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4 Adjustments for Parents Working From Home

4 Adjustments for Parents Working From Home

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 8, Episode 24
  • Listen as two Gallup professionals discuss the challenges facing parents working remotely, and how to adjust your thinking and your work patterns to overcome them.
  • Interested in learning more on this topic? Read more about how to improve teamwork in the workplace.

Sofia Kluch, Director of Gallup's Data Science Program, and Adam Hickman, Gallup's Content Manager, were our guests on a recent Called to Coach. Sofia and Adam shared their perspectives as full-time employees and full-time parents on the challenges employees, managers and coaches currently face in working remotely -- including topics such as videoconferencing, flex scheduling, productivity and the human element of having your children in the home while you work.

Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

This webcast is based on content from this article.

Jim Collison 0:01

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on April 1, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:21

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, we do have a live chat room that's available for you right above me there. There's a link to that I'll take you to a YouTube page. Log in there and the chat room is available for you. Ask us your questions. If you're listening after the fact, you can send us an email: Don't forget to subscribe right there on YouTube. There's a note right below Adam down there. There's a little subscription box. Click on that. Click the notification bell; you'll get notified every time we go live in the future. Or, if you want to do what the cool kids do and are listening to podcasts, you can subscribe to us that way as well. Search "Gallup Webcasts" on any podcast platform. Dr. Adam Hickman is our host today. Adam's Gallup's Content Manager. That sounds impressive, Adam. Welcome to Called to Coach!

Adam Hickman 1:14

Thank you, Jim.

Jim Collison 1:16

Good to have you today. Why don't you introduce our subject and our guest?

Adam Hickman 1:19

Sure. Absolutely. So as kind of our series is ran over the last couple of weeks that we've constantly talked about this remote working aspect, we know that the workplace continues to change -- sometimes literally by the minute as we see that come out. And today is probably the harder aspect that we're not, we're seeing some content generated about it, but it's even more of, How do you be a full-time employee? How do you be a full-time parent? Not just a parent, but a teacher, a guidance counselor, negotiator, a chef, a listening board, a hero, a storyteller -- you know, all the things, the list that they go along with being a full-time parent. But still, you still have bills to pay, you still have things that have to take place. So being, and I've got three kids -- Ellie, Ben and Nina -- and, you know, one's -- the two of them are in active distant-learning mode right now where they're almost on more ...

Jim Collison 2:09

Sofia, certainly a challenge, right? Have you had any internet struggles in the 3 weeks? You work from home a lot. I mean, you've been doing it for a long time, right? Do you have internet trouble?

Sofia Kluch 2:19

I have been working from home for 8 years, and I'll say that it's kind of interesting, right? There's the idea of all of these things normally work. But once everyone's using the exact same resources -- and whether that's, you know, suddenly you put a bunch of people on a slack call or on a Teams meeting. Or if you just have your whole apartment building or your whole neighborhood using the same broadband wire, and usually half of those people are at work, but now everybody's home. We get all kinds of glitchy things.

Sofia Kluch 2:50

So it's kind of ironic. At a time where people want to be able to see and do maybe more videoconferences, it's also a time where sometimes you're just like, Hey, I just need to do phone right now, because I'm catching every other word you're saying due to my internet connection.

Jim Collison 3:04

Yeah. Remember the days -- remember the days when we used to dial a number, and then we would, we would talk like this and be like, "Hello?" And remember, we never had to say, "Can you hear me?" We just said, "Hello," right? We never -- because it seems like now, whenever you start a videoconference, it's like, "Hey, can you hear me OK? Or can you see me OK?

Sofia Kluch 3:22

Can you see me? Can you hear me? OK!

Jim Collison 3:25

OK, we can get it started. Yeah, and it's, you know, with everybody on the internet -- although I have found our internet service providers have done a heroic effort, at least in our area, to kind of keep things up and working and moving. We're here talking while we're waiting for Adam, we'll vamp a little bit. You know, one of the challenges when we have our kids at home, they become students. They become, right, especially now, they become students. They become consumers. They have higher expectations of them and now we have some schools kind of requiring this kind of linkage, right? This kind of -- they're doing Zoom and Hangouts and like this.

Jim Collison 4:07

Do you think, like, so schools are gonna, do you think this will be kind of a wake-up call to schools to say, Oh, we better have a better backup plan than just like a snow day. You know, cause snow day, just everybody comes home and it's canceled. Do you feel like we're gonna change a little bit in that space?

Sofia Kluch 4:24

You know, it's really interesting because I've had this conversation with a few people. My personal thoughts -- I really don't think so. I think that, honestly, K-12 schools have operated much the way they have for a really long time, regardless of disruptions. You know, we really haven't reinvented that. Now, I will say this -- and Adam and I were actually talking about this yesterday. I think that for every, you know, 10 or 20 parents that are sitting at home right now, helping, assisting their kids doing some of that distance learning and home schooling; for every 10 or 20 that are kind of pulling their hair out, of playing teacher and parent and employee is driving me nuts, you're probably finding one or two who are thinking, "Gosh, this is a lot easier than I thought it would be. My child likes this a lot more. It's a better schedule for me; it's a better routine for my family."

