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Wellbeing programs create better connection for employees

impact awardWhile there’s still no clear sense for when the COVID-19 pandemic will end, one thing has come into sharp focus—the implementation of wellbeing programs. The future of work will include both in-person and remote arrangements to accomplish this.  

This new reality has various benefits for employees, including more flexibility, better work-life balance, less time spent commuting, and the freedom to work from anywhere. And a study by Stanford found that working from home increases productivity by 13%. So, there are benefits for employers as well. 

 But employees who don’t see their colleagues every day face a challenge: creating a sense of community and connection. And while it may not seem like a business performance issue at first glance, it actually is. 

Harvard Business Review says: “Employee disconnection is one of the main drivers of voluntary turnover, with lonely employees costing U.S. companies up to $406 billion a year.”  

The opportunity in front of us for wellbeing programs

At HealthFitness, we think there’s a massive opportunity for the corporate fitness industry to rethink how we help employees feel they belong and are cared for.

In fact, through our work with hundreds of companies across many different industries, we’ve seen how wellbeing programs can provide the community and human connection many employees are craving right now.

This means creating experiences where employees will find friendly and familiar faces—both in-person and virtually. This can include group fitness, personal and small group training, health and fitness challenges, health coaching, seminars and classes across a wide variety of fitness and health topics.

The classic in-person approach 

We’re all familiar with the onsite fitness center. While pandemic-era guidelines changed aspects of the experience (e.g., wearing masks, social distancing), they’re still a meaningful way to create connection.

One of our client’s employees, Eddie, said he had a hard time staying active at his job until he joined a new company with an on-site fitness center. There, he began taking fitness classes (which is something he never imagined himself doing). Plus, he also started using the center’s exercise equipment.

But he discovered an unexpected benefit as well.

Eddie noticed how the fitness challenges his company hosted allowed him to connect with coworkers throughout the company. “I’ve made tons of friends at work through the fitness center,” he says.

And the benefits he received went beyond the physical and social.

Eddie said that many of the colleagues he met through fitness challenges provided him with career advice. “The amount of networking I was able to do at the fitness center was remarkable. It’s amazing how many people you can meet while sharing the goal of creating a healthier lifestyle.”

The new virtual approach 

Like Eddie, many employees looked to their local gym or corporate fitness center for a sense of community before COVID-19. Now we know employees will seek this same sense of connection in a virtual format.

That’s certainly been our experience over the last two years.

Like many companies worldwide, we had to pivot fast in the spring of 2020. Our initial goal was to fill clients’ immediate needs and continue offering health and fitness programming in whatever way we could. To make the best of the unprecedented situation.

But then something unexpected happened.

The fitness classes delivered in a virtual format were a big hit with employees. They also allowed us to extend our reach to more employees that may not be located in a building where their employer provided a fitness center. Beyond fitness classes, wellbeing-related offerings like energy and stretch breaks, educational seminars, and even classes for kids opened up more ways to demonstrate that the company cares about their employees. Employees also enjoyed seeing the friendly faces they knew and trusted.

Given this, we think virtual corporate wellbeing experiences are an important way to create connection and community in a hybrid world. There are two primary options.

Live-streamed content

Live-streamed content can be used for live events like fitness classes, stretch breaks, educational seminars, and kid and family classes. They’re broadcast through professional-grade equipment to provide the highest quality streaming, regardless of device, bandwidth, or location.

The shift to working from home has served as the game changer for Sharon, one of our client’s employees, and her health and fitness routine. Sharon takes up to three virtual classes each day. She transfers between group fitness classes, to virtual personal training to mindfulness, nutrition and wellness classes. She regularly meets with her health coach.

As a result, Sharon is more resilient and stronger. “HealthFitness has been one of the most important aspects of my mental and physical wellbeing while working from home.”

Sharon’s weekly virtual personal training sessions with her HealthFitness trainer, Jim, keeps her connected and moving after knee surgery. This allows her to keep getting stronger in her health journey.

Not only does this benefit Sharon physically, there’s also the same sense of connection that Eddie described. When you know other colleagues are also participating in these experiences, you have a point of much-needed connection.

Video conferencing

Video conferencing offers real-time connections with wellness professionals for personal and small group training. It is also useful for nutrition coaching, ergonomic consultations, and movement efficiency assessments.

This approach will broaden based on employers I’ve talked with over the last 18 months. Employers want data-driven integration, segmenting, and targeting capabilities with programs that address subjects. Subjects like stress, resiliency, mindfulness, sleep, safety, and financial wellbeing.

Eventually, because of this data and technology integration, employers will offer this kind of programming wherever it works best for employees. That may be in person, at home, on the production line, on the go—whatever employees need.

This level of targeting has a side benefit. Employees can connect around common wellness priorities or goals, which again creates the sense of community many of us are longing for.

Regardless of format, wellbeing programs must be front and center

In their report Future of Work Trends in 2022, Korn Ferry says that “organizations that are leading the way in wellbeing embed it in all aspects of their people strategy. Research shows that this has a positive impact on retention, absenteeism levels, productivity, and overall satisfaction.” 

With all of these potential impacts, it’s time for corporate wellness programs to adapt to the permanently altered business landscape by: 

  • Recognizing how classic wellness offerings like fitness centers and programs can solve new workplace challenges, like the lack of connection 
  • Introducing virtual wellbeing offerings that employees can access when and where it’s convenient 
  • Offering a broader range of wellbeing programs that help employees connect with like-minded colleagues and create a sense of community 

When companies take these steps, they show employees they belong to an organization that genuinely cares. 

 

 

Ann Wyatt is Chief Client Success Leader at Health Fitness, a Trustmark company. With a holistic approach that extends beyond fitness, HealthFitness is a proven leader in engaging and connecting people both on-site and online, to create a strong community of health. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.  

