How Boundaries at Work Help at Home
LinkedIn
young business woman on phone

By Suzanne Brown

You headed out from the office a few hours ago for a friend’s birthday happy hour, and the office has emailed, called, or texted three times already. Can’t they figure it out on their own? It’s Wednesday and you’re at your son’s baseball game. Sure, it’s for a group of 10-year-olds, but it’s important to him, and that makes it important to you. Why has your boss called you four times already?

Your client keeps trying to contact you with a message saying, “I have a question,” but she won’t leave what the question is. Is it an emergency, or can it wait until you’re back in the office after the weekend is over?

Does this sound familiar? Don’t they understand you’re off the clock right now?

The Need for Boundaries at Work

Boundaries. It’s part of what’s missing in these scenarios. A consistent piece of advice from the more than 110 professional part-time working moms, whom I interviewed, was about the need to set and maintain boundaries at work.

Setting Boundaries Can Be Hard

Many of us want to be connected and not miss a thing. Setting boundaries means we might miss something. Deadlines don’t usually move for us. We move for them. A crisis might blow up or maybe we’ll miss a huge opportunity. And part of it is often simply trying to keep all parties happy. But, what’s the likelihood of these things coming up or a crisis happening in the hours after you leave the office? I’ll bet it’s generally low, especially if you schedule around deadlines and have an idea of whatever is coming up.

Technology as an Enabler

Technology is a blessing and curse. It allows us to work from anywhere anytime, which we love. And it enables clients, colleagues, and managers to get a hold of us whenever they choose. If you combine that with people who don’t have their own boundaries or maybe you haven’t established yours, you’re in for a lot of interruptions from the office during your downtime each day or even on vacation. Remember that it’s OK to walk away from the office and turn off technology.

The Boundaries at Work Are Important for so Many Reasons

  • You want to pay attention to your family and be present.
  • You need a break each day to recharge to perform your best.
  • Time away from the office each day helps manage stress.
  • You look at things with a fresh perspective when you can put them down for a while.
  • If you’re working part time, it makes financial sense to work the time you get paid.

Want Some Ideas on Boundaries You Can Start to Implement?

  • No phone or electronics time for X amount of time each day or for the time when you’re with family, unless it’s an emergency. I might check email or texts while I’m home with the boys, but I don’t usually respond to anything that isn’t urgent. And no phone at the breakfast or dinner table.
  • Response to non-emergency communications (phone, email, text) within 24 hours or by end of day or whatever timeframe you’re comfortable with. You might be traveling, in an all-day meeting, sick, taking care of a sick child, or working on a major deadline. Give yourself some wiggle room, so that people don’t expect you to respond in minutes and then keep contacting you until you do finally respond.
  • Real work emergencies can come up. Define what an emergency is to your team, clients, manager, etc. Everyone you’re interacting with needs to be on the same page, as they can vary from person to person or even project to project. If you get a rare call or text after hours, you’ll know something is going on that needs your attention.
  • You can use boundaries to get your work done. Designate meeting or call days or times on your calendar, so that you have work time and time to get work done each day.

Boundaries Are Set—Now What?

The easiest option is to establish boundaries from the beginning of a relationship, either a new job or with a new client. If it’s an existing relationship, you need to create a plan and give time for people to re-adjust to new boundaries. Maybe you create a transition plan for yourself so that it’s not like a light switch between two sets of boundaries. It will take retraining a client, your boss or your team. You need to stick to your boundaries over time, though, even when things get iffy and pushback kicks in. You can do it!

I’ve focused on the consistent boundaries at work and how they impact you every day. If you’re interested in more on why vacation is important, since those are bigger boundaries, read my blog about the importance of vacation or time away.

About the Author
Suzanne Brown is a work-life balance speaker, strategist & author, and strategic marketing consultant.

Job Interviews are Going Virtual, Here’s What You Need to Know
LinkedIn
Young latin woman on a virtual job interview

As businesses prepare to open their doors again, the hiring process has begun. Nearly forty million Americans lost their jobs from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that many of those people will be searching for work and participating in job interviews.

But, as we are still adhering to some social distancing rules, many of these interviews are likely to occur via video call.

