Posts

Workforce Engagement is Sinking. How Can You Turn the Tide?

Have you noticed that workforce engagement and motivation are slipping? You’re not the only one. In April, Gallup confirmed that U.S. workforce engagement declined from a high of 36% in 2020 to 34% in 2021.

2022 hasn’t been any better. This year, only 32% of full-time and part-time employees told Gallup they’re engaged, while 17% say they are actively disengaged.

What’s happening here? Why is work engagement declining? And what can you do to prevent burnout and unnecessary resignations on your team?

Why Is Engagement In a Slump?

Every business is different. However, there are some common trends we can point to as we search for underlying reasons for decreased engagement.

Burnout, high turnover, and poor communication are among the most prevalent causes. And these problems only get worse when good employees stop caring. That’s because new team members tend to look to high-achieving colleagues for advice, motivation, and guidance.

Let’s look closer at each of these factors:

1. Burnout

While burnout can be linked to chronic hustle culture, return-to-office concerns also are playing a role. After many people were forced to work from home in 2020, they’ve grown accustomed to choosing where and when they work. Now, when called back to the office, many want to hold on to remote or hybrid work models and flexible schedules. Who can blame them?

When employees feel they’re losing a sense of choice over their work, or they recognize an imbalance in work/life responsibilities, they’re more likely to disengage or “quiet quit.” No wonder this phenomenon has been gaining traction during the past year.

2. Turnover

All this dissatisfaction naturally leads to higher employee turnover, which (no surprise) also influences engagement.

On one hand, welcoming a new coworker or manager can be exciting. However, the learning curve that comes with getting a new team member up to speed can create a work imbalance for veteran employees, even if it’s just for a short time.

This imbalance can create feelings of resentment, especially when engagement is already suffering for other reasons. As a result, more people could decide to leave. And if you don’t pay close attention, this can spiral into a very costly vicious cycle.

3. Poor Communication

When organizations try to accommodate hybrid, remote, or flexible work, it can be hard to communicate effectively. Virtual meetings provide more flexibility and enable a sense of work-life balance that many employees now prefer.

But if instant messaging or online video calls are your team’s only form of communication, this isn’t a sustainable way to work. If you don’t use these tools wisely, it puts effective collaboration and productivity at risk. For strong results, you need a plan.

How to Lift Workforce Engagement

Current engagement numbers don’t look good, but that doesn’t mean HR and business managers are powerless. Some U.S. companies have been able to increase workforce engagement despite difficult circumstances. Here are four solutions that can help you improve:

1. Create a Game Plan for Remote or Hybrid Work

Not all companies are able to offer remote, hybrid, or flexible scheduling opportunities. If yours does, then make sure you develop and execute a supportive strategy, so everyone in these roles can succeed.

As previously mentioned, flexible work opportunities are likely to create confusion among employees if work processes and expectations aren’t communicated clearly or executed thoughtfully. Core workplace principles like accessibility, transparency, and inclusion are especially important.

Talk with your managers and colleagues to get their input about remote work practices they recommend for your organization. For example, you may find that using apps like Slack, Teams, or Monday to conduct brief daily online meetings will add a layer of accountability.

2. Encourage Employees to Take Time Off

42% of U.S. employees say they haven’t taken a vacation in the past year. That’s a huge percentage. Working too long without a break will only make stress and burnout worse.

Encourage your staff to take their allotted PTO by creating a culture that supports taking time to rest and recharge. If you are on the leadership team, set an example. Take your time off and try not to respond to work messages outside of working hours.

3. Invest in the Right Tools

Another important way to prevent burnout is by investing in the right tools for your staff. Note that this isn’t just about technology. It may mean you’ll need to purchase new software or update existing technology. But it can also mean outsourcing specific activities to a specialized services provider.

Start by identifying the bottlenecks in your team’s workflows. Then consider any solutions that can reduce or remove redundant or unnecessary tasks. Think in terms of cost-effective ways to automate and streamline work activities.

4. Strive to be Approachable and Transparent

In a healthy workplace culture, communication moves freely to and from all corners of the organization. It’s not just about a top-down flow, but bottom-up, and side-to-side as well.

If employees aren’t comfortable voicing their opinions, feelings, and suggestions, they’re more likely to burn out. To lift engagement, commit to creating an open work environment that welcomes feedback and ideas at all levels.

This is less about formal initiatives and more about consistent behavior among leaders and managers. It’s about showing up every day, listening, and being responsive.

Final Thoughts

Many factors are contributing to the recent decline in workforce engagement. Although the solution may seem complex and out of reach, try some of these recommendations. I think you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes in the way employees view your company and their work.

More often than not, people want to do their jobs. But when little things like lack of information, inefficient technology, mundane tasks, lack of support, and strict schedules pile up, it’s only a matter of time before people start to disengage.

Be the boss that steps in and reignites the passion that got your employees to apply in the first place. If you keep at it, engagement is sure to follow.

Celebrating Movember: Men’s Health at Work

EDITOR’S NOTE: At TalentCulture, we recognize a healthy workforce is a more engaged and productive workforce. That’s why we’re spreading the word about the importance of “Movember” men’s health awareness in this article.


The holiday season is upon us! As the days get shorter and colder, schedules are getting busier and more packed with activities. It’s common for us to let some things slide — including taking care of our health and wellbeing. We’ve all been there. But health should never take the backburner. That’s why we’d like to talk about the Movember movement.

What exactly is Movember? What does it mean for men’s health? And more specifically, how can employers leverage this opportunity to encourage discussions around important workplace health issues? We’ll even touch on how you can start a Movember event with friends and coworkers. 

What Is Movember? 

Two friends kickstarted Movember as a grassroots effort to promote men’s health in Australia. It began in 2003, at a time when the mustache had all but disappeared from popular culture.

That’s when Travis Garone and Luke Slattery first convinced 30 friends to take up the challenge of growing out their facial hair in solidarity with men’s health issues during the month of November.

This simple challenge grew faster than anyone imagined. In fact, by the time it reached the U.S, in 2008, the Movember charity had raised more than $46 million, in partnership with global charities dedicated to raising awareness around important men’s health issues.

Over the years, this movement has continued to gain traction across the globe. Now, nearly 7 million men and women contribute to the cause by funding more than 1200 men’s health projects. The Movember project and its enthusiastic supporters (known as “Mo bros” and “Mo sisters”) have addressed many worthy health causes around the world. 

Why Movember Matters

The importance of raising awareness and encouraging communication around men’s health can’t be overstated. Unfortunately, men are still statistically far less likely to take care of their health. That’s not an opinion, but a well-documented fact.

For instance, a 2021 study found that less than half of men (47%) had a routine medical checkup in the previous 12 months. Embarrassment and perceived stigmas are the primary reasons.

Our culture of stoicism means that when men experience pain, many feel societal pressure to simply push through it. And although women tend to become familiar with healthcare from a young age — seeing gynecologists and being encouraged to schedule annual checkups — men generally don’t develop the same kind of connection.

Simply put, conversations about men’s health aren’t common. In fact, they’re often stigmatized. Ultimately, this leads to poorer health outcomes. 

The Movember Mission

The Movember movement celebrates men’s health in all its forms, but emphasizes mental health and cancer prevention, in particular. Here’s why:

1. Preventing Cancer

For men, two key health concerns are prostate and testicular cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in men. Fortunately, testicular cancer is less frequent. However, it still affects about 7 out of every 100 men.

Both cancers are considered highly treatable if caught early. However, when left untreated, they can be very difficult to cure, and the statistics are less promising.

Most experts recommend starting prostate exams around the age of 45 and getting an exam every 3-5 years. Doctors often perform what’s called a PSA test. A PSA is a reliable metric that helps determine the risk of prostate cancer.

Similarly, to help detect testicular cancer, men should perform self-exams, looking for signs like lumps, swelling, or dull aching pain. Anyone who experiences any of these symptoms needs to see a doctor immediately.

Bottom line: Routine checkups are crucial for effective cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. That’s one of the most important messages behind the Movember movement.  

2. Communicating About Mental Health

Although mental health is extremely important, it is also perhaps the most stigmatized men’s health issue. Statistics show that although mental health challenges are relatively common among men, less than half will seek treatment.

This problem is especially important to recognize in the workplace, where burnout and stress are common. People often don’t realize how stressed they are until the symptoms become unavoidable.

Left unchecked, stress or burnout can not only affect your mental and emotional wellbeing but also wreak havoc on your body. Fatigue, anxiety, and depressed mood — even changes in weight and thinning hair — all can occur.

Of course, it’s important to see your doctor to make sure you’re not dealing with underlying medical issues like hypothyroidism or male pattern balding. But these symptoms can also be a response to physiological changes caused by stress.

How Employers Can Get Involved

Encouraging your workforce to be part of the Movember trend can be an excellent way to raise awareness around these important men’s health issues. For example, you can set up a Movember fundraiser, either in person or virtually. This can foster teamwork and solidarity in the workplace, while also encouraging people to take charge of their health. 

If you decide to start a Movember campaign, you don’t have to focus on only one topic. It’s an opportunity to help men feel more comfortable talking about a variety of issues that affect their health.

Conversation Starters:

  • Are you getting enough exercise
  • Are you sleeping well?
  • Do you feel overloaded with work lately?
  • How healthy is your diet?
  • Do you schedule regular check-ups? 
  • Have you talked to your doctor about things like prostate screening? 

Talk to your coworkers, talk to your friends, and bring the Movember movement to your professional and social circles. It’s not just for men either. It’s for anyone with a man in their life they care about — a significant other, a family member, or a friend. Every man matters. Encourage open conversations, show your support, and get involved!

A New Era of Workplace Safety: Prioritizing Psychosocial Health

For too long, the workplace has been viewed as a mystical place where we bring a version of ourselves that is unbreakable. It’s a version of ourselves that powers through every obstacle, even if it takes a toll on our health. Sadly, it’s a version that is essentially unsustainable. How often have we seen an employee get lauded for “going above and beyond,” even when we know that what we’re saying is just code for working through illness. Or forsaking personal commitment? Or working well beyond reasonable and safe hours?

That attitude–celebrating the workaholic, to put it bluntly–is an example of how the conversation around mental health has been too narrow. It’s especially been too narrow when discussing mental health in the workplace. Also, until now, occupational health and safety management was focused almost exclusively on physical safety rather than psychological health. That changed this past summer. An international standard was issued in June to provide a structural framework to help businesses manage psychological health and well-being in the workplace.

In essence, the ISO 45003 Psychological Health and Safety at Work guidelines have two goals:

  1. Lay out global standards for organizations to create and administer an environment where the psychosocial well-being of employees is as clearly defined and cared for as their physical safety
  2. Offer a helpful baseline for HR professionals across industries to evaluate how effectively their organizations are providing a psychosocially healthy atmosphere, without the need for in-house specialists with deep expertise in mental health

For HR and training leaders, it’s important to recognize:

  • Three common mental health and wellness issues that organizations face
  • How the new standards for workplace safety could lead to a more psychosocially healthy work environment

1. A Stigmatized or Nonexistent Support System

The pandemic highlighted the lack of supportive environments for employee mental health at an organizational level. It also shed light on unsustainable and unfair workloads and untimely or ineffective recognition practices. Because of these issues, employees have very little time during the workday and very few, if any, tools to take care of themselves psychologically or emotionally. In a 2021 survey that covered 46 countries, 89 percent of respondents said their work-life was worsening. Eighty-five percent said their well-being had declined, and 56 percent said their job demands had increased.

A strategy for change: Discussing mental health openly at work starts with a clear organizational strategy. You need to create an environment of psychological safety. That means a workplace where employees feel comfortable being themselves and discussing emotional and mental concerns. The ISO guidelines go a step further. They ask top leaders to remember the important role they play in supporting these conversations. They also ask leadership to set a culture of protection from reprisal or judgment for employees who speak up.

2. A Diverse Workforce Has Diverse Mental Wellness Needs

More than nine out of 10 respondents in a 2021 survey felt that mental health should be a focus within the company culture, up from 86 percent in 2019. The increase shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that between 2019 and 2021, mental health was cited as an increasingly prevalent reason that employees left their jobs. Overall, 84 percent of respondents felt that at least one workplace factor negatively impacted their mental health. Further, the problem is most acute among Millennials and Gen Z.

The numbers were disproportionately higher among younger workers and members of underrepresented groups. Women, minority groups, remote workers (in some organizations), and the younger generation joining the workforce are all prone to feeling excluded from blanket policies and run-of-the-mill pledges of inclusion.

A strategy for change: Sure, companies have increased investment in employee mental health over the last decade. The global mental wellness industry grew nearly twice as fast as the global economy from 2015–2017 alone. But the quality and reach of these programs are what matters. ISO guidelines call out the need for organizations to consider the diversity of the workforce and the needs of particular groups around a psychosocially healthy workplace.

