What’s a Long-Term Remote Work Plan, and Do You Need One?

The coronavirus pandemic ushered in a new era of remote work: Companies sent their workers out of the office and into their homes to do a variety of jobs, and a recent survey shows that an overwhelming number of employees would like the option to continue remote work indefinitely.

While many companies shifted to remote work out of pure necessity, “one thing the pandemic has proved is that remote working works,” says Sean Hoff, corporate culture expert and founder and managing partner of Moniker. He points out that remote workforces are often more productive and happier, which can help companies recruit and keep top talent. Plus, being able to recruit workers from across the country — and not just your company’s immediate geographic vicinity — can widen the pool of applicants. “No longer having an in-person or local requirement means that recruitment teams can take their pick-up of the pack, cherry-picking the crème de la crème of talent from all hemispheres to bolster their business,” Hoff explains.

A remote workforce can also be a financial boon for companies: Office space is expensive — and “saying goodbye to the physical workspace means commercial mortgages and monthly rent and overhead costs will vanish,” Hoff says, “freeing up resources to reinvest in the business.”

And companies with remote workers have found they’re getting more work from their workers. “Instead of long commutes, employees are jumping on the computer earlier and able to stay on later,” says Amy Sanchez, executive career and leadership coach. “There have been unprecedented increases in productivity in the corporate space” over the last several months.

With all of these clear benefits — and employees’ clear desire to continue working remotely — it’s no wonder that many companies are considering making their remote work options more permanent. But to make that shift, they’ll need what’s called a long-term remote work plan.

A long-term remote work plan is a detailed plan that outlines how a company will manage its remote workforce over the long term — not just a few weeks or months. “A good plan would clearly address what the expectation is for remote versus not remote, and what systems should be in-place if employees do remain remote to optimize communication,” Sanchez explains.

It would also “balance productivity, health and wellness, and address a path to career growth and promotion,” she says, to keep employees happy, productive, and engaged with the company.

Any company that wants to make remote work permanent needs a long-term remote work plan, these experts say. Here’s what a good long-term remote work plan includes and how to create it.

Ask employees for feedback.

The first step in creating a long-term remote work plan will be identifying what’s working for your remote workforce now — and what isn’t. “Identify the main pain points your business has experienced since pivoting to remote by actively asking your employees to participate in feedback and double-down on research to find the perfect tools, clouds, and software to streamline new processes and iron out any crinkles” advises Hoff. And Sanchez agrees: She suggests using an anonymous survey to collect thoughts from the entire workforce. Ask your employees about “what they want from their remote workplace, the types of rewards and incentive schemes they’d like to see in place, how often they’d like to have career progression catch-ups, and [ideas] for business development or improvement they might have,” she says.

Once your plan is in place, though, your company should continue to solicit employee feedback.

“Implement regular check-ins with your workforce to find out how they are adapting and to take note of any recommendations, they might have for improving the remote work structure,” Hoff says. “Ultimately, they are the ones living and breathing this shift, so they will be best placed to make recommendations that feed into a bright vision for long-term remote working.”

Set clear rules and expectations for work hours.

An excellent long-term remote work plan establishes rules and expectations around work hours so that at-home employees can avoid burnout. Sanchez advises that you set a schedule that “will support healthy and motivated employees while also maximizing productivity. For example, your plan could include the hours employees are expected to respond to emails, not to feel like they have to be “on-call” at all times of the day or night. Or, it could set a policy barring back-to-back Zoom meetings so that employees don’t become overwhelmed with screen time. “The companies who get this right will be the ones who attract the top talent,” she says.

If you recruit top talent from across the country, you may have employees that live in different time zones, and it will be important for your long-term remote work plan to establish when they are expected to work. Their hours should have at least some overlap with the rest of your team.

Include team-building opportunities.

One thing that remote workforces can lack is connectivity to team members. So, a good long-term remote work plan will ensure employees build positive relationships with one another.

To do this, “consider what is already important to your employees,” says Hoff. For example, if your workers value speaking face-to-face, make sure your plan includes a schedule of “regular, weekly virtual calls to catch up about work and non-work-related items,” Hoff suggests. And as pandemic restrictions abate, you may consider outlining opportunities for in-person gathering, such as monthly meetups for team-building activities such as bowling or trivia nights, he says.

Support employees with comfortable workspaces.

Not all of your remote employees will have a dedicated office. Amid the pandemic, “all too often the kitchen table or small coffee table became the defacto office desk,” says Hoff. “For parents of younger children, this transition was challenging as they were forced to play both ‘teacher’ and ‘babysitter’ while also trying to juggle the day-to-day responsibilities of their jobs.”

And while working from the kitchen table might work in the short term for some employees, it shouldn’t be a part of your long-term remote work plan. Instead, the best long-term remote work plans will make accommodations for employees’ home workspaces to be productive.

Hoff suggests having candid conversations with your employees to learn about their at-home workspaces, asking how you can make their work-from-home situation better. Your plan might include supplying items such as sound-canceling earphones, ergonomic chairs, or even subsidizing a co-working space membership where employees can find some quiet time, he says.

Create a new, redesigned onboarding process.

With a remote workforce, it’s time to change up your onboarding process and make it a part of your long-term remote work plan. With in-person workforces, “most companies had a checklist of ‘new employee onboarding tasks’ they walked through one by one when introducing a new hire into the company,” describes Hoff. But “in most cases, this process won’t translate that well to a virtual onboarding, he adds, in part because, with a remote workforce, there needs to be a greater emphasis on introducing people to their coworkers. “What used to be taken for granted — sitting down with a new group over lunch, or spending time sitting with someone in their office as you were trained on company protocols — should now be a priority,” says Hoff.  

Your long-term remote work plan, then, should “focus efforts on integrating them culturally into the organization and its people,” he says, with a new and remote-friendly onboarding process. 

Whereas before, your company likely spent more time on-the-job training, “it’s now equally about integration,” Hoff says. “Ensuring new team members feel welcomed and familiar with people beyond their immediate team or the department should become a priority in the onboarding process to ensure company culture becomes engrained and proliferated” with your remote workers.

But you can’t forget about job training entirely, of course, and your long-term remote work plan should include an onboarding process that has training elements. Sanchez suggests that larger companies set up automated teaching modules as well as assigning new employees a mentor who can answer one-off questions; smaller companies, she says, could use mentors for everything.  

Get your employees behind your plan.

With a long-term remote work plan in place, it’s time to rally your employees behind it.

“Although the majority of the workforce has adapted well to the remote work structure, some still do miss and prefer having that face-to-face interaction” says Hoff. “It will take a little more convincing to get this portion of the population behind long-term remote working, but there are some strategies that can be implemented to get workers excited about what this era has to offer.”

For example, your company might choose to offer incentives for working from home, such as a stipend for cell phone costs or childcare, for example. Or your company might consider scheduling annual offsite trips — retreats that allow employees to gather together for a combination of work and relaxing — for high-performing or newly remote workers. “Recognizing your employees’ hard work and whisking them off to somewhere exotic certainly won’t go amiss,” Hoff says. “The remainder of this trip throughout the work year will help those unsure of the remote structure get behind the plan knowing this reward will come.”

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How To Get What You Need From Your Remote Internship

Kudos, you’ve scored a summer internship! Fully embrace this opportunity; it’s an ideal way to cue your orientation into the professional world. 

Robin White, Founder and Managing Partner of Guided Leadership Solutions, explains: “Internships allow you to learn what you can’t in school. School teaches fundamentals – they are important, but internships teach real-life scenarios that don’t come up in the classroom setting. Every company is different; every job is different. By working internships, emerging professionals have an opportunity to see different perspectives and learn new things. In an internship, you have a golden opportunity to get a feel for what you like and what you don’t like so you can evaluate if you are on the right path.” 

Your internship stands to offer a whole new level of education. It grows you up professionally and gives you direction on how your next chapter might read. But after a year of remote education, you may find yourself a bit disheartened to find that your internship will also be conducted remotely. While this may not seem as socially dynamic or as fun as dressing up every day and commuting into an actual workplace, a remote internship is still an outstanding opportunity. 

Plus, working remotely this summer gives you unique and relevant experience during a transitional time. You are solidifying your place in history as a contributing member of the pandemic workforce. This has been a hard time for the global workforce, and they have come through using their grit, resilience, agility, creativity, and optimism. These are the same soft skills that have been powering your academic work during this global health crisis, and they are in demand in the workplace.   

Although your internship might look a little different than you may have anticipated, you are well-positioned to rock this opportunity. Here’s what to consider as you get started with your remote internship so that you can get what you need from the opportunity. 

Observe how your internship can serve you.  

Internships are an important way to bridge academic understanding with professional experience. Internships are valuable because they give you a hands-on sense of what you want to do professionally and relevant work samples to use when it’s time to job search. These opportunities also expand your network and give you a taste of professional life and workplace culture. 

Internships help when it comes time to interview for your first job, both by giving you a feel for what it’s like to work in a professional environment and providing you with the fundamental opportunities and materials you need to demonstrate that you have that experience.  

White points out: “I’ve recruited for hundreds of positions in my career. In my years of recruiting, many of those positions were entry-level. The candidates who had Internships were hands down better prepared for the job (even if the internship wasn’t relevant to the job I was hiring for). They had the experience of interacting with a professional team. They had exposure to relevant work environments.” 

Remember that the professional landscape in flux.  

It can seem challenging, though, to feel like you’re getting the full experience when your internship is remote. Although, at the same time, you may not get the chance to work face-to-face with your colleagues and managers, your remote internship positions you to experience what so much of the workforce has gone through during the pandemic. Professional cultures have changed, and your remote internship positions you to get versed in that new paradigm.  

Glassdoor’s chief economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain points out: “An important lesson from history is that every crisis presents risks and opportunities. In 2020, COVID-19 devastated large parts of the economy, put millions out of work, and created the direst health crisis of the 21st Century. But it also overturned outdated beliefs about remote work, sparked companies to build programs that foster emotional and cultural bonds between teams, and has put even the most vigorous company cultures through the crucible during historically trying times.” 

Life and work look different as we begin to contemplate the post-covid workplace. As a remote intern, you have your fingers directly on that pulse, which positions you well for your future.  Use the experience to learn everything you can. You may have to off-road it a bit as you find your footing in the new frontier, the post-covid workplace, but as Dr. Chamberlain points out, there is an opportunity here. Targeting that and learning to discuss it can be a tremendous asset when it’s time to hit the interview circuit.    

White points out: “In a remote internship, it is harder to build relationships and get a feel for office culture. But, with the right mindset, you’ll still get something out of it if you put in the effort. Go in with some goals that you hope to accomplish during the internship and make sure you have regular communication with your manager to evaluate your progress and opportunities to meet those goals.”  

Be open to an experimental workplace. 

Many companies are still planning what their post-pandemic reality will look like-will all staff be back in the office full-time, part-time?  Will vaccines be required? How will this be monitored, and by whom? There is much to iron out.   

Dr. Chamberlain predicts that cultural experimentation will continue at many companies until they find a suitable formula for their teams.  Dr. Chamberlain advises: “Prepare for an unprecedented wave of experimentation and innovation around hybrid remote-in-office roles — part remote and part in-office — in 2021 and beyond.”

In the past, companies may have been better positioned to develop a rich program routinely deployed to govern the intern experience. Now, however, internship programs may be part of an employee experience program that is still emerging. 

While your remote internship may not be exactly what you pictured, it’s still a great opportunity that puts you in the heart of observing the workplace of the future as it’s taking shape. So embrace this opportunity for all that it makes possible. Use it to build your resume and network and to understand what you need and want professionally.  

White points out: “Any internship opportunity is positive. Work experience, especially relevant work experience, is a huge factor in finding future opportunities. Getting exposure in different roles, different sized companies, and different experiences helps broaden your horizons and learning opportunities . . . regardless of location (virtual or in-person). It’s definitely more challenging in a remote internship, but if you make an effort, you’ll have just as much impact.” 

Try to make the most of your opportunity. 

You may have to adjust your strategies a bit to get the most out of your experience.  White recommends a proactive approach: “I’ve been mentoring college Juniors and Seniors for 6+ years. The advice I always give to those who have found internships is to reach out and build your network throughout the company, not just in the department/team your internship is in. Send an email or message to other people throughout the organization. Let them know you are an intern and are looking at learning about the whole organization, and would they be willing to take some time to meet with you to tell you more about their role and how it fits into the greater picture.” 

While there are some ways that a remote arrangement makes it harder to interact with others, in some ways, it simplifies things. Taking risks and reaching out electronically can feel a bit less intimidating than stopping by someone’s office. Take advantage of that. White explains: “People love to share their experiences…take advantage of that!! The most successful professionals are those who understand the
organization outside of their silo, so here is a chance to build your knowledge.” 

Target opportunity. 

Internships are important, and they stand to serve you well. Continue to pursue these opportunities; this goes for students and those who are not enrolled in classes. Internships enrich opportunities for all budding professionals. 

White advises: “Reach out to your school’s career services (or equivalent) and also ask your academic advisor if there is course credit available for internship opportunities. If you aren’t in school but have an interest in learning and gaining experience in a new field, those services are usually available to non-students. If not, the job boards probably are. You can also reach out to target companies and offer to be an intern. Just because they didn’t think to hire one doesn’t mean they aren’t open to the idea.”

The pandemic restricted our access to so much over the past 16 months, but it also gave us the chance to hone new capabilities, including our soft skills. Use these tips to further your work as a student and professional. While it may feel disappointing that many opportunities have been altered and restricted, this experience has also taught us a lot. Lean into that during your remote internship and in your post-pandemic work.  

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5 Ways To Show Your Pride This June


“So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” –Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

Happy Pride month! Each June presents us with an opportunity to grow as individuals, professionals, and allies. Pride month gives us the chance to learn more about ourselves, our families, and our colleagues.  

Diversity is important at work, and it requires our ongoing support and attention. Diverse professional cultures have an edge, a multi-dimensional reach. Companies that cultivate diversity have a gravitational pull that moves internal and external stakeholders alike.  Diversity is no token gesture; companies that prioritize diversity incubate a wide breadth of understanding that attracts vast audiences who each see themselves in that workforce, message, mission, and company.   

Fully engaging in the invitation that each June extends means becoming more informed and, ultimately, more authentic. This fuels engagement which benefits staff as well as the recipients of an organization’s mission.

“Money and career growth are obvious factors in employee engagement, but there is so much more to it. If you want engagement at the highest level, you need to align employee interests with management and ownership. One way you can create this alignment is through genuinely sharing core values, interests and priorities. Celebrating pride at work is one way to show that management cares and supports LGBTQ+ employees and the community.” Explains Michael Alexis, CEO of TeamBuilding

Celebrating Pride enhances our personal education, our relationships, and our professional culture. This year, the occasion might look a bit different, as we may be showing our pride while working remotely.

It’s still important to embrace the opportunity. Alexis points out: “For remote staff, Pride celebrations (and connection in general), are even more important. Your people don’t see each other face to face on a daily basis, and so you need to invest time and resources in making sure they can build relationships, trust, communication and more. Pride celebrations are an excellent way to achieve this.”

Whether you’re working remotely, in the office, or you have a hybrid arrangement, consider these five ways to show your Pride in 2021. 

Learn something new.

This year marks the fifty-first anniversary of June’s annual LGBTQ Pride celebrations. We honor pride in June to commemorate the Stonewall uprisings. The Library of Congress explains:

June 28, 1969, marks the beginning of the Stonewall Uprising, a series of events between police and LGBTQ+ protesters that stretched over six days. It was not the first time police raided a gay bar, and it was not the first time LGBTQ+ people fought back, but the events that would unfold over the next six days would fundamentally change the nature of LGBTQ+ activism in the United States.”

The first Pride March took place on June 28, 1970, marking the anniversary of the start of the uprising. The story of LBGTQ individuals in the US is an important history to learn. Their fight and the ongoing struggle for civil rights are seldom taught in schools. Make this your year to get more deeply versed. Make a commitment to advancing your understanding of what that struggle was like. It’s a vital part of our American story.

Educating ourselves is a great way to show our pride as individuals and as a community. Plus, when you make your own commitment, you can show your pride from anywhere. That’s especially helpful if you’re working remotely this June.

Do something fun.

