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Post-Pandemic Work-Life

Work Awesome EP208

Post-Pandemic Work-Life

Work Awesome EP208

When it’s time to go back to the office, work-life might be a bit different. Fan of snow days? Now we are pro teleworkers. No space to have a meeting? Take it virtual. In this episode, we’ll hypothesize how a post-pandemic work-life might look.

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Hey podcast listeners, I just want to jump in and say first of all, thank you for listening to this episode of the work. Awesome podcast If you aren't following us on social media, please head over to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. Wherever you get your content from and make sure you're following so that you have the latest updates on blogs on new videos on new episodes coming out all on the work. Awesome network. If you haven't looked into the company behind the work. Awesome network.

Alien, I encourage you to do that as well. Please head over to 18.com to learn more about avian and how you can make your next transition in your career. If you're on a platform that allows you to rate or comment or interact with the podcast in some way, please do that. It helps out tremendously. Thanks again and now, back to the podcast. Welcome to workout some podcast this is episode 7 post Pandemic Work Life, so this is a major topic. Right now. We're actually on the cusp. It seems like, and maybe that might not be true, but I'm crossing. My fingers were on the cusp.

Of going back to some sort of normalcy?

Which means that this post pandemic work life is right around the corner. So today I have Megan, Anne Valerie with me to talk about this exciting topic. It pretty relevant to what's going on. Megan, as we know, is the recruiter at Alien or one of our recruiters at avian working on a team of two IMR integrated marketing communications specialist. And then Valerie works. I'm going to say this, but I know Val you're going to explain it further in our system, you're listed as a senior program.

Analyst now with avian because, as I've mentioned before, we are a government contractor that could mean a lot of different things for our company. That's kind of justice. The title that is given to you because of the type of work that you do, or the type of customer that you have, I guess.

So if you want to explain further, I'll quickly just say you are in communication specifically, but talk. Take a quick minute to talk about that role, and maybe for the company.

No problem, I am part of the AIMS team which is the communications team sector of avian. I work for a government program an I do communication specialists. Kind of a Jack of all trade I.

Do newsletters I do internal external communications? I also do design work for the Navy and Wall Art Museum. Quality wall art decorations or big displays within the program office.

Yeah, I think that.

Perfect so as you just demonstrated, yes, your official title in the avian system is senior program analyst, but you're working title is. I would say senior communications specialist or senior component. What is it? How do we say that here, multimedia, multimedia? Yeah, yeah. There's there's a few different titles that get thrown around, but they they all fall under aims, which is, as Valerie said, the avian information and multimedia services.

Division I guess of avian. So that's a great team. That's actually where I started, so awesome. Love it and I actually, I think I mentioned this before I started on base and then made my way over to the corporate team. So quick description of this episode when it's time to go back to the office work Life might be a bit different. Fan of snow days. Now we're all pro teleworkers. No space to have a meeting to get virtual and this episode will make some hypothesis of how a post pandemic work life.

Might look.

So I'm gonna be completely honest with you guys and our audience. I didn't write down questions for this one because I feel like this conversation is going to be pretty natural for us. So where do you want to start now? I know we were quickly before we started recording talking about kind of workspaces, so I think that would be a great place to start.

Even before the pandemic, there were these shared workspaces. Val has a list of a couple of the actual branded names of AM, but the idea is that you can basically rent out space for like a monthly subscription. Go to that workspace, work out of there. I definitely agree that that is going to become like a booming industry after the pandemic. Maybe not so much during the pandemic because of just the the the hygiene aspect of it having to clean the spaces of majan.

Maybe that's built into that subscription, but after the after the pandemic when people are used to working in different spaces, I see a lot of people desiring to have like that ability to pretty much go where they want to go so.

Well, I know you had some thoughts on that.

What do you want I I absolutely I heard a.

Somebody talking about moving back into the spaces and my own office space has done a poll within our office space and like 10% of the people wanted to go back full time.

75% one is some sort of hybrid going, one maybe two days a week, and so we really have to.

Businesses and companies and and are just going to have to adapt. They're going to have to change their workspaces the way we have meeting rooms. Have conference rooms have.

Extensive communication tools built into their companies to allow for this. We all recognize that there are certain things that just have to be done in person or are just done better in person. You know brainstorming new hires, training somebody on methods and procedures, mentoring even really done better in person one on one. So I think the physical spaces.

In offices are going to change.

Yeah, I definitely agree with you and we I've heard rumblings of program offices already doing this and it actually started before the pandemic and then the pandemic kind of kicked it into high gear where again along the same lines as those rented workspaces. You have a common space that you rotate where you actually are. So one day you might be. I don't know this is again a hypothesis. One day you might be sitting at a desk and working from a desk by a window. The next day you might be standing at a standing desk and working in.

Completely different section of the office. Again I think.

Being able to move around even in the same building is going to be something that a lot of people are going to desire after working from home and being able to sit at the couch or sit at your kitchen table or anywhere in your house and do do the work that you need to get done and realize, oh, I don't have to be in an office chair at a desk that has my name on it type of thing. So Megan any more.

Thoughts I think so like Sarah and I my other teammate we share our room. So on Mondays, Wednesdays and her Fridays at work she comes in the office and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and my Friday to work. I come in the office.

So I think that could qualify to a shared space that people are going to continue to do.

But even from a recruiting aspect, when before Covid hit people were asking to Tele work, that's just something that people want to do. They just want to be home. It's easier for a lot of people, especially those who are. Who are, you know, commuting, so and now. It's even more. Every person I talked to they're like, alright. Is this offering Tele work? Does this offer remote work? So I think having like you were saying about some sort of flexibility of, yeah, maybe one to two days like that's probably going to be something that after a year now it's been a year of getting used to that. People are going to want. And I think people are going to just companies.

Adjusted I.

Absolutely. I have. My husband told me just this morning that he on CNN they were announcing or one of the news broadcast he was watching, wherein a third of the people that were polled said that if it was 100% going into the office, they would quit their jobs and look elsewhere. A third. That kind of blew my mind away.

However, so many people. However, I don't think a post pandemic workplace is going to be 100% virtual. I think people have recognized the need for social and how much work really gives them that social.

Need that interaction. Need with other people.

There's like you're saying there's a lot of things missing from a virtual work life still. So for example, we had a meeting this morning, and Megan, I think you were on that meeting where Dan was talking about being able to communicate in the hallway and just have that short hallway conversation and how that led to actually hiring somebody for the company. Things that we wouldn't do. We want it. Just we use teams as a company. We wouldn't just use teams to be like, hey.

Just want to talk to you for five minutes like that just doesn't happen usually if you're at home, you're probably like at home, like clinking my water bottle. I'm sorry you're usually at home, not talking too. Geez, not talking to other people in the hallway unless it's like your husband or your dog or something.

I think it's also a mental health thing. You know, I think not to be the bummer, but the suicide rates during quarantine went up significantly because people just not having a human interaction, so.

While I understand tell it 'cause I know for me teleworking is nice 'cause I'm like I can roll right out of bed. I don't need to dress up.

I don't want to.

Lose the commute.

You gain hours if your hours time in your life, yeah.

But I also know, you know, as a mom and I was at three year old, I'm like get go to daycare. I wanna go home I want to go to work I want to get out of the office today 'cause you're driving me nuts and I hate being home sometimes. So I think being able to have that flexibility of both where you can if you have a really busy day where it's going to save you time and you have all these meetings instead of going into the office, maybe matches today that it's appropriate to stay home. And if you have more down time then you come into the office. So I think having that flexibility is good for.

The company is good for people's mental health. It's just going to be all around better. If that's something that companies can adjust to.

Talking about like the commute time and all that I.

Completely out of the blue didn't even relate this until just now. Actually had a friend from high school posts that like I grew up in Delaware, so a lot of the jobs were either in Wilmington which is a city of Delaware, or you would travel further to Philadelphia, which is still just a highway trip away, but still a pretty large commute. He actually lives in, I believe, like the mid part of Delaware, so his commute was like an hour and a half to two hours every day one way. So he was looking at three hours per day.

And he was doing the math and I don't exactly remember what the final total was, but he put down how many days of time he saved and he was able to spend with his family by not having to make that commute to work every day. So something super powerful which just comes back to numbers and figuring out, hey, I'm saving 600 hours a year and being able to spend that with my 3 year old 4 year old and kind of really have that family presence again and.

Think of the financial savings, yeah?

You're not paying for gas, and time is money. Then we are in your car.

That's something that we actually in again just citing some new sources. I guess I don't have any specific ones, but like when the pandemic first started, we immediately solve postings of like, hey, this is what Beijing looked like pre pandemic. This is now what Beijing looks like. And it's like the small, just not immediately. But it began to clear up and you began to really see this really noticeable difference of people not traveling as much.

So there's a lot of repercussions that we began to solve right away that we probably didn't think about.

I agree 100% that the.

Financial positives from Tele work and the.

The going back and forth your time that you get back is incredible and important. And as you said Megan very mentally.

It's their mental health and that's very important, so.

So I think we all agree that post pandemic there's probably going to be some virtual aspect to it. There's going to be extreme flexibility in working schedules, making sure that you can work pretty much. I would assume from wherever you want. There's been times during the pandemic where, like I realized, oh, we're working virtually so there was a time when actually I got this new Mac book and I was like, oh.

I again grew up in Delaware. If you don't know Delaware tax free, so I ship very expensive things like Mac books to my mom's house so I don't have to pay tax on them. I hope I don't get in trouble for that in some way.

But so I was able to leave Maryland the night after I worked the entire day went to Delaware. Pick this up, worked from Delaware the next day because we're virtual like we can go on vacation and work half days now if we wanted to and then spend the rest of the day on the beach or wherever we are. It's just it's afforded us some really nice things that Speaking of mental health. Yes, the suicide rate went up, but there's been some really nice things that can help us overcome some of those mental health issues as well.

Yeah, I agree I I'm actually going to Florida at the end of this month and then again in July and I was like oh, I can just take my laptop. I don't have to, you know not.

Work if I don't want to.

And use the PTO. So I'm like I could work a day. Or you know, if I want to take the time, I can, but.

It's not like.

I'm tide down in my office and I can't work if I'm gone. Yeah, and there are some of those large companies that have decided, oh, when the pandemic is over we're still going to be one. I want to say. 100% telework is what some of these news headlines say. I don't know exactly what that means because.

Obviously there needs to be some sort of corporate office building.

But I believe Shopify was one of those companies that said, hey.

We realized that we can do this without being in the office. You guys are free to work from wherever you want in the world, which.

Is interesting 'cause I don't know how businesses business licenses work that way, but that's a whole legal route that I'm not willing to go down.

My daughter, my daughter, 100% telework job. She got a promotion and as a manager she's 100% telework and it's incredible yet. But she is also been another, you know, she doesn't have kids yet. She doesn't have the things that typically tie you to one place so.

You know is attracting. If you're trying to attract young millennials or young even you know straight out of college employees it you're going to have to offer the Tele work.

Absolutely, I think we drove the Tele work point home.

Let's talk about some innovation. So innovation was really cool because and I don't know if you guys realize this. But like Microsoft Teams, for example, or even zoom any of these platforms that we use for teleworking, they weren't making a ton of progress before the pandemic and then all of a sudden we were forced to work at home. And they're like, oh, we should probably jump on this. So I like when the pandemic first started getting on, Microsoft Teams was a real pain and it didn't have a very user-friendly interface. There was a lot of questions going around about it.

Pretty much monthly. I would even venture out to say weekly. Now there's updates that just keep improving how that works. So innovation I think has.

Has changed for the better because these companies are like, oh, we actually need to work on these tools that are going to make work easier for folks. Any other tools that you start rising or improved upon during the pandemic?

Actually, I'm almost 100% team because the Navy has bought into teams, but there are other programs called Click Up ormonday.com. There are new innovative their collaborative and they take your.

Documents in your spreadsheets and they do gold tracking and they give you a resource storage and inbox all your inbox and you can communicate with a group and they will send out a group email.

So there are other platforms out there, but I think they're all driving towards the same thing. They realize that what is missing is the collaborative aspect of being live, being together with somebody.

Even Adobe has really nice collaboration tools now, which weren't there before. So again, just really cool innovations coming out of a pandemic, and I think just.

As we drive that virtual point home, if we're all working virtually, those clap those online collaboration tools become super important to use.

And all your files are saved to the cloud. They're not on a server somewhere that you've gotta correct. Connect directly to, so.

Let's talk about culture kind of feeds into the virtual a little bit. Actually, no, let's talk about culture. Let's talk about company events. Where do you see company events going? So for avian specifically, we again went to a virtual platform where we found I don't know exactly what the name of the company was, but we found a company that would host virtual events through zoom. They were like trivia events, or there was a whole laundry list of like holiday events that we did.

So we were still able to send out this mass meeting maker and say hey we have spots for like 60. I don't remember the exact number but like 60 people if you're interested in doing Halloween trivia or Christmas trivia or whatever, you still have that opportunity to see other folks that you work with face to face on the computer and have some fun during the evening in the future. Where do you see company events going?

I think it's staying as both. Hopefully I think that there will still be some things that we can do virtually just.

Unfortunately, I don't think that's ever going away. I think it's going to be like the flu where it's common. It's something that just stays and it keeps growing. So I think it's going to be another thing that's going to be around and we can't live under a rock or in quarantine forever. That's the reality. So I think still being able to be safe there will be some events and some things that we can do virtually, but I do think as people get more brave like I'm still, I'm still safe when I go out, but I can't live in the house for us my life either. So you know, I'm still taking precautions when I'm leaving, but at the same time.

It is important to still have those human interactions like you were saying, wow, so I think maybe like our and our company like Christmas events or something like that could still be in person if there still needs to be the precautions by the time that comes. And that's fine. But I think maybe just a good a good share of both. I think it's really going to be everything is going to be split because it's just the normal life to maintain that balance.

Yeah, I agree mostly with that statement. I truly believe that.

You know the the interaction we get from work. We're going to start blending our work and our home life more and more and more. There will be if you're a company that really wants to build ownership and pride and belonging in your company, you're going to have to have big.

Yeah, or some small social events that are open if you want to come come. If you don't want to come, we understand I am vision meetings and conferences. Being a big television where you're going to have people in the room.

And then you're going to have people on the little boxes on the television. The Littles monitors in rooms are not going to work. You're going to want to feel like you're interacting with those people who are not there in order to build a team to build an ownership.

I definitely agree with both of what you're saying. I think it's going to be this mixed bag of doing still virtual events and then doing in person events and maybe those in person. Events are smaller teams now, so instead of the entire company getting together for.

A holiday party. Maybe it's just the communication or communication falls under HR here, so maybe it's just the HR team going out for a holiday celebration or or something like that, which we've done. Yeah, we definitely done. So I agree with what you're saying. Both of you. I think it'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

I think we're talking about changes in way. We're going in the future and I will talk about the office space.

And we talk about the social aspect of it, but I think we're going to see a change in management in the way people manage other people and a shift from I saw John. Everyone has that one guy in the office that's there at 4:00 o'clock in the morning and doesn't leave until the boss leaves. I think that is going to change. I think we're going to be evaluated on what we do rather than who we are, or our personalities and.

Management is going to have to be trained to quantify their employees rather than.

You know, I like that guy in you.

Know and I think.

Again, hopefully I'm not spilling too many last that wasn't last episode. The last recording that we did. We talked a little bit about career pathing and how Adrian is starting to do some very specific layout career pathing. And with that comes these. It's basically a rubric of what you need to do to move up in these positions. Again, hopefully not spilling too many beans. I don't think I am. 'cause I'm not being super specific.

But I think what you're saying is that it's about it. It's going to be about what you do for the company rather than how much time you put in to it. Not that you shouldn't work your eight hour day, you still work your eight hour day, but maybe it's not that 10/12/14 hour day that some people put in.

I'm sorry, Megan. I I actually believe that you used to be hired. You were the best at what you did, so we're going to make you a manager. But maybe you really didn't have those in our interpersonal skills. You were really, really good at what you do and you should be recognized and you should move up to a higher level within what you do. But are you a management material at that point? Maybe we're going to look for better communicators, people who?

Know how to lead by example or coordinate and there I think that is the future. I think we are. Everyone's always said a leader should be. You know you should want to follow this leader, but really it takes two with the leader needs to reach back and communicate. And if you're not there to see that they're doing what they do, they've got to learn to communicate back to you.

And I definitely like the point, Megan. I'll let you.

Make your point just second. I definitely like your point about the communication aspect of it. So like a lot of our managers and I don't want to throw anybody under under a bus 'cause everybody that works here is great, but a lot of our managers, our technical experts in their fields, that doesn't mean that they know how to. Like you're saying, communicate with somebody so when we're looking at future managers, post pandemic and communication is such an important aspect of that. Knowing how to communicate face to face, knowing how to communicate virtually and use all the tools that are at your disposal.

Maybe it is, maybe it's somebody that is really great at managing people and managing the type of work that we're doing, rather than the exact specific, very technical work that our company does in some cases.

Yeah, and I was just going to say I think it's going to build a lot of more individuality because on top of the schedule I think like for me, you know I always have to pick my daughter up a certain time so I have to leave work with certain time. But I still need to do my 9 hours so I'm able to work most of my morning and then once I'm.

Home and she settled on typically get on and do another hour or two hours ahead along. I needed in the afternoon and at least from a recruiter standpoint. It actually works because people are off work later in the afternoon anyway, so where they might not have answered me in the morning. They typically answer in the afternoon, but that's where that trust in that individuality between my manager and my partner comes in 'cause it's more so about I am getting the work done. It doesn't really matter when I don't think so. Personally I think it's always been nice to have that flexibility and then I think that that kind of puts the responsibility on.

The team as well to build together and do things together versus like somebody breathing down your neck all the time in the you know, happy to tell you what to do. You don't. I don't think sometimes we do not push you don't grow as much if you're being constantly guided that way too. So I think it's going to give a lot of different opportunities for growth and just learning opportunities to yeah.

I do want to point out Megan said nine hours and that's because we do something called a CWS work schedule. I don't exactly know what value schedule condensed work this.

Works basically means you're off.

Every other Friday you got to work 9 hours, yes.

So the normal job in less you want to take those Fridays off is 8 hours for us. But some of our folks work that CWS schedule so that you have every other Friday off, which does sound pretty appealing for some folks.

It's interesting, it's different. I was very used to it, but.

Now you are.

Alright, so the last topic I want to quickly talk about is mentoring and coaching. So again, this is something that we probably thought of doing like face to face somebody that was in the same town as you. Even now it can be like literally anybody in the world using these virtual tools. We can connect with. This is a very high level person, but Tony Robbins if we wanted to.

We don't have to look specifically at who's in our community and ask them to be our mentor, or we can ask literally anybody.

Thoughts, do you have about mentoring and coaching, if any?

I think it's funny image as I mentioned in a previous episode, he's my favorite speaker and I have messaged him on Facebook several times. An Instagram I'm like please.

Listen to me.

But so you know, I do think even like the live seminars, so I've seen on Facebook. That's how I'm doing my life coach certification. There's like millions of them that are out right now that you can just like log into a zoom link and be able to do those things. So I think it opens up so much more opportunity in that sample. You know, Tony Robbins does the seminars and that sucks, though some of them got shut down. But there's still so many different opportunities to learn. And I think one of the beautiful things about that is we do have these share screens. Or we can do even training.

Virtual here you know we have new systems up and coming for the recruiting team. At least there's going to be a really good opportunity that we don't need to put people in a room if they don't want to be there. We were just open up our screen and show them how to do things. So I think there's a lot of opportunity in that. I mean, it's been different 'cause sometimes it is nicer to be around in a meeting, but I also think in a way that keeps things more controlled too, because people catches like yelling erupted. Yeah, so we've seen like attitude so I'm not here specifically, but sometimes I've seen like a lot.

Like even fights and like little bigger right stuff happening just because of people want to get through the presentation and they're not able to. So I think that makes some organized where you have to like take yourself off mute and raise your hand or whatever the case is. So I think it's I think that's a really fun opportunity and it gives so much so much more room for growth.

I think it's a wonderful opportunity to expand outside of your little bubble that you live in in there, in your.

I think a lot of companies that even now there would totally benefit from a mentoring program that was outside of we tend to mentor within our own offices.

But if now we could mentor to somebody, we're in Maryland. We could mentor somebody in California and.

You know that is an coaching for a work life and inspiring other young people or old older people to be the best hub who they can be is so important.

Yeah, and the one point that I just thought of kind of along those same lines is like education wise, so kind of mentoring coaching, but you're still learning so I don't know why I was looking at this the other day, but I was looking at the Syracuse law program.

And they actually offer a 100% on. Well, I would say like 95% online program for your law degree now. The one caveat is there's like these short and I forget exactly what they call them.

But the short time frames where you actually have to go there. Basically seminars and you have to be there in person, so there's like 6 over this like three or four year program that you have to make the trip. It's like 3 days in Syracuse. There are these very specific courses that they want you to take at the campus an with face to face. So I see a lot of things going down that same line where it's like. OK, we might have this online program, but there are going to be these certain topics that we want to talk about.

Face to face, again. Mentoring to tie that back could go along the same lines you're doing a lot of virtual mentoring, but maybe there's once every while where you're meeting up in person and having that face to face discussion with your mentor or coach.

Any last minute thoughts are?

I think what we mostly talked about is that you're going to need to be a master of the virtual space after the pandemic because we none of us see that going away anytime soon. Anything else you guys want to?

Add, yeah just training, just, you know, make sure that you know if you are going to use it. You know how to use it and if your teammates know how to use it and have somebody at your disposal. If you don't know how to train somebody up.

To have somebody at your disposal to to do that. Very important 'cause you can fall behind or feel left out very quickly and.

This thing just.

Take advantage of the opportunity 'cause it's a completely different world that we're in, but it's it's a lot of opportunity. There's so much room for different things that you can learn. You can do, and I think taking advantage of it now before or if things ever do go back to normal. That's a it's a really good time and I need to go back to the training and even the education. I think that you just have more time and not be able to do that like you can. You don't have to drive somewhere first seminar drive somewhere for training. You can just spend that hour after you're done with dinner. Or once you put the kids to bed or whatever, the case is to just get that stuff done. So I would.

To say, take advantage of it and use it when you.

Can yeah, and as always I had a point and I forgot what it was. That's pretty much how these go.

Alright, so let's wrap this up. I know what the point was. Again, that's always how it goes.

So we're just.

That sounds like a great idea who.

Else will buy that shirt.

Popular all right? So my point here was that like you were saying, there's a ton of opportunity going on. You can literally work for a Silicon Valley company making a Silicon Valley salad, Silicon Valley salary and living like some place that has a low income. I'm top of my head. I'm going to say like North Carolina because they're they're not income cost of living, their cost of living is lower than it is in Maryland at least.

So you could be even working for a Maryland company, making Maryland salary and living in a place where the cost of living is a little bit less than what it would be in Maryland. So tons of opportunity. The main, like I said already, I think the main takeaway is that virtual is not going away anytime soon, even after the pandemic ends, and it will be very interesting to see how it all goes. So Megan Val, thank you for joining me today.

And I will see everybody next time, bye.