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Remote Career Development: Mellanie Ullrich Of Lashfridays On How To Advance and Enhance Your Career When You Are Working Remotely

An Interview With David Liu

Employers usually oppose remote because they believe their staff will get lax and flippant towards work-related obligations without actual, in-person supervision. In actuality, however, the opposite happens where remote employees are more prone to overworking. It’s more difficult to disconnect when your private life and career are both housed together.

Career development is the ongoing process of choosing, improving, developing, and advancing your career. This involves learning, making decisions, collaboration with others and knowing yourself well enough to be able to continually assess your strengths and weaknesses. This can be challenging enough when you work in an office, but what if you work remotely? How does remote work affect your career development? How do you nurture and advance your career when you are working from home and away from other colleagues? How can you help your employees do this? To address these questions, we started an interview series called “How To Advance and Enhance Your Career When You Are Working Remotely”. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mellanie Ullrich.

My name is Melanie Ullrich and I am the proud owner and co-founder at Lashfridays. With Lashfridays I bring to reality my ideas of a better more effective beauty industry. I do this through formulating serums that actually deliver results.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. What is your “backstory”?

My name is Melanie Ullrich and I am the proud owner and co-founder at Lashfrdays. With Lashfridays, I bring to reality my ideas of a better more effective beauty industry. I do this through formulating serums that deliver results.

I’m from New Zealand and have always taken an interest in the beauty world. As a child, I remember sneaking into my mother’s room and using all her creams and lipsticks, which wasn’t something she was ever very happy about might I add. I also ruined them which got me in a significant amount of trouble.

As a teenager, I would take all of my mother’s old makeup, as well as skincare, and go crazy with mascara which I thought looked amazing. In reality, my eyelashes looked clumpy and artificial.

Eventually, I realized I wanted my eyelashes to look more real, less fake, and done up, but I still wanted them to be thick and luscious. This is when my interest in eyelash serums began. I couldn’t afford to buy one since they always have been a bit pricier and I was only 16, so I would rummage through my mom’s essential oils, experimenting with different oils to help me get longer and thicker lashes. This is also when I started to obsess over the formula, I had gone through formula after formula testing it out on everyone from myself, my friends, and even my poor old grandmother!

It only made sense to pursue this as a business venture later in life since this really is something I genuinely am passionate about. I am lucky to have the best team to help me improve my formula in order for it to reach its true potential.

I hope to constantly develop products that allow women the benefits of permanent and natural results, instead of results that wash off at night.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

In my time in the beauty world, I had the privilege of working alongside the trans community. I met a few trans women, passionate about the beauty world. This allowed me to see the transgender community from a more accurate perspective, while also seeing how ostracised they were. These women are abused from very early on in their lives, yet still have so much compassion and love for the same world that hurts them time and time again.

Prior to this experience, I do not think I was as well versed on the topic as I am now.

We need more transgender representation in the beauty world, as well as a need for a positive tolerant narrative, that will promote inclusivity in the long run.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The funniest mistake I made was listening to the negative people around me. At the end of the day, the only person who matters is YOU, and anyone else trying to get in the way of you being your authentic self is both irrelevant and a joke.

Life is far too short to have to waste around people who bring you down because they can’t stand the possibility of your success. Life has taught me a lot of the people around me were just funny mistakes, and once I recognised them as such, I made sure I never made these funny mistakes again. You should always surround yourself with people who help you grow, not people who make sure you never do. Look for positivity and empathy when making friends, I’m lucky enough to have learned this sooner better than later.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Kindness and empathy go a long way.

Growing up I saw very little kindness around me. Unfortunately, kindness is a fun word to throw around in conversation, but when it comes to implementation, not many of us truly represent the word. Just look at the comments under any celebrities’ posts, you’ll witness so much hatred and anger towards individuals just for their success and unattainability. The internet has made being unkind to one another so much easier, it’s made verbal abuse just a few clicks away and ironically, the internet and social media were meant to bring people together.

Societies intolerances and aggression now hide behind keyboard warriors who have no fear of how their words might negatively impact someone’s day or even life. Kindness and empathy are easy to share as an Instagram story, but how many of us can say we implement it every day, as well as online? Social media has shown a lot of us the bitter reality of our society today, we harbor so much hate towards each other, and it made me appreciate all gestures of kindness and empathy while enabling me to develop an increased sense of empathy of my own.

What advice would you give to other business leaders to help their employees thrive and avoid burnout?

As a business owner, you must first come to the important conclusion that your employees are the face and future of your business. With their help, you make or break your business outcome. Hiring great achievers isn’t always enough. You must ensure that your finest personnel flourish and remain with your organisation. That implies you must supply them with the appropriate setting to prevent them from becoming burnt out.

Employee burnout may have devastating consequences for your company: It can reduce team effectiveness, generate internal disputes, and even result in the loss of certain talent.

Here are some ways I prevent burnout in my company in a way that enables them to prosper and thrive in their careers.

