Working From Home: AKA, How to Keep Your Cat out of your Zoom Meeting

Ahhh, working from home.  It sounds so dreamy, and it’s portrayed on TV as the most easily executable task there ever was.  Picture it:  the kids are off to school.  The kitchen is sparkling clean from the previous night’s family dinner, where afterwards you enjoyed a nice card game as a family. Your house is clean, smells like freshly baked cookies while you sit in your favorite comfortable chair, sipping coffee out of a nice mug that has a sentiment on it like “Mom of the Year” or “Best Dad Ever”.  What a dream, right?

Except… that is not how it worked out for ANY of us in real life.  Suddenly, we were in the middle of a pandemic.  We began prepping at Partners, just “in case” we were suddenly working from home.  Technology was checked for all employees to determine what tasks each staff member would still be able to perform with their current remote setups at home.   Lists were made of things we would need to have with us, in order to keep a smooth flow going for all Partners’ clients.

Fast forward to the second week of March 2020 – the schools in our county go on Spring Break, never to have another day of school for the 2020 school year.  We are suddenly in quarantine, and all of our “just in case” plans are now “make it happen” plans, and we are all working from home.   We all agreed: working from home is just not as glamorous as it looks on TV.

Staff meetings and client team meetings are now happening via Zoom.  Half of us have sound, no video.  The other half of us have video and no sound.  We are all looking like something the cat drug in with un-brushed hair, trying to help each other with our tech struggles over the phone.  The good news?  We all worked through it together.  In addition, we are all now Zoom experts serving the company well, as we are still not traveling currently for company or client events.

I feel comfortable sharing some of the most important takeaways I gained from our journey:

  • Stay on your routine. Set your alarms, and “go to work” like it is any other day.  Not doing this will ensure complete chaos.  Trust me on this one.
  • Schedule breaks to execute your tasks that are NOT work related. If you jump up 30 times a day to do “just that one thing”, you will lose your train of thought every single time.
  • Stay connected to your coworkers – even a simple text or phone call will remind you that you are all a team.
  • Remember the physical background of your home office and execute Zoom meetings without your cat in the room!

We have been so fortunate here at Partners to have amazing management who have guided us through this pandemic with astounding patience.  We may still be in a strange spot, but we are certainly all prepared for the future.

Ricki Romig

 

Strategic Thinking During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Rachel Luoma, MS, CAE

Back in January when I decided to write this blog, my intended topic was staff training and on-boarding.  Given the current climate with COVID-19, however, and the fact that many organizations had to furlough or lay people off, the topic just doesn’t feel relevant.

We are experiencing unprecedented times right now and need to help our associations navigate these challenges.  As association professionals, we have to think differently and act quickly. Given these changes, I want to instead write about strategic planning and thinking in times of a crisis.

Continue reading “Strategic Thinking During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

Building Effective Teams

By: Ricki Sexton

Here at Partners in Association Management, we take team building very seriously!  Not only do we usually start our monthly staff meetings with some type of icebreaker that connects us all as a team, we also have various events throughout the year, usually hosted by our social committee that are also great team building exercises.   For example, this past year, we did some really enjoyable activities as a group that really tested our teamwork skills.  Some of these activities included: Continue reading “Building Effective Teams”

Corn in My Taters and Updated Association Practices

By: Shelly Joines

I remember back when I was about 8 years old, my family did large Thanksgiving celebrations where  everyone would travel across the state to meet.  We would line up several tables to create a buffet, for a fun family feast. Some traditions are time honored ones and some we do for reasons we don’t even know why anymore – yet we still do them. Why is that? Continue reading “Corn in My Taters and Updated Association Practices”

Hitting Your Target Market… In A Special Way

By: Lisa Kamper

People know they can get general news and information from a variety of sources today, but often they rely on trade and professional publications to stay up-to-date and current in their related field. Trade publications speak to a very specific group of people. Companies and manufacturers that sell industry specific tools or products look to advertise in trade publications because they are confident their ad will reach readers who are more interested in their product.

In today’s market companies are not limiting themselves to only traditional print and web advertisements; they are looking for more specialty advertisements and ways to make their products stand out from other manufacturers who sell the same or similar products. Continue reading “Hitting Your Target Market… In A Special Way”

The Association Arch Nemesis

By: Kristi Spargo

There’s always one. You know who it is. Shortly after a new member joins the board everyone is up in arms. Whispers of contention ripple throughout the ranks and the battle lines are being drawn. Issues that you never even knew were issues suddenly have the potential to implode the inner workings of your association. In the eye of the storm stands: The Difficult Board Member.  As staff, it can be challenging to determine when and how to step in to keep the business of the association moving forward without getting bogged down in the personality politics. Boards are made up of professionals of many different personality types who donate their time for the good of the cause; it would definitely not be conducive to say “Nah, no thanks” to the difficult board member who wants to volunteer their service. So what’s the answer? Continue reading “The Association Arch Nemesis”

Engaging the Unengaged

By: Shelly Joines

Who wants extra work on their plate? Who wants to spend “free time” on a project that seemingly has nothing to do with their regular job function? Or even worse, who wants to step outside of their comfort zone and work on something that highlights their professional weaknesses?

Did you raise your hand? Not likely, as human nature is to stay in the comfort zone.

Continue reading “Engaging the Unengaged”

New Year’s Resolution – Some Tips to Improve Workplace Culture in 2016

By: Bennett Napier, CAE 

The lifeblood of nonprofit organizations (whether they are charitable or associations) depends on the skills, passion and teamwork of the staff to execute programs and services in order to achieve mission.

Our firm recognized this fact a number of years ago and launched a comprehensive process to address several key areas: Continue reading “New Year’s Resolution – Some Tips to Improve Workplace Culture in 2016”

Getting Your Name Out There

By: Shelly Sobol

Going to a “networking” event can oftentimes feel like you’re going to a sales convention. Determining what someone can do for you, and pitching what you can do for them. But how do you (or your association/business) make an event more subtle on sales and more about genuine connection? The folks at Hyatt Hotels showed me how when they recently hosted an event in Tallahassee before the Florida Society of Association Executives’ Education Day. Continue reading “Getting Your Name Out There”