Get involved in a company activity honoring pride. It’s a way to learn more, invite your team’s participation, and enhance your corporate culture. Your efforts can be especially meaningful if you can tie your work into the larger community by supporting a local non-profit that assists the LQBTQ community. Alexis shares this example: “Our staff members created a Pride themed trivia session that we are doing as an internal team building event. The trivia is a way to bring people together for fun and education, and we further the impact with charitable giving. The winning team selects relevant charities, and our company will donate $50 on behalf of each of our 100+ employees. This combination of internet recognition and external community support is an excellent pairing.”

Pull together some trivia questions, play some Pride bingo, or watch a move together that enhances your LGBTQ knowledge and understanding. This also stands to serve as a bonding experience for your team.  

“Celebrating Pride at work shows employees, LGBTQ+ and otherwise, that they are an important part of your organization. The result is happier team members, higher productivity, increased retention and more — it’s win-win for everyone.” Alexis shares.

Let your ERG lead the charge.   

Glassdoor’s  Employee Resource Groups have contributed much to our culture. If your company has a similar program, consider pursuing membership. If your company does not, see what it takes to establish a similar program at your workplace.

Historically, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have served and supported corporate America’s culture since the 1970s. Typically organized around a shared, immutable identity, such as race, gender, age, or mental health, they serve as a haven of belonging, offering a space for underrepresented employees and their allies to find one another.

Employees who decide to be part of an ERG usually join to experience a reprieve from the daily micro-aggressions they endure inside the workplace and out. ERGs are internal advocacy organizations to help employers become more equitable and inclusive. People who decide to join ERGs are aiming to make an impactful change within their companies.

ERGs can also be instrumental internal leaders and partners when it comes to planning awareness events including Pride celebrations. ERG members are the employees who are best positioned to understand how to honor an awareness event associated with their identity; because they are members of a voluntary resource group, it insulates employees from being tokenized during a certain time of the year when an awareness event is celebrated.  

This positions employee resource group members to lead the celebrations in ways that are safe and meaningful for them and for their colleagues.  ERG members can take the lead in writing trivia questions, identifying meaningful speakers, or selecting meaningful movies to view as a team. ERGs empower colleagues with a shared identity to bring celebrations around their shared identity to the workplace without tokenizing them.  

Wear your pride on your sleeve.  

Hang your Prides flags in your office. Add a Pride logo on your company profile picture. Share your favorite Pride or civil rights quotations on agendas you distribute during June. Wear your “Love is Love” t-shirt to the office in June.  

Radiating your support in a host of ways sends a powerful message: this is a safe space. This is a welcoming space. Everyone is invited here. Allies are standing by.

Alexis points out: “For allies, navigating ideas like gender and sexuality can be awkward, especially at work. While you may be very supportive, you may also not know how to show that support — it may be weird to randomly tell your LGBTQ+ colleagues ‘I support you’ — you may not even know how they identify. However, when the entire office or remote team is celebrating Pride, you cut through those barriers and allow everyone to be supportive in an open and understood environment.”

Arrange or participate in a program.

If you’re in a position to arrange a speaker for your team or workplace, a great speaker can have a tremendous impact on a culture. While many offices are still virtual, this is a great way to create a virtual or an in-person program. Inviting that perspective is a helpful way to deepen your understanding and that of your team. A speaker can offer insight and perspective that can enhance culture for LGBTQ employees and their colleagues. 

When it comes to planning or participating in programs that are truly impactful, it’s helpful to balance fun activities with those that build knowledge and awareness. “Your celebrations can educational in both direct and indirect ways. For example. hiring a speaker to lead an LGBTQ+ themed lunch and learn for your team would be more direct. Watching a themed movie together would still be educational and could lean more toward entertainment. I recommend finding a balance of both.” Alexis shares.

Whether you are planning or participating in June’s events, aim to find a balance that builds your knowledge base and gives you the chance to have fun with your colleagues.

Embrace June 

The pandemic has been a long difficult experience. Finally, we can return to our social lives and, increasingly our workspaces. It’s an ideal time to renew our commitment to diversity and to each other. Actor George Takei remarks: “We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.”

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LGBTQ+ Employees Are Less Satisfied Than Colleagues at Work

As we stride into Pride Month, working for equitable companies is top of mind for many job seekers and employees. Despite some progress being made, LGBTQ+ employees still face an abundance of challenges at work, making their workplace experience less than ideal. In fact, Glassdoor data shows that LGBTQ+ employees are less satisfied at work compared to their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts, and while certain companies and industries are highly rated by LGBTQ+ employees, others still have progress to make. For anyone wanting to work for a company that truly celebrates Pride Month, Glassdoor has made it easier than ever to research companies and see how LGBTQ+ employees really feel about their workplaces.

What We Did

Last year, to help improve equity in the workplace, Glassdoor launched new Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) products and began allowing users to voluntarily share their demographic information. This allowed LGBTQ+ employees, and other groups, to see company ratings and pay data according to other LGBTQ+ employees within a specific company. Today, the Glassdoor Economic Research team examined U.S.-based employee reviews from users who anonymously shared both their sexual orientation on Glassdoor and submitted a 1-to-5 star rating of their current or former employer as of 5/3/21.

LGBTQ+ Employees are Less Satisfied at Work

LGBTQ+ employees gave their companies an average overall company rating of 3.27 stars out of 5 – that’s below the average overall rating for non-LGBTQ+ employees (3.47). And, across Glassdoor’s six workplace factor ratings, we see that LGBTQ+ employees are less satisfied with their companies. Most notably, LGBTQ+ employees are less satisfied with the company’s Senior Leadership (2.88), along with Career Opportunities (3.03) and Compensation & Benefits (3.13) when compared to non-LGBTQ+ employees.

“Unfortunately, it’s not surprising to see that LGBTQ+ employees rate their workplace experiences lower across the board when compared to non-LGBTQ+ employees,” said Scott Dobroski, VP of Corporate Communications and a member of Glassdoor’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group. “While many companies will turn their logos and social profiles to rainbows for Pride Month, creating a more equitable company is more than just symbolic or superficial moves. It’s about action. Company leaders should take time to solicit feedback from their LGBTQ+ employees to better understand what’s working well and what needs improvement to further support their workers.”

Glassdoor Economic Research – Includes at least 3,000 LGBTQ+ ratings for each workplace factor rating as of 5/3/21.

Industries Rooted in Creating Change are More Highly Rated by LGBTQ+ Employees

When we take a closer look at how LGBTQ+ employees rate their companies, Glassdoor data shows LGBTQ+ employees are more satisfied working in industries recognized for giving back and creating change. LGBTQ+ employees rated companies in Government the highest, with an average overall rating of 3.74 out of 5 stars, followed by Education (3.69) and Non-Profit (3.47).  Conversely, LGBTQ+ employees rated companies in Telecommunications the lowest with an average overall company rating of 2.93, followed by Health Care (3.02) and Business Services (3.07). Other notable industries, like Internet Technology, landed in the middle of the pack, with a 3.33 rating from LGBTQ+ employees. Each industry listed has over 100 ratings from LGBTQ+ employees.

How Companies Compare According to LGBTQ+ Employees

Among the companies with at least 25 ratings from LGBTQ+ employees, we also examined how LGBTQ+ employees rate their companies overall. Among the 10 companies listed below, LGBTQ+ employees are more satisfied at four companies, including Kroger and Walgreens, and less satisfied at six, including Amazon and Target. In addition, we see that LGBTQ+ employees at Apple rate their employer the highest (4.14), while LGBTQ+ employees at Wells Fargo rate their employer the lowest (2.65) among this group.

“Choosing where to work is an incredibly important and personal decision, especially for those who identify as LGBTQ+,” said Dobroski. “There are a variety of factors that can make their work experiences potentially more challenging, from differences in health care coverage to cases of employment discrimination and more. To find a company that is truly the right fit, we encourage job seekers to go deeper into the employee experience on Glassdoor and leverage LGBTQ+ company ratings and pay data to help them make more informed decisions about where to work.”

Company Average Overall Rating by LGBTQ+ Employees Average Overall Rating by Non-LGBTQ+ Employees
Amazon 2.85 3.45
Apple 4.14 4.05
Kroger 3.29 3.20
McDonald’s 3.21 3.14
Starbucks 3.56 3.85
Target 3.31 3.67
The Home Depot 3.29 3.67
Walgreens 3.19 2.97
Walmart 2.70 3.20
Wells Fargo 2.65 3.27

Glassdoor Economic Research – Includes at least 25 LGBTQ+ ratings per company as of 5/3/21.

