How to ask your boss if you can keep working from home as offices reopen

student working from home
There are benefits to working from home, but make sure you don’t just want to escape.

  • As business leaders call teams back to the office, many employees are hesitant to give up WFH.
  • If you want to ask your boss for a flexible work schedule, be clear about how it will benefit you both.
  • Also consider if staying home is really what you want – and what’s best for your career advancement.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The email from your boss that you’ve been dreading has finally landed in your inbox. It’s the message announcing the date everyone in your company is expected to be back in the office full time. So, what’s the problem? You don’t want to go. The past year has shown you that work-from-home life is the life for you. You’ve come to love the freedom and flexibility and you’re convinced you’re now a better employee, too. The question is: How do you convince your boss?

You may be tempted to drop an ultimatum and say, “If you make me go back to the office full time, I’ll quit.” But your company could call your bluff, and if you enjoy your job and you’re paid well, walking away may not be the answer.

So how do you ask your boss for a flexible work schedule without looking like you’re asking for special treatment?

First, remember that you’re not asking for something outlandish.

“I think a lot of leaders know we don’t want to go back, and many corporations have had flexible or hybrid work environments for a long time,” said Kimberly Cummings, founder of the professional development company Manifest Yourself. “So don’t feel like you’re being a diva or asking for too much.”

Read more: 7 things you should do when negotiating a work-from-home agreement with your boss – and 4 things to avoid, according to a negotiations expert and MBA professor

Do your homework

You must lead the conversation about a flexible work schedule with a discussion of what you bring to the table, not just what you want and why you want it.

“The biggest thing that people forget is that you’re negotiating based upon value, not overall desire,” Cummings said. “Think about what you’ve accomplished over the past year. Think about how you’ve proven that you’re able to work remotely.”

Approach the conversation armed with evidence, too.

“Show examples of how your productivity increased and how having a flexible work schedule made you a better worker,” said Martha Underwood, founder of ExecutivEstrogen, a mentorship program for women in corporate America.

Maybe you work in customer service and your flexible schedule allows you more time to research complex issues and give customers a more thorough response to their questions.

The goal is to show your employer how a flexible work schedule would benefit them as much as it helps you.

The work-from-home boom will lift productivity in the US economy by 5%, according to one study. A recent survey by PwC found that 83% of employers say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company.

Underwood says it won’t hurt to present findings like these to your boss, too.

“And so many women have dropped out of the workplace that it benefits employers to allow the flexibility to keep strong women talent in the ranks,” Underwood said.

When asking your boss for a flexible work schedule, clarity is key.

“Give a full proposal about what your schedule will look like,” Cummings said. “Are you looking to never come back or are you looking to only come back when there are important meetings?”

If you’re open to coming back into the office for some meetings, say so.

“Bosses want to have a sense of a team,” Cummings said.

Is working from home the best option for you?

Before talking to your boss about keeping your work-from-home life alive, do some soul searching to be sure it’s the best fit for you.

“Were you OK working remotely? A lot of people were not,” Cummings said. “As a people leader myself, I 100% agree why some leaders want their team to come back. A lot of workers like flexibility, but they took advantage.”

If you were at the bar with your friends before the workday was done – and before your work was complete – you may want to start by proposing a hybrid schedule of working from home just a couple of days per week.

“Offer to do a trial of this for 90 days and then reassess if it works,” Cummings said.

Superstar employees need to also weigh the pros and cons of remote work.

If you have your sights on promotion opportunities or if your job has a relationship-driven company culture, being out of the office all the time could hinder your advancement.

“You have to know the culture of your organization and if it would be beneficial for you to pop your head in sometimes just to make sure they see your face and you have some of that in-person connection,” Cummings said.

There are ways to stand out even when working from home. Ask great questions in virtual meetings. When a meeting is cancelled or ends early, use that time to hop on a call with a leader at your company.

“You have to be proactive and build those relationships,” Cummings said.

Take some time to consider why you truly want to work from home, too. Do you simply enjoy the freedom and flexibility or were you miserable at work?

“Make sure you’re not just trying to escape,” Cummings said. Does your job allow you to work according to your strengths, passions, and skills? If not, it may be time to dust off the resume.

Cummings’ new book, “Next Move, Best Move: Transitioning Into a Career You’ll Love,” is all about helping professionals navigate the world of work.

“It is possible to find a career and a job that you love,” Cummings said. “If you can’t find joy in the day-to-day work you have, working remotely may not solve that.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

4 of the best strategies to use when negotiating for a new job offer

young professional working from home on laptop
Negotiating a job offer is all about business, so don’t shy away from asking for what you want.

