Thrive in Five

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Thrive in Five
According to this Inc. article from 2016, an average worker is only productive for about 3 hours out of the 8 hour work day. THREE HOURS!!

Despite the amount of time we spend trying to be more productive, we should focus instead on being efficient and effective. We’ve heard the typical tips for productivity time and time again: delegate, prioritize, get sleep, etc. That’s why, in this Thrive in Five, we’re focusing on the nontraditional tips to help you complete your work in the smartest way, not the hardest one.

Do you want to get inspiring and growth-oriented messages to fuel your learning and be your best self? Click below to get the bi-weekly Thrive in Five messages sent directly to your inbox!

Nontraditional Tips for Being Effective

Our goal in this Thrive, besides to make you more effective, is to blow your mind, so why not start off with a bang?

Tip 1: Procrastinate

That’s right. We said it! Think about it… You have a week to complete a task. How long does it take you to do it? Now think about how long it takes you to complete a task that’s due in less than a day. Way less time, right? This ideology is called Parkinson’s Law: tasks expand to the time allotted. Now, does this mean you should always wait until the last minute to do something? No, but you should give yourself shorter deadlines or a specific amount of time to work on something. It will provide a sense of urgency and light a fire under your butt, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can crank out work!

Tip 2: Go Home When You’re Behind

Research has shown time and time again that your capacity to be productive ends at 55 hours a week. Working that extra 5 hours when you’re behind will make you no more productive. Go home, rest up, and come back ready to re-engage instead of trying to catch up all in one day.

Tip 3: Expand Your Definition of “Work”

A lot of people define “work” as what they do to make a living, but if you’re spending time and energy on other things outside of your “day job,” that’s work, too! For example, if you work 50 hours a week and then coach your kid’s soccer team for 5 hours a week and then spend 6 hours at the gym every week, you’re “working” 61 hours a week! You need to make sure you account for all the other activities you’re dedicating energy to outside of your “day job” to make sure you’re not setting yourself up to burn out.

Tip 4: Don’t Multitask

Ok, ok… so if you read these Thrives regularly, this is an old tip, but it’s an important one! Our brains are not designed to switch quickly from task to task or to do more than one thing at one time. The rule of thumb is to work on one thing for at least 20 minutes before switching to the next task. That includes taking a quick phone call, checking an email that just came in, grabbing a snack, or taking a bathroom break. If you decide to work on something, do that something until you’re either done or have worked on it for 20 minutes.

Tip 5: Know Yourself and Commit!

This one might seem obvious, but if you know little tips to make you more motivated, commit to them! For example, if you know working in public makes you more motivate because you like the idea of others seeing you as a hard worker, then go work in a coffee shop! If you know you need familiarity and structure to work, then have a dedicated home office to work or make yourself go into the office. If a change of scenery sparks focus and motivation for you, move your work to a different desk or different location altogether. Need quiet? Book a conference room by yourself and close the door. Work better with collaboration? Ask someone to bounce ideas around with you. Work better when you write versus type? Find a pad of paper or a whiteboard. We think you get the idea!

Apply the Five!

Luckily for us, MindTools has a plethora of self-assessments, one of which is about productivity! The areas they focus on are not exactly aligned with the tips we list above, but this self-assessment will give you a good baseline measurement of how productive you are and where you can improve.

Once you take the assessment, develop a game plan working on one area of improvement at a time. We might sound like a broken record, but change is a process and improving one thing at a time will help you reach your end goal of “working smarter” faster!

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Margit Jochmann!

In hindsight, this is something I should have focused long ago, but it was not until our family expanded that it finally clicked.

Margit getting some “Me Time” in while being a boss.

The challenge: I love what I do, so pairing that with my tendency to perfect things often led to long hours in the past. With that also came never ending to do lists. I didn’t really mind, as the extra time spent was on activities that I enjoy, but, that’s not a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

With a little one in the picture, there are naturally boundaries as to how much time is available, and thus came the quest to transform myself to work smarter, not harder. Ultimately, I also want to be good role model for our little one, so I wanted to figure this out.

To maintain my wellness and focus, I practice the following:

  • Prioritizing: I keep my to do lists for the day lean and mean by focusing on the 3 to 5 most urgent, important, and challenging tasks for that day. I also try to make sure that one of those tasks is tied to a long-term goal to ensure that the day’s activities have a good mix of my various responsibilities.
  • Reducing distractions: When I need to focus on a task, I turn off all notifications for a while. Using the “working offline” function in Outlook can also be great stress relief.
  • Resting the mind: I prioritize breaks to refresh my mind and focus. Staying seated in front of my laptop for hours is just not a good approach.
  • Letting go: I try to accept the 80/20 principle and that 100% is not always what is needed – I have to recognize when to let perfectionism go. I also try to remind myself that I don’t have to do it all. Granted, having a fabulous team to work with also makes this much easier!
  • Focus on me: “Me time” has become very important to recharge. Whether I’m going for a run, enjoying the sun, or relaxing with a glass of wine (soon again!), I carve out time and make it a priority. The sense of renewal promotes my personal wellness, allowing my whole self to thrive and be more present.

These tips have helped me to accomplish more, and I also feel much better about it. It’s definitely a journey, though, and I’m sure it will take continued practice to stay at it!


Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees THRIVE when they are involved, mentored, challenged, healthy, paid well, appreciated, empowered, trusted, connected to strategy, heard
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

Employee Wellness on Engagement

Thrive in Five
Employee engagement has been on the up-trend for years now, but a new aspect that is still growing in popularity is health and wellness’s influence on engagement. We want to focus on this newer perspective in this Thrive in Five!

P.S. Check out our new “Employees Thrive When” graphic at the bottom of our Thrive messages! We have customized and created our own to include “Healthy” as one of the aspects, as well as a couple others such as “Heard” and “Connected to Strategy.”

Do you want to get inspiring and growth-oriented messages to fuel your learning and be your best self? Click below to get the bi-weekly Thrive in Five messages sent directly to your inbox!

What is Wellness?

Wellness is a big deal and has a major effect on how we perceive life! Based on a Porter Novelli Health Styles Survey done in 2008, the following data was found on wellness:

  • 11% of adults felt cheerful all of the time in the past 30 days.
  • 15% of adults felt calm and peaceful all of the time in the past 30 days.
  • 13% of adults felt full of life all of the time in the past 30 days.
  • 9.8% of adults strongly agree that their life is close to their ideal.
  • 19% of adults strongly agree that they are satisfied with their life.
  • 21% of adults strongly agree that their life has a clear sense of purpose.
  • 30% of adults strongly agree that on most days they feel a sense of accomplishment from what they do.

Those numbers are pretty low! You can imagine how much (or little) the other 70-90% of people are able to engage in their lives, including work!

So what is wellness?

Well… depending on who you talk to, there can be upwards of 8 different aspects of wellness to be aware of! The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recognizes the following 8 dimensions:
Eight Dimensions of Wellness: Emotional Spiritual Intellectual Physical Environmental Financial Occupational Social

  1. Emotional
  2. Spiritual
  3. Intellectual
  4. Physical
  5. Environmental
  6. Financial
  7. Occupational
  8. Social

What does that mean for engagement?

At Evans, we believe engagement as a two-way street. If we engage in our employees and invest in them, we believe we will get the same in return. In fact, we believe in this working relationship so much, we look for this mentality and belief in the candidates we hire!

How do we engage and invest in our employees? We make sure we support all aspects of wellness! In turn, our employees are dedicated to helping Evans and our clients thrive. Here’s how we support the wellness of our Evans Nation family members:

  • Physical: We offer excellent health benefits that include dental and vision at no additional cost for employees, as well as have a gym in the building!
  • Intellectual: We provide professional development benefits which not only includes a monetary benefit to help pay for training but also paid time off to dedicate to learning.
  • Emotional/Spiritual: We promote work/life balance and do everything we can to give employees a support network and platform for speaking up if they are feeling unbalanced.
  • Financial: We compensate our employees as fairly as possible, including doing market research frequently to make sure we are staying competitive relative to similar organizations and in relation to the other benefits we provide.
  • Occupational: We provide job security to our employees. Even in the government shutdown earlier this year when most of our staff were unable to work, nobody’s jobs were on the line. We found other meaningful work for everyone to do until the government re-opened.
  • Social: We love hanging out at Evans, but we don’t force it on anyone, either! We give opportunities for people to get together including happy hours, baseball games, softball leagues, barbecues, picnics, chili cook-offs, bowling, Office Olympics, fantasy football, March Madness… the list goes on and on!
  • Environmental: We try to give our employees the environment they need to thrive. Free snacks? Check! Free coffee? Check! Quiet rooms to work? Check! Flexible working schedules? Check! In fact, we are moving to a new location early next year and are getting input from our employees now while we design the space to see how we can do even better.

By doing all we can to invest in our employee family’s well-being, we are proud to say that we have been able to maintain a retention rate of 88% or higher since 2015! We love our employees and want to be part of their success story, and we feel honored to be on the receiving end of their dedication and hard work.

Apply the Five!

Now it’s time to put the mirror on yourself!

If you’re in a managing role, take a step back to evaluate how you’re supporting your employees’ wellness and health. Take a look at the 8 dimensions of wellness above, and see if you can identify one or two ways you’re supporting each dimension. Getting input from your employees is never a bad idea, either! If you identify a gap, create a plan with your employees to figure out how you can better support them in those areas.