Individuals want to be acknowledged and rewarded for their efforts, and if they are, they will work even harder the following time. When they aren’t, though, they might become pessimistic and believe their labor and efforts are in vain. Employee burnout is increased by 48 percent when the quantity of acknowledgment provided to them is lowered.

Burnout is exacerbated by a lifestyle of excessive workload or excessive demands. Burnout is more likely if you have a warped perception of work/life balance.

Employees will eventually prove successful if they don’t have the necessary tools to succeed. Hiring a brilliant person to squander hours working on activities that can be done by software or inexpensive labor is a problem waiting to happen. In order to ensure that your staff delivers their best job, ask them if there is anything you can do to improve their efficiency. This might indicate the need for a new tool, the hiring of a new employee, or just further coaching.

Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Working remotely can be very different than working with a team that is in front of you. This provides great opportunities but it can also create unique challenges. To begin, can you articulate for our readers a few of the main benefits and opportunities of working remotely?

Workers have had to adjust to remote working as a result of COVID 19, which has resulted in a drastic change to a work-from-home-focused strategy. Of course, allowing employees to work remotely is a difficulty for all individuals involved, but it also has enormous advantages for both employers and employees.

While working remotely has both advantages and disadvantages, the pandemic has actually proved the pros outweigh the cons.

Better recruitment

Working remotely removes recruiting boundaries and contributes to more workplace diversity by eliminating geographical constraints that separate companies from the best candidates for their open positions. Recruiters may pick, filter, and assess individuals virtually, from advertising job vacancies to receiving applications and interviewing. This strategy to recruitment emphasizes capability, broadens the employment population, and helps companies to address talents, such as multilingual proficiency, that may emerge elsewhere.

Traveling to and from work can get expensive. With remote work, you are able to cut out that expense completely. As an employer, you also now do not need to worry about having to pay for employee transportation services. Besides the obvious commuting charges, there’s also now no need to invest in a work wardrobe. Furthermore, companies see massive decreases in their overall costs which is due to the fact that there are lower electricity bills and no need to pay for daily employee costs such as food and refreshments for staff members during work hours

Can you articulate for our readers what the five main challenges are regarding working remotely?

  1. Isolation

When it comes to remote work, I think one of the first challenges to me right of the bad is the fact that it is remote means some employees might feel isolated at times. For example, staff members who struggle with mood-related disorders might not be able to adjust when working remotely. The decrease in the socializing aspect might be a downside to a lot of employees considering how common mental health disorders are now.

2. Overworking

Employers usually oppose remote because they believe their staff will get lax and flippant towards work-related obligations without actual, in-person supervision. In actuality, however, the opposite happens where remote employees are more prone to overworking. It’s more difficult to disconnect when your private life and career are both housed together.

3. Insufficient Wi-Fi services

Remote employees struggle immensely with WIFI and connection services. This is also why remote work might be easier in some countries compared to most. Employers try their best to provide staff members with the appropriate technology but without sufficient WIFI and services, it is impossible for employees to stay consistent at all hours of the workday.

4. Kids and pets

Staff members with pets or kids typically shy away from a remote work dynamic. These workers were also the ones negatively impacted by remote work since it is challenging to work when there is a lockdown and your kids are home and loud. Obligations towards children make it very difficult for workers to maintain their careers from home.

5. Unhealthy lifestyles

A multitude of workers ends up complaining that remote work makes falling into unhealthy lifestyles almost inevitable. This is a dynamic that blurs the lines between your work and private life leading to stress eating, as well as a lack of exercise due to overworking.

Based on your experience, what can one do to address or redress each of those challenges? Can you give a story or example for each?

I had members of my team who struggled with mental illness. Our company helps them get support by allocating them to a mentorship program to help them fight their feelings of isolation. I also made it imperative my employees and their managers had zoom meetings that were not just strictly work but instead, were lighter-hearted, and allowed all employees to connect and catch up with each other.

This proved to be very helpful since working from home can be lonely due to it being so devoid of the socializing aspect. Companies need to encourage socializing even when working from home be it from a zoom call, or even planning for the employees to meet in person every now and then.

We also made sure our managers were well trained to address remote work errors, such as overworking. A well-trained manager knows how to go about navigating their team. Likewise, a manager that isn’t fit for the task might force, if not encourage employees to overwork. This can be detrimental to their wellbeing and must be strongly discouraged.

in my organization, we encourage employees to hit daily targets that their managers set for them. These targets are specially designed to prevent them from overworking and exhausting themselves, with the assistance of their managers they are able to work stress-free with a healthy work-life balance.

It is crucial companies don’t encourage bad eating habits and a lack of exercise. They must do so in a manner that isn’t offensive, but constructive since your lifestyle directly impacts your work.

By offering remote employees gym memberships, as well as advocating for healthy eating habits in our mentorship programs we allow staff members the resources they need to facilitate their healthier lifestyles.

