6 Work-From-Home Habits to Kick Before Heading Back to the Office

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6 Work-From-Home Habits to Kick Before Heading Back to the Office

The day has finally arrived: After months of working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the office is about to reopen. But what will it be like going back?

Transitioning to working from home took a great deal of preparation. Similarly, you can’t expect to return to the office and thrive automatically. 

You may be thrilled to return to a more traditional work environment. Or maybe you’ve mastered working-from-home and would rather not go back. Either way, there are likely habits you’ve picked up that won’t be conducive to the office. 

What are those habits? Nip the following tendencies in the bud before heading back to the office:

1. Sleeping In

You know how tempting it is to hit the snooze button. When working from home, getting ready for work takes less time, so you may have gotten into the habit of indulging that temptation. 

When returning to the office, you can’t afford to slack. Sleeping in shortens the amount of time you have for a morning routine. Let yourself sleep in, and you’ll find yourself stressed out and off-rhythm.

 If you’re having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, try waking to light. Also, consider starting your morning routine with an activity that makes you excited to wake up. And if the problem is the amount of sleep you’re getting, turn in earlier at night. 

2. Poor Grooming and Hygiene 

When you don’t have to physically interact with people during a workday, you might have let your grooming habits lapse. When you’re the only one who has to smell yourself, that’s OK.

In the office environment, though, you’ll want to be diligent. Be sure to shave, trim, shower, shampoo, and anything else you need to look and feel your best.

Remember that others are coming back to the office as well. Make it easier for them to share a space with you. Take care of yourself so you can all focus on work.

3. Not Dressing Up

Do you work from home in your PJs? Once you’re back in the office, that won’t fly. 

Being comfortable is great, but sweatpants don’t exactly say “professional.” Be sure you look the part before and at your first in-office meeting. 

How should you get into the swing of it? Make it exciting by buying some new clothes for work. Treat it as a chance to improve your fashion game. 

4. Eating Junk Food

In the comfort of your home, it’s easy to grab a snack whenever you want. And who cares if you eat chips and queso for lunch every day?

At work, excessive snacking isn’t a smart idea. Not only is it a distraction, but you need to keep your energy levels high during the transition. Plus, unhealthy eating sets a bad precedent for others. 

Make healthy eating easier by preparing your meals in advance. If you struggle with snacking, bring an apple or a bag of carrots. Alternatively, ask your employer to buy some healthy office snacks for the team to enjoy. Single-serve packaging minimizes the risk of transmitting the virus. 

5. Bringing Your Work Home with You

The funny thing about working from home is that your work is literally home with you. This makes it more difficult to separate your work life from your personal life. And that’s not good for your productivity or your mental health. 

If your work-life boundaries have blurred together, take steps to separate them. The following steps measures can help: 

  • Set limits on your laptop so you can’t access work-related things at certain times.
  • Create an end-of-work habit, like taking a walk, that signals it’s time to stop thinking about work.
  • Repurpose your work-from-home space when you get back to the office.  
  • Ask an accountability partner, such as your spouse, to discourage you from working after hours.
  • Uninstall work apps like Slack from your mobile devices.
  • Manage your mental health with habits like meditation, exercise, and yoga.

6. Constantly Checking Your Phone

Do you find yourself mindlessly checking Facebook or Twitter when you’re bored? When you’re working from home, there’s nobody around to see you goof off. But back in the office, constantly pulling up social media isn’t a good look. 

Experts report that we pick up our phone 58 times a day on average. Most of these are not for intentional or urgent purposes. The result is aimless scrolling when we should be working. 

Don’t let your phone control you. If you’re having trouble staying on task because of your phone, put it in a different room. Turn off notifications from apps that aren’t urgent. If necessary, block yourself from accessing certain sites until you get off work each day. 

Every transition has a few bumps along the way. But if you plan ahead, you’ll make it that much easier on yourself. After all, you knew you’d have to head back sooner or later. 

Determine Whether Working With a Friend is a Good Idea

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Determine Whether Working With a Friend is a Good Idea

There’s no way to sugarcoat this; starting a business is no easy task. You wear multiple hats; you’re continually building clients, don’t forget networking. If you’ve built many businesses, as an entrepreneur — you understand the very real possibility of failure. But how do you determine whether working with a friend is a good idea?

Indeed, it’s a wonder that anyone would ever contemplate starting their own business. But, as Jimmy Dungan said in A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it weren’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

There are plenty of entrepreneurs who have decided to make this journey just a little bit easier — by teaming up with someone else. For example, Bill Gates had Paul Allen, and Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. The reason? Each partner brings something different to the table — whether that be different skill sets, lessening the workload, or having additional access to funding.

Maybe you want someone to gripe to, or someone to run your ideas past and have a second set of eyes on a project.

But, instead of approaching a stranger or acquaintance, why not just go ahead and start a business with a friend? After all, it worked for Gates and Allen and Jobs and Wozniak. There have been many famous entrepreneurial teams. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, and William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson — so why can’t it work for you and your friend?

Well, before you and your best friend get too far ahead of yourselves, you both should take a close look at the good and bad of working side-by-side with a friend.

Why You Should Start a Business With a Friend

You have a co-founder that you know and trust.

After spending years being acquainted with your friend, you know what their belief systems are, how they react to specific situations, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. You also know how to get under each other’s skin, so hopefully, you’ll avoid triggering those emotions while in the workplace.

More importantly, they are someone you trust entirely — and know that they would never intentionally do you any harm. What more do you want of a co-founder or colleague?

As Stephen Covey said, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

You can speak freely and comfortably.

When you have a trusting and honest friendship, you can pretty much say whatever’s on your mind freely and comfortably. Sure. There will be times when they’ll say something that you don’t want to hear — or that you don’t agree with — but you know what they’re saying is genuine and sincere.

As a result, you can keep each other in-check since you’re calling each other on your BS and ultimately do what’s best for the business.

Creates a positive work environment.

Having friends at work can be extremely beneficial. 70 percent of employees believe having office friends is the “most crucial” aspect of obtaining a fulfilling work life. What’s more, office friendships lead to higher engagement and productivity and a stronger connection to the company.

You have someone to bear your burdens.

Starting a business on your own, as already mentioned above, it no easy task. It can also be incredibly lonely.

But, when you have a friend by your side, you eliminate this loneliness. More important, you have someone to share your burdens with your — whether that be financial or completing tasks on-time. And, because they’re going through everything you are, you can vent to each, celebrate accomplishments, and even throw a couple of drinks back after a particularly challenging week.

You share the same vision.