LGBTQ+ Employees Deserve to Be Themselves Work

At Glassdoor, our mission is to help people everywhere find a job and a company they love, and that includes helping people find companies where they can be their authentic selves at work. We believe research is a critical first step for finding the right company, and there are millions of insights and resources on Glassdoor to make it easier. Glassdoor also published two free guides that can help LGBTQ+ professionals and employers wanting to create a more inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees.

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How To Honor Asian Heritage Month And Further Your Awareness And Advocacy

Asian and Pacific American Heritage (APAH) Month offers an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the multitudes of Asian history and culture. According to the Library of Congress: “The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.”

Dr. Joliana Yee, Assistant Dean, Yale College, and Director, Asian American Cultural Center, explains that honoring APAH Month in the workplace “is an important way of letting Asian-identifying employees know that their heritage is seen as a valuable and important part of workplace culture. It also provides an opportunity for employees who do not identify as Asian to learn more about the histories, cultures, and social experiences of their Asian-identifying colleagues, neighbors, and community members living in the U.S.”

Garnering this deeper understanding feels especially important this year. According to the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community were up nearly 150 percent across the country in 2020. The AAPI community has experienced 6,603 hate incidents against them from March 19, 2020, to March 31, 2021, according to Stop AAPI Hate’s national report. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, there has also been a 164% increase in hate crimes against the AAPI community in 2021 alone.

“In the midst of so much loss and violence against Asians, it is more necessary than ever to celebrate the rich history and cultural heritage found within the Asian diaspora because joy is resistance.” Shares Dr. Yee.

Each May, we have the opportunity to show our AAPI pride and to deepen our awareness so that we can be well-versed allies to our AAPI colleagues, friends, and family members. Here are five ways to honor APAH Month in our hearts, minds, and workplaces this May.  

1. Creating workplace cultures of belonging.  

Workplace culture matters. We can’t do our best work unless we feel safe, comfortable, included, and valued. Dr. Yee explains how recognizing awareness events at work enhances culture: “It allows employees to know that they can bring all aspects of their identity to the workplace and not have it be deemed ‘unprofessional.’ When employees can be more fully themselves in the workplace, they will likely be more fulfilled, build meaningful relationships with colleagues, and a sense of community.” 

Inviting educational opportunities for employees makes for a dynamic culture; that’s good for employees, and it’s good for business. It gives us the chance to forge a deeper understanding of ourselves, our colleagues, and the clients and customers we serve.   

Dr. Desai points out: “In professional settings, by celebrating diversity, you are sending a message that this is a value that is good for the company. Studies show that diversity of approaches and thought, coming from a diversity of backgrounds is actually beneficial both for work culture, but also for good results.”

2. Fostering belonging.  

An initiative that has worked well at Glassdoor is the Glassdoor Asian Impact Network (GAIN), our newest Pan Asian Employee Resource Group (ERG). GAIN’s mission is to celebrate and support our Pan Asian multiculturalism and cultivate a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace. We aim to elevate Glassdoor’s Asian community’s voices and empower our members in business decisions, product development, recruiting, and workplace culture. Additionally, we strive to foster professional development, mentorship, and leadership opportunities for our members.

We want to create a world where everyone has an inclusive and equitable place at the table, along with employers, to develop a safe and diverse workplace for all.  We know our collective voices are more influential together, so we aim to share awareness about intersectionality and allyship for all communities with our ERG program. 

3. Learning to listen.   

This has been a frightening, dangerous time for the AAPI community. Like their colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family members, we can help make the workplace, neighborhood, and community safer and more harmonious by listening, learning, and trying to understand what that experience feels like to be true advocates and allies.  

May’s awareness events can aid us in this work. Dr. Yee points out: “It is also an opportunity to bring awareness to the fact that the violence and abuses against Asians that we are witnessing in the U.S. today is not something recent nor will it be resolved by bolstering systems of policing.”  

Dr. Desai explains: “One of the biggest challenges Asian Americans face is that they are often seen as ‘Asian,’ not American enough. This year, it is proven that the violence against Asian Americans has grown by 150%, especially in big cities. This year, we need to recognize that despite the myth of a model minority, Asian Americans suffer prejudices, but often in silence. It is high time that we recognize the perception of ‘otherness’ faced by many Asian Americans of diverse backgrounds and a variety of histories in this country.”

It’s important to hear the voices from the community that we are honoring with our awareness. That is truly the purpose of any awareness event. 

Dr. Desai suggests: “You can begin with one step at a time. Learning about others who are different from you and learn to see the world from their perspective. Avoid making judgments and create a sense of empathy. Hear different stories. . . Avoid keeping your circle so small that you don’t ever hear different points of view.”    

4. Plan workplace events to celebrate.

Planning events to honor APAH month is worthy, important work. Finding the right team and approach is vital to the success of awareness programming. Christopher K. Lee, Founder and Career Consultant with PurposeRedeemed, advises: “Have Asian American and Pacific Islander professionals share their voices. Don’t speak on their behalf. This seems obvious but is often overlooked. Along with this, don’t make them feel tokenized like this is the one time a year your business wants to hear from them.” 

Dr. Yee recommends this approach, which can safeguard staff against tokenization: “Don’t place the burden of observing heritage months on a handful of employees who identify as such. If you’re inviting employees to volunteer their time, institutionalize measures to meaningfully recognize their contributions to your organization in their annual performance review to ensure they are not doing uncompensated labor at the expense of their own wellbeing.”   

Lee adds another important point to keep in mind: “Don’t treat Asian Americans or AAPI as one homogenous group. We are not. Most people see themselves first as Vietnamese or Korean or Indian or so on – not as AAPI or Asian American. The experiences each of these groups have historically faced are very different. So be cognizant of that when speaking of the Asian American experience or making blanket statements.”

Finally, use this awareness opportunity to bolster ongoing efforts rather than making it feel like an annual pop-up interest. This ongoing support stands to make employees feel recognized, included, and safe in their professional culture. Dr. Yee recommends: “Redirect resources towards, and spotlight grassroots organizations in your local communities who are doing critical work in supporting the needs of Asian communities in the U.S. Do not relegate these efforts to one month in the year and look at these issues of racial violence as interconnected so that advocacy efforts are not counterproductive to the well-being of other marginalized communities.”

5. Stand together at home. 

APAH heritage month is an invitation to speak to the reality of what the AAPI community is experiencing, what our country is experiencing.  

Dr. Desai shares: “Let’s recognize first and foremost that the work of building a perfect union of this country is not yet done and continues to require focused attention. This means that no matter where we are and who we are, we need to call out social injustices no matter who suffers. As we saw in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, people of all ages and all colors and ethnic backgrounds showed to protest and demand justice. This needs to be not a one-time occurrence but an ongoing effort. This is not just to fulfill the potential of America, but also to make it a beacon for others in the world. . . Let’s put this idea of global belonging in practice by starting at home.”

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5 Ways To Start Emotionally Recovering From The Pandemic

There’s plenty of eager chatter about what comes next: will it be a hybrid, remote, or an in-person workplace? It feels like leaders are anxious to cue the next chapter-capitalizing on the new skills that employees honed while powering through a once-in-a-century crisis.

We all want to get back to normal. While it’s exciting to see vaccine impacts, we need the emotional equivalent. If there’s ever been a time to take a break, a hiatus, a sabbatical, it’s now. 

Many of us have been holding our breath, just trying to get through. We’ve been saving our PTO, in case we get sick or need to care for a family member. We’re exhausted from powering through a traumatic time. However you’ve hustled to make this work, it’s been a long, emotional haul.

The Washington Post’s Christine Emba writes: “The vaccines are known to cause side effects . . . Thus the follow-up shots in particular are being looked forward to like a grim Christmas morning. I’ve lost count of the number of friends who have, jokingly but not really jokingly, expressed the desire for an unimpeachable excuse to lie down.”

How can professionals recharge and emotionally recover from their experience of working through the challenges of 2020-21? May is Mental Health Awareness Month; make a real commitment to yourself. Your mental health is precious. Consider these tips as you contemplate your emotional recovery.

