9 Ways to Create Belonging for Remote Employees

A sense of belonging, experts say, is a shared feeling that permeates through a company’s culture — that each employee is a part of a team with a common mission and backed by a strong support system. It’s easy to spot belonging in a workplace, according to Porschia Parker-Griffin, founder and CEO of Fly High Coaching: Just look for workers who collaborate together and feel valued.

Or, as leadership expert Magalie René explains, “belonging is smack in the middle of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s the foundation upon which self-esteem and purpose rest. In its absence, the workplace becomes a job of ‘get through the day’ instead of a chance to contribute ideas.”

But belonging is more than a feel-good opportunity for employees. It has a payoff for companies, too. “If people feel like they belong in their workplace, then that suggests their values and their goals align with the overall company ethos,” says Akhila Satish, CEO of Meseekna. “And that means they’re not only working to get a paycheck, but also to further your company’s goals.”

Employees who feel as if they belong within their companies help those businesses myriad ways: They contribute to a positive culture through enthusiasm for their jobs and the company; increase employee engagement and reduce company turnover; and increase productivity and revenue.

Employees that feel a sense of belonging also “work harder, and put in more time and effort to do their job,” says Parker-Griffin. On the flip side, “when people don’t experience a sense of belonging, they naturally do what’s expected — and not much more,” says René. “There’s also less incentive to connect on a personal level. The best companies are made up of individuals who feel personally connected to, and even in some way responsible, for the organization’s success.”

And a sense of belonging can be especially important for remote workers.

A real lack of in-person interaction can lead many remote workers to feel separated — in more than a literal sense — from their teams and workplaces, says Parker-Griffin. And “a sense of belonging is the difference between being a value-added team member” and not, René says.

For many out-of-office employees, “their managers won’t be around to monitor their work ethic as closely,” says Satish. They “need to be really passionate about the company in order for them to keep up their productivity and effort,” she says, and positively contribute to the organization.

That’s just one reason why “companies with remote workers should take extra steps to create a sense of comradery and team spirit,” says Parker-Griffin. If they do, their remote employees can “remain engaged with their colleagues and in their role,” and contribute positively to company.

Now that you know what a sense of belonging can do for your organization and how important it is for remote workers to feel it, here are nine ways to create belonging for remote employees.

1. Give remote workers plenty of opportunities to contribute.

Remote employees can feel disconnected from their teams and — when it comes to meetings — a few steps (or miles) away from the planning process. So, “managers should give their team members an opportunity to contribute to the agenda of team meetings ahead of time,” René says. By allowing remote workers to add to a meeting’s agenda, you single to them that they are key members of your team, she says. It can also “mitigate any discomfort people may have in sharing in a group setting and supports them in overcoming communications challenges,” René adds.

You can promote collaboration outside of meetings, too. For example, you can encourage your staff to spend time talking outside of official meetings to talk about projects, says Parker-Griffin. “This allows remote employees to engage with other team members more frequently,” she says.

2. Schedule routine meetings for “virtual” facetime.

Parker-Griffin suggests scheduling meetings with remote employees weekly, either by Zoom or phone. “Creating a regular group or one-on-one meeting with a remote employee can really help them feel included and supported at work,” she says. “The visual component of being on camera can increase connection, but if that isn’t possible, a phone call is another alternative.” If you have a small team, she also suggests taking the time for one-on-one meetings. These get-togethers can “enhance belonging by showing that you care enough to invest your time with them,” she says.

3. Start team meetings with networking opportunities.

To create a sense of belonging among your employees — especially for those logging in from a distance — René says it’s important to give your team a chance to network whenever they meet, even virtually. She recommends starting each meeting with a five to 10-minute fun networking opportunity, perhaps using prompts to spur conversation and connection. “The prompts can create opportunities for individuals at different levels and from different backgrounds to learn about one another and connect,” she explains. And for remote workers, “this is an ideal way to create or replace the water cooler moments that are becoming less common with virtual work.”

4. Be transparent in how and why your company makes its decisions. 

Big company decisions such as bringing on a new team member or client — or letting employees go — can “sometimes make more of an impact on your employees than you realize, especially when they’re not in the office with you watching your decision-making process,” says Satish. Being transparent about why things are happening, however, can have the opposite effect: It can make remote employees feel like they’re an integral part of the team. So, “make sure to always make your team feel like they understand why you made a decision,” says Satish, “and make yourself accessible for questions or feedback. And when in doubt, be overly-communicative.”

5. Conduct regular “temperature checks” with remote workers.

When communicating with remote workers, consider asking your them, “How are you feeling?” instead of “jumping directly into an update on deliverables,” says René. But taking a moment to ask employees about their emotional health, they will likely feel a sense of belonging. “People experience belonging when they are heard,” she explains. “You don’t need to have a solution or response. The question alone offers an opportunity for a team member to share,” and it’s that opportunity that makes people feel cared for. Plus, “vulnerability creates connection,” she says. “Virtual work requires more effort to build a strong working relationship. This is a great way to cultivate it.”

6. Recognize your remote employees’ efforts.

Parker-Griffin recommends that companies “prioritize recognition of your teams.” Here’s how: “When you see something positive happening, take a moment to send an email to your group and highlight the remote team members who are doing a good job,” she says. “This gives them visibility among others who they don’t see and can go a long way in helping them feel that they belong.” If you want to take things a step further, you can share your appreciation in other ways, she says, such as sending remote workers gift cards or company-branded promotional materials such as a notebook or pens to “give them a physical representation of your acknowledgement.”

7. Make your expectations of remote workers clear — and practice what you preach.

“It’s especially important with remote workers to make sure you’re making your expectations abundantly clear and following them yourself,” says Satish. Why? Because if you’re “telling your employees to do one thing but dropping the ball yourself, you’re going to start making those employees believe that your beliefs actually don’t line up with your behaviors,” she says, and that can lead to them feeling disconnected from your teams a whole. “For example, if you’re always telling them to be online at 9 a.m. but you don’t respond to emails until 10, then you might be sending them the wrong message,” she says. “That could lead to resentment from your team in the long run, so make sure your asks are standards you’ll be able to uphold yourself.”

8. Host virtual happy hours to foster connection.

Every once in a while, ask your team to join a virtual happy hour on Zoom or another online platform, suggests Parker-Griffin. “As a leader, you can set the parameters,” she says, but a nice idea is shipping your team snacks and drinks to enjoy during their time together. “A gathering like this facilitates discussion about topics other than work, and builds relationships,” she says.

9. Take time to recognize things that may be affecting your workers.

René recommends that you “take an intersectional approach to leadership by acknowledging any particularly traumatic public events occurring that affect the marginalized members of your team.” Here’s how: mention the event, then say, “Please let me know how I or human resources can be of support,” she says. If this feels a tad too personal, René urges you to reconsider: “Ignoring traumatic public events is the quickest way to make someone feel invisible,” she warns. “This is especially true when working with members of the BIPOC community.”

She adds that “compassionate leaders make those around them feel seen. People who experience being seen are more likely to feel they belong.” Plus, “remote workers are often navigating the personal and professional simultaneously, particularly when working from home,” she says. 

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4 Essential Soft Skills You Need For A Remote Role

The pandemic has permanently changed the professional culture. While many companies offered some flexibility and remote work options before the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic accelerated that trend. According to Glassdoor’s Chief Economist, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, June 2020 saw more than 40 percent of Americans working remotely full-time. 

Dr. Chamberlain points out that the remote work trend stands to persist, at least in part, after the danger of COVID-19 subsides: “While the COVID-19 crisis forced many employers to rethink outdated policies against remote work — mostly for the best — both history and data suggest that most workers will ultimately return to in-person work arrangements once it’s safe to do so. However, the lessons learned in 2020 about the value of flexibility and working-from-home will forever change companies’ openness to hybrid office environments. In 2021 we expect workers splitting time between home and the office to be a more common workplace policy.”

What that means for employees, job seekers, and soon-to-be grads is that remote work skills are key abilities to master. Here are four essential soft skills you need to have for a remote role. 

Up your self-management skills.

Even if you have an excellent manager directing your big picture moves, you must be organized and self-directed to be a strategic remote operator. That means procuring the supplies, tools, resources, and work environment that it takes to feel comfortable and focused.  

It’s on you to make the arrangement work-troubleshooting challenges and manage them deftly so they don’t interfere with your ability to produce. “You need to be proactive. When working remotely, your manager is less likely to notice if you’re struggling, getting through a project slowly, confused, frustrated, etc. So you need to speak up if you do not understand a project or if a task isn’t going well. Don’t wait for it to become an emergency.” Advises Biron Clark, Former recruiter and founder of Career Sidekick.

Making this work means navigating the unique challenges to the arrangement and managing those as they surface. “Next, to be a successful remote worker, you’ll need to be disciplined and capable of building strong work habits.” Clark points out. “You’ll likely be tempted to multitask when you have so much freedom. Many new remote workers jump back and forth between personal tasks and work tasks, for example. Yet, the most successful remote workers that I’ve seen set clear boundaries between personal and work life and follow a consistent schedule and routine.”  

Up your communication game.

When you’re a remote employee, communicating clearly, concisely, and comprehensively is a “must-have.” Part of this awareness understands when a written message will get the job done and when you need to grab the phone and talk something, though.

When you are preparing written correspondence, recognize that those grammar rules that our high school teachers emphasized are not just an exercise in fussiness. They’re all about clarity. They show your reader how to make sense of the ideas you’re shaping. Clark writes: “It’s crucial to make sure that you’re using unambiguous terms and communicating in a way that minimizes the chance you’ll be misunderstood.”

Because remote operators rely so heavily on written correspondences, it pays to take a refresher course so that you can communicate with confidence. Grammar girl offers a variety of helpful resources. Clark likes Skillshare and LinkedIn Learning for a variety of refresher courses.   

