Don’t Wear Your Pajamas: 7 Tips for Remote Workers

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Working remotely can be challenging, in terms of motivation and communication.  It also can be a great opportunity for personal growth, as well as heightened productivity.  When I started working from a home office nine years ago, it was a drastic change from driving to an office and wearing professional attire five days a week.  I heard endless jokes about working in my pajamas, taking afternoon naps, and lollygagging through the workday.


In reality, I dressed for work – including doing my hair and makeup – every day, my productivity increased, and I stayed engaged with my counterparts at our headquarters and branch office locations.  The downside:  I sometimes forgot to take lunch until late afternoon, and I had to fight the urge to wander into my office and “do a few more things” before bed. Continue reading “Don’t Wear Your Pajamas: 7 Tips for Remote Workers”

What Are Reasonable Accommodations, and Why Do They Matter?

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Reasonable accommodations are any changes that allow a person with a disability to apply for and perform the essential functions of a job.  Accommodations are a challenging subject for all involved but are necessary for regulatory compliance. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990 and is a signature accomplishment of the disability rights movement. ADA prohibits discrimination against employees (and job applicants) who have physical or mental impairments that substantially limit “major life activities.” Major life activities include walking, sitting, reading, seeing, and communicating.

What are reasonable accommodations?

While the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) does not enforce the ADA, it does offer publications and other technical assistance on the basic requirements of the law. The DOL also enforces the covered employers’ obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified job applicants and employees with disabilities. The goal of the ADA is for every person to have the right to participate in all aspects of society, including employment. Continue reading “What Are Reasonable Accommodations, and Why Do They Matter?”

5 Tips for Successful Networking

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Networking.  This term is exciting to some of us, terrifying to others, and confusing to most of us regarding the question: What am I supposed to be doing here?  In the last few months, I have started attending networking events to get to know more people in my field and to say the least… it’s tough business.

group of people standing in an office

A lot of us know that networking is necessary in this extra fast-paced world, but we don’t know how to be successful at it. Networking events are full of others just like us, in our business or not, hoping to make the same connections we are. It is still a complicated business to know how to interact with all of those other people.

Here are a few helpful tips to help get prepared and organized to make the most of your time and make a networking event worth more than the free food and drinks: Continue reading “5 Tips for Successful Networking”

Use Performance Improvement Plans to Empower Employees

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Dart on dartboardEvery manager has experienced an employee who is under-performing. Goals are not being met. The quality of their work is poor. This can bring down morale for the team and affect the overall goals of the entire organization. No manager really wants to deal with performance issues. However, it’s important and fair for the rest of the team, as well as the underperforming employee, that the issues are addressed and managed effectively.

Before deciding how to manage an underperforming employee, ask yourself a few questions to help determine whether this is a case of underperformance or misconduct, and identify the possible causes of underperformance: Continue reading “Use Performance Improvement Plans to Empower Employees”

Building Team Unity

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Group of people smiling and laughing togetherEvery business leader wants to establish a great culture and strong teamwork in their organization.  A great culture enables success, builds the fabric of the team, and also attracts new talent.  However, we all have seen a talented team fail, due to poor culture or interpersonal dynamics.

Having a great team is all about the people! Human beings have self-esteem and are driven by their ambitions. In general, they want growth and they want their independence. Continue reading “Building Team Unity”

Conquer Stress and Burnout with Your Team

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Employee holding up a help signWellness and well-being in the workplace are on trend, and it’s about time! We all have had or at least overheard conversations far too often about stress and anxiety in the workplace. Overflowing inboxes, growing to-do lists, and deadline pressures leave employees feeling overwhelmed and overworked. This can lead to burnout, and it affects your team and your organization. Thus, fixing and preventing burnout is something for which leadership should take part ownership.