  • If you’ve been given a new job offer recently, take time to consider the overall compensation package.
  • Be ready to prove your value to an employer when negotiating for higher pay or additional benefits.
  • Understand that negotiation is a compromise, so don’t take low offers personally and stand up for what you’re worth.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

After a year full of swift changes to our working lives, where flexibility was demanded and anxiety was handed out in generous doses, most working professionals are looking forward to brighter days ahead. In some cases, we’re looking for a brand new job that will be more fulfilling, more lucrative, and more exciting. But just as the pandemic has shifted many aspects of how various industries function, it’s also impacted hiring and onboarding.

Now more than ever, employees need to weigh the overall compensation package they’re being offered, and make sure they have a complete understanding of how office policies may shift once COVID is behind us. For example, will you still be allowed to work remotely, work a flexible schedule, or have your home internet or gym membership paid for by the company? It may be that after having spent an extended period of time working remotely or unemployed, your priorities have shifted. And to win your dream job offer, you’ll need to exercise the fine art of negotiation.

We spoke with career experts to better understand the best approach to job offer negotiation. Consider this your 101 guide.

1. Know – and own – your value

First things first: before you can go to battle for what you want in this job negotiation, you need to have a firm understanding of your value. And most importantly, you should be confident in what you bring to the table. Teresa Sabatine, an empowerment and leadership coach, says because it’s a competitive job market right now and many talented people are on the job hunt, having confidence in your abilities is a critical component of getting the gig. In other words, you’ll need to fight imposter syndrome like your job depends on it. (Because it does.)

Sabatine recommends asking yourself these questions:

  1. What have I done to drive business results in the past?
  2. How did I make an impact?
  3. What is unique about me that helped me drive those results?
  4. How does that experience and success translate to the role I am applying for now or that is on offer?

Once you have your answers, back ’em up with stats and proof. “It’s important to have that data and rely on it because when we are in actual negotiations and interviews, we can get in our heads and forget what we bring to the table,” she said. “The people negotiating with you are hoping you know what you are talking about; they want you to be good at what you do and know your value.”

2. Get clear about post-pandemic changes

One of the trickiest parts of new job offer negotiation in the current landscape is all of the unknowns. Right now, you’ll be expected to work remotely, but what happens when offices reopen? Will you be required to come in every day? Do you want to commute again? If you’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, does the company offer a stipend for your office setup? If not, do you need one – and should you negotiate for it?

When you have an offer, it’s essential to ask specific questions about tactical aspects of the job that are pandemic-specific, according to Christine Cruzvergara, the vice president of higher education and student success at Handshake.

“Explore whether there is a difference in compensation if you’re remote – do they have a philosophy on that, and what it might mean for your pay in the future?” she recommended. “Are there benefits or flexibility that you require in the near term, such as special equipment or unconventional hours, that you want to include in your negotiation? Not only will specific answers help you understand the terms of the negotiation, but it will also make you seem detail-oriented and clear in your communication.”

3. Know your points for compromise

You’re not going to get everything you ask for in any job negotiation, but to give yourself the best shot at walking away happy, Sabatine recommends exploring what matters the most to you, what wiggle room you’re comfortable with, and pinpointing your non-negotiables. Just keep in mind that there’s much more to consider than just your paycheck.

“Businesses may be having to tighten budgets, which means they might be offering non-compensated compensation to get great talent. Maybe they have upped the equity stake you get in the company. Maybe they are offering really flexible work hours in exchange for lower compensation, or there is an option for a robust bonus structure,” she explained.

For example, if your goal was to make $150,000 annually, but a company you love is offering you $105,000 per year to work your ideal job, Sabatine suggests asking yourself what might make up the difference. If the company would offer you a four-day workweek, would that be enough?

“Is it worth that loss in compensation because it means you get to be with your kids or you get to pursue your side hustle?” she added.

4. Don’t internalize the job offer negotiations

Repeat after Sabatine: Negotiating a job offer is all business. All too often, people – women especially – shy away from asking for what they really want out of a job because they don’t want to appear greedy, or as if they aren’t thankful for the opportunity. If that sounds like you, it’s time to shift that line of thinking and remember your worth and what you deserve.

“You are not lucky to be offered a job; you are talented and have something to offer in exchange for payment,” she said. “It’s important to understand the role, the market value compensation for that job, and the results you can get for that company.”

When an offer comes, state what you would like to make, then await the company’s next move. No low-balling yourself, no back-tracking, just confidence. You are worth every penny – and then some.

Read the original article on Business Insider

4 practices for onboarding remote workers to make sure they feel included and prepared

microsoft middle east remote work
Open communication is key for a remote team to operate smoothly.

