No commute, no parking, lower gas bills, those were just some of the positives aspects companies and employees were touting earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to work from home. Fast forward five months, and employees are starting to see the negative aspects of working from home -- whether its Zoom fatigue, lack of concentration, less collaboration or trying to balance work and family all in the same space. But Kim Saxton, clinical professor of marketing at the IU Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, and Todd Saxton, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, say there are ways to manage remote work so that employees stay productive and engaged. First, incorporate unstructured time. Have some unstructured online time with small teams of colleagues or share morning coffee or lunch virtually with no specific agenda, just a general catch-up. Another tip: get outside. Take an occasional walk in the park or meet outside in a pleasant venue with one or two colleagues. This creates the personal interaction people miss and can be done safely by staying six feet apart. A third tip for making remote learning work is exploring how people are feeling. There is still a lot going on for most employees. Note their body language and ask how they are feeling, the Saxtons say. Make it okay for employees to share what is going on as they balance their work and home environment. Finally, the Saxtons suggest creating separation. Encourage employees to take time off and totally unplug to completely focus on friends and family, they say. It is also helpful to have home space that is dedicated to work, without the four-footed friends and other colleagues Zooming in. Both researchers say the coming months will be an interesting challenge for leaders and workers alike. We must mutually adapt to ensure that we can continue to balance, not blend, work and home life.
In other news, as fall approaches, Americans are preparing to vote in the next general election. With the election come political ads. In fact, about $7 billion reportedly will be spent this fall on television and digital commercials from political campaigns and political action committees, filling the airwaves with political ads many viewers dislike. But new research from the IU Kelley School of Business finds that contrary to mainstream thought, political ads do not create a negative spillover for other advertisements that run immediately after political ads. In fact, the study finds political ads yield positive spillover effects for nonpolitical advertisers. Using data for 849 national prime-time ads during the 2016 U.S. general election, the researchers found that ads airing after a political commercial saw an 89 percent reduction in audience decline and a 3 percent increase in post-ad chatter online. The results, researchers say, enable advertisers to advocate for the inclusion of ad positioning in ad buys and, specifically, negotiate that their ads follow political ads. Furthermore, researchers say the study may also encourage advertisers outside of the television context to experiment with advertising next to political content, an experimentation that may be especially beneficial for online advertisers given that they commonly avoid having their ads appear near political content.