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Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom, PhD Most of us know what it feels like to grind for 8 hours at work and feel drained at the end of the day. Micro-breaks are a way to keep us feeling refreshed throughout the day and avoid feeling exhausted later. There are several types of work breaks that vary in length. There are vacations, weekends, the period of time between work shifts (the evening for most people), the lunch break, and then those little breaks we take during the workday, usually in between tasks. Those small, informal breaks during the workday are what researchers call “micro-breaks”. Depending

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By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D. Feedback is one of the most important resources at work. It can be used to energize people, fuel their growth, guide them in the right direction, inform future behavior, clarify expectations, and help them to attain goals. Thus, it is central to motivation, performance, and even workplace safety (1,2). As the world is embracing remote work more than ever, many fear this will be associated with a lack of feedback when compared to the typical face-to-face workplace. This is a reasonable concern! A great deal of informal feedback is exchanged within an office environment. For instance, you

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By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D. A team of researchers recruited 1135 participants to take place in a study that collected information on their work experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic over time. The data collection began in April of 2020 and will continue to run for 6 months. Initial findings were recently shared by the researchers (1). Among many results, the researchers uncovered that managers are feeling uncertain about employee motivation in a remote work setting — 41% of managers agreed with the statement “I am skeptical as to whether remote workers can stay motivated in the long term” and 17% were unsure. This

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD Social media is everywhere. Good luck finding someone who doesn’t spend time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube — you name it. But how does this impact our wellbeing? This is becoming a very important question. With more people social distancing and working remotely, many individuals are turning to social media for entertainment. Some researchers conducted a study to help us learn more (1). They randomly assigned young adults to one of two groups. The first group was a control group, so these participants were asked not to change anything. The second group was the experimental group,

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD Virtual work is becoming a part of everyday life for many individuals. What does the research have to say about how it impacts our well-being? Working from home is associated with… • More positive emotions and lower degrees of negative emotions (1,2) • A reduction in work stress (3) • Less emotional exhaustion (4,2) • More physical activity (5) • Less work-family conflict (6) • Increased feelings of autonomy (7) • Job satisfaction (8) Is there a dark side of flex work on our well-being? People are social animals and have better well-being when they feel supported. Many individuals fear they will be socially isolated when

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD When it comes to leading a virtual or flex workforce, trust is everything. Managers are struggling with new ways of leading — including the delicate balance between giving enough direction without micromanaging. When leaders are accustomed to seeing employees in an office every day, it can be difficult adjusting to an arrangement that has less observational opportunities. In a flexible work model, it is not as easy to closely monitor due to physical proximity, but some leaders adjust well by embracing the opportunity to give people more autonomy. Other leaders do not adjust as well and try

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