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COVID-19 Vaccine and the Workplace

Many of us are chomping at the bit for the COVID vaccine. It feels like a ticket to freedom. Glassdoor.com recently conducted a survey to understand where employees stand on the issue of the vaccine and returning to the workplace. Their results are quite interesting, and I wonder if you agree with their findings.

Glassdoor is a website where employees can leave reviews of their employers. Interestingly, Glassdoor found that over 58,000 reviews mention COVID-19 or the vaccine. This is definitely a big topic on everyone’s minds.

First and foremost, 7 in 10 people surveyed believe that employees should be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to the office. This makes sense. We’ve been isolating for a year. Getting the vaccine is an important next step in returning. Of those surveyed, 76 percent also said they intend to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. This is good news, considering how dependent reopening is on the vaccine.

The part that truly surprised me about the survey is this. 69 percent of people surveyed by Glassdoor agreed that employers should offer financial incentives for employees to take a COVID-19 vaccine. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for financial incentives at work. But, this seems a little out of the ordinary. We can’t wait to get back into the world. We want everyone at work to be vaccinated. We plan to be vaccinated. Yet, we want to be compensated to receive a COVID vaccine?

I don’t mean to be the negative person here, but it seems a little like if we’re going to get on board, we should do it because it’s the right thing to do. No compensation should be necessary. And, aren’t we just happy to have a job at this point?

Also of note in this survey was remote work. Many employees like working from home and would like to keep it up, regardless of what’s happening with the pandemic. Of those surveyed, nearly 9 in 10 (86 percent) said they would prefer to continue working from home at least part of the time after offices reopen. This comes as no surprise as companies have had a year to test drive working from home.

In fact, 17 percent of those surveyed said they would consider quitting their job if they were required to return to the office five days a week, regardless of vaccinations. This is an interesting point. It’s one thing to quit a job completely. It’s a completely different thing to find another job to replace your current job.

The job market has shifted in the last year. Employers will have to think hard about what the future of work looks like. It’s time to start again. But, this time, we know what’s possible with remote work. So, it’s time to decide what we want work to look like in a post COVID, post vaccinated world.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Unique Pandemic Experiences

We’ve now been living in a pandemic for almost one year. It felt like things couldn’t get any stranger. Then, the last two weeks happened. A massive winter storm blanketed much of the country. States struggled to get the impact of the storms under control. Texas was one of the most extreme examples, with many, many people completely losing power. In other areas of the country, there were other issues, including a lack of water or other resources.

With many people working remotely, some employees have moved to another city temporarily. This has had many advantages. Employees have been able to spend more time with aging parents. They’ve been able to spend more time at their weekend homes.

But, the last two weeks revealed a challenge. With employees distributed around the country, our experiences are no longer universal. Not everyone is going through the same weather. Not everyone is struggling through the same issues. With different family situations, this was already true. But, the storms highlighted it again.

On Zoom, everyone appears the same. Unless coworkers share, it’s easy to remain unaware. We assume everything is fine. But, this invisible difference has been a theme throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We are each having our own unique experience.

Some employees have small children at home they are trying to care for when no one is looking. Some have extra family members living with them who are out of work due to the pandemic. Some are trying to manage aging parents from a distance.

We are all going through the normal phases of life, including birth, celebrations, and loss. But, on camera, we are more disconnected from one another at work. We are less likely to realize when a coworker is struggling. We are less aware of what a hard time they may be having.

And, to a certain degree, it makes sense. Our businesses are struggling to stay in business. How do we find the time to care about basic day to day problems? We’re fighting just to make it through the pandemic. We’re doing our best to stay employed.

It feels important to recognize that we’re each having a unique experience. Frankly, the impact of the pandemic has been harder on some people at your company than others. That’s the nature of this separation and isolation from one another. We have removed many of the normal social supports that are in place. We’re left to get by on what we can do solo.

At work, try to remember that we’re all in this together. Try to be patient with one another. Try to check in on each other.

