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Letting go of control

Working from an office used to be normal. But, that time is so far in the past that it would be naive to think we will ever go back to our former state. Honestly, many of us are wondering why working from the office Monday through Friday ever made sense in the first place. The time wasted commuting, along with the cost of rent is unbelievable.

Looking back, many people have started to wonder if going to work every day in person was more about control than productivity. It gave managers a bird’s eye view of what employees were doing all day. And, it kept employees working with fewer outside distractions.

But, was it really the right way to approach work? I don’t believe so. I’ve been the most productive when I’ve had the most autonomy. And, when I’ve been under someone’s thumb, my productivity and creativity have dropped.

The interesting twist to working from home is that some employers are looking for new ways to feel that they still have control over employees. I first heard about this when friends discussed their managers calling them on video at random times during the workday. The purpose appeared to be monitoring the employee, rather than anything helpful.

But, the real shocker comes from employee monitoring software. Last week, The Washington Post released a shocking article documenting digital monitoring of employees in the remote work environment. Employees shared stories about keystroke tracking, screenshots, and facial recognition.

One employee, who chose to remain anonymous, shared a story of trying to find something on their computer. He was clicking around, trying to find the spot where he needed to be. Suddenly, his boss started to speak to him through his headset, instructing him on where to go.

Another employee described her company using facial recognition software. In order to get paid, she would have to look toward her screen while working. If she looked around for too long, she’d have to log in all over again. Not only was her photo being taken, but the tiny light coming from the camera was on while she was working.

The thing about remote work is that it has the potential to be more productive. But, the relationship between employee and employer is built on trust. And, if someone is going slack off, they will be able to do this whether they’re being monitored or not. Beyond that, people are not machines. They may have days that are less productive, and they may have other days that are very productive.

The bottom line is, employers should consider decreasing monitoring, and increasing trust. You can do this by setting realistic goals and holding your employees to them. Measure results, not keystrokes. And, if someone isn’t trustworthy, replace them with someone who is. Create a culture based on mutual respect, and you’ll increase productivity, and save a little money on rent at the same time.

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

 

Impacts of the New Normal

Working from home has been a benefit that has developed over the last year and a half. It has allowed us to see that we can work outside of the normal work building and still be productive. This situation has encouraged companies to rethink forcing employees to come back in person. In order to be more competitive at recruiting job applicants, many companies are hiring employees from all over the country. But, they aren’t forcing them to relocate. The new employees can work from wherever they are today.

This higher level of flexibility is creating a new normal. It’s a normal that allows employees to have a better work life balance. It allows them to be near family if they choose. It is creating an entirely new lifestyle for many people. There’s less time spent commuting and more time for family and life. Many people have taken up hobbies and have started to work out.

Unfortunately, this trend only goes so far. As we have observed, there are many people who cannot work from home. This is the case for people who work in grocery stores, restaurants, and any other essential service industry. And sadly, it is often these workers who are paid the least.

This year, another important topic is also on our minds: equality. Discussions around important topics such as race, gender, and social class are more part of our everyday dialogues than they have been for many years. We are talking about systemic issues, and what we can do to change them.

As I think about work from home, I wonder if it may present challenges along with the benefits. Will lower paid workers have the same opportunities to work from home? Is a healthy work life balance going to be even more of a luxury than it is today? Will services like childcare become more exclusive and expensive?

One upside to working from home is that white collar workers will have the ability to redistribute and live in lower cost cities around the country. This shift may create more jobs in the markets where they move. If the population of a city increases, that city will be able to support more restaurants, for example.

Will we look back and be glad that work from home became so common, and brought families together? Or, will we wonder if it created a wider gap between people?

There is no clear answer to these questions. But, the more options we have on social media, and the more media choices we have, the more divided we have become over the years. We’re able to tune into our little corner of the world.

Whatever the future holds for remote work, we should take the time to consider it through the lens of equality. How can we create a better work life balance for everyone, rather than just those fortunate enough to be able to have more choices?

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

 

Life is Your Resume

Indeed.com hosted Indeed Interactive last week. But, there was one very notable difference: it was held online. The conference not only talked about employment over the last year, but it mirrored many of our experiences.

