How To Be OOO For Real

How To Make The Best of Your OOO Time

Year after year, the evidence shows that Americans who plan for their vacations at the start of the year take more time off to travel and are healthier in many facets of their life.

As the season transitions into spring, it’s a great time to start planning your summer vacation. Now the hard part, how do you unplug from the office while away and not feel guilty for using your PTO?

That means no checking emails, Slack, or firing off a quick message, “before I forget.”

As a leader, it’s essential to model the behavior of being on vacation and OOO (out of office) for your team so they reap the health benefits of taking some time off. Here are some ways to ensure your trip is genuinely personal time.

How To Make The Best of Your OOO Time

Communicate that you’re going away

A week before your departure, send an email to your team or anyone else that you’re in regular communication with stating the dates you’ll be gone. Let them know you’ll review the minutes of missed meetings or watch a recording when you return. Add the dates to a shared office calendar, and don’t forget to update your calendar with your availability so colleagues can’t try and schedule meetings during that time.

If you work in a smaller office, this is a great time to make sure you’re not the only one who knows how to do something. If no one else can approve the invoice, etc., use some time before your trip to train someone on that task.

Set clear expectations

Prepare your team and your boss that you’ll be off the grid and clearly state what that means. “I won’t be checking emails, Slack, and text messages while on vacation. Can I send folks to you if they need help while I’m out, or would you prefer I direct them to (co-worker)?” Then share this with your team, “Reminder that I’ll be on vacation from X through X. I won’t be checking email and will not be available via text or phone. (Boss) said to speak with (co-worker/boss) if you need assistance while I am out.”

Set a clear away message

Don’t use the “I’ll have limited access to email” line. Chances are you will have access to email, and this implies that you might/could/will occasionally be skimming your email, which cancels out the boundary you are trying to create.

Now stick to your plan 

We know you want to do it. Just one little peek. Don’t. Do. It. Turn all your notifications on your phone off that are work-related, so you’re not tempted. If you still don’t trust yourself, delete Slack off your phone. If you’re not quite ready for this yet, designate a co-worker who has permission to reach out if it’s vital.

Having clear expectations ahead of time is critical to making sure your OOO stays that way.


Top Podcasts for the Tech Professional

Yeah, we know it seems like everyone has launched a podcast. Still, according to the numbers, people are tuning in at record levels.

With over 504,000 podcasts available – it can be challenging for the around 104 million podcast listeners to narrow down their choices. To save you from scrolling endlessly here’s a list of podcasts focused on business and technology that we think are worth tuning in.

Master of Scale Masters of Scale is an original podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and Greylock Partners investor. Reid shows how companies grow from zero to a gazillion in each episode, testing his theories with legendary leaders. Masters of Scale is the first American media program to commit to gender balance for guests and the 2018 People’s Voice Webby for Best Business Podcast recipient.

This Week in Tech: This Week in Tech (TWiT) is the #1 ranked flagship technology podcast from TWiT.tv. Every Sunday, Leo Laporte and a roundtable of tech experts and journalists discuss current tech news, trends, and niche topics in the tech industry.

TED Radio Hour: Created and hosted by Guy Raz and co-produced with NPR, the TED Radio Hour is a weekly podcast where Raz discusses various topics with top thinkers, scientists, artists, and visionaries. Topics include: “How can we fight burnout with purposeful rest?”, “How can we stay relevant in an increasingly automated workforce?”, “Why rethinking our ideas means we’re growing,” and many more.

The Future of Everything  This weekly Wall Street Journal podcast hosted by Janet Babin offers a comprehensive look at how science and technology affect our daily lives and how developing trends shape our world. Topics include AI, cyber-attacks, mobile payment apps, smart cities, the blockchain, and a zero-carbon future.

How I Built This Another Guy Raz gem – How I Built This dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best-known companies. You’ll hear the journey of innovators and entrepreneurs like Andy Puddicombe and Rich Peirson of Headspace, Otis and Elizabeth Chandler of Goodreads, Telfar founders Telfar Clemens and Babak Radboy, and so many more. The podcast airs every Monday and Tuesday.


How to Attract Top Talent as a Startup

Hiring tech-talent – chief technology officers, software engineers, dev-ops, data scientists, and related can be challenging in the current climate, especially when your business is in the early stages or on the small side. But it doesn’t have to be that hard as long as you create a company where people want to work.

Here are some tips from our experienced talent acquisition specialists for attracting (and retaining) tech talent.

Look Beyond Compensation

As an early-stage start-up, you may find it difficult to compete against other start-ups on compensation.

Look beyond compensation when recruiting. Companies are more effective at attracting and keeping talent by creating a work environment where people want to work, grow, develop, and do the things they genuinely love rather than focusing on compensation alone.

Start-up founders need to be prescriptive and intentional, paying attention to their company culture and each employee’s journey, which isn’t easy, especially in today’s world of remote work teams. With clarity on vision and values, a start-up can help candidates make the changes they want to see in the world through their job.

Show off What Makes you Unique

You’re competing for exceptional talent against larger companies with well-known brands and resources as a start-up. To stand out in the crowd, show candidates the unique elements of your team that they won’t find elsewhere.