Ask your coworkers real questions beyond what you’re meeting about. Video meetings have made it harder to have personal interactions. Ask about children. Ask about pets. Ask about parents. To know what is really going on beyond the Zoom meetings, we must ask one another.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Making Lemonade

As the pandemic continues to rage on in the United States, many of us have felt locked indoors. We’ve felt isolated. It’s been lonely. It’s scary. This is especially true for anyone who is living away from their loved ones. It can be hard to get help with things when you need it during the pandemic. It’s difficult to travel home for a number of reasons. The entire experience can be isolating, especially in a big city.

With no end date to COVID in sight, many workers are trying something out of the ordinary. They’re working from a new location. They’re going where their loved ones are. Countless people are moving to their hometowns, near their parents, or to other cities where they have connections. Even if the move is temporary, it provides the needed relief, and a reconnection to friends and family.

When I first witnessed this phenomenon, I was truly surprised. I wondered how in the world people were able to uproot themselves to work from another location. How were they able to make it happen logistically? Where did they stay? What did their company think about this extra remote work situation? What did the boss say about this request?

But, time and time again, it’s working. Many companies have become very good at remote work. Employees are working from vacation homes. They’re working from other countries. They’re working from the guest room at a family member’s home. And, they’re getting the same amount of work done that they were before.

If you’ve been wondering whether or not working from another city is right for you, I’d encourage you to explore your options. I’ve been surprised at just how understanding many employers are being towards their employees. Even some government workers have the option to apply to work from another location.

If you’re finding yourself alone and in need of a change of scenery, now is the time. Before you do anything, have a conversation with your boss. Get the verbal okay to work from another location. Then, put your intension in writing in an email to confirm. From there, you can plot out your move.

If moving all of your things is not a viable option, look for a storage unit near where you currently live. For a small amount of money, you can store your current belongings until you return. Then, look for furnished apartments in your destination city. Typical apartment rental websites and vacation websites like Airbnb are a great place to start. If you don’t see good furnished options, there are companies that rent furniture month to month.

The pandemic has been awful. But, for remote workers, this time may be an opportunity. If you’ve thought of working from another location, your time to do it may be limited. Talk to your boss. Do your research. Make your move, and make some lemonade with these pandemic lemons.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Commuting to a Zoom Meeting

Has your work changed as a result of the pandemic? If you have a corporate desk job, the answer may very well be no. While where you do your work has changed, the nature of your work has not. You are still focused on the same projects. You’re meeting with the same people. Work is moving ahead.

But, doesn’t that seem strange? Isn’t it odd that work is moving forward, despite the current situation? Many people haven’t seen their coworkers in person since mid-March.

With that in mind, what would change if we all went back to the office tomorrow? We’d pack a bag with our laptop. We would put on more formal clothing. We would spend a lot of time in traffic. Then, we would sit in our tiny offices on Zoom calls with our same colleagues.

What have we all been doing? In some cases, people have in person meetings. But it is increasingly common to communicate via video meetings, phone, and email.

Think back to your pre-pandemic work life. If you were to group your day into categories, how much was truly spent in person with your coworkers? For many people, it was very little.

Are we driving to work to sit by ourselves and to send email to each other? Are we sitting in a cubicle so that we can video chat with our colleagues from across the building?

Don’t get me wrong. There are advantages to in person work. For example, you may have a tiny apartment. Or, you might have children at home. In cases like these, an office can be very helpful.

But, office buildings are very expensive. They’re expensive to build, and to maintain. Does your office building have one of those ping pong rooms? They’re created to get us talking to each other. I’ve seen many of those rooms, but I’ve never seen anyone actually play ping pong at work.

This pandemic is truly the worst. It’s painful on many levels every day. But, it is making us question why we’ve been doing things the way we are.

Why commute thirty minutes or an hour each way just to sit at a desk to email the person in the next office? We can all do that from anywhere.

Getting back to work would offer many perks on the mental health front. But, would those perks be as important if everyday activities were open? For example, if you could do your normal personal social activities, would it matter whether or not you went to an office?

If we let go of the office, what else would happen? Would our quality of life change? Would we spend less time commuting? What if we could move out of the crowded city to a home that was more suited for us? What if we had a little more time each day for our loved ones?

