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How To Engage Your Emotional Intelligence To Adapt To Different Work Environments

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Editor’s Note: This article is written by Justine McGrath, ProACTive Coaching’s owner and EBW System assessment and training facilitator. “How To Engage Your Emotional Intelligence To Adapt To Different Work Environments” is originally published in the 23rd PERFORMANCE Magazine – Printed Edition

In 2020 the world of work changed forever. Companies with adaptable managers and leaders survived and, in some cases, thrived. Those who didn’t suffered.

In a survey done by the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway in 2022, a staggering 95% of respondents said working remotely makes life easier. Thirty percent of respondents said they would change job – even if it meant taking a pay cut — if their employers did not take into account their remote working preferences.

It was not all plain sailing for those working from home. It only took a few weeks before we saw the toll it was taking on some, as the lines blurred between work and home. For working parents, having to balance your job with trying to homeschool was extremely challenging.

There are emotional challenges for employees with all three types of working.  According to a Microsoft Report in 2021, 54% of remote workers feel overworked and 39% feel exhausted. Zoom Fatigue is also a factor with many meetings running consecutively. 

For those who have returned to the office full time, the daily commute is a reminder of a way of life they would rather avoid every day. Employees have to grapple with higher levels of stress, and this affects their ability to regulate their emotions.  

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand how our emotions and behaviours impact firstly on ourselves and then on others. In order to adapt to these new ways of working, employees need to be aware of how to best manage their emotions to ensure they can continue to perform at their best. 

How Leaders Build Trust and Accountability

Employers need two traits if they want their team to adapt to new ways of working: trust and accountability. This is especially important if you have certain people in the team working from home and some in the office. Employees need to feel they are part of the team and have a shared sense of responsibility. This gives them a sense of autonomy, which builds trust. 

Psychological safety is paramount. Give people an opportunity to air their views, grievances, and fears. Managers may see this as a threat to their role or as being too soft, whereas nothing could be further from the truth.

You need to be aware of what will enable peak performance from your employees. If you want to ensure success in the workplace, building trust and accountability is essential. 

To build trust and accountability, develop your self-awareness. How? Understand your style of leadership and whether or not it is effective. Get regular feedback from a trusted source. 

Self-regulation is how you manage yourself in the workplace. It is vital to understand your own emotions and behaviors so that you can adapt and improve where necessary. Do you have any blind spots in this area? How do people respond to you? This is the intrapersonal aspect of EI – managing the self. 

When it comes to managing others – the interpersonal aspect of EI – social awareness is key. Who are the best communicators in your team? Is there someone who is struggling and could use a little empathy right now? Put yourself in their situation and see it from their point of view. Using EI to deal with your own emotions and behaviors and to understand those of others will propel you from a good leader to an excellent one.

Emotional Intelligence for Employees 

In the same way that the manager or leader has to be fully aware of how their emotions and behaviors impact both themselves and others, the same holds true for any employee.

This is particularly important if they are feeling apprehensive about the options available in the workplace. They need to feel safe to voice their concerns. 

The most important aspect of developing self-awareness is understanding what it is about your job that motivates you. If going back to the office de-motivates you, why is that? Could you express those issues/concerns to your manager? If you are going to move to a hybrid work model, have you prepared yourself mentally for that change? What are the advantages and disadvantages, and how do they affect you?

Image Source: ebw.online.com | Business Emotional Intelligence

EBW model of Business Emotional Intelligence is about the ability to use your intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence to focus on the critical emotions and underlying behavioural traits that predict occupational performance. 

Be Proactive

Any good manager will appreciate an employee who takes the initiative on issues that arise. Try to find a potential solution before you talk to management. It’s about building trust, communicating openly, and not being afraid to stand up for what you need.

Get yourself into the right mindset. If there are obstacles in your way or you feel unsupported, how could you change that?