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

Workplace Wellness: The Story Starts With Healthy Culture

(Editor’s Note: Chris Boyce is one of our featured guests at #TChat Events Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014. Join us to discuss employee engagement issues! See details in the preview post: “Does Your Workforce Feel the Love?“)

Written by Chris Boyce, CEO, Virgin Pulse

Headlines are a funny thing. They often do a terrible job of telling a story. Earlier this year, the RAND Corporation published what headlines described as a sobering report on the state of workplace wellness.

At first glance, these initiatives appeared to be falling far short of the mark. But (as is so often the case) headlines only tell a tiny slice of the story. To find the truth, we must look beneath the surface.

Wellness 1.0: A Flawed Model

It’s correct that the traditional concept of wellness is broken. Employers have been overly prescriptive with wellness strategies — relying far too heavily on specific programs, health risk assessments (HRAs) and biometric screenings. These tactics typically produce short-term gains, but they lose on long-term impact. This “Wellness 1.0” approach clearly has failed.

The Power Of Wellness 2.0

Traditional wellness has struggled because it overlooks a critical issue — telling employees how to act is not the same thing as empowering employees to make their own healthy behavioral choices, and supporting them along the way. In short, for workforce wellness to gain a meaningful foothold and make a lasting impact, culture must come first.

How can companies accomplish this mission? In theory, it’s simple. But in reality, it can be a challenge. Developing a culture-first mentality means focusing on employees’ Total Quality of Life — including physical, mental, social, emotional, and financial health. It’s not just about convincing them to join a weight loss program or complete an annual HRA. It’s about connecting with them in ways that put lifestyle changes within easy reach, and encouraging them support one another through the process of transformation.

Creating a culture geared toward Total Quality of Life requires solutions that are engaging, social and fun, so employees naturally weave them into daily activity. It means moving beyond traditional wellness boundaries by connecting participants with a highly available online platform. It means providing “anytime” access to smart tools and resources that comfortably fit into an employee’s world — making it simple, interactive and rewarding to choose healthier options on a continuous basis.

Success Factors: Walking The Walk

Virgin Pulse Total Quality of Life Employee Engagement whitepaper cover

Download the related Pulse Paper now

Every Total Quality of Life strategy should incorporate healthy goals as foundational elements. For example, it’s essential to encourage nutritious eating habits and regular physical activity. But it’s also important for employers to demonstrate commitment to those goals by offering things like healthy cafeteria options and access to onsite workout facilities, so employees can easily integrate these choices into their daily routine.

Other elements can take Total Quality of Life even further. For example, classes that help employees establish and manage a 401k, or learn smart retirement savings strategies demonstrate an even deeper commitment to workforce well-being. The result? The more employers invest in employees’ personal and professional growth, the more committed, engaged and productive those employees will be. In short, a holistic approach is a wise investment in future business performance.

Measurable Improvement: It’s A Matter Of Time

Of course, cultural shifts take time. But they’re far more effective if employees believe you care about them — not just as “human resources,” but as whole humans. Employer commitment is key. Once employees move forward with wellness objectives, and begin to reach early milestones, they’ll start feeling better about themselves. Soon, personal achievements like weight loss or community volunteer involvement begin translating into direct payoffs at work. You’ll see more passion, creativity, and focus on the job. And when you reinforce these positive outcomes, it will lead to even more ambitious objectives.

Rewriting The Wellness Story

What headlines you should expect for Wellness 2.0? This next-generation approach to wellness, focused on Total Quality of Life, is helping companies shift their approach to a culture of continuous engagement. So keep looking for stories of individual and business transformation, fueled by more productive, loyal employees. Those stories are real, and ready to be told.

(Editor’s Note: Looking for more details about how to engage and support your workforce? Download the latest Virgin Pulse Paper, “Total Quality of Life: A Roadmap for Employee Engagement” by TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro.)

Chris-Boyce_color_web2(About the Author: Chris Boyce is CEO of Virgin Pulse. He is an accomplished technology entrepreneur who brings more than 15 years of consumer loyalty, enterprise and consumer software experience to Virgin Pulse. Leveraging Virgin’s philosophy that business should be a force for good, Chris’ leadership has been instrumental in guiding Virgin Pulse’s development of market-leading, technology-based products and services that help employers improve workforce health, boost employee engagement, and enhance corporate culture. Chris has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Empowering Employees in 3D: Webinar with Virgin Pulse

When people go to work, they don’t leave their lives behind — so why do employers expect them to?

This kind of one-dimensional thinking is exactly what led us to the dismal workforce engagement levels we see today.

Fortunately, there are ways to turn this around. Research and real-world examples reveal that when employees are encouraged to develop in mind, body and spirit, they become more focused, productive and committed to their work. It sounds like common sense, but putting it into practice can be a challenge.

VirginWebinar (2)So, what’s the secret? How can business and HR leaders more fully engage employees through cultures that celebrate the “whole person”?

Learn from experts at a special webinar on Thursday, November 7, at 2pm ET/11 am PT:
“Total Quality of Life: A Roadmap for Employee Engagement.”

David Coppins, President, Virgin Pulse Client Services & Member Engagement, and Meghan M. Biro, CEO of TalentCulture will share insights to help you:

•  Build a compelling case for “total quality of life” initiatives;
•  Create a winning employee empowerment strategy;
•  Drive authentic engagement across the workforce.

Virgin-Pulse

Register for the webinar now

“Igniting employee passion and performance should be within every company’s reach.” Meghan says. “We’re thrilled to work side-by-side with Virgin Pulse in helping business leaders learn from one another about how to successfully transform their cultures. It’s all about changing lives for good — across the world of work.”

Throughout the webinar, attendees are invited to join members of the TalentCulture community on Twitter, as we share ideas and questions using the #TChat hashtag.

Don’t miss this dynamic informative event! Register now, and join us November 7th.

Participating Organizations

Learn more about Virgin Pulse, and follow @VirginPulse on Twitter.
Learn more about TalentCulture, and follow @TalentCulture on Twitter.

