Examine Your Behavior: My Crazy Office Overtime, Season 9

Kathi and Katherine continue with the theme of keeping the peace at work on this week’s My Crazy Office Overtime show.

How can you examine your behavior in light of how it affects others?

Listen to this week’s podcast here.

#28: 360 Reviews – My Crazy Office, Season 8

Kathi and Katherine talk about 360 reviews on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice to an employee who was encouraged to give her boss a 360 review only to find out that the boss never received the feedback.

Then we discuss how managers can invite and be open about 360 feedback.

#7: Overhearing Information – My Crazy Office, Season 8

Kathi and Katherine talk about overhearing information on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice to an employee grappling with sharing bad news about her boss to her boss.

Then we discuss whether or not you would want to hear bad news about yourself.

Transparency at Work: My Crazy Office Overtime, Season 8

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

What should you share (and not share) in the workplace?

Listen to this week’s podcast here.

#20: Time Boundaries – My Crazy Office, Season 7

Kathi and Katherine talk about time boundaries on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice to someone whose boss likes to email and text at all hours of the day and night.

Then we discuss how managers can set staff expectations when they have unusual hours.

#14: Skipped For a Promotion – My Crazy Office, Season 7

Kathi and Katherine talk about promotions on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice to an employee who puts in labor for a promotion only for it to go to their boss.

Then we discuss what a manager can do if an employee doesn’t get promoted and it’s their fault.

Remote Working Etiquette – During the Covid Pandemic

We are all being ordered to work remotely. For those who are accustomed to working this way, it’s likely you’ve developed best practices. At the same time, even seasoned remote workers may have kids at home or pets who suddenly expect your attention 24/7. While some families have come together to shelter in place against the virus, many people are living (and working) alone. Both situations have their challenges. We are now in a new reality that requires new rules for etiquette and protocol.

Here are 10 things to consider as organizations create internal systems for their remote working culture.

1 – Be mindful of workday hours and please take time zones into consideration. For some organizations, this may be a time of true emergency. During an emergency, it’s all hands-on deck. You may be required to respond to emails or texts from your manager or co-worker at all hours of the day/night. If your business does not fall into the emergency category, however, please reconsider working as if you are. Set realistic work hours and refrain from communicating outside of those times.

2 – Use video conferencing – to help with the isolation and communication. Using a camera will help you, your coworkers, and possibly your clients connect. Seeing your team will remind everyone that they are not alone. It’s also interesting to see each other’s homes (or at least the room used for work).

3 – Be transparent with communication. Without the office water cooler for conversation/gossip, it easy to fall out of the office communication loop. Use all forms of telecommunication (texting, Face Time, Slack etc.) that can enable you and your colleagues to ask questions and get all the news you once were able to obtain by being in the same space. If you need to run an errand or help your kid, let others know.

4 – Do not base work performance solely on hours. Each organization will want to use an online tracking system for productivity.  Examples are Basecamp, Slack, Trello, Wrike, Zoho projects and Google Drive. As home responsibilities for many have increased, some people will not have the same uninterrupted time to put into their work day, but still may be able to be as productive. Establish an honor system (set expectations and deadlines) then try to be respectful of each person’s situation.

5 – Train your workers on using video conferencing and online tools. Don’t assume anything. Have your office tech run a few tutorials to be sure that no one feels incompetent, embarrassed or ashamed.

6 – Watch your communication style while on camera. Eye rolling and looking uninterested will show. Get dressed – casual is fine – but wear bottoms just in case you have to get up to get something.

7 – Be sensitive to cultural and age differences. Keep communication professional. Using short cuts to speak may work for your peers, but be aware that others may not get your humor or contemporary slang.

8 – When on a teleconference don’t all talk at once. Without visual cues, it can be easy to talk over one another during a conference call. It might be best to have a moderator who can track each participant and determine who wants to speak next. Establish order.

9 – Be flexible about kids and pets in the background. Children and pets are a reality in today’s world of remote working. You and your coworkers should do your best to have a space at home where you can have privacy but many people do not have that luxury. 

10 – Avoid eating during videoconference and teleconference calls. Others can hear you crunching and slurping. Sipping water while on a call or meeting may be fine – we all need to stay hydrated. Save your snacks and beverages, however, for Virtual Happy Hour, which happens at the end of the workday, right?

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.