Today in an age of large masses of people coming and going from job to job or retiring, it’s hard on those of us who remain in place just trying to do our jobs.
There has been a lot of turnover lately, people leaving jobs, moving to other positions, many companies are understaffed and the staff they do have in many cases are pulling double duty. This is happening in most every sector. The overall turnover rate for 2021 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was 57%. Their used to be a time that job hopping was NOT something you wanted on your resume or something you ever wanted to see reviewing an applicant. Times sure have changed!
Fortunately, we are not one of those companies experiencing these problems of in and out. However, we are feeling the effects of this new norm. We work very closely with our outside vendors (some now for decades) and over the last 6 months, it seems we are getting notified weekly of an Account Executive change.
This constant changing of the guard affects us in many ways, everything from getting reports to receiving our invoices in a timely manner. We have deadlines and are responsible for gathering and submitting campaign data back to our clients. On top of these obvious items there are numerous details about how we do business, intricacies on each one of our buys. Through time, we have developed a nice working relationship with our Account Executives, and they know our procedures and the level of detail we require prior to clearing invoices. We have a signed written agreement with all AE’s that is called “The Procedure letter” that has in detail how we work and what will be required prior to payment. I had previously discussed this letter in detail, so, we’ll stick to the topic.
When a change occurs, there is obviously a learning curve. These new employees need to learn their new roll, get acquainted with everyone as well as the clients they just inherited. They might need to take some training courses and learn their companies’ procedures. All of this could take weeks and, in some cases, months. It takes time to build the right team, even when we all don’t work for the same companies. In many cases, the person coming in and taking over our account is not really focused on our buy and more likely trying to get acclimated.
Shouldn’t we have in place a better system when an important cog is missing? I only think we have two choices; we develop a new position called the “understudy” to help keep up with the everyday details or we all start to cross train people. Here at A3 Media this is always on our mind as we continue to grow and service our current clients. We always need to have a backup for every job mainly due to our workloads change almost daily. We have systems in place and communicate internally about every detail on our buys with all members of our team to ensure that if someone is busy working on another project, someone can step in and take care of our most important asset, our clients.Reading Time: 3 minutes
To say that the pandemic affected everyone in unexpected ways is an understatement. The pandemic redefined the phrase, “it can all change in an instant”. Just like thousands of other people, in May of 2020, I was laid off with the promise of being rehired when lockdown ended. And in August of 2020, I was rehired and thought everything was going to go back to normal. I was very wrong. In January of 2021 I was laid off again. Only this time, it was permanent. My brain went into literal overdrive thinking about all the unanswered questions. How was I going to make rent? How was I going to find a job? What if, I couldn’t make ends meet? What if, I didn’t qualify for unemployment this time around? And how do I even go about applying for it if I was already on it once before?
When something unexpected in your life happens, you have several options on how to react. You can panic and freak out. You can sit down and make a logical plan, or you can choose to ignore it for as long as possible to avoid dealing with it. I opted for all of the above. Within the first few hours of being laid off I went through every emotion possible. I was angry at my boss for not being able to keep us afloat once we went back to work after the lockdown. I was frustrated that I had lost my job for a second time knowing there was no chance of ever going back. I was afraid of not being able to find a job and losing my apartment. I was sad I had lost a job I loved, and it wasn’t even my fault. I was anxious and panicked about what to do next. For a brief moment, I was even happy and excited that this might be an opportunity to do something different in my career path.
Part of me wanted to avoid dealing with my problems for as long as possible because I knew it wasn’t going to be a simple fix. I also knew that the amount of effort it was going to take to fix my problem was not something I was ready to put forth. Another part of me wanted to take this time to take a mental break from working and just have fun and enjoy myself while I could, because I knew I was moving in a few months’ time and was about to start that process as well.
I decided to allow myself a week to get over the initial shock and work through all the emotions I was feeling. Some might think I was crazy not to apply for jobs right away, especially since I had just had a break when I was laid off the first time, but I knew this was what I needed to do. I cleaned my apartment, I finally found the time to paint, played some video games, watched movies, and allowed my brain to take a break.
When the week was up, I polished up my resume and cover letter, and started searching for jobs. Now that I have moved and started a new job and am back on my feet, I can honestly say I made the right decision taking that time for myself. For those that are still going through what I went through, be patient. Lean on your friends and family for advice. Talking through what happened helped give me a clear head. Take time for yourself, focus on your hobbies, spend more time with friends and family, do whatever you think you need to do to get through this frustrating time. Good luck.
