Finding balance, giving yourself grace, and accepting that everything isn’t just fine.
Working from home is a privilege that does not require risking our own health and safety every day. We know that the inconvenience of barking dogs or tiny city dwellings are annoying, but far better than the reality that many are facing.
However, even in what we could call the ‘best of conditions’,
there is a real risk of burnout that can affect productivity, expectations, and
overall mental well-being. We have scraped together new routines over the last
several weeks; all while dealing with some level of anxiety and frustration. What
signs of burnout should you look for and how do you change the mindset?
You feel guilty about the work that you are doing (or not doing). Perhaps you should have done one more item on your checklist, finished up one last project, or made one more phone call. After all, you’re saving time on the commute, going out for lunch, and socializing with co-workers.
Perhaps you are comparing yourself to your co-workers and it’s causing anxiety & guilt? If your co-worker sent an email at 6:30 am, does that mean that you should be doing the same? It is easy to want to create benchmarks. You can rationalize the decisions that you are making when there is a beacon guiding you. But this is a time when we’re juggling new systems, children at home, and schedule disruptions. Focus on what is expected of you and lay out those expectations with your manager so there are no ‘should have’, ‘could have’ feelings.
making yourself available 24 hours a day
Your office phone is forwarded to your cell phone, the video conferencing app is downloaded, and your email notifications come through to every device you own. You’re feeling the need to be available and accessible 24 hours a day – trying to avoid the ‘out of sight, out of mind”.
Being in a cycle of constant visibility and accessibility to your co-workers or managers is exhausting. If you wouldn’t do it in a normal office setting, then you shouldn’t be doing it in a work-from-home setting. Even if you are not working all-day, every day — if you’re feeling the need to be available all of the time, this may affect your ability to wind down and recharge . Find the right time to turn off notifications, stop answering emails, and communicate with co-workers. If you’re feeling uneasy about not being available at a moment’s notice, talk to your manager about your schedule and when you cannot be immediately available.
Not only are
you available 24-hours a day, but you are working many more hours than you
normally would. You’re skipping meals, breaks, and exercise in favor of getting
may think that you’re being more productive by stretching out eight-hour days
to twelve, fourteen, or more – it’s likely that you’re not taking care of yourself
as well as you should. There are many instances in which working too much
actually provides diminishing
returns in work quality.
This is the
time to set boundaries and create a schedule to force yourself to stop and take
a breath. Schedule breaks, exercise,
lunch, and shutdown times. Ensure that
meetings are scheduled within normal working hours. It is imperative to draw a line under the day
and end it when it needs to end. If you wouldn’t have answered a late-night
email before working from home, then you shouldn’t be doing it now.
find your groove
Working from home is not for everyone . It just isn’t. It can be a nice break from time-to-time, but for many, it just isn’t part of their routine that gets them out of bed and ready to tackle the day. Some people genuinely enjoy the in-office interaction or the face-to-face meetings with clients.
If you’ve never gotten into the WFH groove and you are resenting the situation as time passes, this can trickle down to other parts of your life. Are you overreacting to professional and personal situations that wouldn’t normally irk you? Are you struggling to use the makeshift home-office that you set up? Are you accumulating take-out containers as you work from bed (for the 3rd week in a row)?
Acknowledging the burnout is the first step to dealing with the situation. While it may seem like everyone else has got this down, it’s very likely that they’re facing similar challenges. There is only so much that you can see in a video conference call or via email.
At the end of the day, it may be hard to avoid the burnout. You may be in a situation where you’re playing the role of parent, teacher, and employee. Dramatically changing your routine may not be in the cards; but very small measurable steps can help you get through each day and help you to slowly take control of the burnout. Things may not go back to the normal that we now yearn, but this situation isn’t permanent and we must take care of ourselves in order to be better employees, families, and members of society.
Even if you find yourself in a position or an industry that has been spared from severe economic hardship or layoffs, there is still anxiety about changing jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing what types of questions to ask a potential new employer or a recruiter is critical to your career when there are so many unknowns. There is a new normal that we will face, and it is important to understand how it will impact your new job.
Consider the following questions as you navigate the hiring
process during this time?
Have you had to lay off or furlough any staff? Which
This question can be asked in many ways, but it is important
to understand the general well-being of the organization. If there are lay offs
or furloughs, who were they?
Is there a waiting period for health benefits?
For many, COBRA or the health insurance marketplace may be too expensive – even in the short-term. Find out if there is a waiting period on health benefits. If there is, ask them to waive it and negotiate this into your package.
How will I be on-boarded?
If your potential employer is currently WFH, how are they
on-boarding new employees? Will you receive equipment? Will you have someone to
walk you through the first few days in the same way you would in an office /
team setting? How are they dealing with team introductions and assignments?
How am I being evaluated?
It is important to understand the how and what of evaluation
if you will be starting your new job while working at home (when you would
otherwise be in an office environment –even partially).
What are the measures of success? Am I expected to produce
on the first day? The first week? The first month? Who will be evaluating my
performance? Who can I go to with questions?
When am I expected to be available?
Find out whether you have core hours or whether you have
flexibility. Will this continue once things are back to ‘normal’? If the
position is traditionally in-office, how many days will you be expected in the
Is there any flexibility? For example, many schools or
after-school care programs are closed for the remainder of the academic year.
What will the transition back to ‘normal’ be?
While a plan may not yet be fully formed, particularly in areas of high impact, it is reasonable to ask how the company will be addressing changes in the office – cleanings, social distancing, masks, seating arrangements, staggered shifts, in-person meetings, etc. It is important to understand these changes and expectations.
The Talener team is currently working from home and providing continued (but adapted!) services to our clients and candidates. If you have questions about the types of companies that are hiring and how the hiring process is functioning during this time, please feel free to contact us.
The perfect employee isn’t always standing on your doorstep waiting to apply for your job. Or, the right fit for your company might be missing a few ideal skills. And sometimes, it isn’t about the employee at all. A project could terminate early or evolve into something that requires creating a permanent position. Business needs change and temp-to-perm employees solve an immediate talent shortage that organizations face– while providing the opportunity to keep a long-term employee.
Should you hire a temp-to-perm employee?
Consider the following.
You need talent, fast. You can expedite the interview and on-boarding process by bringing on contract talent quickly. You avoid the lengthy perm interview process as well as the possibility that the talent you want is scooped up by another company while you get through your standard interview process.
You want to try before you buy. Temp-to-perm gives both you and the employee the opportunity to see if the job is right for them. The prospect for a long-term position is available, but neither side is obligated to extend past the initial contract period. The contract portion of this model is defined and gives both parties an out.
Off boarding is easier. The contract has a clear end date that both the company and employee have agreed to. Off boarding a contractor is faster and doesn’t come with the potential morale dip that permanent employees may feel if they were to lose a colleague hired into a permanent position.
Initial feelings on long-term fit aren’t critical. You need to create an immediate, temporary solution to a business problem. You can hire someone with the right skills, even if you aren’t sure that they will be the right fit for a long-term position. This gives you both the opportunity to try out the relationship through the contract. You may be surprised about how well someone integrates into your team– especially if they didn’t initially feel like the right long-term hire.
Saving Equity. If you are looking to save equity that is typically offered to permanent employees, consider hiring a consultant and paying them a higher hourly rate.
The right culture fit. If you’ve found the right person to fit your position but they are light on a few skills that you’d ideally like in a permanent employee, this contract is an opportunity to see how they learn and develop their abilities. The right employee who is equally as talented and motivated to learn can be critical to sustained success.
Job hunting is a full-time job. And on top of that, you may
be working a full-time job. Prepping for
interviews, researching companies, and crafting the perfect eye-catching resume
takes up valuable time in what can be an already stressful process.
But how do you take a step back and let someone else do some
of the work? By using resume templates,
you can create clean, formatted, and easy-to-read resumes in minutes. Instead,
spend your valuable time on crafting the perfect content.
Once you’ve mapped out the important talking points around
your experience, education, projects, and specific skills, you can identify the
right template for you.
Consider the following:
How long is my resume?
