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Dear Harriet: I am the manager of a small remote team. One of my girlfriends, a member of my new team, attends meetings from her bedroom with a large framed photo of herself prominently displayed in the background. I have concerns about this and don’t know how to proceed. On the other hand, team members also understand that they don’t have to follow certain norms because they are in their own private space on a video call. I don’t want to create an environment where everyone has to censor their home decor in some way. At the same time, the photos in question are very personal and revealing, affecting the environment of the meeting. I feel uncomfortable about it and am concerned about what it communicates to the rest of the team, especially coming from a position of power within the team.What would be the best way to go about this? — Hide Photo
Hide the photo: As a manager, you should schedule a private meeting with this new team member and address the issue directly. She noted that she noticed a photo behind her during a work call, and had the option to choose a different area of her home to take the call, delete the photo, blur the background, etc. Advice on how to use virtual backgrounds. She tells her that she thinks her personal photos are inappropriate and that it’s important for everyone on the team to give a professional presentation during the call. If your company has a branded virtual background, you can offer it to her as an option, just like you would offer it to your entire team. In fact, you can encourage your entire team to use a branded background for meetings so everyone is unified even when working remotely.
Dear Harriet: I’m moving into my own home for the first time, so I’m both excited and a little nervous. I work remotely so I don’t have a regular routine other than his one-day in-person appointment on the weekends. I’m worried that I’m isolating myself too much. I’m used to living with others and sharing space, but now I’m worried that I’m trying too hard to be alone.Do you have any advice on how to stay sociable while I’m alone? — on my own
Dear Myself: I need to take some time to get used to living alone. It’s very different from sharing space with other people, and it will take time for that to become the new norm. Add to that a new remote workspace and it’s natural to feel isolated. Consider becoming a member of a coworking space. See if there are professionals in your area that you can go to work with, even if they don’t work with other professionals.
You can also look around and see what extracurricular activities are nearby. You might also consider attending a local museum or taking an art class. Are there theaters in your area? What do people do there socially? Take a look around your neighborhood or search online for local attractions. You have to put yourself out there to find out what is available to you. Becoming a hermit is easy. stop it. Get outside and explore every day. That way you can find your niche.
Harriet Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative that helps people access and realize their dreams. Send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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