News and updates for in-the-know vintage insurance experts and those who value their talents.
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New Year, New Purpose
When we watched the glowing numbers counting down in Times Square to officially declare the start of 2022, many of us were feeling uncertain—but hopeful. Maybe this year will be less volatile than the previous two, we mused. Maybe the widespread availability of Covid vaccines and boosters will finally curb this brutal pandemic and help usher in a return to normalcy. Maybe. Maybe.

But as the first few weeks of January unraveled, we saw the rise of the highly contagious Omicron variant push Covid positive rates into the stratosphere, in some places quadrupling last year’s peak numbers. Once again, businesses shuttered. Schools turned to remote learning. Employees stayed home. And we were grappling with many of the same issues all over again: worker shortages. Fatigue. Worry. People pushed to the brink.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Omicron, because it is highly transmissible, has wiped out Delta, which was a much more dangerous variant. And the experts think it is reaching its peak and will soon be on the decline. The prospects for returning to a normalcy is on the horizon. If this New Year has ushered in anything, it’s a certainty that now is the time to stop waiting to see what the future holds—and to start taking real, proactive steps to adapt to the reality today. We now know enough about how living through a pandemic works and it has made companies pivot to accommodating flexible work arrangements.

According to Harvard Business Review, three of the top four trends expected to shape the workplace in 2022 involve flexibility and remote work: fairness and equity (including who has access to remote work); shortening the work week and/or implementing flexible hours to attract skilled talent; and remote work becoming the norm for some knowledge workers. To find and keep talent, companies will need figure out how to balance working in the office and remotely without sacrificing training, mentoring, and career pathways.

At WAHVE, we’ve always had a forward-thinking approach when it comes to workplace flexibility and work/life balance. We view employees as well-rounded individuals managing multiple responsibilities at work and at home—and built our business around that. This strategy is good for employers, too: People who feel trusted, supported and satisfied in their lives produce the best work. They also tend to stick around.

This is especially important as the war for skilled talent intensifies, and companies have an increasingly hard time attracting and keeping great people. That’s why it’s critical that you take a hard look at your company and make the changes necessary to ensure you are prioritizing your employees’ needs and well-being. That means instilling respect for, access to and support of workplace flexibility into the very fabric of your company. What would that look like?

Let’s welcome 2022 with a renewed vigor and purpose. We have the chance to think differently and thrive in the new normal.
Sharon Emek, PhD, CIC
CEO and President, Work At Home Vintage Experts
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Upping Your Manager Game
One of the top trends that Harvard Business Review expects to shape work in 2022 is automation. Specifically, automation of basic managerial tasks, such as managing calendars, approving expense reports, and checking up on completion of tasks. HBR goes on to note that next-generation technology is already working to automate additional responsibilities, including providing performance feedback, and suggests up to 65% of current managerial tasks could be automated within the next three years.

“With this growth in automation,” HBR says, “companies will be faced with a choice: decrease the number of managers or change the expectations of what it means to be a manager.”

Which choice do you think leads to the healthiest, most robust companies and happiest, most productive employees?

Indeed, the role of the manager is about to change. But that’s a good thing. That’s because automation “is not actually replacing the ability of the individual to work, it’s replacing a certain task and, in most cases, giving that individual the chance to work on something better,” according to WeForum.org.

In other words, now is the time to begin redefining what a manager does—or, perhaps more accurately, what a manager is—at your company. Since managers will be untethered from the mundane tasks of yore, they’ll be free to pursue much more meaningful, impactful work, coach and mentor their teams to greatness, and deliver unprecedented value to their employers. Further, when you factor in the additional business challenges of the move towards virtual work and remote workforces, having excellent managers in place will make all the difference.

Unfortunately, only 47% of managers are currently suited to this new role, according to a 2021 Gartner survey. It’s imperative to ensure these skilled, valuable workers are given the guidance and tools they need to succeed in their future roles. Some best practices include:

1.    Focus on empathy. According to HBR, empathy will be a critical skill for managers going forward. “The empathic manager is someone who can contextualize performance and behavior — who transcends simply understanding the facts of work and proactively asks questions and seeks information to place themselves in their direct reports’ contexts,” HBR writes. This requires “high levels of trust and care and a culture of acceptance within teams.”
2.    Set expectations early and often. You don’t want confusion or lack of clear expectations to waste your people’s time and energy. If they have clear paths forward for their jobs, they can focus on doing the work, not on figuring out what work should be done. That’s a win for everyone.
3.    Pump up communication. Make sure you keep in contact with your people. That doesn’t mean micromanaging them, however. Just the opposite: It means simply showing them you’re thinking of them and there to support them, while trusting them to get their work done as they see fit.

What are some of your tips for ensuring your managers are prepared to thrive—and drive growth—in 2022 and beyond?
WAHVE is an innovative contract talent solution that matches retiring, experienced career professionals with a company's talent needs. WAHVE bridges the gap between an employer's need for highly skilled professional talent and seasoned professionals desiring to extend their career working from home. From screening to placement, WAHVE is a comprehensive solution to qualifying, hiring, and managing experienced remote talent.
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