Our Marketing Specialist, Maddi Orton, sat down with change management consultant and executive coach, Jim Glantz on today's episode of Market Like Emma. Listen to the podcast after reading the blog!
It’s officially been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Even for those of us privileged enough to work from home, things have changed immensely. Our offices are now bedrooms or kitchen tables. Our childcare is whichever parent is off of a conference call. Communications are jumbled, clients are stressed, assumptions are frequent, and the Teams and Zoom meetings are just never-ending. So how exactly do you keep your professional peace in 2021?
Set Professional Boundaries
When working from home, our schedules don’t maintain the natural boundaries they once had during in-office-life. It’s much easier than before to log in…and simply never log back out. But, it’s more important than ever to set limits with positive intention, such as giving your all from 9-5, and then putting all work-related items away for the night. Our colleague and professional peace expert, Dr. Jim Glantz of The Academy For Leadership and Training (TAFLAT), recommends “keeping the home a sacred space as much as you can” and “setting patterns”. “Setting patterns is key. Some might call that boring—but it’s re-assuring and sets appropriate boundaries with appropriate ‘delays for life’. I recommend always keeping space for “living” between waking up, working, and going to bed.” By separating work and home, even slightly, you’re “maintaining the practice of giving back to yourself”.
Boundaries can also be important with clients and colleagues. When starting a new relationship, or simply assessing the ones you already have, take a moment to review the patterns there, as well. Do you feel stressed or relieved after speaking or working together? Do you feel overwhelmed by the frequency of emails or meetings? If so, it’s time to reset expectations, protecting your partnership and getting back to a positive, collaborative space.
Get comfortable with the word ‘No’
Dr. Glantz shares, “In my experience, often the best workers are the ones that get swamped.” Why? Many of us think that declining invitations or saying “no” to requests will limit our careers, make us look lazy or disrespectful, or will eliminate our future opportunities entirely. It turns out, the opposite is true. “Actually, individuals and companies have suffered from not saying no to enough things. When we say yes to the things that are working for us and spark our creativity, we’re creating space for better outcomes in the future, increasing the quality of the work that we do.”
As much power as “yes” holds, saying “no” is a simple extension of boundary setting. Think of it this way—when we say yes to the things we truly love, have time and passion for, we are giving our full selves and our brain power to projects and tasks strategically. When we overwhelm ourselves with yes’s and neglect the balance, when we are spread too thin, we lose our ability to time manage, no longer appear as thought leaders, and end up creating lackluster products.
Make Your Own Perks
Many of us loved our pre-COVID positions for more than just the work we accomplished or deliverables we created. To stay competitive in a buzzing marketplace, more and more businesses offer exclusive “work perks”. Starbucks in-building, birthday lunches, stocked fridge, free parking, sports tickets—you name it. But what can they offer now in a virtual world, beyond the occasional day-off? If you’re missing the pre-COVID, consider making your own “perks” or shifting your viewpoint on the rewards we get from staying home:
It’s also important to note all of the perks we naturally gained by WFH! Most us now have a zero-minute commute to our desks and avoid parking hassles and fees altogether. Wearing sweat pants, listening to music, managing your own schedule—all are advantages that make our day that much more enjoyable and our routines more fulfilling while we wait for offices to re-open.
While experts are optimistic that we’re in the final march back to pre-pandemic normalcy, there are most likely a few more virtual months ahead. The cure for making it through this last stretch? Experts have an answer for that, too: Gratitude. Dr. Glantz states “Gratitude is really the key to life—it’s so important to practice it personally, and also in business. Even taking the time to thank your clients and remind them of why you began your partnership is a great way to put energy back out and show gratitude to the people involved in your professional life.”
So, no matter what the upcoming days, weeks, or months look like—fret not.
Find gratitude in the little things, and before you know it, the Teams meetings will lessen, the Starbucks in your lobby will re-open, and you’ll once again have the perfect excuse to say ‘no’ to that late afternoon meeting request: “Sorry—I actually have plans!”.
Looking for more WFH tips? Check out our recent article on avoiding COVID burnout. If you’re interested in more professional peace-keeping advice, reach out to our partner, Dr. Jim Glantz, founder of TAFLAT, The Academy for Leadership and Training.