Being aware of both the intrapersonal traits and the interpersonal traits of EI will enhance your career prospects.  Use self-awareness to take your own personal audit of how the new way of working is going to affect you. Use social awareness to see if it will impact how you relate to both your manager and your colleagues to ensure clear communication going forward.

To conclude, both employers and employees need to take stock at this time of change. If we can develop our EI to communicate clearly, build trust and accountability, and nurture both the self and each other, the future looks bright.


About the author

       

Justine McGrath is an executive coach and trainer who specializes in Emotional Intelligence. She is the owner of ProACTive Coaching and is a facilitator of the EBW System of assessments and training.

Remote Work Employees: How to Monitor Productivity at Home

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People have been working from home even before the pandemic, but their number significantly increased when the health crisis led to lockdowns and travel restrictions. Companies were forced to send their employees home to work remotely to comply with social distancing measures and keep the workforce healthy. Statista shows that before the pandemic, only 17% of US employees worked remotely for five days or more weekly. However, the number grew to 44% during the outbreak in 2020. 

When the pandemic subsided and governments eased travel restrictions, some companies asked their workforce to return to the office while others offered the hybrid set-up. However, most employees still prefer remote work.

A poll conducted by Pew Research Center with 5,889 workers in America in January 2022 found that 61% of those who work from home said they avoid going to work by choice and 38% claim their office is closed. It represents a shift from October 2020, when 64% of people worked from home because their office was closed and 36% did so voluntarily.

In spite of that, 50% of leaders in information worker roles want to pursue getting employees back to the office full-time next year, based on Microsoft’s Work Trend Index 2022 report. Still, 52% of respondents say they highly consider becoming remote or hybrid in the year ahead and 80%  claim that since remote or hybrid work arrangements were implemented, their productivity has increased.

How Remote Workers Can Be More Productive 

According to the popular job site Flexjobs, one of the benefits of working from home is it increases “productivity and performance” as employees encounter fewer interruptions, have a quieter work environment, and have increased workplace comfort, resulting in more focused time.

In a research conducted in Latin America, they explored the relationship between remote work, work stress, and work-life during pandemic times. Researchers found out that by having flexible work schedules, the employees’ engagement and productivity levels increased because they could work at their most productive time. Privacy also plays a big role in employees’ efficiency. However, the productivity level is negatively affected when the worker is constantly interrupted by children or adults that need assistance. 

A case study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine investigated the impact of family-work conflict, social isolation, distracting environment, job autonomy, and self-leadership on employees’ productiveness, work engagement, and stress experienced when working from home during the pandemic. The authors discovered that excellent self-leadership skills and autonomy positively impact the time assessment in a WFH scenario. 

Results from a qualitative study by Danielle Tinneveld of Radboud University also show that productivity tracking facilitates the identification of process bottlenecks. The affected staff gets less anxious and annoyed when these difficulties are resolved, and overall production efficiency improves.

How Employees Can Track Their Productivity at Home 

On a remote workday, people have to manage work and non-work-related tasks. To be productive, they have to master the art of time planning. Effective time management involves planning each activity in a time frame, considering priorities such as urgent work tasks and eating breaks. Individuals should fit their activities into 16 hours to get 8 hours of sleep each day to achieve great productivity. By monitoring the duration of their tasks, they can observe which actions can be improved. 

To see if their time management strategy is effective, remote workers can use key performance indicators (KPIs). Some KPIs they can consider are:  

  • % To do list tasks achieved as planned
  • % Time spent working
  • % Time spent walking
  • % Time spent relaxing
  • % Time spent reading (non-work)
  • % Time spent preparing food
  • % Time spent eating
  • % Time spent doing housework

By monitoring the percentage of tasks performed as planned, individuals can see if they reached their target or not. By knowing the percentage of time spent working, people have insights into the free time left for non-work-related tasks, such as going on a walk, relaxing, cooking, eating, and other housework activities (washing clothes and dishes, drying clothes, cleaning floors).