Ways to do that, showcase what makes you unique, and have some fun with it! Maintain a blog and regularly post on social media about your team, office, company news, events, etc., to humanize yourself to potential future employees.

Your Employees are your Greatest Recruiter 

The blurb on your company site about your work culture and mission doesn’t ultimately define you; the people do. Focus on finding the right fit for your company rather than just accepting the first person who you like during interviews. Evaluate potential candidates for shared values and aligned motivations.

At INNOVA People, by combining an AI platform, cutting-edge HR technology, and a people-first philosophy, we deliver faster, more accurate, and longer tenure employees.

So when a prospective employee meets with some of the talented folks you already have on board, they are more eager to join the team.

Great talent attracts great talent.

Let us know how we can serve you as your build your start-up and search for top talent.



New Trend in Tech = 4 Day Workweek

Ever wonder how the 5-day workweek even came about? In 1908, a New England mill became the first American factory to institute the five-day workweek. The move inspired others to follow suit, and eventually, three decades later, the Fair Labor Standard Act made 2-day weekends official in 1938.

Today, some tech companies are cutting another day. Bolt, an e-commerce startup, made its 4-day workweek permanent after a 3-month trial. The concept was wildly popular with employees; in a companywide survey following the trial, Bolt employees reported a variety of benefits to the new schedule:

  • 84% said they were more productive
  • 86% said they were more efficient with their time
  • 84% saw improvement in their work-life balance

While many have been quick to praise the move as a generous perk for Bolt employees, CEO Ryan Breslow says the move is selfish — citing improved productivity across the board.

He’s also quick to mention that not all companies are suited for the shift. Bolt makes a point to measure worker impact, which will help weed out any decreases in productivity over time.

The concept is not to necessarily take on more work hours but to work more efficiently. During their work hours, employees are laser-focused, Breslow told CNBC.

“A lot of companies operate with a lot of work theater, which is people caring more about the appearance of working than the actual work,” he noted.

“So, you have countless meetings, countless documents, countless presentations,” Breslow said. “It’s impossible to sift through the noise and get to the heart of the matter.”

The San Francisco-based tech unicorn is one of a handful of companies in the U.S. that have moved to the shortened workweek.

When attracting and retaining top talent is a critical priority during the “Great Resignation,” those who have made the transition report a significantly expanded pool of potential recruitment.

Be Sticky with your Employees from Gary Vee

Gary Vaynerchuk, the chairman of media and communications holding company, VaynerX, and CEO of VaynerMedia shares what he means by being ‘sticky’ with your employees.   


How much time are you putting into your employees? How much time are you spending meeting with them one-on-one? 


Gary Vee encourages leaders to go “all-in on your people.” In the early VaynerMedia days, before he had hundreds of employees and it was becoming too hard to scale, Vaynerchuck says, he was “really ‘sticky’ with individual people — DM-ing them, having meetings, etc. And even now, I still do it as much as I possibly can. If you’re upset about the “revolving door” at your company and having your employees leave is really affecting you, you need to figure out how to get stickier.”


The New York Times best-selling author says it all comes down to taking the time and figuring out what makes your employees tick. 


“Is it money? Responsibility? Acknowledgment? Title? The trick is knowing that the answer is going to be different for different individuals. Think about your own life, there have been times in your career where you valued money more. There have been times where it was about respect, reputation, work-life balance; it’s not only figuring out what those few things are, it’s about what those few things are for each employee today. It never ends. 


Keeping an employee might just be about paying them a little more, or it might be about you investing in your relationship with them and taking them out to coffee. At the end of the day, it’s about knowing your people.” 


Being a boss or an owner is about reverse-engineering your employees, not them conforming to you.” 

Set goals, achieve more. It’s science.

Research shows goal setting is a catalyst for increased success. It helps you focus, find clarity, and stay motivated.

If you want to hit the jackpot – win at work and succeed at life, consider these three tips before writing down your 2022 goals.

Set big goals to perform and achieve more. 

Leading goal-setting theorists Edwin Locke and Gary Latham found there’s an inseparable link between the level of challenge and your level of performance. Study results show 90 percent of the time, specific and challenging goals lead to higher performance than easy goals, “difficult goals are far more likely to generate sustained enthusiasm and higher levels of performance.” So set more complex and specific goals and enjoy a more significant emotional payoff.

Visualize accomplishing your stretch goals. 

Your goals should stretch you without overwhelming you. When faced with seemingly unattainable goals, we disengage instead of being motivated. In a team exercise by Keer and LePelley, a team tapped into their creativity to complete a task only after being told another group could do it 85 percent faster than their first attempt. Change your perception of what’s possible to trigger a new level of performance.

Write, review, and share your goals for increased success. 

According to a study by Professor Gail Matthews at the Dominican University of California, you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals by writing them down. Matthews also found that people who shared them with supportive friends and shared updates on their progress did even better. Writing it down brings clarity and declares purpose, and that level of intentionality gives direction to our thoughts and actions even when we’re not fully focused on the goal.

When you focus on the science behind goal setting, it’s impossible to ignore it’s benefits.