Zoom Fatigue

Many companies are rethinking their return to office timeline with the recent spikes in Covid-19 cases nationwide and for many employees, that means more zoom meetings and no end in sight to the fatigue that seems to accompany videoconferencing. .

According to PsychiatricTimes.com, zoom fatigue is attributed to burnout due to the overuse of virtual communication platforms.  Physical symptoms of burnout can include sleeplessness, tense muscles, and pain.  Cognitive issues such as forgetfulness and lack of concentration can also develop.

So why is videoconferencing so taxing?  Virtual meetings require your brain to work harder because in addition to processing what the speaker is saying, you must also give the impression you’re making eye contact.  Additionally, when communicating virtually, a slight verbal delay requires more of your brain power to interpret the speaker’s words.

As we all work through this “new normal,” we’d like to offer possible solutions for those facing endless video conferences. Here are a couple key tips for reducing zoom fatigue:

First, consider which interactions truly require video.  Could the matter be handled with an email or phone call?  Try to balance your meetings with a mix of video conference and teleconference calls.

Second, when creating your schedule, include breaks where possible.  It’s important to give yourself a break from continuously staring at a screen.

Third, remove distractions.  Minimize the image on your screen if you find yourself becoming distracted by your own appearance.  Or, consider asking if it’s okay to turn off your video functionality so that you can better focus on the discussion.

As always, we hope this helps.  Feel free to share your tips for reducing zoom fatigue in the comment section below…and…by all means, make it a great day!

Cancel Culture and Customer Service

According to Wikipedia.com, cancel culture is a form of “shunning or boycotting” an individual based on their egregious behavior or controversial statement. Undoubtedly you’ve heard of celebrities being “cancelled” and falling victim to cancel culture, but what about companies? Yes, companies have also gotten caught up in cancel culture. Look no further than your breakfast table and you’ll find examples of companies and brands such as Goya Foods, Aunt Jemima (Pearl Milling Co.), and Cream of Wheat that have recently faced such backlash.

Being prepared is a company’s best defense when it comes to cancel culture. First and foremost, hear your customer clearly and assess the gravity of the situation. Never underestimate the power and reach of social media. Baby boomers may mistakenly view social media as frivolous; however, it is important to actively monitor your social media for customer complaints. Addressing customer complaints quickly and properly is imperative. Using social media to solicit solutions from customers is a great way to show customers that you care and you’re listening.

Second, consider all the ways your message could be interpreted. This is one of the reasons diversity is important. Despite your intent, your message can be interpreted differently by others based on their life experiences and beliefs. Draw on your team’s diversity for feedback.

And finally, mistakes are bound to happen. But it is important to quickly address errors and accept responsibility. Offer an empathetic and genuine apology alongside your plan for improvement or prevention.

Now, let’s go out there and make it a great day!

The New Hello: “My Pronouns Are”

Personal pronouns are important because they are frequently used to assign gender based on certain assumptions.  However, these assumptions aren’t always correct.  Using an individual’s correct pronoun is important because it conveys respect.  Most people are accustomed to using she, him, her, he, his, and hers.  People may not be as familiar with using they/them, xe/xem, sie/hir and ze/zir which may be used by individuals who identify as non-binary or gender neutral.  There are numerous other gender neutral pronouns but for our purposes we will touch on those more commonly used.

Undoubtedly, you’ve seen the inclusion of pronouns everywhere from name tags to email signatures.  Companies like General Motors, Target, and T-Mobile are supporting the use of pronouns to embrace inclusion and prevent misgendering.  Based on feedback from T-Mobile employees, the company now offers its employees the option to add any of the following to a name tag :

  • He/him/his
  • She/her/hers
  • They/them/theirs
  • Ask me my pronouns

Also, a new introduction is being ushered in with the evolution of diversity and inclusion which includes an individual’s pronouns.  Face-to-face introductions are evolving as well.  Introductions such as “Hello my name is Sam and my pronouns are she, her, hers”  are replacing the customary “Hello my name is Sam.”

A few tips for navigating personal pronoun usage:

  • Sharing your personal pronouns first is a great lead in when asking another their pronouns
  • If you’re unable to ask someone their pronouns, simply use their name or default to they/them
  • If you make a mistake, correct it and apologize
  • Keep in mind no one should be forced to share their pronouns but rather invited or encouraged to share

Share your comments with us and…make it a great day!

Introverts in the Workplace Are an Asset

Today we’re exploring how introverts show up in the workplace in terms of communication and work styles.  

Introverts can be an extraordinary asset to the team when managers fully understand how to maximize their assets and wisdom.

According to dictionary.com, an introvert is “a person who prefers calm environments and limits social engagement…”  Conversely, an extrovert is “an outgoing, gregarious person who thrives in dynamic environments and seeks to maximize social engagement.”

So how do you really know if you’re an introvert or an extrovert?  What energizes you?  Does the idea of putting on your favorite pajamas and spending a quiet evening at home sound amazing, or terribly boring?  Chances are if you’re energized by solitude rather than socializing, you’re an introvert.  According to author Sandra Cain, biology plays a role in an individual’s response to stimuli.  These biological differences mean that extroverts are energized by environments with lots of stimuli and introverts are the opposite. 

Introverts prefer to work independently and behind the scenes.  In group/team settings, introverts may take awhile to become comfortable enough to share their ideas.  

When it comes to communication style, some introverts prefer to communicate via email, instant messaging, and/or texting.

Lastly, consider providing a quiet and secluded workspace.  If fanfare is not high on the list, offer praise for their accomplishments in private.

Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below and whatever you do…make it a great day !!

Attention High School Students: 5 Tips to Maximize Summer Employment Experiences

Ahh… summer has finally arrived. Summer is the time for enjoying great weather, outdoor activities, exploration and of course the “summer job.”  For some young adults this summer could include their very first employment experience so we want to set them up for success!  In today’s blog, we’re covering our top 5 tips for maximizing summer employment experiences.  Let’s go!

#1 –  Always look for ways to add value

A job is more than simply being present.  Showing up on time and performing the required duties are minimum expectations.  It’s important to stand out by being a differentiator.  What does that mean? Essentially, anything that increases revenue, decreases expenses, or improves efficiencies is a value add for an employer.  It means looking for ways to accomplish tasks more efficiently and being a problem solver.

#2 – Be a team player

Demonstrate your commitment to team goals by supporting and encouraging your colleagues.  Cheer for their successes.  Apply critical listening skills for effective communication.   Respect others and recognize that everyone’s role on the team is important.

#3 – Ask thoughtful questions

Build rapport by asking questions that reflect your knowledge of the company’s leadership, industry, competitors, products, or customers. Doing so will demonstrate you have a genuine interest in the company.

#4 – Network

Seek mentors and build connections with experienced senior team members; it’s a great start to networking.  That said, don’t overlook your peers.  Undoubtedly you’ll cross paths with them again as you rise through the ranks.  Peer networking is also a valuable resource for leads on future opportunities.

#5 – Document your experience

Take a moment at the end of each day to review the tasks you completed, the skills you utilized to execute those tasks, any new skills you acquired, and quantify your accomplishments.  This information will be critical when updating or creating your résumé.  Your recollection of details a year later may falter so it’s best to collect and record information in the moment.

We hope something shared here helps you.  Tell us about your first summer job in the comment section below and make it a great day!