Virgin Pulse + TalentCulture Team Up To Champion Workforce Engagement

Changing The Engagement Game Together

Nearly four years ago, we launched TalentCulture on a simple premise — that talent-minded professionals can transform the “world of work” through purposeful social connections. Our vibrant community continues to grow and evolve, fueled by three core values:

•  Desire to advance the “human side” of business;
•  Passion for innovation;
•  Commitment to open collaboration.

In this spirit we welcome Virgin Pulse to the TalentCulture circle — where we’ll work hand-in-hand to help develop better business organizations from the inside out.

Virgin Pulse — Not Your Father’s Wellness Program

Virgin-Pulse

Learn more about Virgin Pulse

Part of Sir Richard Branson’s famed Virgin Group, Virgin Pulse (formerly Virgin HealthMiles) is the leading workplace health engagement platform. Every day, its “Total Quality of Life” approach empowers more than 1,000,000 participants to improve their health in ways that are meaningful, fun and sustainable. This elevates employee performance and retention, while simultaneously building stronger, more resilient organizations.

The Virgin Pulse philosophy fits naturally with TalentCulture’s emphasis on “seeing employees in 3D.” Together, we aim to advance the concept of “bringing your whole self to work.”

Everybody Plays — Everybody Wins!

What does this alliance mean for you? In the months ahead, look for TalentCulture and Virgin Pulse to:

•  Examine core engagement issues facing today’s business and HR leaders;
•  Investigate the connection between healthy employees and business performance;
•  Exchange benchmarks and insights from our respective communities;
•  Share thought leadership that is shaping engagement standards and practices.

Today’s organizational challenges are highly complex. There are no easy answers, but diverse ideas can lead to innovative solutions. That’s why we welcome everyone to the TalentCulture table — including HR technology and services vendors. We believe that this inclusive environment encourages effective problem solving, and accelerates everyone’s path to progress.

Our relationship with Virgin Pulse promises to add an exciting new level of depth and energy to the TalentCulture conversation. We invite you to join us each day on our combined social channels, as we explore workplace issues that affect us all.

(Editor’s Note:  Save the date for a very special #TChat double-header (BlogTalk Radio interview and Twitter chat) with Virgin Pulse CEO, Chris Boyce on Wednesday, October 23!)

Image Credit: by Mike Baird on Flickr

Work, Life and Peace: #TChat Recap

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all. We will forever fondly remember her humor, warmth and wisdom.)

The TalentCulture World of Work community was rockin the Twitter stream yesterday, as #TChat-ters tackled the elusive quest for work-life balance. But before we delve into the pearls of wisdom that emerged from the chat, I’m happy to report some community news.

There’s an evolution taking place in the overall scope and reach of TalentCulture, as we move forward into our 3rd year. It’s not just about our popular Wednesday night Twitter chats, anymore. You may be noticing more content and channel choices, along with increased social media momentum. This action is purposeful – intended to add value for every one of us who participates in the weekly chats. We hope this enriches your community experience, and inspires you to invite others to participate. The more the merrier – and the richer, more diverse and more rewarding everyone’s experience will be.

“Work Life Week” in Review

#TChat Highlights

NOTE: To see specific highlights from yesterday’s “work life balance” #TChat session, watch the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.

Click to hear this week’s #TChat Radio interview

The #TChat crew came out of the gate with a discussion on how we track competing priorities in today’s social world and the types of HR technology that are crucial for prioritizing and relationship building. How do we use technology to separate the wheat from the chaff, and infuse meaning into our relationships without drowning in sensory overload?

Multiple people mentioned Yammer – a tool that makes it possible for businesses to create their own social networking sites and incorporate tools to help streamline workflows. This seems to be a big favorite for organizing technology and communications, although some said Yammer isn’t fully understood yet, and its capacity to organize still seems to be unfolding.

Most surprising, when speaking about planning and organizing ideas, classic paper “sticky notes” entered the discussion. It provided a chuckle and an interesting application of caveman like ideas melding with technology. Other ideas for ways to better manage workload and minimize stress included the simplicity of saying “no” to something that will only bring stress with it, and the need to recognize and respond when poor planning and others’ decisions have a direct impact your work.

A resounding proportion of contributors agreed that we are humans who are deeply connected “in real time” with and through our mobile devices.  Many extolled the virtues of virtual work environments and tools. For example, social media phone apps truly make life more livable, with work at our fingertips. But what constitutes smart usage? How do we control what I call the “expectation of instant gratification” when that bell tolls on the phone?

That led to the idea that too often, we get caught up in business demands and lose sight of the “people” part of the work equation. Perhaps it is possible to enjoy a superior quality of life and still be productive. This prompted discussion around balancing our working and living experience with more consciousness. How? Lots of talk about meditation, deep breathing (which I endorse, as you can see in the attached video), and taking time to move beyond the virtual realm and meet work contacts in person.

Staying focused is a skill, but being mindful of the choices we make is also a decision. Sometimes, the very technology that connects us also allows just enough separation between work and family so that we can accomplish several goals from both worlds, almost simultaneously.

The question is, how far can we push that without suffering the downside consequences of multitasking? Ah, now that’s the ontological question of our #TChat times. And each of us is ultimately responsible for finding the best answer for our skills, sensibility and situation. The answer is not just about external tools, structure and processes. Ultimately, the answer comes from within.

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NOTE: To see specific highlights from yesterday’s “work life balance” #TChat session, watch the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.

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Closing Notes & Highlights Slideshow

Did you miss the #TChat preview? Look here.

