More than ever the workplace is changing. We are not “going back to normal” but we are entering a “new normal” in how the workplace works and how people think about teamwork and innovation. The Dear Workplace podcast by InnovatorsBox®, hosted by founder Monica Kang, challenges us to reimagine the workplace by studying changes, trends, and challenges for people at work.
As we wrapped up our first 6 episodes, we wanted to share some key themes, highlights, and our takeaways from each episode. All the 6 episodes are embedded within, so if you haven’t yet, you can take a listen directly.
Published: March 16, 2021 – 13 Minutes
Published on the month anniversary of when the pandemic hit the U.S., we kickstarted the podcast by exploring the “new normal” of workplace behavior and attitudes. Where are we now? How has this year changed what we think about as the normal workplace?
As Monica shares in this episode, “I lost 90 percent of my projects at the beginning of the pandemic, and now a year later, I’m surprised how many people are willing to do workshops more than ever as I launch more exciting, digital offerings.” And like many others have done, at InnovatorsBox®, we’ve used the pandemic as an opportunity for innovation.
Not only where, but how we work has changed – especially in our ideas of professionalism and mental health as our family life and business life blurs. The silver lining? It’s causing many workplaces to refocus on mental wellbeing in very innovative ways, which we discuss in this episode.
Guests From Episode:
Published March 23, 2021 – 15 minutes
Feeling more tired than usual? Do you feel your hours are overstretching even when you work from home? In this episode, Monica explores burnout, a concept that isn’t new but has pulled into the spotlight as the pandemic causes prolonged stress and fatigue for at-home workers. How can we proactively address burnout?
The key to addressing burnout is not just one training or one policy – it starts from leadership.
A global survey conducted by Glint showed that while burnout is increasing, employee happiness is up 5.4% from December 2019 to December 2020. It’s possible that the pandemic is creating a wake-up call for company leaders to address employee well-being.
Published March 30, 2021 – 15 minutes
The pandemic has not only shifted everything online but made us care more about who we’re buying from. In this episode, Monica explores the significant environmental and social impact of our changing, more caring attitudes towards buying online.
One of the main reasons our attitudes changed is because the way we lived changed. For example, the shipping challenges from the pandemic highlighted where products were coming from. This spurred the shop local, shop small movement.
Who the product comes from is also becoming more important – especially for millennials and gen z. For example, we’re seeing more of a focus on shop Women-Owned, Black-Owned, etc. This podcast outlines the many ways companies from nonprofits to c-suite level executives are adapting to the caring consumer trends.
Published Apr 6, 2021 – 22 min
Firstly, diversity and inclusion are two separate things: Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance. What if you feel so comfortable already that you don’t even need to be invited to dance – you just start dancing?
In the episode, Monica shares that she never fit in any box as a Korean-American who grew up in Washington DC. She said, “it is because I felt so different that I became interested in building safe spaces early on.” And in this episode, she explores the inclusion dilemma – why is it so hard to create a diverse and inclusive workplace when it’s what we all want?
The feeling of security in being yourself in the workplace is called psychological safety, and is important to consider when leading a team, even online.
Van Lai-DuMone, founder of work Start Advantage shared that the major problem is that they (businesses) try to put a band-aid on diversity and inclusion. “They say, ‘Oh, we’ll just hire more people of color’– that’s diversity, but it’s not equity and inclusion. You may have given them a seat at the table, but you aren’t listening to them and attributing their ideas to them.”
Integrating diversity and inclusion is a process, not an event. We must continuously look inside ourselves, identify our biases, and work on them.
Guests From Episode:
Published Apr 13, 2021 – 11 minutes
#rethink is a series to share bite-sized insights and tips for innovators from my own conversations with experts. In this episode, Monica explores the secrets of how she personally faced uncertainty early in my career and beyond.
My advice? When you’re feeling uncertain: stop and think about what you ARE certain about, and what you CAN do about it. Then you can focus your efforts on making progress instead of letting uncertainty become a roadblock.
In this episode, you will be taken through the story of the beginnings of InnovatorsBox, and all the uncertainty that Monica faced in her idea, her story, and her ability to connect with an early mentor.
Published April 20, 2021 – 20 min
A year of working from home has taught us a lot of new things we never questioned. In this episode, Monica discusses the importance of physical space of your business. Are offices dead? If not, how are offices going to be integrated into the new normal?
Many business owners (including Monica herself) thought that things could never be done as effectively online as in person, but to our surprise, remote opportunities made even MORE possible.
Even with more remote opportunities available, studies show some employees do want to start returning to the office at a slower space. As an employer, you can start developing a new office space by really understanding what the people want. And by createing a workplace, not just a physical place – an environment where people feel empowered and safe to work.
Guests from Episode:
Andrew Ngui, Director of Innovation & Startups, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council
David Ricciardi, President & CEO, Proximo
Yurani Sandoval, SingleParentPower and Womenpalante
Samson Williams, Chief Dreamer, Brite.us
Kendall Ratliffe, Director of Programs, Middle Border Forward
Jan Wong, CEO, OpenMinds
Kia Weatherspoon, President + Design Advocate, Determined By Design
Published April 27, 2021 – 22 Minutes
What if how we define success actually permits us from actually succeeding? In this podcast, Monica explores the concept of success and how redefining the way we think about success can open up new possibilities.
Growing up Asian-American, being successful in everything was important: grades, jobs, personal relationships, etc.!
And as an entrepreneur, it’s hard to gauge whether we are successful or not – there’s no one breathing down our necks or metrics for everything we’re doing. In this podcast, we outline 5 lessons in redefining success, each backed by an expert story which holds particular nuances in how to tackle our success mindset.
5 Lessons in Redefining Success: