19 things you should never say to your coworkers

pregnant colleague
Never ask a coworker if she’s pregnant.

  • Having friends at work can make you more productive.
  • A 2019 article found positive work gossip can lead to friendships and warn others of bad managers.
  • But gossiping and being too comfortable at work can backfire.

Getting along with your coworkers is a beautiful thing. It can make your workday less dreary, help you focus better, and make you more productive.

While making work friends can be awkward, one way to break the ice is to start complaining.

Complaining about work tasks means you trust the other person not to spill your secrets, and can lead to closer friendships down the line, according to The Cut. One researcher calls productive work gossip “pro-social,” or gossip that can lead to warning your peers about difficult managers or other information that results in more productive work.

Some experts, however, warn against getting too chummy with your coworker. While some lighthearted gossiping can be positive, there are certain phrases or conversations that can make you sound unprofessional (and even harassing).

“In conversation, use a little common sense and discretion, especially when there are others present,” says Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and the author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.” “The general guideline is that if you wouldn’t say it in front of your boss, don’t say it.”

Aside from the obvious – like profanity and insults – here are some words and phrases you should never utter to your coworkers.

Don’t ask to borrow money

Most of us have forgotten to bring cash or our wallet to work once or twice. Randall says that in this rare occasion, it might be OK to ask your understanding coworker to borrow some money for lunch.

“But if your wallet is always in your ‘other purse,’ don’t be surprised if you’re excluded from future lunches,” she says.

Stop using the phrase ‘honestly’

Barbara Pachter, an etiquette expert and author of “The Essentials of Business Etiquette,” says that drawing attention to your honesty at that moment can lead people to wonder, “Aren’t you always honest with me?”

Don’t spread rumors

“Spread gossip, and you become labeled as a gossip,” says Vicky Oliver, author of “Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots” and “Power Sales Words.”

“Negative comments about a coworker to another coworker will make you look worse than the person you’re talking about, and guess who will be the one who looks bad when it gets back to the person you’re talking about?” Randall says.

Don’t tell your coworker you like the way her pants fit on her

Be selective about what you compliment.

Commenting about a coworker’s physical appearance is considered unprofessional, Randall says – and worse, could be sexual harassment.

Don’t tell a coworker, ‘You people are always causing problems’

Topics like religion, politics, and child-rearing sometimes come up in the workplace, Randall says. But to negatively comment about any group is unwise and unprofessional, and it could get you in trouble for harassment.

Never ask a coworker if she’s pregnant

This question rarely results in a positive outcome.

“If your coworker is not pregnant, you have insulted her,” Oliver says. “If she is pregnant, she probably isn’t ready to discuss it yet. Keep observations like this to yourself.”

Don’t say, ‘I’m sorry to be a bother’

“Why are you saying you’re a bother?” Pachter asks.

And if you are truly sorry about something you haven’t done yet, why would you go ahead and do it anyway?

“Excuse me. Do you have a moment?” works much better, she says.

Don’t tell your coworkers you are looking for another job, or ask if they know who’s hiring

“Sharing this with your coworkers may cause them to instinctively distance themselves, knowing you will no longer be a part of the team,” Randall says.

“They also might unintentionally leak the information to your supervisor, which could explain your lack of productivity and absences, resulting in a poor reference or an invitation to pick up your paycheck earlier than you expected,” she says.

Don’t say: ‘See this rash? I’m expecting the lab results tomorrow.’

“Except for maybe your mom or spouse, no one really wants to see or hear about peculiar rashes or any nausea-inducing medical conditions,” Randall says. “Limit your sharing to a cold or headache.”

Try not to start all of your sentences with ‘I think’

Saying “I think” is sometimes acceptable, but only if you truly are unsure.

“Using ‘I think’ can make you appear wishy-washy,” Pachter says. When you know something, state it directly: “The meeting will be at 3 pm.”

Don’t tell a coworker you were surprised when she was asked to present

You might as well say, “It should have been me.”

“The professional response would be, ‘Congratulations,'” Randall says.

Don’t say: ‘Do you mind covering for me while I’m in Bora Bora?’

Flaunting your luxurious lifestyle with your colleagues may set off a jealousy epidemic, Oliver says. In general, it’s best to avoid bragging about how great your life is.

Don’t ask your coworker if you’re invited to a party you overheard him talk about

“This is the grown-up world – not everyone will be invited to everything,” Randall says. “Besides, are you prepared for the answer?”

Don’t tell your coworkers you’re stealing office supplies

You just admitted to stealing, a cause for termination and, at the very least, loss of trust, Randall says.

Don’t bring up personal relationship issues

“Intimate details about your personal relationships can divulge unfavorable information about you,” Randall says.

Sharing intimate details about your love life falls into the “too much information” category, she says, and “if it doesn’t enhance your professional image, or enrich workplace relationships, you should keep it to yourself.”

Don’t call your coworker a “credit snatcher”

Maybe your colleague or boss took credit for your work, but carping about the problem to your coworkers rarely helps, Oliver says. Instead, it’s best to address the issue with the person who took credit for your idea.

Don’t ask your coworkers how old they are

HR experts suggest colleagues avoid this topic. Someone might think you’re questioning their authority or abilities, or worse, could accuse you of age discrimination.

Don’t comment on your coworkers hair or ask to touch it

Commenting on a coworker’s hair or asking to touch it isn’t just inappropriate, it could be considered harassment or a racist microaggression.

Don’t tell your coworkers you’re suing the company

“Whether the charge is legitimate or not, spreading it around will not serve you well – just ask your attorney,” Randall says.

If you’re really suing your employer, it’s best to conduct yourself with discretion and dignity and continue to perform your duties to the best of your ability. If this becomes impossible, you should consider resigning, Randall says.

“But if this is your go-to threat when you’re unhappy about something, stop it,” she says.

