Workplace offers resources, information and a spotlight for Latinas working in the corporate environment or for independent professionals.

How to leverage your bicultural Latina skills on your resume

According to studies on the topic, biculturals, or people who identify with two or more cultures, are said to play an essential role in economic development by starting new ventures. 

Bicultural Latina professionals can deliver a competitive edge with their language skills and cultural knowledge and are valuable members of any team, board, or company. Additionally, bicultural Latina entrepreneurs bring unique perspectives to their ventures and networks. 

How to find a job in “hot” industries, leverage Hispanic language and culture skills, deal with stereotypes, handle job interviews, and play the corporate game.

As you spruce up your resume for the new year, make sure to highlight your bicultural Latina skills. These skills go beyond just language; cultural knowledge is also an important asset. 

In her book, Best Careers For Bilingual Latinos, Hispanic career development specialist Graciela Kenig says, “When you work in a company that wants to serve a multicultural market, a different perspective is one of the most important strengths you can bring.”

Below are a few tips for improving your resume to spotlight those bicultural skills and catch the eye of recruiters. 

4 Key areas to highlight your bicultural Latina skills on your resume 

Of course, adding your bicultural skills to the skills section of your resume is the obvious choice. Still, there are other ways you can highlight your cultural knowledge and language skills throughout your entire resume. 

  1. Resume Profile – Your resume profile is the first impression recruiters get. In this summary, you are hoping to catch their eye at a glance, so you should use this section to leverage your bicultural skills to stand out among other applicants. You can mention your bilingual abilities in your introduction and briefly touch on your cultural knowledge. 
  2. Education Section – If you studied abroad, learned a language in school, or participated in other cultural projects, courses, or clubs, you can use your Education section to highlight your bicultural skills further. Include any pertinent information that speaks to your bicultural identity and assets you can offer to your future employer. 
  3. Work Experience Section – Like the previous section, past work experience that utilized your bicultural Latina skills will help you get ahead of the competition. Use this section to spotlight specific projects, past positions, or work experiences where your bicultural identity shined. 
  4. Skills / Language Section – Finally, the Additional Skills and Language sections of your resume are the areas where most will expect to find your bicultural skills. Including them here is vital for recruiters who may only glance at your resume. Quickly spotting your bicultural skills will help when you may be one of many applicants, and standing out fast is necessary.

In this section, include your language proficiency, and you may even wish to have your country of heritage to drive that cultural edge further. Your language section may look like this: Spanish —native (Argentina); English — US (fluent). By including your country of heritage, you also highlight your cultural background, which companies may be interested in when approaching multicultural markets.

Photo by Los Muertos Crew from Pexels

You might be interested: Beat the bots with these ATS-friendly resume tips in 2021 

Depending on the job description, you might also like to add your citizenship status and years living in the US or your country of origin -if you are a first-generation immigrant. Otherwise, make sure you specify if you are second or third generation and have lived in any other country around the world for more than three months. Experiences of living abroad are well-considered, mainly when you apply for global companies, and it makes sure you position yourself for international promotion opportunities.

clean your desk

Cluttered workspace driving you mad? Watch our top 10 desk organization tips! 

A clean workspace is crucial for productivity. When things are cluttered and chaotic, our minds have more trouble staying focused. When you’re busy being an entrepreneur, business owner, or planning your next career move, you should be doing it all from a nice, organized desk. 

If you’ve been putting off cleaning your workspace, then this is the perfect time to finally get on that. The second Monday in January is also known as National Clean Your Desk Day—yes, there’s a holiday for everything! 

So, it’s time to say goodbye to that clutter, discard what you don’t need, and finally sort through that ever-growing stack of papers. 

Don’t be overwhelmed. Just sweep it all away like they do in the movies! 

clean your desk

Video credits: The Angry Desk Sweep – Clip from “Attack of the Hollywood Cliches” – Watch it on

Okay—well, maybe not. However, our top desk organization tips and recommendations below will definitely help you get started. 

