Anyone who worked an office job during the 1990s is probably very familiar with motivational posters. Each featured a photo of scenery or of someone succeeding at a challenging activity (such as rock climbing or hang gliding), and below it a black background with some pithy quote. During that decade, it was impossible to walk into a corporate workplace without spotting at least one of those posters hanging next to the watercooler or gracing the HR director's door.
For most women, returning to work after maternity leave is, at the very least, complicated. No matter how much they love their jobs, their bosses, and their colleagues, and no matter how eager they are to return to the professional world, many new mothers feel conflicted about transitioning back to the workplace (and away from being with their new children constantly).
Many companies, too, face challenges during this turbulent period, as they struggle to support and retain their people. A study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that "one in five women quit their job before or shortly after the birth of their child in 2006 - 2008." But it doesn't have to be this challenging for women to balance motherhood and their careers.
Want to become one of the most productive people in the office? Take a page from Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and other entrepreneurs and creatives who are famous for their productivity: replace traditional to-do lists with time blocks.
Like 43 Folders, Gettings Things Done, bullet journaling, and countless other time- and task-management techniques, time blocking helps people be more productive by providing a structure they can use to organize their time and attention. Unlike those other strategies, however, time blocking doesn't stick with a high-level perspective on a day but instead requires users to carve their time into smallish (usually 15- or 30-minute) blocks. Each block lists one thing - and that's all you focus on during that time period.
As the business world continues to navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, workers (both onsite and remote) in different industries are experiencing immense pressure. Now, more than ever, leaders need to be acutely aware of workforce frustrations and learn how to avoid employee burnout.
In 2019 the World Health Organization defined burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”1 In the past, the term burnout was applied most frequently to healthcare workers who worked too many hours in incredibly stressful conditions. Today, however, burnout can happen to any employee in any type of job and in any industry. And it is incredibly widespread: in one recent survey, 82 percent of respondents reported experiencing it.
I was recently turned on to a Twitter account called Room Rater (@ratemyskyperoom) and spend at least a half hour scrolling through the photos and comments. To give a bit more background, Room Rater uses rates the video background of journalists, political figures, and some random interviewees. From what I can tell, the backgrounds that they rate are not the fake Zoom backgrounds that have become so popular but are the actual background in your living room, kitchen, home office etc. What’s in the frame, what can they see on the walls etc. They use some humor but there’s quite a bit of good advice in many of the posts.
This led me to the question posed here. With much of the country still working remote and many companies extending the timeline to the “foreseeable future”, is it time to consider HR policy related to Zoom backgrounds (whether real or a virtual)?