Should You Take That Promotion?

Theoretically, any promotion should be a good promotion. But there are certain situations where promoting you may benefit management, but not be great for your career. In this episode of My Crazy Office, Kathi and Katherine discuss which kinds of promotions you may not want to take, and how to say “no thank you,” without burning bridges.

#12: Cutbacks, Setbacks, Layoffs? – My Crazy Office, Season 7

Kathi and Katherine talk cutbacks, setbacks and layoffs on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice with how to cope if you have had your salary cut, were laid off or demoted.

Then we discuss how managers and bosses can cope with having to have these conversations with staff.

Best Of: Uncertainty At Work: My Crazy Office Overtime, Season 7

Kathi and Katherine talk about uncertainty on this week’s My Crazy Office Overtime show.

How should you deal with uncertainty at work and in what ways can it show up?

Listen to this week’s podcast here.

Do You Have Staff Who Are Afraid to Return to the Office?

In just a matter of days, the coronavirus pushed people inside their homes, accelerating a digital transformation around the world.

Getting workers out of their homes and back into offices is going to prove harder. According to a new survey by researchers at India-based workplace services firm Ionotrics and San Diego–based Global Workplace Analytics:

77 percent of the workforce wants to continue to work from home at least part of the time once the pandemic is over. That’s up from 60 percent one month ago. That’s a 132 percent increase from before the coronavirus crisis, according to the Work-from-Home Experience Survey in which more than 2,600 employees from around the world participated.

As the country is opening up, employees are faced with a decision – do they go back to the office or not? Many of my clients are telling me that members of their staff are fearful about returning. Compassion still reigns. You may have to consider each person, and the factors that they are grappling with. If you have a staff member who fits into any of the following categories, their return will most likely be delayed:

  • They have kids at home who need home schooling
  • They have underlying health concerns
  • They are over the age of 60
  • They live in a metro city and use public transportation

In some states, employees who fit into one of these categories may qualify for unemployment – if they must return to the office and are not able to. Other employees most likely need reassurance and to be listened to. It’s important to calm nerves and listen to staff concerns. Here are some guiding principles:

  • Ask your staff what they need in order to return to the office safely.
  • Plan and communicate how you are preparing the office for their return
    • Cleaning – Describe your ongoing plan for keeping the office clean from Covid 19
    • Spacing – Follow the CDC’s guidelines for distance in the office
    • Wearing facemasks and gloves – Will you be supplying them or do they need to bring their own?
    • Rotating schedules – 2 days in, 2 days at home. Think low capacity
      commuting before or after rush hours.
    • Change in dress code – I’m going to predict that the workplace is about to get really casual
  • Take it slow. 

Coming out of the cave after a long winter, a bear needs time to acclimate. You may want to start with visiting the office ahead of opening, and encouraging your staff to do the same. Then try two days the first week and see how it goes.

  • Offer emotional support if possible. 

Professional coaches, therapists and clergy can talk to your staff about their mental health. It will pay off in the long run.

  • Be transparent about possible layoffs, furloughs or job eliminations. No surprises please, let them prepare.
  • Have real communication about diversity.  

Create guidelines for behavior in these conversations, and have a moderator who keeps the conversation constructive. Offer books and movies as resources. Have conversations that allow staff to express their fear, pain, and anger. This kind of sharing can be extremely emotional, so make sure you to have professional support around it.

  • Practice People Over Profit  

Sure, we are working to earn money, and companies must be profitable to hire people, and I know that in some industries robots will replace people. Given this reality, how can you make the workplace a desirable and safe place so that people want to work for you? 

Please let us know how the transition back to the office works for you and your company.

Kathi Elster – Executive Coach and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co for any further help around this topic.

Moving Forward – Into the Unknown

This past Sunday (4/26/2020) Governor Cuomo of New York said, “We are not going back to the way things were, we are going forward.” I have to say I agree with the Governor.  Many of my clients are telling me that they see this as an opportunity to do things differently.

Some small business owners want to take their businesses smaller not bigger.  Other clients want to continue working from home and no longer want to commute. Several of my clients are saying they want to incorporate real work-life balance — not just pay lip service to it. And some clients are realizing that they need to find a better job/career.

Everyone is thinking about what “moving forward” means.  If you aren’t, it’s time to start.  We are in a reset.  Go inside and listen. Do not disregard your deepest thoughts and feelings; they are telling you something.  You are at a point of choice at this time. You can let go of the way you thought work had to be and decide on what is right for you.

What parts of your job/career do you want to move forward? What parts are you unwilling to continue?  Consider the following:

Commuting – Maybe you want to work closer to home, or work virtually.

Change industry – If your industry is on hold, you may want to investigate a completely different industry. Maybe you want to go back to school.