Sofia Kluch 5:17

I think you're actually going to see a little bit of an insurgence of home schooling that comes out of this, where I don't know that necessarily schools are going to be impacted as much. But maybe people who never really sincerely thought about home schooling before this will decide that this is a lifestyle that they'd like to embrace.

Jim Collison 5:33

Yeah, we -- I heard for the very first time, I was on a call, an internal call, with my friends here at Gallup this morning. And I heard one of them say, "This could be the end of the modern snow day." So like, if we -- because we -- that's here in Nebraska, that's a, that's a, you know, that's a big deal. And that students get, I don't know, 6 to 12 snow days a year. And it's a big deal when it happens, and they rejoice. But certainly this has exposed the ability -- and maybe we'll figure out, because it's going to be so long, it's going to be almost a whole semester, right? I think some schools are going to figure out some things to be like, Oh, maybe on a snow day, we can do more, or expect more, or there could be some systems put in place. It wasn't long ago -- you and I were talking in the preshow -- it wasn't long ago, before maybe even 10 years ago, this wouldn't have been possible, right? We just didn't have the infrastructure in place to get it done.

Jim Collison 6:28

Today, when we think about families, they've got access to all kinds of information -- not just what's going on at school, but we think about Netflix and entertainment, whatever that is, and whatever country you're in. Do you think, do we come out of this, I mean, hopefully we don't come out of this just as an entertainment culture. I've heard a lot of people saying, "Hey, if you have nothing to do, here's some things to do." Do you think we can be more productive than we are through this?

Sofia Kluch 6:54

You know, I think it's incredibly different for each person and even for where you are in the country. I kind of chuckled when you talked about snow days in Nebraska because I live in North Carolina, and when one flake of snow falls, that's it, like we aren't going! Like, you can still see all the grass in the yard and we are still not going to school the next day. So there's, you know, shifts just like that. But when you think about how this is going to impact people, people who have more time on their hands, I think a lot of people who are actually probably interested in the topic that we're gonna talk about today don't have a lot more time on their hands. You know, people who are actually sitting -- and this is something that Adam and I were chatting around -- you'll see things, especially kind of working parents, and their friends and their friend-group conversations with their family, who are talking about, "What am I doing with this extra time? What's the next thing I want to stream? You know, what's, what's the next entertainment that I want to get sucked into?

Sofia Kluch 7:48

And a lot of the people who we're talking about here, you're you're working; you're working full time. You're trying to work from home. You're trying to parent full-time children, who not only aren't able to go to school, but they really don't have any of their other normal outlets. You know, they aren't doing their sports after school. They're not maybe getting tutoring or special extracurricular programs that they normally would. So you have these kids who are bursting full of energy that you're also parenting. I think that for the vast majority of people that we're thinking about -- those full-time working parents who are still trying to work remotely, are looking at their schedules, like, "More time where?" And trying to actually figure out how to juggle, how to fit everything else in that they're now trying to do.

Jim Collison 8:32

Yeah, yeah, well let's, while we're waiting for Adam to come back, let's dive right in. We -- we have published, by this point, an article on these these topics, right, some things, how do parents respond? We've spent a bunch of time talking about how remote workers respond to the workplace, right. Now that there -- we have, we have many more. Now, by the way, that's not everybody. Not everybody got to go home on this. We still have very heroic people out there serving in a lot of spaces as we think about our first responders and hospital workers and some food service and some of those, right, keeping the economy rolling from that standpoint.

Jim Collison 9:06

But for those who are home, and what I've heard is, I was ready for at-home work by myself without kids. Like I was ready for that. I wasn't ready when the spouse joined. And all of a sudden, now we have two different -- we have to find two different places to work, and then put the kids on top of that. We have 4 pieces of advice. Let's, let's look at that outline. Sofia, what would be the first piece of advice that you'd give someone on this?

Sofia Kluch 9:30

Sure. So before I dive in, and I want to jump right into it, but just as a real quick point of reference, I've been with Gallup for 12 years. I direct our Data Science Program here. And for the last 8 years of that, I've done it remotely. So I've been a remote employee and I have 3 children. So I kind of speak a lot of this both from personal experience, from managing remote people and from working remotely. And one of the first things that came to mind when we started thinking what do people need to be able to shift or change is relaxing policies.

Sofia Kluch 10:06

So I think for a long time, people who always work remote had been very serious about making sure I have a nice office, I have a space that's dedicated. I have peace and quiet. I have, you know, childcare if my children are young or would need attention. And right now we have to understand that there's going to be a baby crying background. There might be a toddler that runs in, into your camera shot if you're on a videoconference. You might have people who really honestly just insist with their schedules, that they're trying to work around nap times and breakfast times and dinner times. And it's just easier for them to get up really early or work more late at night to get things done, but they can't do it as well on that regular 8-to-5 schedule.

Sofia Kluch 10:53

I think that the concept of those interruptions and feeling like OK, I got to be on 8 to 5, and I've got to make it look like I have nothing else in my life but work. You know, there should, no one should understand that there might be a dirty cup on the table or a child running through a room or a dog barking or an Amazon delivery. Like we're all going to be human right now. We're all gonna understand that that is part of what we are living and breathing through.

Jim Collison 11:22

One of the things that I've noticed because I've been doing a lot more of these calls with folks, with, with Gallup people, is the kids want to be a big part of the call. Like they sense when these calls are on, right. They feel it. And they don't -- mom or dad, they want mom or dad's attention. Any thoughts as we think about being on the other end? Of course, you're embarrassed, because we made fun of this up until like a month ago. You know, we made fun of that guy at CNN where his kid came in; it was on television, right? But what advice would you give to the individual so when you are on that call and a child comes in or a distraction or a dog barks or the Amazon delivery happens, how do we respond to that? Or how would you recommend we respond to that?

Sofia Kluch 12:06

So I think I'm gonna talk to two parts of that. Like one, when it happens to you, I think it's completely fine and great to acknowledge it and acknowledge that human piece of it. Like, "Hang on a second, Johnny needs this!" Or "I got to let the dog out; give me 30 seconds -- I'm going to be right back!" It's OK to acknowledge that these interruptions are happening, and then try to regroup as quickly as you possibly can.

Sofia Kluch 12:27

And I think from the flip side, I think when you're in that call, and the interruption is coming, to let that happen, and not make a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be. One of the actual points that I'm going to get to, and I'm just gonna jump to right now, is concept of making meetings shorter, just for this very reason. I think it's a lot easier, especially for parents, to occupy a child with something for 15 minutes for 30 minutes, or "I'm going to make your lunch" or "Here's a book that I want you to sit; I want you to look at the clock. And in 30 minutes, I'll come back and we'll check back in together." That's a heck of a lot easier than for a child, saying, "I need you to be quiet for an hour." And "I need you not to interrupt me for an hour."

Sofia Kluch 13:12

So I think that that's one element of trying to keep things as short as possible, which is really hard, especially for people who want to be in offices and who miss the social interaction. And they're excited about a videoconference. They're like, Hey, I want to see people; I want to catch up. I want to talk about what's going on in your life. And I promise you on every one of those that you have a parent of a young child, there is somebody sitting on camera thinking, I have a small exploding time bomb that's gonna go off if we don't finish this conversation in the next 10 minutes!

Jim Collison 13:45

Yeah, you know, I think one of the things, and Adam, welcome back, we'll, we'll jump you back in here in just a second. I think one of the things we expected is we could go home and do work as we did it in the offices -- just it was going to be with a webcam and a microphone, right? And we've realized that the actual structure of work changes, right. We can no longer maybe sit down and get that 2-hour block of uninterrupted time. We can no longer think that we can be on a call and have it not have distractions going on around us. And I would challenge us to kind of think through OK, now that we know we're in that world, how would we work a little bit differently?

Jim Collison 14:24

I heard clues from you when you just said, "Maybe calls need to be kind of limited to 5 or 10 minutes; kind of quick in and quick out. We still -- and maybe we need to do more of them. So shorter durations, but but more frequency in some of the calls that are made. Maybe some of those expectations need to change of ours. In other words, maybe we need to do them earlier or maybe we need to do them later, in around our -- the kids' schedule, right. And from my standpoint, I don't need kids at home, so I can do whatever. But, ut I know there might be some changes involved in that. Adam, you've got some -- you've got students at home right now that I have seen walking through. From your experience, has this changed -- having them home full time, has it changed things for you?

Adam Hickman 15:08

Yeah, because you're managing not just your calendar, it's your spouse's calendar; it's your kids' calendar. You know, I was saying before my intermittent break that it is a different, it is a different workday. You can't assume that things are going to quickly bounce back to that. Forgive me if we've already covered this, but that, that whole idea of you spending 1 hour a week per child on their turf, from, from our Strengths Based Parenting book, that's hard to do because not -- you're flexing not only just your workplace, but then you got to work the kids into the same. So it's kind of, it almost feels like the workdays are even longer, right, because you're kind of tag-teaming on OK, so it's your schedule, then it's mine and then it's theirs.

Adam Hickman 15:50

And what's been great is the teachers have been fantastic in response to this, right, it's kind of just a quick adjustment like we've talked about and they keep going. So Miss A, Miss Tiff, Mr. Henry out there, for my kids, thank you. But the way that they've just integrated into this type of Zoom type of setup or this, you know, whatever broadcast that you're using to do that.

Adam Hickman 16:09

In one of our recent panel studies, we're finding out about 84% of the U.S. population is keeping kids home. And I think that's going to continue to climb as, you know, the stay-at-home order stays into effect or, or we're finding out distant learning's a thing that that can happen quickly. But it also puts a different spin on the workplace, and for coaches to think through, How are you going to structure your day in a difference than it was in the beginning, right? You can't, there's no daycares to drop off to anymore. Even to the point where I've seen some work-from-home policies talk about, you know, having somebody there to take care of your children. Well, if we're following and, and following the rules that are -- have been pushed out there for us, that's not something that everyone can do as well.

Jim Collison 16:50

Yeah. Sofia, from -- when we think about flex scheduling, what other advice do we have? What other things can we think about?