1. Accept what you need.

It’s a challenging time. Many of us are trying to work around feelings of burnout, exhaustion, and unprocessed trauma. Emba writes: “Every era has its typical disorder, but our own might have several. Even before the pandemic, our depression and anxiety were well-documented; so, too, were our burnout and anomie. The coronavirus has allowed us to put a name to our feelings: These days we’re ‘languishing,’ or ‘hitting the wall.’ Underlying it all is a feeling of being deeply, deeply tired.”

While chatting about our collective emotional exhaustion on social media can feel like a healthy outlet, it isn’t getting us the real help that we need to own and understand our feelings.  

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reports: “During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder . . . up from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019.”

In July 2020, KFF conducted a poll to track participant’s health during the pandemic; the poll found many negative indicators:

·   36 percent of respondents were having trouble sleeping

·   32 percent felt that their eating habits were impacted by stress

·   12 percent indicated an increase in alcohol or substance use

·   12 percent indicate that chronic conditions are becoming more problematic because of stress

Mental Health America (MHA) shares that “46 percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life.” Recognizing that we’re struggling with a mental health issue is no cause for shame; in fact, it’s common.  If you’re concerned, work with your colleagues in human resources to learn more about your coverage or call your insurance company directly. The MHA also offers online screenings and information about local treatment resources.

2. Find an outlet for self-exploration.  

For more than a year, we’ve been swept up in a frenzy of trying to make things work in an emergency situation. Now, life is starting to look sort of normal. This gives us the chance to start asking: how am I doing with all this?

Samantha Foster, founder and president of the mental health nonprofit, Rethink Mental Health Incorporated  shares: “One way people can begin rebuilding emotional resilience and reducing stress from the COVID pandemic is to open up a dialog about their emotions, stressors and concerns. By expressing emotions as opposed to suffering in silence, people can begin to process what they are feeling and get to the root issue of emotional distress. Opening up a dialog can mean speaking to

a mental health professional, talking to a trusted friend or loved one, or joining a support group of like-minded individuals who can help you know that you are not alone in what you are going through.”

Foster points out that not everyone is comfortable sharing their feelings with others. She recommends: “If you are not ready to speak to others, you can also open a dialog and process pent up emotions through journaling, art or other expressive mediums. Whether small or big, opening up a dialog about your mental health can help you release negative emotions, find the root causes of emotional distress, make changes to your life for the better, and ultimately recover from the emotional and mental anguish you have experienced from the covid pandemic and more.”

You’ve come through, big time, for your employer and for your family. But how are you doing? Identify an outlet that enables you to explore this question.

Ask yourself hard questions, too, about your job: Does your job truly work for you and your family? If you could change anything about your job, what would that be? Is it a healthy fit for you? Is it fulfilling?  You deserve a job that truly you. You deserve to thrive at work and at home. You deserve to be healthy, inside and out.  

3. Create routines that serve you.

Recognize that you pay a price for trudging through. Notice it when stress and worry stick to you. Consider how you might manage that stress in a way that serves you. Then build your routine accordingly. Make it attainable, so that you can succeed, while staying emotionally and physically healthy. 

If you’ve found it hard to work up the energy to stick to an exercise routine, for example, start by committing to a daily walk. The CDC reports: “Walking is a great way to get the physical activity needed to obtain health benefits. Walking does not require any special skills. It also does not require a gym membership or expensive equipment. A single bout of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can improve sleep, memory, and the ability to think and learn. It also reduces anxiety symptoms.”

Routine movement reduces stress and anxiety, according to the CDC. Incorporate routines that you can manage: morning sun salutations, lunchtime walks, or evening bike rides. Pick your practice and commit.

4. Make time for yourself.

Decide what you need-a week in the woods, a weekend getaway, a staycation. Bring the kids or ask family members to assist, so you can travel solo. Hit the hiking trails, the botanical gardens, or the beach. Figure out what it means to get what you need, and make that your priority. Get your rest, and take some time to reflect on what you’ve just been through. Block those days on your calendar, and let the world happen without you while you heal.  

Whitney Lauritsen, Well-being coach and host of mental health podcast “This Might Get Uncomfortable” shares: “My top tip for stressed out professionals is to add more down-time into their week. Many people overwork themselves, which leads to physical, mental, and emotional burnout. This can lead to trouble sleeping, imbalanced eating, and other health issues that contribute to stress.”

Lauritsen emphasizes the importance of committing to self-care and building regular breaks into your schedule: “It’s important for professionals to schedule time on their calendars to get adequate sleep, take breaks throughout the day, move their bodies, and disconnect from devices. If they’re having trouble doing this, writing a priorities list can help. Start by writing a list of every task, appointment, deadline, and desire that comes to mind. Then mark which are most important and urgent. Organize and schedule accordingly. Ideally, this will show gaps in the calendar for rest and non-work related time.”

5. Make your job habitable.

You’re more than an employee; you’re a valuable person. You’re the talent that employers are eager to retain, especially now. Many employers want to hold onto the people who helped them adapt, streamline operations, and power through the pandemic.

If you’re happy with the job you have, do the work to make it a better emotional fit for yourself. Use the clout you’ve garnered, helping your company to get through the pandemic, to make your job more habitable.

Emba writes: “Instead of giving in to our work-guilt, we could push back: We could press upon employers the value not in offering a day off ‘if you need it,’ but a day off, period. The more fortunate among us might choose to rest against our inclinations, to allow ourselves to take that day, and then take another — and also to recognize that those around us deserve the same. At a certain level of uptake, norms might begin to change. But that will take some brave first movers — or rather, not-movers.”

Be a “non-mover.” Review the wellness benefits that your company offers. Use them. This is a time of change. It’s a time of culture building. Contribute to that work by demanding a professional culture that prioritizes employee wellness. You and your colleagues deserve it.

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Overwhelmed? 5 Practices Remote Employees Can Use To Recalibrate

You know that moment when you realize that you’re losing control? You’re outside of your body watching everything scatter. You can’t see step one-what initial action would help you get a handle on this? Panic washes over you: “How do I get on top of this? OMG-calls keep coming in. My daughter is knocking. The dog won’t stop barking. I’m overwhelmed.” 

Being overwhelmed is an uncomfortable and unhealthy state. Many of us have been experiencing this as our personal and professional lives have blurred together during the pandemic. Professional life is urgent, but our personal lives are urgent too. How does one prioritize when multiple, important obligations are clamoring for our attention in the same space?  

Managing our wellness and environment can help. It takes some big picture planning, plus maintaining good routines and habits. On top of that, it helps to discuss our limitations, honestly and directly, without caving in to guilt.  

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. We owe it to ourselves to create systems and practices that protect us from getting overwhelmed. These are five practices remote employees can start enacting now.  

1. Guard your sleep routine.   

Good sleep is the root of wellness and productivity. When children are small, we create a bedtime routine for them. They take a bath, have a glass of milk, hear a story. We give them a wind down period that is physically and emotionally relaxing. 

Adults, likewise, benefit from dedicating attention to calming ourselves at night and creating a routine that ensures deep, refreshing rest. “Sleep hygiene techniques and regular sleeping hours help improve cognition throughout the day and increase productivity. Individuals should create a workspace devoid of distractions if possible. The workspace should not be in the bedroom as this could affect sleep quality.” Explains Dr. Leela R. Magavi, M.D., Psychiatrist and Regional Medical Director for Community Psychiatry

Set yourself up to feel better throughout your workday by adhering to a calming routine each night. 

2. Create an environment that serves you.

There are some factors about professional life that you can’t control. You can’t always control your work volume; you can’t dictate how many phone calls or emails will reach you throughout the day. But you can control the space that those communications reach.  Making that space comfortable, clutter-free, and stocked with healthy snacks and drinks positions you to handle your work well. That’s what employers do when they design an office space and culture.  

Dr. Magavi advises: “Natural light and cooler temperatures can help maintain focus. . . Everyone has a different temperament and ideal learning environment and would benefit from different modifications based on their own individual needs.” Think about what you need to feel calm and focused. If your company is planning to continue remote or hybrid work, it’s worth deciding what you need to make this arrangement comfortable. 

