I’m in the process of moving content from an old site, hosted by Bluehost, to this new site, hosted by Siteground.
I’ve experienced what I consider to be predatory practices with Bluehost’s weak security and upselling of malware abatement that never really locks down the site or keeps it safe.
Days after paying to get malware removed and a service initiated, I was notified again malware was found on the site and told I had to contact Sitelock to deal with more.
It’s unacceptable to me that a host wouldn’t automatically protect a site and then to continue to extort time and money to repeatedly have to remove malware. I’ve had websites for years with other hosts and have never experienced this.
For a past client project, the developer recommended Siteground and much more security is included with their services, so here I am.
Winding down some time in Toronto following an amazing trip to Portugal earlier this summer (follow me on Instagram for visual highlights), I was finally able wrap up this post reflecting on the power of travel and another on how work teams can make it possible for everyone to experience a bit of it.
Communications professionals’ work revolves around connecting with others, telling stories, and shaping narratives. Exploring perspectives beyond our own daily responsibilities and stomping grounds can elevate how we communicate.
Team leaders that support their staff accessing the value of travel to expand their thinking and elevate their communications acumen are investing in their team’s professional development.
Travel offers a unique opportunity for personal growth presenting experiences that can level up our skills as communicators through enhanced:
Cultural sensitivity and diversity: One of the most significant benefits of travel is the exposure to a new culture and perspectives, even if the differences may be subtle. Engaging with different communities, traditions, and belief systems broadens our understanding of the world. As communications professionals, this firsthand experience enables us to cultivate cultural sensitivity, empathy, and the ability to effectively communicate across diverse audiences. It enhances our capacity to connect with individuals from various backgrounds, ensuring that our messages resonate authentically.
Storytelling and narrative development: Travel provides a wealth of captivating stories and experiences that enrich our storytelling abilities. As we explore new destinations, we encounter unique narratives, both uplifting and challenging. These encounters fuel our creativity, enabling us to craft compelling narratives that resonate with authenticity and emotional depth. By immersing ourselves in different cultures and witnessing diverse perspectives, we gain a broader range of stories to draw upon, infusing our communication efforts with richness and authenticity.
Adaptability and problem-solving: Travel often involves navigating unfamiliar environments, overcoming obstacles, and adapting to unexpected situations. These experiences nurture our adaptability and problem-solving skills, essential traits for communications professionals. Whether it’s dealing with language barriers, logistical challenges, or cultural differences, travel hones our ability to think on our feet, remain flexible, and find innovative solutions. These skills transfer directly to our professional lives, allowing us to navigate complex projects and overcome communication hurdles with ease.
Networking and relationship building: Travel provides unique opportunities to forge meaningful connections with people from diverse backgrounds. Engaging with locals, fellow travelers, and industry professionals expands our network and cultivates new relationships. These connections can lead to collaborations, partnerships, and insights that enrich our professional lives. By immersing ourselves in new environments and engaging with others, we build bridges and foster a global network of contacts, opening doors to exciting professional opportunities.
Personal reflection and self-awareness: Travel offers moments of solitude and self-reflection, allowing us to disconnect from our daily routines and immerse ourselves in new environments. Stepping outside our comfort zones sparks self-discovery, enabling us to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, our values, and our purpose. By embarking on journeys of self-exploration, we enhance our self-awareness and bring a renewed sense of authenticity and clarity to our professional endeavors.
Resilience and emotional intelligence: Travel, with its unpredictable challenges and unfamiliar situations, fosters resilience and emotional intelligence. It teaches us to navigate uncertainties, manage stress, and adapt to different cultural norms. These experiences strengthen our emotional intelligence, enabling us to empathize, connect, and communicate effectively with diverse audiences. By embracing discomfort and overcoming obstacles, we become more resilient professionals, equipped to handle the complexities of our field.
