Let's Talk Work

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Food 4 Thought


Occasionally, we’ll provide you with newsworthy and topical insight from others in the field – that discuss changes in the workplace and other relevant information. Check here often as we comb through our professional resources to choose what might be most helpful.

Shared from our Chicago Southland Career Network:

Friday Five May 22nd 2020

Friday Five BEHINT May 15 2020

On Bringing People Back to Work 

It will happen, sooner than later. And we all hope that there are no further interruptions to our workplaces and businesses. That will largely depend on the behavior of others: rules followed or broken; being proactive vs. re-active; and leaders hopefully leading – by example.

I am speaking from own experience in various industries, most in 365/24/7 operations, and a few from the more routine office hours.  Some of these open to and serving the public; others with little incoming traffic from outsiders.

How one business opens all the way will be different from another. Whether essential or not – there will be quite a few challenges – unique to each organization.

Putting my strong-scheduling experience hat on for a bit, I came up with just a couple of ideas. Maybe they will appeal to management in one type of workplace for another. Here are four(4) scenarios to consider: office settings, restaurants, salons, and schools.

 SCENARIO #1 Offices                                                                                                                           Picture a traditional, professional office environment housing a few hundred employees or more; one company, over a dozen floors or so. The majority of people work on the same floor — one that requires an elevator ride. While most commute to work by car, there is a significant group that takes scheduled public transportation. Most of these staffers come into work and punch in around 9am, a bit leisurely being the norm. Since the quarantine rules were honored, a high number of people are currently working from home with proper equipment and support, etc. But the time will come to start bringing people back to work. How can they maintain social distancing when they all arrive and leave around the same time, and while they work physically close together in comfortable but segmented departments? And of course, pack into elevators on their way in and out, and yet again – back ‘n forth for lunch breaks. We will keep smoking breaks out of this.

  • Consider first, how many people could fit in that one elevator while keeping distanced. Let’s presume there is ample space to stay apart while waiting for the elevator.
  • Approximate how long that elevator takes to get from the 1st floor entrance to the main floor.
  • So, how many people could punch in and get to their workstations if they all start at the same time?
  • A fix for going forward: Stagger start times. Maybe a 7am, 8am and 9am start time. Of course, the times to punch out will be staggered as well. There will be gradual traffic in/out over a two-hour period. The more employees, the more start times you might consider; possibly on the ½ hour over that two-hour time frame. (7a, 730a, 8a, 830a, 9a, and 930a)
  • Your challenges as managers: Choosing which people or operation/departments could have staggered start times. Will this be a random selection over the entire staff, or left up to departmental and operational management?
  • Another challenge will be to gain willing participation and not have to enforce it. This could be a temporary scheduling adjustment before we all return to whatever a new normal may be.
  • And yet another challenge for managers – managing the socialization that often occurs when people start their workday, especially when returning to the workplace after a significant time away. But this is one of the many things we manage – people. Leadership should help communicate these guidelines in support.
  • If department areas still feel crowded, management may consider encouraging alternate days of work – especially if there are reasons to streamline operations or to reduce staff.
  • A potential benefit – more coverage in certain departments for customers coast-to-coast with varying time zones. Customers may appreciate the fact that they can reach your business earlier or later than normal, rather than within a very restricted time frame within your own time zone.


SCENARIO #2 Dining Out

Think about New Year’s Eve when making reservations for a celebratory dinner for two, or more – and being home before midnight. Most fine-dining restaurants schedule seating times. They provide 90-minute or longer intervals to turn tables to seat their guest capacity. This is also dependent on staffing.

  • Restaurants in general, family style or fast casual, etc., just have an ongoing flow of traffic with open door policies. Sometimes they offer “call-ahead seating.” Every scenario offers pros and cons – from generating revenue or lost revenue due to no-shows.
  • When there are no procedures in place, people are waiting in congested cashier areas, especially when the servers are not the ones to collect payment. Congestion coming in, and congestion trying to leave and pay your check. And of course, do not forget to generously tip your server. Difficult to distance ourselves from others.
  • Reservations for everyone. All dining venues that have servers can require reservations. This helps management with staffing and so many operational concerns.
  • All tables are organized or sectioned off to be at least 8ft. apart. Those seated together won’t likely be following social distancing at this point. This provides the servers a bit of space as well.
  • If there are stationary booths, block every other one.
  • While servers should wear masks and gloves – diners can arrive with masks, but of course – are there to dine. Essentially, enforcing safe practices on their way to and from their assigned tables.
  • Hostesses that escort diners to their table will need to be firm with diners to not wearing masks, etc. This may require some supportive training or additional staff.
  • For restaurants that collect money at a check-out area, be sure that there is some area marked off for people to remain 6ft apart, if not more.
  • Keep your customers informed, and don’t make it so difficult to dine in. Have phone numbers posted clearly outside – in case a call-ahead seating is available.
  • For fast casual places, where one stands in line and waits to order, collects the order and then finds a seat…similar practices can be maintained. Blocking off every other booth or table. Clearly mark off areas for distancing. Have signage on a door that reads “restaurant capacity is limited at this time” or something along those lines. People want to be heard and communicated to – and avoid confusion.
  • There are several fast food restaurants that currently do not offer drive-thru service. Maybe it’s time to relocate or reconstruct your current place to provide that service.


SCENARIO #3 Salons

Salons are so varied these days – from at home yet very professional salons, to studio suites that stylists rent, to larger salons and those that I label as fast-casual (the chains and those catering to men only). Let’s pretend we’re in Japan and first, remove shoes at the door. Or offer shoe coverings.    Then take a temperature.

  • All services to require appointments, no more drop-ins welcome.
  • For smaller or at-home salons, stagger appointments so that clients don’t cross paths. Allow for a 15- minute window for cleaning/sanitizing in-between clients. While most salons are a great place to socialize, meet other people, etc., socialization will need to be kept between stylist and client – for now.
  • The stylists will assure their own protection and PPE as should their clients. Temperatures can be taken at the door.

And finally, last but not least.


SCENARIO #3 Schools

I graduated high school decades ago with a class of 997 students. In that era, it was unheard of and I don’t recall hearing of such a large class since, but I know they are in force somewhere.

  • The school district was divided into two locations for Freshman/Sophomore year and then one location for Junior/Senior year. During those 4 years – we were seriously overcrowded. The solution – splitting shifts. It worked. Not always convenient and a bit non-traditional, but we’re in non-traditional times. If it worked then, it could work now. Whether at the elementary level or just high school.
  • The hours spent at school could be adjusted while still meeting educational requirements.
  • An early schedule may start at 730am and the next start at 1230pm. Lunch breaks will be shortened but class times will as well, even by 10-minutes. Lunch at the desks of the most current class.
  • There are highly educated administrators and educators out there who could come up with a great plan – if they are open to it.
  • Splitting school schedules will provide for smaller class sizes and thereby social distancing.
  • Announcements that require a larger audience can be held with proper spacing in an auditorium, between the morning and afternoon shifts.


One simple question to ask at the end a job interview…

“It can give you an opportunity to walk out having had the chance to remedy any questions or concerns that might be dangling in the interviewer’s mind.”

2017 Hiring Trends

From U.S. News: “instead of talking yourself out of pursuing an opportunity by convincing yourself that no one will contact you, go ahead …”



 Negotiating at the time of the job offer

most people wouldn’t normally think of asking their company to help their spouse find a new job – especially if they’re a new hire.”

Top secrets revealed – on getting hired this year – from LinkedIn and Fast Company.

“…professionals need to keep doing what they’ve always had to do: Work your connections. Keep learning. Stay flexible. And always keep an eye on the market, because new, never-before-seen opportunities will be waiting around every corner.”


Plug a hole in your resume by volunteering.



Social Media Use Enhancing Your Job Search

‘Job seeking has changed a lot over the past few years. Gone are the days of waiting for the Sunday newspaper to scour the job section for new opportunities.’

In this article, from Entrepreneur Magazine discover 13 social media tips – that work for business branding, and personal branding as well.



Are you Job-Hopping or Developing Professionally?