Interviewing virtually is an unfamiliar territory, but having a successful, meaningful virtual interview is definitely possible.

Here are the best tips for having the most successful interview on a virtual platform.

  • Presentation
  • As you would for an in-person interview, you want to look presentable. While this means wearing an interview-appropriate outfit, you want to make sure that your background and camera angle are also presentable. Make sure your background is clean, containing as little distractions as possible, and that your computer’s camera is catching the best angle of yourself. This will allow the interviewer to see the best version of yourself while bringing their full attention to what you are saying and not to what else is happening in your environment.

  • Make Eye Contact
  • As you would in a physical job interview, you want to make eye contact with the interviewer. It can be difficult not to look at your own reflection in the video call and worry about how you look to the other party, but remember to look into the computer’s camera to show the interviewer that you are paying attention to what they are saying and are really listening.

  • Remember the Lag
  • Unfortunately, video calls are known to lag and glitch. Neither party is at fault, but be aware of these inconveniences. Talking over the interviewer, accidentally interrupting, audio cutouts, and temporary freezes are bound to happen, so speak slowly and talk only when necessary to avoid these possible interview mishaps.

  • Use Your Resources
  • Virtual interviews allow for better access to virtual resources. Keeping interview notes on your screen and using screen share to give examples of your work will help you to remember your best selling points and show your interviewer what you are capable of.

Virginia’s New Slogan should be “Virginia is for all Lovers”
LinkedIn
Virginia slogan being held by a hand on the side

On April 11, Virginia became the most progressive state in the southern United States in just two days. Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, signed the “Virginia Values Acts,” which will expand and clarify the protections of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Act specifically details the protections that the LGBTQ+ community has against employment, housing, and credit discrimination as well as protections of transgender students in the school system. Additionally, the act gives a non-binary option for driver’s licenses, expanded the definition of LGBTQ+ hate crimes, and makes the process of changing the gender on official documents an easier process.

The Virginia Acts Bill is only one of the many progressive bills that Governor Northam has passed this year. Along with about 16 other laws put in place to support the LGBTQ+ community, Governor Northam has also passed laws that protect reproductive rights and call for a stricter protocol on gun ownership.

The Virginia Values Act is set to take effect on July 1 and is widely supported by Virginia’s LGBTQ+ community. Northam is known by the community to be a longtime ally and vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ issues and legislation.

The Mental, Emotional, and Physical Comeback for Women in Business
LinkedIn
MBDA promo poster featuring Taraji P. Henson as the featured speaker

Join our speakers as we discuss how to ensure emotional, physical and mental self-care as we embark on the new normal for professional and home life.

Featured speaker Taraji P. Henson, Nic Cober Johnson, Author and Business Strategist; Jenniffer González-Colón, Congresswoman of Puerto Rico and Dr. Sherry Blake, Therapist and Mental Health Expert, discuss this important topic on June 3, 2020, 1-3pm EDT.

Get the details and how to register here.

Working from Home? Here Are Some Tips
LinkedIn
woman close up of hands on keyboard with cofeee and pen and paper on desk

Most advice about how to make working from home actually work focuses on the practical: The right office space. The right desk. The ergonomically perfect chair. The right software, the right messaging platform, the right apps…all the “stuff” you need to make remote work actually work.

Yet, ask most people who made the transition to working from home what they struggled with most – and continue to struggle with—and they will list things like staying motivated, managing their time wisely, avoiding distractions and staying on task—none of which has anything to do with “stuff.”

When I first started working from home, I instinctively replicated my old office environment. I bought a big desk. Nice credenza. Conference table. Large filing cabinet. Fancy chair. A cool land-line phone. To paraphrase the eminently quotable Chris Rock, that’s what I was accustomed to.

So, I assumed that’s what I needed.

But none of those things made me efficient, much less effective. I missed the “structure” of the workplace, the natural rhythm of a workday that, even though I was in charge, was still only partly under my control.

So, more often than I like to admit, I sometimes drifted. I was easily distracted. I was easily bored. I missed the structure. I missed the sense of urgency that the presence of other people helps foster.

Then I took a step back and thought about my most productive days. Not just the days I got a lot of things done, but the days I also got a lot of the right things done.