  • Onboarding remote workers in a way that makes them included and productive is essential.
  • Ensure that everyone on the team is warm and welcoming, and schedule regular hangouts and check-ins.
  • Improve communication by having non-work discussions, and make the remote worker feel appreciated.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As a consequence of the past year-plus, more than half of workers now say they’d prefer that their employers offer a more flexible, hybrid virtual-working model that allows employees to toggle between home and the office. Even so, onboarding remote workers is a tricky affair. It’s essential to bring them on in a way that makes them feel included and sets them up for great productivity. Here’s four tips to help ease the transition.

Read more: Verizon is letting job functions determine if its 133,000 employees should work from home, in the office, or both. 3 staffers shared how their routines will change.

1. Offer a welcome from everyone, not just you

When you bring on a remote employee, you’re not just putting them under you. You’re bringing them into your larger group. If you want them to feel like they fit in, then everybody in the group has to be warm and welcoming, not just you.

As an example, just recently, I brought in a new team member from London. I had everybody shoot her an email to say hello and connect with her. We also sent her a jacket we’d created that had not just the company logo but the logo for the group she was a part of, too. This way, she was able to come into work with something all of us already had. The atmosphere was really supportive, and she felt connected almost right away because of those small gestures.

2. Set up regular meetings between you and the new employee

Staying with my London worker example, I’ve intentionally dedicated about 30 minutes a day to meeting online with her. There are two big reasons you should have these regular check-ins.

First, working remotely can get pretty lonely. Your employee isn’t interacting with others the same way they would if they were coming into the office. So, when I meet with my London hire, I have a great opportunity to break that isolation in a simple but really caring way and make sure she’s at least talking with me.

Second, you want your new hires to get to know you so you can build some trust. During the pandemic, I actually had another employee who’d been onboarded leave our business and go back to the company they’d worked at before. A big reason for that exit was that nobody had really built a relationship with them. The old saying that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers, really struck me as true. I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake, so building a connection with the London employee became a priority for me.

3. Have regular team meetings that aren’t all about work

All your workers are on your team because they bring something fantastic to your business. But they’re also human beings. If you want to understand them and build real connections, then you have to see all of who they are, not just their business side.

I have some team meetings that don’t focus exclusively on work. I get people to ask questions about each other, or I throw out questions just to help people expand their imaginations. It helps me and everyone else see how everybody thinks and operates. It also improves how comfortable we are with communicating in a more authentic way.

4. Give the remote employee responsibility right away

Any new hire is going to need a little guidance before they’re totally off and running on their own. But they still need to feel like they have an important role to play and a responsibility to get work done. This is an especially big deal for remote workers, because if they’re not going to have as many opportunities for interaction, then they need to know beyond any doubt that they’re contributing with purpose and have the trust of the team.

With my London hire, I brought her into conversations with the president of our European branch. She immediately felt connected because we dove right into business. She wasn’t just following someone around. I actually asked for her opinion, and she was able to give it to me.

No matter the role of your remote worker, be truly present with them. Instead of just running from meeting to meeting as they try to figure things out, make sure they’ve got some meaningful work to do right out of the gate. Give them easy ways to contribute, and validate those contributions early.

Remote work has hurdles, but clear strategies can get you over them

It’s still not clear just how many employees will prefer a hybrid work environment or go completely remote in the future. But the likelihood that you’ll have more people on your team who don’t regularly come into your office is only increasing. Approach onboarding your remote workers with a real strategy. If you tackle the challenges of remote environments with intentional effort, then no challenge will be insurmountable.

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 ways to decide if starting a side hustle on top of your full-time job is right for you

woman typing on laptop
Many Americans have taken on side gigs as a way to earn extra money.

  • A side gig is a great way to add extra income or explore your passion outside of a full-time job.
  • Look at your savings and current workload to determine if the gig economy is right for you.
  • Network with other creatives to get a sense of whether or not the financial rewards are worth the extra work.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Side gigs can be a lucrative way to earn extra cash or expand your horizons – but is it worth the extra stress to have a side hustle and a full-time job?

Although the last decade has seen “the gig economy” blossom and prosper like never before, the concept of the side gig has existed for ages. Anyone looking to earn more money has found that an additional job of some sort is the quickest and easiest way to gain additional financial security.

With the pandemic, millions of Americans began picking up extra “gigs” working for companies including Instacart, Amazon, Uber, and countless other businesses that filled an important niche during COVID. Women were already at the heart of the gig economy long before the pandemic, and many more found themselves starting new side jobs over this last year and a half – perhaps while also holding down full-time positions and caring for loved ones … But working a full-time job and side hustle can be incredibly time consuming, and not always doable with everyone’s schedule. Here’s how to know if doing both may be right for you.