Friends tend to think alike — that’s likely why you became friends in the first place. You and your friend being able to think alike is actually a great asset for your business.

You likely have the same goals, values, and vision for your business. Thinking alike can come in useful when you’re pitching an idea or your business to a client, prospective customer, or interested investors. If you know what your partner-in-crime is going to say next, then you can set them up seamlessly.

Decisions are easier to make.

As I just mentioned, friends tend to think alike and have a similar vision and belief system. That can make it easier to agree on business decisions — even if you have a different opinion personally.

Remember, spending too much time making a decision isn’t just time-consuming, it can also drain you mentally. You want to save that energy for more important decisions.

They accept your strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s say that public speaking isn’t your thing, but you’re one heck of a coder. But, your friend is charismatic and loves speaking. Instead of them asking you to pitch your business to an investor or at a conference, they would instead ask you to make a killer website to impress others. They also wouldn’t get upset or frustrated in areas that you’re weak — and vice versa.

Simply put, you accept each for you are. As a result, you can leverage each other’s strengths and improve on your weaknesses.

More friend time.

When you work with a friend, it sometimes doesn’t feel like work at all. You get to shoot the breeze, have fun, and create memories. As a result, going to work becomes more enjoyable and relieves stress.

Why You Should Not Work With a Friend

It can be hard to distinguish between work and play.

At the same time, chatting and hanging out all day isn’t always great for productivity. Instead of focusing on work, you’re busy talking about a movie you watched over the weekend. On the flip side, when you’re outside of the office, you may start talking shop instead of just enjoying each other’s company.

No matter how much you love your business, you both need to set boundaries and separate work from play.

Also, you may let workplace difference spill over into your personal lives. For example, if you and your friend are disagreeing on the direction of the business, and it becomes heated, that could make your social life a bit awkward.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

As friends, you probably know a lot about each other. But, knowing too much of others can erode respect.

For example, if you don’t agree with the lifestyle your friend is living, you may feel that they’re someone you shouldn’t work with. Even despite the fact they’ve shown up to work every day bringing their A-game.

Who’s the boss?

Even if you’ve agreed on established roles, it can still be tough to take orders from your friend — and they probably feel the same. As a result, there may be a power struggle.

You must compartmentalize relationship issues.

Friends fight. But, you can’t let those little personal squabbles interfere with the business. No matter how ticked you are at each other — you must remain professional and discuss any disagreements calmly and rationally.

In other words, you need to learn how to compartmentalize any relationship issues you have. Just because you’re at odds personally doesn’t mean that you’re currently at odds with your business partner.

Performance issues can be awkward to address.

When an employee isn’t delivering the results you expect, the conversation isn’t complicated. You have a conversation with them, determine what the problem is, and discuss the ways that they can be more productive.

That conversation isn’t so straightforward with your friend. You may be too empathetic, or they’ll take what you’re saying too personal. It may be an awkward conversation, but it’s necessary if you want your business to thrive.

Friendships don’t always translate to business compatibility.

Sure. You and your friend may share similar values and philosophies. But, you may have completely different approaches to completing various business tasks. That can lead to conflict and when trying to build your business model and company culture.

You know the same people.

Networking is critical when starting a business. But, how much networking can you do when you and your partner know the same people?

Networking may be a greater challenge, but knowing how to find and establish new connections may not be challenging.

A failed business can lead to a failed friendship.

If you fail in this business venture — it can be the absolute worst-case scenario.

Let’s say the business fails, and you blame each other for the failure. You didn’t just lose business; you also lost your friend.

If you’re still on the fence about working with a friend, here are some questions you should ask yourself. Determinations will become more apparent with questions.

  • Do you share the same business goals and values?
  • Do your work habits and schedules align?
  • Can you complement each other’s skills and talents?
  • What roles and responsibilities should each partner take-on?
  • How will you resolve conflicts?
  • Are your personal lives stable?
  • How long have you known each other?

Just make sure that you cover all of the topics to do with your business that you can think of. A first business venture is usually the one that friends get together in. You want the best from your first business venture. Take the time to set up all of the parameters so that you and your friend can remain great partners through thick and thin.

5 Scheduling Conversations to Have With Employees This Fall

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With each new season comes an opportunity to rally your team. Whereas business often slows down in the summer, fall is a time to pick things up.  

There are a number of tasks to accomplish before the new season arrives. Much of them are back-burner tasks, such as cleaning and reorganizing the office. However, conversations around scheduling should be at the top of your fall agenda. 

Getting everyone’s schedules together before fall is crucial for planning. Not only can it give you a better sense of your team’s capacity, but it helps you plan for the next fiscal year and finish up annual initiatives. 

While every business is different, certain scheduling conversations apply across the board. Take a look at the following topics to broach with your employees this fall and ensure that everyone is ready for what’s ahead:

1. Team Meeting Days

Like them or not, meetings are part of working on a team. Decide whether your current cadence makes sense, and if not, when and how often the team should meet. 

Maybe you don’t necessarily need a full team meeting every week. Perhaps every other week is enough. Or maybe you simply need to settle on a different day and time than before. 

See how your team members feel about your current all-staff meetings. Figure out what tweaks could boost productivity and efficiency. Simply shaving 15 minutes off the meeting time could jog conversation along and give attendees time back. 

2. Vacation Plans

One great thing about fall is the reduction in vacation requests. Most people are back from the summer, so there’s less maneuvering around those who aren’t present. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect this aspect of scheduling. 

There may be people who did not take time off in the summer. Ask whether they have a fall trip in the works. Encourage them to put time off on the calendar sooner rather than later. 

While planning for the season, take a moment to review your PTO policy. Talk through hiccups from recent vacations to ensure everyone is able to take time off work without a hitch. 

Discussing vacation plans also helps you and your employees identify loose threads that need to be addressed before they head out. That way, nobody is left high and dry when someone didn’t complete their tasks prior to takeoff. 

3. Summer Hours Assessment

Your company may have changed its business hours in the summer. If so, fall is the time to bring everyone together to reassess those changes. 

In terms of worker productivity, there are pros and cons to having summer hours. Reducing hours in the summer encourages better work-life balance. It can also boost productivity during business hours because people are more rested. 

With that said, summer hours can be stressful. Employees may scramble to get the same amount of work done in less time. And because there are fewer windows for scheduling meetings, collaboration can be tough. 

When evaluating summer hours, ask your team:

  • Who prefers summer hours and who doesn’t?
  • Does the data show summer hours cause an increase or decrease in productivity?
  • Did customer volume change during the summer?  
  • Is there more to accomplish in the fall than summer?

If there’s not a significant change and workers prefer the summer hours, you may opt to keep them. If not, summer hours might not make much sense. 

4. Schedule Flexibility

The new season might be a good time to give employees more autonomy with their schedules. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on workers’ routines, so go ahead and experiment. 

Flexibility doesn’t mean that everyone makes their own schedule without considering others. That would be chaotic. Perhaps people can work from home most days, but on designated days they can head into the office for a team lunch meeting. Different departments could even build their schedules together. 

Flexible scheduling is about doing what makes sense for your team and your company. If everyone is doing good work with a flexible schedule, there’s no need to force a more rigid one on people.

5. Performance Reviews

As you plan through the end of the year, performance reviews will probably happen in the late fall. You should always be preparing for these by giving feedback to workers consistently, but you still need to set a hard date for the conversation.

Getting these evaluations on people’s schedules is a good first step this fall. At least a few weeks in advance, give employees an idea of when they will occur and what they will be focused on. 

When team members are involved in scheduling conversations, they feel more empowered in their work. In a culture of flexibility and empowerment, everyone wins.  

17 Work-From-Home Opportunities Worth Your Consideration

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Work-from-home opportunities don’t pay you to hang at home, but they get pretty close. Between emails, you can raid the fridge, throw a pizza in the oven, or even help your kids with their homework.

But, like most things in life, work-from-home opportunities are not one-size-fits-all. Everyone has their own aptitudes and preferences. Know yourself, and then know your options.

What are the Best Work-From-Home Gigs?

The good news is, there’s a work-from-home opportunity out there for every lifestyle. Take a look at the list below to find one that fits yours.

Best work-from-home opportunity for single moms: Zirtual

Single moms can do it all, which is why they make great virtual assistants. Between managing their kids’ appointments, shuttling them around, and helping them with homework, single moms are already accustomed to doing most of the tasks VAs do.

Working for Zirtual doesn’t require a lot of qualifications, either. As long as you’re college-educated, based in the U.S., and have an internet connection, go ahead and apply.

Zirtual provides on-the-job training, and most of its team members make $12-$16 per hour. Zirtual VAs work for Fortune 500 companies, investors, and mom-and-pop shops.

Best work-from-home opportunity for passive income: Airbnb

If you want to make some extra money and have a space to rent out at home, why not list it on Airbnb? Airbnb hosts make nearly $1,000 per month, on average, simply for giving people a place to stay.

Sure, being an Airbnb host means keeping the rental space clean and tidy. But if you’re already on top of your household chores, it’s not a lot of extra work. Plus, you’ll get to meet people from all around the world in the comfort of your own home.

Best work-from-home opportunity for artsy types: 99Designs

If you know your way around graphic design software, 99Designs can be a lucrative work-from-home opportunity. There are two ways to do it: Either you can compete with other members of the 99Designs community on design challenges, or you can work directly with clients.

Our advice? Start with competitions. There’s no commitment, and you can choose projects that inspire you. Realize that you’ll probably need to enter a few before you start winning them.

Once you’ve won a few contests, brand representatives will begin to reach out to you directly. You can also bring your own clients to the platform, which makes it easy to save and share your work.

Best work-from-home opportunity for recent grads: Tutor.com

It’s hard out there for recent grads. If you’re not sure how to put your education to use but would prefer to work from home, check out Tutor.com. Whether your background is in math, science, history, or some other discipline, you’ll find students in need of support.

Affiliated with the Princeton Review, Tutor.com lets you work as few as 5 hours per week or as many as 29. Plus, you can pick up unscheduled sessions in your spare time.

Why can’t you set up your own tutoring service? You could, but finding clients can be a pain. And once you do, you may have to spend hours tracking down payments. Tutoring on an established platform avoids both time-sucks.

Best work-from-home opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs: Nu Skin

Opportunity platform Nu Skin makes it easy to become an entrepreneur. Nu Skin’s independent brand affiliates sell skincare products directly to consumers in nearly 50 markets. As they build teams, they also have the potential to earn commissions on the products which their team members sell to consumers, which encourages them to mentor the newcomers in their group.

Like other entrepreneurs, Nu Skin’s brand affiliates are responsible for their own expenses, but a unique leg up they have is that they have products that are tried, tested, and supported by a reputable company. Brand affiliates can set their own hours, manage their own teams, and they have the resources and tools to grow their businesses. This helps them be able to have some of the benefits of the gig economy, but have the potential to do more. Brand affiliates engage with customers remotely through social media, in-person meetings, and other platforms.

Best work-from-home opportunity for full-time hours: Amazon

In a lot of cases, work-from-home opportunities offer part-time or inconsistent hours. If you want a full-time job you can do from your couch, check out Amazon. Positions range from sales to software development to customer service.

Because positions range widely, however, so do salaries and benefits. Know your worth, and remember that you can always cobble together a full-time gig from two or more part-time ones.

Best work-from-home opportunity for writers: Verblio

Can you turn a phrase on a dime? Check out Verblio, an online freelance writing platform. Verblio writers pen a range of content, from 300-word blog posts to website copy to e-books. Editing opportunities come up on occasion.

If you want to work for Verblio, you’ll need to have great grammar, research, and content marketing skills. You’ll get to choose industries that align with your expertise, ranging from healthcare to cannabis to real estate.

Best work-from-home opportunity for social butterflies: Arise

Arise’s remote customer service representatives provide support for big-name companies, including Intuit and Airbnb. Earning up to $14 per hour, Arise workers choose their hours and need nothing more than a phone and a quiet space at home.

One plus of this work-from-home opportunity? You’ll never get lonely. The work is a matter of answering questions, triaging support needs, and helping clients deliver exceptional customer experience.

Best work-from-home opportunity for fashionistas: Stella and Dot

Do you want to have a future in fashion, but you can’t pick up stakes for a place like New York City? Stella and Dot’s work-from-home opportunities are second to none.

In a nutshell, Stella and Dot stylists get paid to share and wear jewelry. Many of them sell on social media, while others put on “trunk shows” — which are essentially Tupperware parties for the fashion world.

With that said, Stella and Dot is also a good way to earn some income on the side: More than eight in 10 of them actually hold full- or part-time jobs elsewhere.

Best work-from-home opportunity for multilingual people: Gengo

Are you fluent in two or more languages? Apply to work at Gengo. Gengo is a language translation service that serves Amazon, YouTube, The New York Times, and even the U.S. government agencies.

The company has more than 21,000 translators across all major time zones, covering more than 70 language pairs. Gengo translators earn an average of $417 per month, but income varies depending on customer demand, hours worked, and job availability.

Best work-from-home opportunity for English buffs: VIPkid

If you’re a “word nerd” or love to read, VIPkid has the perfect work-from-home opportunity for you: English tutoring. VIPkid students are primarily Chinese, but because it’s an immersive program, tutors don’t need to be able to speak the language.

Although VIPkid does require a six-month commitment, the pay is good. Tutors earn between $15 and $22 per hour, depending on their prior experience and hours worked. Tutors must be authorized to work in the U.S. or Canada and need a bachelor’s degree, but all majors are accepted.

Best work-from-home opportunity for role-agnostics: Kelly Services

What if you’re a multi-talented person who’ll take pretty much any work-from-home opportunity, so long as the pay is right? Kelly Services is an employment agency that focuses on remote work.

Founded back in 1946, Kelly Services employs almost 440,000 workers. It fills positions in an enormous range of industries, from accounting to automotive to IT to life sciences. Kelly Services fills temporary positions, as well as part- and full-time ones.

Best work-from-home opportunity for healthcare experts: United Healthcare

Although a lot of healthcare jobs must be done in person, a surprising number of them can be accomplished remotely. United Healthcare offers hundreds of work-from-home opportunities, ranging from customer service to clinical care to medical billing.

One of the world’s largest healthcare companies, United Healthcare employs nearly a quarter-million people across all 50 states. Plus, positions in the healthcare industry tend to pay handsomely.

Best work-from-home opportunity for home-decor junkies: Williams-Sonoma

Does a beautifully decorated room make you swoon? Consider work-from-home opportunities with Williams-Sonoma. The California-based retailer sells everything from bakeware to wreaths to barbeque grills.

Most of the remote-work opportunities with Williams-Sonoma are customer service positions. The perks and pay are good, though: Agents start at $12 per hour, with three weeks of paid training from home. They also get a 40% discount on most Williams-Sonoma products.

Best work-from-home opportunity for tech gurus: Dell

If you’re happy to spend all day writing code or troubleshooting consumer tech, a work-from-home opportunity with Dell might be right for you. Dell has team members in more than 15 countries and is consistently named a “best place to work.”

Although most people know Dell as a computer brand, it’s actually a do-it-all tech company. Partnerships with companies like SecureWorks enable Dell workers to get their feet wet in cybersecurity, a notoriously in-demand field.

Best work-from-home opportunity for travel fanatics: Dream Vacations

If you’d like to either be at home or on an adventure, Dream Vacations has work-from-home opportunities you might want to check out. As a franchisee, you get the flexibility of working from home — or on whatever beach you might be enjoying at the time — with the credibility of a brand.

Beware, though, that work as a travel agent is fast-paced. Not only do franchisees need to develop their own client relationships, but they also have to manage bookings and handle billing. To make it a little easier, Dream Vacations provides online training modules and social media support.

Best work-from-home opportunity for tax experts: Intuit TurboTax

If you’re a certified public accountant or enrolled agent, consider a remote tax preparation role with Intuit’s TurboTax division. Intuit welcomes tax experts at all levels of their career, but experience with tax-prep software is a must. Bilingualism is a plus.

One plus of this work-from-home opportunity? Overtime pay around peak times. Because tax preparation is a seasonal industry, home-based tax preparers can make a pretty penny around quarterly tax filing deadlines.

Work-from-home opportunities have never been more plentiful. But as is true of in-person opportunities, you shouldn’t take a position simply because it’s open.

Check out the company, talk to other members of the team, and find the right fit: Yours is out there, and the best part is, you don’t even have to leave your home to find it.

6 Best Vacations for Boosting Productivity

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People take vacations for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s to spend more time with friends and family. At other times, it might be to fulfill an obligation. Some vacations, however, are specifically meant to help you return to work stronger. 

 

There are times when things aren’t quite clicking at work. You start expending more energy to accomplish the same tasks as before. And while some would recommend pushing through, be warned that this approach can backfire. 

 

Whether you’re a business owner or employee, overworking will actually ruin your productivity and your personal life. So when you feel overworked, it’s best to step away before burning yourself out. 

 

Unfortunately, not every vacation will give you the desired result. Some vacations can actually leave you feeling more drained. To make sure to get the most out of your vacations, check out the following kinds of vacations proven to boost productivity:

1. Wilderness Adventure

One of the best ways to get more done is to spend more time outdoors. Spending a few days in nature is a great way to relieve stress and come back refreshed. 

 

Going backpacking or camping is calming while building resilience. Why not schedule a visit to a nearby national park? National forests are also good options: They tend to be cheaper and less crowded but every bit as beautiful as America’s national parks.

 

What should you do on your wilderness adventure? Favorites include:

  • Hiking
  • Nature photography
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Kayaking or canoeing
  • Mountaineering

 

Whether you are renting a cabin or roughing it completely, you’ll come back feeling stronger and less stressed. If you’re looking to make it more social, bring your outdoorsy friends along.

2. Beach Trip

If camping isn’t your cup of tea, you can still enjoy the outdoors with a beach vacation. Here, you can soak up the sun and relax by a body of water. 

 

With this vacation, consider an all-inclusive resort. It saves the hassle of having to plan every little detail beforehand. And because food and drinks are typically included, it may not be as expensive as you might think. 

3. Wellness Retreat

Maybe you’re interested in a vacation that emphasizes wellness practices. Especially during a time like this, taking care of your mind and body is critical.

 

Wellness practices can help you be more focused, stay healthy, and grow in your personal life. Choose your retreat based on the specific area of wellness you want to focus on. Consider the following:

 

  • Intensive exercise 
  • Yoga 
  • Meditation
  • Spa relaxation
  • Diet transformation

 

4. Road Trip

Driving may not sound like a relaxing activity. But when you focus on the journey rather than the destination, it becomes a lot more fun. Think of the stops you make on the way as part of the experience rather than a nuisance. 

 

Being out on the road is a great opportunity to think and process life. The scenery moves around you in a way that can help you feel less stuck in your life.

Again, bring friends. Discover new music, enjoy deep conversation, and share plenty of roadside meals together.

5. International Vacation 

The Harvard Business Review reports that many of the most memorable vacations people take are to locations outside their home country. International trips are so fulfilling because everything about them feels new. They’re opportunities to both have fun and learn about new people and cultures.

 

With that said, these vacations can be the most stressful if you don’t plan well beforehand. Start planning this type of trip at least a month in advance. Think through everything from how you’ll get around to where you’ll exchange your currency, but also leave some room for spontaneity. 

 

Another key to an international trip is a local guide. Find someone to host your stay and tell you what to look out for. They can give you the knowledge you need to quell your fears of uncertainty. 

6. Activity-Focused Vacation

Everyone has a favorite hobby. This type of vacation is all about catering to it. Wine tastings, cooking trips, and artistic getaways are examples of activity-focused vacations. 

 

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, people get so busy that they neglect their hobbies and interests. They also don’t have the time to explore new things they might be interested in. 

 

On an activity-based vacation, you can explore a favorite hobby or establish a new one. You can also interact with other people who are interested in the same thing, helping you build new relationships. 

 

You have so many options when it comes to vacationing. The last thing you want to do is waste your time and come back even more stressed out than you were. With the right planning, these vacations can breathe new life into your work. 

How to Bounce Back from a Setback in the Workplace

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How to Bounce Back from a Setback in the Workplace

Business is full of pressure to succeed. As a leader, your team members depend on you to have a vision and answers to their questions. So what happens if you fail in front of them? 

Perhaps you dropped the ball on an important project. Maybe you misdirected your team in a way that hurt the company. Or maybe, you’ve upset your team in a personal way. These actions jeopardize the rapport you’ve built with them.  

As a leader, solving problems is an essential aspect of your role. But when you’ve caused the problem, solving it gets a bit more complicated. What’s more, the impulse to overcompensate is ever-present and can make matters worse.

Despite the complications, there are basic steps you can take to bounce back from major setbacks. Take a look at the following ways to do so without overcompensating: 

1. Accept personal responsibility.

Often when we fail, we may get defensive. These tendencies cause us to blame others or deflect from the issue. But bouncing back from a setback starts with accepting your mistakes. 

When you deflect and blame others, you become a victim of circumstance. But accepting personal responsibility gives you a sense of control. By seeing the ways that you contributed to a problem, you are able to be part of the solution. 

Accepting personal responsibility is a multi-step process. Get started by:

  • Reflecting on the process that led to the failure
  • Unpacking your thoughts and feelings associated with the failure
  • Responding graciously when others point out your mistake
  • Being intentional about rectifying the situation

 

Even if others contributed to the problem or failure, you’re better off focusing on your role. From there, you can begin to rebuild.

2. Don’t succumb to depression and anxiety.

Depression and anxiety are common responses to your problems and failures. And they can creep in as a result of accepting personal responsibility. 

When you’re going through these emotions, it’s best to take a step back. This might mean taking a short break from work. Or it might mean engaging in an activity that you love in order to recover. 

You don’t need to rush your recovery. Whatever it takes, take the time to get to a healthier state of mind. 

3. Reframe the issue.

One way to stop yourself from wallowing in your problems is to reframe the issue. It involves taking a step back and thinking of your situation from a different angle. 

Instead of viewing a setback as an insurmountable problem, try seeing it as an opportunity to grow. For example, if you’ve strained a relationship with an employee, focus on how reconciling can strengthen the relationship.

Reframing an issue is not necessarily about looking at the bright side. That approach can lead to toxic positivity. On the contrary, reframing is looking at the objective facts of a situation. Those facts will show you that failure is inevitable for everyone — but is also fixable by everyone.

From there, use those facts to embrace your potential. You are defined more by how you rise from failure than the failure itself. 

4. Address the problem with your team. 

Actions speak louder than words, but words are also important. It can be awkward in the office to carry on regularly as though nothing significant happened. You might think you’re saving face, but this is nothing more than overcompensation. You need to acknowledge these issues with your team. 

Doing so is key to maintaining transparency at your company. Unless you speak up, you’ll struggle to build and maintain trust with your team. This is especially important when your failure in leadership has caused persistently problematic team relations. 

A moment like this calls for a meeting. Give your team a heads up about what you’d like to talk about, and encourage them to bring their own challenges. After all, you’ll need everyone on board to move forward. 

5. Create a plan to remedy the situation.

Detailing the actions you’ll take to solve the problem is the final and most important step in a successful bounceback. As a leader, it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate your competence. 

The good news is, you won’t be in it alone. The input from your team members will help you refine your plans and put them into practice. Lean on them to build a healthier, more stable culture across the team. 

Good leaders are built through tests. A major setback might be hard to go through — but it may also be just what you needed to transform into a better version of yourself. 

4 Ways to Encourage Online Calendar Courtesy

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What’s the only tool I couldn’t live without? That’s a no-brainer. My Calendar.

From my experience, the online Calendar helps me succeed in all aspects of my life. My Calendar keeps track of all appointments and deadlines. In turn, having this information at my fingertips has helped me earn a reputation as someone who is dependable and always honors their commitments.

Outside of work, my Calendar helps me maintain a healthy work-life balance. Besides helping avoid getting burned-out, my calendar has helped me maintain important relationships. If I have family time scheduled — then I’m not going to accept a work-related meetings during that time.

But, the beneficial productivity has been possible because I not only live by my calendar, I’ve also made calendar civility and forward-thinking a priority. And, I’ve encouraged online calendar protocol by following the four strategies.

1. Use the right calendaring tools.

Have you ever wondered why we share things with others? Well, Jonah Berger, author of a study published in Psychological Science, says that it’s driven in part by arousal. In particular, it evokes positive and negative emotions.

“People’s behavior is heavily influenced by what others say and do,” explains Berger. “Whether you are a company trying to get people to talk more about your brand, or a public health organization trying to get people to spread your healthy eating message, these results provide insight into how to design more effective messages and communication strategies.”

Moreover, New York Times report found that the five sharing motivations are:

  • Bringing valuable and entertaining content to others
  • Defining ourselves to others
  • Growing and nourishing relationships
  • Self-fulfillment
  • Getting the word out about causes and brands

While this research focused on content, can this also be applied when sharing your calendar? Absolutely. In particular, when it comes to adding a title or description.

For example, maybe you meet a new lead or land a high-profile client. In order to follow-up or begin a project, you need to meet with your team. You quickly share your calendar containing a message sharing the good news, as well as where and when you’ll have a team meeting.

However, for communication to be effective — you’ll need the right tools. At the minimum, you need an online calendar that works across multiple platforms. Having tools that cross boundary’s means if you’re an Apple user, but everyone else on your squad uses Android, your apple Calendar isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to have something that integrates and plays well with others.

Use tools that integrate seamlessly with your calendar. For instance, Calendar syncs with Google, Outlook, and Apple calendars. Because of this, it can be used to quickly schedule meetings and organize teamwork — regardless of what calendar your team members are using.