They all had one thing in common: A mission. An outcome, a deliverable—something tangible that created a real sense of purpose.

If you’re struggling to work as effectively from home—or if your employees are struggling to work as effectively from home—shift from focusing on tasks to focusing on outcomes. (Don’t worry; tasks are the foundation of outcomes.)

Before you end your workday, list what you need to get done tomorrow and determine the single most important thing you need to get done tomorrow.

Then, before you step away, set up your workspace (which, if like mine, is simply your computer desktop) so you can hit the ground running the next day. Have the reports you need open. Have the notes you need handy. Make sure the questions you need answered already have answers.

Then sit down and dive in.

And commit to completing everything you need to get done. Allowing yourself to give in to excuses, rationalizations, etc. is a slippery slope—and becomes a habit extremely hard to break.

But will be less of a problem when you get your most important task done right away. Starting your day with a productive bang naturally creates the momentum and motivation you need to move on to whatever is next on the day’s outcome list.

And the next. And the next.

Because completing a task is fine, but achieving an important outcome is satisfying, fulfilling, and motivating.

So never forget: What matters is what you accomplish from wherever you work. Success has nothing to do with your desk, or your chair, or your office space. (Today, my “office” is my backpack and my computer and wherever I feel like sitting.)

Success is all about what you achieve, and achievement always starts with knowing what you want to accomplish. And more importantly, why.

Jeff Haden is a keynote speaker, ghostwriter, LinkedIn Influencer, contributing editor to Inc., and the author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.

Source: Owl Labs

Meet Brittney Nicole: Navy Veteran Turned Fashion Entrepreneur
LinkedIn
A clothes rack with women's coats hanging on it

Transitioning from military life back into civilian life is a challenge for any veteran. While there are many different approaches in choosing a career, one U.S. Navy Veteran decided that she would approach her career choice by following her passions.

Always having a love for fashion, Brittney Nicole decided to open her own clothing business, Coco’s Wardrobe, upon her retirement from the U.S. Navy.  The New Orleans based boutique designs, manufactures, and sells women’s clothing that is meant to look as good as they feel, blending comfort with style. All of the clothing in Nicole’s shop has a women’s desire to feel confident and comfortable at the forefront of everything that is produced.

In addition, Nicole has also began selling uniquely designed face masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Have a book you want to write? There’s never been a better time!
LinkedIn
Annalisa Parent sitting at outdoor table in backyard with books, pen and paper

Millions of people have a dream of writing a book. They have a story they want to tell. Whether it’s their story, or one that they have created through sheer imagination, there are ideas eager to get put on paper. While there may be many industries backsliding right now due to the pandemic, the publishing industry is not one of them. In fact, experts in the field advise that now is the best time for people to get their book written and get the manuscript out to publishers.

“Quite honestly, there’s never been a better time to get the book written and take steps to get it published,” explains Annalisa Parent, chief executive officer of Date With the Muse. “I’ve been working with many clients to help them take advantage of this pause, as it’s perfect timing. The conditions are all right to be successful in the field.”

Timing is everything, Parent explains, because the pandemic shutdowns have led more people to read books. While people have been at home, whether to work or not, they have had more time to engage in leisure activities. Many of them are picking up the books they have been meaning to read. People may not be able to purchase the books in brick-and-mortar stores, but they have been gobbling them up through online purchases, both in digital and print formats.

In addition to it being a great time because people are buying more books, there are other reasons to take advantage of the opportunities right now, including:

  • Many people have more time on their hands, so they can sit down and write the book they want to work on. If they are working from home, they can set aside the time when they used to commute for writing. If they have been furloughed, they can schedule out hours per day to get their story written.
  • Due to so many people reading more, there will be an increased demand for books from publishers. The publishing industry sees that there has been an increase in demand for books, so they will be looking to continue that trend by putting out more titles.
  • Many literary agents also currently have more time that they can spend reading manuscripts. This gives people who are ready to submit their manuscript a competitive edge.

“Right now I am helping writers to optimize their chances of being published,” adds Parent. “We all need something good to come out of this pandemic. If you can get your book written and published, then that’s a silver lining that we can all agree upon!”