Working “second shift”

Before COVID, many women were likely already working a “second shift” as the primary caregiver for loved ones (such as children and aging parents) and were acting as the caretaker of their home. Once the pandemic hit, millions of women added “teacher” to their list of jobs, and the lines between work life and home life became particularly blurred … Even if your partner worked from home, you most likely continued to do a majority of the domestic work. As a result, it might not be possible to put extra time and energy into a side hustle right now.

And even if you have time for a side gig, taking it on might not be the healthiest option. Over time, it can become just one more ball to juggle rather than a financial relief or a place to put your passion and energy. Finding the elusive “work-life balance” – which, by the way, is a misnomer – becomes even more of a challenge and can take a toll on your mental and physical wellness. In fact, research shows that people who work more than 55 hours a week develop depression and anxiety at a higher rate than those who work standard hours.

We all need to give ourselves a little more grace and realize that working a full-time job, a side hustle, and taking care of a household isn’t always the right choice.

Is the side gig economy right for you?

If you’re deciding whether adding a side gig to your plate is the right move, consider the following:

1. Do you have an emergency fund?

If you have an emergency fund that can cover at least three to six months of non-discretionary expenses, that’s great! And it might mean that you don’t need to take on a side gig for the sole purpose of gaining extra income.

If you don’t currently have an emergency fund – or if it’s not enough to cover the essentials for a few months – then a side gig could be beneficial. Regardless, consider putting your emergency fund in an online account that generally pays higher interest.

2. How much do you have saved for retirement?

Ideally, you should save at least 15% of your net income for retirement. If you have access to a 401(k) through your full-time job and your employer offers a match, try to contribute enough to reach your match – and don’t forget that whatever your employer is contributing counts toward your savings target!

If you don’t have a retirement plan or can’t save 15% right now, that’s okay, too. We’re all at different places with our careers and savings goals. A side job that helps you bring in extra money can help boost your savings.

3. Can you devote energy to a side gig?

Extra money is certainly nice to have, but that is only one piece to consider. A side gig takes a lot of energy, resources, and time. Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about because there will be setbacks and days when you don’t feel like you’re making progress. Research and network with people who have similar side jobs to determine what it will take to add the job to your current load. If it seems like the side gig will add too much stress or unhappiness to your life – and take away from what you’re already doing – it might not be right for you.

Ultimately, it’s important to determine whether the financial rewards of a full-time job and side hustle outweigh the potential downsides. Burnout is real and very prevalent right now as people take on too many responsibilities. It’s important to make sure you have the time and energy not just for work and home life, but for yourself as well. If your side gig becomes successful enough, however, it might just be your ticket to pursuing your passion full time.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Some employees are quitting their jobs over return-to-office policies. A strategic-thinking expert explains how leaders can maintain a flexible approach to keep workers on board.

young workers in office
Some employees are quitting their jobs over inflexible return-to-work arrangements.

  • Some employees are becoming increasingly frustrated with their company’s return-to-work plans.
  • In some cases, they have even quit their jobs over inflexible work policies.
  • As offices reopen, an expert shared the best strategies leaders should use to keep staff on board.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As the world starts to reopen, return-to-office plans are slowly coming into effect.

Companies, such as Apple, have announced a plan that expects employees to come back to the office three days a week from September. Other companies have not yet posted what their back-to-office plans are.

But for many, a return to office life isn’t a simple transition after so long. In fact, 55% of employees said they would prefer to remain remote at least three days a week, according to a January 2021 study from PWC that surveyed 1,200 office workers throughout November and December 2020.

Most recently, Apple employees revolted against CEO Tim Cook over the company’s new work policy in a letter signaling their frustration toward a three-day office schedule. The letter also addressed a growing concern that the new policy has already forced some of the staff to quit over its inflexibility.

So, how can leaders build flexible work environments and implement return-to-work strategies that retain workers and avoid employee resignations?

Rose Gailey, a return-to-work and organizational culture expert, and partner at Heidrick & Struggles, a management consulting firm focused on leadership and shaping corporate culture, discussed the subject with Insider and shared strategies leaders should adopt to retain their workers in their return-to-office plans.

An empathetic approach

“Employees will not leave a company solely because of the tangibles like pay or return to work – those may be factors, but they are likely to leave if they don’t feel valued, understood, and supported,” Gailey said in reference to a seemingly growing divide between employees and their leaders in some companies.

The leaders that handle this pivotal moment most successfully will be C-suite leaders that lean into their humanity and empathy, she said. “One clear lesson from the pandemic: new models have emerged and companies need to embrace greater levels of flexibility.”

One of the biggest mistakes leaders are susceptible to in their post-pandemic work plans is believing we can return to old models, Gailey said. “Companies should guard against assuming that an arbitrary return date will mean 100% normalcy.”