Development & Graphics Team Member
Tackling your first professional job can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. How do people handle the pressure of stepping out into the “real world”? Take it from me, going from a college graduate to an employee during a global pandemic is a challenge! The search for a job right out of college can be touch and go for a little while, add a pandemic to it and you feel like you’ve hit a wall. But eventually your first job will be upon you.
College can help prepare you for your job in many ways. College prepared me for my job in Graphic Design during the course of my study. Specifically, by teaching me how to use the Adobe Suite of programs for design, instructing me in the design process of creating thumbnails of the work I am doing, helping me to understand the importance of creating multiple drafts to show to the client for feedback, and working with the client to choose the design they like, and finally refining it to their specifications. What college couldn’t prepare me for came immediately after graduation. A worldwide pandemic hit and interrupted my job search. This was not the real world I was expecting!
Luckily for me, this delay allowed me to find a really great job! At A3 Media the office environment is new to me, but I find it has a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. There are some similarities between the classroom and the office, such as setting goals for the work assignments and working with teams. On the job I am able to apply my skills sharing my graphic design knowledge with others. With Adobe Creative Cloud I can utilize proper design etiquette, as well as help others understand design elements. In the work environment I get to work with clients and socialize with my coworkers. I know that if I do my job well, I can look forward to even more exciting projects in the future.
“If you want to get bigger, more exciting tasks to handle at your new job, you need to knock those trivial ones out of the park. Don’t just shuffle through them. Take care of your assignments and maybe even see if there is a better way to do them.”
In college my grades helped me to understand how well I was doing. Now in the work environment, I will use feedback from my boss and my coworkers to measure my success.
It will be important to ask questions and share ideas, ask for feedback, develop strong relationships with my coworkers and clients, and try to understand the bigger picture. This will help me to deliver the best result.
Your first job changes your lifestyle. Going from an intense schedule right up to graduation time and then going into a pandemic lull as I searched for a new job was frustrating. Now that I started my career, my daily life is more structured. I have a plan for each day and know what to expect. I know if I maintain healthy habits, such as a routine schedule, good sleep habits, good time management, eat healthy, and remain open to change, it will make my work life and home life less stressful. Transitioning from college to your first job can be a challenge but if you approach it in the right way, you can be successful.
Development & Graphics Team Member
The hot topic over the last year and half has been whether working from home is just as good, if not better than working from the office. While I am sure that many employees lean one way and their employers lean another, it might be a good time to examine the benefits and drawbacks to each.
Back in the 1930’s, famous economist, John Maynard predicted that his own grandchildren would only need to work fifteen hours a week based on technological advancement. His theory was that the average time to accomplish the same work could be done in a fraction of the time. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. While technology has continued to improve over the years, the amount of time people put into work has only gone up. Maybe that’s why the movement to working remotely from home has become so popular and thanks to Covid, it has gotten the push it needed to be more acceptable.
Those that work from home all say the same thing…it allows for more flexibility. No more long commutes or time wasted in conference room meetings. People said that they felt much more productive working from home, compared to working in the office. But why is that? And is that really the case?
Working from the office promotes comradery. Face-to-face meetings with your colleges in person helps to understand better what is happening with those people, creates a more trusting environment and of course promotes teamwork. These are all things you would think any person would want from their job and working environment.
Instead, people today are perfectly fine if all they need to do is put on a decent shirt for a zoom meeting once in a while or have a conference call where they don’t even need to look at someone during the discussion. I get it, working in your pj’s is more comfortable and not shaving or doing your hair ads up to a ton of saved time. But I keep looking for the real reason as to why so many people are not just choosing to work from home but in many cases insisting on it. I keep coming back to the one word that I hear time and time again…FLEXIBILITY.
Professor of Sociology at Middlebury College, Jamie McCallum has been quoted saying, “We find ourselves working longer hours than ever, and our work is always expanding into every nook and cranny of our lives.” Even those that are working from home who appreciate the flexibility of their working environment, admit that sometimes they feel like they are putting in more time doing their work since they don’t have an official start and end time. I see people commenting about this on LinkedIn all the time. Removing the commute has just moved their day to starting before 7:00 am and finishing well after 6:00 pm.
