On Vacation? Don’t Check Slack

As we have seen a dramatic and abrupt shift in the past six months, how and when we work is fundamentally changing. Remote work has allowed the flexibility to log in from anywhere, but the data shows workers aren’t logging off. 

According to the 2018 American Time Use Survey  – 30 percent of full-time employees report working weekends and holidays. A LinkedIn survey found, 70 percent of professionals say they don’t break away completely when they take a vacation. Most workers admit that they at least check their work email when they’re supposed to be out of the office.

While dedicating extra time to your job may boost your motivation and success, there are tremendous benefits to snoozing all Slack notifications.

Harvard Business Review found that spending weekends or holidays working undermines one of the most critical factors determining whether people persist in their work: intrinsic motivation

“People feel intrinsically motivated when they engage in activities that they find interesting, enjoyable, and meaningful. Our data shows that working during leisure time creates internal conflict between pursuing personal and professional goals, leading people to enjoy their work less,” the report states. 

When people engage in work during a time that they think of as leisure time, such as the weekend or on vacation, they may experience conflict between their expectations and reality. As a result, the HBR data shows they find their work less engaging and less meaningful.

As a manager, set an example by not working during time off and support your employees by encouraging them to do the same. When people don’t take the “OOO” seriously, they begin to feel overwhelmed, disorganized, and less creative at work. 

Understanding how to stay motivated has always been important, but as the pandemic forces many employees to work remotely for the long-term and burdens them with additional demands on their time, these strategies will be particularly important to ensure you and your team stay as productive and engaged as possible.

And who doesn’t want to return after a vacation, fully refreshed? 

Tips on How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

“I love answering behavioral interview questions,” said no-candidate ever. While you may be comfortable formulating answers surrounding your skills and achievements, it may be a different story for those behavioral interview questions.

Behavioral interviewing is a technique involving queries in which candidates describe past performance and behavior to determine future performance.   The answers should provide verifiable, concrete evidence as to how a candidate has dealt with issues in the past.

Most behavioral interview questions are based around the following themes:

  • Teamwork
  • Patient-care/Customer-care
  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Communication style
  • Motivation and core values

Here are some examples:

  • “Tell me about a time when you made a mistake. What did you do to correct it?”
  • “When you’ve strongly disagreed with your team members, how did you communicate those feelings?”
  • “Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything moving along on time?”
  • “Describe a situation when you had to work closely with a difficult coworker. How did you handle the situation? Were you able to build a relationship with this person?”

Here are some tips to help you nail it.

Think challenge and specific action. Develop some compelling stories of when you faced a problem at work and make a list of the actions you took to solve it and the results. Formulate concise responses to keep you from rambling.

Next, come up with examples of times when you overcame obstacles, dealt with a crisis, or helped fuel a successful workplace collaboration. Think about how open you are to new ideas, how adept you are at finding common ground, and what experiences you might draw upon to navigate complicated problems.

One technique used to answer these types of questions is the STAR method. STAR is an acronym that stands for:

  • Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
  • Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
  • Action: Explain what specific steps you took to address it.
  • Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

Rehearse, but don’t memorize.
You’re not a robot. Have some compelling anecdotes handy and practice them out loud. That way, you’ll feel polished and prepared.

Need help finding a job? Elevate your career today with Innova People.

Namaste. Take a Deep Breathe to Becoming Less Stressed and a Better Leader

If you’re not feeling a little stressed during this time in history, our hats are off. Here’s some help for the rest of us, and it can make you a better leader.

Enter the ancient practice of yoga.

The word “yoga” comes from a Sanskrit root “yuj,” which means union, or yoke, yoga brings together mind and body.

Backed by science, yogic practices offer a variety of mental and physical health benefits: reduce stress, enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, and can make you a better leader by increasing your calmness and focus.

It all starts with your breath. Here are five easy steps to experience yogic breathing:

  1. Sit on a blanket, mat, or the floor in Sukhansana or Easy Cross-Legged Pose. Straighten the spine and soften your shoulders.
  2. Place both or one hand over your navel so you can feel your breath.
  3. Take a slow, deep breath into your belly. Feel the abdomen and chest inflate like a balloon as you inhale, and deflate as you exhale slowly. Practice this for five breaths.
  4. Move your hand two to three inches above your navel to your rib cage. Feel the ribs expand as you inhale, and retract as you exhale.
  5. Place your hand below the collarbone, at the center of your chest, and inhale. Feel the chest open as you breathe in, and withdraw on an exhale. Practice this for five breaths

When Steve Jobs passed away, friends and family attending his funeral received a small gift from the late tech genius: Autobiography of a Yogi, a book focused on the ‘ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation.”

Like the late Jobs, more and more leaders are adopting this kind of mindfulness into their lives with great results.

If you’re not ready to head to your local yoga studio and want to explore a yoga practice at home, check out Yoga with Adriene. Her YouTube channel is full of sun salutations designed to meet all levels and time constraints. The return on your yoga practice could help your leadership skills grow.

Returning to Office Life

As lockdown restrictions ease and the world attempts to re-open, some companies are prepping to transition back to the workplace, which raises a common question: do employees want to return to office life. 


Covid-19 has forever transformed the psychology of the American workplace. Gallup Panel findings indicate that 54% of U.S. adults believe the disruptions caused by Covid-19 will last for the rest of 2020 and beyond. 