By video, Indeed’s labor economists Pawel Adrjan and Daniel Culbertson gave their predictions for the future of work. They focused on work from home, sharing that, over the last year many people have gone through a work from home experiment.

Job postings on Indeed.com with some mention of working from home has continued to grow, even beyond the worst parts of the pandemic. In fact, there was a rise in postings that mention remote work between Q4 of 2020, and Q1 of 2021. From early 2020 to now, job postings mentioning work from home have more than tripled.

On the employee side, job seeker interest in remote work remains high. Indeed is able to measure the interest in remote work by the searches on their site. From early 2020 to now, job seeker searches for remote work have more than doubled.

What happens after the COVID pandemic is over? Indeed looked in areas where cases of COVID have been low, and economies have reopened. They found that interest in remote work remained high, even after an economic recovery. They believe this represents a shift in long term preferences. Job seekers will continue to demand remote work, even after the completion of the pandemic.

But, do employers intend for work from home to be permanent or temporary? Indeed found that in the UK, 61 percent of remote job postings were listed as temporarily remote. Companies expect employees to eventually come in person. This also means that 39 percent of jobs posted as remote will be permanently remote. This is an increase from pre-pandemic. In other words, we have realized that remote work is sustainable long term.

Gayle King also interviewed actor Matthew McConaughey about his career. He shared the challenge of pivoting careers, and going all in when you’re trying something new.

McConaughey also shared that your “life is your resume.” There is no one defining moment. You are all of the pieces of your combined experience. And, he felt the pandemic has brought him closer to the things in life that are most important to him.

McConaughey is now able participate in video meetings in three countries in the morning, and then have lunch with his wife and children at his home in Texas. Remote work has created a new culture. It is no longer rude to have a video call. It’s a necessity. And, this necessity has allowed him to prioritize the things that are truly the most important to him.

The takeaway for hiring managers is this. In order to remain competitive, you must consider flexible work environments. Remote work will be more prevalent and will remain attractive to job seekers. This flexibly is what you’re now competing against.

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

 

Collaboration, at a Distance

Businesses are beginning to worry. And, it’s not what you’d think. As the COVID-19 vaccines are distributed around the country, the ability for workers to go back to the office is becoming a real possibility for the first time in a long time. This should be great news. The problem is, the pandemic has gone on for an entire year now. For those who have desk jobs, it’s been proven that you can work from home.

Many workers are considering a move to a cheaper city where their money will go further. Some have already moved to be closer to family for the time being. In spite of the downsides of the pandemic, for desk workers, this has been one of the upsides. And, there have been no more big commutes and more flexibility overall. That flexibility is providing some added level of work-life balance.

But, as things with the pandemic wind down, employers who want their employees to come back in person have a tough road ahead. How will they make the case? Typically, the case to do a desk job in person is collaboration. To be creative and productive, we need to be together.

In fairness, it’s been hard to be as collaborative over the last year. We have been disconnected. We’ve been fighting every day to make things as normal as possible, in the most unusual circumstances. We have lived through isolation, health issues, home schooling, and in some cases, loss.

But, we’ve done it. We are still getting up every day, still fighting, and still working.

When things do go back to normal, a weight will be lifted. Kids will go back to school. We will be able to socialize. We won’t have to worry so much. And with that weight lifted alone, productivity will increase.

Before the pandemic, there were already companies that were virtual, allowing employees to work from home. One observed that employees who joined their company from a traditional brick and mortar organization took time to adjust. In fact, in many cases, it took one year. Maybe that’s what we’ve been experiencing: an adjustment year. And we did it, despite many, many challenges.

If you’re a manager, consider this. Employees are often happier working from home. They’re typically more productive. And, frankly, it’s cheaper for the company. You no longer have to pay for all that expensive office space. And, it opens your hiring options up to the entire country.

In many cases, in person work is more about control and less about results. If you force people to come back, be sure you have good reasons. Talk to your employees. Listen to what they want. Ask them if they’ve been more productive at home. If you don’t, you may lose some of your people. After all, employees want choices. And, there are plenty of companies willing to give them choices in today’s working environment.