Sofia Kluch 16:56

Sure. Talking to your people. So figuring out what their calendars are like, and not necessarily in the abstract, like, "Hey, how are you doing? Do you feel like you have time to get things done?" But of, "Hey, let's have a conversation about optimal hours for you right now." And you may learn, OK, like, yes, 1 to 3 is nap time in my house. So that's my best focus time. Or, you know, breakfast time is at 8. And if you throw a meeting on my calendar at 8, I'll make it happen, but it will make the rest of my life really difficult for that day. So can we make those only essential meetings kind of at that time?

Sofia Kluch 17:33

If you can work with people to actually get real specific, like, "Hey, I understand that you have young people in your home right now that aren't usually there. What changes do we need to make to your schedule in order to accommodate that?" is a really easy question. Some people may come back and say that they have something balanced out. I've seen great stories of extended family members, you know, stepping in to help. But on the flip side of that, you also have, you know, my shout-out right now is to single parents, who it's just them and their child or their children, and there's no one to balance, you know, calls or other things back and forth with. So you have people kind of dealing with the whole gamut of needing a lot of support and accommodations to really not needing a whole lot of anything to change for them to continue to be as productive as they always have.

Jim Collison 18:21

Adam, would you add anything to that?

Adam Hickman 18:24

I think the term "productivity" kind of changed as we've all dispersed out into remote work, right? It's not just, Are you productive? It's, How can you be productive? And if that's a question the coach can start to really hone in on, then I think you're going to hear not only their natural talents of people come out, but you can help them structure their day, that they're still a full-time parent and they're still a full-time employee. But the idea of someone's going to be productive from 8 to 5 -- it's, it's changing every single day. Because we're, we're uncovering, right, your pockets of like, Gosh, I know from 7 to 9, I've got to be keeping my kids' schedule; mine when my wife's on. Then we're going to switch and, like, just the whole idea of, you can't just sit down and begin your day anymore when you've got children that are also, right, their teachers are trying to be just as productive with them. And it takes the liking of both. So yeah, single parents, teachers all over the world: Thank you. Gosh, it's, I couldn't do what you do. You guys are fantastic!

Jim Collison 19:24

No, right on. It's a good sentiment. Sofia, as we think about what's happened in the last 3 weeks. This is our third week here at Gallup of kind of being full time. I've actually noticed the schedule tighten up, not loosen up. In other words, I'm noticing a lot more people aren't working the evenings like they used to. So they used to put a full day in at the office, and then they come home, or they would come home and log in at 9:00 or 10:00 at night. I'm actually not seeing as much of that. Now I'm a data point of one. You're a data scientist, so that's not valid. Right? But, but have you noticed -- you're on the outside You've been doing this for a long time. Do you think there'll be a reaction to this? In other words, folks at home to be -- set some boundaries and say, You know what, I'm going to keep some work-hour boundaries. And then I'm going to leave those evening times open for family. Will we snap back to it? Can you talk a little bit about what you're seeing in the space?

Sofia Kluch 20:16

Sure. So I think it's actually very different from when you think of remote working. When you think of remote working, you think of establishing boundaries. And boundaries are healthy for everybody. This is not that. I talk to people all the time, especially managing remote people. This is like trying to get people through Cyber Monday or March Madness. There is this enormous distraction taking place in everybody's life. And so it's not just about, Hey, I want to go ahead and set a new boundary and have like evening times with my family. It's, Hey, you're gonna have people that you are working with, that you are coaching, that you are managing, that you are leading that are dealing with enormous new stressors in their life. They may have elderly family members that might be at risk. They may have, at the end of this, it's very likely that people throughout this country are going to know somebody who has died from this, somebody who has suffered. We're dealing with grief; we're dealing with loss; we're dealing with anxiety.

Sofia Kluch 21:16

We have a whole host of, of kind of very complex demands on our attention. And I think it's very reasonable that people are are not necessarily saying, Hey, I want to shut off at 5 because I want to create space between me and work. I think it's more of, Hey, there's this crushing outside weight. Maybe it's just I need toilet paper today. Maybe it's I need to take my my dog on a walk. And normally I might not fit it in today, but now it's the only time I'm going to leave my house. So people I think are doing things that won't keep going once this is over. I think this is very different than remote workers kind of establishing specific space in their home or specific hours that they want to commit to being online.

Jim Collison 21:59

Yeah. I just have noticed -- I just thought of this as we were talking -- like I have noticed the patterns have changed, not what I expected. I kind of expected the the typical hours to remain. I could get a hold of anybody in the evenings. That has kind of, at least in our culture, that has kind of stopped. The other thing I'm noticing is the weekend work is not as busy as it used to be -- for some; there's others, don't don't get me wrong, there's folks working all the way through the weekends on stuff like that. But I've noticed that's got protected as well.

Jim Collison 22:27

So it'll be interesting to see, I think, as people respond to this, do we get -- as they're figuring out this flex time, right, as they're figuring out deadlines now. Typically, we talk about deadlines happening close of business, right, which for a lot of people's 5. That now gets kind of, kind of gets, gets wiped out. And for me, what is the beginning of the day? Like all of a sudden I'm finding myself down here at 6, 5:30 starting to work, right, when typically that would have been a maybe an 8 or an 8:30 start. Can you talk a little bit, Sofia, around those parameters of this opening a business/close of business concept?

Sofia Kluch 23:05

So I think for a lot of people, we create timelines around close of business. We say, Hey, this needs to be done Thursday. Well, when on Thursday? By close of business, kind of by the end of the day, because we're going to hand it off to someone else, someone's going to be reviewing it next up. And I think this transition of saying, like, Hey, unless you really plan to have someone reviewing it that night, let's make it open of business. Because literally by saying open of business, and then we pick the time, say it's 8, say it's 9 a.m., you know, on Friday, instead of close of business Thursday night, you've given your people a whole evening, and whatever hours of a morning that they would want to spend on it, to figure out what works best for them. Maybe between calls and kids and, and teachers and conferences during a day, there is no time to get that review or that work completed. But I could do it at night and I could do it in the morning. So that's the way that I manage to hit my deadline and keep things moving.

Jim Collison 23:59

Adam would you add anything to that?

Adam Hickman 24:01

Yeah, just to the same point of that is the allowance of flexibility. So I think you guys have talked a little bit about the relaxed your policies. And it -- maybe this doesn't need to be a written policy that we're talking about here, but if you're building partnerships and networks within your organization, if you flip the script to what Sofia just talked about, like, Hey, when's, when's the due date here? Like when's the deadline? To -- I know you've got a lot going on right now. Talk to me about when this is possible. Right?

Adam Hickman 24:31

Because what you're inviting to the conversation is their deadline, right? But you're also going to maneuver through, Hey, when I get off today, I've got 3 kids stir crazy. We got, we got stuff, I've got to wear, I've got to wear them out! So I can get it for you, but it'll likely be -- and you get your answer, right. But that's an engaging way where you don't have to say, OK, can you get it to me by 11 p.m.? But you kind of invite the conversation for them to dictate their own, their own timeline in a, in a crisis situation like that we're in, right. And it still keeps them engaged; it validates them as a person. And you flipped it, you flipped it on to them.

Jim Collison 25:08

Had a -- I had to do some work on a Called to Coach the other day with some folks in Europe, and it was a great opportunity to be like Hey, I need this. Before you go to bed, could you get it to me? And while you're sleeping, I will get it done and have it ready for you in the morning when you wake up, right. And so those terms went from being, you know, around business hours, they kind of went to life hours, right, and and making those settings that way. Sofia, anything else you would add when we think about the, the flexibility in the business hours and setting expectations?

Sofia Kluch 25:44

Just think about across your whole team. You are very likely to have people that you work with that are night owls and people who are early birds. And it is very difficult for some people, if you said, Oh, you can get it to me by 8 in the morning? It's like, you'll have it at 1, because the idea of getting up to get it to you versus staying up all night is much more attractive. And almost to the extent that you bring that up, Jim.

Sofia Kluch 26:08

So I lived and worked out of Abu Dhabi for 2 years, and we had what we called first shift and second shift because we had almost an 8-hour difference most of the year. You can almost kind of create that system with your, with your, within your own team. If you have people who you know, like, Listen, night's going to be when I'm productive. And another set of people who are, Morning's going to be where I'm productive. Work those handoffs, individualize, empower people to talk to each other and figure out how are we going to get this done on a schedule that works best for us?

Jim Collison 26:36

Yeah, I have a microcosm of that in my house. So my wife is a morning person; my daughter is an evening person. And so we have kind of those shifts going on throughout the house. I was in London in December, got an opportunity to work for a week out of the London office, and man did I really like working in that time zone. Because I could get up early, get all the work, my email and stuff out of the way before America woke up. They would wake up and then I was there to help them, right during, during my afternoon, evening for them. And that worked out really, really well for me.

Jim Collison 27:06

I think getting more in tune with, not just global locations, but also, like you said, kind of understanding this may be where understanding the strengths of your team, right. And not just the strengths of what they can do, but their hours of operation and when they're best, may make a challenge for project managers. And for managers, our coaches are going to have to give some advice in leading this way. But this may be a new opportunity to really dig in from a strengths perspective and say, Hey, when are you the most productive? Because it doesn't matter anymore. We're not in the office to worry about it, right? Right? Yeah. Adam, would you add anything to that?

Adam Hickman 27:44

Yeah, I think when you, when you hired someone, you hired the whole person, right? You get all the talent that comes with them, but you also know that they've got obligations outside of work as well, and you've kind of hired that into place as well. So if you think of this time right now, it's not a sprint and I've got high Competition. So trust me, I'm sprinting as hard as I can, as fast as we can. But it's more of the relay. And a part of that relay is going to involve childrenl; it's going to involve outside obligations, and those managers that individualize and have that whole -- or needs of followers falling behind them. Right? They recognize that, and they're inviting that into the conversation to say, We all know we still got work we've got to get done, right? How are we the most productive right now with what we've got in front of us? Rather than saying, well, you still got to work 8 to 5, or whatever the hours may be, and figure out life, right? Because that's, that's going to cause more of a, in my mind more of a panic than just the crisis itself is, How do I manage this within my own, my own domain?