3. Burnout Remains Pervasive and Prevention Is the Best Cure

Meet the new mantra, same as the old mantra: Prevention is the best medicine. Yu Tse Heng, a researcher who uncovers ways to humanize workplaces, puts it this way: “It starts with employers, to protect employees from becoming resource-depleted in the first place. And it’s also on the employer to provide the resources necessary to support employees’ mental health.” The employee’s responsibility, meanwhile, is to try and understand where their burnout stems from and to craft a way to get out of it.

Even pre-pandemic, the results of implementing mental health programs at work spoke for themselves. In a 2019 study conducted by Deloitte and the Australian Institute of Health & Safety, the ROI for workplace mental health programs yielded $1.62 for every dollar invested. That’s just in one year. For companies with programs that had been implemented over three years, the median ROI was $2.18 for every dollar spent.

A strategy for change: Self-reflection and self-care are crucial to recovering from or preventing burnout. But the ISO reiterates the importance of employers implementing and maintaining support systems in the workplace for burnout prevention. For example, having trained personnel on staff who can take charge of these programs further mitigates the risk of psychosocial damage.

A Significant Opportunity for Organizations Ready for Change

As mental health and workplace safety become increasingly important and open subjects, employers are at a crossroads. Traditional solutions just won’t cut it. A vacation does not erase the dread of returning to a draining work environment. In fact, American workers last year left an average of 33 percent of their allocated paid time off on the table. At the same time, they reported a 49-minute increase in the average workday.

Organizations seeking a transformative solution to employee mental well-being should consider activating the new ISO guidelines. They present an opportunity for companies to take a fresh look at:

  • How they view employee mental health
  • The role their leadership is playing to change the company culture around mental health
  • The effectiveness of their mental health strategy for today’s changing workforce

As with everything around workplace safety, you can be superficial with fixes and apply Band-Aids to mask the issues. Or you can choose to step up and transform how you approach workplace mental health.

5 Key Traits to Consider When Assessing Leaders

For many leaders, the pandemic has been a trial by fire. New challenges have put the strengths and weaknesses of their leadership style under the spotlight. It’s no secret that the working world has changed drastically in the last year and a half. The pandemic has forced leaders and employees to adapt to new ways of working, often stepping outside of their comfort zones.

For better or worse, a lot of the changes are here to stay. What started as two weeks out of the office turned into a completely virtual work environment. Now, with offices reopening, leaders at all levels will need to adapt to a new hybrid workplace model.

To thrive in the future, leaders need to face new challenges head-on. To do that, they will need support. As businesses recover, leadership development needs to be prioritized. Leadership assessments are one of the most valuable tools in the development toolbox. Companies will need to rethink what they are assessing and explore new ways to build up their leaders for success. Here are five traits you should consider when assessing leaders in the post-pandemic world.

Empathy

Empathetic leadership is more important than ever. Leaders who are focused on supporting and empathizing with their employees can form better connections and understand the needs of their team. This means they are more likely to have engaged teams, making it easier to retain talent.

The pandemic had a huge impact on workplaces around the globe. We are now seeing a turnover tsunami. Part of the reason for this is employee burnout. Uncertainty, transitioning to new ways of working, and changing expectations all factor into burnout. Proactive, empathetic leadership can make all the difference in ensuring that employees want to stay with your company. When assessing leaders, measure emotional intelligence. Look at their ability to listen actively, understand employee needs, and engage in an empathetic way.

Adaptability and Flexibility

The way we work has changed and leaders need to be able to adapt quickly. The sudden move to remote work was jarring for many organizations. This is especially true for companies with a strong in-office culture.

A lot of the changes came with new technology as many companies’ digital transformation strategies kicked into high gear last year. The ability to adapt to new technologies is important, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Leaders also need to adapt and be flexible with the needs of their employees.

As of December 2020, 71 percent of employees that could do their jobs remotely were choosing to work from home. More than half of those employees would like to continue to work from home post-pandemic. As more workplaces move to a hybrid model, leaders need to balance the needs of employees with performance. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here. Evaluate leaders and potential leaders for their ability to navigate change.

Trustworthiness

When planning leadership development, measuring employee trust in leadership is a key metric for success. Leaders and employees both thrive in high-trust environments. Employees need to know that leadership has their backs. Leaders need to know that their employees are doing great work and driving results.

During the pandemic, leaders likely struggled with trust during the shift to remote work. In many cases, that trust was rewarded as productivity increased by 47 percent in 2020, according to a report by Prodoscore. As a leadership trait, trustworthiness is critical for helping employees feel empowered to do their best work.

Potential for Development

When assessing leaders, it’s important to know what your company needs and who is best suited to meet those needs. Knowing who can successfully lead in your company and setting them up for success is crucial. When succession planning, companies need to evaluate who will drive the company culture. They also need to determine who has the potential to lead at a higher level.

Tools like a 9-box performance matrix are useful when assessing candidates for leadership positions. Often, you’ll need to determine who does their best work as an individual contributor and who can be further developed. Know what works in your company and give your best candidates the coaching, tools, and training to be even better.

Proactive Thinking

The pandemic put a lot of organizations on their back foot. Nobody knew what to expect, or how long the pandemic would last. Many businesses had to react quickly to keep everything running. Collectively, we all learned the value of thinking pragmatically and proactively.

Leadership assessment, development, and succession planning need to be proactive. It’s no longer about what and who you need right now, today. Businesses need to evaluate how their priorities are shifting and who can help them meet their goals in years to come. When looking at leadership candidates and evaluating current leaders, determine if they are forward thinkers. Find out if their vision of the future matches the business’s long-term outlook.

I led the development of new succession planning and leadership development procedures last year at the start of the pandemic that really helped guide our company through the worst of it. By assessing leaders’ strengths and weaknesses, we filled in the gaps and made the transition to remote work less painful and more productive.

We learned that building a sustainable leadership group will get your company through trying times. We were able to find comfort in the uncomfortable by focusing on building the traits that drive our culture. As a result, we ended up with stronger leaders, more engaged employees, and increased productivity.

TCO: The Hidden Costs of HR Technology

Over the past year, the pandemic forced most organizations to re-evaluate their HR technology to better support their workforce in a new work environment. It’s easy to see how these solutions impact expenses, regardless of whether your organization has grown or downsized and whether you’ve implemented one, two, or more new technologies. But upon further examination, you may find additional costs that you don’t see on a balance sheet. These downstream costs come in the form of voluntary turnover, disengaged employees, and a poor employee experience caused by disjointed systems. All of these add to the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your HR technology stack.