Should we commute for Zoom meetings?

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

The Big Deal About Small Talk

If you’re working from home, you may be as productive as ever. You can focus without interruption. There are no long chats around the water cooler. There’s no wasted time commuting. You can wake up and get straight to work. There’s a good chance you may be skipping breaks and lunch. You’ve started to find your work from home groove.

But, one thing we’re definitely doing less of at work is small talk. When is the last time you asked about a colleague’s weekend? How are their children doing? How is the pandemic impacting them from day to day? When is the last time you had lunch with someone you work with? If you’re like millions of Americans, it’s been a while. It may have even been since early March.

On the surface, this is no big deal. You’re saving time. You’re more efficient. And, work is about work. Right? Sure, to some degree this is true. But, work is also about relationships. In fact, very often, your project may get done on time if you have a good relationship with your colleagues.

And, the thing is, relationships don’t form out of spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations alone. They are formed when we spend time together. They’re formed between meetings. They’re those small moments when we exchange pleasant words that are unrelated to work. Relationships form over sandwiches and coffee.

If you’re struggling at work more now than you were before COVID, it may be time to rethink your day to day interactions. The same social distancing that’s keeping us safe from disease is also dividing us. We’re more disconnected than we were in the past, especially when working from home is new.

What can you do? Unfortunately, there’s no perfect solution. But, there are many ideas you can try. You may want to take the time to call colleagues when you don’t need something specific. Or, take a moment in the beginning of meetings to ask how folks are doing. Consider setting up virtual social occasions. You might organize a coffee or a virtual happy hour with a colleague. You could consider organizing a book club or a virtual exercise group. Although some of these things may sound silly, they’re also a way to create connection and build your relationships.

As you’re working to create this connection, there is something to keep in mind. First, everyone is having a tough time in some way, on some days. Every person is in a unique situation, so it’s hard to predict when they’re having a tough time. When your coworker is having a difficult day, it will be harder to tell than when you are in person. Try your best to be patient.

It’s all a little weird right now. But, we may be working from home for a while. It’s time to find new and different ways to make small talk and to build big relationships.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

A Case for WFH

The letters WFH used to be mainly used by the tech industry. But, as work from home is becoming more common, so is the use of this important acronym. In the last six months, working from home has gone from an exception to a norm. But, if you’re like many employees, your company may be asking you to come back to work in person.

For many of the folks I have spoken to, returning to an in person work environment just doesn’t work right now. So, what can you do when your boss asks you to come back?

It’s tricky. Start by being honest. If you have a preexisting condition that makes you high risk for COVID complications, you may want to consider sharing it. Normally, I would never advise to share private health details with your boss. But, it may help them to understand why you need to continue to work from home.

The same applies for family situations. If you have aging parents who you help to care for, share your concerns. If you are being forced to home school your children, be up front about it. And, if your spouse has a high risk job where they work with the public, share your concerns about possibly infecting your office if you were to become infected.

These are all good reasons to keep working from home – especially if you’ve been doing it since March. Your boss’ biggest concern should be whether or not you’re getting your job done. When you approach them with this request, focus on your ability to do your work.

Outline the hours you plan to keep each day. Since your boss cannot see you, it may help to know you’re keep regular office hours from home. Set expectations around how you will communicate. If you plan to check email during certain hours, let them know. If you’ve available to video chat during meetings, share that. And, if you are available by text, say that too. The more your boss feels they can count on you, the more likely they will be to allow you to continue to work from home.

If you’re interviewing for a new job, this is something you’ll likely want to discuss at some point during the interview process. Given that this could be a point of negotiation for you, you may want to save it until you reach the offer stage of the job interview. You may be surprised though at just how many companies are willing to be flexible with work from home now. And, some companies that require you to move to their city are allowing you to delay the move until after COVID is finished.

If you believe you need to work from home for any reason, it’s your responsibility to advocate for yourself. It doesn’t mean your boss will agree. But, if you don’t ask, then you definitely won’t get it.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach