The New Normal—for Business and Life

April 27, 2021 7:08 PM | NENA Admin (Administrator)

By Margo Scoble, NENA Board Member
Program Director, 
Managed Career Solutions, Inc.

Working from home this past year has been challenging. It has brought forth both opportunities and an unfortunate loss of daily contact with my coworkers, beneficiaries and partners. The first two months of stay safe at home seems like a lifetime ago. My sheer lack of ability to understand Zoom, Google hangouts and Microsoft teams. I had used DocuSign for a personal matter once but never for work. It was overwhelming to say the least. That said, we are still standing, and this old dog has learned some new tricks. I have learned all the standard virtual meeting platforms. I participated and presented at the NENA National Conference. We use DocuSign on a daily basis. I am sure as a group we all have become proficient at new programs and platforms.

The following two paragraphs are directly from a Yahoo Business article by Daniel Howley, Technology Editor on March 22, 2021.

According to Microsoft’s first-annual Work Trend Index, which surveyed 30,000 people from 31 countries, 73% of workers want their employers to continue providing flexible remote work options after the world returns to some semblance of normalcy.

“The data is clear. Extreme flexibility and hybrid work will define the post-pandemic workplace,” the survey notes. “Employees want control of where, when, and how they work, and expect businesses to provide options. The decisions business leaders make in the coming months to enable flexible work will impact everything from culture and innovation to how organizations attract and retain top talent.”

With many of us now fully functioning (or close to) at working from home I wanted to briefly address a few tips. Designate a workspace that is yours. It doesn’t need to be an entire room. My spot is the dining table. From 8:00 am to 5:00 pm my family respects that area as my office and understands I am working.

Remember that you are allowed to stop working at the end of the workday. Many of us continue to work past five or at minimum read emails. That doesn’t mean you are required to or that you must respond. Once people understand you have work boundaries and are not always available on call, you will hopefully feel less burden to constantly check your emails, phone messages and texts during non-working hours.

I have had a long commute for my entire working career. It has always been my me time. When the kids were little, I treasured that hour each morning and evening of no work no kids. I am a huge fan of Libby, the free public library app. When driving I listened to free audible books on the app and was so well read. I would listen t o a new book every week. Now, I use the same app but download free books and read during that same commute time. I am determined to still have my daily me time. Spring is here so daily walks and listening to audio books are returning.

One area that can be over or underwhelming is keeping in contact with coworkers, partners, and your clients. Many of us used to see each other daily, attend regular meetings, conduct outreach and present at various events. Now, we communicate via virtual meetings, email, text and phone. It is definitely not the same. There is less chit chat and small talk. I miss the comradery of my coworkers. One way to combat this is to get on meetings a few minutes early and have an ordinary conversation prior to the start of the meeting. Another solution is just picking up the phone and telling people you miss them and asking how they are. Seems simple, yet many of us are skipping this essential human connection.

The NENA marketing committee has tried to encompass different ways to keep in contact with our beneficiaries throughout the safe at home order. We meet the third Wednesday each month at 2:00 pm EST. We have brought in guest speakers on subjects ranging from texting to utilizing webinars to reach clients. We also have had robust meetings with members chiming in as to how they are faring during all of this, including sharing marketing ideas. Some members and their organizations have really thought outside the box and come up with real solutions. Please join us. Feel free to reach out to me anytime at

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The National Employment Network Association (NENA) serves Employment Networks (ENs), American Job Centers (AJCs), State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) and other Stakeholders involved in the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program.

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