You know the old saying, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” So, about 2020…
Well, Tiger King was pretty strange, we’ll give it that.
🐶 Larry says: Not a fan.
Along with many other terrible things, 2020 will be known as the year that turned everything we thought we knew about working in an office upside down. Almost overnight, offices across the country and the world had to figure out new ways of working during an unprecedented global crisis, and our office was no exception.
Thankfully, we made it through to the other side, and we generated some pretty great content along the way to help offices just like ours wade through the dumpster fire that was 2020.
Throughout this post, you’ll find a selection of our favorite and most useful 2020 articles for the following five categories.
- Surviving the Unknown in a Tumultuous Year
- Working From Home and Managing Remote Teams
- Our Top Advice For the Workplace
- Advancing Your Admin Career
- Free Downloadable Tools
We’ll provide key takeaways to save you time reading them all, but if you find something you like, click the link to read the full post. Thanks again for following along and reading our content. We have the best customers, and we can’t wait to bring you more strategies, guides, tax tools, and stellar office products throughout 2021 and beyond.
Surviving the Unknown in a Tumultuous Year
Circle of Control: Combating a Lack of Control at Work
2020 was a tumultuous year, to say the least. A lack of control in our personal lives or in the workplace can bring on feelings of stress, anxiety, hopelessness, and fear. Understanding what’s inside and outside your circle of control can help you combat these feelings at work and at home.
- What other people do, how other people feel, the weather, and what’s on the news are outside your circle of control.
- What you say, who you spend time with, what you buy, and how you treat other people are within your circle of control.
- Do your best to focus less on the aspects of your life you can’t control. Instead, dedicate more time to the things you can control.
Read our full article on understanding your circle of control and how to combat a lack of control at work.
Adaptability Training is the Key to Surviving the Future
Change is constant. We can’t avoid it. Adaptability is how well and how quickly we adjust when faced with change. We spoke with the Co-Founder of AQai, a pioneering adaptability training platform, about the critical role of adaptability in the workplace.
- Adaptability is the only way a business can prepare for the unknown.
- Adaptability skills can be defined by an Adaptability Quotient (AQ), which measures a person’s ability to adapt to new circumstances.
- Providing adaptability training for your team will better prepare your business for whatever the future may bring.
Learn more about the value of adaptability training in our full article.
Being Present at Work: How and Why
There’s plenty of science behind the powerful benefits of practicing mindfulness. When life, work, and the unknown add unwanted stress to your life, make time for your mind.
- The benefits of mindfulness exercises are well worth the short time it takes away from your day.
- Practicing mindfulness doesn’t need to be fancy. You can give your brain a boost of energy by practicing simple breathing exercises.
- Use your breaks at work to practice mindfulness activities such as stretching, coloring, or journaling instead of reaching for your phone.
Learn more about mindfulness and how to be present at work.
Working From Home and Managing a Remote Team
Working From Home With Children, Pets, and Other Distractions
2020 turned everything we knew about working in offices upside down. Many businesses, ourselves included, had to quickly and unexpectedly convert to work from home options. This new way of working came with several disruptions, which is why we shared actionable tips for working alongside pets, children, and other distractions.
- Talk to your children about what it means to be working from home. Ensure they know that you’re not always available, set boundaries, and establish a private workspace.
- Don’t let your pets dictate your schedule. Set boundaries and schedule pet pee breaks throughout the day so you aren’t interrupted.
- Prepare your lunches in advance. Treat lunch like you would if you were in the office, using it as a break instead of an extravagant culinary opportunity.
Read our full list of tips to manage distractions while working from home.
Remote Team Building Activities: Engaging Remote Employees
Team building is an incredible tool to boost company morale and improve workplace engagement. As more teams moved to partial or full remote work options, it became more difficult to provide meaningful team building activities. We compiled a list of quick, educational, and fun team building activities to engage remote workers.
- Quick team building games, such as two truths and a lie or rock paper scissors, can get everyone comfortable before a meeting begins.
- Personality tests are easy to complete online and they help teams better understand each other, improving communication and reducing workplace conflicts.
- Roll with the punches and the tech issues. It’s all part of the team building experience.
Learn more about the benefits of team building and read our full list of remote team building activities.
Virtual Brainstorming Tools, Exercises, and How-To Guide
Brainstorming is a tried and true method for solving problems and discovering new ideas. There are plenty of virtual brainstorming tools, resources, and exercises available to help teams ideate and collaborate online.
- You’ll only find that big, magic, problem-solving idea by generating a lot of different ideas that can be narrowed down to the best ones.
- There are many online resources that bring Post-it notes into the digital world, including Lucidspark, ly, and Cardsmith.
