Posted on: October 19th, 2021 by
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Work as we knew it 2 years ago has drastically changed.  Is it good or bad?  Who knows?  But one thing is for sure.  Those that can understand the direction and changes that are happening will be in the best position to take advantage of the transformation


One way to get a handle on the direction of the marketplace is to stay on top of the multitude of surveys that are being done.  These surveys reveal a very different mind-set of the current work force.  It’s driven by the workers themselves rather than by the organizations that employ them.  Available surveys:  Labor Department, Harris Poll, CNBC. SurveyMonkey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Catalyst, Office-Together, Protocol, and others


Here’s some of the trends.  Translate these trends to your current situation, then look to the future implications:


  • Up to 50% of workers want to make a career change
  • 4 million Americans left their jobs in August, 2021
  • The reasons? 41% say their company does not understand their issues nor have a plan to accommodate their individual needs.  76% say their want their company to make their work permanently flexible.
  • 41% are looking for remote or flexible work. 39% want a raise/promotion. 33% want a change of industries out of hospitality, retail, health care and food service
  • 22% of workers want to start their own business
  • 65% of working women say the pandemic has made things worse for them.
  • Men are more likely to quit (50% versus 30%) because their companies are not concerned about them, nor are their managers (44% versus 29%)
  • These issues revolve around working parents, their children, child-care, school concerns, conflicting schedules, and governmental inconsistencies.
  • While 54% of working parents site this as a major consideration for leaving their jobs, only 29% of men and 25% single women express the same concerns.
  • Just under 60% of working parents with children state they are “burnt-out” from managing their children’s educational needs during Covid-10
  • 53% of working parents say that their organizations are just beginning to respond to their issues, but they’re in a catch-up mode, not ahead of the issues
  • Currently 57% of workers go into an office setting once a week. 24% go to the office twice a week and only about 10% of employees go to the office 4 or 5 days a week.
  • Tech companies will host smaller holiday parties this year or forgo them altogether.
  • 77% of IT and computer companies say they require remote-work monitoring software
  • Remote workers that are monitored spend 3 or more hours each day on non-related work (53%) but found that 81% using employee monitoring software have increased productivity
  • If you haven’t kept up with technology in your field, you’re already behind.


So, where is all this headed?  I have no idea, but you can see a trend beginning to form.  The trend is a shared compromise between workers and their employers.  Those who refuse to compromise will be left out of the surge of opportunities that are bound to occur.


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Posted on: October 12th, 2021 by
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In days of old, when a new employee joined your company there was a get-together with the work group for introductions.  There were individual meetings and group  sit downs to figure out how best to bring the new employee up to date.  Schedules were developed so vendors and customers could meet their new contact.  Everything was relatively smooth.  Not now.


Today, when a new employee is brought into a remote work group, they may never meet in person their co-workers, vendors, customers or support personnel.  What can you do to make the transition more effective?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Ask for a profile for each member in your group: A short bio with contact information, title, job responsibilities, length of time with the company and current job, prior history, and so on.  You may find important connection points
  • Ask for background information on customers: Key persons, decision makers, history of the company, issues of the past, concerns for the future, and expectations that the customer may have in the coming 6 to 12 months
  • Ask for reading material to better prepare you for the assignment. Most organizations have research publications, marketplace information, industry trends, current issues or company financials
  • Make contact with key people and clients before you start on the job. Introduce yourself and ask if there is any relevant information or impediments you need to know before starting.  They will respect your interest in establishing a good working relationship.  You’ll learn some things that will be helpful.


All of this material will help your first day on the job.  You’ll feel more comfortable and confident for your entry into this new position.  The more time with your new boss, the better.  The next items focus on your early days on the job:

  • Get your home office in good working order. Make sure your technology is in place and working as it should.  Connect with your boss and office prior to your first group meeting to make sure you’re not the one holding up the team
  • Ask the boss for a co-worker or a volunteer within your group who can best help you if and when needed. It could be the last new worker or a similar functionary
  • After a week or so, contact your boss and team members individually to thank them for their patience and help during your transition. Ask them if there is anything you need to do differently.  To quote Ben Franklin:  “If you want to make a friend, ask them to help you”
  • Periodically ask for feedback from the work group, the boss and customers. Focus on three areas:  The Plan.  The Expectations.  The Results.
  • Lastly, ask your boss for periodical performance reviews. Don’t wait for a yearly review.  Constant feedback will make sure you’re on the right course and meeting the organizational expectation.


A new remote job can be worrisome. Planning and preparing for a smooth transition are the keys to success.


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Posted on: October 5th, 2021 by
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What a roller coaster!  Remote work has gone from a small group of workers (mostly sales work on commission from home), to a major training/retraining job for organizations.  Now we hear the “back to the office” chant is gaining momentum.  How do you plan which way to go, and what are the tell-tail signs?


The latest projection I’ve seen sets the date of continuing remote work to be the Spring of 2022.  To be safe, push it out to late Spring.  That is, unless another variant comes along more lethal than current forms of the pandemic.  Then all bets are off.


The government hasn’t been much help either.  Different agencies (Federal, State and Local) have diverse mandates.  School requirements are dissimilar.  Child care is in play, with one state declaring that 3-year old’s and up in child care must wear masks.  Can you imagine a 3-year-old complying?  If a parent pulls their child from child care, then they have to work from home, find a person for home care, or quit.