Let’s talk about Career Development. Can you share a few ideas about how you can nurture and advance your career when you are working from home and away from other colleagues?

When the pandemic first hit, every working individual worried that their career would inevitably halt or slow down. I know I worried my business would have to halt, I figured it would be impossible to work during covid and that I would incur losses. I soon realised that even though remote work was difficult, it wasn’t impossible to advance nor enhance my business during this new work dynamic. Here are a few tips I have gathered to help workers enhance their careers during remote work and even, eventually advance in their fields.

  • Be present

If you operate remotely, you know that building a presence may be difficult. If you want to progress in your profession, you’ll want to figure out how to make the most of your presence. Is there a single solution? Attending meetings with great attention. That means cameras should be turned on, smartphones should be turned down, and participants should be prepared to provide ideas and feedback. Remote employees are no longer at a disadvantage when it comes to meetings because of video technology. When you turn on the camera, you have the opportunity to create eye contact with the meeting leaders, build rapport, and better interact with them. It’s as close as you can get to shaking hands in person.

  • Establish yourself online

One of the most advantageous aspects of not traveling to work is that you have additional free time to pursue other interests. Develop your knowledge in your sector, not simply within your firm, if you want to improve your career. Participate in online forums and join suitable LinkedIn groups. Create a blog about your field of expertise and offer to contribute to other people’s blogs and magazines. The more you’re renowned for professional skills relevant to your career, the more valuable you are to your company — and the better your prospects of promotion.

  • Don’t let remote work get in the way of being direct about career advancement or promotions

Don’t try to be a one-man army. When you need assistance, ask for it since cooperation and collaboration are critical to success. Know how to articulate your demands without coming out as needy or entitled. To reach out to team members, use the appropriate collaboration resources and tools.

Express your desire for growth in your job to your management in straightforward words. Because this is what you’ve been striving for, proceed cautiously. It’s likely that simply sending an email to submit your request won’t be enough. Request a meeting with your boss and inquire as to when he or she will be available to talk to you. If possible, use a video call to communicate effectively.

It’s true that remote employees have a tougher time setting out clear career routes and being noticed for internal promotions. However, it isn’t inconceivable. As a work-from-home employee, you may prosper and find joy if you have the correct mindset and a feeling of personal accountability. The possibilities have never been higher with the proper technology to let you connect and interact with your peers while also establishing your professional profile.

Can you share a few ideas about how employers or managers can help their team with career development?

Your staff members need to understand that they have a future with your company, or they will end up looking for opportunities elsewhere. Demonstrate that there are prospects for progress by recognizing and promoting brilliance when it is appropriate.

Essentially, this may imply that you recruit prospective employees for every vacant post or that you disclose open positions to workers more explicitly so that they may apply quickly. However, there is one area where going beyond a fast triumph might pay well. You should also develop effective career maps and improvement initiatives for all staff so that they have a clear path to advancement.

Nobody enjoys having to wait till their yearly evaluation to find out if their superior is pleased with their work. Workers must get constant assessment in order to feel sufficiently appreciated for their accomplishments and to have the chance to develop as needed. effective and constructive assessment may also assist workers in realizing where they need to improve, but it’s ideally used in conjunction with an employee development plan. Giving workers the chance — and the tools — to develop may make a big difference.

Despite the rapid growth of remote work, it’s possible that some of your staff have never done it before. As a result, the transition from work to home may be difficult for them. Employees gain confidence as a result of training, which helps to decrease stress. It’s never too late to teach your workers to work from home, even if they already do. Ascertain that all employees are able to use your digital services, are aware of remote communication etiquette, and are aware of how to submit their work. Working will be a lot simpler as a result, and everyone will be able to finish their jobs. When arranging remote training, keep everything in one location and track employee progress on a regular basis.

Training your staff members to work better and smarter remotely will inevitably help them advance their careers.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I hope to one day become an advocate for mental health awareness in the workplace. In all spheres of the corporate world, mental health is one of the most neglected aspects of a business’s structure. Employees are the future of business growth objectives and only with healthy employees can companies grow and prosper. I hope, more managers and business owners can develop empathy towards remote workers, who work in a very anti-social environment. This inevitably causes loneliness, depression and makes it impossible for them to reach their career advancement goals in the workplace. As a business owner, I have always strived to make employee training and career advancement centered around employee wellbeing and mental health. This is due to my personal experience of struggling with anxiety. Working under any stress and anxiety is hard enough but career advancement can be almost impossible, this is why I hope to make mental health and employee wellbeing a priority in workplaces all over the world. Our mental health can be harmed by hazardous work environments.

I believe in creating environments where everyone can succeed. I also think that businesses, employees, and enterprises play an important role in fostering vibrant communities.

Workplace mental health and management go hand in hand, and research shows that businesses with high levels of mental wellness are more successful.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you for these great insights! We wish you continued success.



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David Liu

David Liu

David is the founder and CEO of Deltapath, a unified communications company that liberates organizations from the barriers of effective communication