Don’t get me wrong, these shiny new systems have the best intentions and also hold the potential to streamline processes and improve efficiency. However, they can cause confusion, digital fatigue, and an overall negative employee experience when brought together. This article will examine the cascading costs caused by competing HR technologies and shine some light on the TCO of those platforms, tools, and programs.

Multiple Buyers, Multiple Priorities

HR technologies span a broad spectrum of applications. PwC’s Human Resources Technology Survey estimates the total value of the HR cloud solutions space at a whopping $148 billion. You have solutions for time and labor management, talent development, benefits administration, payroll, HR administration, and the multiple use cases that fall underneath each of these. Filling the needs presented by your organization can result in a slew of point solutions patched together, ostensibly to support the employee experience. But are they actually improving the employee experience?

The problems often start with having multiple buyers working to get these solutions in place. Too often, organizations arm each buyer with a different agenda and different initiatives. Each has a keen eye on their own goals and what technology they are bringing in-house. But with multiple buyers in the mix, the bigger picture is often overlooked. And the bigger picture can be what makes or breaks the employee experience.

What is the bigger picture? It’s the TCO of the whole HR technology stack and how these solutions work together.

Too Many Channels, Not Enough Bandwidth

Throughout the workday, employees change directions more than a weathervane in a tornado. They constantly switch between systems to communicate, track time, view benefits, take a survey, complete a learning module, and—yes—even get some work done. It’s simply exhausting. Also, that only covers a few of the functions within the sprawling HR tech stack. Thinking about it gives you a headache, doesn’t it? Or perhaps, that’s digital fatigue you’re experiencing.

Moreover, we’ve seen (and continue to see) a race to upskill and re-skill, a trend that has created the need for even more learning and development, coaching and mentoring, surveys, and other tools meant to support employees. The increase in the number of people working remotely and forcing interaction with these disjointed technologies from home has exacerbated the situation. Also, while pushing forward with upskilling and re-skilling, only 12 percent of employers plan to reward employees’ skill acquisition. The current rise in voluntary turnover is kind of a no-brainer. People work harder and longer at home. They stretch themselves to learn new skills and take on new roles–for no reward.

The Effects: By the Numbers

We know the competing HR systems and the subsequent chaos they cause result in a poor employee experience. But what exactly does that mean for your organization? And what does that cost? Now we’re getting to the TCO of HR technologies.

Burnout

Experts estimate that the healthcare costs of job-related burnout are between $125 billion and $190 billion. Once employees reach burnout, it’s often difficult to hit the reset button and get them back to their optimal performance engagement. Thus, voluntary turnover is often what lies next.

Voluntary turnover

With the average cost of hiring a new employee at $4,129, and onboarding averaging roughly $986 per new hire, organizations lose $5,000 each time an employee leaves. That doesn’t even account for the costs of the skill sets you’re losing, and the loss of the intrinsic value an individual brings to your organization. You can’t afford to lose your employees to something so preventable as integrating HR solutions.

Disengagement

Disengagement costs companies between $450 billion and $550 billion each year. Yikes! And considering one-third of most employees consider themselves disengaged, organizations must work to boost engagement. Among the several levers you can pull to boost engagement, streamlining your technology is a relatively easy move.

Management tax: Add it to the tab

The struggle of dealing with too many solutions is not one-sided. While employees grapple with multiple systems each day, managers work to pull data from each of those systems, manage vendor relationships, and learn each solution from top to bottom. Managing a sprawling tech stack is a huge distraction and can easily be minimized by combining point solutions to a larger platform.

Streamlining HR technology will make life simpler—and more productive—for managers and employees. Of course, bringing these solutions together can also be more cost-effective for an organization. Which means you don’t need to eliminate existing systems altogether. Just simplify your systems. How? By integrating and combining forces. A lot is riding on this—more than you see when usually assessing TCO.

With this in mind, adopt an integrated approach that combines talent functions to create a more fluid experience for your people. Do it for the employee experience, higher productivity, and a better bottom line. When evaluating the number of technologies in your organization, less is more.

How to Prevent (or Defeat) WFH Burnout and Zoom Fatigue

When the COVID pandemic swept through the country last year, companies rapidly transitioned employees to remote working. However, this shift led to growing challenges, including WFH burnout and Zoom fatigue. As we transition from pandemic to post-pandemic life, many companies are adopting hybrid models, where some workers come into the office part-time only while others remain fully remote. That model means our burnout and fatigue issues will remain relevant for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, organizations treat these issues as simply day-to-day challenges. They fail to recognize their systematic, long-term nature; they don’t address them strategically. At heart, these problems stem from organizations transposing their “office culture” norms of interaction to working from home. Over time, we’ve learned that just doesn’t work well. We now know: Virtual communication, collaboration, and relationships function very differently than they do when we share a workspace.

To survive and thrive in the post-COVID world and within hybrid working environments, organizations must make a strategic shift. Specifically, they need to focus on best practices for those employees working from home–part-time and full-time.

Defeating WFH Burnout and Zoom Fatigue: A Strategic Approach

Take these steps to establish effective work-from-home best practices for the long term:

Gather information from employees

Talk to employees about their virtual work challenges. Not enough time to connect with everyone? Try conducting surveys, do focus groups, or organize one-on-one interviews with key personnel. Be sure to collect quantitative and qualitative data on the virtual work issues in your organization.

Develop metrics and determine a baseline

Structure surveys so that you can use the quantitative results to establish clear metrics on challenges to prevent WFH burnout and Zoom fatigue. Do follow-up interviews to gather qualitative data. Prior to beginning the interventions listed next, use both forms of data to develop a baseline.

Educate your employees about needs-deprivations

Human nature dictates that we don’t recognize a large component of what we perceive as WFH burnout. We don’t recognize the deprivation of our basic human needs; specifically, our connection to each other. So early intervention involves educating employees on this topic.

Cultivate a sense of meaning among employees

Withing the virtual workplace, help employees intentionally develop a sense of meaning. That includes using an evaluative tool to establish a baseline of purpose. Use self-reflective activities on identity as tied to one’s work. The goal: To connect work to something bigger than yourself.

Create mutual connections using native virtual formats

We want to connect. But compared to in-person meetings, our emotions just don’t process little squares during a video conference as truly connecting. The mismatch between expectations and reality leads to drain and dissatisfaction. So focus on creating human connection and a sense of trust, perhaps by replacing bonding opportunities from an in-office culture with innovative virtual bonding activities.