Rachel Gillett contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Read the original article on Business Insider

An early-career professional’s guide to developing strong, supportive relationships at work

Carson Tate Headshot
Carson Tate is a business consultant and author.

  • Carson Tate is the founder of a business consulting firm that works to enhance workplace productivity.
  • She says building genuine professional relationships is key to having a happy and long-lasting career.
  • Follow the platinum rule when communicating with others and learn how to control your emotional reactions during tense situations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When you are new in your career, strong, authentic relationships are vital for career success and growth. However, too often you can unconsciously undermine relationships in your interactions with your colleagues when you make assumptions about their behavior, use one-size-fits-all communication techniques, and get hijacked by your emotions.

Here are three strategies to build strong, genuine relationships.

1. Use the platinum rule to foster mutual respect and understanding

Many of us learned the golden rule, to treat others as you want them to treat you, as a young child. Your parents, teachers, and adults in your life knew that the golden rule’s core virtues of empathy and compassion for others guided positive social interaction. As an adult, I learned about the platinum rule and came to realize that it more powerfully shapes positive social interaction. It suggests that you treat others the way they want to be treated.

The platinum rule challenges the assumption that other people want to be treated the way you want to be treated. You approach people with the intention to first understand how they want to be treated and then adapt your interactions with them to meet their needs. The platinum rule can help you avoid making a negative assumption about someone’s behavior, which undermines constructive social interaction.

2. Tailor your communication to your colleagues’ work styles to be heard and understood

To use the platinum rule and help understand how your colleagues wanted to be treated, let’s explore the concept of work styles. Your work style is the way you think about, organize, and complete your tasks. In any office you will find four types of work styles:

  • Logical, analytical, and data-oriented
  • Organized, plan-focused, and detail-oriented
  • Supportive, expressive, and emotionally oriented
  • Strategic, integrative, and idea-oriented

Think about the following questions to determine the work style of your co-workers:

  • Does she consistently complete work early, in advance of deadlines, or wait until the last minute?
  • Does he send emails with only a few words or write novels?
  • Does she gesture and use her hands while talking? Or is she more controlled and stoic in her movements?

These clues, both subtle and overt, will provide insight to your team members’ work style.

Once you have identified your colleagues’ work style, tailor your communication style to align with how they want to communicate.

  • Your logical, analytical, and data-oriented colleagues want you to focus on data and the facts. Be brief, succinct, clear, and precise. If you send an email, keep it short.
  • Your organized, plan-focused, and detail-oriented colleagues want you to stay on topic, present your ideas in a sequential, organized manner and provide detailed timelines. If you send an email, outline your main points, and clearly state next action steps and due dates.
  • Your supportive, expressive, and emotionally oriented colleagues want the conversation to be informal, open, and warm. If you send an email, include a salutation, and connect with them personally before you transition to the topic of the email.
  • Your strategic, integrative, and idea-oriented colleagues want you to communicate with minimal details, provide the big picture with visuals and metaphors, and articulate how the project aligns with the organization’s strategy. If you send an email, provide the context, and avoid too many details.

3. Identify the SCARF threats that hijack your emotions and interactions

Have you ever been in a situation where you were hijacked by your emotions? You raise your voice, get visibly angry, or completely withdraw and abandon the conversation. Almost immediately you regret what you said or did because of social concerns. You know that your reaction could negatively impact a relationship and or your reputation in the office.

David Rock, cofounder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, has proposed a framework that captures the common factors that can activate your brain’s risk or reward response in social situations. Rock calls it the SCARF model and includes five domains of human experience: status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness.

  • Status is about your relative importance to others, or the “pecking order” or seniority in the office. It’s knowing who has the most power in the room due to title.
  • Certainty is about your need for clarity and the ability to predict the future. Our brains like to know the pattern that is occurring moment to moment. It craves certainty so prediction is possible.
  • Autonomy is the perception that you can exert control over the events in your life and your environment. It is the sense that you have and can make choices.
  • Relatedness is your sense of connection to and security with another person. It is whether someone is perceived as similar or dissimilar to you. We naturally like to form groups with people who are “like us.”
  • Fairness refers to just and unbiased exchange between people. It’s about a perception of a fair exchange between people.

To have more positive social interactions and build supportive relationships, identify your primary SCARF threat, and stop your emotions from hijacking your interaction colleagues.

Using the platinum rule, tailoring your communication to coworkers’ preferences, and identifying the SCARF threats that hijack your emotions and interpersonal interactions will work in tandem to advance in your career and build strong, authentic relationships in the workplace

Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply, Inc., a business consulting firm that works to enhance workplace productivity, and the author of “Own It. Love It. Make It Work: How To Make Any Job Your Dream Job.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

5 ways remote work is changing the economy for the better

remote work
Remote work has been good in many ways.

Now that vaccines and a massive stimulus package are here, the US economy is uniquely positioned for a great new era in the 2020s.

A major factor underlying the great economic potential of reopening lies with how the pandemic ushered in an era of remote work, which is likely here to stay to some extent in a post-pandemic world.

More than two-thirds of professionals were working remotely during the peak of the pandemic, according to a new report by work marketplace Upwork, and over the next five years, 20% to 25% of professionals will likely be working remotely.

Remote working has caused employees to rethink and better accommodate their priorities in life and employers to rethink operations regarding how they can best work with professionals and create teams, the report stated. But it also hasn’t been without some downsides, such as blurring the lines between work-life balance and causing increased stress.

Overall, though, Upwork found the shift to remote work in the past year has ultimately benefited the economy in five key ways.

(1) Remote workers are more productive

Remote and and online collaboration technology are proving to be helpful with hidden benefits like making teams work better together, reported Douglas Quenqua for Insider. Higher meeting attendance rates, more attentive managers, simplified communication, and more breaks are just a few of the positive changes.