It’s a different story for employees whose companies have return-to-office schemes. Their organizations should rethink their performance management system to consider the new ways of working that employees gained during the pandemic. Evaluating the relevance of KPIs has become important now more than ever. To better understand KPIs, its nature, characteristics, and implementation, enroll now to The KPI Institute’s Certified KPI Professional and Practitioner course. 

Exploring Self-Love: Affection Towards Self Before Others

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Image Source: Content Pixie | Unsplash

People are more inclined to be open to expressing love during special occasions like Valentine’s day. Normally associated with romantic love, others celebrate the day by showing affection towards their family and friends. Ideally, people should not wait for a special occasion or event to show love. It is good to express your feelings to your loved ones, but it is also important to practice self-love, too. After all, you can only love someone as much as you love yourself. 

“Self-love” is a term that’s been thrown around, but most are not aware of what it really means. People have the misconception that practicing self-love means treating themselves to nice things, but it’s not just that; everything about ourselves grows from a foundation of self-love. It stems from many acts of love we do for ourselves that promote our physical, psychological, and spiritual development, as well as our happiness and wellness. This, in turn, is also an act of kindness toward others since the practice of loving oneself helps to love others in the same manner. 

The importance and practice of self-love

Self-love is critical in life because it influences a person’s decision on the people they surround themselves with, the way they present themselves publicly, how they deal with challenges in life, and their overall lifestyle. It provides self-assurance and confidence in every decision or choice that an individual would have. It also brings happiness and tranquillity, helping one to avoid toxic relationships and choose someone who sees and respects them for who they are instead.

Self-love is a fluid concept. It develops as a result of an individual’s actions, guiding them to make choices that foster their wellbeing and serve them in life. Similar to how people express love to one another, there’s no need to wait for a day like Valentine’s Day to do some self-love. Here are a few things you can try to explore and practice self-love every day.

  • Be mindful. Your thoughts, feelings, and desires influence how you act and behave toward yourself and others. Try to pay more attention to what you’re thinking and how you feel in a certain situation and how you react based on those thoughts and feelings. People with self-love are more aware of these factors and act on this knowledge rather than on what others expect from them.
  • Focus on your needs rather than your wants. The key to happiness is realizing your physical, emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual needs. Be sentient of what is essential and necessary for you compared to what you would like to have but do not really need. Make a self-assessment to figure out what you need in each aspect of your life and distinguish that from what you think you want.
  • Practicing self-care. Once a person learns how to take better care of their basic needs, that is when they will start to love themselves more. People who have a high level of self-love nurture themselves on a daily basis by engaging in healthy activities such as good eating, exercise, adequate sleep, intimacy, and positive social connections.
  • Set boundaries. Learn how to say no to things that can possibly deplete or damage you physically, emotionally, spiritually, or even negatively impact your character. This may include taking part in activities that you do not like, hanging out with people who do not respect you, working for a job that you hate, or simply rejecting someone’s affection that you know you cannot reciprocate. Setting these limits will help you protect and love yourself more in the long run.
  • Schedule a “me time” sessionRegardless of your relationship status – single, in a relationship, engaged, or married – it is important to still make time for yourself to do the activities you enjoy. This will allow you to appreciate the things you enjoy alone and love yourself better.
  • Forgive yourself. Taking responsibility for your actions has the possible drawback of making you unforgiving yourself. People punish themselves far too hard for the mistakes they make as they grow and learn. Accepting your limitations and being kinder to yourself when making a mistake is a good habit to develop. Remember, there are no failures in mistakes, only lessons learned.

Practicing self-love might not be as easy as it sounds. Begin by treating yourself with kindness, patience, gentleness, and compassion, just as you would someone you care about. Make an effort to work on it on a regular basis. Over time, this will help change your ability to accept and love yourself.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Intelligence

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Do you know someone who has high intelligence but seems to always make bad decisions? Maybe you felt some insecurity towards a colleague that seems smarter and it makes you wonder if you are smart enough to do the same task as they are doing. You probably have heard of the terms “book smart” and “street smart”, but you are not sure how to label yourself between those two types. People usually associate intelligence with having a high IQ score, but what does it mean?

