The Holidays are Coming and You Still Have to Work at Home

The holidays have always been associated with some type of stress. Whether it’s worrying about meeting end-of-year deadlines, financial burdens or navigating the personalities of family members, there’s always something in the back of our minds that can upset this period’s intention of celebration and joy.

And this year, with the presence of COVID-19, work and school can now be done at home, so a new stressor emerges: how will you accommodate the holidays and the changes to your house and schedule, and still get your work and schoolwork done?

Your office may be in the guest room that will now be taken over by a visiting relative. Your corner of the family or living room that was your office set up now may need to move to accommodate the holiday decorations. Your routine of getting to emails early before everyone is up may be now shared with a visiting relative who likes to rise with the sun.

Just when you thought you created a routine that actually works, the holidays are now the latest thing challenging them.

Consider the following ways to remain calm, adapt, get your work done and still manage to enjoy the holidays.

  1. Get present by taking a few breaths to relax your mind, disconnect from your emotions and give yourself the ability to look at your situation. You can’t solve anything if your mind is anxious, angry, frustrated or irritated. In those states, you use your energy to be upset instead of finding a solution. So, get yourself calm. Developing a breathing or meditation practice are ways to separate yourself from your situation so you can come back to it calmer and more present to deal with it.
  2. The holidays are a period of great celebration and joy. Remember what it feels like to get the house ready for the holidays? The foods, the decorations, the lights, the traditions. Regardless of how crazy the world is, holidays bring us back to some of our fondest memories. They remind us that life and its events are to be celebrated.
  3. Remind yourself that any inconvenience is only temporary. Though the holidays may interrupt your schedule, they come and go. Remember how much fun it is decorating but how good it feels to have the space back when it is over. Review your work expectations over the next 2 months to develop a plan. If you see interruptions in your ability to deliver on your expectations, address it early with your team and manager. You are not alone in making your home office shift back into some shared space brought on by the holidays.
  4. Communication is essential. As you learned how to make working and schooling from home happen, work as a family to discuss how you can make holidays happen in your space. Consider using family meetings to address the changes that will affect the house based on the holiday. Expand the communication to be sure everyone feels heard and included.

2020 has indeed been a year of changes, but with every change, notice that you’ve been able to adapt. Adaptability is truly a skill to be developed. The more you build a practice of responding instead of reacting to the things that happen around you, the greater the options you will create to make a success out of what happens.

Take Action
Start the conversation now about what the holiday plans are and how they will affect work and school. Consider using a family meeting to hear thoughts and perspectives from everyone. Keep the focus on the holiday’s celebration purpose to encourage excitement and to develop the stamina to accommodate yet one more change, albeit temporary. Focus on the holiday’s celebration, excitement and joy.

The holidays come and go, but they have the power to dull the challenges of the real world, even for a moment. Let yourself fee the excitement and joy of the season. Be present to it all.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 4 Tips to Not Be Bad at Working from Home

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The Coaching Manager is the Key to a Successful Workplace Recovery

Some of your employees may still be working from home. Some may be back on-site, full or part-time. This unusual workforce mix creates a challenge for most workplaces and managers: how do you manage a hybrid team that still provides a dynamic employee experience and activates employee engagement?

At the center of this unusual moment is the Coaching Manager. Managers and coaching managers both focus on getting things done, but how they get it done makes all the difference.

Conventional managers focus on results and tasks instead of on the person completing them. This disengages your people and misses out on their expanded ideas, contribution and loyalty.

Coaching Managers (also known as Workplace Coaches) focus on relationships as the means to amplify self-belief, abilities and confidence as the means to performance. This builds a sustainable rapport and connection with their people to be able to gather information about what they may be dealing with as it relates to COVID-19. This information is critical to improve the quality of management’s response.

Relationships done well inspire your people to respond, perform and stay. Relationships done poorly encourage your people to use their time to search out new employment opportunities with organizations that celebrate, care about and support their people.

Here are three things coaching managers do well that activate performance and retention:

1. They build trust. As a certified coach, I know I can’t make any progress with a client if I have not first created an environment of trust. I do this by taking the time to get to know the other person, listen generously, support caringly and keep information confidential. Coaches understand people as people – what matters to them, what they struggle with, what success is for them. They listen to what is meant, not just what is said. They remember important details. They ask powerful questions. They care openly. This level of understanding and interest encourages a trusting relationship. Trust facilitates communication.

2. They personalize the contact. Coaches use a variety of skills and tools to understand each person as a thinking, caring and feeling person, who, when helped to feel valuable and important for who they are, respond by bringing their best to what they do. Expressing interest in the lives of your people is critical, particularly at this moment when so much of their days may be spent in anxiety or worry. Knowing what each person is dealing with creates the ability to better decide how to help them deal with it. They want you to know their name, their current situation, their worries and challenges, their strengths and abilities. They want to know you care and are available. Seeing your people as the means to results instead of people dealing with a pandemic will alienate them and send them looking for an organization with managers who think and act like coaches.

3. They guide and support instead of direct and control. One of the ways to encourage self-esteem, confidence and a greater sense of contribution is to help employees own their solutions and performance. Guiding and supporting encourages employees to tap into and use their abilities which activates their self-belief. Directing and controlling limits the employee’s thinking as they only see their ability to perform a task, not to own it or improve it. At this moment, we all need help feeling important, having purpose and making a difference. These feelings counterbalance the challenging negative feelings brought on by the pandemic.

Coach your people to encourage their connection to value, purpose and contribution. Coach them to help them feel heard and respected. Address these and you help employees feel safe and important in their workplace.

Your best talent wants to feel heard, valued, important, supported and cared for. Who wouldn’t when so much of the world seems out of balance? By doing this in the workplace, you not only help your employees stay connected, but you help them see that they are resilient and strong enough to be successful at home and at work – even during a pandemic. Coach them to keep them.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading How to Get the People Thing Right For Your Business

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