To address growing concerns around mass resignations as a result of companies’ return-to-office plans, Gailey expanded on the strategies she thinks company leaders should adopt to prevent employee walkouts.

Plan your approach

“Leaders need to approach returning to the office with the same level of planning and importance as the acquisition of a new company or the launch of a new product – clearly focused on executing a strategy through a foundation of a thriving culture,” she said.

Communicate with employees

Communication between employees and company leaders is critical, according to Gailey.

“Recent data suggests up to 47% of workers say their firm has not communicated with them about the return to office plans.” Companies, therefore, must rely on “sensitive, two-way communication, gather feedback [and] reflect it to employees.”

The mantra should then become “iterate, test and learn,” as companies continue ongoing dialogue with employees, she added.

‘Draft a vision for how to live your values’

For Gailey, any return-to-office roadmaps must be future-focused, rooted in culture and performance. “It can’t be about just getting people back into the office.”

She continued: “Draft a vision for how to live your values and challenge leaders to model inclusive behaviors by announcing policies and work structures with both clarity and agility,”

Building a flexible company culture

Authenticity and agility are key to building a company culture that enables flexible-working environments and fosters employee productivity and wellbeing, according to Gailey.

“Leaders have to embrace authenticity, double down on agility, and truly commit to the hard work of building a great culture.”

The past 15 months have accelerated long overdue changes for the American worker, Gailey said, “and have highlighted the idea that culture is not about the place you work – it’s about the spirit of an organization.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

COVID-19 was meant to usher in a flexible work revolution. But for part-timers, it’s making things worse.

Waitress carrying plates back facing camera
many part-timers work in the sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, such as hospitality.

  • COVID-19 forced people to work from home, raising hopes workplaces could become less inflexible.
  • But a report highlighted this week how the pandemic has hit those who were working part-time.
  • In this op-ed, researcher Emma Stewart warns they face exclusion from workdplaces if nothing is done.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

For those of us in the flexible working sphere, the pandemic has driven a focus on different ways of working.

It feels like a positive step forward. Perceived barriers have come crashing down.

The UK HR body Chartered Institute of Personnel Development has found evidence suggesting that productivity and wellbeing have improved in many cases.

There is an overall sense that many workplaces are undergoing serious transformation.

But a huge proportion of the changes are in where people work. The flexible working revolution has, in fact, largely been a remote working one, which mainly benefits workers who left their offices but still keep full office hours.

There has been little focus on when or how much people work.

For people in frontline roles, who can’t work from home, the “new normal” of remote working isn’t an option.

There’s a danger of a split evolving. And part-time employees, in particular, are being massively, and disproportionately, affected by the fallout of COVID-19.

This week, TimeWise, the consultancy I co-founded, published new research that revealed real inequalities.

In the first UK lockdown from March to July 2020, half the country’s part-time workforce were recorded as being “temporarily away from work” – furloughed under the government scheme to protect jobs of those who couldn’t work – or having their hours reduced.

This compared to just a third of full-time workers, who are also returning to work faster than part-timers. Rates of part-time employment have fallen to their lowest levels since 2010.

The result is that many part-timers feel as if they are clinging onto disappearing jobs. And for those who need to work part-time in order to work at all, getting another one won’t be easy.

A total of 80% of part-time workers do not want to work more hours but, with only 8% of jobs currently advertised as part-time, they will be looking for a needle in a haystack.

One reason this is happening is that many part-timers work in the sectors that have been hardest hit, such as retail, hospitality, and leisure.

Some have already been let go. For others, the furlough scheme (where the government pays 80% of salaries) is masking the fact that their jobs may no longer be viable, which will become clear when the scheme ends in September.

Another issue is employers still tend to see part-time staff as more dispensable than their full-time colleagues. Anecdotally, we are hearing part-timers are the first to be let go.

The result of all this is that people who need to work part-time are facing a stark choice – attempt to find a full-time job or leave the workforce altogether.

The former is often challenging because of the reasons they needed to work part-time in the first place.

Many people who work part-time do so because they are caring for someone or have health problems themselves. So while they may be able to sustain a full-time job in the short term, it’s unlikely to be sustainable, and may simply delay the point at which they have no choice but to leave the workforce entirely.

It would be ironic if the fallout from the pandemic, which has been heralded as a new era of flexible working, leads to people who need to work part-time being excluded from the workplace. But without action, that’s the future of work we’re facing.

Of course, some of these issues are systemic, and need to be tackled at a policymaker level. But there is also a great deal that employers can do to increase and improve part-time opportunities within their organisations.

They need to create more part-time roles. We know that huge numbers of people want to work flexibly, but that doesn’t just mean remote – thinking creatively about whether a job could be made to work across fewer days (or shifts) will immediately open it up to people who can’t work full-time.