2. Step-up your scheduling game.

If you want to encourage online calendar etiquette with others, then set an example by creating a user-friendly scheduling experience. And, you can achieve that lofty goal by:

  • Responding to invites. No one wants to be left hanging — especially when it comes to protecting their valuable. As such, always respond to calendar invites in a timely manner.
  • Include the location. Whenever scheduling a meeting or location, don’t forget to include the location. It makes life easier for the other party — even if it’s a VA or secretary. If it’s a physical location, you should also include a map so that it prevents tardiness. For virtual events, make sure to attach the phone number or meeting ID.
  • Compose a descriptive title. You don’t need to overstuff the title. But, you shouldn’t be vague either. After all, titling the event only as “Meeting” says nothing. However, “Meeting With Jane to Discuss Dinner Party” lets the attendees know exactly what to expect.
  • Add notes in the description. Just like with titles, you don’t need to go overboard here. But, you should include relevance notes and attachments, like the agenda. Why? It will give the invitees the opportunity to prepare.

And, most importantly, don’t schedule back-to-back events. You need to have buffers in-between events. When you do, participants have a chance to wind down, recharge, and prepare for the next event.

3. It’s okay to say “no.”

I’m going to blunt. Just because you received a calendar invite doesn’t mean you have to accept it. In fact, there are plenty of times when you have to say “no.”

One example would be a meeting request when the topic could be addressed over email. Another would be a meeting that takes place when you’re “off-the-clock.” And, yet another would be if the request doesn’t serve a purpose or has little-to-no value.

Of course, you don’t want to be a brute either. Instead, if you opt to decline an invite, by honest and polite. I mean how would you feel if someone rejected your meeting invite with a reply like, “No way! Stop wasting my time!”? I’m sure that would make you feel crummy.

With that in mind, pay the same respect to others. If your calendar is already full, let them know that. You may also suggest an alternative meeting date or a quick phone call instead. The easiest solution though would be sharing your calendar so that they can see when you are available.

4. Live by the golden rule.

I’m sure that you’re aware of the old adage “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” More simply known as the “golden rule,” it means treating others with fairness and respect.

“There is a lot of good, if emerging, scientific work suggesting people have an innate sense of fairness built into them and that the golden rule captures much of that innate moral sense,” says Kristen Monroe, director of the University of California Irvine Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality. “A lot of people instinctively follow it.”

“I don’t like to be kept waiting, so I try not to be late,” adds Monroe. “I don’t like to be lied to or deceived so I try not to do it, even if it might be more convenient to be just a few minutes late or tell a white lie occasionally.”

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, there are simple ways to follow this rule when sharing your calendar.

  • Show-up on time. If a meeting starts at 1 PM, then you must be their on-time. To ensure this happens, set a reminder in your calendar. I would also avoid scheduling before the event either in case it goes over the allotted time.
  • Don’t make last-minute changes. Things happen. That’s just life. But, unless it’s a life or death situation, never make a last-minute change. If you must cancel or reschedule a calendar entry, give some sort of notice in advance.
  • Don’t micromanage. Why use a calendar if you remind attendees every day that there’s a meeting or deadline due next week? There’s nothing wrong with checking-in or sending the occasional gentle follow-up. But, don’t be a nuisance.

What if someone won’t respect your calendar? While frustrating, try to be empathetic. A great reply if someone bows out of an appointment is, “Hey, we’ve all been there — no hard feelings.” A kind reply will help the other person play their best game and you’ll be on top of yours.

If skipping meetings is a frequent problem with this person — then you can adjust your strategy. If it’s a teammates, try to help them diagnose the problem so that it doesn’t keep happening. Someone else, you need not prioritize your schedule with them.

How to Inspire Your Team’s Creative Impulses

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Creativity is more than the ability to crack a clever joke or paint something beautiful. At work, it’s essential for growth and innovation. A team that thinks outside the box can solve difficult problems in new, cost-effective ways. 

The trouble is, genuine creativity is tough to incentivize.. Simply telling your team to be more creative certainly won’t work. But rewarding creativity can also have adverse effects. It can stifle a creative process that should be rewarding in and of itself. 

Because of this, some take an “either you have it or you don’t” approach to creativity. But creativity can be cultivated, just like sales or leadership skills can be. 

With the right leadership and culture, creativity can flourish. Here’s how to be that leader for your team:

1. Diversify your team.

There are plenty of reasons to be inclusive at work, but there’s no question diverse teams are more creative. If everyone on your team comes from a similar background, you’ll likely approach issues the same way. That may make coming to a consensus easier, but challenges are necessary to refine ideas. 

Diversifying your staff involves bringing people from different cultural, religious, ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds together. Gender, sexuality, and age are also important axes to consider. 

To deepen your team’s diversity, bring in a broad range of personality types, values, and abilities. This approach helps you appreciate the perspectives of a full person rather than a single demographic component.  

2. Empower fresh faces.

When people first start out at your company, they’re still getting used to your processes and culture. That doesn’t mean their perspective isn’t valuable, though. 

In fact, someone who isn’t fully integrated into your organization may be more valuable, creatively speaking. They can bring fresh ideas that aren’t hindered by the baggage that seasoned employees may have. 

Ask for their input during meetings. Run proposals and innovation ideas by them. Better yet, give them a project of their own to lead. 

A new employee’s creativity can also fuel the creative impulses of senior team members. In this case, a little competition can be healthy: Let employees of different tenures push each other to come up with new ideas and ways of working. 

3. Promote fictional media consumption.

The media we consume impacts us immensely. Fictional media, whether it be books, film, or television, positively impacts our creativity

Why? Because fictional narratives engage us in scenarios that aren’t found in the real world. They allow us to think through unfamiliar possibilities. Non-fiction and journalistic media simply can’t do that. 

The good news is, your employees are probably already watching TV and movies on their own. Encourage them to think critically about what they’re viewing. Consider following a series or franchise together and discussing it. Another option is to start a book club at the office to promote fiction reading. 

4. Support risk-taking efforts.

A primary reason people shy away from taking risks is they fear the consequences of failure. However, risk-taking is inherent to creativity. You can’t have one without the other. 

Ease the pressure of risk-taking for your team. Compliment people who are willing to take risks. And if an effort fails, don’t punish the people who gave it a shot. In fact, throw a party for the “biggest fail” each month.

A supported team is a risk-taking team. The more confident you can make people feel in themselves and their actions, the more willing they’ll be to try new things.

