How Executives Can Prepare for Long-Term Distributed Work

Some business shifts happen suddenly. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government stay-at-home directives forced organizations across the globe to make a rapid transition to remote work. Keeping employees connected and productive as they worked from home was an imperative for sustaining business continuity.

Many organizations succeeded. They quickly implemented new technologies and processes that helped address immediate challenges, allowing employees to effectively communicate, collaborate and complete tasks without setting foot in corporate offices.

This sudden workforce change of 2020 could be a catalyst for a long-term transformation that benefits both organizations and their employees. By building a robust distributed work model, organizations can recruit new employees from a wider geographic pool, help facilitate a better work/life balance for employees, and potentially reduce office real estate costs.

Neither organizations nor their employees are eager to return to “business as usual.” According to a recent VMware survey, 61 percent of respondents agree that their organisation is experiencing the benefits of remote work and can’t return to how things were before. Approximately 90 percent of respondents agree that it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure employees can access the digital tools they need for remote work.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace includes the tools your organization needs to empower a distributed workforce. By implementing digital work spaces, high-performance remote access, united endpoint management and intrinsic security from VMware, you can create a true “work-from-anywhere” organization.

Facing the challenges of sustaining distributed work

The distributed-work model thrust upon us in 2020 offers important opportunities for businesses and their employees. But to maintain the success of distributed work for the long term, your organization will likely have to address several key challenges.

Operational complexity. Too many organizations piece together their distributed-work strategy, adopting multiple point solutions from different vendors. Attempts to integrate those solutions are not always successful. As a result, administrators are left with multiple tools and siloed teams. You need ways to unify endpoint management, simplifying administration even as you support a growing variety of device types and platforms.

Implementing scalable solutions will be key. Existing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), digital workspace and security solutions might have allowed employees to start working from home quickly during the pandemic or another period of business disruption. But can those solutions scale for the long term, as a growing number of employees expect seamless remote-work experiences? If your solutions can’t scale, distributed workers could be plagued with productivity-sapping availability issues while IT administrators become overwhelmed with complexity.

Fragmented security. As you implement and expand your distributed-workforce strategy, security must be a top priority. Look beyond traditional, perimeter-based security models. With remote employees frequently using personal devices to access apps and data, far away from company offices, you need to protect a significantly expanded attack surface.

Your organization might have relaxed security policies when stay-at-home directives were first issued. But you now need solutions that extend security policies to new endpoints scattered across a broad array of locations. And you need sufficient visibility into all of your distributed apps, data, devices and networks so you can identify threats from wherever they emerge.

Adding individual point solutions introduces both complexity and risk. Many organizations struggle to manage numerous distinct products, agents and interfaces. Beyond creating administrative complexity, this kind of fragmented approach leaves gaps that hackers will be eager to exploit. Your organization needs a singular, integrated approach to security that safeguards all assets and streamlines management—without negatively affecting user productivity.

Sub-optimal user experience. For many organizations, the pandemic did not halt hiring. Yet on boarding distributed employees can be slow and frustrating for new hires. You need ways to speed the on boarding process without requiring people to be physically present at headquarters. For employees to be productive on day one, your IT group must be able to give them secure, frictionless access to essential apps and data.

Once employees are ready to work, many need ways to overcome challenging home Wi-Fi networks. Poor network connectivity and slow virtual private network performance can seriously hamper distributed-work productivity. To make sure employees can continue to get their work done, wherever they are located, you need to provide performance and bandwidth at levels that at least approach what employees experience at the company office.

Adapting to new ways of working with the VMware Anywhere Workspace

To help organizations navigate immediate challenges and prepare for the future, VMware has created the VMware Anywhere Workspace. This integrated solution can help your organization overcome pressing remote-work obstacles and maximize benefits well into the future. You can embrace a sustainable distributed work strategy through a secure, scalable and unified digital infrastructure.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace addresses the challenges of distributed work by enabling you to automate the workspace, secure the edge, and deliver high-quality, multi-modal experiences.

Automate the workspace. The VMware Anywhere Workspace helps simplify operations and centralize endpoint management by automating the workspace. VMware Workspace ONE digital workspaces, for example, help remove complexities with automated enrollment across all platforms.

Over-the-air management helps ensure that your IT group can reach every endpoint with policies, patches and updates. Intelligence-driven, management for Windows 10 devices streamlines processes while avoiding infrastructure costs. In addition, VMware Edge Network Intelligence provides IT with actionable and automated insights on network health and app delivery. Your administrators can concentrate on defining and delivering a consistent workspace experience.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace can be scaled rapidly so your organisation can accommodate a short-term influx in remote workers or prepare for long-term expansion of the remote-work model. With the VMware Horizon VDI solution, you can take advantage of hybrid- and multi-cloud deployment models to scale users. A single cloud console lets you reduce management complexity.