Provide remote-specific professional development

Intentionally focus on employee and team development highly relevant to virtual or blended work teams. Effective communication, collaboration, and remote relationship building are just a few of the development areas the best organizations will target in hybrid working environments.

Initiate formal virtual mentorship relationships

Ask your senior staff to actively mentor junior team members in business areas and ask junior staff to mentor senior staff in other areas, like tech. This approach to bonding, in addition to the guidance it provides, also helps address the lack of social connection in virtual workplaces.

Establish times for informal digital co-working

Ask each employee to spend an hour or more per day coworking digitally with their colleagues. Create a sense of presence by joining a videoconference call without an agenda. Turn your speakers on but microphones off (unless you want to ask a question or make a comment or simply chat, of course). Next, simply work on your own tasks.

Digital coworking replicates the positive aspects of being in shared cubicle spaces with your team members, even while doing your own work. Benefits include mutual bonding through chatting and collaboration, being able to ask and answer quick clarifying questions, and being able to provide guidance and informal mentorship.

Fund effective remote work environments

Since the pandemic began, many companies have identified inequalities within remote working environments. For example, some employees have high-speed internet and quiet workspaces at home, while others do not. Address any inequity by investing in the work environments of remote employees.

Reduce unnecessary meetings

Zoom fatigue is real. So don’t schedule meetings unless you need to make a decision or get clarification on something that requires synchronous discussion. And make the best possible use of time when a meeting is required by staying focused on the task at hand.

Conduct weekly check-ins

The most effective leaders check in with employees regularly. Not just to determine progress being made on work-related tasks, but to also determine the team members’ well-being. So check-ins don’t add to Zoom fatigue, keep check-ins to weekly 15-30 minute video conferences.

Support work/life boundaries

Too many leaders expect employees to work after hours, then refuse employee requests for flexibility. Some employees, scared for their jobs, voluntarily take on too much work. To reduce burnout, leaders must reinforce boundaries. Whenever possible, they must also encourage and welcome flexible working schedules.

Take things step by step

Start with education about basic needs. Next, use the data from your conversations and internal surveys to pursue the actions that seem to make the most sense. Resist the temptation to fix everything at once by focusing on the issues that seem to have the highest sense of urgency.

A Change in Mindset

To prevent or defeat WFH burnout and Zoom fatigue, reframe your company culture and policies.

As you initiate this strategic shift, be sure to consistently support your employees. If you do this, your partnership with them will enable your organization to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic world.

Image by Laurentiu Lordache

The Proven Success of Less: Opting for The Shorter Workweek

As we reinvent work in the post-pandemic world, can we see finally see the benefits of a shorter workweek?

Americans work harder than their counterparts in most of the world’s developed economies, clocking in an average of 34.4 hours per week. Many adults work even longer, with most American reporting an average of 47 hours of work per week (or nearly six working days per week). Almost four in ten American workers log 50 hours or more.

Those extra hours aren’t helping us perform better. Conversely, those additional hours on the clock actually cost us productivity, health, and happiness.

It’s time to work smarter, not harder. It’s time to cut down the working week.

Here’s why a shorter workweek is better for us.

The Success of Less in Other Countries

Many employers cry foul at the suggestion of shortening workweeks. Typically, they rely on the argument that shortening the workweek will cost productivity. But if you look at the data from the other largest economies in the world, shorter workweeks make a positive difference.

European countries have bought into the idea of a shorter workweek for decades. Scandinavian countries have long been advocates of shortening the working week (the average Danish employee logs 33 hours a week).

It’s no coincidence that Scandinavian countries consistently rank among the happiest in the world. It’s all about work-life balance.

Productivity vs. Burnout

In the work-life balance equation, Americans often favor work over life and take balance entirely out of the equation. We say that we emphasize productivity. But the reality is Americans seem to prioritize, and even take great pride in, being busy.

In reality, we’re not driving toward greater productivity. We’re driving toward burnout.

The presumption that more work means more productivity is a fallacy. According to a study of how athletes and musicians train, individuals only have a limited amount of concentration-time per day–about four to five hours. After that, you experience diminishing returns with every subsequent hour.

In translation? A longer workday doesn’t create more productivity. Forcing people to grind through extra hours pushes someone toward burnout. The same is true of a long workweek.

There are some exceptions, like delivery drivers or grocery store clerks. In those cases, a four-hour work period won’t sufficiently replace eight hours. But in most other positions, workers are not getting any added mileage from those four extra hours.

The 4-Day Workweek Experiment

To understand why, look to Microsoft Japan. The company tried a bold experiment: four-day workweeks, with three-day weekends every week, while still providing employees a five-day paycheck. The result? A 40% increase in productivity.

Cutting a whole workday out of the week (and losing eight hours from the usual workweek) required the company to do some streamlining. Time management became a priority. The company assisted in this process by cutting the standard meeting duration from an hour to thirty minutes and cutting standard attendance down to a five-employee maximum.

But the productivity boost came from a change in how employees work.

Shorter Workweeks Mean Better Prioritization

Because the Microsoft Japan employees no longer had a full day, they had to hyper-prioritize and cut out low-value activities, like bloated meetings, dawdling on social media, and less time on administrative filler work. This allowed more space for the most critical tasks, but it also allowed more space for creativity.

That said, the three-day weekend had to be an actual weekend. Otherwise, employees wouldn’t see any real benefit from an added day off and would instead work from home. Unfortunately, many of the technologies that have simplified working from home have also damaged work-life balance.

But when you tell people to unplug – actually unplug, meaning phones off and no email checks – employees get a real break after their hyper-prioritized, streamlined week. This offers them enough time to hit reset and return to work refreshed, ready to turn on hyper focus once again.

People Who Need Shorter Work Weeks

Of course, the company isn’t the only beneficiary of the shorter workweek. Employees clearly gain from such policies, and their benefits translate directly into positive results for their employers.

Think of it this way: employees are the backbone of your work. Without them, your company couldn’t get anything done. And if your employees are too fried to work effectively, they’re not going to do an outstanding job. Ultimately, the employee and the company suffer. Well-rested employees, though, are ready to give their all – and they’re more likely to be committed and engaged if they feel their company cares about them.

That said, thinking about a shorter workweek purely in terms of the number of hours worked is limiting. In reality, what happens outside the workplace is just as important as what happens inside. This is the space where employees go to rest, have fun, and feel refreshed. It’s also when employees do, well, pretty much anything that isn’t their job.