SPECIAL THANKS from TalentCulture to Judy Martin (who also wrote the recap above) and Cali Williams Yost – the stars of this week’s #TChat triple-header” (Google Hangout – BlogTalkRadio – Twitter Chat). You bring passion and insight to every interaction. Thanks for your commitment and contributions to our community!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: If this #TChat session inspired you to write about social learning or the value of work life balance, we’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (at #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll add it to our archives. There are many voices in this community, with many ideas worth sharing. Let’s capture as many of them as possible.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Join us next week, as we get into the spirit of the season with a very special theme, “Organizations and Social Good.” Tune in to #TChat Radio on Tuesday, Dec 11 at 7:30pm ET, when Mashable Community Manager Meghan Peters, and SVP of Social Impact at The Huffington Post/AOL, Brian Sirgutz talk with Kevin and Meghan about how organizations express gratitude and share with employees and the community at-large. Then join the #TChat  Twitter discussion on Wednesday, Dec 12, 7-8pm ET to share your ideas and opinions. Look for a full preview early next week via @TalentCulture and #TChat. Thanks!

Image Credit: Julia Freeman-Woolpert at stock.xchng

#TChat INSIGHTS Slide Show: Work Life Balance

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#TChat INSIGHTS: The Quaint Notion of Work Life Balance