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

 

Hoodies and Yoga Pants

At times, it feels as if the pandemic has changed everything about the nature of work. One notable thing that has changed is our work attire. For most of my career, I’ve thought of my work uniform as a costume. It’s a version of ourselves that we show in a certain setting. It’s like wearing certain clothes to religious services. You know that there are certain things that are expected, depending on where you are.

I started my career in engineering. Back then, I wore khaki pants, a golf shirt, and steel toed boots. Later in my career, I worked in marketing at a financial institution. Then, I wore a suit and high heels on many days. But now, things are very different. It is not unusual to see an entire team of people wearing hoodies and stretchy pants.

What should we make of this? The honest answer is that only time will tell. On one level, it seems that we’re focusing more on talent than appearances. But, are we also letting our work slide with our casual looks?

For me, focusing less on appearances allows me to focus my energy more on what really matters – the work. I love how casual work from home has become. And, I wouldn’t feel badly if I traded in my business suits for yoga pants and hoodies.

With this said, there is one time when you have to make the effort. When you’re interviewing for jobs, the same rules apply even though you’re remote. Dressing up for a Zoom job interview is similar to writing a thank you note afterward. It’s not something that you have to do. But, you want the job, so you do it to show interest.

It’s recommended that you wear the same suit you would have worn before the pandemic. Try it on in advance to be sure it fits properly. Do your hair and makeup in a similar way. Wear the same jewelry. Try to look as if things are normal.

Beyond what you look like, you also need to pay attention to your environment. In a normal job interview, you’d go in person. But at home, you have to take charge. First, realize that the company can learn so much about you that they couldn’t before. Clean up the area around you. Be sure your space is quiet. And, consider getting a ring light for the best on screen appearance.

This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s worth it for the job offer you’ll secure. With any luck, the job will be remote. And, you’ll have the opportunity to wear casual clothes again day to day.

What will be curious to learn ultimately is what in person office wear will look like in the future. We will have spent almost two years wearing casual clothes together. Can we all agree that hoodies and yoga pants are in our future?

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

 

Remote Resolution

Before the pandemic, your manager probably had more of a say in where you are day to day. Liz Ryan from Human Workplace explained, “The authority to decide where employees must be at certain dates and times is a big part of many managers’ power. Now that numerous corporations have announced their intension not to bring employees back to the officer, some managers are losing that power. Not everyone is okay with it.”

In short, it’s tough to ask people to be in the office every day now that it has been proven to be unnecessary. This is the truest for white collar jobs, whose work life revolves around a computer. For many years, companies told us that we could not work remotely. It wasn’t possible. It wasn’t productive. It would hurt our teams. Fortunately, this is not completely true. The pandemic taught us that.

The pandemic gave companies no other choice but to adapt. Offline process have found their way online. Meetings are now consistently held via Zoom. One on one conversations take place virtually. And, somehow, many big businesses are still in business.

The thing many people didn’t expect is the long term impact of staying at home. There are a number of large companies that have announced that they don’t plan to ask their employees to return. And, the trend is catching on.

When you look at job postings, location is no longer such a factor for many jobs. Some are listed as remote. Other postings are listing more than one large city to give increased flexibility. And, many are listed with both a city – and information that the company is open to any location and remote work.

If you are one of the many people who likes working from home, this may be the time to think of looking for a new job. It’s not clear yet if companies will remain as flexible once the pandemic passes. But for those who lock in a permanently remote situation now, they will likely be able to keep the option long term.

And the best part? Companies are now interviewing remotely too. There’s no longer a need to fly all over the country to shake hands. You won’t even have to sneak out of your job to interview. You’ll be able to interview from the comfort (and the privacy) of your own home.

In the past, I would have suggested searching for remote jobs. But, if you can work from anywhere, simply search without a city name. Read the job description to see if the company mentions remote options. But, even if the posting doesn’t, you should consider applying. Job seekers are applying for jobs out of their market and are being hired with no expectation of relocation (even after the pandemic is over).

The nature of work is changing. If you enjoy working remote, make a resolution to make it permanent.

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