Secure the edge. The VMware Anywhere Workspace enables you to safeguard remote endpoints and data, shrinking your attack surface while unifying security. For example, VMware Carbon Black Cloud is a cloud-native platform that provides layered endpoint protection backed by machine learning and behavior analytics to thwart malware attacks. You can also adopt the VMware SASE Platform, an integrated secure access service edge (SASE) solution that combines the power of software-defined WAN gateways, Zero Trust secure access, secure web gateways, cloud security access brokers and next-generation firewalls.

Deliver high-quality, multi-modal experiences. The VMware Anywhere Workspace puts employees first by accelerating on boarding and providing consistent, high-quality experiences across personal and company-owned devices. Distributed workers have everything they need on day one. Using the Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub, employees have immediate access to a full set of business applications through a single sign-on process, whether they are using a personally owned or company-owned device. Zero Trust capabilities help ensure that only authorized people are granted access to apps. Self-serve resources and notifications help workers stay engaged and supported.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace also helps overcome the networking limitations of remote work. VMware SD-WAN gives remote workers the reliable remote access and robust performance they need for using critical business applications when working from home. It also helps safeguard network traffic while giving IT a choice of using built-in firewall capabilities, deploying security software as a virtual network function, or directing traffic to a third-party cloud-based firewall-as-a-service solution.

Preparing for a future of more flexible work

VMware is in a unique position to provide an integrated solution to holistically address the challenges of distributed work. By bringing together digital work spaces, high-performance edge networking, unified endpoint management and intrinsic security, the VMware Anywhere Workspace enables you to adapt to the present and prepare for the future of distributed work. You can scale to support a growing distributed workforce and maximize employee productivity while maintaining robust security.

By VMware

Source: How Executives Can Prepare for Long-Term Distributed Work

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Additional Resources & Further Reading

Further reading

If you’re getting started with managing remote employees, be sure to check out our master guide: 13 Things You Didn’t Plan for When Hiring Remote Employees

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Equitable Workplaces Require Getting Over Fear of Conflict

Many employers made dramatic commitments after the murder of George Floyd last year about making their workplaces (and leadership teams) more equitable. Despite this, most of the tech industry, which built its reputation on speed, scale, and innovation, is falling short—and it’s because of fear.

Fear of open conflict is destroying workplaces, and it’s disproportionately harming Black and Latinx women workers. It is limiting any possibility for the 21st-century workforce to reflect the demographics of this country. But it’s possible to lead in a different way.

We want to take you through a few aspects of our working relationship, as leaders of the nonprofit Code2040, which is committed to proportional representation of Black and Latinx people at all levels of tech leadership. Our partnership is based on a mutual commitment to eradicating the ways that fear of conflict and systemic racism maintain white, male dominance in the vast majority of workplaces.

As a Latinx woman manager (Karla), and a Black woman direct report (Mimi), we saw our working relationship as racial equity leaders in tech as a unique opportunity to unpack, unlearn, and redesign relational systems that didn’t serve us. In the years that we‘ve worked together at Code2040, we cultivated a relationship based in candor and feedback, which allowed us to unearth the variety of ways we were socially, professionally, and economically discouraged from bringing the full breadth of our talents to our work.

We noticed that the obstacles to our leadership within and outside of Code2040 fell into a few similar categories, and we began communicating with other women of color in tech and at non-profits, to further develop our hypotheses. It was in those conversations we understood that not only were we not alone. We were all in the same compression chamber, and it was sucking the oxygen out of our capacity to lead.

Failing to recognize common tropes (aka racism)

Stereotypes about Black and Latinx women reinforce themselves and serve to police behavior that could build Black and Latinx power. This is called stereotype threat: The hyper-awareness that one could be confirming a stereotype actually impacts our performance—and sometimes confirms the stereotype about our group. For example, one common trope about Black women is that Black women are intimidating or angry.

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How can mentorship in the workplace help to close the job equity gap? Award-winning diversity, inclusion and mentorship expert Janice Omadeke shares her personal mentorship journey along with four helpful takeaways, as she discusses how women and allies can start closing the job equity gap through mentorship. Janice Omadeke | Change Maker & Entrepreneur

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Trying to never come across as intimidating or angry can be such a focus that it impacts a Black woman’s ability to participate fully in contentious conversations or projects. Essentially, knowing that avoiding conflict with white folks is key to being seen as agreeable and therefore to being safe at work, a Black woman might hold back feedback, edits, or observations that actually could benefit the team and build her standing as a leader in the organization.

We’ve had moments in our journey together where anti-Blackness and Latinx erasure supported assumptions that Mimi was pulling the strings (anti-Blackness) and Karla was being manipulated (Latinx erasure). When Karla became CEO and chose to restructure our organization there were whispers and even reports to the board that Karla’s decision was made because of Mimi’s influence. Stereotype threat on both of our parts meant that Karla being decisive threatened blowback on Mimi as being controlling, or Karla moving more slowly reinforced stereotypes of her being too emotional.