- Even a quick retrospective like the Rose, Bud, Thorn exercise will assess how the session went so you can make small improvements next time.
Read our full article of virtual brainstorming tools, which includes tips for how to conduct an online brainstorming session.
Our Top Advice For the Workplace
How to Survive a Toxic Workplace
A toxic work environment leads to diminished trust, stifled creativity, and it can hinder employee wellbeing. If ignored, toxicity can quickly get out of control and spread across a workplace.
- Consider your circle of control so you can focus on the aspects of your situation that you can actually do something about.
- Closely monitor your own mental health and put extra effort into personal wellness activities, including meditation, breathing exercises, and journaling.
- Try the gray rock method, which essentially has you act like a boring, bland rock to undermine a narcissist’s attempts to gain your attention. “mm-hmm”, “uh-huh”, “you don’t say…”
Read our full article on workplace toxicity for actionable advice on managing negative and manipulative people at work.
The Value of Work Personality Tests & Why We Chose DiSC
Team dynamics are incredibly important for small businesses to manage. Understanding each other can be the difference between a workplace filled with conflict or one built on trust. This year, Blue Summit Supplies chose to complete the DiSC personality test, and the insights we gleaned were invaluable.
- An investment in understanding each other is an investment in workplace wellness, motivation, and productivity.
- Utilize the insights you glean in your day-to-day office communication. Consider someone’s preferred communication style before resorting to your own preferences.
- Consider how you approach clients and customers. Your default style of communication may not be what’s ideal for everyone.
Learn more about the value of work personality tests.
Office Sustainability Ideas For a Greener Workplace
Businesses need to lead by example and make sustainability a top priority. There are many small but impactful changes you can make to promote sustainability and establish a greener workplace.
- Reward sustainability efforts and make sustainability a part of your office culture.
- Always turn off lights, tech, and other workplace equipment when no one is around. Make this company policy to ensure everyone participates.
- Switch to sustainable products in your workplace and support other businesses that are environmentally-conscious.
Advancing Your Admin Career
The Best Admin Professional Podcasts
Admin professional podcasts connect and inform admins and office managers. The best part is they can be consumed on the go to fit the busy admin lifestyle.
- Admin podcasts can help you keep up to date on industry trends, news, and standards. You might even hear about job postings.
- Create brand new opportunities for learning by listening to podcasts while you exercise, cook, clean, or commute.
- This year, we started our very own Blue Summit Admin Hour Podcast.
Read our full article for a list of the top 11 admin professional podcasts.
Professional Development Goals: Examples and How to Get Started
Professional development can help you ascend to new heights and grow within your career. It will help you develop relevant skills and ensure you keep up with your industry’s changing requirements, trends, and technical know-how.
- You're never too old or experienced to stop growing as a person or a professional.
- Your previous education and training may not be up to date anymore. Set professional development goals that ensure you keep up with your evolving industry.
- Look for professional development opportunities that will help you achieve your career goals and give you a competitive edge against others in your industry.
Learn more about the importance of personal and professional growth, including a long list of professional growth examples.
Administrative Certifications That Can Boost Your Admin Career
Administrative training courses can boost your resume to help you stand out in a crowded field of your peers. They help you maintain your current admin skills and adapt to the evolving expectations and requirements of the industry.
- The duties of an office administrator are vast and varied. Acquiring an administrative certification can help you remedy any gaps in your skillset.
- Office and admin technology is always advancing. Stay current with technological advancements so that you never fall behind what’s expected of your position.
- There are a number of excellent administrative training programs that can help you boost your resume and match what employers are looking for in a rapidly-evolving industry.
Learn more about the benefits an administrative certification can offer.
Free Downloadable Tools
Last, but certainly not least, we’d like to share our free downloadable tools. We’ve created these tools to help make your lives a little easier and your workplaces a little brighter.
2020’s Free Downloadable Tools
- Workplace Printable Hand Washing Signs
- Time Off Request Forms For Sick Leave, Vacation, and More
- The Perfect Office Admin Resume with Free Downloadable Template
- Employee Name Change Form and Other Status Update Templates
- Printable Achievement Certificate Templates
- One-on-One Meeting Agenda Template
- New Employee First Day Checklist
- Tracking Your Habits With Habit Tracker Printables
Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021
So, is 2020 done yet? Because we still can’t get the smell of dumpster fire out of our masks.
In all seriousness, despite the chaos, uncertainty, and pain 2020 brought us all, there’s still a lot to be thankful for. We are grateful for our wonderful customers and to be a part of a workplace we love. And we’re double grateful to see the end of this year.
Good riddance, 2020! See ya never.
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