Big companies started to recall workers to the office in July, only to reverse themselves in September.  Just imagine the confusion and family planning issues of hundreds of thousands of people.  Here are some thoughts to help sort alternatives for you:

  • Watch what’s happening in the commercial real estate market for your organization the general market. If your company offices are for rent, chances are they are rethinking their policies for workers.  Some are closing down the large facilities and moving more to hybrid work.  Others are diversifying their offices to smaller units
  • Companies are caught in a catch-22. If they continue remote work, the cost of main office space with very few commuting to work is high.  If they “force” workers to the office, or even a hybrid system, workers may seek remote positions elsewhere. The question is, can performance and results remain high enough working remotely, to fund the liability of keeping the offices open for when the pandemic is under control?
  • It seems to me that the hybrid system of remote and office work to a planned schedule may be the compromise. There has to be compromise for different industries.  The hospitality and restaurant industries may have to move toward multiple part-time workers based on a schedule that is appropriate and mutually convenient to the owners.  Why is that?  Because only about 15% or so of workers want to return to full-time office work, while over 70% or so want a hybrid system that gives them more flexibility.
  • Expect more training in supervising remote groups, effective video meetings, the balance of work and life issues, communications problems with alternative solutions, setting priorities, managing quick changes, open-ended video discussions, and the like.


Organizations are trying to figure out the best way to proceed.  They must also understand that the best way to communicate with customers, vendors, managers/supervisors and employees are one-on-one face-to-face discussions. How to accomplish that dynamic will determine how to best move forward and accelerate results.


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Posted on: September 28th, 2021 by
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More and more interviews are being conducted remotely rather than in person.  The dynamics of electronic interviewing is very different from face-to-face interviews.  Yet, many candidate fail to understand the dos and don’ts to advance their candidacy.


From a manager’s perspective, the following list reduces your chances to move into the top 10 candidates for a job.  Over 1,000 hiring managers were surveyed by Zenefits, an HR software company.  Three of the five items are from their results.  I’ve added the first two, based on my experiences of over 10 years working with clients with a 97% success rate.


  • The biggest negative is a candidate not being adequately prepared. Doing a video interview on the fly, while assuming you have all the answers to any question, is foolhardy.  Prepare potential questions ahead of time along with the most effective answers.  Practice with a mentor, coach or knowledgeable colleague beforehand.  It will pay dividends.
  • Not knowing how you look and behave during a video interview is risky. To the hiring manager you may not look your best.  Bad lighting, a distracting background, a low camera level and extraneous noise is not your friend.  To make yourself most presentable, video yourself during a practice session and correct any missteps before the real thing.
  • One of the questions a hiring manager will ask is about any work gap, especially during the pandemic. If you had a gap in the continuity of your work, make sure you explain the reasons in a professional way, what you accomplished during the work gap to improve or enhance your skills sets, and how you’re prepared to apply new energy to your next job.  Don’t fabricate a reason that is not true.  The truth will be uncovered eventually.
  • Never connect for a remote interview late, unprepared or having difficulty with the technology. It demonstrates your inability to work with computers or applications that are important to the skills being sought after.  10% of managers said that not showing up on time or having technical issues is a major negative.
  • 38% of hiring managers in the Zenefits’ survey said that an inappropriate work site for the interview was an indicator of bad preparation. Problems like a noisy pet, child, telephone interruption or background distractions during the interview are a lack of planning.  It gives the impression that the interview is not that important, or if you did accept a job offer, these interruptions would remain and take away from performance.


While a person-to-person interview is more revealing in terms of an actual interaction between a potential boss and candidate, remote interviews are here to stay for a while.  The more practice you have, the better off you’ll be.  Work with a mentor, coach or friend in a role play situation with questions about your resume and work experiences.  Focus on the key components of the position description that matches metrics of results you’ve achieved on your resume.


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Posted on: September 21st, 2021 by
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Those of us that have been working remotely have questions about how our careers are affected by not working in an office.  The answer is a mixed bag. What kind of boss to you have?  What’s the demand for your expertise in today’s marketplace?  Are your skill sets transferable or difficult to replicate?


One good point about remote jobs is that your opportunities are nation-wide rather than just local.  Even if your job is hybrid, with a periodic office meeting, companies may pay for your travel in order for you to attend periodic meetings.  If you’re located in Florida and the job site is San Francisco, it’s unusual for the company to pay for a move, especially if you have a family and own a home.  Financially it makes sense for the company to work out a travel schedule for you to meet with key players.  This is where your relationship and value to the company comes into play.


What about my career prospects if I remain working remotely?  I just worked with an individual who has spent their whole career working remotely and has accepted an offer with an international company managing three remote work groups, working out of the mid-west, with a compensation of $180,000.

So, what are the criteria that would need to be met?  A history of successfully managing remote work groups. Certifications that demonstrate a high level of knowledge and skill.  Compatibility with the product or services of the new company along with their management styles.  However, this kind of move has its challenges.  Here are three:  You’ll need to create a well-functioning team(s) that will achieve the results expected.  With the high turnover of staff, continue to find, hire and retain qualified employees.  Re-train, upgrade and motivate staff as the technology improves, client requirements change and senior management requests modify over time.


Some downsides to working remotely? You’re “out of sight, out of mind”, unless you map out a strategy to remain visible and available for greater responsibility.  Volunteer for projects within the company to keep  connected.  Make sure you keep a high profile through virtual meetings with the boss and team members individually.  Stay connected to past bosses, coworkers, attend association meetings, along with training sessions, conferences, and webinars while gaining new certifications to enhance your expertise.


While some say that remote work is here to stay, others counter that it’s “back to the office” once the pandemic is under control.  I see a middle ground, but remote work is projected to be 30% of the work force by the end of 2021.  Companies have seen the economic and productivity value of remote teams.  However, there are some jobs that cannot be successful working remotely.  My advice is to stay flexible and be able to adapt to either one, plus a hybrid model.


Those professionals that can work successfully in any model is in the best position to optimize their career goals.  But it takes a plan and determination.


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