Recent research found that over half of workers are afraid to go back to work due to the risk of exposure and are concerned about the safety measures in place for workers upon returning to the office, with a lack of communication on their employer’s strategy contributing to the unease. 


A great place to gauge how employees feel about a return is to take a holistic approach in caring for your employees. Gather employee feedback before communicating a strategy. Managers should ask employees about their needs and the demands they’re facing outside of work. With that broad perspective, managers can better support each employee’s long-term wellbeing and engagement. 


Most state re-opening plans have phases, take a similar approach with your return-to-work transition plan, and make sure it’s communicated clearly. 


You can start by only bringing back the staff that you need, in shifts. Implement new office rules, like mandatory face coverings, a regular supply of hand sanitizer, extra sanitization procedures, and health checks provided to employees regularly. 


Whether an organization sends everyone back to the office or sticks with a partial or complete work-from-home workforce, business leaders need to make sure the technology infrastructure is in place to support the modern digital workplace. 


One trend undoubtedly here to stay is a more relaxed approach to working from home. In the future, there’s now an expectation for businesses to have flexible-working policies in place with more employees opting to stay remote. Leaders can create a more supportive, engaging work environment by accommodating employees’ desire for flexibility. 


During this transition period, organizations can build trust with their employees and show that they prioritize their physical and mental safety. Companies that strategically provide freedom and flexibility to employees can help employees thrive and, in turn, stoke performance. 


There’s still a lot of uncertainty as we transition to a post-pandemic world; one thing remains constant; the heart of any organization is its people. 

Creativity and Taking Breaks

So here’s the scenario: you are asked to solve two problems that require creative thinking. What approach do you take to get the best results?

  • Break up the time in two separate intervals, solve one problem, and ultimately move onto the second.
  • At regular, predetermined intervals alternate between the two problems.
  • Or ping pong between the two problems at your discretion.

Harvard Business Review posed this scenario to hundreds of people and found that most would choose to switch between the two problems at their discretion.

But if coming up with creative answers, is your goal, this approach, according to their research, may produce less desirable results.

Here’s why: When attempting problems that require creativity, we often reach a dead creative end without realizing it. Their research found that regularly switching back and forth between two tasks at a set interval can reset your thinking, enabling you to approach each task from fresh angles and creativity. Other studies have found that brief breaks during idea generation can increase creativity and the variety of ideas generated.

Try it out! The next time you’re working on tasks that require some creative thinking, consciously insert breaks at regular intervals. Remember, if you’re hesitant to break away because you feel like you’re in the zone, be mindful that it might be a false impression.

Take breaks, your creative juices will thank you.




5 Lessons on Success from Michael Jordan in ‘The Last Dance’

Michael Jordan’s epic career is a master class on the mindset necessary to achieve extraordinary success. ESPN’s sports documentary miniseries, The Last Dance, dives deeply into the mindset of the legendary Michael Jordan and the championship Chicago Bulls teams that he led.

The series didn’t just resonate with sports fans; many wore their Air Jordans the Nike signature shoe while watching (not naming any names here); it is also full of vital lessons on success. Here are our top five takeaways from the show:

Success requires total and complete dedication to your craft.
It becomes apparent early on in the series that while Michael Jordan has incredible athletic ability, he improved dramatically throughout his career. Even after winning a national championship with North Carolina, being named the NBA Rookie of the year, and reaching the NBA finals, Jordan always wanted more and was willing to do whatever it took to improve. One example: when the Bulls were eliminated from the NBA Championships by the Detroit Pistons, Jordan immediately went to the gym instead of taking a vacation and put on 15 pounds of muscle in the off-season. His teammates followed his lead.

To be successful, you need this same constant drive for improvement. Jordan could have been complacent with all he had achieved at that point in his career, but instead, he went back to work. Growing complacent or settling not allows others to catch up and eventually surpass you but limits your potential.

Team First
In his early years, Michael Jordan focused heavily on his play. It got him a high stat line, but he couldn’t cross that threshold to win a championship. Ultimately, Jordan realized that achieving team success was the only way he would be considered the greatest of all time. When Jordan set aside his ego, and the Bulls emphasized teamwork over dominance by one superstar, the real magic happened.

No matter how much of a superstar you are, you can never do it alone. Success for any leader depends on the ability to surround yourself with team players you trust to take the last shot.

Be Willing to Push Others Around You
One theory on why it took over 20 years to release this documentary was that it showcased how Michael Jordan treated his teammates. He wasn’t always the most approachable, friendliest, or most understanding leader. He expected his teammates to perform at their personal highest level, the same standard he held himself. Jordan pushed his teammates out of their comfort zones, even if they didn’t like it.

The same lessons apply to leaders. Influential leaders know how to challenge those around them to become the best versions of themselves. It wasn’t always pleasant, but Jordan forced his teammates to accomplish more collectively.

Know When to Take a Break
At the height of his career, Jordan walked away from basketball and turned to his first love, baseball. Even the greatest basketball player of all time needed to take a break.

Burnout can be personally or professionally ruinous if you don’t listen to your body and take time off when needed.

The Mindset of a Champion
As physically gifted as his body was, the secret weapon Michael Jordan possessed was his mind. Nobody in the world could compete with him. He believed he was the best and committed to the idea that he would overcome all competitors.

Leaders and entrepreneurs require that same tenacious mindset to grow companies and achieve success. What separates the best from the rest of the crowd is that commitment and unflappable belief in themselves, their mission, and organization.