The time away isn’t being out of the office. It is time away from the stress of the job. And many segments of our society benefit.

Parents

When you’re a working parent, you have two full-time jobs: your job and parenting. Prioritizing work to support your family means sacrificing essential time with your kids, all while losing productivity due to stress and overwork. In fact, a quarter of parents – the hardest workers of all – spend only 34 minutes a day with their children. Quality time goes up on the weekends, but that leaves parents stringing time together from one weekend to the next.

And in the meantime, parents pay a premium for childcare. They also have to scramble for anything that might happen during the workweek, like doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher meetings, and youth sports. And if something happens to conflict? Welcome to even more work-related stress.

Cutting a day out of the workweek gives parents essential time to bond with and support their kids. Plus, reduced stress and reduced childcare costs allow parents to focus on more on work when they’re at work. Done right, they can also focus more on their children while at home.

That translates to healthier families, happier parents, and more productive, balanced employees.

Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs and creative people are the ones who come up with ideas that change our everyday lives for the better. But to develop those ideas and nurture them, entrepreneurs need time to pursue their side projects.

That just isn’t possible in the usual five-day grind.

By eliminating an extra day, entrepreneurs can dedicate all their attention to work while they’re at work. And when the workweek is over, they can shift gears and focus entirely on their passion project. This time away enables more time to get a good idea off the ground.

Anyone Who Wants to Thrive Instead of Grind

Ultimately, though, this is a model made for employees who want to thrive, not grind.

The truth is, employees want more from their job than just a paycheck. They want a good fit inside a positive culture. They want an opportunity to grow and the flexibility to work in a way that allows them to succeed – at work and away from work.

Instead, employers too often give them is a five-day 9-to-5 grind – often for no other reason than “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” They could do so much more.

The Shorter Workweek: Let’s Work Smarter

Isn’t it time to work smarter instead of working yourself into the ground?

Ultimately, a shorter workweek isn’t just a nice perk – it’s a job benefit for employees and a competitive advantage for companies. It’s time to change the workweek for the better. It’s time to find success in less.

 

#WorkTrends: How to Beat Burnout

Leadership and executive coach Beth Benatti Kennedy coaches many of her clients through their own experiences with burnout. It’s something she knows about firsthand. While working as a counselor in Boston public schools, she realized that she was becoming burnt out — even though she was working what she considered her “dream job.”

To combat that burnout, Kennedy enrolled in the Mind-Body Stress Reduction program at the UMass Medical Center, and two years later she started her executive coaching business. Now, she’s the author of “Career Recharge: Five Strategies to Boost Resilience and Beat Burnout,” and she joins us today to discuss the issue of burnout in the workplace. Her actionable insights are something we can all put to use, even if we just have a case of the hump day blues.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

The Burnout Escalator

Over the past few years, we’ve seen increasing awareness around issues of mental health. But it also seems that burnout in the workplace is becoming more of a factor than ever before. Are we just more aware of it, or is burnout actually becoming more of an issue?

Kennedy says that she believes burnout is becoming more common. The biggest reason for this is the way that technology has fundamentally altered the way we communicate. “We’re all so connected that I call it going up the burnout escalator,” Kennedy explains. Our reliance on technology creates stressors that, over time, contribute greatly to burnout.

Kennedy uses a text message as an example. A client requested five minutes of her time to discuss something. Kennedy really did not have the time in the day, but at the same time, she asked herself, “How can I not get back to this text message?”

The other factor Kennedy attributes to the higher rate of burnout is how focused people can be on their careers. She often points out to her clients that they don’t take vacations — and that they take their work a bit too seriously. That isn’t to say that we should be practicing our open mic night routines in the breakroom, but it does mean to remember to bring some levity and perspective to the office.

The Friday Five

If you’re feeling a bit burnt out yourself, there are steps you can take to combat it. According to Kennedy, the key is to effectively attack your symptoms is to begin before they begin to affect your mental health. Once burnout affects your mental health — what Kennedy denotes as “stage five” — addressing the issue becomes much more complicated.

Kennedy coaches her clients through small, actionable steps that make addressing burnout seem like … well, less of something that might burn you out. Every Friday, Kennedy’s clients do what she calls the “Friday Five.” They spend five minutes with Kennedy assessing and reflecting on five core aspects of their lives: well-being, self-awareness, brand, connection and innovation. The goal is not to set gigantic goals, but small incremental steps that can be improved upon week by week. “That’s how we make impact,” Kennedy says. “The problem of some of us just set these huge, lofty goals that are ridiculous.”

These are things you can address with yourself. While some are fairly self-evident, perhaps “brand” is not. But this is simple. It’s not about promoting yourself, but rather about figuring out the best way to make an impact on a weekly basis. Essentially, you are asking yourself what you accomplished that week, with the knowledge that the more effective you are in your position, the better your reputation will be.

What Employers and Managers Can Do

Preventing burnout is not solely the responsibility of individual employees. Employers and managers also need to take preventive measures to best serve their employees, and some more progressive organizations are already beginning to do this.

Kennedy believes that organizations must create an environment that gives employees ownership in decision-making toward their well-being. Kennedy uses the example of telecommuting. For some, working at home two days a week can improve their well-being.

But the empowerment goes beyond choosing where you work. It also means creating a dialogue regarding career decisions. Many businesses have a year-end review with their employees. Kennedy believes checking in so infrequently with employees has a negative effect on morale. She believes the conversation should happen as often as every other month. Talk through career fit, what projects are using an employee’s strengths, and which projects they are struggling with.

But most importantly, use these meetings as a chance to show your employees the ownership they need to have. “Sometimes we feel like the managers need to be the fixer-upper on everything,” she says. “I think as employees we need to be proactive for our own career.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

 

How to Stop Burnout in Its Tracks

How are you feeling?

When you close your eyes at night, do you feel the phantom buzzing of your phone? Are you tempted to check work email at midnight, just in case?

If so, it might be time to take a break. As we’ve become more connected and more prone to multitasking, we’ve also become prime candidates for burnout. Employee burnout is the reason behind up to half of overall workforce turnover. Many companies face this issue, and while some factors can’t be avoided, there are many within our control.

Dr. Jen Faber has been there before. After building a successful medical practice, she realized that she was overworked and unhappy. “We live in such a fast-paced culture that we actually forget the why behind it all and what makes us love the work that we do,” Faber says.

She built a new path as an entrepreneur, coaching leaders on wellness and healthy habits. We asked Dr. Faber what company and HR leaders can do to keep their teams in good health and high spirits.