Critically, employers need to make part-time jobs available at the point of hire. We know that candidates find it hard to ask for part-time as they fear being seen as uncommitted.

We’re also hearing that companies are struggling to find the right people to fill their vacancies. Both of these could be solved by increasing the number jobs advertised as part-time up front.

Offering part-time roles isn’t just a nice thing to do. It helps employers attract a wider, more diverse pool of talent; it helps them hold on to, and progress, the employees they already have.

And when it comes to wellbeing, it’s not a huge leap to suggest that giving people the ability to fit their work around the rest of their lives will make them happier, healthier and so more productive.

Emma Stewart is co-founder of flexible working consultancy TimeWise.

Read the original article on Business Insider

JOIN OUR LIVE EVENT JUNE 24: Execs from Deutsche Bank, AllianceBernstein, and Accenture will break down how Wall Street is navigating the return to work

Insider Events 'Future of work on Wall Street' event promotion, including Katie Burke of AllianceBernstein, Melissa Fridman of Deutsche Bank, and Michael Cheek of Accenture.

As the worst days of the pandemic seem to be subsiding in the US, there’s one question on everyone’s mind: What does the return to work actually look like?

On Wall Street, the itch has been mounting since the start of the pandemic for people to find a way to safely get back to their desks.

At some firms, the return to work has gradually begun. But, for many others, the timeline has yet to kick off to move thousands of people back into New York City skyscrapers and offices across the country.

Insider Finance reporter Reed Alexander will moderate a live webinar event on Thursday, June 24, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PST, in which three top financial-services execs will break down what the return to work looks like for Wall Street.

  • Melissa Fridman, global head of human resources for the investment bank at Deutsche Bank, will explain how her firm is implementing a hybrid model.
  • Kate Burke, chief operating officer at AllianceBernstein, will provide details on how the asset manager, which handles some $697 billion in assets, set up an internal Pandemic Response Team to shape the firm’s return-to-office plans, and what their tiered return to work will look like.
  • Michael Cheek, managing director in capital markets at the consulting firm Accenture, will take us inside the regulatory and compliance considerations that financial services firms like banks and asset managers are facing as they migrate big global teams back to work.

You can sign up here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best kind of music for improving your work productivity, according to a psychotherapist

Listening to computer with headphones
Listening to specific music while working from home can make you more productive.

If you struggle to be productive while working from home, you’re not alone. Staring at a laptop in silence makes it harder to stay on task than you might think.

In the absence of coworkers, you might turn down the rabbit hole of social media for a little human interaction, where scrolling can easily waste countless hours of your time. Or maybe you turn on the TV for a little background noise only to find yourself engrossed in a talk show for a solid hour.

So while silence can be problematic, filling the void can be a distraction. Fortunately, turning on a little background music might be the solution to improving your productivity.

But not just any music will do. Listen to the songs that help you feel happy, and you’ll get more work done in less time.

The link between music, happiness, and performance

Music is a great tool for regulating your emotions. The songs you listen to have the power to boost your mood, calm you down, or pump you up.

That’s why music became a lifeline for so many people during the COVID pandemic. Our recent survey at Verywell Mind found that 79% of people turned to music to cope with the stress of the pandemic. (Many of them were likely working from home.)

It makes sense that so many people rely on music to regulate their emotions. Research has also discovered that intentionally listening to happy music can have a profound impact on your happiness level. A 2012 study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listened to happy music became happier people within just two weeks.

And it’s no secret that happy people are productive people. Researchers have long since known this. In fact, a 2019 study conducted by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School set out to study how much happiness matters. They discovered that happy people tend to be 13% more productive.

So it makes sense that listening to happy music makes you happy. And when you feel happy, you work better. But that’s not the end of the story.

Listening to music while you’re focused on something else (like writing a report) might also improve your performance. A 2014 study found that listening to upbeat background music improved the brain’s processing speed and bolstered memory in older adults.

And while both upbeat and downbeat music showed memory benefits, processing speed improvements were only present when people listened to upbeat music. So this reinforces the idea that happy songs could be the key to enhanced performance.

Happy music is tough to find

You’ll likely find it’s easy to recall plenty of songs with sad melodies and angry lyrics. But spend a minute trying to recall happy songs, and you might draw a blank. That’s because upbeat songs are in short supply.

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies found that music lyrics have become increasingly sad and angry over the past 50 years. And listening to sad or angry music may have a negative impact on your mood or performance.

So it’s important to be intentional about the music you play while you work. Commit to listening to upbeat music so you can be more productive.