What you can do instead:

  • Educate yourself on how racism, sexism, and xenophobia are commonly leveraged to police women of color’s behavior or even our very presence in the world.
  • Use Karla’s CADREES acronym, which describes the ways in which racism is manifesting in your perception of others. CADREES is Comparison, Assumption, Disproportionate Anger/Punishment/Fear, Resentment, Envy and Erasure, Suspicion.
  • Do not vilify Black folks for the actions that white men are promoted for, such as giving critical feedback on product direction, or lauding their own accomplishments.

Discouraging conflict and punishing candor

In the first few months at Code2040, Karla made a decision Mimi vehemently disagreed with, and Mimi tried to give feedback unemotionally. Weeks later, Karla said “You know, you can cry or even yell with me, and I won’t think you less of a professional.” Never before or since had Mimi been told that she could bring the wholeness of her passion to work without risking being perceived as emotional or angry.

Through the coded language of “professionalism,” Black women are taught to shrink themselves into smaller and less offensive packages through feedback on things like the (lack of) appropriateness of their natural hair, the unfriendliness of their facial expressions, or the tone of their voice.

Tone policing, where the content of someone’s message is ignored because of the listener’s feelings about the way it  was delivered, is a common silencing tool used against Black women. It’s often used when a candid conversation feels threatening to a white person or when the white person is being triggered because they perceive a conflict coming on, and want to derail the conversation or deflect the feedback.

What you can do instead:

  • Pause and reflect. It is important to pull away from your fight, flight, freeze, and appease responses. White supremacy thrives on urgency.
  • Ensure that in tough conversations, you are focusing on the content of the message rather than the delivery.
  • Remember that limiting candor to opinions devoid of feeling often eliminates opportunities for candor altogether.

Grounding feedback in anti-Blackness

Black women are consistently denied direct feedback on their work. When it’s given, it’s often on their communication style, rather than content, systems building, or strategy. Too often, Black women are denied advancement opportunities because they are not seen as a “good culture fit” by white leadership.

Culture fit is often a coded way to suggest that the person in question has not assimilated into white culture or the white standards of professionalism of that particular workplace, or that the person in question challenges authority, is unwilling to be silenced, or points out behaviors or systems that leadership would rather not recognize.

Knowing that feedback for Black women is almost always cloaked in anti-Blackness, Karla took explicit care at the beginning of our management relationship to understand Mimi’s prior experiences with managers and how they might inform Mimi’s relationship to feedback and power.

Karla designed explicit growth arcs, allowed Mimi to make mistakes without punitive consequences, and listened to Mimi’s experience of the workplace. When feedback about Mimi was grounded in anti-Blackness, Karla learned to push team members to articulate their feedback explicitly and challenged them to examine where anti-Blackness was creeping in.

What you can do instead: 

  • Accept that anti-Blackness is a material factor that will limit all Black staff. If you think anti-Blackness never shows up, you haven’t paused or learned enough to identify it.
  • Go to Black women directly and privately with actionable, non-personality-based feedback. Focus on content, ideas, strategy, and deliverables.
  • Develop your own resilience for conflict and candor especially with staff of color. Work with therapists and/or coaches with expertise in racial equity to develop skills and learn tools to help you discern between when you are triggered because a) someone has violated a legitimate boundary of yours versus b) you expect Black compliance or deference and you’re not getting it.
  • Consider framing like “values match” or “culture add,” when hiring and assessing performance. When designed well, a set of “values match” criteria can help assess whether a candidate or employee is aligned with explicit performance or achievement values rather than implicit cultural values.

Invisibilizing Latinx women

Latinx women’s leadership is typically accepted only when it is helpful but invisible. If Latinx women are unwilling to be invisible, the consequences for their visibility can be career-ending. One of Karla’s superpowers as a leader is her uncommon depth of empathy and her willingness to be vulnerable at group level. This skill plays into her gift of connecting patterns to detect shifts in a team, company, or even an industry or culture before they happen.

As VP of Programs, Karla’s vulnerability was often seen as useful when it was behind closed doors—for example, to help quell discord between two staff members. But when deployed organization-wide, or publicly, Karla often got feedback that her vulnerability was discomfiting and unwelcomed, even when that vulnerability created positive visibility and insightful pattern spotting. There were moments when she was challenged as too weak to lead or too radical to be palatable—even when those sentiments conflicted with each other. Once, Karla received feedback from a leader that their “life would be so much easier” if she didn’t lead so vulnerably.

The sentiment was astute in that the rules of power worked differently at Code2040 because of Karla’s leadership, but that caused resentment from many, because of the work that was required to understand more equitable ways of distributing power. White folks often resent when the rules of the workplace that have supported their success and hegemony are challenged, and often prefer that the challenger simply disappear, rather than lay bare the places where upgraded skills are required in order to succeed in the 21st century workplace.

What you can do instead: 

  • Encourage women of color to take stretch opportunities. Don’t penalize them for learning.
  • Factor in the social consequences that come from women of color stepping into the spotlight. Make a plan to protect their social capital.

Today we announced that after three years as CEO, Karla is moving on from her day-to-day work at Code2040, and Mimi is taking the helm as CEO. Though we’re both a bit grief-stricken to lose this partnership, it has been the formative professional experience of a lifetime. We hope that sharing a glimpse into our journey gives you a sense of the power of shared leadership, a taste of the hope and creativity available when you brazenly fight anti-Blackness and Latinx erasure, and the joy of building a place where Black and Latinx people can lead.

By: Mimi Fox Melton and Karla Monterroso

Source: Equitable workplaces require getting over fear of conflict

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5 Workplace Behaviors That Impact Employee Mental Health

Even companies with the best intentions can sometimes take a wrong turn when trying to do right by their employees. Damaging habits and behaviors can inadvertently get absorbed into company culture; and when this happens, it can send the wrong signal about a company’s priorities and values. One of the biggest challenges lies in finding the sweet spot between business needs and employee welfare and happiness. Naturally, you want a high-performing team; but not at the expense of employee well-being and mental health.

Here, we take a closer look at some common workplace conventions—and the ways that they might be inadvertently undermining your mental health objectives.

    1. Having a “hustle” culture

It’s great to be productive, but over-emphasizing hard work and profitability can be a slippery slope to toxic productivity. It can lead to individuals attaching their feelings of self-worth to the amount of work they’re doing, and feeling like performance metrics are more important than their mental well-being.

Similarly, celebrating employees who stay late—or even lightly teasing those who start late and leave (or log-off) early (or on time)—can subtly contribute to a culture of overwork and performative busy-ness. Left unchecked, this can result in resentment and burnout among other employees who feel compelled to prove their own commitment to work .

A small fix:

Instead of celebrating regular overtime, try opening up communication about ways to include breaks and downtime throughout the day. You can support this with anecdotes about the healthy mental habits of people in the team (assuming they are open to sharing). For example: “Hey guys, Dave’s found a clever way to schedule regular breaks into his day around meetings!”

Also be sure to address long hours and overwork if you see a rising trend in the company, as it could be an indicator of unachievable work expectations.

2. Sending work emails or messages after hours

It happens to us all: maybe you only received a response on something late in the day, or you had an out-of-hours brainwave.

Sending the occasional evening or weekend message is fine, but doing it regularly implies that after-hours work is expected—which could pressure people into feeling they have to respond immediately.

The same goes for emails sent at the end of a working day with next-day deadlines (or, for example, Monday morning deadlines for work given out on Friday). These practices put a hefty burden on the recipient, which adds to stress and can contribute to burnout.

Now, it gets a bit harder to draw a line when you take into account the increasingly globalized world of work, which necessitates out-of-hours communications due to different time zones. But even in these cases, it helps to be explicit about expectations when sending messages, especially when you know the recipient is either about to log off or has signed off for the day.

A small fix:

If you need to send emails after hours or on weekends, be sure to add a note about how the email can be read or dealt with on the next working day. This takes pressure off the recipient and assures them that they won’t be penalized for not responding on the spot.

If you have a global team, it also helps to establish clear working hours for different countries, and to be clear about the fact that nobody is expected to read or respond to emails out of hours.

Also, no matter where in the world you or your recipient are, be sure to schedule enough time for them to deal with the task during their office hours! And remember—they may have other pre-existing work on their plate that might need to take precedence.

3. Only engaging in “shop-talk”

It’s easy to find things to talk about around the water cooler in the office. But take those organic run-ins out of the equation, and what you’re left with is often work chat and little else.

Working from home has made it harder to bond with colleagues. The natural tendency is to get work done and to only chat about the process, rarely (if ever) about other things.

This removes a big social aspect from work, which can take a significant mental toll on employees and affect their enjoyment of work. This is especially apparent for employees who don’t already have solid work friend groups, either because they’re new or because their friends have since left the company.

A small fix:

There’s so much more to people than just who they are at work. To get some non-work conversations going, design interactions that aren’t work related.

You could set up a monthly ‘coffee roulette’ to group random employees up for a chat. This can help to break the ice a bit and link up individuals who might not otherwise speak during work hours. Or you could arrange sharing sessions where people are encouraged to talk about their challenges and triumphs from life outside the workplace.

Another alternative is to set up interest groups in the company, to help like-minded employees find each other and bond over a shared interest in certain hobbies or things.

4. Only having group chats and check-ins

Big group check-ins and catch-up meetings are important. But group settings can pressure people to put a good spin on things, or cause them to feel like they’re being irrational or weak for struggling when everyone else seems to be doing well. 

This could result in problems being missed and getting out of hand, which in turn can take a big toll on mental health and well-being.

