Hybrid Work: Let's Make it Successful For You and Your Team

I LOVE working from home! I miss the office… but my dog will be lonely! My kids are still home - how can I balance this? I can do all of my work easily from home! I need the office environment to keep me focused.


I’ve heard all of these and more. We all have feelings around this transition. There is definitely an element of stress in returning to the office, as well as excitement.


For the sake of camaraderie, team spirit, Zoom fatigue and that real life interaction makes a difference, we will likely need to be in the office at least some of the time.


At the same time following the pandemic, many organizations are becoming more comfortable with their teams working from home and many employees like that arrangement. Given this, many of us will see a hybrid work schedule in our futures, if not already. 



A few things to consider for your team with a hybrid work schedule:


  • Communication - Be explicit about the policies and options for your team. Clarify about shared desk/office space, ensure that remote employees have access to all the same information as in-office employees at any given time and be ready to problem solve for any issues that arise due to hybrid schedules. Good communication creates trust and feelings of fairness.

  • Clear expectations - Create a clear schedule for your team, develop measurable work goals and deadlines, be clear about expectations, and share safety guidelines for in-person gatherings. “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.”, says Brene Brown.

  • Flexibility - Allow some flexibility for your team for which days/hours they work in or out of the office and consider which meetings can be held remotely. Support your team with work/life balance.

  • Equity - Consider that not all of your team have the same resources when working remotely. Will there be any stipends provided for home office supplies (printers, for example) or utilities (internet) or to rent a co-working space? What child care/elder care issues are people facing? Consider ways you can support all members of your team with various challenges and resources.



A few helpful articles about making a hybrid work setting successful:

Here’s What You Need to Know (and Ask) if Your Company’s Considering a Hybrid Work Setup 

Employers Launch Hybrid Work Plans, Identify Early Obstacles


3 Key Parts of a Good Hybrid Work Plan

How to Plan Your Ideal Hybrid Work Schedule (So You Can Live Your Best Life)

The Hybrid Work Model: A New Challenge For Diversity, Equity And Inclusion

Flexible Working

Return to Work Guidelines

UMBC’s FAQs for Remote Work During COVID-19 - nice example of clear policies and communication 


Idea for in the office: Use door hang tags or other visual notifications to let people know if a person is in the office (but away from their desk) or working remotely on that day. This is helpful to keep people connected and to know what to expect.

This is new territory. Learn what you can. Be good to your team. Be good to yourself!


Planning in 2021 Brings Peace


It's 2021, while enthusiastic, we are still grappling with unknowns😕, but we are ready to get things done. We have some experience under our belts with this pandemic and will navigate better.

I have heard, “My people are too stressed to plan.” Yes, your people are still stressed, this is true. With a clear process, good leadership and realistic targets, planning can decrease stress.

Planning helps your team have guidance and reassurance. Let your team know:

     > What the intentions are and that the plan is flexible due to the unknowns.

     > Assure them that the organization is “people first” and will put the treasure of their                         talent first and will focus on their well-being.


Planning Tips

Below are some fundamentals in a time with continued uncertainty.    

  

It is often helpful to bring in an outside facilitator to assist teams with planning and goal setting.

This is one of our strengths at KS Solutions Consulting (virtually or in-person), reach out to us if you would like to discuss this.  


Tips:          

  • Prioritize people
  • Be adaptive & flexible
  • Focus on programs that have most impact on those you serve

  • Involve your board

  • Stay in touch with funders

  • Consider your organization's role in racial justice- how can you do better?

  • Spruce up internal operations

  • Give yourself grace


The Bridgespan Group has offered helpful articles and tools about nonprofits managing during the pandemic. A few are linked below.

Help from other sources:

Keep in mind that this is likely not the year for stretch goals. Create reasonable goals so that you all can have success. Feeling accomplished is important in a time of uncertainty. If nothing else is clear, you can know that your team is on a shared path. We've got this!


Best to you in 2021! We are here to help.




Self Care: Just Do It

"Massage for Kate- paid for" popped up on my calendar last week. I felt a wave of euphoria and gratitude come over me! Then a little bit of, "Do I have time? Should we be spending the money?"


It is fair to say that historically, I have stunk at self-care. My husband knows this, which is why he scheduled and paid for my massage (he goes monthly for a massage and is much better at self care all around).So I have no room to be sanctimonious but want share methods I have found to be helpful, for me or others. And maybe to kick my own butt into gear...

I used to think self-care was mostly woo-woo stuff-- just an excuse not to work hard.
But now, finally, in my mid-life, I get it. It is wellness and self preservation. It is also how we enjoy our short time on this earth. I fully appreciate the younger folks who have come along with this life balance thing already figured out.


I speak to clients regularly who share their stress, frustration and/or lack of life balance and it makes me know we all need to do better. How effective are we in this state? The pandemic with all of its challenges and fallout, a contentious presidential election, and people fighting daily for equity and human rights, takes a toll. We need to take a deep breath, sit back and chill for a bit.