It’s made many more productive. Sixty-one percent of workers said their productivity increased from working remotely, according to an Upwork survey. And an Upwork survey of hiring managers found 32.2% of them said they saw overall productivity rise as of late April, compared to 22.5% that felt it decreased.

These productive effects will only further develop as people adapt more to remote work, new technology is invented, and people will start remote businesses, wrote the report’s author, Adam Ozimek.

(2) Remote work has freed up relocation opportunities

Remote work will redistribute opportunity across the US, Ozimek wrote. Upwork estimated that up to 23 million people plan to relocate.

Richard Florida, urban studies theorist and economics professor at the University of Toronto, has a similar mindset. He previously told Insider remote work will accelerate the movement of families out of superstar cities into suburbs and the 1% who are seeking lower taxes.

“I have long said that we will see the rise of the rest, given the incredible expensiveness and affordability of existing superstar cities,” he said. “But it’s not going to be the rise of everywhere. It’s going to be the rise of a dozen or two dozen places.” These places will consequently attract new talent, changing economic development.

Florida predicted that bigger cities will see a resurgence, though, as the US inches closer to widespread vaccination, reshaped by a newfound focus on interpersonal interaction that facilitates creativity and spontaneity.

(3) Employers are hiring more independent talent

Employers have become more inclined to build hybrid teams made up of both full-time employees and freelance workers, Ozimek wrote. A November Upwork survey that asked about plans for hiring freelancers in the next six months found that 36% of hiring managers plan to hire out more independent talent.

Fortune 1000 companies in particular have been tapping into more diverse talent regardless of matter location, found a recent report by Business Talent Group, a marketplace for independent consultants. Independent talent has especially increased in the C-Suite. There has been a 67% increase over the past year in executives seeking independent talent needs, per the report.

This increases the talent pool and opportunities for workers.

(4) Remote workers are saving time and money

Without daily commutes, workers have more hours and bigger bank accounts.

One year of working remotely has saved people on average nine days from commuting, per Upwork’s research. And car commuters saved around $4,350, including costs to public from their driving.

The time and money saved could boost economic growth and productivity, Robert Gordon, economics professor at Northwestern University, said in a recent UCLA Anderson Forecast interview. The labor force has restructured, with high-paid people working from home and making the same income, he said.

“This shift to remote working has got to improve productivity because we’re getting the same amount of output without commuting, without office buildings, and without all the goods and services associated with that,” Gordon said. “We can produce output at home and transmit it to the rest of the economy electronically.”

(5) Pandemic remote work is different from remote work

“Remote work and remote work during a global pandemic are not the same,” Ozimek wrote.

Many of the struggles with remote work were due to pandemic circumstances – like balancing remote work with child care while schools were closed. In a post-pandemic world, these things won’t be a hindrance and remote employees will be able to revel in fewer interruptions, which Upwork found to be one of the most cited benefits of remote work.

Remote work also won’t always be done from home. Florida thinks neighborhoods will reshape as offices.

“Even as offices decline, the community or the neighborhood or the city itself will take on more of the functions of an office,” he said. “People will gravitate to places where they can meet and interact with others outside of the home and outside of the office.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to spot signs of burnout as an entrepreneur

stress migraine
Stress headaches and constant tiredness are some physical signs of burnout.

  • Many entrepreneurs near a point of burnout eventually, so it’s important to recognize symptoms early.
  • Burnout occurs gradually and can manifest in changes in mood and personality or even physical symptoms like stress headaches.
  • Consistent tiredness, irritability, and reduced passion for work are also signs of oncoming burnout.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Entrepreneurship is challenging. Some days, it’s downright exhausting. For many entrepreneurs, there comes a “last straw” breaking point where the conditions are too stressful or too overwhelming to continue.

But for most others, the eventual loss of passion for entrepreneurship – better known as burnout – is something slower and more gradual. It’s a creeping feeling that grows from day to day and eventually begins to affect your work performance.

You won’t go from happy-go-lucky to ready to quit overnight. One day, you might be a little extra irritable. The next, you might wake up and dread the idea of going to work. Not long after, you might make worse decisions, rushing through projects, or you might seriously contemplate leaving.

It’s not a position any entrepreneur wants to find themselves in. The good news is, it’s mostly preventable.

Why it’s important to stop burnout

There’s nothing wrong with changing jobs, selling your business, or retiring. But burnout itself can be devastating. Not only will it force you to leave your business prematurely, it can also leave you feeling despair and exhaustion. Even more importantly, it can negatively affect you on a physical level; burnout is associated with higher stress, higher susceptibility to illness, and even a higher risk of heart disease.

These effects compound with time, so acknowledging and stopping burnout early can put you in a much more favorable position long-term.

The trouble is, burnout is difficult to catch, especially early on.

How to identify entrepreneurial burnout

We all feel stress. We all get nervous. We all experience anxiety or dread sometimes. So how do you know when this is just part of the job and when it’s an early sign of burnout?

  • You dread going to work consistently. One of the hallmark signs is dreading going to work. Everyone dreads going to work some of the time; there might be an awful client to deal with or negative consequences from a bad decision to manage. But if you dread going to work on a consistent basis, it’s a sign of developing burnout.
  • Your mood and personality have changed (according to others). It’s hard to notice the changes in your own personality since they often unfold gradually and beneath our notice. However, burnout often leads people to experience mood and personality changes. Talk to the people around you; do they notice that you’re more irritable, angrier, or less pleasant than you used to be? Chances are, something external is responsible for this.
  • You’re experiencing physical symptoms. As burnout develops, it tends to be associated with more and more physical symptoms. For example, you might feel more stress headaches. You might have trouble getting to sleep (or getting enough sleep). And you might even be more susceptible to contagious illnesses. Keep an eye out for these developments.
  • You always feel tired. No matter how much sleep you get, burnout will leave you feeling tired. You’ll be physically and mentally exhausted most of the time, even after a good night of sleep or a break away from work. It’s almost impossible to feel full of energy.