Travel is more than a leisure activity for communications professionals—it is a catalyst for personal growth and professional development. Through exposure to diverse cultures, immersive storytelling, adaptability, networking, and self-reflection, travel enhances our skills, expands our perspectives, and enriches our lives.
Embrace the transformative power of travel, and allow it to shape your team—and yourself—into a more well-rounded, culturally aware, and effective communicator.
Tips for comms teams to manage work during vacation season
I’m on vacation number two of the summer and yes, it’s only while on PTO that I can find a shred of time for my personal writing, it seems, but I know I am very fortunate to take two breaks like this. From Toronto, I put the finishing touches on this post, inspired when I got back from Portugal last month. The team seems to be surviving while I am away, and we can credit that to the mindful, conscientious, and responsive players we have in addition to the processes in place.
Setting your team players up for success involves common-sense (but often overlooked) tactics and follow-through.
Marketing and communications work can be unpredictable and easily take on 24-7 urgency if stakeholder expectations are not well managed. For those working in this space, time off for a bit of relaxation, exploration, and rejuvenation is especially critical and essential to creativity. Data shows that time off supports innovation and enhanced productivity for the longer term.
Team leaders can help ensure their staff can unplug and take well-deserved vacations while maintaining overall team productivity and seamless workflow by prioritizing open communication and collaboration all year round.
Here are some practical tips for effectively managing workloads and maintaining efficiency throughout the summer vacation season.
Plan ahead and share: Encourage team members to calendar their vacation plans well in advance, allowing ample time for adjustments and workload redistribution. By knowing who will be out and when, you can strategically plan project timelines, deadlines, and client deliverables. Clear and transparent communication within the team ensures everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities during absences. If your team is not using a project management tool like Microsoft Planner, a project management app in Google Workspace, monday.com, Asana, or something like that yet, it’s time.
Cross-train and delegate responsibilities: Promote a culture of cross-training and skill-sharing within your team. Encourage team members to develop a diverse skill set, allowing them to step in for their colleagues during vacation periods. Not everyone needs to be an expert in all things, but baseline competence across a range of typical communications-related tasks such as web editing and simple graphic design is key. By sharing knowledge and delegating responsibilities, you can ensure that work continues smoothly, even when team members who normally do the heavy lifting in some areas are away. Foster a collaborative environment that values shared competency and a commitment to quality, enabling seamless transitions between team members.
Prioritize and set realistic expectations: Setting realistic expectations helps manage workloads effectively, ensuring that essential work is completed while allowing flexibility for team members taking time off. Identify critical projects and assignments that must be completed during the summer period and stagger those that have longer lead times accordingly. As always, communicate clear timelines and deliverables to stakeholders and stay accountable.
Leverage technology and automation: Embrace tools that simplify and centralize information, allowing team members to access relevant resources easily and communicate in real time. Project management and tracking applications, info sharing platforms, and automation tools facilitate collaboration and smooth, efficient workflows all year round. Ensuring your team is up to speed when all hands are on deck will make it easier to keeping things running during vacation season with rotating staff members out of the office. Canva is a well-known platform that has democratized the ability to execute passable graphic design. It’s fast and easy for skilled graphic designers to set up branding kits templates that non-designers can edit on the fly when filling in.
Encourage work-life balance and rest: While it’s important to maintain productivity, managers can help their teams prioritize work-life balance and encourage relaxation and recharging during set vacation times. Recognizing that everyone needs time off to relax and rejuvenate, managers can help ensure that team members have adequate coverage during their absence, empowering them to disconnect and truly enjoy their time away. A well-rested and refreshed team will return with renewed energy and creativity, ready to tackle upcoming projects.
The summer vacation season can be a challenge for marketing and communication teams when it comes to managing workloads, but with thoughtful planning, effective communication, and smart resource allocation, it can also present an opportunity for growth and perfecting seamless collaboration that will serve the team well any time.
With smart tactics baked in to your day-to-day operations, your team can skillfully navigate the summer juggle while moving forward its objectives, increasing camaraderie and capacity for the longer term, as well.