Defining what intelligence is

To understand the meaning of intelligence, we must first grasp what it is. From the time of Greek philosophers to the time of psychologists and neuroscientists, the notion of intelligence has been regularly challenged. For example, Plato defined it as the desire to study and the eagerness in finding truth. Thomas Hobbes had a different idea, defining it as having a quick mind with the capacity to understand similarities and contrasts between comparable objects.

Alfred Binet created the standardized intelligence evaluation or the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test, a tool that is still extensively utilized today. Concentration, memory, reasoning, abstraction, and the ability to cope well with the world are all included in Binet’s aspects of it. David Wechsler also believed that it is a person’s ability to act purposefully, think reasonably, and react efficiently with their surroundings.

Research about intelligence and how it is developed is still a point of discussion today. Currently, intelligence has no absolute definition; instead, it is an abstract construct with multiple aspects. Two people can be described as having a high intelligence yet share relatively few characteristics, they might resemble the parameters of intelligence among various definitions.

Categories of intelligence

According to Howard Gardner, the founder of the theory on multiple intelligence, there are eight types of intelligence:

  1. Verbal-linguistic intelligence refers to a person’s skill to communicate through words and languages. 
  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence indicates a person’s ability to sense, recognize abstract patterns, and perform numerical computations. 
  3. Spatial intelligence is attributed to how well a person can imagine an object well and retain a visual recollection. 
  4. Body kinesthetic intelligence specifies the athletic capabilities of a person. 
  5. Musical intelligence is a person’s sensitivity towards sounds and having the ability to perceive and produce patterns of rhythm
  6. Natural intelligence is attributed to a person’s sensitivity towards nature. 
  7. Interpersonal intelligence is defined as an individual’s awareness of the emotions of others and their capacity to function as part of a team. 
  8. intrapersonal intelligence points to a person’s self-awareness and competence in comprehending their feelings, goals, and intentions.

Meanwhile, Cattell has a different way of categorizing intelligence, dividing it into two categories:

  1. Fluid intelligence refers to the ability to solve abstract problems in novel situations.
  2. Crystallized intelligence represents knowledge and skills acquired through education and experience. 

With these two, he believes that humans can develop crystallized intelligence through practice and experience of fluid intelligence. 

Does the IQ Test work?

After knowing that the definition of intelligence is not absolute and there are many types to it, you might be wondering whether the IQ test being used today really measures intelligence. Maybe you know someone that has an erratic way of thinking or behaving despite having a high IQ score. A general myth that is widespread in society is that IQ scores express a fixed score of inherited brilliance. In reality, an IQ score is simply a measurement of how well a person can do certain tasks at a certain time in comparison with other people of the same age. 

It might measure convergent thinking or academic intelligence which is usually associated with “book smart”, however, it does not go hand-in-hand with other essential aspects of “street smart” such as creativity, adaptability, tacit knowledge, and social skills. It only measures three categories in the theory of multiple intelligences. Therefore, IQ testing might measure intelligence, but the IQ score does not necessarily guarantee success in everyday life.

Enhancing your intelligence

Even though intelligence is a widely abstract concept, you can enhance your intelligence. Typically, environmental factors that may enhance your intelligence include having a good circle of people around you such as family and mentors. There is also a range of noncognitive or affective factors that can play a part in this such as motivation, persistence, attitude, self-concept, confidence, and personal values. 

Based on those factors, there are a few ways you can enhance your intelligence. First, you can enhance your intelligence through instruction which can be done within an academic or corporate setting, as well as through forums, workshops, and other instructional training available. You can do certain activities that can give you a mental workout like reading, playing games like sudoku or chess, and enrolling in a program based on your interest. Another way you could enhance your intelligence is by doing proper physical self-care like having a balanced diet, doing daily physical exercise, and practicing meditation. 