Parent is a writing coach who has helped many writers through all aspects of writing, publishing, and living the author lifestyle. She helps people with the book writing process, organization, getting the book published, and. Her free ebook The Six Secrets to go from Struggling Writer to Published Author helps people be successful with their book writing and publishing goals, including offering writing and publishing tips, publishing workshops, and coaching.

Parent has coached hundreds of writers and has taught over 100 writing courses around the world. Her book “Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel without an Outline,” won the CIPA EVVY Silver Award in Best Business Books and earned a merit award in the Humor category. She speaks internationally on writing-related topics, and she has been a guest on a variety of television, radio, and podcast shows, sharing her secrets for how to write, publish, and sell your book. For more information about Annalisa Parent or her book, visit her site at: http://www.datewiththemuse.com.

About Annalisa Parent

Annalisa Parent helps writers to finish, publish and sell their novels. She is the CEO of Date With The Muse, a two time teacher of the year nominee for her use of neuroscientific principles in the classroom, and a recipient of the French congressional Medal of Honor as a member of a five-week peace-promoting speaking tour of France, in French.

She helps storytellers to publish traditionally at the highest level possible. Her book “Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Outline and Revise your Novel without an Outline” has been lauded by multiple New York Times bestselling author John David Mann as “brimming over with invaluable practical writerly wisdom.”

Annalisa writes for many local, national, and international publications, has written and produced sketches for a Telly-Award winning television show. She has been featured on Huffington Post Live for her novels, CBS, Associated Press and PBS, as well as many international podcasts, radio programs, writing conferences and workshops.

Five Ways to Impress Your Boss While Working Remotely
LinkedIn
cheerful disabled young woman using laptop doing remote work from home on wheelchair

People produce their best work under different circumstances. Some are thriving during this time of working remotely, being able to complete their tasks from the comfort of their own home. However, for many, working from home has presented itself as a challenge. New distractions, change of routine, and being too cozy at home can all be reasons for lowered productivity at work.

To improve your work ethic, and better yet, attract your boss’ attention, here are top five tips for how to impress your boss from the comfort of your own home.

1) Be Responsive

Communication is key, especially in a time when we cannot see our co-workers face to face. Check your email consistently and have your phone on-hand, should your boss or co-worker need to get in touch with you. When you promptly respond to emails and calls during work hours, your boss will know you are reliable, doing your work, and not slacking off.

2) Be Your Best “Video Conference” Self

Treat video conference meetings as if they were in-person work meetings. Come to the meeting a few minutes early to show punctuality, and make sure you wear something professional. You don’t need to dress up in a three-piece suit, but a nice collared shirt, for example, will show you are present and professional, even when your boss isn’t watching.

3) Pay Attention

Whether it be in video conferences, phone calls, emails, or any other means of communication, you want to be paying attention. One of the most effective ways your boss will see this is during video conferences. Actively listen and look at your computer screen during meetings. If you are visibly distracted by your phone or something in your home, it will not only make you look unprofessional but also could tell your boss you are not working at home effectively.

4) Do Your Best Work

The quality of work you produce in the office should not change while at home. Putting the same effort and care (if not more) into your daily tasks will show your boss you are capable of doing quality work no matter the circumstance and that you also care about your work.

5) Keep Your Updates Present and Brief

You don’t need to send your boss an email after you do every little thing (unless they specifically told you to do that), but sending updates will give your boss a grasp on what you are accomplishing in your department. Sending a list of intended goals at the beginning of the day and a list of accomplishments at the end of the day is a great way to keep your boss in the loop on your productivity.

 

How to Celebrate Mother’s Day from Home
LinkedIn
Laptop webcam screen view multiethnic families contacting Mother on Mother's day by video conference

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and while we can’t go to a restaurant, or in some cases, even be close to each other, there are still plenty of ways we can celebrate the special women in our lives.

Here are three of our favorites.

1) Host a Zoom Get Together

Host a Zoom meeting with your mom, siblings, and other family members during the time you would normally get together for Mother’s Day. Gathering all of your mother’s loved ones in one place, even digitally, is a great way for your mom to feel loved on Mother’s Day while also feeling safe.

2) Surprise Delivery!