Storified by TalentCulture · Thu, Dec 06 2012 07:23:05

#socialhrcamp and #TWI (tweeting while intoxicated)… #tchat influencer http://pic.twitter.com/5MjfkxXOlevyrecruits
Consumers are brand ambassadors. – #Recruiting 3.0 @jeffreytmoore @meghanmbiro at #socialhrcamp #tchat http://pic.twitter.com/UeHIdBXJSocialSalima
Q1 How do u teach competing priorities in today’s high tech social world? #tchatJudy Martin
A1. Having individual, office and division goals helps me deal with competing priorities #tchatGuy Davis
A1: The ability to optimize ideation, focus and to learn to use stressors and challenges to catalyze potential is real #tchatIrene Becker
A1: I believe that we have not even touched the surface of what we can do/accomplish while enjoying quality of life #tchatIrene Becker
A1. Dear 3M, Do you have a gig for a professional stickie user? #tchatMichael Clark
Love those stickies! :) MT @ReCenterMoment: A1 I do my absolute best thinking while running & track by writing notes on stickies #tchatExpertus
A1. Stickies and pen: Never leave home without them. #tchatMichael Clark
A1. if you say yes, give a realistic timeline so you arent left overwhelmed and scrambling #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1. I do my absolute best thinking while running, tracking by stopping to write notes on stickies. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: Lists help – know what you want to accomplish and check your progress in the moment of choice #tchatAlli Polin
A1. I have a desk in my office dedicated to stickies. #tchatMichael Clark
A1. I have lists, lists for my lists, digital lists for my paper lists, paper lists for my digital lists. #tchatMichael Clark
A1 As an #ENFP I’ve had to learn to embrace lists. Hate them. But have to have them. #TChatChina Gorman
A1: Say “No” and Keep Good Relations #tchatNissrine Ghannoum
A1: If an email really can’t wait, someone will pick up the phone or come find you. #tchatAlli Polin
A1..try to do everything and you end up doing nothing..that has always served me well #tchatTrevor Acedne
A1. Research has proven that we spend half our time head tripping (spacing out) #tchatMichael Clark
A1 Focus on your output:what outcome is important to you & then break it down into small steps – mini actions that will get you there #tchatPrabhjit |KaurSkills
A1: If you try to do everything… most will not be your best effort – turn off to focus #tchatAlli Polin
A1. Where is your attention and energy flowing moment-to-moment. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: Set a couple of specific times during the day to answer emails and return phone calls. #TChatRobert Rojo
A1. The most essential skill: tracking moment-to-moment attention and energy. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: Competing priorities? This is where a great team matters – both in and out of the office #tchatAlli Polin
A1. You would not believe how far away from the short-term goal I can get in seven minutes. #tchatMichael Clark
A1. Mary Ellen showed me @Basecamp and I’m a little in love w/ the collaboration. Other than that, Project Pro is my best friend. #TChatCrystal Miller
A1: Have a schedule, know your priorities, be able to multitask and put out fires! #TChatRobert Rojo
A1. I’m using seven-minute timer on my phone. Set goal, hit timer, asses what happened when alarm sounds. Repeat. #tchatMichael Clark
I hear you!! +1 MIL @gingerconsult: A1: Boundaries – no is not a dirty word when you need to keep to task #tchatMeghan M. Biro
A1 you don’t teach competing priorites. You teach being effective, in that moment, moving on. Some self-knowledge re energy helps. #tchatFranny Oxford
A1 Focus and finish. #tchatRoger Veliquette
A1: Competing priorities always come down to choice – you can’t be the one to do it all #tchatAlli Polin
A1: Set priorities for yourself. Handle the most important ones first. #tchatRob McGahen
A1: Boundaries – no is not a dirty word when you need to keep to task #tchatJen Olney
@rezlady A1 My priorities are not in competition; they are more like in rank-and-file. #tchatSheree Van Vreede
A1. I must continuously recenter my performance, real-time tracking as I go. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: Priorities don’t compete if you know at your core what’s most important to do in any moment, and why. #TChatMaya Mathias
A1: When competing priorities are interactions IRL & the bing of your phone, be a role model & ignore it #tchatAlli Polin
A1: strategic priorities shldnt change due to tech, but tactical execution will. #tchatStephen Van Vreede
A1 Make planning a priority over firefighting. Let a few fires burn for a minute. #tchatRoger Veliquette
A1. Otherwise, same as it ever was: Teach preparation in outlining goals, prepare workspace, prioritize, assign deadlines/plan time #TChatCrystal Miller
A1) Competing priorities – gives you the test first and learn the lessons later. #tchatTom Spiglanin
A1: Priorities…what is most important and needs to be addressed gets done first and foremost #tchatJen Olney
A1 multitasking often seems like self imposed attention deficit disorder. #TChatChina Gorman
A1: Leaders at all levels must MODEL what they preach – walk the walk! It benefits the whole organization!!! #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A1. Moment-to-moment performance tracking has never been more challenging. #tchatMichael Clark
A1. Theoretically, the “high-tech” should make it a little easier to collaborate during prioritization phase. In Theory. #TChatCrystal Miller
A1 Impossible to teach multitasking anymore. Important tasks float to the top of the pile. People have to come talk to me now #TChatEnzo Guardino
A1. I have a schedule. I try to stick to it. This ensures I don’t forget anything but also makes sure I don’t over do it #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1: Figure out the highest priority and tackle that and go from there. #tchatRob McGahen
A1. in a age where instant gratification makes you feel like everything needs to be done RIGHT then, you have to set boundaries #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1: You don’t need to teach multitasking…and if you need to learn, you’re already too late. Ask your iPad wielding toddler. #TChatTalent Generation
Q2 What kind of HR Tech could you not live without, and how has it changed relationship building and productivity for you? #TchatJudy Martin
A2 maybe we should do a #TChat on leveraging Yammer! Sounds like lots of experience in group. #TchatCali Williams Yost
A2. Tech, like all opportunities and challenges, is a gigantic energetic opportunity to transform our performance. #tchatMichael Clark
A2 At the moment LinkedIn mobile app. Productivity Faster way to reach more people in merging markets (BRIC) #TChatSimplestream
A2 follow the medium that best engages individuals & preference – HR systems for operational tasks i.e pay & mail,phone,virtual meets #tchatPrabhjit |KaurSkills
A2. Tech and twitter are making me more aware of my power of attention. #tchatMichael Clark
A2. People before tech, and everything else for that matter (including $$$) #tchatMichael Clark
Oops meant to say A2 to my last answer. Not Q2! Sorry! First time participating in chat on iPhone! Tech I love but not perfect. #TchatCali Williams Yost
A2. We must never fo
rget that at best tech helps people. #tchatMichael Clark
A2 except for twitter chats & promoting brand, I don’t use twitter all that much any more. Facebook more fun. #TchatChina Gorman
A2. Behind every device is a beautiful human being with a story. #tchatMichael Clark
A2: in a widely dispersed and decentralized organization I am finding MS SharePoint to be invaluable in creating sense of community #tchatmatthew papuchis
A2: Online market surveys provide access to several “binders of data” in the comfort of your laptop. #tchatSalary School
A2 I can lead workshops at 3, 4, 5am and then go running, come home and take a nap until 8am when my “real” day begins #TChatMelissa Lamson
A2: I would find it difficult to live without social media as I believe it is a critical learning tool & opp to better orgs & wrld #tchatIrene Becker
A2. Smartphone, Google tablet, Laptop or desktop, I need them all have to connect to So Me and email to do my job #tchatGuy Davis
A2 #webex #gotomeeting all online teaching tools #TChatMelissa Lamson
@judymartin8 A2. Hard to argue against mobile phones as the most impactful piece of technology. #tchatJason Ebbing
A2: not “Hr tech” but phone and Skype still best for true client engagement #TChatStephen Van Vreede
A2. I can’t do without #Twitter, and I’ve only been here four months. #tchatMichael Clark
A2. social HR/online talent communities have helped me really learn more about my candidates outside of their resume. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2 @TheOneCrystal is right. In terms of hardware, can’t live w/out my smartphone. #TChatChina Gorman
A2. I COULD live without all of it, but the #smartphone sure has made my life easier, more fun, & much more socially connected #TChatCrystal Miller
A2: Online calendar in which I can maintain both work and personal commitments – everything in one place. #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A2 not in #HR but can’t live without my social media apps to stay connected to my brilliant friends. #TChatChina Gorman
A2. oh, and @wilsonhcg has a great ATS platform that I most def. couldn’t function without on a daily basis :) #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2 Can’t live without our proprietary Web Apps. Makes dealing with 3,000+ employees home/abroad a doddle. Months of work now in days #TChatEnzo Guardino