You might be interested: Cloffice: The latest work-from-home trend to transform your workspace

Top 10 desk organization tips

  1. Start with a clean slate – The first desk organization tip is, of course, to clear off everything from your desk. But maybe don’t sweep it all off in one go–even if the mess is driving you nuts. Once you have your blank slate, wipe down your surface, dust your computer and keyboard, really give everything a nice deep clean before you start reorganizing! 
  2. Take advantage of desk organizers –  Desk organizers come in all shapes and sizes to suit your organizational needs. These are great tools to help keep everything in its place, from sticky notes to pens and pencils, documents, mail, paperclips, and more! Here is a Best Seller Desk Organizer option with excellent reviews.
  3.  Use small storage baskets to hold additional items – If your workspace is especially cluttered, you might need more than a desk organizer to clear up space. Small storage baskets can help. You can get them just about anywhere, but here is an option with great reviews. They’ll give your workspace a nice aesthetic touch. If you have supplies you don’t use frequently or things you don’t need to have out on your desk at all times, storing them in a basket will keep things neat and ensure you have enough space on your desk for the things you do need. 
  4.  Keep it simple – Don’t go overboard with personal items, knick knacks, and decor. It might be tempting to add a bunch of decor to your workspace to make it more aesthetically pleasing, but too many personal items can quickly become ‘clutter’ and also a distraction. Instead, keep things simple with just a few personal accessories
  5.  Prioritize your workflow – Keep only what you need on your desk. An article by CNN Business advised that one “should only keep relevant and active projects and documents” on their desk. Anything extra that’s not relevant to what you are currently working on should not take up space on your desk. When you sit down for the day, make sure you’re only bringing what you need. 
  6.  Embrace white space – Another tip from the same CNN article suggests keeping “a paper-sized free space to your dominant side as a designated workspace.” This is to make it easier to review or sign documents. In fact, it is also preferable to keep the items you use most near your dominant hand for quick grabbing. 
  7. Keep your computer in front of youMany suggest your desktop or laptop should be placed directly in front of you at a comfortable distance. You want to be able to sit up straight and be able to see the monitor clearly at eye level. The proper positioning of your computer will help you stay focused and on task longer.  
desk organization

Business photo created by freepik

8. Get a trash can shredder – If you don’t already have one near your desk, get one! Having a trash can shredder nearby will encourage you to clean up your space and minimize mess.  

9. Clean up before you go – Before you leave your workspace each day, take a moment to tidy up. Dump whatever trash you have accumulated throughout the day, organize documents, return your supplies to their appropriate spot. Tidying up daily will help keep the clutter from piling up again. 

10. Reassess your space from time to time – What might work for you now, might not work in the future. As your projects evolve, you may find you need a different setup. Perhaps you need more desk space, or your work requires more supplies. You may need to purchase additional storage items or move things around. So, take the time every few months to consider how your workspace and if its current setup is working for you. 

Happy National Clean Your Desk Day! Let us know how you did with our recommendations! 

Are New Year’s “resolutions” even worth it anymore? 

Every year, as we cross the imaginary line from one year to the next, our minds “reset” with plans to tackle in the new year. Many of us will set New Year’s resolutions and work diligently at them…for about two months. Yes, we’ve all been there. We set so many goals and we’re bursting with that new year positivity, we’re feeling fresh and creative and like anything is possible. And then that feeling fades and many of us fall back on our old habits and routines. 

If this feeling is familiar, then you might be one of the many people who have decided to give up on making New Year’s resolutions altogether. What’s the point, right? However, in a time where every day feels uncertain and we are still struggling through a global pandemic, having hope for the future is essential. 

When we have goals, we can plan and begin to imagine that future. And when things are uncertain, it’s good to have something on the horizon to look forward to and work toward. If you’re looking back at past failed resolutions, fear not! You can achieve your goals for the new year, you may just need to restructure how you think about your goals and your process for setting those intentions. 

Making your New Year’s resolutions last year-round

Contrary to popular belief, it’s okay if you don’t achieve all the goals you set out for the year, but even more, there’s no reason you need to be setting huge, year-long goals. That’s right, your goals can be simple. Better yet, your goals can be building blocks for those larger, daunting goals. 

Change doesn’t happen overnight. The new habits you may want to build and the things you want to accomplish will take time. It’s easy to get discouraged when we do not see progress right away. This is why many give up on their New Year’s resolutions so quickly. 