Clark points out that enhancing your writing skills can itself become a remote career.  “Writing is a handy skill because it can almost always be performed remotely, whether you’re helping a company with their blog and content marketing, or working in a more specialized field like technical writing, medical writing, etc.”

Up your self-advocacy game.

When you’re a telecommute, and the rest of your team is in the office, sometimes you can feel less visible than your colleagues, even when you’re doing great work. It’s on you to make yourself, and your needs are known. Working remotely benefits both you and your employer, so you don’t have to feel sheepish about your set-up. Expect to be treated just like any other employee.

Clark explains, “you need to be comfortable advocating for yourself to ensure you receive enough training, support, professional development opportunities, and one-on-one time with your boss. Speak up if you need something. Remember that it’s your manager’s job to help you develop as a worker. That’s a part of their duties, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to succeed as a remote worker, whether it’s a one-on-one meeting or home office supplies. This is especially important in an organization where the majority of employees are not working remotely because your manager might not think to offer something that you need.”  

Find a remote role that fits your life.  

If you’re ready to pursue a remote role, use Glassdoor’s Guide to finding a remote job. Learn the basics and set your profile to target remote roles to how to prepare for your interviews. You’ve got this!

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10 Companies Hiring For Remote Roles

COVID-19 has changed the future of work. Many companies are now hiring for remote positions. Looking for a new remote job? Companies need you more than ever before. Check out all the companies hiring right now. Apply today!

Industry:Computer Hardware & Software
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:Business Systems Analyst Intern, 2021 Summer U.S. (Remote), Engineering Manager, Trello (Remote – U.S.), Product Marketing Manager, GTM, Senior Backend Engineer, Trello (Remote – U.S.), Software Engineer, Lead Product Designer – Buyer Experience (Remote), Data Scientist, Business Analyst & more.

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Lionrock Recovery
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Open Roles:SUD Therapist – Telehealth, Production Specialist for CommUnity Meetings, SUD Counselor – Telehealth, Part-Time, Consultant Medical Director & more.

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Open Roles:Senior Site Reliability Engineer (US Remote), Software Engineer, Core PubSub, Senior Software Engineer, SDK Engineer, Senior Full Stack Engineer, Sales Development Representative & more.

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Open Roles:Area Sales Manager – US West (Enterprise), Channel Sales Manager (East, USA), Manager, Sales Strategy, Remote – USA, Area Sales Manager, Mid-Market Americas (Georgia, Carolinas, New York, NJ), Strategic Account Leader (Bay Area), Professional Services Technical Instructor & more.

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Open Roles:Production Operator, Plant Engineering Intern, Manufacturing Coordinator*, Sr. Quality Engineer*, Control Systems Engineer, Product Responsibility Liaison*, Strategy & Marketing Development Intern for Summer 2021 & more.

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Open Roles:Director, Corporate Development, Senior Project Manager, Solution Delivery Remote, US East Coast, Salesforce Lead Developer – Remote US,Salesforce Lead Developer – Remote US, Sr. Manager , Revenue US Remote, Network Security Architect US Remote & more.

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Open Roles:Senior Software Engineer, Cloud DevOps Engineer, Software Application Developer, Sales Engineer, Customer Success Manager, Director / AVP, Product Management & more.

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Open Roles:Government Solutions – Senior Associate, Accountant, Audit & Assurance – Manager, Clerical Support (Psychiatric Clerical Support – Client Opening), Case Manager – Client Opening, Chief Safety Officer (Client Opening) & more.

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McKinsey & Company
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10 of the Best Companies for Working From Home

Working from home is one of the most highly-coveted perks there is — and it’s no wonder. If you could skip the morning commute, spend more time with your family and friends, and work in your pajamas, wouldn’t you? But while most people would love the option to work remotely, plenty of them just don’t know where to start.

If this sounds like you, you’ll probably be interested in the best companies for working from home in 2021. Learn more about them below, and apply while positions are still available!

1. Zoom Video Communications *Hiring Surge*

Open Remote Jobs: Payments Analyst, Compliance Analyst, Third Party Management Management, System Administrator,IT Asset Management Analyst, Zoom Phone Specialists & more. 

What They Do: Founded in 2011, Zoom’s mission is to develop people-centric cloud services that transform the real-time collaboration experience and improves the quality and effectiveness of communications forever. We deliver happiness.

What Employees Say: “Great products that basically sell themselves, great use cases and customer branding. The company does offer basic healthcare and services to make life easier and balanced for their employees. They try to bring diversity and inclusion to the global employee base, they are generous with their benefits and bonuses..” —Current Employee

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What They Do: “Our two divisions (TTEC Digital and TTEC Engage) help brands make every interaction they have with a customer—whether it’s face-to-face, online, over the phone, on social media, or via a mobile app—simple, personal and exceptional!”

Open Remote Jobs: Senior Marketing Analytics Consultant, Campaign Analytics – REMOTE, Technical Support Representative, Customer Service Representative – Work from Home – USA, Data Visualization Analyst | Remote Work, Sales Development Representative & more. 