A2. social HR tech, online talent communities, thought leadership groups, web based platform like @adp #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2: Some form of a computer. It’s easy for me to stay organized with an electronic calendar. #tchatRob McGahen
Q3 Hyperconnectivity is expected for those communicating in the world of work. How do you separate the signal/noise? #TChatJudy Martin
A3. Rhythm of performance transformation: see-assess-transform, see-assess-transform… for the rest of our lives… #tchatMichael Clark
A3. We’ve got to dig psychological ditches until the Seeing Moment strikes. #tchatMichael Clark
A3. Interesting response to Q3 – split between ‘sit back/observe/quieten your mind’ and ‘turn it off/avoid’. #TChatMaya Mathias
A3. We must realize that “work-life balance” is a hazy idea in our minds creating unnecessary stress, tension and unhappiness. #tchatMichael Clark
A3: The energy I use to complete projects (using tech or not) is how it is perceived. When I cannot give good attention, I rest #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A3: Balance is impossible if you spend all of your spare time decoding… get clear on what matters most #tchatAlli Polin
A3 Pause – always helps matters be put into perspective – reflect – identify who can help – be supportive & signpost – don’t indulge #tchatPrabhjit |KaurSkills
A3. FB: Whatever. LinkedIn: Sales directory and pipeline. Twitter: Real-time engagement and transformation. #tchatMichael Clark
A3 Stay focused on what’s important to you. Waste your time & it will show. Every tree bears the fruit of it’s labor. #tchatBeverly Davis
A3: I set my intention with each project, and use tech to support the *intention* with my *attention* #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A3: Noise adds to our stress, signal pulls us in to the conversation because we connect #tchatAlli Polin
A3 Be Human! You cn be active online and for work but- think about how long this tech had been around #simplicity #TchatMegan Rene Burkett
A3 – as a communications professional this is a question I ask myself everyday. It’s always a moving target too #tchatmatthew papuchis
A3 Turn off all devices for at least a few hours every day. Connect with your friends & family without distractions. #tchatHolly Chessman
A3. Speed reading and selective hearing helps :) #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3: Don’t get mired in the crap that surrounds you at work. It just wastes your time. #tchatRob McGahen
A3: Sit back and observe and learn first – then strategize. #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A3. Do you know how to stop thoughts? #tchatMichael Clark
A3. You want to cut down noise in your life? Stop thoughts, silence your mind. #tchatMichael Clark
A3. I’m OCD about deleting/archiving things. I do not want to see a ton of messages in my inbox/text #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3 block time in your calendar 4 hobbies, friends, down-time, kissing your partner… #TChatMelissa Lamson
A3. Sometimes have to tune out or not respond to everything simultaneously. #tchatTerri Klass
A3) Be clear on time-sink vs value add… for me FB is usually time-sink #tchatAlli Polin
A3: Understanding the task at hand can help you avoid dealing with the garbage (and most of it is garbage). #tchatRob McGahen
A3. We can only do one thing per moment. One moment, one thing, one moment, one thing… Track that. #tchatMichael Clark
A3: Most of it is just noise. Learn to ignore it. #tchatRob McGahen
There is no replacement for face to face. @EnZzzoo A3 Multitasking is out. If I’m meeting face-to-face I try to avoid tech… #TChatRoger Veliquette
A3: Schedule time on different mediums – focus. #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A3: The only way to separate the signal from the noise is by avoiding being baited by questions like that one. #TChatMatt Charney
A3. screen the signals – determine quickly if it is relevant – pass on what isn’t and focus on what is #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3 Grabbing meditative moments for some deep breathing – it reduces heart rate and stress instead of shooting from the hip. #TchatJudy Martin
A3: Know what matters to you. SoMe isn’t just about chatting it up (well, for some it is) #tchatAlli Polin
A3. For me signal is an employer like many of you who needs recruiting svcs, noise is all those people trying to sell me stuff #tchatGuy Davis
A3: Focus on one at a time and limit the time on each #SM #TChatLori~TranslationLady
A3: Cut through the BS…if it doesn’t help you be efficient and productive, it is not worth the time #tchatJen Olney
A3. When I can’t think anymore? I shut it off. But truly, I don’t try to “filter” all that much – I tend to take in what I need to. #TChatCrystal Miller
A3 Multitasking is out. If I’m meeting face-to-face I try to avoid tech…only pen & paper. Slower pace but it’s more personal #TChatEnzo Guardino
A3: Be your own best filter of signal/noise. Configure & have filtering tools serve you, not the other way around. #TChatMaya Mathias
A3: Know what matters most in life/work, then invest time/energy there. The rest will come back around if it’s impt. #TChatMaya Mathias
Q4 We have to train others in what I call the CCC – co-creation of a conscious conversation about boundaries and priorities – #Tchat.Judy Martin
A4. We take an
annual two-week retreat to Big Sur, CA without devices and internet connections. #tchatMichael Clark
A4 So is it up to me to control expectation & admit what will be compromised by giving in to the ‘now’? > @ReCenterMoment #tchat”Prabhjit |KaurSkills
A4. We live with a subtle and persistent tension and expectation to be connected. #tchatMichael Clark
A4. Everyone (including me and you) wants everything NOW. #tchatMichael Clark
A4. There needs to be a universal change in expectations. We need to create more realistic turnaround times. #tchatTerri Klass
A4. Large, medium, small organizations and educational communities are looking at Tech-SoMe saying: Now what are we supposed to do? #tchatMichael Clark
A4: Hard lessons in circadian rhythm shifts and learning to manage those boundaries. #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A4: Global teams push us more towards checking email in the middle of the night #tchatAlli Polin
A4: I have had clients who have dropped the ball on projects, resulting in my having to live w/o sleep to finish by deadline~UGH! #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A4: I’ve worked w/recruiters that call me (candidate) 20 minutes after sending me their email asking if I got their msg #fail #tchatAlli Polin
A4: It’s common to jump to a solution! I’ve done it lots of times, in professional and personal life. I’ve learned to slow down. #tchatMark Salke
A4. It would be helpful if everyone had a better understanding of the natural cycles of human performance. #tchatMichael Clark
A4: I should have walked away b4 tak’g last job. Choppy recruitg was a precursor to poor mgt. #tchatbillallemon
A4 I am human, an individual it makes me sad that the immediacy of a response would ruin a relationship- I don’t do the work of a Dr. #tchatMegan Rene Burkett
A4: In a world where a four hour delay ticks people off, it’s hard not to annoy some folks #tchatAlli Polin
A4: Don’t get back to me? No problem, I’m moving on without you. #tchatRob McGahen
A4 Lost business opportunity to secure CEO due to lack of enough timely information to make a qualified decision.#TChatSimplestream
A4 I hear everyday about the frustration of not getting timely valuable/usuable feedback #tchatCASUDI
A4. I once forwarded a job reclassification request without having all the data. That cost me bigtime. NEVER again. #tchatGuy Davis
A4 Often about sensemaking – interpretation & expectation, which on reflection is about listening to the request & understanding need #tchatPrabhjit |KaurSkills
A4: I have delays due to time differences & tech overload… set expectations with clients up front (re: time) #tchatAlli Polin
A4: Cannot go backward…learn from mistakes and disappointments and move forward. #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A4: There are times when some react in the heat of the moment without thinking about the response – that is problematic #tchatJen Olney
@gingerconsult @judymartin8 A4: The best answer is the right answer. Next best, a wrong answer. The only wrong answer is no answer. #tchatTodd MacGrath
A4: I think many ppl fall victim to knee jerk reactions and technology has exacerbated this. When in doubt, use old 24-hour rule #tchatmatthew papuchis
A4: I can’t see ‘too early’ being a problem, unless doing something too quick yields mistakes. #tchatRob McGahen
A4 Over the years, I’ve learned the wisdom of slowing down & reflecting before responding. It continues to pay off, even in crises. #TChatMaya Mathias
A4 Not asking the right questions isn’t the fault of soc med or tech. #TChatChina Gorman
A4 I’m nerdy & squeeze a lot from tech. Often business partners can’t keep up. I do a lot of back-peddling but not a massive problem #TChatEnzo Guardino
A4. I’ve had plenty of employees upset with me if their managers didn’t approve payroll before lock out. never a good situation. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A4.yes!just posted a blog today about candidates needing to be more responsive otherwise another candidate will snatch your dream job #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A4: I’ve been slow to respond to people that get caught in my stream. Unintentional but do they feel slighted? #tchatAlli Polin