A happy playlist

Rather than spend hours looking for upbeat songs – we thought we’d supply you with a great playlist that might help you feel happier and make you more productive right away.

While my expertise is in helping people feel happier, song recommendations are a bit outside my wheelhouse. Fortunately, however, I have a resident expert on staff.

The producer of The Verywell Mind Podcast, Nick Valentin, is an amazing audio engineer. When he’s not working with me, he records musicians like Pharrell Williams, Marc Anthony, and Sean Combs (a.k.a Puff Daddy or Diddy). So I asked for his input on the happiest songs he knows. (And it just so happens that he even worked on the album that tops our list.)

Here are 10 songs that can make you feel happier and be more productive when you’re working from home:

  1. “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
  2. “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
  3. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Bronson and Bruno Mars
  4. “ABC” by The Jackson 5
  5. “O-o-h Child” by The Five Stairsteps
  6. “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys
  7. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown
  8. “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles
  9. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  10. “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

Turn on the background music

Experiment a bit with background music to figure out what helps you stay most productive. You might find listening to the same song over and over again actually helps you stay on task best. Or you might discover upbeat, instrumental music helps you stay focused.

Try a few experiments, and you’ll learn how to use background music to your advantage when you’re working from home.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How leaders can better support their burned out Gen Z staffers, according to a psychotherapist

Gen Z worker
Gen Z workers have reported mental health challenges during the pandemic.

You might expect older generations to be the most stressed out from the pandemic. After all, COVID put them at the highest risk for serious illness or even death. But it turns out, Gen Z may be experiencing the greatest mental health challenges right now.

Despite being digital natives who are used to working online, the under-24 crowd has experienced significant psychological distress during lockdown. Consequently, younger workers may need more support than employers anticipate.

A large chunk of their time in the workplace has been spent staring at their digital devices. Integrating into the workplace – or reintegrating – may be a little more difficult for them since they have a lot less experience than older generations.

Research shows work and money are the biggest stressors

At Verywell Mind, we began researching the state of mental health in America last month, and are reporting on the shifts and trends we’re witnessing over time.

Findings from our first survey indicate that Gen Z respondents are the most stressed out generation right now, and their biggest sources of stress are work and money.

Gen Zers who responded to our survey also reported more symptoms of depression, such as difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, and feelings of hopelessness.

Given their psychological distress, it’s important for employers to provide some much needed support. As these young workers finish their education and step into the working world, a little extra attention could go a long way toward helping our future leaders.

Provide stress management resources

Gen Z is just learning about the workplace. And their view of work is skewed since many of them entered the workforce during the pandemic.

Provide ongoing information about stress management. Whether that means having more conversations about this during one-on-one private meetings or it means offering free classes that teach skills, like yoga or meditation, incorporate stress management strategies into the workplace.

Gen Zers could also likely benefit from information on work/life balance (daily life and busyness was the third biggest source of stress). Many of them have been working remotely during the pandemic which may make finding balance tough. Educating them on how to set boundaries with work so they can enjoy free time can go a long way toward preventing burnout.

Give ongoing mental health support

Despite the higher rates of distress, our survey showed that Gen Z respondents were less likely to say that society would be better off if more people saw a therapist. They’re also concerned about the stigma associated with therapy.

Ongoing conversations about mental health in the workplace, however, could change that.

Offering an EAP might make therapy more accessible to them since they’re more likely to be strapped for money for therapy.

Bring therapists into the office to provide occasional workshops or informational sessions. This may teach them about mental health issues, local resources, and ways to get help.

They may benefit from learning about how to build mental strength, improve their emotional intelligence, and address workplace issues in a healthy way.

Offer financial incentives and clear opportunities for advancement

Since Gen Z workers are most worried about work and their financial futures, provide clear opportunities for advancement. If they understand what’s available to them and how to get there, they are likely to feel more secure in the workplace, as well.

Additionally, they may be very motivated by financial incentives. Offer financial incentives for reaching their goals or exceeding their expectations.

When you help them reduce their distress and improve their mental health, you’ll be improving their lives. You’ll also help free up their mental energy to focus more on work and worry less about their financial security.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I took an entire weekend to myself away from my husband and kids – here’s why every working mom should do the same

Melissa Petro with her youngest child.
Melissa Petro with her youngest child.

  • Melissa Petro is a freelance writer based in New York with her husband and two young children.
  • In early May, she took a weekend to herself for a “strategic absence” vacation, or “momcation.”
  • Petro says the time off allowed her to feel connected to herself as well as appreciative of her family.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A lot of moms spend their “day off” just like any other: cleaning up messes and watching the kids. In year’s past, I’ve been that worn-out momma.

For example, there have been many Mother’s Days when after opening my gift and shoveling down breakfast in bed, life would go back to normal, with a deluge of diapers to change and dishes in the sink.