What Employees Say: “The opportunity to advance within the company is limitless for anyone interested, willing to put forth the effort and are in good standing within their department.” —Current Customer Service Representative

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3. Dell

What They Do: “Dell Technologies is a unique family of businesses that provides the essential infrastructure for organizations to build their digital future, transform IT and protect their most important asset: information.”

Open Remote Jobs: Edge Product Manager (Consultant) – Remote US, Account Executive, Dell Technologies Select – Texas Remote, Senior Core and Transport Network Services Consultant – U.S. remote, Senior Service Delivery Engineer (Azul) – U.S. remote & more.

What Employees Say: “People and customers make this a great place to work. Michael Dell and his executive staff are making great decisions that are helping shape the future of the IT industry. Great work-life balance and ability to work from home is an added bonus.” —Current Product Marketing Manager

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4. Hopper

What They Do: “Hopper is the award-winning mobile app that doesn’t just let you book flights and accommodations from your phone: It also tells you when is the best time to buy. No spam. No ads. No popups. No time wasted. Just the confidence that you’re booking.”

Open Remote Jobs: Travel Agent, Data Analyst, Technical Recruiter, Product Manager, Head of FP&A, Senior Product Manager, Product Designer, Director, Software Engineer & more. 

What Employees Say: “Great people with a wide range of personalities. Hopper is inclusive and interesting with room for anyone who wants to contribute. Fosters genuine friendships and healthy working relationships. You will be pushed to improve constantly and will learn on the fly. Work can at times be demanding, but a flexible culture creates a great work/life balance. Competitive compensation and benefits.” —Current Data Scientist

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5. Kelly Services

What They Do: “As a global leader in providing workforce solutions, Kelly offers a wide array of outsourcing and consulting services as well as staffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct-hire basis.”

Open Remote Jobs: REMOTE Medical Device Customer Service Representative, Contracts Manager- Remote, Collections Representative/Remote Brea CA, Customer Support Representative /Remote, Auto Techinician – Remote & more.

What Employees Say: “The company is very diverse, help is always available, easy to be promoted, the pay is good, work from home.” —Current Employee

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6. Intuit

What They Do: “Our mission is powering prosperity around the world. We build intuitive web, mobile, and cloud solutions that generate more money, more time, and more confidence for 46+ million people. “

Open Remote Jobs: Remote Experienced Tax Preparer Seasonal, Remote Credentialed Tax Accountant, Remote Tax Advisor – CPA, Enrolled Agent or Attorney, Tax Professional – CPA, Enrolled Agent or Attorney – Remote, Credentialed Bilingual Tax Advisor – CPA – Remote & more.

What Employees Say: “Intuit is a wonderful company to work for. They offer competitive pay and several shift options. The management is fair and efficient and the work is enjoyable.” —Current Employee

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7. UnitedHealth Group

What They Do: “We’re a Fortune 5 company on a global mission to help people live healthier lives while improving the health system and expanding access to quality care.”

Open Remote Jobs: Business Solution Manager, Data Analytics – Walnut Creek, CA, Director, Communications & Engagement, Market Performance Partnerships – Walnut Creek, CA, Director, Procurement – Walnut Creek, CA, Director of Value Base Care Analytics – Walnut Creek, CA& more.

What Employees Say: “Great benefits… unlimited opportunity all over the world with the option to work from home. Try them out! You’ll love it!” —Current Recovery Analyst

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8. Trusted Health *Hiring Surge*

What They Do: “We are a team of nurses and innovators that are reimagining how healthcare staffing works! We connect healthcare workers with caregiving facilities around the globe by displacing the recruiter-centric staffing agency with our intelligent matching marketplace.”

Open Remote Jobs: Staff Accountant (Remote), Software Engineer – Mobile (Remote), Software Engineer – Full-Stack (Remote), Manager, Operations Coordination (Remote), HR Generalist, Extended Workforce (Remote), Product Designer (Remote) & more. 

What Employees Say: “Amazing team that is mission-driven and passionate about making a big impact. Growing rapidly and the team has remained very collaborative and transparent.” —Current Employee

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9. Kaplan

What They Do: “With higher education programs online and at campuses, test preparation, and professional training, we’re empowering students.”

Open Remote Jobs: Med Instructor Physiology, Kaplan Med Student Brand Ambassador, Med Instructor Pathology, Kaplan University Partners, Executive Director, Website Strategy & Product, Securities and Insurance Instructor (Part-time), Sr. Analyst, Marketing Technology & more.

What Employees Say: “Work with great people. Transparent leadership. In most roles, you also get to work from home. Good community vibe.” —Current Ops Manager

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10. BroadPath Healthcare Solutions

What They Do: “BroadPath Healthcare Solutions supports payers and providers with specialized services powered by a high-caliber distributed workforce.”

Open Remote Jobs: Licensed Health Insurance Sales Agents – 100% work from home & more.

What Employees Say: “Great job, great people to work with, and good pay for a remote member services position, its the best pay I’ve ever had working from home and I’ve been doing this over 10 years.” —Former Member Service Representative

Interested in these top remote companies? Visit their Glassdoor profile pages to learn more about them and apply while their positions are still available!