                                              Q5: What are the steps you use to deepen, improve your relationships in today’s world of work?

A5 Be authentic. People know and feel when you are true to what you believe. #TChatLori~TranslationLady
A5. 140 characters can be transparent, revealing people in profound ways. #tchatMichael Clark
A5. don’t let titles scare you.people are people-just talk to them openly.You’ll be surprised how laid back high status people can be #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5 Show you care & really are interested /want their success #tchatCASUDI
A5. Be authentic. Let people know what you care about. Then be sure to ask them too. #tchatTerri Klass
A5. Lose your fear of engaging people that you find interesting. We are all the same! #tchatMichael Clark
A5. FOLLOW UP QUESTIONS. don’t let conversation die. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: Locate those who want more than a virtual friend or retweets and show ’em I care #TchatMegan Rene Burkett
A5. Step one: Engage via SoMe. Step two: Engage via phone/skype. Step three: Engage IRL #tchatMichael Clark
A5. be yourself, say what you want, be open. you’ll find people w similar values who want to engage in convo with you #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: Talk to people! Be yourself. But don’t forget to get the job done. #tchatRob McGahen
A5. F2F mtgs outside the office for coffee or lunch and discuss needs of their (univ) dept. and how career ctr can help #tchatGuy Davis
A5: Old-school phone conversations and real-life meetings trump all else. Clients love knowing they can trust you! #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A5: Get to know WHO people are, not only WHAT they do #tchatAlli Polin
A5. I look forward to collaborating professionally with many of you. We have important work to do. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: Same thing I did without tech- show the real me, stimulate meaningful dialogue, continually chat with my soul mates :D #TChatMegan Rene Burkett
A5: Getting out from behind the desk, talking to ppl, try to learn and find out what’s going on in their lives. #TChatRobert Rojo
A5: Focus on giving rather than receiving. #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A5: Focus on giving more than receiving. #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A5: Be consistently transparent & genuine at work = better chance of reciprocity of same by co-workers. Relationships Improve #TChatKeith C Rogers
A5. #TChat’s taking engagement and collaboration off devices and into real-time-real-life. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: Being present, listening deeply & keeping it real. #TChatMaya Mathias
A5. If i’ve completed my work early I make sure I ask other coworkers “how can I help you” they appreciate it. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: IRL is a gift – maximize the time together. #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A5: Pay it forward. Always. #TChatMatt Charney
A5 Join a company based on its culture and values and if they align with yours. The relationships will develop easily after that. #TChatTheJobChaser
A5 Be helpful, supportive & giving without expectation. Engage & build trust. Work together & value team input. Be yourself. Inspire #tchatPrabhjit |KaurSkills
A5. Go out to lunch or coffee and share non-work stuff. #tchatTerri Klass
A5. I try to participate in employee engagement situations: I.e. volunteering, ornament exchange, s
ocial media team competitions #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5. Best way to improve relationships in world of work: Don’t stop engaging. Ever. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: continue to learn, understand and appreciate different cultures, etc. to show respect for colleagues and clients around globe #tchatmatthew papuchis
A5: Doing the best job possible is the best thing you can do. #tchatRob McGahen
A5. Tweetchats are a great way to get to know others and their views. #tchatTerri Klass
A5. I work remotely so it’s extremely important to pick up the phone (even for something stupid) and actually talk to someone #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: Focused listening – Intently listening to the person speaking rather than preparing my next comment #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
a5: Focus plays a huge part! Giving other people my focused attention matters #tchatAlli Polin
A5: This doesn’t always work, but I never take myself ‘too’ seriously. #tchatMark Salke
A5. I try not to get too sucked into my black hole of work and occasionally “step out” and engage in casual conversation #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5 There is no substitute for IRL #tchatCASUDI
A5: Make real time for real connection: listen, respond, ask questions… #tchatAlli Polin
A5. Being present, listening deeply and keeping it real. #TChatMaya Mathias
A5 I call my recipe “POLARITIES” > Politeness, Clarity, Smilies. :-) My correspondence blueprint…friendly and to the point #TChatEnzo Guardino
A5. Go beyond the twitter picture. Let others know me personally, not only the brand I represent. Though I do love my company. :) #TChatLexie Forman Ortiz

Only Human: 7 Keys to Survival…Welcome Judy Martin!

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all. Below is the first post Judy contributed to our blog. This reflects her spirit, which is captured in an extensive body of work across multiple media outlets and social channels. We will forever fondly remember Judy’s warmth, wisdom and humor.)

Hello, TalentCulture Community.  My name is Judy Martin, and I am the newest addition to the team. Below is my latest post from my blog.  I am very excited to be a contributor and look forward to what’s ahead!

I’m only human despite being a self-proclaimed work life pundit. Fess-up time. My life has been less about the work life merge, and more about life and survival lately. As an entrepreneur and freelance journalist navigating a sudden health care mishap, for a time I felt like the gal looks to your left; cloistered and wrapped in my own stuff, due to sudden partial facial paralysis. Now in the healing process, I’m hoping that this post might help others as work life flexibility was the greatest key to moving forward.

I had entered The Dark Night of the Soul, as the 16th century Mystic, Saint John of the Cross wrote about. No where to go but inside and surrender to the moment. Such a seclusion is simply the norm of human nature whilst enduring such episodes.