5. Don’t lead with limitations. 

When embarking on a new goal or plan, some leaders kill creativity by starting with the negative. Before the first dollar has been spent, they worry about costs. With no reason to worry about the team’s commitment, they wonder whether contributors are up to the task.

Don’t stifle your team’s imaginations. Give people the resources they need, empower them to try new things, and express confidence in them.

What if roadblocks come up? Worry about them at that time. When you set expectations around a project, what matters most is opening space for people to articulate their vision. Ground these ideas in practicalities later.

6. Visualize data. 

Words and numbers on a page can only do so much. Being more creative with how you construct and communicate data creates a flywheel effect, spurring more creativity. 

Mindmapping, flowcharts, diagrams, and hierarchical charts are great ways to represent information. They spark creativity by showing the relationships between sets of data and illuminating nuances.

Invest in a data visualization tool that even non-technical team members can use, like Tableau. Challenge people to come up with their own intriguing visualizations.

7. Enhance your office environment. 

A drab, depressing office environment doesn’t exactly encourage creativity. An inspiring office space feels fresh, exciting, and joyful. 

Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be expensive. Paint the walls a lively color. Bring in some plants and natural light. Hang your favorite art pieces up, and decorate your desk. 

While you’re at it, give employees more creative control over their personal space. Autonomy breeds creativity, which you can tap for work tasks. 

Creativity isn’t just for people in the arts. Just about everyone has a creative impulse that can be valuable to a team. The key is to invest in those impulses and bring them out whenever you can.

12 Ways to Encourage Your Team to Speak Up

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Communication is a skill that all successful leaders need to acquire and maintain — not just in business, but also life. Having the ability to speak in a calm, concise, and clear manner will help your team be able to do likewise. Sharing your vision, goals, and expectations is only one piece of the puzzle. It takes an accomplished communicator to encourage a team to speak up. After all, excellent communication helps strengthen relationships, allows the exchange of ideas, and assists your organization in overcoming barriers. There are 12 ways to encourage your team to speak up.

Unfortunately, a study from VitalSmarts shows that “one percent of employees feel “extremely confident” when it comes to voicing their concerns in the workplace at critical moments.” Additionally, “a third of employees say their organizations do not promote or support holding crucial conversations.”

How can you change these types of statistics? Start by implementing the following 12 techniques.

1. Get to the root of the problem.

The absolute first step you need to take is identifying why people aren’t raising their hands. If you don’t know why, then how can you fix the problem? It’s like if your car doesn’t start when you leave in the morning. You can’t repair a problem unless you know precisely what’s wrong in the first place.

You could interview your team or conduct focus groups. Someone other than you should do this interviewing, as they’re probably afraid to tell you why they don’t raise their hands. You could also issue surveys to get to the bottom of what’s going on. The issue may be because they’re afraid of being criticized by others on the team, or being overlooked for a promotion. Or, they may not understand what you expect from them.

In short, you need to find out what’s holding people from voicing their opinions. Then you can find ways to correct the course.

2. Don’t overwhelm your team.

Let’s say that you have everyone gathered for a team meeting. Without even giving attendees a chance to get settled, you bombard them with way too much information. Even worse, what if the assignments you’re throwing at them are abstract, complex, or even utterly boring.

If every member of your team has their head spinning, or they’re yawning, then they’re not going to be engaged. How can they ask questions or provide input when they don’t know exactly what’s happening? Or, they don’t even have the opportunity to participate because as the CEO, manager, or boss — we’re jumping from topic to topic too quickly.

Whenever presenting information, keep it as simple as possible. Skip the jargon and only focus on the top one or two issues. Remember, you don’t need to cover everything right now. Save the less critical stuff for another time.

3. Apply radical candor.

Kim Scott, a former executive at Google, coined the phrase “radical candor.” It may sound like a complex system. But, in reality, it’s merely creating a bs-free zone.

“Radical candor is clarity offered in the spirit of genuine support, where people feel it’s their responsibility to point out one another’s weaknesses to give them a hand up to the next level,” explains Grainne Forde on Teamwork.com. “Scott illustrates radical candor with an example in which her very inconsiderate boss told her she had a lousy speaking habit.

Scott was saying, ‘um’ too often. In front of the group, he told her that “um” made her sound unintelligent — and then offered to pay for a speaking coach to improve the problem.” Some would consider this a bit harsh, “her directness compelled her to take the feedback seriously and improve.”

I’ve found the degree of “radical candor,” Scott is talking about, should be saved for a one on one. Then after your “radical candor,” hand out a little extra encouragement. With one small compliment, your employee doesn’t consider you an enemy.

To achieve radical candor, both leaders and employees need to realize that feedback is constructive because it allows for growth and development. Additionally, there needs to be transparency. It’s the only way you’ll be able to assist them in working through their weaknesses.

4. Reward people for speaking up.

I vividly remember the first year I went away to a summer camp. The first couple of hours, I was fine. But, I became incredibly homesick later that night. After a couple of days, I was over my bout with homesickness and had no problem enjoying myself.

Towards the end of the week, the other kids in my group began discussing who would receive an award along the lines of, “camper of the week.” I suggested that maybe I would get nominated. This lead to the camp leading asking, “Why? You were homesick and didn’t say anything for a couple of days — and now you talk?”

Some people might think that he was out of line. But, he was right. Sure, I was engaged and did my best to be an ideal camper. But, that didn’t mean I deserved an award. At the same time, the person who did receive this award mentioned that they were proud of me. Now, that recognition was an awesome feeling.

My point is this. You don’t need to throw a party for an employee who asked a question during a meeting. But, you can still show them that you appreciate their contribution when they offer a comment. For example, if they make a high point during a meeting, genuinely thank them for participating. A genuine thank you can be two words. Thank you!

Hemant Kakkar and Subra Tangirala write in the Harvard Business Review, “[I]f you want your employees to be more vocal and contribute ideas and opinions, you should actively encourage this behavior and reward those who do it.”

5. Make meetings more engaging.

Meetings can be a serious time-waster. They can also crush productivity and morale when not when properly. However, there times when meetings are necessary. That’s why making them more effective should be a priority.

While there a multitude of ways for you to improve meetings, making sure that they’re engaging should be at the top of your list. You can achieve meetings worth showing up for, by:

  • Kicking things off with an icebreaker like telling a story or playing a fun game or activity.
  • Not using industry slang or terminology.
  • Asking invitees to leave their phones somewhere else.
  • Saving handouts until the conclusion of the event to avoid distractions.
  • Leaving time for a Q&A at the end.
  • Sending out an agenda in advance so that no one is surprised. Also, this gives invitees an opportunity to review any relevant information and prepare their questions or concerns.