Whether it be flowers, food, a handwritten card, or a thoughtful gift from a local business, utilizing delivery services is a fantastic way to show your mom you are thinking about her, even if you can’t be there in person. You can even Skype, FaceTime or talk on the phone while your mom receives her present!

3) Make her the Center of Attention

Gather your family together (either virtually or in person if you are self-isolating together) and have everyone talk about their favorite story about their mom. It can be a funny story they have shared, their favorite memory, or about what she means to you and how you appreciate everything she does. Taking the time to celebrate Mother’s Day will show the significant woman in your life how loved she really is.

 

Is this Pandemic Changing Gender Roles?
LinkedIn
Female medicine doctor working on table with consulting patient.

When the United States joined World War II in the 1940s, women stepped up and went to work as many of the men had been drafted to the battlefield.

The switch allowed for women to break gender roles and step into the positions that were typically held by men. Now, among the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020, there is a strong possibility that a similar role reversal is taking place and changing expectations.

Researchers at Northwestern University, UC San Diego, and the University of Mannheim predict the virus could normalize the idea of a male being the primary, at-home caretaker.

Most of the essential jobs in the medical field are held by women. Ninety-four percent of nurses, 74 percent of healthcare workers, and more than 60 percent of pharmaceutical professionals are all women. While the idea of a “stay-at-home dad” has become more normalized, it is still not fully accepted, as many of these women continue to take on a majority of the caregiving and household work, along with handling their jobs. But, with the increase of work hours and the need for these medical professionals increasing, this leaves the newly home-schooled children to be at home with their fathers.

Breaking the stereotypes of gender roles, though hugely effecting personal lives at home, are predicted to influence a shift in economic and government issues. Many companies have been forced to make their schedules more flexible for employees with families, namely the men who are becoming the primary caregivers of their children while their wives are on the frontline of the virus. The exposure to this new experience could also affect how social issues are handled in government, as more lawmakers and government officials will have the experience of household duties and the expectations put on women, once the pandemic is over.

Whatever the outcome may be from this time, the role reversal being experienced between women and men will at least give new perspective into the expectations of the different pieces of the family system and hopefully inspire a more equal distribution of duties as a result.

 

BECOMING – OFFICIAL TRAILER
LinkedIn
Michelle Obama book jacket cover

BECOMING is an intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama during a moment of profound change, not only for her personally but for the country she and her husband served over eight impactful years in the White House.

The film offers a rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes as she embarks on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of community to bridge our divides and the spirit of connection that comes when we openly and honestly share our stories.

Film Release Date: May 6, 2020
Format: Original Documentary Feature

Directed by: Nadia Hallgren
Produced by: Katy Chevigny,
Marilyn Ness, & Lauren Cioffi
Co-Producer: Maureen A. Ryan
Executive Producers:
Priya Swaminathan & Tonia Davis

A NOTE FROM MICHELLE
I’m excited to let you know that on May 6, Netflix will release BECOMING, a documentary film directed by Nadia Hallgren that looks at my life and the experiences I had while touring following the release of my memoir. Those months I spent traveling—meeting and connecting with people in cities across the globe—drove home the idea that what we share in common is deep and real and can’t be messed with.

In groups large and small, young and old, unique and united, we came together and shared stories, filling those spaces with our joys, worries, and dreams.

*BECOMING is the third release from Higher Ground Productions and Netflix*

For more information about the documentary visit, netflix.com/Becoming.

#IAmBecoming

Verizon

Verizon

PWM BLM

 
*Please be sure to check event websites for latest updates on postponements or cancellations due to COVID-19 precautions.

Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement Leadership Training
    August 3, 2020 - August 6, 2020
  2. 2020 American Society for Health Care Human Resources Association Event
    August 22, 2020 - August 25, 2020
  3. 2020 NAWBO National Women’s Business Conference
    September 21, 2020 - September 23, 2020

Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement Leadership Training
    August 3, 2020 - August 6, 2020
  2. 2020 American Society for Health Care Human Resources Association Event
    August 22, 2020 - August 25, 2020
  3. 2020 NAWBO National Women’s Business Conference
    September 21, 2020 - September 23, 2020