About a year ago I was talking with my business manager Keri about how messy the Concordia office was. We both agreed that it was not only messy, it needed a facelift! I thought about the amount of work and effort it would take to clean out all the closets and files and to move the book cases packed with books. I decided that it just wasn’t worth the effort or the distraction from working with my clients.
Then March 2020 came. Like many others, I thought that Covid would be similar to a major East Coast snow storm and that it would be temporary, so I just kept working. I don’t know when reality hit, but it was sometime this summer when I realized that all workers, including me, needed to do some serious long-term planning.
Colleagues, we are in this for the long haul. We may return to traditional offices, and then we may be sent back home again. We may return for a few days each week, or perhaps for only a few days each month, in order to lessen the number of people in the office. Each of my clients has a different scenario, but what is clear is that business as we knew it will not return anytime soon.
For my readers who are essential workers and health care providers, first of all, thank you! Now, please plan and take your vacations. You may have been saving for a big trip, but you need to take time off sooner rather than later. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You can also tune into my colleague Colleen Sweeney’s tips.
For those of you balancing child care with employment, balance no more. I don’t mean throw your kids to the curb, but please don’t think anyone can work 40 hours a week while simultaneously taking care of young children. It is simply not sustainable. You are cheating yourself, your children, and your employer. I have been telling CEOs and Executive Directors to be patient, but if your employer is paying you, you need to be engaged and proactive, not just reactive. If you haven’t done so already, research the childcare options available to you and treat this like the long-term situation that it likely will be. This is not the time to stall or tread water in your career; think about how to achieve the future you desire.
If you are feeling socially isolated, figure that out too. Perhaps you can increase your bubble, train for a marathon, or find any way to connect with others safely.
So, what are you doing to plan for the long term? This is not a snow storm! I did embark on that office facelift, and look forward to working in a new and more functional space.
On the same day I received e-mails from two men, Farik and Dave, in different organizations. While both men are about the same age and in a similar place in their careers, their e-mails were very different.
Dave’s e-mail concerned me because it had these issues:
- The salutation was “hey.”
- There were two misspellings.
- The tone, while positive and pleasant, had a fair amount of slang.
- The subject line didn’t reflect the topic of the message.
Farik’s e-mail was professional and had none of those problems. When I complimented Farik, he said that his mentor took him aside after a snafu and shared with him the importance of e-mail etiquette. Those lessons came at a cost during his internship, but had made a lasting impression. Farik was glad he learned the e-mail lesson early in his career!
And the most important email rule of all is to “never write anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t say directly to the person in a face-to-face conversation.” In fact, remember that whatever you write can, and likely will, be passed throughout the office and potentially to a news source.
Click here for more tips on e-mail etiquette
I have written about this topic before, and it’s as important as ever:
My mother is an incredible seamstress! She even made my wedding dress.
When I was a little girl, Mom often took me to Leggett’s Department Store where patterns and fabric were sold. She would guide me through the process of finding a pattern I liked, then material, and then accents like braiding and fun buttons. It was hard for me to visualize how the dress would turn out, but as I got older and Mom made more and more of my clothes, it became easier to visualize. It also became easier to trust the process.
I think of this process when organizations ask me how to design Diversity and Inclusion programs. There are some absolute principles that are critical, such as the program must be ongoing and evolving. Solid Diversity and Inclusion programs also provide education and awareness, create a culture of openness and trust, develop organization-wide programs and policies, and adhere to accountability and discipline processes.
Interestingly, some of what makes a great Diversity and Inclusion program is similar to what makes a great customized dress:
- A true commitment to the process and outcome by the leader or leaders
- An understanding that while key elements are essential, there can and should be some leeway from organization to organization and from dress to dress
- And while each dress was “finished” and each diversity course or class has an end, to have a successful diversity and inclusion culture, the process is ongoing. Each event leads to the next.
How is your organization bringing diversity and inclusion to your workplace?