New Year's resolutions

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya from Pexels

The key is to start small

For a few years now, I have not been setting “big” goals. Instead, I have been setting intentions and small goals that can be built up over time. Focusing on the “building blocks” instead of the final structure will help you get there faster. The larger end goal will seem less daunting and become more reachable as you slowly build up to it with smaller accomplishments. 

By narrowing your focus and working toward something small, you will be able to gain momentum on larger projects and goals. Instead of setting a bunch of big goals for the entire year, set smaller monthly goals. You can even break it down further with bi-weekly or weekly goals too. 

Once you feel yourself succeeding and accomplishing your small goals, you’ll start to feel that energy rise, and the big dream won’t seem so distant or unattainable anymore. 

As we enter the new year, think of those projects or goals you want to accomplish this year and break that down into smaller goals. 

What can you do to get started? What will be the first step? 

Remember, not every race is won by long strides. Sometimes you need to pace yourself and start off slow to build up that momentum. If you take the time to nurture your small goals, pretty soon you’ll be coming up on the horizon of those big dreams!

What are some monthly goals you’ll set this January? Let us know down below or on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn

SBA Administrator announces plans to elevate the Office of Women’s Business Ownership

Earlier last week,  U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced that the SBA intends to elevate its Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) to directly report to the Office of the Administrator. The proposed change reflects the importance of women entrepreneurs held by the Biden-Harris Administration and SBA.

Established by Executive Order in 1979 and codified through the Women’s Small Business Act of 1988, OWBO’s mission has been to empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education, and support.

Under Administrator Guzman, the SBA has expanded the number of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) to a record 140 locations nationwide. These WBCs offer a network of extensive on-the-ground resources that include free to low-cost counseling, training, business development technical assistance and are dedicated to assisting women entrepreneurs to start, grow, and expand their enterprises.

SBA, Isabella Casillas Guzman

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. (Photo Source)

“In 1972, there were a little over 400,000 women-owned businesses in the United States. Today, there are over 12 million proving that women entrepreneurs have become the fastest growing and one of the most impactful segments of the business community,” said Administrator Guzman in a press release. “While there has been historic progress in women’s entrepreneurship, significant disparities still persist, impacting women entrepreneurs’ access to resources and opportunity, especially in the face of the economic challenges posed by COVID. That is why I am proud to advance the mission of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership and reaffirm our commitment to America’s women-owned small businesses.”

This announcement comes after the release of the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality commissioned by the White House outlining objectives and priorities for obtaining equity for women. 

“Women entrepreneurs are key to spurring innovation and supporting local economies and families across the country. That is why it’s so important that we continue to invest in women-owned businesses and give them the tools they need to succeed and grow. The elevation of this office sends a clear signal of this Administration’s commitment to ensure an equitable economic recovery, putting women at the forefront of our efforts to build back better for everyone. The White House Gender Policy Council looks forward to an ongoing strong partnership with the Office of Women’s Business Ownership in the months and years ahead,” said Jennifer Klein, Deputy Assistant to the President and Co-Chair and Executive Director of the WH Gender Policy Council.

Women represent the fastest-growing entrepreneurial segment in the country, with particularly high growth in entrepreneurship amongst multicultural women. Data from the SBA’s Office of Advocacy found that between 2014 and 2016, the number of employer firms owned by women grew six percent, twice the growth rate of employer firms owned by men. This exponential growth was mainly driven by an increase in employer businesses owned by minority women, which grew 14 percent in that time.

Photo created by tirachardz on Freepik.

COVID-19 dealt a severe blow to women-owned businesses which is why prioritizing recovery and addressing long standing inequities for women entrepreneurs is crucial to the survival and continued growth of these businesses. The elevation of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership will help ensure the continued success of the Women’s Business Center network. 

While it is evident that women entrepreneurs play a key role in our society and economy, they still remain underrepresented in many key factors, including access to capital, contracts, and connections. Led by OWBO, the SBA assists women-owned businesses in leveraging government resources – including recently announced opportunities through an equitable federal procurement strategy, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Build Back Better Act – to level the playing field. 

Currently, the OWBO is an organizational component of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development. The SBA emphasizes that the reorganization is still in the planning stages and likely will not be finalized until the close of fiscal year 2022.

To find Women’s Business Center locations and additional SBA resources in your area, visit

5 Reasons to write a business plan 

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, there are many crucial steps toward starting your businesses and ventures. From accessing capital to branding and marketing, there is a lot that goes into launching a business and turning ideas into reality. One important step that should not be overlooked, is writing a business plan. 

A business plan acts as a roadmap for your business and can be especially helpful when you are first starting out. Many new entrepreneurs may shy away from creating a business plan, thinking it is too difficult or unnecessary, but having one can make all the difference in your entrepreneurial journey. 

Since December is National Write a Business Plan Month we are encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs to take that first step and start planning your dream business by writing a business plan. 

5 reasons why you need a business plan

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides various resources to small business owners including advice and services to help you write your business plan. Below are the SBA’s top 5 reasons for why you need a business plan

  1. It will help you steer your business as you start and grow.

Think of a business plan as a GPS to get your business going. A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan like a GPS for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through and detail all the key elements of how your business will run. 

  1. It’s not as hard as you think.

A business plan is a written tool about your business that projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the path your business intends to take to make money and grow revenue. Think of it as a living project for your business, and not as a one-time document. Break it down into mini-plans – one for sales and marketing, one for pricing, one for operations, and so on.

  1. It will help you to reach business milestones.

A well-thought-out business plan helps you to step back and think objectively about the key elements of your business and informs your decision making as you move forward. It is essential whether you need to secure a business loan or not. Keep in mind that the plan does not have to be like an encyclopedia and does not have to have all the answers.

  1. It can help you get funding.

Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Having one in place will help investors feel confident that they will see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you will use to persuade others that working with you (or investing in your business) is a smart decision.

  1. There’s no wrong way to write a business plan.

There is no right or wrong way to write a business plan. You can pick a plan format that works best for you. What’s important is that your business plan meets your needs. Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.

You might be interested: Employees are quitting in record numbers to start their own business

To help you get started, The SBA offers a Business Plan Tool that helps simplify the process. The tool consists of eight easy-to-follow steps to help create a well-prepared plan.

vegan diet

Latinas shift to vegan diet, improving focus and productivity at work

It’s no secret that what we eat impacts how we perform. The types of food we consume contributes to our mood, energy levels, and productivity. As part of World Vegan Month this November, we are diving into the benefits of a vegan diet. 

In general, plant-based eating can improve one’s health, it’s typically more affordable, and much more eco-friendly. In fact, a vegan diet uses much fewer resources, requiring five times less water than producing animal-based foods. 

For the Latinx population specifically, it has been found that diet-related health issues common within the community can be reduced through plant-based eating. 

Latinx and Hispanic individuals are more prone to health risks such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Statistically, Latinos are also more likely to suffer from heart disease

Transitioning to a vegan diet, or simply incorporating more plant-based meals into one’s existing diet, can significantly help to reduce these health risks. Affordability also makes veganism an attractive alternative, especially for middle- to lower- income communities. 

“It’s much more cost-effective to prepare plant-based dishes using rice, beans, and vegetables than it is to feed one’s family using animal products,” said holistic nutritionist and bilingual foodie writer, Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, in an article with VegNews

Currently, about 3 percent of Latinos in the U.S. are vegetarian or vegan, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group. This number is close to the national average for adults: 3.5 percent for females and 3.2 percent for males. 

In fact, for many Mexican-Americans, a vegan diet is not far off from what their ancestors once ate in pre-Columbian times, according to NPR. Many traditional dishes by indigenous natives were plant-based. The meats we think of today as traditional to Latinx dishes–beef, bork, chicken, lamb–were brought over by the Spaniards. 

Boosting your productivity at work through plant-based eating 

In a study conducted by City Pantry on healthy eating habits, experts weighed in on how foods affect our levels of productivity and focus. 

According Dr Uma Naidoo – board-certified psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and nutrition specialist – reducing inflammation is key to keeping energy and productivity levels up during the workday. 

“Low-grade inflammation flips off a metabolic switch in the chemical pathway that produces energy,” she said. “When inflammation is present in the body, less energy is available to the brain, so it’s important to eat anti-inflammatory foods to ensure workers wake up in a good mood and stay energized and focused through the entire morning.”

Foods to avoid are those high in artificial sweeteners, added and refined sugars, trans fats, and processed meats and cheeses. 

Plant-based foods are associated with lower levels of inflammation, which means incorporating more vegan options into your diet can improve your energy and focus throughout the day. 

You might be interested: 10 Snacks to boost productivity and get you through the work day

There is no one way to approach veganism and many often transition into the diet slowly. Others may choose to only eat plant-based on certain days, such as the Instagram account Meatless Mondays, which encourages people to swap out meat at least one day a week and provides a variety of fun and fresh meatless meals to try.

To start incorporating some vegan meal choices into your diet to boost your productivity, Dr. Naidoo recommends focusing on foods with natural fats such as nuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil.

 “Fat is a key component for mental health. Your brain is made up of 60 percent fat and in order to perform at its best, it requires a constant supply of omega-3-fatty acids,” Dr. Naidoo explained.

As busy women and entrepreneurs, staying focused and energized is so important. If you’re feeling low on energy, it might be time to reevaluate your food choices and shake things up! And what better month to try out plant-based eating than World Vegan Month? 

Latinas in Business Intern Fe-Licitty Branch contributed to this article. 

The glass ceiling: Career development inequality for women of color

With November being Career Development Month, it is a time for employers to think about leveling the playing field for women in general and women of color in particular.

Schools and businesses across the country will host events connecting students with professionals. The National Career Development Association promoted the start of National Career Development Month in 1967. Their goal was to improve development at all stages of one’s career. Even with great efforts, women still face challenges in achieving senior roles. 

Women have achieved lower and middle management positions, but many have hit the “glass ceiling” in reaching upper-level management roles. In fact, they account for only 25% of senior roles globally. There are a number of reasons why this occurs such as systemic gender bias existing within companies. work and home imbalances, and even women lacking the confidence to apply due to their slight chances of success.

An important issue to consider is women being the primary caregivers for their children. This responsibility that usually falls on the mother results in many women having to work part-time, while most men are able to work full-time and overtime. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, one in five workers in the US knows of a woman who had to voluntarily leave the workforce during the pandemic because of such responsibilities. This imbalance leads to fewer promotional opportunities. 

Workplace solutions to shatter the glass ceiling 

Finding solutions to this issue is not as complicated as one may think:

  • Providing a hybrid work environment is a solution that gives women flexibility in balancing work and home life. As we realized during the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely is possible for many industries. Another solution would be to minimize promotion and compensation bias.
  • Both men and women are concerned that they may miss out on career development if they are not physically in the workplace. It can be challenging to intentionally recognize employees who work from home but it is vital to career development for women. 
  • Additionally, in more male-dominated companies, women find that their opinions are not respected. Barbara Annis, who is an expert in gender issues in the workplace, says that “women often feel ignored during business meetings, which might lead to lowered self-esteem and decreased chances for career advancement.” This bias comes from leaders believing that males have more potential even than well-qualified women. Allowing women a voice and space to speak freely allows them the confidence to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and innovative ideas. 

To demonstrate just how wide the gap is with promotion opportunities between men and women, “for every 100 men getting their first promotion, just 72 women are promoted… for women of color, the number is lower, with 68 Latinas and 58 Black women promoted to management.” These numbers reveal a difference in opportunity not only by gender but by race as well. 

You might be interested: “We are being left behind” in the C-suite and boardroom says LCDA CEO Esther Aguilera

Strategies to help women advance their careers

  1. Find a mentor– Many highly successful women give credit to a mentor who helped them get to where they are today! A benefit for those wanting to develop their careers is to network and join organizations that provide an opportunity to establish strong relationships with women in senior roles.
  2. Be persistent– It can take a great amount of patience in obtaining a desired job or promotion. The key is to not give up, write down one’s goals, and obtain help to achieve them!
  3. Project confidence– Confidence is key whether it is genuine or a facade, individuals with confidence hold power. Being confident in one’s values, experiences, and skills will provide a greater chance of success.
  4. Build a network– Network, socialize, meet people! Networking within and outside of one’s organization is a good idea in case a unexpected situation arises. It is always worth the time and effort and can open doors to many job opportunities!

Latinas in Business Editorial Intern Val Gaytan contributed to this article. 

Sources: hey-dont-get-recognized-as-much-as-men/?sh=38adc9b657df 

hybrid work

The future of work is hybrid – here’s an expert’s recommendations

Alanah Mitchell, Associate Professor at Drake University shares expert recommendations for the future of hybrid work post-pandemic. 

COVID-19 has changed the way we work.

Even before the pandemic, the U.S. workforce increasingly relied on remote collaboration technologies like videoconferencing and Slack. The global crisis accelerated the adoption of these work tools and practices in an unprecedented way. By April 2020, about half of companies reported that more than 80% of their employees worked from home because of COVID-19.

That shift was made possible by decades of research into, and then development of, technologies that support remote work, but not everyone uses these technologies with the same ease. As early as 1987, groundbreaking research identified some of the challenges facing women working from home using technology. That included the difficulties of child care, work-home separation and employee growth opportunities.

Since that time, we have learned much more about virtual collaboration. As an associate professor of information systems, I’m interested in what we can expect as we eagerly anticipate a post-pandemic future. One thing stands out: Hybrid work arrangements – that is, employees who do some tasks in the office and others virtually – is clearly going to be a big part of the picture.

One survey from April 2021 shows 99% of human resources leaders expect employees to work in some kind of hybrid arrangement moving forward. Many have already begun. As just one example, Dropbox, the file hosting service, made a permanent shift during the pandemic, allowing employees to work from home and hold team meetings in the office.

The definition of “hybrid” varies in other organizations. Some workers might be in the office a couple days a week or every other day. Other businesses may require only occasional face-to-face time, perhaps meeting in a centralized location once each quarter.

Either way, research does show many companies fail in their implementation of a virtual workforce.

Remote work versus in the office

In-office work promotes structure and transparency, which may increase trust between management and workers. Developing an organizational culture happens naturally. Casual office conversations – a worker walking down the hall for a quick and unscheduled chat with a colleague, for instance – can lead to knowledge-sharing and collaborative problem-solving. That’s difficult to replicate in a virtual environment, which often relies on advance scheduling for online meetings – although that’s still feasible with enough planning and communication.

But if you look at different metrics, in-office work loses out to working from home. My recent research discovered remote workers report more productivity and enjoy working from home because of the flexibility, the ability to wear casual clothes, and the shortened or nonexistent commute time. Remote work also saves money. There is a significant cost savings for office space, one of the largest budget line items for organizations.

Hybrid arrangements attempt to combine the best of both worlds.

It’s not perfect

It’s true that hybrid work faces many of the same obstacles of face-to-face work. Poor planning and communication, ineffective or unnecessary meetings and confusion about task responsibilities happen remotely as well as in-person.

Perhaps the largest issue when working at home: technology and security concerns. Home networks, an easier target for cyberthreats, are typically more vulnerable than office networks. Remote workers are also more likely to share computers with someone else outside of their organization. Hybrid organizations must invest upfront to work through these complicated and often expensive issues.

With hybrid work, managers cannot see the work taking place. That means they must measure employee performance based on outcomes with clear performance metrics rather than the traditional focus on employee behavior.

Another potential pitfall: Fault lines can develop within hybrid teams – that is, misunderstandings or miscommunication between those in the office and those at home. These two groups may start to divide, potentially leading to tension and conflicts between them – an us-versus-them scenario.

hybrid work

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Establishing a hybrid environment

Numerous recommendations exist on the best way to develop a hybrid model. Here are a few of the best ideas.

Meeting too often or with little purpose – that is, meeting for the sake of meeting – leads to fatigue and burnout. Not everyone needs to be at every meeting, yet finesse from management is required to make sure no one feels left out. And meeting-free days can help with productivity and allow employees a block of uninterrupted time to focus on complex projects.

