- average number of hours worked per week,
- average commute time and
- percentage of workers who work 50+ weeks per year.
And the winner of the most overworked city is: Washington, D.C. If you’d like to take a closer look at the study and the methodology behind it, here’s a link.
We probably don’t need a study to tell us that the Washington region suffers from a severe case of “overwork.” So many of us feel like we’re doing the work of two or three people and juggling it all can seem like an impossible task. But very few people can keep going at a frantic pace and not experience some symptoms of overwork. A few of the most common symptoms are outlined below:
- Increased stress levels and physical symptoms: People may notice fatigue, headaches or gastrointestinal issues.
- Difficulty sleeping: Sleep behaviors may be disturbed, reduced or increased.
- Decreased productivity: When workloads increase, employees may struggle to keep up, resulting in missed deadlines and making more mistakes.
- Procrastination: Some employees may resort to avoidance and procrastination as a way to deal with overwhelm.
- Increased absenteeism: Increased workloads can cause employees to take more sick leave to deal with stress.
- Decreased job satisfaction: When workers feel overwhelmed and overworked, they may lose motivation and become disillusioned with their jobs. This can often lead to higher rates of turnover, particularly in a competitive job market.
Although they’re similar and often used interchangeably, overwork and burnout are not the same. Overwork refers to the act of working too hard or too much. The term “burnout” was first used in 1974 by German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, who defined it as “the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.” The key is to identify any symptoms of overwork you may be experiencing (the earlier, the better!), so you can prevent burnout.
Prolonged periods of overwork can begin to take a toll on our mental and physical health, as well as personal relationships. When we overwork and fail to prioritize our own needs and self-care, we don’t give our brain or body what it needs to recuperate. In our next article, we’ll take a look at a few ways to handle increasing workloads. If you notice that your workload is starting to negatively impact your life, working with a coach, like Leah M Joppy and Associates, can be incredibly beneficial. We can help you achieve the balance you’ve been striving for, both professionally and personally, before your day-to-day stressors lead to burnout. Contact us at 301-670-0051 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Steadily increasing workloads may seem like a harsh reality in today’s workplace. Technology ensures that we’re available 24/7. Working from home can make it hard to unplug and create a work/home balance. Falling into the routine of overwork is easy, but getting yourself out of it can feel like an uphill task. However, it’s not impossible and your mental and physical health may depend on it.
No one is equipped to go at lightning speed without suffering some mental and/or physical repercussions, whether it’s right now or down the road. We outlined a few symptoms of overwork in our last article. Perhaps you’re dealing with one or more, but feel helpless and wonder if there’s anything you can do about it. Here are 6 suggestions to keep in mind:
- Minimize distractions and identify time-wasters: Suggestions include checking e-mail only a few times a day, staying off social media, using earphones if you work in a loud environment and setting clear boundaries if you work from home with family members in the house.
- Make lists and establish priorities: Write down everything you need to accomplish in a given day and then assign each task a priority. Project managers often use the 4Ds of time management: Do, Delegate, Delay and Drop. Checking off tasks as you complete them can also give a sense of accomplishment. It’s a small, but powerful step!
- Delegate where you can: So many us get in the mindset of, “Oh, it’ll be quicker and easier if I just do it myself.” This is particularly true of new managers. However, if you’re in a position to delegate tasks, do it! There is a limit to what one person can do.
- Sit down and talk with your manager: If you feel comfortable, enlightening your manager about your situation can help you both come up with strategies. But don’t just walk into their office without a plan. Ask yourself if your current workload is acceptable for your role and job description. Come in with your list of priorities to share. And propose a solution you can both discuss.
- Pursue hobbies outside of work: A hobby not only brings fulfillment, but also makes your brain think in different way and takes your mind off your job. If you work remotely, try to pursue a hobby that gets you out of the house.
- Prioritize wellness into your routine: We’re talking exercise, breathing techniques, meditation, anything that helps calm and recharge you.
And remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. Working with a coach, like Leah M Joppy and Associates, can help you chart a clearer path forward. We’ll discuss your unique situation, strategies for dealing with your increasing workload and help you establish possible solutions and clear boundaries. The key is to get ahead of your workload situation before it leads to burnout.