Jim Collison 28:43

Sofia, as we think about kind of a final point around coaches who are helping managers who manage managers. So we're talking about senior leaders. This is -- we often talk about first line and folks who've been sent home to remote. We haven't spent a ton of time talking about that distress and the pressures that come on these managers of managers -- executive leadership. As you're thinking about this, you mentioned a little bit in our first point about maybe relaxing some policies, like OK, we have to think a little bit differently now, especially if it was a highly structured company to begin with. What other advice would you give to, to those managers of managers or those coaches that are managing them around this new time?

Sofia Kluch 29:23

I think it's important, especially for managers of managers, to be ensuring that people have what they need -- this idea of "put your face mask on first." I think especially in many business environments, right now, there's a lot of anxiety and a lot of fear. We're looking at the economy; we're looking at people's businesses; we're putting managers in positions where we might be asking them to make some pretty hard decisions. Making sure that they have everything that they need, that they feel supported, that they feel like somebody within that organization, that their leadership cares about them, will give them the energy and the engagement that they really need in order to be able to pass that down to the managers beneath them, to the individual contributors that they are leading and guiding.

Sofia Kluch 30:12

I think that it's incredibly naïve for leaders at this point to assume that the managers that they have, you know, developed huge trust in -- it's not saying that that's not that there, not valid, but that that is sustainable to help them get through everything that they need to do right now. I think that providing them everything that we talked about for that frontline, but at that manager level, including that security of knowing how they're valued and that if they need special exceptions and considerations and flexibility during this time, that their leadership is supportive of them as well.

Jim Collison 30:48

Yeah, never been a better time to think about those first 3 questions on the Q12. Right. Do I know what's expected of me? Do I have the materials and equipment to do my job? And am I aligned correctly based on my strengths to be able to do the job that the I'm supposed to be doing? I think that No. 3, especially around strengths, right, it's -- for a lot of people, their jobs have been displaced. So it's not just about coming home. Now the job is different because they've come home. Maybe it's a different role doing different things. They're worried about their own job. Right. And I think it's a time for managers to, to ask those questions often, right. Figure out the ways. We just did a whole series on the 5 Coaching Conversations, right, this Quick Connect concept of -- the Quick Connect's one of those 5 -- of reaching out to those people, to your folks, often and saying, Hey, how's it going? And maybe making a miniature version of those 3 questions. Adam, would you add anything to that?

Adam Hickman 31:38

Yeah, I think those that are listening, watching that have Adaptability, like this is your dream scene right here, you're adapting every single day to things. And for those that struggle with that ability to adapt, I think as long as you recognize, maybe this will be a change for some, right, but right now, in the moment, it's an adjustment. And you've got to be able to roll with what that adjustment is and adapt to the current situation. So for instance, if this door whips open and one of my kids come in, right, how do you keep yourself on par with what you need to do, but do what you got to do otherwise to continue on being productive throughout the day? For those that struggle with, well, that's just, we just can't do that. I'd say, "Well, why not? What what -- I mean, we're all in this together for what it is. And we've got to be able to be adaptable, but also know that it is an adjustment on every state."

Jim Collison 32:26

Sofia, how appropriate would it be for parents now at home to run those 3, those same 3 questions with -- by their, by their kids, and make kid versions of them? In other words, Hey, while you're home now, and we're working at this together, do you know what's expected of you during the day? Right? Do you have all the materials and equipment to do what I've, I'm expecting you to do here, or the schools are expecting you to do? And have we aligned your strengths -- do you think that's appropriate to have that family conversation that way?

Sofia Kluch 32:56

I think it's completely fair, in whatever language is about appropriate for each child's age. You know, I'm dealing with a really grumpy college freshman who got "rehomed"; a equally grumpy high school freshman who wants to go hang out with his friends; and a relatively content middle schooler. But whoever wanted to go to middle school, right, so he's ... . And I think that those are questions I can definitely connect with, with my kids around, and things that I've tried to actually shed light and have conversations so that there are really clear expectations around what we're kind of trying to do and structure for a day.

Sofia Kluch 33:34

Now I will say, my kids have 8 years of training, of knowing that even though mom's home, she's working. So I have a big leg up. I think a lot of parents who, you know, usually, when mom or dad or home, it's -- it is a weekend. It is time that we can interact, that we can interrupt. That we have needs, if we have wants, we can engage at our will. And so I think that that is a kind of key behavioral change. Eight years later, I don't have a kid walking in to the middle of a videoconference, but it took 8 years of training and growing for them to be able to get to that point. So I think that for most people, it's an unfair expectation on kids to get real quick.

Jim Collison 34:13

It's funny you mentioned the grumpy college student. I have a junior in college who's, so she's 21. And she's home. She's actually really liking it, but I -- now that I'm thinking about it, as she was coming home, we had a lot of conversations around OK, do you have everything you need? Is there anything else I can provide? Is your laptop good enough? Do you need more space? Do we need to set up something different for you, right? I didn't think I was thinking through those questions, those first 3, those expectation questions on the Q12, but that's kind of become ingrained in me, you know, as far as being able to ask those questions early and often. And I don't think once; I think, right, as each week progresses, we kind of need to keep reviewing those things. I don't know about you guys, but we're eating dinner more often together because we have to. Right? We have to. Adam, are you having different -- you're also remote all the time. But are you guys having any different conversations around this now being all together? And how is that going?