[Over 115,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletter to understand the world. Sign up today.]

Listening to employees is critical to making sure the hybrid environment is working. Continually seeking feedback, through one-on-one conversations, focus groups or human resources surveys, is important too. So is recognizing and rewarding employees with in-person or virtual kudos for their achievements. Performance incentives, such as financial rewards or tokens of appreciation including food delivery, help develop a supportive culture that increases employee commitment.

Finally: Both managers and employees must be transparent in their communication and understanding of hybrid plans. Policies must be in place to define what tasks happen in the office and remotely. Access to reliable communications is essential, particularly for remote work. All employees must receive the same information at the same time, and in a timely manner. After all, whether in the office or online, workers don’t want to feel they’re the last to know.The Conversation

You might be interested: Cloffice: The latest work-from-home trend to transform your workspace

Alanah Mitchell, Associate Professor and Chair of Information Management and Business Analytics, Drake University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

child care

Affordable, quality child care is top priority for NJ working families, says Commissioner Sarah Adelman 

During the pandemic, quality child care became an issue for working parents. With many schools and daycares shut down, working parents struggled to find child care for their children. Child care concerns, however, are not a new issue. For working parents, access to quality and affordable child care is something desperately sought after. 

Improving child care across the state of New Jersey has been at the forefront of Governor Phil Murphy’s Administration for several years now. Before the pandemic, the Murphy Administration had already invested nearly $100 million into New Jersey’s child care assistance program – after child care reimbursement rates had remained relatively flat for a decade.

This week, Governor Murphy and Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman announced the state will invest $83 million to increase reimbursement rates for child care providers serving children in the state’s child care assistance program by an average of 25 percent.

Child care is crucial to a strong economy and strong childhood development

The rate increase will go into effect on Nov. 1, and will include the $6.4 million rate increase that would have gone into effect on Jan. 1 to help child care providers implement the January minimum wage increase. 

“We know that accessing affordable, reliable and quality child care is a top priority for New Jersey families, and it’s critical to our state’s economic health,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “This new investment is another critical step forward to help families and build a stronger future for our state.”

The rate increases build on the Murphy Administration’s efforts to improve access to affordable child care and support child care providers and workers, both before and during the pandemic. Governor Murphy and Acting Commissioner Adelman recently announced plans to invest more than $700 million to help parents pay for child care, provide bonus pay to child care workers, and distribute grants and increase support for child care providers. This was the latest in a series of investments that included $400 million in other child care initiatives during the pandemic.

“The Murphy Administration continues making significant investments in child care because child care is crucial to a strong economy and strong childhood development,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “With this latest investment, we are giving families and child care providers even more vital support.”

You might be interested: Marcela Berland, a pioneer in working from home, combines work and maternity

Elevating the quality of child care in NJ

For low income families who are working, in school, or in training programs, Human Services’ child care assistance programs can help provide resources and financial aid. 

Access to quality child care is something every family should have. According to the state’s Grow NJ Kids site, “Research shows that children who are in quality child care and early learning programs when they are young are better prepared for kindergarten with better reading skills, more math skills and larger vocabularies.” 

Grow NJ Kids is a state-sponsored initiative to raise the quality of child care and early learning throughout New Jersey. Grow NJ Kids gives child care and early learning programs resources to assess and improve their programs. Their mission is to foster ongoing improvement and create a standard way to look at child care and early learning by providing families with an objective rating system. Families can then use this system to assess child care programs and find the best quality program for their family. 

With the latest increase, monthly infant care rates for licensed centers will have increased by nearly 70 percent under the Murphy Administration – from about $724 per month to $1,224 and close to 50 percent on average for all other age groups.

For parents who select a provider with a rating from Grow NJ Kids quality improvement program, that rate jumps even further. For instance, infant care at a Grow NJ Kids program will now be at least $1,326 per month.

“We urge anyone seeking assistance with child care to learn more by visiting and contacting your local county Child Care Resource and Referral Agency,” said Assistant Commissioner Natasha Johnson, who directs Human Services’ Division of Family Development, which oversees the child care program. “We are here to support families with information about applying for assistance and finding quality child care.”