Cut Down Distraction During the Work Day

“Every company needs a productive workforce,” Faber says. “But the truth is that if you have employees who are hyperconnected, it’s actually a productivity buzzkill.”

Each time employees are distracted by their email, it can take them up to 30 minutes to get back to their work, she says.

Companies can cut down on this lag by creating universal check-in times when employees respond to emails or communicate with their teams. For example, if everyone checks email at 8am and 4pm, everyone is communicating around the same time and can spend the rest of their day focused on work.

If you’re leading a team, it’s doubly important for you to limit your digital distractions. When employees see their leaders setting boundaries, they’ll learn to respect those boundaries and even set their own, Faber says.

And, instead of setting blanket rules for everyone, Faber suggests leaders ask their team for input. Ask for their perspectives on how you could all work more productively together. What’s best for the leader might not be best for everyone.

Disconnect After Hours

Adults dealing with high stress are less likely to get enough sleep — which can reduce productivity and cause faster burnout. Help your team get enough rest by encouraging everyone to disconnect after hours.

Faber suggests disconnecting from devices an hour before bedtime to give your brain time to shut down for easier sleep. She also suggests defining a sacred space at home where devices aren’t allowed, such as the bedroom. Doing so breaks the association of doing work in a space that’s meant for relaxation.

Reward Employees Who Disconnect

What can leaders really do to promote better work/life balance? Faber suggests implementing a program that provides incentives for disconnecting. “I think having a built-in incentive program can give companies the opportunity to create a solution that’s actually best for their culture and best for their employees as well,” Faber says.

And remember that when we talk about productivity, we’re really talking about employee health. Keep in mind that productivity is really about “how to get more work done purposefully, in less time, from a more positive place,” she says.

Millennials: Helping the “Workaholic” Generation

We live in a world that is constantly in “on” mode. Smart phones, computers, emails, and phone calls; even after you clock off from work, it’s so easy to forget to actually “check out.”

This is especially true for the millennial generation. Despite common misconceptions, millennials appear to be more workaholics rather than lazy youngsters. Their relationship with technology often means they are constantly checking work emails after they’ve clocked off, or first thing when they wake up in the morning.

This raises a new question: is the lack of work-life balance a healthy transition? Could millennials’ work ethic be hurting themselves? In order to mitigate this imbalance, there are a couple of ways that Human Resources (and company leaders) can adjust the unequal lifestyle habits of millennials without taking away from their autonomy.

Why They Can’t Stop Working

There are a couple of theories as to why millennials are always working. Some say it is due to their upbringing, where children were constantly working on a schedule: soccer practice, piano practice, school, dinner, and sleep.

However, others think it is due to their delay in building a family. In fact, many millennials are still living with their parents well into their late 20s. This is at no fault of their own, as the economy is thrusting young workers into lower paying jobs than what their parents had when they first started. Not to mention the insurmountable student debt much of them carry after leaving college; it’s a wonder that millennials are able to make money at all.

But due to this delay in leaving their parents’ homes, millennials find they have more time on their hands to work. Plus, they are not going out and buying homes or starting their own families, which might otherwise limit the amount of time they would like to spend in the office.

Thus, millennials find themselves in this vortex: a lack of financial freedom, more personal freedom due to a lack of dependents, and technology that allows us instant access to emails, work servers, and messages from clients or coworkers. So, it comes as no surprise that they never quite “clock out” at the end of the day.

Health Concerns

It is widely known that burnout at work can be damaging to both employee’s personal health and the health of a business. Burnout normally results in overexposure to stress and lack of personal time.

Yet there is a rising concern among health educators that the younger generations, from millennials to current teens, are experiencing far more stress and anxiety than their parents.

“This April marks the 24th anniversary of Stress Awareness Month,” says Christine Carter, in a post for forbes.com. “…It’s no secret that the millennial age group, in particular, reports higher stress levels than any other generation and they appear to be having a difficult time coping with it,” she states.

Carter attributes an increase in millennial stress levels to increased responsibilities in the workplace, major purchasing decisions, issues with marriage, and parenting, or planning to parent. “According to the American Psychological Association, millennials rely on more sedentary stress management techniques than other generations. Given their fluency and comfort with technology, it’s not surprising that millennials are turning to less active solutions such as gadgets to cope with stress.”

This creates a unique dilemma for the “workaholic” generation: turning to technology to help manage stress and overexposure to stress and tech at work. Over time, burnout is sure to create problems for businesses and millennial employees. For the employees, this increased exposure to stress can lead to serious health issues down the road: everything from neurological issues like cluster headaches, GERD and other intestinal illnesses, to heart conditions. For businesses, this might cause increased sick days and lack of engagement, as well as turnover, all of which contribute to a huge loss in profits.

If you see this behavior pop up at work — where employees are admitting to checking emails constantly or staying late, and burnout is starting to affect your team — how can you create a healthier culture for them? How can managers and HR leaders make a positive adjustment to the lives of their workers?

What Can HR Leaders Do?

Although every company has different aspirations for success and company culture, there are some real tried-and-true ways that company leaders can build up healthy environments for their employees. One such way is to promote the 3Ps: play, purpose, and potential.

Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management suggests the 3Ps as a best practice method for building up company culture. Employees, especially millennials, want to work for companies that promote fun and creativity (play); that prove they are making a positive impact on the company, community, and world (purpose); and that keep them feeling motivated for achieving better standards and positions (potential). Pepperdine University also suggests providing employee activities — such as yoga, company outings, or educational lessons — to help promote healthy lifestyles and to help employees realize that the business is invested in their overall wellbeing.

Providing an environment for activities or relaxing work spaces is an easy way to subtly de-stress your millennial employees. Experts also suggest increasing autonomy for employees. This can be done through flexible work schedules and flexible or abundant vacation times. Millennials are already pioneering the flexible work schedule, so allowing them the freedom to work when they want to, and for as long as they would like, can cultivate an excellent work ethic and a positive work-life balance.

However, not every business will have the freedom to choose flexibility. In those cases, show your employees through example. Leave on time to prevent employees from feeling like they need to work late, or create special days that promise your employees a bit of a more relaxed atmosphere. One list suggests such days as “No Meeting Monday” or “Late Start Friday.” However, cultivating this culture takes more than just creating suggestions; it also requires accountability. Through example, you can show your employees that you will hold yourself accountable, and you will be able to more thoroughly hold your employees accountable too.