Adam Hickman 35:10

Yeah, I was just thinking like if I say -- Command No. 2, right -- if I said, "Do you know what's expected of you?" they're like, "Am I in trouble?" If my wife says it, it'll sound a lot better if than if I say it. So maybe even the person makes a difference in who says it too. Yeah. Again, you know, it's the adjustment. I think the difference for us is like, we've instituted a couple of things, like no electronics at the dinner table, right? And that means for us too, which is super hard because I'm -- I gotta be on email and ready to go.

Adam Hickman 35:38

And the conversations there have been about, What did you learn today? What were some hard decisions that you made? What's tomorrow look like? We're kind of previewing all that together to find out, right, or listen for the clues of ways that we've got to interject to make sure they're set up for that day.

Adam Hickman 35:53

The one thing I saw on the chat room about the Achiever, right, and I'm sure this is kind of all across the board on Achievers, that it's not easy to say this is you've got to this need to achieve. Something I've heard a long time ago, I wish I could call who it was from, was every time you say "Yes" to something, you say "No" to something else. And if I think right now, if your "Yeses" to your work is a "No" to your family, you've got an uneven balance. And that's going to require conversations with your managers or to coach somebody to say, You've got to talk more about how that's set up so you can still achieve, but you've got a balance where you're not saying "No" to other things that we know, within our elements of wellbeing, help create that, that sense of utopia for you.

Jim Collison 36:33

Yeah, I think that's a good point. Right, Sofia? You want to add to that?

Sofia Kluch 36:36

I was just gonna say, just to add on to that, I think right now coaching leaders to model is so important. So if you have someone who is a leader of leaders, and they can say, Listen, guys, I need you know, 4:00 is going to be out for me because I need to prep dinner and do stuff with my kids. And this is going to be my reality while we're in this situation, and normally it wouldn't be. But I want to show you what I'm doing to change my life and that it's OK for you to do those same things where and if you need to. I think that that speaks volumes for leaders.

Jim Collison 37:08

Yeah, no, modeling that I think is important. And then understanding, and maybe even asking those questions about How's it going with your family? Because I think we're under we're under unprecedented times where that -- a lot of people don't want to admit it's a real struggle, right? Especially like, "Oh, I'm really struggling with this." And I think in those manager conversations and those coaching conversations, it's really, really important we have -- we ask that question: How are you doing with this? Is there anything I can do to help? Right and, and anything different that, that we can do. Adam, we lost you early, and I want to make sure we didn't miss anything you also wanted to add in. Any other thoughts as we -- of things we might have missed up front that you want to add in now?

Adam Hickman 37:52

No, it's sounds really good. We've covered a lot of the points today. I think the only one in addition to add, wherever this may fit in throughout, is when you when you mentioned the word "meaningful." Because I'm seeing that thrown out everywhere. It's like, meaningful this; meaningful that. What's meaningful is from the root of the person. And there's no tricks to this, there's, you really don't need any science behind it. But -- for coaches that coach managers, for managers to have these conversations, for leaders to have these conversations -- what's meaningful to you is unique to that individual.

Adam Hickman 38:22

So if you're having meaningful conversations around work life, around children, around whatever the case may be, to your point, Jim to say, you know, when, when you were saying about, it's hard to admit that sometimes. I think there's still a fear factor in some industries and some companies. And even some employees are unsure, can they say, "I'm struggling right now"? Right? And if, and if you're, if you're not there, or you're working or coaching with a person, like even that leader or manager, if they lead in with the conversation, like I'm struggling too. Right? And that just kind of lays the precedence on on being OK to say that. But the meaningful piece to that is that you're recognizing them as a person first and listening to what's meaningful to them, so you adjust to that. So the, you know the trick that we say, and there's a lot of things in our textbooks that we talk about individualization, right, the fastest way to that is the meaningful conversation. And what we mean by that is you adapting to them; them not adapting to you.

Jim Collison 39:19

Sofia, I'm gonna put you on the spot. This is not in the script at all in our outline, but I'm going to say, As you think about all the work that we do -- you're a data scientist for us, and you oversee a lot of the data that we do here -- if folks wanted to stay close to something that we're doing during this time, that we're publishing, that we're talking about, what do you think around this area of families and, and, you know, this, this kind of this new world we're in, for however long it takes. What would you tell them? What kind of advice -- how can we help them, and what kind of numbers are we putting out that might be helpful to them?

Sofia Kluch 39:50

So we've been polling for the last week and a half the U.S population for a variety of behaviors, looking to see what people are actually saying that how they feel about stay-at-home orders, places that they're avoiding, all the way to things just like people reporting they've had a temperature. So there's a lot of data that we're collecting, and we're putting out on, on to help people understand how this is changing kind of the landscape of our country.