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10 Companies Offering Remote Positions, Now!

COVID-19 has tremendous uncertainty within the job market, many companies are starting to hire for remote positions. From tech to insurance companies, there are many employers eager to have you join their workforce! Looking for a new remote role for the new year?

Companies need you more than ever before. Check out all the companies hiring right now. Apply today.

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How To Negotiate A Permanent Work-From-Home Arrangement

The pandemic changed a lot for workers, including where they work. A study conducted early in the outbreak showed nearly one-third of U.S. workers were working from their homes — and presumably, some of those workers won’t want to return to the office when their employers call them back. “Working from home can provide employees many benefits,” says Ray Luther, executive director of the Partnership for Coaching Excellence and Personal Leadership at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, “including a much shorter commute time, fewer distractions, and a sense of freedom, that might not come from reporting to an office every day.”

But negotiating a permanent work-from-home arrangement may not be a slam-dunk. Employers have “traditionally worried about employee productivity when working from home,” Luther says, adding some managers may feel they’ll lose control of employees they can’t see in person.

It’s not impossible, though. “Employees who want to make working from home permanent would be wise to put themselves in their employers’ shoes,” Luther says. “What would my employer be concerned about, and how can I show them that those concerns are minimal risks? For most employees, if you can demonstrate high-productivity, accessibility, and still build productive relationships on your work teams, you will have addressed most managers’ significant concerns.” Here’s exactly how you can negotiate a permanent work-from-home arrangement.

Demonstrate your productivity.

To be allowed to continue to work from home, employers will want proof you’re as productive at home as you are in an office. “Quantify and qualify the work you’ve accomplished on a work-from-home trial or mandate,” says Luther. “How productive have you been on your own? How have you worked with co-workers to learn through the new office systems? Where have you helped develop solutions to the challenges that work from home has potentially caused?” You’ll need concrete answers to those questions to convince your manager you can be trusted at home.

Come prepared with proof of your productivity — and kick off your negotiation with hard facts.

Prepare an action plan.

While you’ve already been working from home, you and your manager may not have collected hard evidence of your ability to do so successfully. If that’s the case, Maureen Farmer, founder and CEO of Westgate Executive Branding & Career Consulting, suggests you develop an action plan that will help your manager assess your ability to work from home over a trial period. Talk to your manager about what milestones he or she would like you to reach during the trial — for example, 90 days — and agree to check-ins during that time to see if you’re on track. “The offer of work-from-home must demonstrate value and benefit to the employer foremost,” Farmer says.

Build trust.

“Once you’ve demonstrated you can be productive, show that your employer can trust you,” says Luther, who adds that most managers’ concerns about employees working from home are rooted in a lack of trust. “How does the employer know they can trust you, and what have you done to demonstrate that trust? Are you accessible when they need you?” Luther asks. “Be prepared to make the case for why they can trust you to deliver even if they can’t see you in the office.”

One way you might demonstrate your trustworthiness is by proposing a communication plan in your negotiation, says Farmer. Such a plan would “lay out the periodic and regular touchpoints with each of [your] colleagues to ensure projects remain on task,” she says. “The communication plan will offer a guarantee that [you] will be available on-demand throughout the day by phone, email, text or message service. The employee must reassure the manager of their availability.”

Show you’re flexible.

It’s important during the negotiation to “listen to your employer’s concerns about working from home and seek to understand any objections,” says Luther. “While these concerns might not be as important to you, they provide clues where you could show flexibility to it doesn’t turn into an all or nothing situation.” For example, perhaps your manager would be more comfortable if you came into the office one day a week or for critical team meetings. “Working from home can provide many benefits for employees, even if it’s only four out of five days per week,” he says.

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Your Job has Gone Remote — Should You Move?

The pandemic has created a new workforce of remote workers: employees who thought they were proverbially tied to their desks only to learn in recent months they can — and have to — work from home. “The significant change in work brought about by the pandemic has opened up new options for companies and their employees, and has many employees questioning what they always thought they knew about the nature of work,” says executive coach Alicia Daugherty.

And one question might be: Now that I’m a remote worker, should I take this chance to move?

“Given the fact that many companies are starting to embrace working from home forever, it’s only natural for employees to start considering their options for living beyond where the office used to be,” says certified career coach Gracie Miller, who lists reduced cost of living, finding a better school district, and the chance to be closer to family or experience a new culture as some of the many reasons remote work employees might consider moving to a new city or state.

But before you pack your bags, there are a few important things to consider, these experts say.

Is your remote work really permanent?

Some companies are declaring remote operations will be in place for the foreseeable future. But Daugherty points out that actions speak louder than words. “Pay attention to what the company is actually doing,” she says. Exiting long term leases and closing or combining offices are signals that remote work is here to stay. Absent of clear action like that, before you move, “have a clear plan on what to do if your ‘permanently remote’ job is no longer permanent,” Daugherty says.

Assess the risks.