At some point in your career, your resume will spill over
onto a second page. Your skillset or
industry might demand very detailed information that takes up space, i.e.
technology languages or frameworks. Evaluate how the template will display the
information. Is the most important
information displayed first? If the hiring manager doesn’t make it to page two,
will you still be in the running for the position?
Is my resume going through keyword-matching software?
If you are conducting your job search on your own, do you
know how the resumes are reviewed at the companies at which you are applying?
Are you joining the black hole of keyword-matching software or is a member of
staff looking at individual resumes?
What file type do I need?
If you know the companies you are targeting, take a quick
look to see what file types they accept. It’s frustrating to craft the perfect
resume, just to realize that the file extension isn’t accepted.
Is the format right for parsing?
We’ve all been here: ‘Please upload your resume’
type in almost the exact same information – even though you just
uploaded your resume’
‘Or, let us
pull the information from your resume’
ever allowed resume parsing, you know that it rarely matches the fields exactly
and you must retype your resume information anyway. If parsing is a standard in
your industry – opt for simple, clean formatting without all of the bells and
of template matches my job aspirations?
is a reflection of you as well as the type of work that you do. Your resume is the first glance into your
abilities. How creative, organized, long, or colorful does it need to be to
catch and retain the attention of your future hiring manager?
If you have
a Google account, you have access to Google’s library of templates. Sign into
your Google account or navigate to https://drive.google.com/templates
to access resumes, cover letters, and more in your Google Drive.
Resume Assistant in Microsoft Word:
Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn helpted the two join forces to
bring better resume templates and a resume assistant to Microsoft Word. If you are an Office 365 subscriber on
Windows, customized templates and resume writing help are at your
fingertips. Check out LinkedIn’s Blog or get
started in Word by opening a new document and choosing a resume template.
If you’re looking for a template to give you more creative license, sign up for a free account on Canva and get started with more free templates. Or, sign up for the pro-version to get custom-tailored designs.
If you find yourself in a position to consider or accept a contract-to-hire job, use this opportunity to evaluate the company, the job, and whether it is the right permanent fit.
Try before you buy
A contract-to-hire job is a great way for both a consultant and employer to try each other out before making a long-term commitment. During your contract period, you and your manager can assess whether the job and the company is the right fit for you. At the end of the contract, you can choose to continue the relationship or part ways, ending the contract period. For an employer, the end of a contract may not cause the ripple among employees that can occur when a permanent employee departs. And for you, it is easy out if you really don’t like the job or your co-workers.
Assess the company & its culture
Contract-to-hire jobs put you in a unique position to evaluate the company from the inside. From procedures and hierarchy to organizational stability and operational structures, this time gives you a snapshot of how you will interact with the organization on a day-to-day basis. Likewise, assess whether the company’s culture matches your values.
Find your fit
Knowing that a new job is the right fit can be tough to decode after a few interviews. Chances are, you haven’t had a chance to meet with everyone and see the team dynamic before starting your job. Figure out where you fit into the team and the organization through your contract. Decide whether it is the right structure and environment to meet your needs and goals.
Assess work-life balance
What kind of hours do permanent employees work? Are they expected to eat lunch at their desks? Are there flexible arrival and departure times? Are vacation days hard to come by – or does this vary by manager or department? Evaluate how a permanent position will affect your lifestyle and whether you would need to make changes.
Evaluate the perks & benefits
Since most contracting positions do not offer full benefits or perks, this is a great time to evaluate what other employees have through the organization. Get an insider’s look at their 401k plan, wellness benefits, company-sponsored insurance & more. Plus, there may be some non-advertised perks or incentives that help you in your decision-making process.
Build your skill set
Add new experience and skills to your resume. Whether you decide to stay with the position or not, take the opportunity to learn new systems, programming languages, or methodologies. These skills build on your existing experience and give you a leg up if your contract-to-hire job also has to be advertised outside of the organization before it is officially offered to you.
Answering: Why did you leave?
Explaining short stints on a resume can be tough. And it can make future employers weary that you won’t stick around if you’re hired permanently. In a contract-to-hire job, you can roll right into the position without needing to jump through the question hoops that outside candidates may face.
Or, if you decide to leave at the end of the contract, it’s easy to confirm that your contract finished without any further explanation needed.