Asking For a Friend | Chapter 28
Advice from Babe to Babe
In this chapter of Asking For a Friend, the BWH Advice Gurus give you tools and wisdom to make your office life work better for you. From WFH transitions, to boring office spaces, to bosses with trust issues, the gurus are here for you!
With a small office, it’s important to make sure everyone feels included. I’d steer clear of happy hours, as they can actually end up alienating certain coworkers, and instead focus on loosely structured team-building activities. Look at volunteer opportunities you and your team can take advantage of together, or work on a project for the office together. At my office, we actually had a potting workshop and planted succulents in handmade planters for our desks. I’ll admit there was some wine involved, but it was a great bonding opportunity and I’m reminded of our fun together every time I see the planter at my desk!
I started a biweekly internal newsletter that shared office news like birthdays and work anniversaries, in addition to any company-wide updates from HR. It was an easy way to celebrate the little things and make our remote team feel more included.
—KATE PIERSON, CONTRIBUTOR
This may seem so trivial, but having a bowl of candy in my office has done wonders for morale. Everyone knows they can come in and grab a Twix, and they don’t have to say anything to me—or, they can open a bag of M&M’S and sit down for a chat.
—JODY JOYNT, BABE #41
I sit adjacent to the office manager, who has a bowl of candy on her desk. It's crazy how often everyone in the office stops by to grab a piece of candy and take a chit-chat break. I feel like I would hardly know my coworkers if it weren't for the candy bowl luring them over; small breaks turning into causal get-to-know-you conversations.
—ALEXI STRONG GONZALEZ, CONTRIBUTOR
Everyone I’ve met with trust and control issues has never responded well to being told they had them. If delegation is a growth opportunity for your boss, try taking on things that she doesn’t have to delegate. Be proactive in finding projects or deliverables you can take on (outside your regular job duties), and then knock them out of the park. Not only will this impress her, but it will also build her trust. The thing to keep in mind is that people are how they are because of their life experience. If she doesn’t trust her employees, maybe there’s a reason from her past that’s still relevant to her. Once you start building trust by being proactive and going the extra mile, take time to get to know her personally. Uncover the reason for her lack of trust and treat it with empathy. You’ll be her go-to forever after that.
—HILLARY KIRTLAND, CONTRIBUTOR
I’ve run into this issue as well. I started quietly taking initiative with the tasks that are well within my job title and capabilities, and letting my lead know when they’re complete.
—THAIS LAGE, BABE #151
You definitely do not let her know. It’s not your place and it’s not going to go well. If your boss struggles to trust her team enough to delegate work to them, she likely lacks confidence in their ability to complete the work to her expectations. Earn her trust by proving her wrong. Be consistent and competent. Complete your work to expectations, and then go above and beyond. Deliver early. Make her look good in front of her boss. Making your boss’ life easier is always the fastest way to become valuable in their eyes.
—HEATHER CROTEAU, BWH EDITOR
Anytime people ask me, “How do I get ‘x’ at work?” My answer is always to build yourself a business case. Last year, I knew I wanted to move to California to be with my significant other and moving out of the area where 90 percent of our business is done was a big ask. I spent all of last year working with a few leaders, my direct manager and a select group of friends I trusted to build a business case outlining why I wasn’t a risk. I even found a way to show that my move could actually help grow the business. Talk to your leadership about their goals, find ways to align what you want (working from home) with their goals and then present a business case where you show how getting what you want actually adds value to the business.
—HILLARY KIRTLAND, CONTRIBUTOR
It’s definitely the dream, but just remember the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Working remotely requires discipline and you have to be passionate about what you’re doing to stay motivated. If you do enjoy the work at your current job, I would start there by having a conversation with your boss about flex days. Maybe start small and only ask for a couple of days a month at first. If there are obligations you have that would benefit you by working remotely (family, weekly appointments, long commutes, etc.), that should definitely help your proposal. If it just sounds fun to you, it might be a little harder to win some WFH days at first. Look at the work you’re doing, and if you’re fulfilled from that, then you might just have to keep plugging away at your office job for now. Focus on what gives you joy in the office (like sharing lunch with your favorite coworkers) and when the right opportunity comes along that gives you flexible hours AND it sounds like work you’ll love, then go for it!
—MORGAN PURVIS, BWH INTERN
I’d first recommend asking yourself why working remotely is such a huge priority for you. What about remote work is motivating you to make this career change? Is it more flexibility for travel time? Is your office space bland and uninspiring? Would you prefer more time at home? All of these issues, for example, are things that have potential to be shifted within the office job you’re already working. Without having to take a leap to a whole new career, there’s an opportunity to lay out these values (perhaps in a presentation format) to pitch to your boss and have a conversation about potential changes within your current role. If you’re still dead set on the remote work transition, though, consider checking out online remote work job boards like Flexjobs, Jobspresso, and Remote.co. Generally, standard job hunting on sites like Indeed, LinkedIn and Monster won’t get you very far remotely.
—CHELSEA DUDEVOIRE, BWH CEO + FOUNDER
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!