How do you help employees learn to manage the stress that can cause burnout?  Some long-term solutions could be one or all of the following: Continue reading “Conquer Stress and Burnout with Your Team”

Four Ways to Improve Customer Service

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Two women smiling and talking to each other in an officeWe’ve all been there…walking out of a store or hanging up the phone, feeling overwhelmed by the service that we received. Sometimes that feeling is positive and sometimes, unfortunately, we have encounters that are less than enjoyable. Think back to a time when you had one of these experiences, whether good or bad, and consider what the person you were interacting with did to make you feel one way or the other. What was your reaction?

Personally, I try to make it a point to acknowledge great service. I will seek out the manager to let them know that their employee is doing a great job.  Some people may leave reviews online about service they receive, while others may tell their friends and family about their experience. Regardless of our reaction, there is one thing that is certain:  when we invest our money and put our confidence in a brand, we have an expectation for the service that we receive.

Find Out What We Can Do!

According to, 92 percent of 1,000 polled consumers said that “three or fewer poor customer service experiences” would cause them to stop doing business with a company. Furthermore, 26 percent of the same polled group said that just one bad experience would cause them to cut ties.  As a consumer, I can attest to the fact that I value good customer service. Not only do I enjoy receiving great service, I take pride in giving great service to my clients as well.  Most of my clients are very different, which means their expectations are also different.  It is my responsibility to make sure those expectations are met.  Although I may need to alter my approach more so for some than others, there are several things that can be applied to everyone across the board. Continue reading “Four Ways to Improve Customer Service”

What Type of Diversity Are You Hiring?

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Group of people sitting together on benchI was talking with a business owner just the other day, about the struggles they’re having with employee retention and productivity within their organization.  They are an extremely diverse group, with African-American, Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic employees, all working together, all getting along.  It’s a great place to be; I want to take my kids there and say, “this is what society should be like.”

The problem is that they’re still struggling.  They hired for diversity that’s skin deep, but they didn’t hire the diversity that matters.  For example, consider a scenario where your idea to “create a path home,” where the goal, the victory, is getting home.  Your mindset is, “my job is based on getting there, and I have one way of getting there, by going down Williams Drive.”  If you hire 10 other people and their ideas and thought processes are the same (in this example, they all see Williams Drive as the only the way to get home), and they agree with you on everything, what happens when Williams Drive is closed? Continue reading “What Type of Diversity Are You Hiring?”

What Drives Your People Drives Your Company

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Artwork showing the left and right side of the brain.

When I was looking at my career path as a teenager, my folks introduced me to a friend from church who was a professional practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. We were going to use it to map out a plan for my course of study in college. After I slogged through 93 forced-choice answers, I felt no closer to interpreting my personality. To compound matters, the proctor said that he had never seen results like mine ever before. I had no glaring, obvious type that he could identify. The four colored bars were equal in height, indicating no possible insight could be gleaned.  I felt disheartened, and I still don’t know what label they use for my results.

After I became certified in The Predictive Index (PI) as a team member at Staff One HR, I realized there was no validity in a forced-choice question. The world is not binary, but shaded, and the PI behavioral assessment allowed for my own coloration of the way I felt about myself and the self I projected. It was particularly freeing for me, and I imagined all the other folks who have been “misdiagnosed” in the past, and what this freedom would mean to them. Continue reading “What Drives Your People Drives Your Company”

Simple Math: Why it Makes Sense to Outsource HR

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Man with chalk holding a book

A gentleman who once sold his company for over $1 billion told me that if he had to give one bit of advice to business owners, it would be to outsource all non-core competencies.  With the proliferation of the following outsourced/fractionalized professional services, it clearly makes sense to focus on what you do best to drive your own company revenue.

  • HR
  • Legal
  • VP of Sales
  • CFO / COO
  • Bookkeeping
  • IT
  • Marketing

Having been an entrepreneur myself, the one consistent trait that I see that continues to plague business owners is the need to control every part of their business.  Why not spend your time and resources instead on perfecting your craft, and resist the need to spend time on things that don’t make you money. Continue reading “Simple Math: Why it Makes Sense to Outsource HR”