In addition to environmental factors, calming practices can help. Dr. Magavi recommends: “Partaking in stretches periodically throughout the day could assuage anxiety. Squeezing a stress ball while completing anxiety-inducing tasks could help release stress. Some individuals keep their pets around them and pet them or hug them intermittently, which can release oxytocin and bolster mood.” 

While there are challenges to working from home, like trying to balance your own work with that of your spouse, roommate, or children who may also be at home, there are also benefits like being able to arrange your workspace. Build on the positives, and create a space that serves you.  

Consider, too, the factors that triggered your feelings when you’ve found yourself overwhelmed. Dr. Magavi advises: “It is imperative for individuals to pinpoint what exactly has been worsening their productivity, and tackle this accordingly.” 

For many of us, what feels so challenging about this time is that our routines have been upended. Dr. Magavi shares “Disrupted structure particularly affects inattentiveness…Limiting screen time and maintaining familiar routines inclusive of mindfulness activities and exercise as much as possible could improve focus and motivation.” While some screen time is necessary for work and school, it’s helpful to take a look at where we can eliminate the excess and build in healthier, more energizing activities.  

3. Adhere to healthy habits 

This is an exhausting time, which can make us feel the urge to collapse. But getting through a difficult time requires extra attention to those details that help energize us to succeed. Adhering to a healthy routine sets us up to feel better than collapsing into disorganization. This can create the conditions which can cause flare ups where we get demotivated and overwhelmed. 

Dr. Magavi offers this advice: “Each success releases neurochemicals such as dopamine, which positively reinforce healthy behavior and focus itself. Dopamine and norepinephrine are implicated in inattentiveness, so any activity that increases these levels could boost focus. If an individual writes down a goal to walk with weights for twenty minutes, and crosses this out when completed, this will release some positive neurochemicals. The next day, if demotivation strikes, it is helpful to think about the success from the prior day and attempt to repeat it again.” Notice what works, and keep building your routine around that which helps you.  

Dr. Magavi further advises: “Writing down top goals for the day and then crossing these out could help individuals gain clarity and keep track of tasks. Tasks could be broken down into educational and work activities, emotional and physical wellness activities, and social activities. Goals should remain achievable to avoid demoralization. Finishing tasks and reaching goals with loved ones can improve motivation and accountability.” Again, when you recognize that these activities help combat feelings of lethargy and demotivation, use that awareness as your motivation to keep building them into your routines.  

4. Get the support you need 

Living through a global pandemic is difficult. The CDC reports that June 2020 saw 40 percent of American adults struggling with substance abuse and mental health. There’s no shame in it, and you’re certainly not along if you’re struggling.   

Dr. Magavi points out that “Some anxiety and stress is necessary in order to initiate tasks and gain momentum. However, when stress causes distress or functionality concerns, this could adversely impact processing speed, working memory and performance. Individuals with significant mood and anxiety concerns and feelings of sadness and demoralization, which affect their functionality should consider scheduling an appointment with a psychiatrist or therapist. Cognitive behavioral therapy allows individuals to identify their anxiety pattern and tackle this by reframing thinking and engaging in healthy behaviors. In some cases, medications are warranted to treat mood and anxiety concerns.” 

Talk with your human resources team about your options and insurance coverage related to mental health or call your insurance carrier directly to learn more. 

5. Advocate for yourself 

Talk with your manager about the issues that are making your job hard to manage. If you’re struggling to keep up with the volume and intensity of work, share that feedback. If you’re struggling to balance work and life, discuss it with your manager. 

There’s no shame in finding it taxing to power your team through a global pandemic by working in a whole new way while also inhabiting the same space with your family. That is a lot to take on. If you’re finding it challenging, that doesn’t mean you’re bad at your job or you’re failing in any of life’s spheres in which you are an active participant. It means you’re a human being, and much is being asked of you at an exceedingly stressful time. It’s ok to invite a conversation addressing that.   

Know that you are not struggling alone. Many employees are trying to make this arrangement work any way they can, often sacrificing their own wellness to do so. Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index Report notes: “The digital intensity of workers’ days has increased substantially, with the average number of meetings and chats steadily increasing since last year. . . Despite meeting and chat overload, 50 percent of people respond to Teams chats within five minutes or less, a response time that has not changed year-over-year. This proves the intensity of our workday, and that what is expected of employees during this time, has increased significantly.” 

Remote employees are burning themselves out trying to keep pace. The report explains: “Self-assessed productivity has remained the same or higher for many employees over the past year, but at a human cost. One in five global survey respondents say their employer doesn’t care about their work-life balance. Fifty-four percent feel overworked. Thirty-nine percent feel exhausted.”

The Microsoft report indicates that globally 40 percent the workforce are considering a job hunt this year. If your company wants to retain you, they need to hear you. If they don’t, then perhaps it’s time to consider starting a job hunt of your own.  

Remember 

You are one person. You can handle a lot, but it should not be at the expense of your wellness. You matter more than your job. Do what you can to make the job you have habitable. But if it can’t work, move on. Find your fit. You deserve that. 

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Should You Leave A Safe Job You Don’t Love During The Pandemic? (Hint, Yes!)

We’re beginning to emerge collectively from a difficult time as we’ve weathered the many effects of COVID-19. Recently, there have been some hopeful indicators that life may soon return to something resembling normal. Economic indicators are also hopeful. In his March update, Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao asserts: “March’s jobs report is the most optimistic since the pandemic began. The end of the pandemic appears to be in sight as vaccine distribution accelerates, and the economic recovery looks like it’s champing at the bit.”   

Living through difficult and demanding times can grow us in ways that we didn’t expect. It can build new muscles, skills, and perspectives. It can refine our focus, enabling us to see ourselves more clearly. It can make us realize that our time here on earth is too precious to spend doing a job that doesn’t truly suit us and that we don’t love.

If you have a job that is safe and comfortable, but that you’ve outgrown, that you find boring or unfulfilling, you may be wondering: does safety constitute fit? Should I give up this comfortable job and risk finding something that excites and challenges me?

Yes! We think that you deserve a job that deeply suits you. There’s nothing like the thrill of fit; here’s what you need to know to secure it for yourself.   

Before you can decide what you’re looking for in a new role, clarify how you feel about your current position. Decide what’s working for you and identify where you crave change. Have you outgrown your current role? Is there room for you to grow with your current employer? How do you feel about your current supervisor and your team? What kind of options do you have at your job? Is there a position or another team there that you’ve considered?

Think about your job prospects as an exercise, without worrying about the usual roadblocks. What would you explore professionally if you had the opportunity? Take our quiz: What Job Best Fits Your Life? It can give you a starting point as you contemplate what qualities you’re looking for in a suitable role.

We may be inclined to stay in comfortable but ill-fitting jobs for many reasons. Perhaps our ambitions aren’t well enough defined. We know what we like to do, but how does that translate into a job? Perhaps the job search seems too daunting; we’re not sure our tech skills are refined enough to manage a search or we’re worried about the project of writing a resume or selling our skills through the interview process.   

Matthew Warzel, President of MJW Careers, advises: “Have a vision of your dream job. Think of your job drivers. What’s important to you? Time, money, benefits, 401(k)s, location, product offerings, company image, culture, values, progressive versus traditional setting, remote versus on-location, passionate project opportunities, etc. Each is different for each person. What motivates you? What’s your passion? What can you do that will make you happy in 2 weeks, 3 months, a year?”

Job searching starts with soul searching. Defining and targeting what you truly want fuels the process.  

Experiment. 

As you think about what fit means to you, know that you may not have the answers right away. What you’re looking for might have changed during the pandemic. Because your already have a job, you have the time to be reflective about your reinvention.

Warzel recommends a full-body approach to the quest: “Be specific in what you want, clarify it, write it down, consume knowledge of it, live it. Recruiters cannot help you if you nor they know what you want to do. Most people have skills and experience that can transfer nicely to another industry or job. The key is knowing how those skills reasonably transfer, and what sort of value they bring to the prospective employer.”

Be patient as you work through tabulating where you are professionally and deciding where you’d like to take that. Keep building as you contemplate your next move.

Warzel advises: “The challenge is that most are unsure of how their skills are exchangeable to other duties. If you’re an accomplished professional, it’s best to use actual methodologies, processes, skills, or technologies relating directly to the open job description and your experience. These are good ideas for those greener candidates. Also, opt for free experiential learning like internships. Work freelance projects for friends, neighbors, etc., and continuously build your portfolio, skills, and competencies… maybe even parlay that into a side hustle as part of the gig economy.”