Micromanaging boss – This could be a good time to see if you can transfer to another department or find another job.

Doing the work of others – Perhaps you no longer want to compensate for others’ lack of initiative.

Compromising my private life – You may want to establish a hard start and stop time to your workday, creating boundaries around work that protect your private life.

Working with a mean girl/guy – Instead of working with awful people, you may be ready to look for a new position within or outside of your current company

Not getting paid fairly – It may be time to find a position that pays you what you deserve.

Getting rid of troubling employees – Downturns have always been a good time to lay off difficult staff. Perhaps you have some people who could go.

Needing less office space – Going to a more virtual workforce may mean you don’t need as much office space.

Going back to a standard schedule – Instead of returning to your previously regimented work schedule, you may want more flexibility.

Stop eating overpriced unhealthy food – Does your company serve unhealthy, overpriced food at meetings?  You may want to bring your own food to work more often.

 It’s time for me to not have a boss – You may be ready to start your own business.

 Doing work that has no meaning – You may feel that now is the time to make a difference.

Most of us fear change and the unknown.  We tend to stay in difficult situations longer then we should for fear of not knowing what better options are available to us.  Instead of being scared, embrace change and possibilities. (I know this is easier to say than it is to do.)

During this unusual time, I challenge each of you to examine and come to terms with what you really want to do professionally.  Consider your happiness, your purpose, your health, and your legacy.

Kathi Elster – Executive Coach and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co for any further help around this topic.

The Best Leadership Tactics for Getting Through the Covid 19 Crisis

You may be the leader of a large organization, the executive director of a nonprofit, the manager of a team, the owner of a business with a few staff, or the sole proprietor of a small business.  It does not matter how many people directly report to you. At this time, we are all called to be leaders. What does that mean?

1 – Be the calm in the storm. One of my clients is the Executive Director of a large retirement community.  After describing the extensive plan she’d developed to protect all residents and staff from the virus, she said, “You want me in a crisis, because when everyone gets upset I get calm.” She shared her process: “I make my lists and methodically take care of each item as calmly as possible. I think through what could go wrong, and take steps to eliminate every problem as best as I can.” 

2 – Make tough decisions. Confronted with the prospect of several months of delayed revenue, managers, business owners and CEO’s everywhere face tough decisions. One CEO told me she’d asked her CFO for a cash projection for the year. To her surprise, she found out that her organization had more cash on hand than she’d originally thought. Because money will be coming in, she does not have to let people go. Another CEO conducted the same kind of financial analysis for her organization with less favorable results. She is preparing to lay staff off.  

3 – Be the positive voice, and at the same time be realistic. It is time to be transparent. I know you’re thinking that the term transparent has been overused.  Transparent simply means tell the truth. If you know that your company or department or organization must take difficult steps like letting staff go, communicate that clearly. Describe the problem and what you are doing about it: “We may have to let some people go. We may lose business. But we are looking to secure financing.” Tell them the truth. Tell them you are doing all you can – then deliver on your promise; they are watching.

4 – Care about your people like you have never cared before. I had a client ask, “How are you doing?” I said, “Fine.” She said, “No. Tell me how you are really doing.” That individual showed true concern for my well-being. Take the lead in this area, and express true interest in your staff’s physical, mental and emotional state. I have another client who is holding a virtual happy hour for her employees every day at 6:00 pm – participation not required. If you manage people who are considered essential workers, give them food, drinks, cash – whatever they need. And be sure to take care of their families. 

5 – Look for creative ways to give. This is not a time to look for business. It will come if you show and believe we are all in this together. Think Give not Get. Can your company retool and make masks or hospital gowns for medial staff? Can you put your services online? Shaun the co-owner of Seagull Hair salon here in NYC, is putting up tutorials on how to cut your bangs, touch up your roots and trim your beard at home. Think out of the box: How can you keep your clients be engaged without any expectations? When you return to work, your clients will return to you because they received from you.  

6 – Make sacrifices. This is a time when you may have to ask staff to take pay cuts. Those pay cuts should not exclude you. You may have staff that are home schooling while their partner is an essential worker. You might want to take on some of their work to lighten their load.

Kathi Elster – Executive Coach and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co with any questions or for further help around this topic.

#22: Freelance or Full-Time? – My Crazy Office, Season 4

Kathi and Katherine talk about freelance or full-time employment on this week’s My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice to an individual who is struggling with the decision of working freelance or full-time.

Then we discuss what each form of employment involves and which one is best for you.

#41- When The Personal Gets Professional: My Crazy Office, Season 2

Kathi and Katherine discuss when your personal life seeps into your professional life on this episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice to an employee whose boss has been disengaged in the workplace due to a divorce.

Then we discuss what a boss should do when he catches his employees having an affair.