But not this year.

This past Mother’s Day, I skipped the subtle hints and gave myself the one gift I wanted more than anything else: an entire weekend by myself.

No shouting toddlers. No waking up in the middle of the night. No endless list of chores. Just utter quiet and complete solitude. Hour after hour to do whatever I desired.

Fellow working moms, can you even imagine?

Even though Mother’s Day has passed, it’s not too late to coordinate your own escape. While many moms find it difficult to justify leaving their families, taking time and space for ourselves is not only good for us – it’s good for our loved ones, too.

A ‘strategic absence’ is more than a vacation

Citing the work of researcher and motherhood experts Petra Bueskens, Amy Westervelt, author of “Forget Having It All: How America Messed Up Motherhood and How to Fix it,” calls it a “strategic absence,” which she defines as an intentional period of time when mom is not around.

Maybe you’re at a conference for work or maybe it’s a girls’ trip. Or maybe it’s a trip orchestrated solely for the purpose of being away. The point is that you’re not physically there to make dinner or help out with bedtime. You’re mentally unavailable to figure out why the baby is crying or carry the load of remembering to reorder wipes.

Not only does a strategic absence give the primary caretaker a much-needed break, but according to Bueskens, it can generate a “structural and psychological shift in the family” by redistributing some of the work that falls onto one parent by default (typically mom) and requiring the second parent (usually the father) to step up.

Now more than ever, families need to shake up their dynamic

Melissa Petro
The author with her kids.

I first wrote about strategic absence back in January 2020 in an article for Elemental, where I bemoaned the fact that the most time I’d taken away from my then-two-year-old were the 24 hours I spent in the hospital giving birth to baby number two.

I was long overdue for what some call a momcation – and was in the works of planning one – when the pandemic hit, adding another 14 months onto the two years I’d already essentially been sheltering in place.

A 2018 survey found the average mother ends up with a mere 30 minutes to herself a day. During the pandemic, you can bet alone time was at an even greater premium – at least it was in my household.

Now that people are vaccinated and travel is a bit safer, I could finally have the time off from mothering that I richly deserved.

The thought of just being in a space by myself for an extended period of time sounded magical: Imagine no one is touching you, shouting in your face, demanding snacks, and crying when you give them exactly what they asked for.

Give yourself a (modest) goal

Beyond leisurely bubble baths and uninterrupted sleep, experts say a strategic absence is time away to pursue other dimensions of yourself.

If you’re a type-A working mom like me – you love your job and don’t get enough uninterrupted time in your everyday life to focus on it – there’s nothing wrong with using your strategic absence to tackle a work project.

My goal for this past Mother’s Day weekend was to make a significant start into a new idea for a book proposal that’d been rattling around my head for months – exactly the kind of thing that requires significant “maker” time.

You want a plan – but don’t feel pressured

No one wants to come back from a vacation feeling like they need a vacation, and a momcation is no different. While you may use the time to be productive, it ought to be restorative as well.

After arriving at my destination, I spent an hour in line at Whole Foods. It started raining, I was cold – I’d forgotten to pack a sweater – and so instead of exploring a new restaurant like I’d intended, I went back to the apartment, zapped a microwave burrito, struggled with the beginning of my book proposal, and went to bed. It was pretty uneventful.

Fortunately, I woke up with a clearer head and zero distractions (the beauty of a strategic absence!), and I got straight to work. By day two, I knew I wasn’t going to end the weekend emailing my agent the 30 perfect pages of prose I’d promised her, but that was OK.

Ignore your buzzing phone

The most important part of a strategic absence is to protect yourself from intruders. Trust me, they will intrude.

A good friend will need to process the fight she’s having with her husband. Your cousin will want to know how your strategic absence is going or talk about where your moms went wrong when you were both kids. If enjoying phone conversations without screaming kids in the background was part of the plan, allow it, but if not, send those calls to voicemail.

The second I arrived and before I even put my bags down, I got a text from my husband complaining I’d overfilled the garbage can. It wasn’t a conversation we needed to have right then, and so I didn’t respond. I checked in with my family every night before bed, but other than that I ignored his messages.

Sure, I felt a little guilty, but they were never an emergency and I knew I wasn’t obligated to respond.

When I got home, my husband admitted that he’d actually enjoyed his time solo-parenting and said that, in some respects, it was easier. This isn’t unusual: Often without the primary parent’s micromanagement, the secondary parental figure develops competences and confidence. Do it often enough, and a strategic absence teaches your kids they can rely on both parents, not just mom.

In the end, I came back feeling more rested, connected to myself, appreciative of my family, and eager for my next escape.

Read the original article on Business Insider