Study the job you’re targeting. 

If you’ve found a new dimension of your professional skill set, you may even consider refining it further via professional training. Warzel recommends: “Enroll in continuing education courses, there’s plenty of free ones out there like Udemy or Coursera, and even some Ivy schools are offering free digital learning programs. Track all these wonderful things you learn. When you seek out academic programs, find ones that can help train and prepare you for your new role while you’re in limbo.”

Keep in mind, that you want to both upskill yourself and refine your understanding of the industry. Warzel summarizes: “Your goal is to understand the role and industry inside and out so eventually you can become the subject matter expert. Find some new career job openings and the minimal qualifications in each, identify the possible credentials you may need to better position yourself in this new role, and find online institutions that you can acquire these credentials, and list them onto your resume. Also, find membership groups and industry networking opportunities…this is a wonderful place to gather knowledge from industry pros who can help explain the nuances of your new role.”

A worthy hunt.

Warzel grants that the job search game is slightly different than it was pre-covid. The difference he sees: “More talent. And more solid talent at that. Lots of highly successful or proficient people are trying to find their next career so they can continue on with their career journey.”

Warzel’s advice: “Do not get discouraged. Sometimes it takes creativity, maybe some guerilla job hunting tactics or a network to move ahead of the others.” Be creative, confident, and committed to your search.

And then nail the basics. “You must play the resume game correctly. There is a 7-second eye test that exists, so when you’re ready, make sure your resume is up to snuff in terms of content, layout, format, ATS-compliance and overall messaging. Again, keep your head up, if you make enough waves, someone will notice. Tap your network, comment on decision-makers at companies you want to work for and are in your business unit. Reach out to recruiters. Build rapport.” Warzel advises.

A hopeful future.

Finding a job that truly suits you is worth your effort. Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor Chief Economist and Director of Research, assures: “These are challenging times. Yet, we at Glassdoor remain optimistic about the future of work and hiring. America’s entrepreneurial culture has proven to be resilient, adaptable, and innovative in the face of many economic and social crises of the past.”  

Search company reviews and find your fit. You deserve it, and you’ve got this.

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What’s The Difference Between Work Sample And Work Product?

A job search is a comprehensive undertaking. It takes soul searching to identify and target a fitting role. Updating your materials requires reflection as you capture new skills you’ve honed, experiences you’ve garnered, training you’ve attended, and connections you’ve made.

If you work in a creative field, like marketing, content writing, public relations, research, or journalism, providing writing samples is another dimension of job search preparation with which you’re likely acquainted.  As part of your job interview, you may be asked to develop a sample according to the interviewer’s instructions.  

This exercise showcases your skills in a context that is relevant to the employer. Maureen McCann, Executive Career Strategist describes it: “Samples are a ‘taste’ of what the employer can expect from you.” The interviewer uses the sample as a diagnostic piece that is part of your candidate profile; aside from this, it has no professional purpose. It is a work sample, not a work product.

Inviting a job seeker to submit a work sample is nice opportunity. McCann explains: “As a job candidate, you can use this as an opportunity to showcase your abilities – stand out from your competition and demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the job.”

Asking candidates to submit work samples that a company then repurposes as work products is inappropriate. Job candidates are not employees. They are not being paid to submit work products for the company that’s interviewing them.

It can be challenging, as a job candidate, to interpret what is being asked of you. Afterall, you’re focused on making a good impression with the aim of securing employment. Here’s what you need to know about writing samples and how to proceed if a prospective employer asks for too much during the interview process.       

The purpose of a writing sample.

When the role you’re applying for involves a hefty writing component, a prospective employer may want to see more than clips of past written work that you’ve done. While it’s helpful to see these snap shots, in the final rounds of their interview process, employers may want to see how you manage the content directly relevant to their company and their open position.  

McCann explains that this is a screening process:

“Often employers are testing, assessing and analyzing your ability to do the things that you:

  • Said you could do on your resume (vetting)
  • Need to do in the job (testing, assessing)

First and foremost, the employer wants to know whether you can complete the task well. Can you do the job?”

It’s helpful to consider this request as a screening-like the initial phone screenings that generally proceed in-person interviews. While this process is important and job seekers are usually glad to submit to a phone screening if invited, the conversations adhere to a framework which limits the time commitment for both parties.  

McCann points out another objective of the writing sample: “Second, it will give indications about how you – your skills, communication, leadership and style of doing business  – align with the way the employer currently conducts their business.”

Inviting a sample writing project or a similar job simulation is another way for a company to access potential fit. Are the candidate’s writing skills a fit for the company and the position?

It’s a way to go beyond the candidate’s on-paper persona. McCann uses this metaphor: “Think of work samples like the employer test driving a car. Yes, the engine looks good (your resume has all the right words and you appear to be a good hire), but how does it drive (will you be able to/ how will you perform in our current environment and with our stakeholders)?”

A test drive is an important part of the process when it comes to making decisions about the car one is considering purchasing. It’s a professional courtesy to have the opportunity to test drive a car. But there are parameters. Clearly, you can’t go off roading or take an out of state road trip when you’re test driving a car.  

The same is true with a writing sample. As a job candidate, you’re extending a professional courtesy so that a prospective employer can test drive your writing skills, but there are parameters that govern this request.

An appropriate ask.

It’s appropriate and strategic for a prospective employer to assign a project that directly relate to the role for which a candidate is interviewing. “It’s literally called a work sample, so it must be a ‘sample’ that is clearly related to the job you will be asked to do.” McCann shares.

If that’s a development role at a non-profit, for example, this may mean interviewing a staff member and writing two paragraphs about a new program. If it’s a marketing role, it could mean writing a sample social media post. The writing sample is a snippet, a “taste,” of how your professional skills might look if you were hired to work for this interviewer.

McCann points out that an overview is also an appropriate ask. She elaborates: “In most cases, you’ll be asked to share an outline or an approach vs. a detailed strategy. You might be asked a ‘how’ question. ‘Demonstrate how you would do X’.”  She uses the example: “Demonstrate how you would or how you have written a briefing note for a government official.” Presenting an overview gives you room to develop and share relevant ideas and provide evidence of your approach, without getting too bogged down in time-consuming details.  

Finally, the details of what job candidates are being asked to submit are also important: at what point in the interview process are you being asked to do this work? How long will it take you to produce?

McCann explains: “You’re not being paid to complete this task, so beyond the task being job-relevant, it also shouldn’t take you a whole day to complete. . . Keep this in mind while setting time aside to complete this work sample. What is your time worth? What is your ROI? (great if you get an offer, but what if you don’t get the offer?) How many other candidates are doing a work sample? What are your odds of getting an offer?”

An inappropriate ask.

McCann points out that it’s inappropriate for a company to ask a candidate to submit a sample that is beyond the scope of the position they’re targeting. She uses this example: “If you’re being hired as a painter and you’re asked to demonstrate how you would re-wire a house and bring it up to code – that’s an inappropriate ask because it’s outside the scope of your job as a painter.”

Likewise, McCann points out that tasks that would take all day are similarly inappropriate. It should only take a couple of hours to complete the sample.

Finally, McCann emphasizes the importance of job seekers’ intellectual property. She notes: “You want to balance between showcasing your capabilities and being taken advantage of (having your ideas stolen).”

Next steps if too much is asked.

  1. Check Interview Reviews

If you feel like too much is being asked of you, check Glassdoor’s Interview Reviews. See how other candidates have described their experience interviewing with the company.

  1. Adhere to your boundaries

Yes, it’s important to interview well, but if a company seems to be asking too much of you in the interview process, what will it be like to work there? Note your observations, and use them to inform any decisions you make about this prospect.

  1. Then ask follow up questions.  

McCann advises: “Give people the benefit of the doubt. Have a clarifying conversation with the employer to better understand how the work sample will be evaluated. Identify ‘what’ they are looking for from the sample, and how they’ll know they have the right candidate based on the sample.” If follow up questions are not possible, McCann recommends trying to do your best with what you have. She advises: “focus on what the employer is ‘really’ asking for – sometimes you might have to read between the lines. Identify the purpose of the work sample in the hiring process. (How will this work sample be used to help the employer choose the right hire?)” Finally, McCann recommends protecting your work: “Put your name on everything. Make it difficult to separate your name from your work. If pressed, tell the employer ‘I’m happy to share more details/specifics when hired.’”

  1. The bottom line.

It’s a good move for a prospective employer to invite top candidates to submit short writing samples to showcase their work as it relates to the company and role. But it’s unethical for a company to trick job candidates into doing unpaid work by telling them it’s part of their interview process. 

Make sure to share your interview experiences, the positive and the negative, on Glassdoor which helps keep other job seekers informed. McCann advises: “Trust your instincts. If something about this situation doesn’t feel right, you already know you don’t trust this employer. If you don’t trust the employer, why continue in this hiring process?”

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The Ultimate Guide To Career Development While Working Remote

Remember those days when career development was an exciting part of professional life? It was a thrill to consider conventions we might attend, courses we might take, mentorship opportunities we might pursue.

Powering through the pandemic accelerated our career development in some key ways. We had to dig deep to succeed as remote operators, adapting our business practices on the fly. These experiences changed us. The anxiety, stress, and heartbreak we weathered, gave us a chance to cultivate new aspects of our professional selves. The pandemic forced us to be unconventional and uncomfortable as we adapted to a new paradigm. 

Now, we’re starting to glimpse the next chapter, as vaccines become increasingly available and the economy shows signs that it’s generating momentum. Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain predicts that remote work is here to stay, at least in part, with hybrid arrangements becoming standard in the near future. Here’s your ultimate guide to help you further your career development while working remotely.

“Remote workforces work best with at least some in-person office work. Fully remote teams have financial and recruiting benefits, but also suffer from lower spontaneity, more challenges forming bonds and lower innovation.” Dr. Chamberlain explains. “Prepare for an unprecedented wave of experimentation and innovation around hybrid remote-in-office roles — part remote and part in-office — in 2021 and beyond.” Dr. Chamberlain predicts.

How do you get yourselves professionally prepared to staff a remote or hybrid workforce? A good first step is to identify those self-management skills that you relied on to propel you through the pandemic. Refine those to fuel your professional evolution during the next stage of this remarkable season of personal, professional, and cultural growth. 

Stellar remote career growth.

When many professionals left their offices as the pandemic took hold, they were not seasoned remote operators.  According to the Pew Research Center, about 20 percent of employees worked remotely pre-COVID while more than 70 percent were working remotely at the close of 2020.

A fair percentage of employees did not just survive remote work, they thrived on the job. Many professionals found their stride, advanced their skills, and cultivated new ones. A Harvard Business School (HBS) online survey of 1,500 professionals who worked remotely in 2020 found exciting results pointing to career growth.  The survey results reveal:

HBS Performance data:

·   98 percent succeeded in maintaining their jobs while working from home.

·   33 percent indicated that their performance and professional product improved.

·   33 percent reported greater focus on their work in a remote setting.   

HBS Professional development data:

·   35 percent indicated that they read more about their own professional growth.

·   29 percent took action to continue their education.

·   34 percent took career development courses online.  

HBS Leadership/team data:

·   50 percent indicated trust in leadership remained intact.  

·   50 percent indicated they continued to collaborate well with colleagues.

·   50 percent indicated they continued to get support from colleagues.

HBS Wellness data:

·   34 percent felt a sense of professional burn out.

·   69 percent felt worried about issues going on in the world.

HBS’s survey found that 81 percent of respondents are interested in continuing to work remotely full time or having a hybrid schedule; 61 percent would like to continue working remotely two or three each week, according to the survey.

This is aligned with what Dr. Chamberlain’s research reveals. When he surveyed Glassdoor’s employees, Dr. Chamberlain learned that more than 70 percent of the Glassdoor team would like to continue with a hybrid schedule post-COVID.

“History suggests that most employees will eventually return to in-person work, but likely not for the traditional Monday-through-Friday office routine that has dominated corporate culture for a century. It’s a welcome silver lining of a pandemic that has overturned old ideas about the geography of work and ushered in a new era of tools and openness to remote work.” Dr. Chamberlain shares.

Initiate a new conversation.

The workplace is changing all around us and in real time. This may give employees a rare opportunity to have a hand in shaping the workplace of the future. When it comes to their professional development, the performance review is an important place to start.

Don’t wait to talk about performance like you did in the past. The formulaic quarterly review may not be a meaningful measure of your quarantine hustling; 62% of employees feel like their company’s performance review is surface level and incomplete. So why not take this opportunity to initiate a new conversation about performance?

Kyle Elliott, Founder and Career Coach at Caffeinated Kyle Consulting, advises: “Performance reviews look different when working remotely and telecommuting. Be prepared to proactive and initiate performance conversations with your supervisor. Do not be afraid to ask your supervisor for additional projects that play to your strengths as well as develop your areas of opportunities. Consider setting up a weekly or biweekly one-to-one with your supervisor to review your leadership development and growth.”  

Be proactive and ask for feedback ahead of time.  

Get ahead of a structured review process by asking for feedback proactively. Inquiring about your performance and asking for feedback helps you grow in your position by giving you a sense of what’s working well and what needs improvement. It also shows your manager that you’re being diligent about evolving in your role.

Marie Krebs, People Operations Manager at Learnerbly, adds: “Remote work changes the performance review conversation in that it takes away a lot of the cues that companies use to get a sense of someone’s fit in the workplace. For example, when working in-person, managers observe how a person interacts with their colleagues, and how engaged they are in the work they’re doing. It’s much more difficult to assess these qualities when people are working remotely. This guide for first-time managers can assist with navigating difficulties like this. . . Because we lose incidental interaction when we don’t work together in person, we all have to be much more purposeful about scheduling conversations when working remotely.”

Collaborate and connect with your network.

Your in-house network, your team and your colleagues, is huge when it comes to the fluidity and ease with which you get work done. Hunkering down and confiding oneself to a siloed professional existence closes you off to one of your greatest professional resources-your colleagues. Your colleagues do more than just work alongside you, they can actually cross train you. They introduce you to new concepts using familiar language and examples.

Foster connections with your colleagues at every turn, and expand your circle whenever possible. “Seek out opportunities across your organization to stretch your leadership skills. Ask your supervisor if there are other roles, tasks, or projects that are available and can use your support. Oftentimes, leaders are simply waiting for you to step up.” Elliott shares.

Explore new projects that expand your internal network and that give you the chance to work with new colleagues on different kinds of projects. It’s a safe situation in which to learn from your colleagues and to show them what you know. Time is always tricky. There’s always plenty of work to do, but consider taking these risks is a professional development opportunity.    

Networking is an engine for professional development; both when you engage with your internal network of colleagues and your external network of current and former colleagues, friends, former classmates, clients, etc. Your network is powerful, whether you are seeking insight, support, and guidance or whether you have those things to share. 

Elliott advises: “Know that not all personal development has to take place within your current employer. Seek out mentors outside your organization to support your development. Use LinkedIn to identify, connect, and engage with mentors and sponsors.”  

Refine your skills.

Identify a professional skill that you know that you could stand to strengthen. Perhaps your communication skills would benefit from a tune up. Maybe you’re petrified by public speaking. Perhaps there’s specific tech skills that you need to refine. Think about those areas where you feel less than confident, and make the commitment to yourself to enhance those areas.

Elliott points out: “Remote environments are making personal development more accessible than ever before. Harness the power of LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, edX, and similar online learning platforms to grow your remote skills.”

Stretch into a leadership role.

Refine and develop leadership skills. Many employees had to self-manage and juggle multiple priorities during the pandemic. For some, the challenge was overwhelming, but for others it cued them into their budding leadership skills. That’s a stretch assignment that benefits employees and employers alike.

Krebs advises: “An employee wanting to develop their leadership skills needs to ensure that they have communicated this desire to a manager.” She points out that leadership is a specific area where you can engage a mentor’s assistance. This is also an area that could be helpful when it comes to getting sponsorship support.

Forge forward in your career.  

When it comes to furthering your career as a remote or hybrid professional, you are in a position to drive professional development. It takes a focused approach, which is part of what makes remote work fulfilling. You have more opportunities to drive fit. Take them. Make yours the job that fits your life.

Now that you know how to guide your remote career, find companies that are right for you!

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