6. Stop dominating the conversation and listen.

While I wouldn’t say this trait is part of all entrepreneurs — I do think that some of us have such a healthy ego that we love hearing ourselves talk. The problem is that if you’re always dominating the conversation, others won’t even bother chiming in. What’s the point when they know there’s hardly a chance to be a part of the discussion.

While there are times when you need to speak, work on talking less and listening more. It may take some practice. But, this is probably one of the most straightforward strategies to get your team to speak up more often.

7. Be aware of body language and power cues.

Body language and power cues are probably not something on the top of your mind. But, your nonverbal communication most definitely impacts the people around you. Think of it this way. How likely would you be to “willing” share your thoughts with a leader who is continuously frowning and standing there with their arms crossed? Probably very unlikely.

But, what if they smiled, made eye contact, and stood in a relaxed, upright posture? You wouldn’t feel as intimidated. A quick couple of words about mastering your body language — soften power cues. For example, leave the expensive wardrobe at home and wear something that doesn’t intimidate your employees. Consider replacing your office’s rectangle desk with an oval one so that you can sit next to them.

8. Boost teamwork.

“When employees work in teams, they actively practice sharing their thoughts and speaking up to accomplish tasks as a group,” writes Eric Friedman over at eSkill. “This gets them used to talking about their work, whether it’s sharing new ideas or concerns, and can be applied on a wider scale to the entire company.”

Fridman adds, “Teamwork also works on a psychological level by bringing employees closer together, helping them form bonds to each other and the work, which will help them feel more confident to speak their minds.”

9. Accept different types of feedback.

When you need to collect feedback, use a variety of methods to do so. Allow your team to express themselves; however, they’re most comfortable. If they have no problem speaking, then don’t force them to write down their thoughts. If they don’t want to discuss a sensitive issue out in the open, block out time for a one-on-one or place a suggestion box in the office.

10. Explain the consequences of participating.

Explaining the consequences of participating does not mean retaliating against employees whenever they share their thoughts. Nor does it indicate that you’ll punish those who aren’t contributing to the conversation. Instead, a consequence in this setting means letting your team know the importance of speaking up.

For example, what if an employee isn’t crystal clear on a task that was assigned to them during a meeting? They might be embarrassed about asking for more details in a meeting. But, by not raising their hand, they aren’t able to complete this responsibility, and likely there were a few others that didn’t get the information. As a result, this can impact not only their career, but also this action can put the rest of the team and organization in jeopardy.

11. Encourage them to take a public speaking class.

In the early days of my career, I was terrified about speaking in public. But, this was a fear I had to overcome. So, I took a public speaking class. Not only did it improve my speaking skills, but it also made me feel more at ease in front of a crowd.

If there are members of your organization, why have nightmares about public speaking, recommend that they also take such a class. It could be online, at a community college, or through an organization like Toastmasters. Here: 7 Powerful Public Speaking Tips From One of the Most-Watched TED Talks Speakers

12. Lead by example.

Do you think that your team will feel comfortable enough to speak their minds when you aren’t? Of course not. It may sound off a vibe that this isn’t an environment where people can openly share thoughts and ask questions.

While you should certainly listen to what others are saying, the other part of being a great communicator is clearly expressing your expectations. It’s also asking precise questions and not being shy when it comes to public speaking.

Moreover, don’t hide in your office all day. Walk around and chat with your team. Check-in with them to see how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can help them with. Go to lunch. These connections may not seem like a biggie, but the relationship shows that this is a workplace where people can comfortably speak up.

Calendar Spam is a Problem (How to Fix)

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Calendar Spam is a Problem (How to Fix)

First, there was email spam. Then came text spam. Now, as more people use digital calendars on their computers and calendar apps on their mobile devices, many people get digital calendar spam. That means more clutter in our in-box from people we don’t know. Calendar invite spam has to stop.

A New Frontier For Spamming

Spammers are always looking for that way in to get their messages or links in front of more people. Now, they’ve found that they can take advantage of Google’s convenient email and calendar integration feature to inundate more people with their junk. Spammers previously went after Apple to exploit a similar calendar invite feature a few years ago.

Created as a way to help Google Calendar users save time with scheduling and meeting invites, the Google Calendar invite feature lets you  automatically add meeting invites to your calendar.  Although the meeting invite only appears as an outline until the recipient selects “yes” or “no,” the meeting invite still appears on a user’s Google Calendar.

The Calendar Invite Spam Threat is Real

Spammers have upped their game with this ploy. When a user clicks on the event description within that meeting invite, it reveals a spam message, which can have malicious links embedded in it. Spammers want users to cllick on those links, of course, because it can lead to the potential of capturing personal information. If a user does click on the link, it tells the spammer that it’s an active email account. From there, the spammer can inundate the user with unsolicited emails.

Except for the spammers, no one, including Google, is pleased with this new scheme. Google has reiterated its privacy policy and focus on protecting its users. Plus, the company has provided guidance on how to address calendar invite spam.

How to Remove Calendar Spam from Your Google Calendar

There are some quick ways to shut down calendar spam notifications from within your Google Calendar.

  1. Open your Google Calendar.
  2. Click on the gear icon, which is located at the top of the Google Calendar page.
  3. Select “Settings” from this menu.
  4. Next, choose “Event settings” from the list located on the left side.
  5. Change the “Automatically add invitations” option to the other choice listed, which is “No, only show invitations to which I have responded.” This means a meeting will only be added to your Google Calendar if you accept the meeting invite.

This process should remove all calendar invite spam from your Google Calendar so you can stop wasting your time opening invites that aren’t real and minimize your risk for becoming a victim of something more malicious.

How to Remove Calendar Spam from Your Apple Calendar

You may also receive calendar spam in your Yahoo Calendar. Yahoo has a very basic process for dealing with these spam Calendar invitations. Yahoo recommends treating the calendar invite spam like normal spam email by clicking the ‘spam’ button.

From there, you have to delete the individual event from your calendar separately. Choose the option that says “Delete” when clicking on the event. Don’t respond to the invitation itself or click any of the notifications within the invitation like where it says “Decline” because this will send a response to the spammer, which is exactly what you are trying to avoid. Then, you can also report calendar invite spam to Yahoo.

Remain Vigilant

Spammers will continue to “innovate” their exploitive tactics by studying new software and app features to get what they want. To slow the pace of spammers’ efforts and perhaps even discourage them, it’s important that we all remain vigilant when it comes to understanding and blocking their schemes.

Here’s to a spam free calendar in the coming years!

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