While intelligence is an abstract concept, it is something that everyone can improve on. One secret of increasing intelligence is to embrace your limitations. Do not beat yourself up and try to accept your strengths and flaws while actively training your brain; this way, you may develop a growth mindset, have confidence, and enhance better personal values which are extremely valuable in life.

Home Energy Management: Reducing Bills While Protecting the Environment

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Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

Having electricity is a basic need in modern society that helps people have a good quality of living, from doing household chores to working on their jobs. In fact, some appliances need to have access to electricity for 24 hours such as refrigerators for preserving food items. While electricity has a financial cost to it, the energy that people consume on a daily basis impacts the environment as well. 

Energy consumption has been changing through the years with various new technologies and electrical appliances that make people depend more on electricity. Moreover, the new trend of working remotely causes more energy consumption at home than at the office. A study in Japan found that 64% of teleworkers use air conditioners and lights only for themselves in their workspace which accounts for the 73% to 85% increase in electricity use.

Wasting electricity at home negatively affects the environment because the generation, distribution, and transmission processes of electricity leave carbon footprints. Based on a study from the University of Michigan, household energy consumption is accountable for about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. As such, energy management at home is important to reduce financial costs and electricity waste.

Here are three simple ways in managing electricity use at home.

  • Unplug devices

    People regularly charge their devices and sometimes leave them plugged in the whole time, like laptops. However, even though the device is fully charged, plugged chargers still consume 60% of the electricity needed while charging. Energy vampires are the unused appliances that silently draw electricity which was found to be accountable for 10% of electricity bills. If one’s electricity bills are about $1,000 per year, unplugging unused chargers and appliances could save $100.

    Unplugging is a very easy thing to do since it only takes a few seconds. However, it could be challenging for people who are used to leaving all their devices and chargers plugged in all the time. The solution is to use a smart power strip that enables them to turn it off through an app on the phone and monitor how much energy is consumed. Unplugging could prevent wasting electricity and reduce energy consumption. Therefore, this would help to make fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Use energy-saving light sources

    An annual event called the Earth Hour is a global effort that encourages people to turn off electricity lamps for one hour. It was found to successfully reduce energy consumption by an average of 4% in several countries such as Australia, United Arab Emirates, and the US from 2007 through 2012. This shows that even though lamps appear to have low wattage, it still contributes significantly to the amount of electricity used at home.

    Lamps are necessary both for functionality and decorative purposes. There are different types of light sources such as incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diodes (LED), compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), electrode-less fluorescent lamps (EEFL), and other lighting systems. A study found that LED uses the least amount of electricity with its operational cost is 6,46 times lesser than incandescent bulbs.

    Switching the lights off is a good way to save energy, but sometimes there is a need to keep the lights on for certain conditions. Such instances include keeping the porch lights on during the night for safety concerns. The most practical light source to use would be LEDs; this way, the lights can be kept on longer without having unwanted costs on your wallet or the environment.

    Smart home automation systems are also a good way to reduce energy consumption. This system uses a movement sensor or remote control to switch lights on and off. Certain types of light sources also have a light sensor which enables them to automatically turn off when there is daylight.

  • Involve other household members

    For those who are not living alone, it is necessary to influence other household members to do the same thing to have sustainable home energy management. The economical aspect of reducing bills is not the only motivation to save energy. This research found that being an “environmental champion” is another motivation that comes from the social influence of both online and offline interactions that promote environmental awareness.

Home energy management is beneficial for saving money and protecting the environment. Unplugging unused electronics, using energy-saving light sources, and involving everyone to do these simple steps can go a long way in terms of reducing electricity costs while being environmentally friendly. Encouraging each other to save energy also enables people to be more aware of one’s connectedness with nature.

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