COVID-19 Blog 3 – Diversity and Interpersonal Interactions during the pandemic

During these months of living through the Coronavirus pandemic, I will continue to writing blogs about my diversity, career development and leadership consulting through the lens of living through this pandemic.

Questions to ponder – how does what we truly think about diversity and inclusion manifest itself differently during this interesting time we are living through? Can some routine daily interactions show us how we may really feel about diversity?

I would like to share a story shared by a Black professional colleague of mine. In a recent trip to a home supply store, he needed some advice about a product he was buying for one of his home improvement projects. He was directed to a middle-aged white female employee who was the expert on that particular product line. As he approached her, when he was maybe 8-10 feet away, the woman stuck out her arm and hand in the “stop” movement reminding him to remember the social distancing rules. He asked his questions standing about 8 feet away.

Ten minutes later, my colleague saw the same store employee having another interaction with a white female customer with about two or three feet of distance between them.

So now some hard questions need to be asked:
• Was the store employee really worried about social distancing, or was it perhaps more of an uneasiness around men, black people, or black men that dictated her behavior?

In the US, the Coronavirus is disproportionately impact minority communities

• Did the store employee perhaps think that it was more likely that she could catch the virus from a black person than from a white person? I hope you all have been hearing about how the Coronavirus is disproportionately impacting minority communities.

• During this time of sheltering at home and social distancing, are we all going to have less and less interaction with diverse people?

• Finally, raising this up from a personal experience discussion to a broader discussion, what can we learn and what can we do about the statistics showing that minorities in the US are catching and dying from the virus at extremely higher rates than the white majority?

Now, on the positive side, I have now started watching the 6:00 World News Tonight on ABC and I really appreciate the wide range of gender, racial and cultural diversity of medical professionals shown and interviewed in the stories.

As our country and the world continues to unite to fight this insidious virus, let’s keep in the front of our minds the continue progress we need to make in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion. As we do more virtual interaction, lets also keep in mind:

1) That we can use this time to set up connections and interactions with diverse people from ourselves

2) To remember the economically challenged people who may not even have the technology or the living space to even connect to outside world.

COVID 19 Blog 2 – This is How to House Your Home-Based Business (with the Perfect Office Space)

Photo via Pixabay

From time to time, I post guest-written blogs that are pertinent to my consulting areas of diversity and career development. Now that I am creating a series that is connected with living in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, this guest blog provided by Marissa Perez is very relevant since many more of us are now working from home.  In fact, a recent news article further asserts that in the post virus world, we will likely see more people working at home permanently.

Marissa Perez, co-founder and head marketing writer at Business Pop, has spent the last 10 years honing her marketing skills, and now is sharing her small business / entrepreneurial expertise through this third guest blog she has provided.

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Working and living in the same space can be very complicated. A dedicated workspace is vital for business success, but making room for your wares often presents unique challenges. From stocking products to making room for your computer to handling packing and shipping, here’s how to best house your home-based business.

1) Evaluate Existing Office Space (or Potential)

You may already have an unused space in your home that would be perfect for a home-based business. However, if you’re stocking products as you begin a Fulfillment by Amazon business, for example, it could take some innovation to make things work. You’ll need both a place to work at your desk and an area for managing stock, so it’s time to get creative.

Go Up and Over to Make Things Fit: Even for smaller products, you need adequate space for storage. One way to remedy limited square footage is by building up and over. Consider installing shelving units, wall hooks, and other vertical storage to make the most of a narrow floor plan.

Other space-saving options include fold-down workstations, loft desks that can hold the product above and your computer below, or even a full-blown loft space. Make sure your storage area is convenient to access so you can rotate inventory and process orders.

Build Out to Make Room: Another option is to build an addition to fit your office. Whether it’s adding to — or converting — a garage or installing a modular space, you’ll need to check your city’s local building code for guidelines. Each project will require permission from your local municipality.

Building onto your house can also get expensive. According to HomeGuide, the national average cost of building a home addition is $48,000.  However, you could also consider a “bump-out” or smaller addition to an existing room to increase your square footage for a lower cost. Per the Spruce, an addition can cost as little as $17,000 for 20 square feet of space.

Consider Moving Your Home and Business

If your existing home is too cramped for work, you might think about moving. But buying a new home to make room for your business involves some important steps.

Follow Steps for a Smart Home Search: When you decide to buy a home, you’ll need to establish a realistic budget and get pre-approval from your lender. Pre-approval means you’re ready to submit paperwork to make an offer once you find the perfect property. But you also need a reliable real estate agent to show you homes in your desired neighborhood or city.

Investing in a home office may make tax deductions available.

Take Note of Potential Tax Breaks: Whether you’re buying property or staying put, note that when you have a home business, you may qualify for a handful of valuable tax breaks. Tax deductions are available for home offices, home-based business expenses, and even travel expenses, according to Bench.

Potential tax breaks might not influence your buying decision overall. But it’s worth noting that your home office must be a separate space that’s used exclusively for your work—so installing your desk in the corner of the living room won’t qualify you for deductions.

Decorate for Maximum Productivity

Whatever type of home-based business you run, your office space should be inviting and functional. Staying organized is key for getting work done, so clear out cluttered drawers, toss trash, and scan must-keep documents to help boost productivity.

Of course, you shouldn’t discount the impact of your surroundings when it comes to how energized or focused you feel. Lighting and furniture can make a difference whether you’re working five hours or 50, so choose pieces that are bright and ergonomic, respectively.

Whether you and your home business stay put or move shop, designing an organized and productive home office is crucial for your success. Fortunately, thoughtful planning (and purchasing) can make all the difference.