Month: June 2023

What is the best for you?

What is the best for you?

I am curious about the struggles between back to work versus the continued push by many team members to work remotely. The other day a client was communicating how much he wanted his entire team back in the office five days a week (while his CEO is fine with their hybrid schedule). Apparently, he is not alone. The WSJ just published this article: Mondays are the new office fight.

Here are some stats*:

  • On the Monday before Memorial Day, the office occupancy rate was at 45% of pre-pandemic levels,
  • On the same Monday in 2022, the rate was 41% rate for those in the office
  • On the Tuesday before Memorial Day this year, 58% went to their offices that day

We are still a long way from going back to pre-Covid levels. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays are the biggest days in the office for hybrid offices, as evidenced by traffic patterns in many cities. Apparently there is also a movement afoot on social media, calling for “bare-minimum Mondays”… an easing in of the work week rather than jumping back to work after the weekend.

A company I work with is losing a really strong senior leader for the opposite reason. This leader wants to be around people all the time, just like in 2019, so he decided to leave this company with a hybrid work schedule and go back to the office five days a week. Another former client is fully remote and while she likes her co-workers, she said she is not engaged in the company and does not see staying there long. Could that be because she is fully remote?

What is the best situation for you and your company?

*According to according to Kastle Systems, which tracks security badge swipes into buildings across major U.S. cities.


The real competitive advantage in any business is one word only, which is “people”.

Kamil Toume, Writer and thought leader
Worth The Share

Digging a bit deeper into the remote work world, as it exists today, I found two competing lists of the best remote companies to work for.

Forbes published the Top 30 Rankings from Flexjobs, and only included jobs that are fully remote, with no restrictions of city, state or region. They also talked about the growth of remote jobs in finance and marketing.

I confess, I am unfamiliar with many of these companies, including their top picks Wikemedia FoundationProtocol Labs and Kraken. Check out their full list HERE.

Indeed, the online search firm, published a very different list called 20 of the Best Remote Work Companies in 2023. On this list you’ll find several tech and blue-chip companies including Microsoft, Intuit, Meta, Johnson&Johnson, and SAP. Each company’s listing includes a Work Happiness Score and a Flexibility Score. If you are in the job market, and want to be fully remote, check them out.

And Finally...

If people really are our competitive advantage, and we are living in a world that is dealing with fully remote, hybrid and only in-office options, how do you reconcile that with yourself, your leadership team and your employees?

What about the manufacturing company where the plants are open 24/7 or the retailer who has stores that need to be staffed nights and weekends? What do those corporate offices do?

Leadership is about being calm and consistent, establishing a plan and inspiring others with your vision for the company. This yo-yo that many companies and teams are facing about remote work is a big challenge. Shall we go back full time? Shall we stay hybrid? Can we convince our teams to come back into the office on Mondays? Can I get that employee back in the office when I hired her to be fully remote?

IMHO, Put a stake in the ground and stick with it. “In any team sport, the best teams have consistency and chemistry” said Roger Staubach. Be consistent…and then build chemistry.

Have a fabulous July 4th Holiday,
Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at

You Never Know

You Never Know

Speaking with a former client the other day, I was so inspired by her story that I asked her permission to share it.

Can you imagine, successfully changing careers twice because you did your job? Michelle was working in retail when she made some calls for a customer who was looking for a specific product. The next day, his human resources executive called Michelle at work. Apparently, her customer was the CEO of a real-estate developer and wanted Michelle to interview for a role selling townhomes in his new development. He was impressed by her and her level of customer service. She got the job.

While in her new role selling real-estate, Michelle sold a townhome to a woman who required an extreme amount of patience. This woman went to contract three different times on three different townhomes before finally closing on the third townhome. She then asked Michelle if she would be interested in working for her insurance company, where she was the Chief People Officer. She was impressed by Michelle’s patience and calm demeanor, as she changed her mind time and time again.

Fast forward, while in her new role as an insurance broker (yes, she got that job too), Michelle found a sponsor in the insurance industry who has been instrumental in Michelle’s career. Three companies and many promotions later, Michelle is a now a high ranking executive at a major insurance company.

When I asked Michelle about her key to success, she said it was her ability to “get to know the person, focus on what matters to them and be real”. IMHO, being fully present in every interaction matters, as does truly connecting with others. You never know!


This is one of my all time favorite quotes.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Worth The Share

Do you have a sponsor or two? We often talk about mentors, and many of us have business or executive coaches, but do you have a sponsor? It continually surprises me that most of my clients are unfamiliar with the concept of having a sponsor.

While a mentor shares experiences, offers moral support, listens and might share advice, a sponsor is an advocate, someone who intentionally brings up your name when you are not in the room. Someone who says, “what about Michelle” for a stretch assignment or when talking about a bigger job or promotion is a sponsor.

In this article, What Great Sponsors Do Differently, the authors talk about the relationship from the perspective of the sponsor and share six tips which I have included below. What strikes me about this list is that it is the ideal scenario. In a fast paced business world, the most important role of the sponsor is that the sponsor acts on behalf of the sponsee (#3) by promoting them to other high level executives. Sometimes we have sponsors, and are not even aware that they are advocating for us and our work.

If you are a sponsor, and have a formal structure to your sponsor/sponsee relationship, here are some tips to maximize it. Great sponsors:

  1. Show up – they attend regularly scheduled meeting and respect the time of their sponsee.
  2. Are patient and without judgement – and invest in really understanding their sponsee.
  3. Act outside the one-on-one meetings with their sponsees – and advocate for their professional growth with assignments and promotions.
  4. Seek out relevant information transparently – to better know and understand their sponsee.
    Offer feedback and provide psychological safety – and are candid while providing a welcoming space to talk, listen and learn.
  5. Talk to each other about sponsorship – and the impact sponsoring has on the organization as a whole.

Check out What Great Sponsors Do Differently to learn more.

And Finally...

As we think about unexpected opportunities like what Michelle experienced twice in her career, or sponsors who actively advocate for us, I have to ask: How are you paying it forward? Who are you mentoring or sponsoring?

A few months ago, a dear friend sent me a book that resonated with me. Give and Take, by Adam Grant, sheds light on the powerful

impact of helping others. He talks about Givers, Matchers and Takers. One of my favorite quotes from the book: “It’s the givers, by virtue of their interest in getting to know us, who ask us the questions that enable us to experience the joy of learning from ourselves”. Check out Give and Take for some true inspiration.

Not surprisingly, Michelle currently makes time to pay it forward by sponsoring colleagues, mentoring a new manager and leading an internal coaching circle of eight women from around the country.

Are you sponsoring, mentoring or coaching others at your company or in your professional sphere? If not, no matter what stage you are at in your career, now is the perfect time to start!

Have a great week.
Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at