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Category Archives: Organization

Every day, we are seeing signs of hope. More and more people are getting vaccinated, businesses are reopening their doors, people are returning to work. Gradually, we’re working toward a time when we can move past the era of COVID-19 and its stranglehold on our lives. But will life ever truly be the same? Will workplaces operate as they once did?

All signs point to NO.

Even though we might return to the same buildings where we worked pre-pandemic and focus on the same duties with the same people, things may look and feel different. Procedures and protocols might change, the layout of the workspace might be tweaked (desks further apart, conference rooms rearranged), and the general feel of the office might seem different.

Beyond these changes, it is clear that workers are ready to embrace a new normal. Many have discovered that they enjoy working from home (or, at least, want to have the option to work from home on occasion). Others have found that they prefer virtual meetings as opposed to taking long, cross-country trips to meet with clients or co-workers in other states.  Some, however, are eager to return to the way things were and are looking forward to working alongside others.

With so many differing opinions and perspectives, what’s a workplace to do?

Try following these 6 tips to ease your workers back into a “new normal.”

1. Embrace a Hybrid Work Model

This past year has proven that work can be accomplished at home, as well as in the office. It can be achieved at 5 a.m. …or 9 p.m. So, why not continue to offer flexibility and allow employees to work at home if they’d like, or come into the office if they’d like? If you emphasize results rather than a rigid schedule, you’re only helping those who prefer working at home, prefer a flexible schedule (maybe they have to bring their kids to school or daycare, or maybe they simply want to exercise in the middle of the day), or those who want to avoid a long, stressful commute.

2. Implement a Rotational Work Model

To help people feel safe in the office in these early reentry days, it’s a good idea to keep up some kind of social distancing. To do that, you might put your team members on a rotational schedule, where certain people can work in the office on certain days of the week. That helps keep everyone distanced, while slowing edging back into the workplace.

3. Take a Phased Approach

You don’t have to do everything at once! Take your time with reentry and plan to bring everyone back in phases. Maybe that means introducing a rotational model at first (see point #2,) or encouraging work from home for part of the week, or easing up on mask restrictions once your team is vaccinated. Do what is right for your office and DON’T FORGET to include your employees in your planning. Gather their thoughts and opinions; make sure they feel safe and included.

4. Restructure Your Offices

To help protect your workers and give them a little more peace of mind, it’s a good idea to restructure your offices somewhat. If you can, try spacing workstations so they are six feet apart and well-ventilated. You may also want to invest in a quality air purification system for the office. Beyond that, be mindful of conference rooms, break areas, and other gathering spaces. You may want to encourage virtual conferencing in the short-term, to help discourage clusters of people.

5. Create a Sanitary Workplace

Aside from rearranging your workspace and making big, sweeping changes, it’s a good idea to continue focusing on sanitation. Provide antibacterial hand sanitizer stations across the office and encourage employees to clean desks and chairs with wipes before taking a seat. Make sure everyone has access to sanitation supplies and normalize caution!

6. Encourage Good Hygiene and Self Care

Post handwashing signs in the bathrooms, provide each employee with a supply of hand sanitizer and wipes, and discourage handshakes and touching. It’s also a good idea on taking a FIRM stance against employees coming into the office if they’re feeling under the weather. Let them know that they have your full support if they would rather stay home.

As we tiptoe back into the workplace, these first few months will inevitably be challenging. Take your time, develop a plan, and be sure to involve everyone in the strategy phase. Convey to your team members that you are on their side and want to do everything in your power to keep them safe, happy, and productive. Going forward, we’ll all have to be flexible and willing to learn or adapt. We’re all in this together.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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If you’re among the many people who have been working from home for over a year, it may be time to spruce things up and clean your space. Papers tend to get shuffled into stacks, odds and ends tend to get crammed into drawers. It’s a good idea to take some time to pay attention to your work space.

Why tidy your home office?

For one, it will make things easier to find and keep track of. Though you may have to invest a few hours to clean your space now, you’ll save time in the future.

Secondly, having a clean work area can help put you in the right mindset. Decluttering your space can help to declutter you mind, reduce stress, and increase self-esteem. You’ll likely find yourself breathing easier once you’ve tidied up your space.

Where to begin cleaning?

Start by taking a good look at your work space and thinking about what needs to be improved. Are you in need of a new filing system? Could you benefit from a “to do” box? Would a large whiteboard calendar be useful for organizing? Are you thinking about swapping out your current desk for a standing desk? Identify your big-picture needs before getting to work.

Quick Tips for Home Office Cleaning:

  • Remove the clutter. It can be helpful to take everything out of your office before putting anything back in. That way, you can thoroughly clean the space and start afresh with your organization.
  • Sort papers efficiently! Create a recycling pile, a shred pile, and a filing pile. Once you have your filing pile, turn on some background music and get to work! Make sure your file folders are logical and well-labeled.
  • Make sure everything has a home. Even your paperclips and sticky notes deserve a place in your office.
  • Group similar items. For instance, you might create a letter station filled with envelopes, paper, stamps, mailers, and return address labels.
  • Buy drawer organizers. It’s easy to cram everything into a drawer and forget about it. Instead, shell out a few dollars for small, plastic drawer divers, like these by Madesmart.
  • Be logical. Keep the things you use the most (pens, notebooks, sticky notes, etc.) handy and within reach.
  • Commit to tidiness. Once you’ve revamped your space and reworked your filling and organizing systems, be sure to stick to them! Once per week, set aside time to take care of any filing or other organizational tasks that need to be done. If you keep up on the work, it won’t feel nearly as daunting.

Happy spring! Have fun reorganizing your space.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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Multi-colored people in front of a mosaic of faces
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

As the U.S. goes through the biggest social justice movement since the Civil Rights Movement, it’s important to acknowledge diversity in the workplace. Systemic racism is deeply rooted within our society. Working to undo it won’t happen overnight, but we must commit to leading each other to a more equal future. Today’s turmoil is bringing up issues that were previously ignored by many. Workplaces have been known to use diversity as nothing more than a box to check off.

In reality, diversity allows for a variety of perspectives and new skill sets. 

Getting rid of diversity quotas is a good first step to take. Quotas can lead to tokenization. It’s important to make sure that your employees aren’t all similar people when getting rid of quotas. Giving women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, disabled people, etc. a seat at the table where decisions are made can bring diversity to the rest of the company. 

It should be a no-brainer that employees with the same responsibilities deserve to be paid the same. Despite that, the gender pay gap still persists in our society. Addressing and fixing the pay gap at your company is an effective way to demonstrate that you value all your employees. It may not be an immediate fix, but it’ll provide long term and equitable changes.

Equal access is key to giving opportunities to everyone. Think about where you advertise your job openings. Does your advertisement feel targeted to a specific group of people? Is it posted on a website with a majority of white users? Also keep in mind your own biases when hiring. What does your selection committee look like? Recognize that not everyone can meet your job requirements. If a job requires a degree, integrate degree equivalency which includes equal work experience in lieu of a degree. 

You won’t know what problems your employees directly face unless you talk to them. Establishing a voluntary group to give feedback is a great way to hear about injustices within your workplace. Anonymous surveys can also be used to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. 

Continue the dialogue in your workplace. Inequality is not going to magically disappear. These conversations may be uncomfortable, but they are necessary if we want to undo the systemic racism and biases that exist in our country and our workplaces.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW LIVE: CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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