It’s hard to avoid the negativity that goes along with perceived job hopping. In some industries, it is often the norm in order to climb a ladder up or across in order to gain more perspective in an organization. But another industry might not always get that. Read this article via Forbes in their Leadership section.

 How to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence

Read this article from Inc. Magazine.  “Emotional intelligence guides our ability to deal with others; to understand their emotions, as well as our own.”

Group people banner

It’s all about relationships  – 10 Career Advancements Habits to Start

In this article from Forbes, it highlights just a few things you can do to advance your career. You should be able to accomplish these things over lunch and on a regular basis. No more going to your car for a nap, or disappearing daily at the lunch hour to avoid others. You’re already at work, dressed for work, on company time (mostly) – run with it. Make a friend in HR! I like that one



Listen to this podcast with the author of “The Episodic Career, Navigating Today’s Job Market” through Knowledge at Wharton, one of my regular resources.


Freelance resources? Has anyone discovered Expert Exchange?  Or for IT/Engineering roles – Sologig?

Please take a look at this article from Entrepreneur Magazine of the ’15 Best Freelance Websites’ and see if there’s something for you.

And if you would – share with the rest of us any sites you’ve used and had success through; their fees or any other insight you can provide to the rest of us.



Closeup and personal with the boss

Eye Contact | Expression | Posture | Body Language

Interviews Making You Nervous? Read this article from the Telegraph about how it’s the little things that can make a difference.

From eye contact to the color you wear; from your body language to being mindful of personal space. These are all good points and worth your time to consider – especially fidgeting with your face or hair!



From the Harvard Business Review – 8 Self-Assessments You Need to Improve at Work    (or when looking for work in our opinion)

This article is about growth (vs. being stagnant), about keeping up with your employer’s evolving needs; it addresses growth, culture, work and life balance, emotional intelligence, communication and even financial skills.

Manage yourself – manage your career! My motto for the week!


Time to ditch the ‘objective’ portion on your resume and replace it with something more meaningful


Being Yourself …

Fast Company is one of my favorite magazines, for technology, general business management, and so much more. This article linked above considers the upside as well as the potential downside of ‘being yourself’ in a job interview.

For the most part, you should, while proceeding with caution. ‘Confidence’ does not necessarily mean ‘Competent.’



Article from Forbes…How to get through a job interview when you suspect – that they suspect you’re over qualified. Addressing the elephant in the room right away may be a good strategy.




22 Questions for YOU to ask in order to understand the company culture

This article from Forbes reiterates just how essential it is to have your own set of questions to ask during an interview. Their focus is on gaining some insight on the company culture so that you can make an educated decision should you get a job offer. The other benefit – intelligent questions that you pose will shed more light on your abilities, your intellect and a lot more. Always, be prepared with questions to ask during your interviews – questions that the company’s website won’t provide.

Closeup portrait of a professional ethnic businesswoman smiling during a business meeting - copyspace

Your career, your age = value and wisdom!

This article from NextAvenue.org by another career blogger offers great tips to consider when you’re at a crossroad.

What is midlife anyway? I thought it was 50, but maybe it’s more like 60. As adults, many of are forced to consider career changes due to workforce reductions for the most part. But what do we do next? There can be a silver lining to being ejected from your comfort zone, but not necessarily when it comes to you earnings.

One needs to overcome perceived employer prejudices and really evaluate their needs, their interests and more.

eyen contact

What Makes People Charismatic?

There are 4 good points in this article from Inc. Magazine, but I will focus on their last one – Asking a good question.

Not so much a secret but asking good questions works well in so many scenarios, and can make one stand out from the crowd. The crowd? That could be others being interviewed for the job; a networking event; in a presentation. What makes people think before they respond and when that response includes – that’s a really good question! Aside from the other good points in this article – asking questions, intelligent ones, infers that you are interested and want to know more.


4 Signs You Are Sabotaging Your Own Success

Another great article from Inc. Magazine provides insight on 4 areas of self-sabotage, from no change to too much change; about goals and risk taking. Regardless of your employment status – business owner or not, this is really good food for thought.



There are many ways to fail a job interview. Here’s just 12 of them, from Fiscal Geek.


Good points in this article – points we might not even be thinking of when it comes to the time and devotion needed for a serious job search endeavor.


