the trend of technology and globalization replacing jobs in diverse industries across the United States.

11 Things Smart People Won’t Say At Work

There are some things you simply never want to say at work.

These phrases carry special power: they have an uncanny ability to make you look bad even when the words are true.

Worst of all, there’s no taking them back once they slip out.

I’m not talking about shocking slips of the tongue, off-color jokes, or politically incorrect faux pas. These aren’t the only ways to make yourself look bad.

Often it’s the subtle remarks—the ones that paint us as incompetent and unconfident—that do the most damage.

No matter how talented you are or what you’ve accomplished, there are certain phrases that instantly change the way people see you and can forever cast you in a negative light. These phrases are so loaded with negative implications that they undermine careers in short order.

How many of these career killers have you heard around the office lately?

1. “It’s not fair.”

Everyone knows that life isn’t fair. Saying it’s not fair suggests that you think life is supposed to be fair, which makes you look immature and naïve.

If you don’t want to make yourself look bad, you need to stick to the facts, stay constructive, and leave your interpretation out of it. For instance, you could say, “I noticed that you assigned Ann that big project I was hoping for. Would you mind telling me what went into that decision? I’d like to know why you thought I wasn’t a good fit, so that I can work on improving those skills.”

2. “This is the way it’s always been done.”

Technology-fueled change is happening so fast that even a six-month-old process could be outdated. Saying this is the way it’s always been done not only makes you sound lazy and resistant to change, but it could make your boss wonder why you haven’t tried to improve things on your own. If you really are doing things the way they’ve always been done, there’s almost certainly a better way.

3. “No problem.”

When someone asks you to do something or thanks you for doing something, and you tell them no problem, you’re implying that their request should have been a problem. This makes people feel as though they’ve imposed upon you.

What you want to do instead is to show people that you’re happy to do your job. Say something like “It was my pleasure” or “I’ll be happy to take care of that.” It’s a subtle difference in language, but one that has a huge impact on people.

4. “I think …/This may be a silly idea …/I’m going to ask a stupid question.”

These overly passive phrases instantly erode your credibility. Even if you follow these phrases with a great idea, they suggest that you lack confidence, which makes the people you’re speaking to lose confidence in you.

Don’t be your own worst critic. If you’re not confident in what you’re saying, no one else will be either. And, if you really don’t know something, say, “I don’t have that information right now, but I’ll find out and get right back to you.”

5. “This will only take a minute.”

Saying that something only takes a minute undermines your skills and gives the impression that you rush through tasks. Unless you’re literally going to complete the task in 60 seconds, feel free to say that it won’t take long, but don’t make it sound as though the task can be completed any sooner than it can actually be finished.

6. “I’ll try.”

Just like the word think, try sounds tentative and suggests that you lack confidence in your ability to execute the task. Take full ownership of your capabilities. If you’re asked to do something, either commit to doing it or offer an alternative, but don’t say that you’ll try because it sounds like you won’t try all that hard.

7. “He’s lazy/incompetent/a jerk.”

There is no upside to making a disparaging remark about a colleague. If your remark is accurate, everybody already knows it, so there’s no need to point it out. If your remark is inaccurate, you’re the one who ends up looking like a jerk.

There will always be rude or incompetent people in any workplace, and chances are that everyone knows who they are. If you don’t have the power to help them improve or to fire them, then you have nothing to gain by broadcasting their ineptitude. Announcing your colleague’s incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make you look better. Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your coworkers’ negative opinions of you.

8. “That’s not in my job description.”

This often sarcastic phrase makes you sound as though you’re only willing to do the bare minimum required to keep getting a paycheck, which is a bad thing if you like job security.

If your boss asks you to do something that you feel is inappropriate for your position (as opposed to morally or ethically inappropriate), the best move is to complete the task eagerly. Later, schedule a conversation with your boss to discuss your role in the company and whether your job description needs an update. This ensures that you avoid looking petty. It also enables you and your boss to develop a long-term understanding of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

9. “It’s not my fault.”

It’s never a good idea to cast blame. Be accountable. If you had any role—no matter how small—in whatever went wrong, own it. If not, offer an objective, dispassionate explanation of what happened. Stick to the facts, and let your boss and colleagues draw their own conclusions about who’s to blame.

The moment you start pointing fingers is the moment people start seeing you as someone who lacks accountability for their actions. This makes people nervous. Some will avoid working with you altogether, and others will strike first and blame you when something goes wrong.

10. “I can’t.”

I can’t is it’s not my fault’s twisted sister. People don’t like to hear I can’t because they think it means I won’t. Saying I can’t suggests that you’re not willing to do what it takes to get the job done.

If you really can’t do something because you truly lack the necessary skills, you need to offer an alternative solution. Instead of saying what you can’t do, say what you can do. For example, instead of saying “I can’t stay late tonight,” say “I can come in early tomorrow morning. Will that work?” Instead of “I can’t run those numbers,” say “I don’t yet know how to run that type of analysis. Is there someone who can show me so that I can do it on my own next time?”

11. “I hate this job.”

The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person and brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.

Bringing It All Together

Eliminating these phrases from your vocabulary pays dividends. They have a tendency to sneak up on you, so you’re going to have to catch yourself until you’ve solidified the habit of not saying them.

What other phrases should be on this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

I am the author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart, a consultancy that serves more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies and is the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training (www.TalentSmart.com). My books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. I’ve written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

 

Source: 11 Things Smart People Won’t Say At Work

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