If remote work is a choice — not a requirement — at your company, Miller cautions you to understand any risks that might come with a permanent move away from the office. “Find out if your company has any different policies around employees who are going remote full-time permanently,” she encourages. For example, some companies may reduce the pay of remote workers — which could negate or significantly reduce any cost savings you’d gain from moving.

Consider travel expenses.

Your company may have impressive travel expense policies that reimburse you for business-related travel. But “if your company is headquartered in Philadelphia and you have moved to Charleston, will they pay your travel back for the occasional meeting?” Daugherty asks. If you don’t know, ask HR about these policies before you plan to move far from the office.

Think about time zones.

If your move could take you to a different time zone, how might that affect your ability to do your job? “If you live in Chicago and want to move to Italy, you will have to work nights to be available for meetings,” Miller points out. “For many people, working nights is a deal-breaker and should be heavily considered before committing to a move. Similarly, if you’re a designer and need to see fabric samples in person, can they be sent to your new home in time for deadlines if you move to a more rural location?” For all jobs, Miller says that you’ll need to think about “what logistics are unique to your job that might limit your geographic choices?”

And ask: will the move make you happy?

A decision to move isn’t all about your job. “Once you’ve weighed the risks, limitations, and time zone factors, it’s time to think about what would bring you the most joy and fulfillment,” Miller says. “No one gets all of their joy and fulfillment from their career, no matter how successful they may be.” If a move could bring you more joy — whether that’s by being closer to family or allowing you to recreate in a place you love — and won’t affect your career, then it might be time to pack your bags and have a serious conversation with your current employer.

If you’ve decided to move, Daugherty says it’s important to be transparent with your boss.

“Have a discussion with your boss about what brought you to the decision, what it means for you and the company, and what you can expect from each other,” she says. Explain how you plan to “sustain your performance and how you will manage your career, and be clear on what help you may need with that,” she adds. And “reassure your boss that you are committed to the company, and your ability to relocate and remain in your role will only make you a more loyal employee.”

To help end inequality, shine a light on inequities in the workplace, and anonymously share your demographics to pinpoint pay and diversity disparities. help end inequality

4 Red Flag Signs You Are Burning Out From Working From Home 

Picture yourself this February, blissfully ignorant about the long and stressful road that would unfold before us once the calendar flipped to 2020.

Perhaps, like me, you were in the process of planning a family vacation or regularly enjoying post-work happy hours with colleagues. Perhaps you participated in a soccer league or looking forward to a new weekly yoga class at your gym. Maybe you’d been saving up for home renovations.

Then March arrived, and the pandemic put most of those activities on hold for the indefinite future. A thought may have crossed your mind: “What would fill my calendar now?”

For many of us, the answer is work.

The pandemic continues to shape work culture, chipping away at the rhythms we once knew. This new reality was not all bad. Take flexibility—the 9-to-5 work structure may be a thing of the past as more and more people can work from the comfort of their own homes, on their own schedules.

But remote work comes with a few risks to your mental health—and it’s important to set appropriate boundaries to protect your well-being.

If work is taking up more space in your mind and life than you’d like, you may be on the brink of remote work burnout. Here are four telltale signs to look for.

1. You don’t take time off (even though you have it).

I wasn’t working remotely, but I encountered burnout at one of my first jobs. But I didn’t realize how much time and energy I had devoted to working until the end of the year when I only had a month to use my two weeks of vacation. It dawned on me; I hadn’t taken a single day of PTO since my start date.

Maybe you, like the majority of remote workers, are experiencing something similar—neglecting to take time off you’ve rightfully earned.

One telltale sign of burnout is a refusal to pause for self-care. Maybe you feel like you don’t deserve a break, as though you’ll get behind if you do. Maybe you don’t want to log off and face the stressful reality of life in a pandemic.

Either way, if you’re not carving out time for yourself, you’re likely inching toward burnout. 

2. You use your work as an escape from stress. 

In the early part of the pandemic, I caught myself logged on to my work computer laptop more often than I wanted to be. I started to view my family’s presence as an interruption and would grow irritable when asked to finish up for the day. Work seemed far more appealing than facing my new, uncertain reality.

It turns out, I was using my job as an excuse to avoid the new, stressful reality. My job was something I understood and could exercise some control over. Navigating a new routine in a pandemic? Not so much.

Keeping busy with work can be a welcome distraction from everyday life, and it’s not always a bad thing to increase your productivity. But there comes the point when you need to face reality, even if it’s hard. Numbing yourself by staring at your computer screen or scheduling nonstop meetings means you’ll miss opportunities to deal with problems (or issues before they become problems).

And in my experience, these stressors only grow when we ignore them. If you view your job as a respite from everyday life (or worse, if you’ve begun to feel hopeless and without purpose, unless you’re working), it may be time to take a much-needed break to address the things you’re ignoring.

3. You lack boundaries in your remote-work setup. 

Not everyone has the luxury of a private, at-home office. And your kitchen table or a makeshift desk in your bedroom can function just as well as a cubicle or office.

But lack of boundaries with time and space is another story.

If you consistently try to fit work into random pockets of the day (like checking emails while you brush your teeth or working on a project while watching a movie), you may be at risk for burnout.