Have you considered freelancing? Read this article first to figure out if it is a good option for you.


 Check out this site for tips on active listening and other important communication messages. In particular, this article on active listening that is quite relevant to today’s blog posting.


Mindtools – Essential Tools for an Excellent Career

4 sig li

Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn – teaching at Stanford

See what he has to say about his most memorable entrepreneurial failure and other issues.

When does religion excuse you from doing your job?

This article from the Washington Post explains the nitty-gritty.


We can’t escape it. This holier-than-thou Kim Kentucky who has as much press as the donald, getting jailed, then in a celebratory release after a few days – waving her righteous flag. I’ve personally worked in types of organizations that may be considered detrimental or against one’s beliefs (about war, guns, gambling, serving alcohol…) then why take the job?

In this case however, the law changed after the clerk was hired, and while she was in the job. City management should address this issue internally when the law did change and offer the employees/clerks a chance to state their concerns, if they had them — even privately. The clerk’s office as a whole has a responsibility to uphold the laws. If one individual cannot handle that because of personal or religious beliefs – then they might consider finding other employment (in my humble opinion). However, this is another reason why one person can’t be the sole person to do the job. Other’s need to be cross-trained to carry on, and as in this case, I believe deputy clerks stepped up – and willingly so.

“Under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, both public and private employers have a duty to exempt religious employees from generally applicable work rules, so long as this won’t create an “undue hardship,” meaning more than a modest cost, on the employer. If the employees can be accommodated in a way that would let the job still get done without much burden on the employer, coworkers, and customers — for instance by switching the employee’s assignments with another employee or by otherwise slightly changing the job duties — then the employer must accommodate them.”


Speaking of improving communication skills – starting with body language through to listening skills. Ten great tips to check out from LifeHacker.

When Your Interview Isn’t Going So Good


Being intuitive and taking cues during the interview process, is essential according to this article from Glassdoor.com.  Being assertive without being aggressive takes some practice for many. Read this article on how to look for specific cues and how to recalculate and redirect as needed.

Before You Start Your Job Search – Seek Out the Right Company First.

Truly food for thought – and maybe a good way to redirect your job search if you’re feeling stuck and going nowhere. This article from Forbes (Leadership), discusses high performing companies (and employees) but how important selection is to certain organizations…and how important that might be to you. Whether you are looking for a cultural fit, work and life balance, great benefit opportunities, professional development — see what companies can offer you, before you let them see what you can offer yourself. It’s another way to stretch the research you do on an organization. When hiring execs and managers find the right person – they just might create a position to get them on board. And that is where cultural fit works both ways, among several other factors.

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Hurting Your Job Search Efforts?

Recommendations, Profile Photo or Quality over Quantity? All of these truly matter when keeping your LinkedIn profile primed to be noticed, according to this article from one of our favorite magazines – Fast Company.

17 Habits to Make You Look More Professional

An article from Inc. Magazine that was written in response to another one – on habits that make you look unprofessional. I especially like the points on candor and caring.

Bragging during an interview? Be careful when name-dropping.

This article ‘Humblebragging’ from Harvard Business School discusses the ways self-promotion can actually be self-demotion during a job interview. I know the feeling and have experienced this during interviews as well. A major turn off to the HR or corporate recruiter, as well to the hiring managers. You may just drop the ‘wrong’ name as your association with a certain someone may actually harm your reputation instead of enhancing it. It’s a small world after all.

When Unemployed – What Should Your LinkedIn Headline State?

Recently shared with our LinkedIn group from Business Insider – this article provides good alternatives to sharing you’ve just lost your job.

Looking for a promotion? Maybe you should take a vacation!

This article from the Harvard Business Review (June) explains why taking time off is not at all a bad thing, like often perceived. In fact, when you don’t take the time off you are granted — it’s basically like taking a pay cut! Now that’s some food for thought.

6 Signs you may want to turn down that job offer.

Earlier this month, TNW.com presented some basic signs that an interview might display when they become disinterested in a candidate. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this at some point in our careers. I’ve walked out of at least two interviews in the past, with utterly rude or blatantly sexist hiring managers.



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