Ready to learn more? Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at email@example.com.
Finding the right employees can be tough, but keeping them can be even tougher. In 2022, 46.2 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs, becoming what’s now known as The Great Resignation. And it’s estimated that 46% of the American workforce wants to switch jobs in 2023, making employee retention a key concern. Now more than ever, organizations need to come up with fresh approaches to retain their current workers. This is especially true of Millennial and Gen Z employees.
Let’s take a look at these two groups. Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996 while Gen Z refers to those born between 1997 and 2012. Between the two of them, they make up almost 50% of the workforce today. Gen-Z alone is expected to form 27% of the workforce in the next two years. Both Millennials and Gen Z have a reputation for job hopping and lacking “company loyalty”. However, if organizations make an effort to understand the needs and wants of these two groups and grant them the opportunities to grow and thrive, this reputation isn’t always true.
Your recruitment strategies may have helped you acquire a new crop of employees, but if they are not rewarded appropriately with career opportunities, development and other incentives, there is a larger risk of them leaving. What are some of the top things that Millennials and Gen Z look for in an employer? Here’s a glimpse at 5 of them:
- Offer them flexibility and work-life balance: Some may bristle at the work-from-home or hybrid model, but it’s here to stay. Gen Z and millennial employees value flexible work places and working practices and are interested in jobs that will be adaptable to their lifestyle.
- Place an emphasis on their well-being: Millennials and Gen Z want to work for organizations who take care of them and their health as individuals. And it’s not just about physical well-being, but mental health as well.
- Provide them with strong, transparent managers: Management really matters! Grant these two groups more autonomy and less micromanagement, communicate openly and seek their input and ideas.
- Invest in their growth: Gallup found that 87% of millennials rate development opportunities as important to them in a job and LinkedIn found that 76% of Gen Z say learning is key to their success.
- Provide them with mentors: A study by CNBC found that 90% of employees who have assigned mentors say they are happy in their jobs. And greater employee satisfaction leads to better retention!
In today’s multigenerational workforce, organizations can no longer rely on a one-size-fits-all approach to retaining and motivating employees. The most successful organizations truly understand employees’ expectations in the workplace. Leah M Joppy and Associates can work with your organization to build an effective employee retention strategy and help you create programs, systems and communication styles that they meet different employee needs, whatever generation they are from.
Ready to learn more? Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What management challenges has your organization experienced over the past few years? How have issues changed or developed over the last 12 or 6 months? As more and more employees are returning to the office, you’re probably dealing with a fresh set of challenges and we outlined just a few in our previous article. Last year was a period of office ‘reentry’ and now it’s time to figure out how to juggle in-person team members, hybrid and remote workers while not sacrificing performance. It’s a lot to handle and how do you even begin?
Let’s start with a few of the basics. We’ve outlined a few “dos and don’ts” below. Maybe you’re already using some of them or perhaps they’re a good reminder of where you need to improve:
- Do set immediate and clear expectations – and make sure everyone knows what they are!
- Do schedule regular team meetings and make them a priority (no regular cancellations, please). It’s an effective way to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourself with your team’s work and communication style and find areas for improvement.
- Do engage directly with employees as often as possible.
- Don’t just have a communication strategy in place – document it and share it! Everyone needs to be on the same page.
- Don’t just encourage feedback, make it possible. And listen to it!
- Don’t micromanage and make employees feel like they’re not trusted.
- Do have an open-door policy and set aside time for one-on-one conversations.
- Do have regular team building activities that enable in-person, hybrid and remote team members to get to know each other in a fun, casual setting.
- Don’t forget about mental health. Make sure you’re communicating benefits that your organization provides to employees. Listening to team members and working with them to address concerns is one of the most important things you can do.
A proactive approach and implementing improvements not only keeps your organization moving forward, but also shows team members, whether they’re in the office, remote or hybrid, that you’re engaged in their wellbeing. Fortunately, you don’t have to handle it alone. Working with a coach like Leah M Joppy and Associates and utilizing our Strengthsfinder assessment tool is an ideal way to get started. We outlined the benefits of Strengthsfinder in our previous article. The data it provides goes a long way towards leveraging team members’ strengths, addressing team conflicts and improving communication. Want to learn more? Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at email@example.com.
Over the past few years, we’ve all had to adjust to the virtual workplace and the challenges that came with it – from being interrupted on Zoom calls from a crying toddler to missing out on casual chit chat with your colleagues as you grab a morning coffee. Or perhaps you were hired during the pandemic and don’t really feel connected to your new team. Now that people are slowly returning to the workplace, many organizations are dealing with a whole new set of challenges. We’ve broken down the top 3 below:
- Office Etiquette: Let’s face it – we all developed some interesting habits while working at home, whether it’s living in pajamas, pacing around the house while on a phone call or leaving a pile of dirty dishes in the sink to deal with later. Clearly, this isn’t going to fly in a professional environment. Management needs to set guidelines when it comes to office etiquette and clearly communicate areas such as: respecting team members’ personal space, dress code, keeping workspaces clean and being mindful of voice level. Patience needs to be practiced as everyone readjusts to office life. It’s not fun, but managers must be ready to have conversations when/if issues arise.
- Communication: While some team members are returning to the office, many may be on a hybrid work schedule and others may continue working remotely. This can make communication challenging for even the most seasoned managers. Effective communication requires clarity, consistency and careful listening.
- Team Building: Returning to the office can be particularly difficult for employees who were on-boarded during the pandemic. The existing team may wonder, “Who are the new people? What role will they play within the team? What knowledge and skills do they bring to the group? Will they be a team player?” The new employees may feel like they’re truly part of the team and may not feel comfortable speaking up or asking questions.
How Working With a Coach Can Help
It’s easy to say “communicate more with your employees” or “set clear expectations”, but how do you get started when you’re already feeling overwhelmed? That’s where working with a coaching team like Leah M Joppy and Associates can help. Our popular Strengthsfinder assessment tool has helped organizations and team members learn so much about their core competencies, how to use them to their advantage and where to make improvements.
Participants who have taken this assessment develop a clear understanding of how to use their strengths to support and effectively communicate with team members, as well as work together to support agency mission and goals. This tool also identifies complementary strengths that enable team members to support each other in areas where they may not be as efficient. In addition, this self-awareness insight enables participants to:
- Better manage team and customer conflict
- Leverage individual strengths and communication styles to build cross-agency collaborative partnerships
- Maximize creativity
- Increase performance
Imagine what your organization could do armed with this kind of data! Contact Leah M Joppy and Associates at 301-670-0051 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and get started.
Burnout. It’s something no one wants to feel and it’s an issue that no organization wants to experience. But increased levels of employee burnout are becoming more common across every industry and not just the ones we think of most, like healthcare and teaching. Many organizations think of burnout as an “individual problem,” solvable by an employee just taking the afternoon off or practicing some breathing techniques. Wrong! It affects your organization at every level and has a negative impact by decreasing morale and increasing turnover.
According to the World Health Organization, burnout is a syndrome resulting from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It’s characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings or negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy (World Health Organization, 2019). It’s incredibly costly for organizations. Consider these statistics: according to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey of nearly 1,500 U.S. workers, 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress in the month before the survey. Nearly 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or energy (26%) and lack of effort at work (19%). Meanwhile, 36% reported cognitive weariness, 32% reported emotional exhaustion, and 44% reported physical fatigue—a 38% increase since 2019.
It’s important to train managers to recognize the signs of burnout in team members and have a comprehensive plan in place to address underlying issues. Symptoms of burnout include:
- Decreased engagement and enthusiasm in work
- Increased absenteeism
- Decreased productivity
- Higher sensitivity to feedback
Employee burnout is one the most pressing challenges that organizations face today. Leaders need to know the prominent signs (as we outlined above) and how to work with team members on solutions that have a lasting impact. It’s no small task, but in the end, it’s a win-win for everyone. Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help your organization face any workforce burnout issues head-on before they become major problems. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email email@example.com and let’s discuss your needs.
- An environment where people feel like they can learn from their mistakes and not humiliated.
- An environment where disagreements and open discussions are encouraged and not seen as a threat.
Perhaps you already work in an office like this and you probably feel grateful for it! However, if you’re like many, it could feel like a dream that will never come true. That’s because many organizations have difficulty developing and maintaining a strong sense of psychological safety for their team members. As we discussed in our last article, psychological safety is about being able to act and engage in a team without fear of negative consequences. It’s one of the strongest proven predictors of team effectiveness.
It takes great leadership and management to create psychological safety. But if you feel like it’s lacking in your organization, what are a few first steps you can take to improve it? Here are some ideas to get started:
- Practice accountability and lead by example: Leaders set the tone for an organization and are responsible for the psychological safety of the workplace. Leaders should be approachable, be open to opinions that differ from their own and be willing to acknowledge their own mistakes (just to name a few).
- Enhance communication skills: For example, ask team members directly for their thoughts and opinions. Encourage people to share by asking questions. Actively ask quieter individuals for their input. Also, practice active listening by leaving your phone on your desk during meetings and improving eye contact.
- Hone conflict resolution skills: No one likes to deal with conflict, but when you’re leading a team, it’s inevitable. If a team member humiliates or undermines others or prevents team members from speaking up, leaders have to be ready to intervene. Just one or two negative people can really put a damper on overall company culture.
- Foster open conversations with team members: It’s vital to pay attention to how your team operates. Do some people dominate during meetings? Are some more quiet and seem reluctant to participate? Make an effort to enable equal speaking time for everyone. A calm environment and perhaps some ice breakers are just a few ways to put everyone at ease. Team outings or even virtual hangouts can also provide an opportunity for team members to let their guard down and get to know each other better.
Saying you encourage your team to speak up and be candid is one thing, but creating a culture of trust is another. It takes care, consistency and a commitment to learning new behaviors, but the payoff is worth it! Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help with fresh ideas and strategies to help you increase psychological safety within your organization. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s start 2023 off on a productive note!
Most of us spend the majority of our week at the office, yet how many of us find our job to be meaningful? It can feel like a pipe dream to find work that makes us feel fulfilled and motivated. And the numbers back this up: according to a study by Bates College and Gallup, over 80% of college-educated Americans aspire to meaningful work, yet less than 50% actually attain it. This isn’t good news for organizations, as a lack of employee engagement and perceived meaninglessness leads to decreased productivity, lower morale and greater turnover
I just recently completed a certification from Cornell University on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The course, taught by Professor Nishii, takes a deep dive into the issue of employee engagement and it’s three components. We examined psychological availability last month and this month we’re taking a look at the second component: psychological meaningfulness.
What Is Psychological Meaningfulness?
What do we mean by the term “psychological meaningfulness”? Organizational psychologist William Kahn, author of the 1990 study “Physical Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work”, defined it as “employees perceiving their role/task as meaningful, both to the organization and within the context of wider society, to justify their “full self” being deployed.” Team members feel motivated within their positions due to challenge, opportunities for autonomy and strong goals. They feel like they’re a part of something larger than themselves.
What Psychological Meaningfulness Looks Like – and Steps to Avoid
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to meaningful work. It differs from person to person and often changes as people age, go through periods of personal change and have various life experiences. But we can agree that once a sense of meaningfulness is found, it brings about a greater sense of pride and achievement, a feeling of fulfillment and a satisfaction in finding work that is absorbing and interesting. And while there’s no magic formula for creating meaningful positions, there are definite steps that organizations don’t want to take. Here are 6 of the most common mistakes:
- Failing to recognize and appreciate team members’ contributions
- Creating a disconnect between organization and personal values
- Treating team members unfairly
- Overriding team members’ judgment and making them feel disempowered
- Creating a disconnect between team members
- Putting team members in situations where they feel unsafe
Most organizations don’t know where to begin when it comes to helping their employees find more meaning in their positions and increase overall engagement. The typical “office perks” are often surface level and don’t delve into the root issues. That’s where Leah M Joppy and Associates can help. A fresh approach and perspective, combined with experience tackling all different types of employee disengagement issues is just what you need to start next year off on a positive note! Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at email@example.com today.
There’s no doubt about it, we’re living in a VUCA world. Although it sounds like something out of a science-fiction movie, VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. And it’s become even more pronounced over the past few years. What’s also becoming clear is that strong management within organizations is more vital than ever and comfortable, classic models of leadership don’t work within our ever-changing climate.
So, what does it take to lead in a VUCA world? It takes a lot of effort, but here are some of the top ways to navigate the waters:
- Developing shared purpose and communicating it effectively: Leaders need to be skilled at building teams that have a shared vision. They must also be adept at helping team members understand their place within the big picture. Communication is key!
- Learning to move out of a comfort zone: The old ways of doing things may have worked in the past, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to work forever. Leaders must be open to change and embrace a fresh and creative approach to tackling challenges.
- Having the confidence to lead through times of uncertainty: Times of change can be difficult to handle and managers feel it as much as their team members (maybe even more!). However, strong leaders must be able to assess available information, risks, etc. and take strong, confident action based on their knowledge.
- Providing consistent support: This includes: mentoring team members to help them adjust to changes, modeling the desired behavior for embracing changes, providing and supporting employee learning and development and acknowledging and celebrating successes!
In today’s constantly changing world, leaders may feel like they need to step up their game to be as effective as possible. However, it can be intimidating
to take the first steps towards meaningful and sustainable action. Leaders don’t have to go it alone. Working with a coach, like Leah M Joppy and Associates, provides managers with a partner that can help them navigate our VUCA world. We work with leaders to develop the competencies outlined above and to survive and thrive in a VUCA climate. We also help leaders develop high levels of resiliency, so they’re ready to take on challenges and are less likely to experience burnout.
Call Leah M Joppy and Associates at 301-670-0051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help.
Chances are, you’ve probably heard or read the acronym ‘VUCA’ (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) thrown around a time or two. It’s one of those buzz-worthy terms to describe the unsettled environment organizations have to deal with on a daily basis. And nothing has brought out VUCA more than the past few years, as organizations have dealt with unprecedented changes in day-to-day operations and had to pivot in unexpected ways.
The acronym ‘VUCA’ was first used in 1987 by the U.S Army War College to describe the unfortunate situation after the Cold War. The term later found its way into the business world and outlines four distinct challenges that leaders face:
Volatility: Challenges are unstable and unexpected. The duration of these challenges is unknown.
Uncertainty: The future is unpredictable. It’s nearly impossible to anticipate events and how they’ll unfold.
Complexity: Information is overwhelming and choosing a single right path is almost impossible. Challenges and their repercussions are more complex and harder to understand.
Ambiguity: Situations are vague and difficult to interpret.
In short, we’re living in a world that’s constantly changing and these changes, whether big or small, are happening faster and faster and in more unpredictable ways. Since we don’t have a crystal ball to see the future, the best way for an organization to be prepared is through strong leadership. As we saw over the past few years, change can be incredibly challenging for team members with people reacting to these changes in different ways. Skilled, prepared leaders are the key to meeting the challenges of VUCA head-on through:
- Maintaining strong lines of communication
- Keeping employees engaged
- Determining fresh and creative approaches to meet changes head-on
- Maintaining and growing productivity
And that’s just the start. It’s a tall order for even the most seasoned leader and one where they’ll need a strong level of support from upper management.
As much as we’d like to make time stand still for a bit and catch our breath, change and the challenges that accompany it, is inevitable. We don’t know exactly what changes are coming down the road, but working with a coach, like Leah M Joppy and Associates, can help your organization be prepared when they do happen. We can take a look at what challenges your organization has faced in the past, how your leadership team handled them, what worked and what didn’t. We can then work with you to improve approaches and develop creative and flexible solutions that will help make this VUCA world we’re living in a little more manageable.
Interested in learning more? Call us at 301-670-0051 or email email@example.com.