A small fix:

Some people may not be willing to speak candidly to a large group, so be sure to set aside time for employees to speak one-to-one to a manager who can  address any problems that may arise. It’s also important to make sure everyone understands that they won’t be penalized or looked down on for speaking up about any issues they may be having.

5. Not talking about mental wellness

Perhaps the biggest way your company might be undermining mental health is simply by… not talking about it.

Some managers may not feel equipped to have these conversations, or may not be sure about the etiquette or convention around holding these conversations. But by not broaching these topics at all, employees may feel like they can’t speak out about things they’re struggling with.

The result is a rose-tinted veneer that may be hiding deeper problems under the surface. And studies show there likely are problems. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 employed adults in the U.S. experienced a mental health issue back in the previous year, with 71% of adults reporting at least one symptom of stress. That number has likely shot up now.

A small fix:

Be candid about mental health and encourage people to share their burdens and struggles—especially leaders. You can help by actively promoting good habits like mindfulness and meditation, proper work-life balance, and reaching out for help when necessary.

By being more honest about struggles and mental wellness challenges, managers can reduce the stigma and create a more open culture where people feel able to admit they’re struggling.

As a company, it’s important to be careful about the ripple effects that even small actions—or, in some cases, inaction—may have on employees. The simple fact is that the signals you send may be reinforcing unhealthy habits.

That’s why it’s so important to be aware of deeper currents that run in your organization and to proactively address any harmful behaviors.

By staying aware and making a few small tweaks and behavioral changes, you can hit the reset button when necessary and encourage good habits that protect employee mental wellness.

For more tips on how to build a more inclusive workplace culture that supports your employees’ mental well-being and happiness, check out:

By: https://www.calm.com/

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TEDx Talks

Is Mental Health important​ in the workplace? Tom explores all things related to workplace mental health, including mental health in school workplaces, in this insightful video. Tom helps employers figure out mental health at work. He reviews workplaces, trains managers and writes plans. Since 2012 he has interviewed more than 130 people, surveyed thousands and worked across the UK with corporations, civil service, charities, the public sector, schools and small business. Tom has worked with national mental health charities Mind and Time to Change and consults widely across the UK. He lives in Norfolk and is mildly obsessed with cricket and camping.

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3 Ways To Identify A Toxic Coworker And Set Healthy Boundaries

It only takes one toxic worker to wreak havoc and negatively impact an entire workplace. Toxic coworkers not only make work dreadful and unpleasant, but they harm the productivity and morale of everyone around them. They create unnecessary drama, erode the culture, undermine the values of the company and destroy trust within the team.

According to a Fierce Inc. study, four out of five employees currently work or have worked with a potentially toxic coworker. Randstad conducted a study exploring why employees leave their workplace and found 58% have left or are considering leaving due to negativity, office politics and disrespectful behavior.

It’s easier said than done to not allow the toxicity of one person to affect your own work especially if you have to work closely with them. Working with a toxic coworker is a powerless and draining experience. Furthermore, it’s not always easy to identify a toxic coworker especially if you consider them to be a friend.

If you feel drained or negative after interacting with them, this could be a sign they’re toxic. Toxic behavior can manifest through words, body language, disrespecting boundaries, hoarding information, purposely undermining others, not following through on promises or commitments, insults and rumors, to name a few.

Here are three ways you can identify a toxic coworker and set healthy boundaries.

Their Victim Syndrome Prevents Them From Taking Responsibility MORE FOR YOUForget About San Francisco And Silicon Valley—Miami Is Planning On Becoming The Next Great Tech HubMeet Canada’s Best Employers 2021Building The Resilient Organization

Employees with a victim mindset will always talk about how much they hate their job, their boss, their team or the company. There’s a difference between having a bad day and someone who revels in creating misery for others. Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn Los Angeles Lawn Care, explained, “the more people they can get to share in their discontent, the better they feel.”

Despite being disengaged, toxic coworkers will make excuses for their performance when given constructive feedback with the belief that it’s a personal attack against them. Moreover, they hold grudges and never lose a chance to share how they’ve been wronged even if those situations have been rectified.

Those who are new to a company are prone to being swept up into the negativity as they’re eager to make friends and unaware of a toxic persons patterns. For this reason, it’s important to do pulse checks to see if this is a cultural thing or a person thing.

Here are some coping strategies to help you bounce back from a toxic encounter and stay mentally strong:

  • Surround yourself with uplifting coworkers who take responsibility and learn from their mistakes
  • Seek out your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or professional help to learn how to better manage the situation and have a safe space to talk about it
  • Talk to your HR department and keep the conversation based on facts rather than an individual’s personality. Be prepared to provide specific examples of incidents
  • Incorporate social activities you can look forward to after work
  • Practice gratitude and meditation

They Gossip More Than They Knowledge Share

Gossip is the root of many internal company problems. It breeds negativity and spreads quickly. Yasir Nawaz, digital content producer at Pure VPN, said, “toxic colleagues drain your energy and are a constant source of demotivation at work. The worst part is you may not realize you’re in the company of a toxic colleague until it’s too late.” He added, “there’s one sure-fire way to identify one; someone that constantly talks about others behind their backs.”

Melanie Musson, insurance specialist for Buy Auto Insurance asserted, “gossip doesn’t help build a stronger team; rather, it tears down teamwork. Chances are, if they gossip to you, they’re also gossiping about you.”

Another warning sign a colleague is toxic is if they refuse to share knowledge with you that prevents you from being able to do your job. As a victim of a former toxic coworker and boss, I know how detrimental their impact can be not only on my work and mental health, but also to the team and overall workplace. In my experience, my former coworker excluded me from meetings, team activities and withheld information that prevented me from being able to do my job well and used it against me.

Musson explained, “toxic people put themselves first. They really don’t care about others and use others’ misfortunes as a way to move forward at work. If a team member is struggling, the toxic coworker may take the opportunity to show how they excel in that same area.”

Eventually, I set a boundary with her where I started documenting every incident before confronting her. Then, I worked around her to find the information I needed and limited my interactions with her altogether. Be aware, setting healthy boundaries will often push toxic coworkers to react negatively. However, those who are the happiest and most productive are the ones who set healthy boundaries and those who aren’t used to having boundaries set with them are likely to take offense.

Here are boundaries you can set with a coworker that gossips:

  • Empathize and redirect them to focus on what’s working or to speak with their manager
  • Refuse to participate by excusing yourself from the conversation when they start gossiping
  • Focus on positive gossip that celebrates others instead of participating in negative gossip that hurts morale
  • Communicate your boundaries letting them know you don’t like to talk about office politics
  • Surround yourself with people who would rather share knowledge than spread gossip
  • Use key phrases such as “this sounds like a rumor and I don’t want to hear it”, “I’d rather engage in conversations that are positive and uplifting” or countering with “is that a fact or gossip?”

They Use Passive Aggressive Comments Rather Than Compliments

Matt Satell, CEO of Prime Mailboxes said, “toxic employees are often those who purposely undermine the capabilities of others so they can stay ahead of their competition.” They thrive on finding fault, negativity and holding people back.

Here are a few examples of passive-aggressive behaviors and comments:

  • Giving the silent treatment
  • Responding with sarcasm or disguised insults
  • Blaming others
  • Rejecting feedback and others perspectives
  • Making excuses
  • A cynical attitude
  • An air or superiority

Nich Chernets, CEO of Data for SEO said “in my experience, toxic people tend to complain a lot, even in the situations when everything is good. They’re looking for an audience that will constantly listen to their problems. In the long run, these people bring a lot of negativity to the work process and burden others with unnecessary things.” John Stevenson, marketing specialist at My GRE Exam Preparation added, “in turn, this creates an environment where other members of the team cannot work at full capacity because they’re too busy watching their backs.”

You can cultivate positivity through uplifting interactions with other colleagues, listening to motivating podcasts and finding the good in the work you do. It’s easy to lose motivation when a toxic coworker undermines your abilities and believes their role and contributions are more valuable than everyone else’s.

Here are some ways you can remind yourself of your hard work and contributions:

  • Keep a running document of your achievements and wins
  • Copy and paste recognitions from emails, client/manager reviews and Slack comments into the running document
  • Reference the document for a motivation boost

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website

Heidi Lynne Kurter

Heidi Lynne Kurter

I’m a Leadership Coach & Workplace Culture Consultant at Heidi Lynne Consulting helping individuals and organizations gain the confidence to become better leaders for themselves and their teams. As a consultant, I deliver and implement strategies to develop current talent and create impactful and engaging employee experiences. Companies hire me to to speak, coach, consult and train their teams and organizations of all sizes. I’ve gained a breadth of knowledge working internationally in Europe, America and Asia. I use my global expertise to provide virtual and in-person consulting and leadership coaching to the students at Babson College, Ivy League students and my global network. I’m a black belt in Six Sigma, former Society of Human Resources (SHRM) President and domestic violence mentor. Learn more at http://www.heidilynneco.com or get in touch at Heidi@heidilynneco.com