Back in March, I saw these "quarantine questions" and found them very helpful. As we approach winter with the pandemic still nipping at our heels, I am posting this at my desk again.


What can we do to take care of ourselves? Those are personal choices. Consider what makes you feel good and take uninterrupted time to do these things. I like drives on hilly country roads with music blaring. What's your thing? 


Here are some ideas for you and that you can share with your teams:




            
Ø  Practice gratitude even in you worst moments (note to self).

Ø  Take midday outdoor breaks - enjoy the sunlight. Dress for the weather and get outside!

Ø Work with a life or business coach and/or a therapist - talking helps, keeps you clear-headed and can help you be accountable to your goals.

Ø Keep a list of work successes (stuff is hard -- celebrate what went well!).

Ø Yoga at Your Desk (or anywhere); stretch and let your body feel good.

Ø Keep a daily routine and then break it on a weekend day so the day feels extra special.

Ø Have a dance party on your own, with family, or on Zoom with others; make a playlist you like to jam with and share it.

Ø Go for a drive. Enjoy the air and sites. Jam out to your favorite music. (I had Roberta Flack on repeat last Sunday on my drive)

           Ø  Forgive yourself. This is such an important one and the hardest on this list. This                         means different things to different people. Start working on this.

Ø Get a massage (with a therapist who is taking serious COVID precautions).

Ø Take a nap or just sit/lay and rest.

Ø Eat healthy, but don't beat yourself up about it. So what --you ate takeout 5xs this week, try cooking at home next week.

Ø Move your body. Try Fitness Blender to try new exercises at home.

Ø Work on a jigsaw puzzles to use your brain differently and let your thoughts roam, like meditation. (I’ve been kind of obsessed. Pro tip: Dollar Tree)

Ø Learn something new - a craft, a new language (try Duolingo), a winter sport

Ø Avoid too much news watching/reading- no need to buy into the 24-hour news cycle as it is repetitive and not good for you.

Ø Put down your phone; turn off your email/texts. It can wait. 

                                       

         Please take care of you. You deserve it and we need you! 

Ø



Leaders: Talking about Racism & Inequity with Your Team

“I don’t believe in mixing politics with work.”


I heard that statement from a leader as a reason to not acknowledge the Black Lives Matter movement and current protests with their team. I can imagine that this person, a white person, is a good leader in other ways, but they missed an important opportunity to show that they care and to say "I see you" to the people of color on their team and those they serve.


With the murders of Black people, the injustices and the protests to combat them, it is an emotional time. To help you (and me), below is a list of articles with helpful advice on how to address the pain people are experiencing, as well as how to lead in supporting racial justice. Whatever your race, this is a very important time to be a strong leader.  Realistically, for white leadership, there is much more work to do.


There is no set best approach. It is suggested to:

  • Read & learn

  • Digest what you are hearing that is new to you

  • Take time to really empathize with Black people (if that is not you)

  • If you are white, be careful not to ask Black folks to "teach" you

  • There are many resources out there and we need to put in the effort.

  • LISTEN

  • Speak/act from your heart

Credit: The Boondocks

Remember, saying and doing the right things during this time is very important. However, operating your organization with anti-racist practices is the true goal.


I am happy to connect you with consultants with expertise in this area.


Articles for Leaders:

George Floyd And Racism: 5 Conversations Credible Leaders Must Have In This Moment

How to Talk Trauma & Protests at Work. The (very non-definitive) Guidelines

How should you address George Floyd’s death with your employees?

Leading During Traumatic and Triggering Events

Talking about Race and Inequality at Work

Would you like to talk over your leadership with me or with a group of other leaders to share ideas? Let me know and I will follow-up with you to make this happen.



"Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength."

- Dalai Lama


Happy Feet



“Those shoes are cute! They look comfortable too!” 

I hear that often. Well, it is not a coincidence.

We all work hard. We need to be comfortable and like how we look. Happy feet make for a much better day. Check out my recommendations -- this is my Valentine to you.

After getting plantar fasciitis (foot pain issues) a few years ago, my podiatrist suggested better shoes. He twisted the shoe I was wearing like ringing out a wet rag to demonstrate the lack of support.

It was painful (literally and figuratively),but I went home and started to throw out a closet full of shoes. Then started on the hunt for cute and comfortable options. Not an easy combo to find! With some trial and error I found a few brands that I really like (shared below). 

How to Choose Shoes for Common Foot Problems

Here’s to happy feet!

Dress Shoes, Flats, Sandals
Jambu
Taos
Spring Step/ L’artiste

Brands Recommended to Me (but I have not tried them yet)
Vionic
Rothy’s

Most of these brands have one or more shoes using sustainable or vegan materials. These are not inexpensive, but do seem to last. If you are an Amazon, Marshalls, or TJ Maxx shopper, you can occasionally find some deals. There are many brick and mortar shoe stores who sell these brands too if you want to keep it local.

ENJOY!