Remote work looks a lot more like the gig economy than it used to, thanks to lack of job security and flexibility with work hours. Still, treating your job like a “gig” when it isn’t can compromise your job and personal life.

Interspersing your work throughout your day and home can disrupt your focus, stifle your creativity, and, worst of all, slowly lead you to burn out. If you associate your entire home with your job, it will be difficult to truly relax when you need it most.

Instead of viewing your whole home as your office—and your whole day as your workday—pick a designated area and time to hunker down on a routine basis.

Boundaries around your “working mode” will only benefit your job and your mental health.

4. You’re obsessed with job security. 

Public health wasn’t the only area of life that took a hit due to COVID-19. A dwindling economy forced many industries to lay off workers, creating a sense of anxiety

Whether or not your job is secure, you may find yourself “panic working” to manage your anxiety. It makes sense to work a bit harder so you can make valuable contributions to your organization.

But fixating on job security by working harder comes with a cost, Gianpiero Petriglieri, a professor of organizational behavior, tells  Bloomberg:

“It costs us our connection to reality, to our experience, and to others. We become incapable of appraising the situation, acknowledging our feelings about it, and being present to others. We become numb. Eventually, we fall apart because we have tried too hard to keep ourselves together.”

If you’re using work as a way to prevent feelings of powerlessness, be cautious. You might protect your job, but you’ll lose your well-being along the way. And that’s not a risk worth taking.

How to protect yourself from burnout. 

Living in a global pandemic is uncharted territory for all of us—and the worst part is, it’s riddled with uncertainty. It’s fair to say that just about every area of life has been disrupted, and who knows for how long.

Maybe you’ll head back into the office soon (or maybe you already have). Maybe you’re going to work remotely for the indefinite future.

Remember: These changes in how you work don’t have to throw you for a loop or compromise your mental health. New territory simply requires a new strategy: one that prioritizes your well-being so you can contribute in meaningful ways, whether you’re working in a cubicle or in the comfort of your living room.

Aytekin Tank is the founder of JotForm, a popular online form builder. Established in 2006, JotForm allows customizable data collection for enhanced lead generation, survey distribution, payment collections, and more.

To help end inequality, shine a light on inequities in the workplace, and anonymously share your demographics to pinpoint pay and diversity disparities. help end inequality

How to Find a Mentor When You’re Working Remotely

There are plenty of perks working remotely, the snacks, the bunny slippers, and the in-home commute. But there’s a certain social ease that office life invites. Those face-to-face meetings, lunches, and happy hours with colleagues and contacts are important social and networking opportunities. They keep our professional communication skills honed and sharp.

A lot of business is cued by the volley of semi-formal workplace chats. It’s hard to conjure that same social finesse via Zoom. It’s simply not as engaging to linger over a remote call as it is around a meeting table.

It can be challenging to make connections when working remotely, and some are vital to career growth, like finding a mentor. How can you target a good prospect and request his or her support? Consider these tips for finding a mentor when you’re working remotely.

Why mentorship?

A mentor is usually a senior professional who works in your company or industry. Your mentor helps give you the inside scoop on your profession, industry, company, etc. He or she helps you understand your role more fully and offers the lowdown on career growth and advancement in your field.

Lisa Fain, CEO of the Center for Mentoring Excellence, and author of Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring, explains that mentorship enhances workplace culture by fostering:

  • More engaged, productive, and connected people
  • Meaningful relationships in the workplace
  • More skilled leaders who understand how to focus on development, listen
    critically and invest in their people.

Fain also points out that mentoring relationships are important for professional development: “[M]entoring relationships help create exposure to opportunities, resources, and people. They help mentees understand what they are doing that might hold them back and find a path forward to create new skills, behaviors and develop new competencies. Mentoring is about creating a safety net, a sounding board, and a laboratory for new possibilities.”

A research ambition

Because you’re working or job searching remotely, the connections you’re making maybe more driven by research than by social opportunities. For example, in the past, you may have had the chance to travel to conventions or employment fairs that are now being hosted online. Before Covid restrictions, you may have met other professionals at breakout sessions, lunches, and happy hours associated with these events. Meeting them now means tracking down attendee or presenter lists and reaching out via phone, email, or LinkedIn. It’s still a great networking opportunity, although it requires a different strategy.

Likewise, joining professional societies can offer robust networking opportunities. Consider participating in society meetings and events. Networking is a big draw, even when social gatherings are held remotely. Perhaps assume a role at society event; for example, be a volunteer or a presenter. Assuming such a role looks good on a resume and offers the chance to meet industry players. Don’t hesitate to reach out to those who impress you. It can feel awkward to introduce yourself, but it’s a risk worth taking.

Dr. Deborah Heiser, Founder/CEO of The Mentor Project, recommends joining online interest groups. She advises: “if you are looking for a writing mentor, join an online writers workshop or group. The same goes for any area – maker groups, photography, law groups, etc. This is a great way to meet (even online) others who have interests or who may have access to those who may help you find the right mentor.”