Millennials may be a new challenge for business leaders, and they are certainly challenging their limits, but creating a culture that meets their needs isn’t impossible. In fact, their blend of work-life balance could simply be a new form of workplace culture: making your work into a fun environment that enhances your life.

Through accountability practices, as well as a new twist on office activities, you could create a business that not only works for millennials, but for every generation that precedes them or follows them. A healthier work-life balance is in your hands.

Photo Credit: Christoph Scholz Flickr via Compfight cc

4 Reasons Your Best IT Pros Are Leaving

It happened again. One of your best IT employees found another job and is taking it—leaving you with a big talent gap to fill. Information technology skills are in high demand, and your IT team is on the lookout for new and better opportunities.

You’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by my company, HealthITJobs.com, 74.8 percent of health information technology professionals said they were planning to look for another job within the next year.

Are your IT superstars leaving because their skills are in demand, or because they’re unhappy? Here are four compelling reasons your best IT team members are heading for the door:

1. There’s no leadership

Your IT team needs a strong leader who will motivate them, solve problems, and keep them happy at work. Ask yourself: is your team getting what they need from their manager or supervisor?

Leadership is a major problem in the workforce. The Global Workforce Leadership survey conducted by Workplace Trends in February and March found that almost half of the companies surveyed said that leadership is the most difficult skill to find in employees. Among the 1,000 employees surveyed, just 36 percent felt leadership was a strong point in their workplace.

The leadership crisis extends to the tech industry, as well. In the HealthITJobs.com survey, 51.3 percent of respondents rated their supervisor’s ability to lead and engage at a five or below on a scale of one to 10.

Evaluate your current leaders and train new ones early to keep your IT all-stars around. When looking at leadership, focus on communication.

In a survey published by 15Five in March of 2015, 81 percent of employees surveyed said they would rather join a company that values open communication than other popular perks like free food and gym memberships. Another survey, conducted by SHRM and Globoforce in 2013, found that 94 percent of organizations surveyed believe positive feedback improves employee performance.

2. They’re burned out

Workplace stress is a major problem, and IT professionals are feeling the pain. In the job satisfaction survey, 52.2 percent of health IT employees surveyed said that, on a scale from one to 10, they feel chronic stress levels at a six or above on an average workday.

Employees know the negative effects of stress and may want to leave when they feel too pressured. Information technology professionals who feel overworked will burn out and disengage from their work. When that happens, they’re bound to look for the next best, less stressful opportunity.

Instead of burning your IT team out, help them succeed in a less stressful environment. Regularly check in with the team to see if there are any resources they need or if there are ways you can help lighten their workload. Encourage your team to take breaks, mental health days, and time off — especially after busy and stressful periods.

3. They’re not growing

Technology evolves on a daily basis, and IT professionals who don’t keep up lose their relevance. IT professionals want to keep learning and growing their skills to advance their careers. However, the HealthITJobs.com survey revealed that 64 percent of health IT professionals rated professional development opportunities provided by their organizations at a five or below.

If you’re not helping your IT team grow, they will look for new jobs to advance their skills. You can offer your team more development opportunities by allowing them to learn from senior employees, try out different roles, attend conferences and industry events, or offer other training options.

4. They hate their schedules

If your IT team comes into the office from 9 to 5 every day, they’re probably unhappy. In HealthITJobs job satisfaction survey, 40.9 percent of respondents said the option to work from home was the most important perk a health IT employer could offer, followed by flexible work hours.

The nature of IT and the resources available to employers and employees makes flexible working options feasible. Allowing your IT team to choose when and where they work will make them less inclined to leave. Give employees the option to work from home when possible or set their start and stop times, as long as their work gets done.

Although opportunities abound for IT professionals, understanding their wants and needs can help to keep talented professionals around.

What do you think? How do you keep tech employees happy?

Photo Credit: zabir0806 via Compfight cc

Work-Life Balance? It's Just "Life" #TChat Recap

 Sometimes we find zen. A moment of harmonic convergence in our lives when all things family, friends, co-workers, employers, work and life become one.

Sometimes. Work-life balance. [sigh] Wait, who are we kidding, right?

We don’t time zone travel with a head cold on a flurry of work trips for balance. We don’t wake up every 1-2 hours for to soothe the savage 8-month-old baby “beast” for balance.

That’s me and my family at any rate this past few weeks. But, we wouldn’t give it up for all the zen in China because the intrinsic rewards outweigh the work-life imbalance — enjoying what we do and loving our family. In fact, it’s not even really about balance or imbalance — it’s the highly integrated work-life world that we ride for joy (and that runs us down in fear).

And if I’m your employer, I’m going to do everything I can to foster the emotional connectivity and encourage the internal motivational drive, as well as moving the motivation needle externally with “rewards” when appropriate. But I want you to work hard, I want results, I’m going to focus on pay-for-performance and if your position allows, I’m going to let you do it as you see fit (when, where and how). I will be empathic and trust you, but I will not be a pushover.

And if I’m your employee, I’m going to demand flexibility in exchange for regular, quality output whenever, wherever and however I’m doing it. I want to take time off when I need it, regardless of the reason, and I don’t want to be questioned. I want your empathy and your trust and I will reciprocate. I want to to be pushed and pulled and challenged to learn as long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing in the context of what you’re doing.

And as China Gorman suggested and I concurred: “It’s just life.”

Cali Williams Yost and Leanne Chase, two of our insightful #TChat-ers, have some innovative ideas about work-life flexibility: Find a way to like what you do and keep doing it, over and over again. The mindful workplace presence of frenetic zen will take care of the rest.

If you missed Monster Thinking’s pre-cap, you can read it here: Desperately Seeking Balance: Reconciling Work and Life. And here were the questions from last night:

  1. Who’s ultimately responsible for managing work-life balance: the employer or the employee?
  2. What are the benefits/drawbacks of being salaried/exempt vs. hourly/non-exempt? Which would you prefer?
  3. How does company culture effect work-life balance?
  4. What role does technology and social media play in the work-life mix? Is connectivity a blessing or a curse?
  5. What are some things employers and managers can do to improve work-life balance?
  6. How important is work life balance to top talent when assessing new opportunities?
  7. What are some of the most effective or creative “perks” your company offers for work-life balance? Which do you wish they’d offer?

Also last night, we gave away two tickets to the Care.com Care@Work event, Focus Forward to @DrJanice and @leanneclc – Congratulations!

With a dash of worklife flexibility luck @MeghanMBiro may even make an appearance in New York City!

See you next week. We are already looking forward to it. Thanks very much for joining us.