Today like many others, I officially started working from home indefinitely to protect myself, family, friends and others during COVID-19 outbreak. I am incredibly grateful to have the option to do so. To help with the transition from working in an office to home and to create a bit of balance between work and home life, I created myself a workspace that is both productive yet beautiful and peaceful to me.
The move to work from home means I will personally gain between 10 – 15 hours that I commute every week. For many of us that spend a lot of time commuting and/or are simply used to always being on the go, the next little bit may be exceptionally challenging and lonely as we socially distance ourselves from others to help flatten the curve.
Thought I would share some ideas to help you embrace these changes in routine and all the extra time you may find yourself with over the next few weeks and potentially beyond.
Professional and Job Search Ideas
Review and revise your CV
Make your CV Applicant Tracking System (ATS) compliant
Practice your interviewing skills even if you don’t have an interview scheduled
Develop or revisit your own personal brand
Update and complete your LinkedIn profile
Connect with others on LinkedIn by sending personal invites
Join groups on LinkedIn and follow others
Comment on LinkedIn posts and articles
Write and share your own articles and posts
Learn a new brainstorming technique like Mind Mapping®
Reflect on where you are at in your career, where you want to go and love what you do
Research companies you are interested in potentially working for to learn more about them
Find opportunities to learn formally and informally – read, listen to podcasts, webinars, lives, zoom chats, etc.
“By taking mental health seriously, you can build a better team. You can be a better boss, and you can be a better colleague. And my hope is that #MentalHealthAtWork can help you do it” – Duke of Cambridge
While this initiative may be designed for UK organizations, Mental Health At Work has many amazing resources for employees, managers, leaders and organizations wherever you live in the world.
Visit the website. Sign up for their newsletter. Be a leader and commit to supporting mental health at work.
Consider this: One in two Canadian women have experienced sexual harassment at work, according to a 2018 Angus Reid survey, and 89% say they use strategies to avoid unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. Yet, in a survey late last year of 153 Canadian executives—95% of whom were male—the Gandalf Group reported that 94% said sexual harassment was not a problem at their companies.
Please take time to read these stories shared by eight brave women. One of my former colleagues is one of the eight women to share her story. Share it. Speak up if you see it happening to a colleague who may not have the confidence to speak up for themselves. Intervene. Lead by example and end sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace.
“Something that is a part of your history or that remains from an earlier time.” – Cambridge Dictionary
When we speak about a legacy, it is often in the context of when someone has passed away. One may hear “George was an amazing husband, father and family man.” or “Andrea was so selfless to the needs of others and gave so much back to her community.” Not only do we leave a legacy when we leave this earth but also in the workplaces we inhabit during our lifetime. Whether one has spent their entire career in one organization or moved around from place to place, everyone of us has a work legacy we leave behind.
Will people miss you or will they be happy you are on your way out the door? Will you be known as a brilliant business person, a deal maker, a teacher and facilitator, a backstabber, a hard-worker, bully, one of the mean girls or guys, a manipulator or micro-manager, coach, confidant, collaborator, someone who includes other, who is inclusive, makes people feel at home, a team player, a peacemaker or relationship builder.
No matter what ones role in an organization is, we all leave it with a legacy – positive, negative or indifferent. If you left today, what would your legacy be? Is this something you would be proud of? If not, what are you doing to change it?
Remember YOU and your actions have the power to decide what legacy you will leave others with. What do you think your legacy will be? What do you hope it will be?
I am a late adapter to a lot of modern technology and personally relatively new to Skype and Skype for Business over the last few years.
Thought I would share a few tips that I have learned along the way to help one prepare for a Skype business call and/or interview.
• Always make sure your technology is working in advance especially if you conducting your Skype meeting at home.
• Select a background that is not distracting. While my background isn’t ideal, it is the spot I work in while home. Always remember to check what and who may be behind you when deciding on a location.
• Turn off your TV and/or radio and find a quiet space that you can be alone without the distraction of others, your children and/or furry friends.
• Charge your technology fully and have power cords easily accessible in case your battery power begins to drain.
• If you are on a Skype conference call and/or meeting, make sure to be on mute unless you are speaking.
• Be prepared to be seen on Skype. I prefer Face to Face Skype interaction on one to one and smaller Skype meetings.
• Always dress head to toe as you never know if an interviewer might ask you to stand up. I have also heard many stories where someone accidentally stands up and are not fully dressed on the bottom. Always err on the side of caution.
• Good idea to test the lighting of your space and a trial run for Skype too.
• I am pretty pale without makeup so I always need to wear it and a pop of colour on a Skype meeting so I don’t look completely washed out. A colourful scarf provides the perfect pop of colour for me and is especially helpful if I am dressed in a cardigan, short-sleeved top and leggings as I am likely will be when working at home.
• My most important tip is to always be prepared for everything and anything.
Do you feel like you lack creativity? Are you ever stuck trying to come up with new ideas? Is your preferred learning style a visual one? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may love a great brainstorming tool called Mind Mapping®
A Mind Map® is
A colourful, visual form of note taking that can be worked on by one person or a group of individuals
At its heart is a central idea or image
The idea is explored by the means of branches representing main ideas which all connect to the central image of idea
I lucky to be introduced to the concept of Mind Mapping® when I joined the Junior League where we used it to plan a community project. It helped our team to brainstorm by documenting any ideas that popped to mind to help create a place to start our planning from. It is a brainstorming tool that I continue to return to when I am looking to spark creativity.
Mind Mapping® is very practical both professionally and personally and one can utilize this brainstorming tool in the following ways:
Leading a Meeting
Launching a New Venture
Holiday Shopping Plan
If you are interested in learning more, you may wish to visit these great resources from Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Mapping®.
Are you still trying to discover what you want to do when you grow up? Have you been contemplating a career change? Do you leave work feeling deflated and uninspired and wondering what to do next?
Try this great visual exercise to determine what you love doing, like doing, neither like or dislike and what you definitely dislike doing. All you need is a pen and a piece of paper to create your own list. If your present role contains many positive elements from your list, you may have found happiness at work. If your position contains too many items from the bottom two quadrants, it may be time to consider a move in a different direction.