Another approach: remember your favorite teacher, professor, or another professional at your high school, college, or university? Reach out and connect with that pro. Educators make excellent mentors. Plus, they tend to have robust networks themselves and an awareness of where alumni are staffed.

Finally, Dr. Heiser recommends using online tools to find mentors. She advises: “If you are on a mentoring site such as The Mentor Project, check out the mentors, read their bios and click the ‘Ask a Mentor’ button. We’ve had several students and professionals seek a mentor or just ask specific questions of one of our mentors by using the Ask a Mentor button.”

Do your research. Find your niche. Find your mentor.

Peer-to-peer mentorship

While traditionally, the paradigm involves senior professionals mentoring junior professionals, Gen Z pros are shaking things up. In their book, Engaging Gen Z, Mark Beal and Michael Pankowski point out that peers can also take on a mentoring role.

Beal and Pankowski note that students and young professionals value peer input. Based on their research, the authors point to successful “peer-to-peer mentorship programs where current students are being mentored by young alums, recent graduates who are also members of Generation Z and can offer the most relevant mentoring.” It’s a great way to learn what to expect from someone with whom you relate.

Again, make that connection with your alma mater. Join the alumni association from your high school, college, or university. Consider being a mentor or connecting with a recent grad who works at a business or in an industry you’re targeting.

Mentorship matters   

This is a challenging time, personally and professionally. Working solely remotely, while safe and helpful in some ways, can feel alienating and lonely. Make a commitment to your continued career advancement by pursuing mentorship.

To help end inequality, shine a light on inequities in the workplace, and anonymously share your demographics to pinpoint pay and diversity disparities. help end inequality

4 Ways To Deliver Constructive Criticism Remotely Without Altering Employee Morale

Managing a team remotely and struggling to communicate constructive criticism? You aren’t the only one. Given COVID-19, more employees and teams are working remotely more than ever, causing an increase in digital communication over in-person interactions in the workplace. Interacting online is causing us to rethink how to work effectively within our teams, including how managers provide feedback to their employees.  Although receiving feedback is critical for career growth and progress, along with expansion and upward mobility within the organization, most employees are hyper-sensitive or frightened to accept constructive criticism. Managers also don’t love to dole out feedback, worry about offending employees, and stifling their morale. Even though most managers don’t like giving feedback, their employees are longing for it. One study published by Harvard Business Review found that more people prefer corrective feedback (57%) to praise or recognition (43%). This is mostly because people believe that corrective feedback does more to improve their performance than positive feedback. While navigating COVID-19, most things will change, including communication mediums, workloads, and more, but providing constructive criticism, shouldn’t be one of those factors that shifts.  See our tips for delivering feedback remotely below.

Establish frequent and casual check-ins. 

Even though remote work lacks the same human connection as the office environment, it’s still essential to establish frequent and casual check-ins. Regularly checking in with your team by Slack, call, or email can help maintain that connection and alleviate common feedback issues. Research shows that managers often inadvertently layer in compliments within their feedback to sugarcoat their criticism, which makes it less helpful for their employees. To combat this tendency, make sure you are consistently providing feedback. Ongoing, casual check-ins prevent resentful feelings, future mishaps, and disagreements, which usually arise in remote work situations. 

Be compassionate. 

Before you critique your colleagues or employee’s work, remember to exercise compassion as it can go a long way toward establishing trust. Since virtual employees don’t have the regular opportunity to read tone or body language, building mutual trust is key to make your feedback more palatable and acceptable. As a solution, utilize the same pleasantries as you would in the office. Taking this approach into account, you may be wondering how to show genuine compassion without coming across as disingenuous. The key is to let them know you are on your employee’s side, even if you have to flag something that they could do better.

Resort to leveraging video conferences for sensitive information. 

When it’s time to deliver constructive feedback remotely, a video or Zoom call is the best alternative to face-to-face syncs. Research studies have found that video calls are just as effective as in-person meetings, as long as you frame the video to capture your body language, not only your facial expressions. In efforts not to misconstrue your written feedback, convey your thoughts to your employee over video. 

Celebrate your employee’s accomplishments. 

As a remote manager, you may be wondering how to praise your employee for their consistently good work performance. 

For a remote worker who’s performing well, the risk can be that they are not getting enough visibility from their manager or the team. Feeling overlooked and underappreciated, they’re at risk for disengagement and attrition. Research shows that the worry about being “out of sight, out of mind” or of having a fear of missing out (FOMO) can lead to loneliness and isolation in remote workers. It is therefore critical for managers to increase high-performing team members’ social visibility with public recognition, and to reward good work.”  

You can begin to recognize your remote employees by doing the following: 

  • Company email threads to appreciate good work.
  • Sharing messages in public chat rooms. One specific idea is a “Celebrate” channel in Slack, where anyone can give someone else a remote high five—an emoji, GIF, or written comment—for something great or noteworthy that they did.
  • Having a dedicated written space for recognition or gratitude.
  • Create regular time for celebrating ‘wins’ in a team or all-hands meetings.

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