In all the conversations I’ve heard and content I have read about the “working from home vs working form the office” debate, it’s clearly apparent that the real issue isn’t about where people are the most productive but rather how much time they spend working. A Gallup Poll found that the mean for hours worked by Americans was just over 44 hours per week and another poll showed that 39% of Americans work more than 50 hours a week. Studies have even shown that excessive work and stress levels can create real illness in people. Doctor Jay Winner, Director of the Stress Management Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara CA and author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life says, “Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally, it can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.” According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is connected to a number of leading causes of death including cancer, heart disease, lung issues, accidents, and suicide.
If that’s the case, it makes perfect sense why people want and need more flexibility in their work life. Maybe it’s a good thing to have time throughout the day to start and stop, as need be to handle other things happening in life which ultimately helps deal with and ease stress. But don’t be fooled by those in their “work from home” environments that tell you they started work at 7:00 am and finished up around 7:00 pm. Just because they start their day early and end their day late, doesn’t mean they have been working straight through. They’ve simply been utilizing their time in a different way, than the traditional office, 9 to 5er.
Perhaps what we as society really need to evaluate, isn’t where we should be working from but how and why these different environments make us productive. Working in the office absolutely has its benefits and so does working from home. Maybe the future of the working environment should consist of a little bit of both.
While most of the work being done for A3 Media happens together in one office, there are absolutely times when working from home may be needed for our team. Luckily, we work in a very flexible environment where everyone is equipped to do either option.Reading Time: 2 minutes
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic it is estimated that only 6% of the US workforce worked remotely. Due to the pandemic that number jumped to a high of 70% in April 2019.
There are benefits to remote and/or hybrid work models for both business and the workforce.
What are the benefits on the workforce side?
- Remote employees save an average of 40 minutes daily from commuting.
- Since 2020 people have been meeting by video calls 50% more since COVID-19.
- After COVID-19, 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least 1 day per week and 80% expected to work at least 3 days from home per week.
- 23% of those surveyed would take a 10% pay cut to work from home permanently.
- People are saving on average close to $500 per month being at home during COVID-19. Resulting in savings close to $6000 per year.
- 81% of those surveyed believe their employer will continue to support remote work after COVID-19.
- 59% of respondents said they would be more likely to choose an employer who offered remote work compared to those who didn’t.
What are the benefits of remote working for employers?
- Surveys show companies save an estimated $11,000 per year savings per remote employee.
- Geographic boundaries removed allow for a larger talent pool to fill positions
- Lower absenteeism rates
- Office “Politics” reduced or eliminated
Why don’t people want to return to a traditional work model?
- Change in daily routine: 27%
- Being away from family or pets: 26%
- Office politics and distractions: 34%
- Childcare or caregiver responsibilities: 15%
- Lack of health and safety measures (i.e., wearing a mask, social distancing): 32%
- Being required to adhere to health and safety measures: 21%
The negative impacts to business:
- The belief that workers will slack off if “no one is looking.”
- Employers are afraid employees are more likely to engage in improper behavior while working from home, such as visiting inappropriate websites.
- Employees might misuse company equipment or information.
- This kind of distrust often results in many employers trying to monitor their employees who work from home.
While this “new normal” has both positives and negatives there is also a serious risk associated with remote work. Removing a secure network environment can have unforeseen and potentially wide spread and costly consequences.
- Phishing Schemes
- Weak Passwords
- Unencrypted File Sharing
- Insecure Home Wi-Fi
- Working from Personal Devices
Cybersecurity spending is expected to increase at a double-digit rate in 2021, driven primarily by the need to enable employees to work from anywhere. Gartner is forecasting worldwide spending on information security and risk management technology and services will grow 12.4% to reach $150.4 billion in 2021.
The long-term impact of a remote or hybrid workforce will be reviewed and analyzed for years but one thing has already emerged as a result, “…. what we’re seeing in the data is a shift in people’s mindset post-pandemic.” This new remote/hybrid work model has changed the landscape of employee – employer relationships. The 2nd quarter of 2021 saw the highest number of US workers voluntarily leaving their jobs as business started to reopen. The workforce has readjusted their priorities. Even workers who are not able to do remote work are feeling empowered to ask for more in terms of work-life balance. It would appear that a mutually beneficial relationship has taken a back seat, for now.