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Jennifer Brick

Toxic Coworkers | How to Deal with Toxic People at Work // Do you have a toxic coworker? Or even worse, several toxic workers. Nothing make a toxic work culture faster than having these difficult coworkers and having to deal with toxic coworkers every day. If you have toxic work colleagues, you need to know how to cope with toxic coworkers. You can disarm toxic people in the workplace, and while it won’t totally heal a toxic work environment, it can make your day to day in a toxic workplace slightly more tolerable. In this video I will show you how to deal with toxic coworkers – it’s six simple strategies that will disarm toxic person at work and help you survive until you can escape the toxic environment at work. I’d love to know which strategies you would implement or how you have dealt with toxic coworkers in the past. ****************** Stop settling for mediocrity, it’s time to glow up your career. Attend the free LIVE workshop on December 2nd at 12pm EST. glowupyourcareer.com ************* Think I might be the right Career Success Coach for you? Learn more & apply: capdecasolutions.com/coaching Accelerate your job search, get Hired in a Hurry hiredinahurry.com ****************** More videos to help deal with difficult coworkers and toxic workplaces: TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT: 14 Signs Your Workplace is Toxic (and How to Cope) https://youtu.be/GEJBaigzUcA​ COWORKERS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS https://youtu.be/XjhF3xQE1lM​ How to Work with People You Don’t Like https://youtu.be/x1S5EPX0Jik​ HOW TO HANDLE DIFFICULT COWORKERS | Dealing with difficult people at work https://youtu.be/R-nI-IpQYbo​ POSITIVE ATTITUDE AT WORK (HOW TO STAY POSITIVE AT WORK) https://youtu.be/wVKUB0-ZHvM​ ****************** SUCCESS HABITS & RESOURCES Join my private community, the Strive Squad (it’s free!) https://www.facebook.com/groups/striv…​ I’m all about productivity tools, great books, and sanity savers in general. Browse my favorites in my Amazon Store: https://www.amazon.com/shop/jenniferb…​ Get your bookworm on when you’re on the move. Audible is my OBSESSION, and it helps me read an extra 1-2 books per week. Get 30 days free: https://amzn.to/39d3U3W​ Try my 30 books in 30 days challenge, and make it easier with Kindle Unlimited (your first month is free!): https://amzn.to/3ftIBMB​ Being the best means you keep your knowledge up to date, for this I love Skillshare! Get a free trial: https://bit.ly/3l3oTbJ​ What Am I Wearing? I hate wearing the same thing twice and I love saving money, so 95% of my wardrobe is from Rent the Runway. Wanna try it (and save $30): https://bit.ly/3995mnT​ ****************** LET’S HANG! I post more content and videos on LinkedIn – follow me there https://linkedin.com/in/jenniferbrick​ Daily career glow-up videos on TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@jenniferbrick…​ You can also follow me on: Instagram: http://instagram.com/capdeca​ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ccJenniferbr…​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/jennifer_brick​ Sometimes I write stuff for Thrive Global https://thriveglobal.com/authors/jenn…

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4 Ways Companies Can Use Data To Shape Workplace Reopening Plans

Covid-19 forced organizations to rethink the future of physical workspaces. Everything from desk layouts to conference rooms to communal areas needs to be approached with a new lens of employee health and safety. Data plays a critical role in how leaders structure their reopening plans, identify metrics for reopening and measure effectiveness.

Some countries are already reopening offices as the rest of the world watches and learns. One of the biggest lessons from the Asia Pacific region so far, as Gartner suggests, is the importance of “transparency” and “iteration.” As Hernan Asorey, chief data officer at Salesforce explained, “We are always assessing the data we have available to make decisions. For every evolving need, we pragmatically look at what exists from trusted sources, we vet it with experts in the field, and then we assess, augment, learn and adapt.”

Since organizations are faced with entirely new challenges—all dependent on a variety of factors including office location, workspace type and workforce size—leaders need data to inform a flexible approach to planning, informed by data. 

There are four areas where data can inform your reopening strategy:

  1. Creating a COVID-19 task force
  2. Tracking regional policies
  3. Informing workspace planning
  4. Analyzing employee survey data

These areas represent a starting point and not an exhaustive list. Since all of these details vary based on your organization, this piece should be used for informational purposes only. 

 Create a COVID-19 task force, backed by data

Reopening is a cross-functional effort. Organizations are instituting centralized, assigned Covid-19 task forces—made up of a variety of people with a diverse set of skills and perspectives—to manage details like workplace logistics and employee communications. This group should represent your workforce as a whole.

“At Tableau, we’re bringing together a variety of stakeholders into workplace conversations,” said Debbie Smith, senior manager of workplace at Tableau. “We have perspectives—and data—from all aspects of the company, from security to HR to real estate to marketing to procurement. We’re also bringing in outside experts to inform details like capacity planning and air filtration.”

All of these stakeholders work with different data points to inform their perspectives. For example, health and safety teams might monitor regional policy data, procurement might use data to inform any new equipment purchases, like panels between desks, and IT might work with workplace teams to determine how to replace existing equipment like phones or headsets.

Creating a dedicated team is a foundational step in a reopening strategy, because data is useful only when people can provide context and take action.

Track regional policy data to inform reopening

Reopening strategies are largely dependent on local policies. In addition to these policies, organizations are also faced with a long list of guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and more.

Organizations are exploring centralized dashboards to track changing policies and to inform key indicators to determine when it is safe to reopen offices. SC&H Group’s data analytics team, for example, created a sample dashboard that shows what this could look like for a company in the United States. The dashboard highlights legislation on a state-by-state basis alongside a map showing number of cases.

