Linked: Covid-19 Explodes the Myth That Women ‘Opt’ Out of the Workforce

posted in: Career, Links 0 |
Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’m a man with no children. So, working extra hours when the need arises isn’t really an issue. (It’s a mental health and work/life balance issue when it never ends, but when that happens I can choose to go do something else, and we’ve made some progress in recognizing this in many workplaces.) On the other hand, I know, pretty instinctively, that if I put a hard 40 hour limit, or a hard ending of my day at a certain time, no matter what, I’d probably be out of a job. Yet, for people with children, there needs to be a hard cap on the hours spent working. The pandemic creating this home/virtual school issue made this worse, and more obvious, but it’s always been an issue. Lots of workplaces talk a good game about balance and flexibility, but when push comes to shove, most of them will also demand that you figure out your childcare issues on your own time and be available to work in a pinch. So, you login from home all evening and work, and if you’re a single parent, the kids get ignored, or maybe you can find someone else to watch them for you. If there are two parents, you’d better hope you both don’t have those kinds of jobs, because one of you needs to be available for childcare, you can’t both be online working all night. 

And, if you have to choose which one leaves that kind of work arrangement, well, in general, women get paid less and have less advancement opportunities, (partially because they are more likely to “opt-out”), so they are going to be the ones to opt out, perpetuating the impression that women make these choices, that are then used to justify not changing the workplace to accommodate working mothers. After all, they’re likely to leave anyway, right? 

It’s really quite the little, vicious, circle we’ve made for women in the workplace. … Read More

Financial Stress and Mental Health – Why Younger Employees Leave

posted in: Career, Mental Health 0 |
Reading Time: 4 minutes

I think this is interesting in a couple of different ways. Clearly, workers are putting a much higher value on their own mental health, and companies that don’t get that, and support it, are going to end up having quite a bit of turnover.

But, the other thing that I wanted to think more about was what those specific reasons say about the mental health of Millennial and Gen Z workers. They seem to be dealing with a lot of stress around finances, and having that stress impact their mental health. Is that new? Or is it more likely that Gen X and Boomers have had those same stresses, but didn’t really identify them as mental health issues, like anxiety.

I think there’s something to that. Not to start talking about how things were “back in my day”, but I don’t recall anyone talking about anxiety in the same way we talk about it now. I suspect that many of us had anxiety around finances, we just didn’t call it that, and our solution to that anxiety was, of course, to work harder and longer.

And guess what? The next generations watched us do that, especially the Baby Boomers, and realized that it doesn’t actually work. Our mental health has sucked, for years, and we just didn’t admit it. They are willing to talk about it, and look for work that fits with lessening stress, especially stress that is related to finances.

Now, you would think that if they had more stress around finances, they would also just “work harder and longer”, but that assumes that the relationship between employers and employees is the same as it was 25-30 years ago, and it’s just not. Companies come and go now overnight. They run out to hire when things are growing, and rush to fire when things are not growing. Whole industries barely exist anymore. None of us live in the same work world that we grew up in any more.… Read More

Linked: Where Did Our Lunch Breaks Go?

posted in: Career, Links 0 |
Reading Time: 2 minutes

My point in describing these things is not to brag about how much work I do, or how many teams I interact with, but to point out that it’s easy to find your time and energy completely blocked and scheduled for you. Fighting burn out means protecting, and sometimes fighting for, your free time, including a lunch break.

Employers who are interested in not burning out their employees would do well to recognize that as well. As the article below points out, remote working gives us all a lot more flexibility to take breaks, and then do some of our work on our own schedule, since we no longer have to commute, or be in a location, but that doesn’t mean you work all day, and then also into the night.

Breaks matter. Balance matters. Remote work is a great way to find your own level of flexibility, and to provide it to your employees. I suggest you figure that out.… Read More

There Seems to be A Disconnect Between Management and Employees, Again.

posted in: Career 0 |
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Specifically, as this article points out, companies seem to think they’re doing a bang-up job support their employees during all of this forced work from home stuff, and pandemic fears, but employees don’t seem to agree: Nearly three-quarters of managers … Read More

Soon Your Whole Life Will Be in Microsoft Teams, and That Might Not Be Good

posted in: Career, Microsoft, Tech 0 |
Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week, Microsoft announced some new features coming for Teams, including some specifically designed to help employees maintain some stress management and avoid burnout. Things like a virtual commute, and a partnership with Headspace for meditations.

Which is interesting for a business collaboration tool, right?… Read More

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