But even in this rapture of emotional turmoil I was reminded of the words of American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, the author of When Things Fall ApartHeart Advice for Difficult Times

If we’re willing to give up hope that insecurity and pain can be exterminated, then we can have the courage to relax with the groundlessness of our situation. This is the first step on the path. Without giving up hope that there’s somewhere better to be, that there is someone better to be – we will never relax with where we are or who we are.

http://www.worklifenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/iStock_woman-in-bandagesJPEG2.jpg

Radical Acceptance in the Moment

This is called radical acceptance; but it’s in the moment – and that moment changes as healing emerges. As we hit the depths of the chaotic waters of our being, some aberration occurs that shifts our perspective. For me, it was the realization that despite my appearance, I had a story to share that might help others in similar circumstances whose career was on the line.  I could not appear on Tv for a while, could barely see out of one eye, suffered with headaches and exhaustion –  and had to completely change my working scenario for nearly two months. But, there was a story.

I’ll spare you the gory and painful details. What happened is less important than how I dealt with it, toward maintaining some sort of work life balance. I haven’t blogged much because the collision of side effects was daunting. It was hard to get out of bed, let alone see. My work-life social media community checked in – from time-to-time – inquiring about the lapse in posting to my Work Life Nation blog.  Soon the questions were building like a house of cards about to tumble.

“Haven’t seen you on Twitter, what’s going on?”

“Sent you that book a while back, do you still plan to review it?”

“It seems impossible to get a lunch date with you. Why do you keep rescheduling?”

“You have cancelled three major work life conferences. Fess up.”

Surrendering to the Human Condition and Fessing Up

No – I wasn’t dying. But there were no guarantees the malady would not leave me with scars of paralysis or other issues. So…after some prodding by colleagues, I felt an obligation to share how I navigated the intersection of work life and sudden illness. After all, that’s what I signed up to do here at Judy Martin’s Work Life Nation, although it’s been more like Work Sleep Nation for a while.

I knew upon the occurrence that I was dealing with what could last a few weeks – to a potentially long term, even life-altering disability or deformity. My response involved lots of crying, surrender to the situation and then my survival instincts kicked in. I’ve been a reporter for 20-plus years and I was going to systematically figure out the fastest track toward healing while mustering up enough energy to work; albeit that workload was cut by 50-75% in the first few weeks of the illness. The first lesson – my work life scenario had to change and I had to adopt an even more flexible working model for the short term.

7 Keys for the Work Life Merge when Navigating Illness

This sudden illness brought me to my knees and forced me to tap a deep inner strength that coddled my sanity along the way. I sat down and gave thought to the most important priorities, everything else was put on the back burner in stages. There was no choice but to merge the work life scenario and become even more flexible that I was before.  It meant taking only certain assignments, even if they didn’t pay as well. Planning naps every day  – twice a day. And somehow fitting in doctors visits twice a week. As an independent contractor, I govern my work in a flexible manner. But suddenly, my workload and income was contingent on how well I was healing – and healing was contingent on how much cash I could spend on extra procedures (such as acupuncture) to heal faster. Catch 22. So I made ground rules.

Key #1: At all costs, health comes first: Even if it means dipping deeper into the bank account for a short period of time or asking for outside help.

Key #2: Keep stress levels to a minimum, and get plenty of sleep. Stress deters the healing process. Plain and simple.

Key #3: Financial Stability: As an independent contractor, cash flow might slow down – but it can’t stop.I had to take on less strenuous freelance work for the short term.

Key #4: Maintain business relationships: Check in with major clients to be sure everything is up to snuff. If you can’t get it done, delegate. Do you have a cache of colleagues you can call upon to help out short term?

Key #5: Transparency and communication: Close friends need to know what’s happening and important clients or your workplace should be informed to a degree.

Key #6: Understand your health options and insurance coverage: Read the fine print in the doctors office, ask questions and get a second opinion. Getting the wrong medication, having an unnecessary procedure, or not knowing the consequences of a health care choice eats into recovery time. I ran into all three conundrums.

Key #7: Inquire about your workplace guidelines regarding illness: Every workplace is different. Read up on the Family Leave Act and ask your Human Resources department about your options. Some companies have their own policies for long-time employees. What are the consequences of taking a leave of absence or time off without pay? If your management is receptive, ask about more flexible working arrangements. Most of all be honest about what you can and can not do.

The 5 Rules for Engaging on the Grid when Navigating Illness

Due to this health issue I had to head off the grid to recover while working in spurts. My blogging stopped, my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn updates were no more than sporadic. But I tried to check in at least once a week and made an effort to read a few articles or other blogs a few times a week. But participating in “the grid” was important to fuel business, my brand and my work life content, so I had to manage my time efficiently during the little time that I was functioning with my eye open. Here were some rules that I instituted:

Rule #1: Determine how many hours a day you can work on the grid. Give yourself a limit.

Rule#2: The hours that you are able to work should be spent on goal-oriented projects not web surfing unless research is part of your responsibilities.

Rule#3: To keep my presence on-line, I scheduled a few blog posts to hit a few times a month. These were evergreen posts that could be run at any time – but I could not keep up and should have adopted the following rule sooner than I did.

Rule #4: Call on your social media community in your niche. You’ll find support in that group and they might be willing to do guest posts while you are recovering.

Rule #5: Use an aggregator like Hooter or TubeMogul to post to Twitter, LinkeIn and FaceBook simultaneously.

A Conscious Approach to Recovery and Enduring Work Life Hell

I think the most important key to recovery is to find some serenity in the healing process. Sometimes we’re brought to our knees in tragedy, but how we endure that journey can either speed up our recovery or render it more daunting. My greatest gift this lifetime is that I’ve paid attention to the chaotic episodes I’ve endured in my work life and health, and have turned them into learning experiences. As such, I cultivate resilience through meditation, contemplation and exercise daily. A regular practice to cultivate serenity gives you a bit of an edge when tragedy hits. But that’s an individual choice.

Illness can break one down. It’s very important to be kind to ourselves when we get sick. We tend to beat ourselves up. At its core, health care issues force change. Unwanted change takes us out of our comfort zone and makes us vulnerable to our own self critical thinking and the judgment of others. Such challenges may erode our patience and ego, but inevitably, conquering them leads to growth.

When faced with illness how do you manage your work life merge?  What do you do when you get so sick that working takes a backseat? Please share your wisdom!