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Sample dashboard from managing consulting group, SC&H Group that displays local policy data alongside regional case data. Interact with the full visualization.

Christopher Adolph, associate professor of political science and adjunct associate professor of statistics at the University of Washington, is curating and maintaining a data set on state policies related to Covid-19 from open source data. He encourages data and analytics leaders to take a focused approach when visualizing local policy data. That might mean considering other visualization types beyond maps to focus on specific, regional metrics that show the impact of Covid-19.

“If I were an organization,” shares Adolph, “I would structure a visualization to show what’s happening in each location associated with my business, with filters that allow stakeholders to sort through stringency of policies, trends in mobility and trends in cases. I would want to see a time series of how policies change over time as cases increase or decrease in a region.”

Data analytics and geospatial services firm Lovelytics created a dashboard template combining Covid-19 case data from the Tableau Covid-19 Data Hub with sample HR data, providing a breakdown of at-risk employees by building, age group and location. Although this example was originally developed for companies looking to stabilize in a crisis, these types of dashboards could also become a single source of truth in the event of another wave of the virus after reopening.

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Tableau partner, Lovelytics, created a COVID-19 and human resources dashboard solution to analyze risk by location. Interact with the full visualization.

Inform workspace planning, including desk layouts and density

Some of the most complex challenges that employers face in the wake of Covvid-19 are related to workspace layouts. Many organizations have adopted open office concepts, making it difficult to enforce six-feet guidance between employees. They’re also evaluating the use of shared spaces like kitchens, bathrooms and elevators along with high-end air filtration systems to reduce the spread of infectious droplets. One way that employers can start to make sense of all of these logistical decisions is through data.

Some key data points that employers are collecting (or considering collecting) around space utilization are:

  • Physical distance (between desks and in shared spaces)
  • De-densification (removing furniture in communal spaces like kitchens and conference rooms)
  • Air movement and ventilation
  • Pinch points like elevators and bathrooms

These new challenges are leading organizations to take a new approach to workplace metrics. Salesforce, for example, is analyzing data to model staggered arrival times so they can effectively manage elevator capacity. Salesforce is also partnering with Siemens on key solutions for a “touchless office,” where organizations can manage occupancy and location data to augment their contact tracing process (on an opt-in basis).

Global commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield noted in its Recovery Readiness guide that organizations may want to “invest in operational building technologies that enhance the integration, visibility, and control of building and workplace systems” (like occupancy sensors or air quality monitoring capabilities). The company also piloted a new office layout in Amsterdam deemed “The 6-Feet Office,” using large circles and visual cues to enforce a six-foot separation between employees.

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An example dashboard from Tableau Zen Master Ken Flerlage. Note that this is intended to be an example and not a template. There are a variety of factors in workplace planning that organizations need to consider beyond the six-feet guideline. Interact with the full visualization.

Recently, Tableau Zen Master Ken Flerlage explored what an office space visualization could look like, drawing six-feet circles around each desk. If a desk area doesn’t follow the six-foot perimeter, then the circle turns red and indicates that the company needs to rethink the layout of that office area. In Flerlage’s blog post about the visualization, Amanda Makulec, data visualization lead at Excella and Bridget Cogley, senior consultant at Teknion, explain that this template is a good starting point for people as they rethink office seating arrangements, but that there needs to be additional thinking around the complexities of how people move in an office setting.

To account for these complexities, some companies are hiring external experts to help set these parameters and inform logistics planning. All of these concepts will require additional iteration and flexibility as organizations put them into practice.

Whether or not they can physically return to work, organizations also need to think about employee needs. Are employees comfortable returning to work—and if so, in what capacity? Some employees need to stay home with kids as schools remain closed, others may have compromised immune systems, and some may just be more comfortable working from home until a vaccine is available to the public.

Some companies, including Tableau, are gauging employees’ concerns through regular surveys. They’ll ask questions about general well-being, like how they’re adapting to work-from-home and how the company can support them. Companies in the logistical planning stages might ask questions about whether or not employees are comfortable returning to work to determine reopening schedules.

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An example dashboard from the Tableau people analytics team showing results of a COVID-19 work-from-home survey (this dashboard contains sample data). Interact with the full visualization.

With this data at their fingertips, organizations can analyze:

  • Mental health benchmarks
  • Employee feedback to inform reopening schedule
  • Employee needs like office equipment or childcare support services

Once offices reopen, companies could join this survey data with utilization data to understand how many employees are actually coming into the office on a regular basis. This can help inform whether or not employees are comfortable with new working conditions. 

Analyzing the results of these surveys can help organizations develop important metrics around how the pandemic is affecting their employee base and help them determine how to take action.

Tableau

Tableau

From connection through collaboration, Tableau is the most powerful, secure, and flexible end-to-end analytics platform for your data. Elevate people with the power of data. Designed for the individual, but scaled for the enterprise, Tableau is the only business intelligence platform that turns your data into insights that drive action.

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