Solving the burnout problem

It’s tough to make a one-size-fits-all recommendation for how to get rid of burnout because there are many different types of professionals and many different types of burnout.

For example, your burnout might stem from your own over-investment, in which case, delegating more and reducing your workload could help. You might also be worn out from a specific type of stress, which might require you to change up your daily responsibilities. You might even feel under challenged due to excessive predictability and routine, in which case the solution is finding new ways to be stimulated, like learning a new skill.

In any case, one of the best steps to take to address your burnout is to take some time away. Use up a few vacation days or take an extended hiatus from your work; it’s a great opportunity to de-stress and get away from the burden of work. It’s also a chance to get some perspective. Once you’re away from the office, you’ll have a much keener sense of what’s actually stressing you out (and what you might be able to do about it).

You can also talk to the people around you for advice. They may have a better perspective on your work style than you do. Once you have a better understanding of your current position, you can invest time and energy into making an action plan. How can you change your environment and your approach to work in a way that relieves your stress?

The action plan will look different for everyone. But as long as you’re consistent and proactive, you’ll have a good chance of reversing the effects of entrepreneurial burnout in your career.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I made nearly $10,000 last month doing freelance voice-over work. I get 90% of my work through Fiverr and work just five hours a day – here’s how I do it.

Alice Everdeen
Alice Everdeen is a freelancer based in Texas.

  • Alice Everdeen is a 29-year-old voice-over artist based in Austin, Texas.
  • After years working in radio and TV, Everdeen quit her full-time job and now can make thousands a week as a freelancer.
  • This is what her job is like, as told to freelance writer Rose Maura Lorre.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

I launched my full-time voice-over career just last year, but even as a kid, I was always doing voice work in some way. I would constantly mimic the people I heard in commercials and on the radio and I made tons of prank phone calls, but I never really thought about it as something I could do as a career.

I went to Rutgers University to study journalism and visual arts. After working at MSNBC and a local news station for several years, I moved to Texas in 2016. There, I eventually switched over to a production company where I wrote and produced TV and radio ads.

One day, I was going over a client’s script with my colleagues. Just as a joke, I read the script out loud in the most over-the-top radio voice I could think of. They stopped and stared at me; then they said, “Wow, that was really good!”

I started doing voice-overs for the company and realized it was really fun.

I also think it also helped that I’m a very animated person and I enunciate well.

Then around January 2020, right before the pandemic, I was going through a divorce and felt unhappy going to work for nine hours a day. I told myself, “I’m going to quit my job, start freelancing, buy a school bus, and I’m going to travel.”

I made my own voice-over demo reel and made a profile on Fiverr and things surprisingly took off.

One of the first clients I got was Fiverr itself. I know they will hire new members to give them some credibility, so I think they just saw that I was new and they liked my demo. Now I book probably 90% of my work through Fiverr, where other companies will find me for their clients. I’ve done VOs for companies like, Valvoline, Community Coffee, Verizon, Accenture, and Amazon.

I always ask potential clients a few questions before accepting the job.

Alice Everdeen
Everdeen says she practices each script several times before recording.

I ask how long the script is, what’s the audience and tone they’re going for, and whether or not the recording has to meet certain time requirements. My voice-overs typically run anywhere from 15 seconds to three minutes, but I’ve done some audio (usually for e-learning projects) that was as long as 20 minutes.

Generally, I practice a script a couple times and record it as many as four times, depending on how comfortable I am with the style and subject. Medical or technical copy can take me way longer. Then comes editing, which takes forever. I usually spend four times as long on editing as I do on recording, because I have to remove breaths, gaps, mess-ups, etc. I spend about 10% of my time practicing scripts, 30% recording them, and 60% editing the recording.

I’ve spent over $1,000 on equipment to produce the best quality voice-overs.

I work with a Rode NT USB mic, which costs about $170, and then I have a dinky HP laptop that I bought about a year ago. I definitely should have bought a more powerful one, but for now it gets the job done.

I also bought myself an Isovox, which is a soundproofed, square-shaped box you shove your head into. It’s super claustrophobic, but it makes my audio sound pretty great. I use a program called Audacity to edit my work.

Due to COVID-19, there are tons of phone recording jobs these days.

Alice Everdeen Isovox
Everdeen recording inside her Isovox.

About 20% of my orders nowadays talk about safety precautions or mention COVID directly. Pretty much every company needs a new outgoing message saying, “Thank you for calling blah-blah. Here are the precautions we’re taking,” or, “We offer pick-ups and deliveries, etc.”

These are probably the most boring jobs, because they’re just so straightforward. Personally, my favorite assignments are when I get to feel like I’m acting and I can really get into a character.

Taking care of my voice is something I try not to be a diva about. Mainly, I just stay hydrated. I try not to record in the morning, when I sound congested and nasally. I also avoid recording when I’m tired or angry, because that’ll come through in my vocal quality.

I sometimes get weird and even creepy requests.

I’ve occasionally received requests from people (almost all of them men) for fetish-related “audio porn” although since I’ve raised my prices it’s gotten better. People will ask for burping recordings, or that I record the sound of myself being tickled. Somebody else asked me if I could simulate the sound of getting a wedgie while also talking about how the wedgie feels and how much I hate getting wedgies. I respond to those requests with, “I’m not interested, but good luck.”

As a freelancer, I’ve already surpassed my old full-time income. In January, I had my best week ever when I made about $3,300. February was my best month to date – I made just under $10,000 total. And even on my busiest days, I’m still only working from about 12 to 5 p.m. The amount of free time this career allows has been the biggest blessing, as it’s given me and my partner time to work on refurbishing our school bus.

Alice Everdeen
Everdeen and her partner are currently refurbishing an old school bus to make it road trip-ready.

If you want to get into this line of work, my advice is to work on your acting.

Even if you have a nice voice, doing voice-overs is really about being an actor more than anything. You have to be able to sound compelling and convincing.

There are websites specifically for finding voice-over work, like Voices.com, Voices123, and VoiceBunny. I went the Fiverr route because I’d used it in my previous lines of work. You can definitely land bigger jobs on the voice-over websites, whereas a lot of the Fiverr and Upwork roles are more for mom-and-pop places. I’ve had my share of big clients, but most of my work is for smaller companies.

You’re going to get a lot of rejections at the start, especially if you go the more traditional route of auditioning for roles. While I don’t audition for the work I get via Fiverr, I’m also on Upwork, where I audition for roles and lose a lot of them. You can do something you think is perfect and other people hate it. It’s hard sometimes, but I’ve learned to just power through and continually improve.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The great divide: business leaders are split on long-term remote working. This is what Spotify, Twitter, Goldman Sachs, and others have announced so far.

Spotify employees, spotify office
Spotify employees.

  • Companies including Spotify, Twitter, and Goldman Sachs have taken different stances on remote work.
  • A survey showed that 61% of respondents prefer a fully remote environment. 
  • Insider spoke to experts to discuss the future of the workplace.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories

As economies prepare to reopen following the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, major companies are starting to reconsider their approach to office working will once the pandemic recedes. 

Although it is likely to be some time before social and economic activity resumes to pre-pandemic levels, the mass rollout of vaccinations in some countries has introduced companies to the possibility of reopening their offices – an attractive model for some employers.

Although the remote-work model has gained significant traction throughout the pandemic, it is clear that big organisations do not unanimously embrace it. However, in a recent survey conducted by Growmotely, 61% of respondents said they prefer a fully remote environment.

Companies including Spotify, Twitter, and Goldman Sachs are taking different approaches to their future workforce arrangements. Some are embracing an all-remote workforce, while others are encouraging employees to return to their office desks. 

Here’s what some of the top employers have said 

Spotify 

Earlier this month, Spotify announced its transition to a permanent flexible-work model with its ‘Work From Anywhere’ policy. The new occupational strategy lets its 6,550 global employees choose how they want to work at the company – in an office, remotely, or at a coworking space that the company will pay a subscription for, as Insider previously reported.

Employees will be given more choice over the town, city, or country they want to work from. 

“This is an opportunity to scrap the idea that big cities are the only places where meaningful work can happen because we know firsthand that isn’t true,” Travis Robinson, the head of diversity, inclusion and belonging at Spotify, told Insider previously.

Twitter 

twitter logo
Twitter staff can work from home “forever.”

The company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, sent an email to his employees informing staff they can work from home “forever” if they so wish, The Washington Post reported. The firm made its announcement in May last year. 

According to the report, Twitter’s shift to a permanent remote work policy was a two-year project, accelerated by the pandemic amid lockdowns.

In 2018, Dorsey sent an email to his employees encouraging them to work from home after experiencing a lift in productivity by doing so himself. 

“We’ve already been on this path, and the crisis just catapulted us into a future state,” said Jennifer Christie, Twitter’s chief HR officer, in a blog post, as reported by The Washington Post

Salesforce 

The software and cloud computing company adopted similar work from home policies after recently unveiling its “Work From Anywhere” plans. The new guidelines offer employees three options for how they’ll work going forward: flex, fully remote, and office-based.  The flex option will allow workers to come into the office up to three times a week for tasks that cannot be conducted virtually. 

Goldman Sachs 

Goldman Sachs Logo
Goldman’s CEO says remote working is “not ideal for us.”

Not everyone is welcoming the remote work model with open arms. Speaking at the recent Credit Suisse Group AG conference, the CEO of the investment bank, David Solomon, rejected the work from home policy, stating that it “is not ideal for us and it’s not a new normal,” CNBC reported.

He said the remote-work culture is an “aberration” that needs to be corrected “as quickly as possible.” 

Solomon said the nature of business within the financial sector clashes with the work-from-home model. “I do think for a business like ours which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, this is not ideal for us.” 

J.P. Morgan 

Solomon is not alone in his views. Back in mid-October, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive officer of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co was very vocal about what he viewed as the implausibility of remote working. 

“How do you build a culture and character? How are you going to learn properly?” he said, similarly referring to junior workers as Solomon did, as reported by Financial News London

According to Dimon, “a lot of work takes place not at the meeting, but before or after the meeting, when people share ideas.” 

Netflix

Netflix
Netflix.

As for the streaming company, co-chief executive, Reed Hastings, told The Wall Street Journal last year that he doesn’t see any positives in a remote working environment. “Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.”

For big tech, including the likes of Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, future workforce arrangements look flexible. All three companies extended remote work policies until at least summer.

So, what does the future of work look like? 

Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, a professor at the Harvard Business School and remote work expert, highlighted the key benefits of remote working in an interview with Insider.

He said: “For individuals, the benefit of remote work is that it offers flexibility. Individuals can save on time and live in their preferred location under different remote work models. Remote work also creates a lot of value for companies. As an example, when companies allow workers to work-from-anywhere, talent can be hired globally, even at locations where the company doesn’t have an office.”

Choudhury respectfully disagreed with Soloman’s views on remote working. “Remote work has been around for a long time and organizations such as the US Patent Office and Dell have successfully embraced remote work much before the pandemic,” he said. 

He added: “One of the models I really like is the TCS 25-25 hybrid remote work model, which I have studied in detail. In this model, all employees spend 25% of their time in the office and the entire team comes to the office on those “in-office” days. The other model I like is ‘remote-first’, where employees act as remote workers even on days that they are in the office.”

John H. Krystal, M.D. chief of psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital, told Insider, however, the drawbacks of working from home and implications for public mental health. “The principal challenges associated with remote work are social isolation, poorer communication, and, paradoxically, reduced efficiency.” 

“Virtual work meetings leave little time for “schmoozing”, the informal social interactions that build connection and trust. The resulting work relationships lead to “weaker connections between people” leaving “more room for provocative social interactions that can further erode work relationships,” he added. 

The sharp divide between companies’ stances on remote working is clear, but time will only tell whether the gulf will widen further. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

If your successes often go unnoticed at work, here are 3 ways to speak up and get credit, according to an HR expert

woman wfh working laptop coffee sad lonely stressed
Introverts often have a harder time making their work successes known.

  • Beki Fraser, CPC, PCC is a business and leadership coach and HR expert.
  • If you usually work on your own and find your accomplishments ignored by colleages, Fraser says you may be an ‘introverted skeptic.’
  • It’s important for introverted skeptics to give their work a voice by engaging with coworkers more often and soliciting to feedback.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In my 20-plus years as a leadership coach and a human resources leader at a variety of companies, I have coached hundreds of people who are introverted skeptics, the hybrid personality type that can be both an obstacle and an asset in the workplace.

Beki Fraser.
Author Beki Fraser.

As introverts, these individuals prefer quiet to concentrate, are reflective and comfortable being alone, don’t enjoy group work, take their time making decisions, and feel drained after being in a crowd. As skeptics, they don’t accept information at face value. They question and challenge, value evidence and proof, and seek out problems to be solved and work to fix them. 

Introverted skeptics tend to care deeply about the work they do and deliver thoughtful, well-reasoned solutions. They are often creative and have strong problem-solving skills including the ability to view an issue through multiple perspectives, connect dots, and identify opportunities, risks, and insights that others miss.

Challenges facing introverted skeptics

If you are an introverted skeptic, you may find yourself struggling because you don’t willingly engage collaborators or seek colleagues’ input – which may adversely affect the quality of your work or other peoples’ perception of it. You may be under-appreciated and overlooked because you don’t share your work and get support for your ideas as you go along. You may also become frustrated when people don’t embrace your solutions and recommendations – which were carefully constructed, but may seem to have come out of left field when they are finally unveiled to your stakeholders.

I often hear introverted skeptics express their frustration like this: “I’m not viewed as a strong contributor, because I’m labeled as negative or don’t speak enough in meetings. Of course, I don’t speak. No one is listening. I do great work and spend a lot of time doing things right, but I don’t get credit for the extras I contribute. Meanwhile, people who brag about lesser work and constantly kiss up get the promotions.” 

As an introverted skeptic, you tend to toil in solitude, immerse yourself in the challenge at hand, and build a solution block by block. It’s likely you find this type of work exhilarating and working collectively to be tiring – so you may hesitate to present updates or seek feedback until you’ve addressed every last issue and question. Like many of us, you’re inclined to spend more time on the tasks you love and less on the stuff that’s unpleasant.

Professional success, however, often requires the steps you tend to avoid when it comes to showing your work and lauding your own efforts

In coaching sessions, introverted skeptics often identify their communication style as an underlying cause of challenges on the job. The good news is there are three simple, repeatable steps that will help you properly show your work and thrive professionally. 

1. Engage stakeholders

With each new undertaking, determine who may ultimately be affected by the work you’re doing, who will have meaningful insights or points of view, and whose approval or help is required. Determine which relationships need to be managed – up, down, and sideways.

Commit to providing regular updates – even when there’s not much to report. This will keep your work top-of-mind among stakeholders, make them part of the project, and build understanding and buy-in.

2. Give your work a voice

Before you start work, share what you’re thinking and your proposed plan of action. This can be a simple email to those directly affected or, for large or complex projects, might warrant a group call or a presentation to your organization’s leadership. Ask for input regarding your approach, timing, and other considerations.

The bottom line is this: Your work doesn’t have a voice. It relies on you to share its value. Think of it like an uninterpreted data set that needs to be organized into a story to be understood and appreciated. When you keep that story to yourself, no one sees the value you create and your work won’t achieve its full potential. 

3. Listen with an open mind

Be sincere when you ask for and evaluate input. Don’t let your skepticism close your mind and learn to value different perspectives. Incorporating good ideas, and even so-so ones, into your work will give your colleagues a stake in the project and ultimately improve the final product.

On the other hand, work completed in isolation, even great work, will have less impact and do less to bolster your reputation. Share your work, share the results, learn lessons from the process, and share those, too.

With these simple steps, you give people the opportunity to see what you’re doing, understand why you’re doing it, and help you succeed. Your work will be aligned with other efforts and the organization’s overall strategy – so it can have more impact. Showing your work will showcase your initiative and talent, grow your reputation as a collaborative team player, and increase appreciation for your contributions.

Beki Fraser is a certified business and leadership coach who worked 15 years as an HR leader for a variety of companies. She holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management. Learn more on her website.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to choose between an in-person, hybrid, and remote work model for your business post-pandemic

Remote work
Companies can decide to have employees work entirely remotely or predominantly in person.

  • The pandemic has forced organizations to rethink the office work structure.
  • Post-pandemic, many leaders will have to decide what’s the best work model for their businesses — in-person, remote or hybrid.
  • The future of work requires careful planning for both business leaders and their employees.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

After about a year of working remotely and making changes due to the pandemic, many leaders are confronting the same crucial question: What does the future of work look like in my organization?

As a leader, you must decide what workplace model you want to use, considering the needs of your business and your employees. Generally, organizations will have three options: entirely remote, predominantly in person, or a hybrid of the two.

Before you decide, it’s important to know the merits and drawbacks of each model. Here’s a quick rundown:

Predominantly in person

Before the pandemic, many organizations had nearly all employees in an office most days, and some feel an inclination to return to this workplace model. Some organizations have struggled to create a fully collaborative environment while working remotely, and Netflix CEO Reid Hastings spoke for many detractors when he called remote work “a pure negative.”
 
Companies that have encountered remote work challenges may want to go back to simpler, pre-pandemic times. If you’ve led a highly successful in-person organization, it’s natural to want to regain that degree of organizational success, collaboration, and camaraderie.
 
But companies must know that while many employees cannot wait to return to the office, others have decided they prefer remote work and have even moved far away from their former office. Freelancing and hiring company Upwork found that 23 million Americans plan to relocate in response to increased remote work opportunities. These employees may decide to pursue a new job if coming back to the office is mandatory.

Before returning to a purely in-person model, get a sense of what people want by either having managers collect intel or distributing an anonymous survey. If your employees predominantly want to continue working remotely, it may be worthwhile to listen.

Fully remote

While some companies have struggled remotely, many prior skeptics have embraced remote work in the pandemic. Companies as large as Twitter have even told employees they can work from home forever.

The benefits of a fully remote model are apparent – being completely virtual allows companies to save on office space and in-office technology, such as remote friendly conference rooms and office servers. In addition, remote work can give employees the flexibility they didn’t know they craved, allowing them to set a better schedule for themselves, be more productive without the distractions of an office, and be more present outside work.

However, companies shouldn’t be replicating all their in-person workflows, meeting routines, and management approaches in a newly virtual organization. Instead, the best remote companies help their employees engage and collaborate while working from home, share strategies to help their people manage a remote workday, and invest in employee necessities by offering laptops, office supply reimbursements, or high-speed wireless subsidization.
 
That said, be aware of and think of ways to accommodate the people who were looking forward to coming back to the office and won’t be excited to find out there isn’t one.

Hybrid

It’s crucial to know that creating a hybrid work environment requires a careful strategy in and of itself; it’s not a way to avoid setting a clear course. Leaders of hybrid organizations must create an environment where employees are consistently available and every team member is engaged professionally, even if they rarely come to the office.

Hybrid organizations have one clear advantage: They give every employee an opportunity to work however they want, whether that means coming to an office consistently, working from home every day, or something in the middle. Hybrid organizations also have the benefit of a ready-made office space for in-person meetings, training, team building, and more.

However, hybrid organizations need to ensure everyone is integrated into their work environment, regardless of where or how they work. There must be clear expectations and norms about when employees can work remotely and when they should be in the office. Leaders must plan in-person meetings and collaboration carefully, rather than abruptly calling employees into the office for conferencing. Most crucially, they must ensure that employees who work from home frequently are not passed over for advancement and recognition, and don’t fall into social isolation.

Companies should weigh these three workplace models carefully, and not thoughtlessly gravitate to the style that is closest to what they’ve always done. You should also be ready for a healthy percentage of your workforce to opt out of the model that you choose, as many folks are discovering new preferences for how they’d like to work.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Choose your strategy, support it, and be honest with the people in your organization about where you are heading – knowing many of them might choose to head in a different direction after their own experience over the past year.

Read the original article on Business Insider

4 ways to increase your level of influence in the workplace

Presenting charts graphs 1133887506
Leading by example is the best way to influence others at work.

  • There are several ways you can grow your influence as a leader at work, says career coach Melody Wilding.
  • Expressing trust and understanding is key to inspire passion in your employees and team members.
  • By earning loyalty and leading by example, you can steadily increase your level of influence at work.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Influence – especially in the workplace – is about setting an example that inspires others to do as you do. The keyword here is, inspire. Influencing others isn’t about pressuring people to submit to your requests. Nor is it about manipulation. 

Influence, at its core, is akin to persuasion in the most genuine form. It involves inspiring others by how you show up and how you make them feel by leading them.

So, how does a leader influence a team to work towards a vision, share their passion, and to get things done? 

If you’re a sensitive high-achiever (or what I call a Sensitive Striver), then you already have the tools that other less-sensitive leaders may not. Your team will understand that you care about their values as much as your own, because of your ability to read them and to feel how they are feeling.

Your strength in empathy gives you a boost because you know what matters to your team. This creates a space of connection, understanding, and trust. With that as your foundation, your success in influencing as a leader will shine.

Leadership by influence: 4 essential aspects to increasing your influence in the workplace

Once you have a solid base of trust and connection with your team, you can strengthen your ability to influence and further your success as a leader. Here are a few key skills to increase your level of influence:

1. Be transparent

To increase your influence in the workplace, you must remain open and honest. It’s important to allow others to voice their questions and concerns and to answer them with transparency. Being honest is easy when there is good news to share, yet remaining 100% honest when the news is bad can be difficult.

The best leaders are transparent in all instances. If a question is posed that you are not prepared to answer, say, “I want to be sure to have all of the correct information before I answer that. Let me check the facts and get back to you by the end of the day.” Be sure to follow-up as soon as you can address their question. Answer with positivity and openness, and you will achieve a team committed to you and your goals.

As a Sensitive Striver, if problems do arise, your ability to communicate with empathy will be a guiding light for the rest of the team.

2. Inspire loyalty

Inspiring a sense of commitment from your team is vital to successful leadership and influence. This can be accomplished by motivating and improving the working lives of your employees.  Look for and speak to their accomplishments. Understand that your success also lies in the quality of people that you help advance within the company.

If someone in your group is going above and beyond in their role, acknowledge them. The pride you take in your team’s successes not only motivates your team but inspires deep loyalty to you as their leader, which is the best use of your influence in the workplace.  

3. Lead by example

Sensitive Strivers don’t fall short on determination. Lead by example by staying confident and focused on the end goal. A leader crippled by self-doubt or deterred by setbacks sets an uneasy tone and can contribute to chaos among the team. When a problem emerges (which you have most likely played out in your head), keep a steadfast and positive attitude. This is important, though difficult, especially if your reputation is on the line.

If you see yourself struggling to maintain or regain positivity, take a moment to remind yourself that you can change your mindset. Your attitude is your choice, and your team will mirror that behavior. Turning obstacles into unprecedented opportunities generates a collective calm that is nothing short of inspiring.

4. Beware the perfectionism pitfall

Sensitive Strivers tend to be perfectionists. Your impeccable attention to detail and ambition to keep going until it’s “flawless” contribute to your success. Yet, at other times, your need to do things “right” can fuel anxiety. As Brené Brown says, “Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal.”

Carrying your expectation of perfection over to the team you are trying to lead will decrease your influence in the workplace and chip away at the group’s morale. To avoid fallout, stay focused on what is working, and what you can control. More likely than not, the end goal is still intact.

The ability to influence others is one of the most essential qualities a leader can have. Taking the time to learn the steps of influencing others intelligently and ethically, will improve your success as a leader, and that of the company’s.

Sensitive Strivers, you have a leg up in the world of influencing people. Your high emotional intelligence, your passion, and your drive will set you apart. You will be a leader who brings people together with a common goal and will inspire your team to get things done and done well.

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 leadership qualities all business owners should have to be successful during a tumultuous economy

small business
Leaders should set clear goals and be flexible to change during the pandemic.

  • Being a business leader during tumultuous times like the COVID-19 pandemic is no small feat.
  • During uncertainty, leaders should be purpose-driven and able to pivot easily to accommodate change. 
  • Leaders should also practice decisiveness, authenticity, and compassion to guide their employees successfully. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the world, businesses were already becoming more accustomed to dealing with uncertainty. The geopolitical landscape was as tumultuous as it had been in many years, rocked by an erratic US administration and Brexit-induced volatility, and digital disruption was condemning a growing number of longstanding incumbents in numerous sectors to the graveyard, having failed to evolve.

Coronavirus, of course, amplified uncertainty by an order of magnitude no living business executive had experienced before, but that doesn’t change the reality that leaders were having to adapt at an unprecedented pace even before COVID-19 exhausted the use of the word ‘unprecedented.’ This means it is foolish for any company to assume it will revert to a state of blissful stability and clarity when the pandemic finally concludes, whenever that may be.  

Instead, it will have served as the latest, albeit the most extreme, example of uncertainty in a much wider period in which such an environment became the operational norm. Succeeding during a time when cycles of change are rapidly accelerated and strategic outlooks much shorter, requires a more fluid approach to leadership. While some leaders have risen to the challenge during the pandemic, others have been exposed for lacking the skills and behaviors that distinguish their more successful contemporaries.

What are those skills and behaviors? Three core attributes define the new breed of thriving business leaders in this age of perennial disruption, in which vital decision-making increasingly has to be based on limited reliable data. Given leaders represent their company’s culture and values, these attributes also speak more widely about how organizations can prosper through not just the new normal but the next one too. 

Agility

Spoiled by the user experience they enjoy on their smartphones and social networks, customers’ expectations have catapulted over the last decade across all manner of products and services. In this landscape, leaders didn’t require a global pandemic to teach them just how important agility now is to businesses, but needless to say, it has accelerated the need.

When leaders faced challenges in previous generations, most of the time, they were able to turn to a well-established playbook for dealing with them, based on prior experience. However, there can be no playbook for the unprecedented, so leaders have been forced to chart their own course. Agility underpins true resilience, and it can’t be taught on an MBA course.

Few leaders are excellent at both strategy and execution, which is fine, but agility does require the ability to switch seamlessly between the two. Crucially, agility is not simply the preserve of great leadership today – it absolutely must be ingrained throughout the organization.

Agility is often wrongfully associated exclusively with digitization, yet it is not a technology. It’s a mentality. Our responsibility as leaders is to find the right balance between embracing the digital age and preserving the traditional values underpinning the fabric of our business and personal relationships for centuries. 

Purpose

It’s not only a pre-crisis desire for agility that has gained pace during the pandemic but also purpose-driven leadership and ESG issues. During times of difficulty or uncertainty, customers reward brands that behave fairly, ethically, and increasingly wish to purchase from brands that align with their own personal values. Therefore, leading with a social conscience will make businesses and their people more resilient to disruption.

Driving strong financial results for a business during periods of uncertainty is difficult enough, but doing so while also satisfying a much wider breadth of stakeholders, including employees, minority communities, and even the environment, is truly a leadership art form.

While remaining true to the socially-driven company mission and values they have defined, those that do so will be on the strongest footing for success in the years ahead, as customers gravitate to trustful and transparent brands, which inspires me to create The Bruno Effect. The best leaders view transparency not as a barrier but as a real opportunity to connect with staff and customers on a deeper level. 

Authenticity

The best leadership amidst uncertainty and disruption is underpinned by honesty, humility, and an unwavering commitment to really living the company’s values. In this environment, people respond positively to a personal, authentic leadership style, which requires great communication, a strong moral compass, mental agility, consistency – and even more transparency.

More than ever, businesses need calm and compassionate leadership and decisiveness, even when insights to inform decisions are lacking. One of the biggest challenges facing leaders in the post-crisis business world will be inspiring workforces to buy-in to the company’s mission. It’ll require the courage to boldly reset or pivot strategy, culture, and processes when confronted with evidence of change or underperformance.

Authentic leaders, who engage well with their growing array of stakeholders, should aim at evolution, not revolution, in their approach to leadership. The pandemic aligned everyone’s attention on a single objective, but the number of so-called strategic imperatives at a company can multiply outside such times of crisis, resulting in a lack of focus. It falls to leaders to ensure their organization is united behind a clear vision and common set of goals.

Read the original article on Business Insider