Sofia Kluch 40:19

I think when we think about parents, one piece that's really interesting, and just a little teaser, as we started looking into some of the health data that came out of a recent large annual study that we do at Gallup, is the incidence of reported incidence -- self-report -- of depression and anxiety are actually much higher in younger populations within our country. Some of that might be social desirability of older populations who don't feel as comfortable saying that they are experiencing anxiety or depression, but also just keeping in mind that these are, these are scary times for kids. So as parents, it's really important that we're providing structure, we're providing stability, that we're providing kind of a safe space for them to still be learning and growing and, and having interactions that feel normal and are contributing to their overall mental health in addition to their physical health.

Jim Collison 41:17

Yeah, if you haven't visited and taken a look at all the data that we're producing on a daily basis, some great information out there, just be informed about how people are feeling around this, especially around the special topic. Adam, you're the Content Manager here at Gallup. Anything you know that's coming up that you could highlight that that may interest folks around this topic?

Adam Hickman 41:37

Yep. I think from our news site, right. So usually, I'm dialed in really clear on our workplace. Where I think you get the benefit of both worlds here is you're going to see some stories start to run loneliness. And then we're going to see how that plays over in the workplace. So if I'm a coach, I'm thinking, how am I going to build content? How am I going to build curriculum? How am I going to work this into my conversation? As the -- as this stretches out, and more things continue to happen, what's a really good engine that has been a brand for 80+ years remains Gallup. And the way in which I would work this through -- here comes some Analytical -- start on the new site. See what Sofia and team is pulling together; see what, you know, people are -- or opinions and, you know, we've talked, "feelings are facts" and all these data points that come across. You're gonna get the factual numbers. And if you see how, on our site, the workplace numbers and how that molds together, that's the conversations likely that you're getting questioned or asked about that we've just put them in a narrative around that's an informed objective opinion that you can use in that conversation.

Jim Collison 42:44

OK, guys, any final, Sofia, I'll throw it over to you anything we missed? Anything you wanted to highlight before we wrap it?

Sofia Kluch 42:51

Well, because they're coaches I'll go ahead and just I think that to the idea of vulnerability and empathy that you guys have both layered on to leaders as being really important. I lead with Focus, I have super-high Focus. It's actually really difficult as a parent who works from home, because sometimes I'm just like, "No, I'm in this, and I'm doing this thing, and you're gonna have to wait a minute; you'll be fine." I will tell you that my Focus has really suffered. I had this conversation with my manager. I'm like, "Gosh, my Focus is not where it normally is." There are just other distractions going on that I am having to figure out how I work through.

Sofia Kluch 43:27

And I think that's important for coaches to think through, of even people who normally have strengths that would really set themselves up well to kind of weather this type of a situation. They may be finding that some things that they lean on aren't working the same way that they always do. So just be open to those conversations too.

Jim Collison 43:47

Adam, final thoughts for you?

Adam Hickman 43:49

Yeah, I was thinking of, if I could run another study right now, I would love to run one on the effects of parents working from home on their children. I thought of it as really cool before this happened. And now I'm like, Gosh, do I really want to launch that study? And I just -- I keep in the back of my mind is they're watching us. And the more that, you know, how are you shaping that is going to have an, it's going to have an effect long term on how they view, I'm sure multiple things.

Adam Hickman 44:15

So in closing, in closing, right, they're, they're watching you. And what you do now will have some sort of an effect down the road. And I just think it's so important not only to have the things we've talked about in today, but just the will and courage to say, Things are tough right now. Parenting's tough. Put those two together, it's really hard to make this work. What makes the difference -- no surprise -- is the manager, right. So how do you, how you coach employees to have those conversations? How do you coach managers to be comfortable? Right, we've got the data to support those conversations, just the will to go do it.

Jim Collison 44:48

I think that's a good, good way to wrap it up. And we want to thank everyone who joined us live for doing as well. A couple reminders. We'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available, both on -- and the new CliftonStrengths site. So go out to We've got tons of resources for you. Again, this may be new, and you're like, Oh, I didn't know had all these resources available. We're doing updates daily. There's newsletters you can sign up for. I mean, we -- if you're a data junkie, we've got everything you need. So you want to go out there, take a look. If you have any questions on any of those things, by the way, just send us an email: We'll have somebody get back to you with the answers that you might have. I mentioned newsletters. We got a CliftonStrengths Community Newsletter that's available for you. And you can subscribe to a bunch of a different alerts on So go out there today, take a look. Find that thing that works for you, and then get signed up for it. I mentioned if you have a question, send us an email: If you want to sign up for these live events, and we have dozens of them coming up over the next couple weeks -- and 50 or 60 over the next 6 months -- we'd love to have you sign up for them: Create an account. Follow us there; you'll get a notification every time. And I send out -- during the week, I send out daily updates to everything that's going on here at Gallup. And so if you want to stay in the know, not be far from it: And then of course, in our social groups: if you want to join us on Facebook. Maybe you're not a Facebooker; go on LinkedIn: CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches. That's our group. Just search for it: "CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches," and we'll let you in there as well. I want to thank you for joining us live today. We'll do a smidge of a postshow at the end of this, if you're listening live. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Sofia Kluch's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Activator, Communication, Maximizer and Focus.

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