If you don’t manage others (or even if you do), focus on yourself. How would you rate your wellness in each dimension? What can you do differently to be even healthier? Pick one dimension to focus on at first, since, like we’ve mentioned before, change is a process, not an event! It will take time to get to your optimal wellness, and focusing on one thing at a time will help you get there faster!

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Kristi Ausberry!

For me, personal wellness and the effects it could have on other aspects of my life wasn’t always top of mind. I took care of everyone and everything else first: family, work, friends, then me. Somehow, there never seemed to be enough time to get to the bottom of that list. I learned over the years how unsustainable this mindset was and how necessary it was to make a shift. Nothing happened over night, but over time the benefits have been immeasurable and this change in mentality has had positive impacts at home, at work, and in my social life.

To maintain wellness, I…

Focus on me : “Me time” has become very important. Whether I’m relaxing with a glass of wine or taking a spa day, I carve out time and make it a priority. The sense of renewal promotes my personal wellness, allowing my whole self to thrive.

Prioritize : I consider what needs to be done and when. If there’s a task that someone else can complete, I try to remind myself that I don’t have to do it all. The constant juggling of tasks can be exhausting and no one task gets full attention. I’m partially engaged, thinking of all the things that need to be done. Checking off the boxes, feeling the sense of accomplishment allows me to be fully engaged in the next activity. I have more time to prepare and I feel more connected.

Finding balance : Too much work leaves little time for family. Setting aside separate time for work and time for family and ensuring that both receive full attention is important. If it’s family time, I try to refrain from constantly checking my phone or rushing through an activity to get back to that reconciliation I didn’t want to turn away from.

I am fortunate to have an employer that promotes all aspects of wellness and, this makes all the difference!


Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees THRIVE when they are involved, mentored, challenged, healthy, paid well, appreciated, empowered, trusted, connected to strategy, heard
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

Attention Management vs Time Management

Thrive in Five
Time management is a topic we are all too familiar with. Delegate! Prioritize! Be more efficient! But you’re still having trouble getting everything done… We have a new solution, and it’s a hot topic climbing up the ladder of productivity: attention management!

Do you want to get inspiring and growth-oriented messages to fuel your learning and be your best self? Click below to get the bi-weekly Thrive in Five messages sent directly to your inbox!

Attention Management

While similar to time management, attention management changes the focus of your time to how you are engaging in your work instead of focusing on what you’re doing with your time. For instance, did you know that multi-tasking actually hurts your productivity because it takes your brain a significant amount of effort to switch between tasks rapidly?

attention management

Here are some attention management tips from yours truly:

  • Reduce distractions so you can focus – While it’s tempting to catch up on emails while watching tv, it can reduce your ability to really zone in and be productive.
  • Pay attention to your energy throughout the day – your motivation to do different tasks changes throughout the day. Listen to your body and work on tasks you like or work on easy tasks during times when you know your energy will be low. Save the tough tasks for when you’re feeling rested and motivated. Read the research!
  • Focus on one thing at a time – like we mentioned above, multi-tasking is detrimental to productivity. We know it’s so easy to just click into an email that came in while you’re working on a deliverable, but we promise 99% of the time, it can wait! Best practice is to work on something for at least 20 minutes before switching to another task.
  • Be intentional about your time – none of us want to let anyone down and say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t,” but if you say yes to everything, you won’t be able to give 100% to everything! Give your time a value and be intentional! Read more!
  • Stay connected to the why – Feeling unmotivated? Find a reason that intrinsically motivates you. What about this task makes it important? Who does it affect? How will it makes things better? Intrinsic motivation will get a finished product much faster than extrinsic motivation.
  • Strengthen your brain’s ability to focus – Of course external factors such as what you work on, distractions, and when you work makes a big difference in your ability to focus, but remember: your brain is a muscle! If you struggle to stay focused, you can improve your ability to focus by practicing! Yoga and meditation are good (and free!) options. If you’re super into science and have a little more money to spend, check out neuro-feedback to help “teach” your brain how to focus.

Apply the Five!

The first step to make any change is awareness and acknowledgment.

We challenge you to pick one of the tips above and identify how you can better managing your attention in that regard. If you’re feeling ambitious, tackle two or three tips, but keep in mind that change is not a event but a process, so it will take time to maximize your attention management skills!

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Laura Borntraeger!

Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed with deadlines and competing priorities, I remember that my current workload is nothing compared to what I had to handle a few years back. In the spring of 2015, I was working full time, getting my MBA at night, and training for a half marathon. I barely had time to eat and sleep, but somehow, I got through it. I’m sure lots of people reading this are dealing with competing priorities: kids, spouses, friends, maybe sick parents or health problems. One way I’ve found to manage stressful times is to focus on attention management and not necessarily time management, which can easily fall apart as priorities shift (new deadline, last-minute meeting, child is sick at school, etc.).

Scientifically, human brains are not designed for multitasking. Our attention span is only capable of tackling one task at a time. To work efficiently, especially when you’re facing a deadline, I find it best to first tackle the tasks you least want to do. Once those are out of the way, you can focus your attention on the tasks you’d prefer to work on without the nagging reminder that you have those dreaded items waiting on your to-do list. You are more likely to spend time on tasks you enjoy doing, and so it should be. If you force yourself to accomplish the undesirable tasks first, you’ll be motivated to concentrate and work productively so you can move on to the work you’d rather be doing. As long as you’re not missing deadlines, I prefer to order my to-do list from least to most enjoyable. As you cross those items off your list, hopefully, some of the stress will lift as well!


Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees THRIVE when they are involved, mentored, challenged, healthy, paid well, appreciated, empowered, trusted, connected to strategy, heard
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

Checklist for Future Plans

Thrive in Five
Evans’ 25th Anniversary is here! In the same light, we’ve developed our 2025 Vision. With that being said, we’re taking this Thrive to focus on giving YOU a foundation for creating your own future plan.

This Thrive in Five is focused on giving you a checklist to make sure you’ve considered as much as possible to set your plan up for success. In our “Learn How Evans Thrives” section, meet the mastermind behind our own vision and strategic plan!

Do you want to get inspiring and growth-oriented messages to fuel your learning and be your best self? Click below to get the bi-weekly Thrive in Five messages sent directly to your inbox!

Have you covered all your bases?

Our main goal for this Thrive is to give you a foundation for creating your future plan so you can make sure you didn’t overlook anything. Follow our checklist below to start planning your future success!

Strategy Checklist Graphic. Download the PDF below.

Apply the Five!

Think about something you want to accomplish. Maybe you want to make manager. Maybe you want to implement a new system or process. Maybe you want to get a degree or a certification.

The good news is: the checklist above works for all plans! While some plans might be simpler than others, take some time to walk through the list above with your goal in mind to create your own. Then go and do awesome!

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Iliana Alvarado!

I once had a dream of being a writer. I was in third grade and couldn’t contain my excitement over my English assignment. It was the perfect opportunity to showcase my hidden talent!
I spent a week imagining the storyline and finally wrote my masterpiece—The Penny Around the World. I created an adventure capturing the penny’s experience as it passed from one hand to the next. The story goes…

…First stop, NYC! Serving as change for a cab ride, the penny was taken to the Statue of Liberty where it was tossed onto her platform for good luck. It was picked up by a child enticed by its sparkle and ended up traveling by plane to a schoolyard in Europe. There it lost a game of hopscotch and seemed to meet its demise, but it was spotted by a sharp-eyed bird. The bird soared over the Eye… and you know the rest. The penny lived on for many adventures, traveling to all corners of the world.
I was proud of my story, but then experienced the first setback of my life. I got a big fat “C”. Capital for crushed. I believed I’d be a writer only if I was the best. Only if the story was loved by my teacher. Only if…

I closed my heart to writing, but never forgot the feeling of creating adventure. Fast forward 30 years, and you will find me on a plane to London, realizing another dream — meeting innovative companies creatively solving complex problems. From there, I’ll travel to Miami, Mexico, NY, and … I’m living the life of my penny.

What I learned is plans don’t always work out. Just start somewhere and try different angles. Those perceived failures are guiding posts to a better path. Above all else, the answer is the vision (of the Eye, ojos, Times Square variety).


Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees thrive when they are involved, mentored, challenged, promoted, paid well, appreciated, valued, on a mission, empowered, and trusted.
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

The Key to Being Authentic

Thrive in Five
Being authentic and true to yourself has many benefits, including confidence, connection, reduced stress, and increased health. However, it’s no secret that authenticity can be elusive, and it can be challenging to accomplish a true and consistent sense of self. This Thrive is focused on giving you foundational tips for being your “you-est” you.

Do you want to get inspiring and growth-oriented messages to fuel your learning and be your best self? Click below to get the bi-weekly Thrive in Five messages sent directly to your inbox!

Be Your “You-est” You

Often we are put in situations where we feel we need to be or act like someone else. We feel pressures both externally and internally that tell us we should be something different.

“You should be more organized.”
“You should exercise more.”
“You should eat better.”
“You should call your parents more.”
“You should work harder.”
“You should work less.”

The list goes on and on, and we’ve all experienced “the shoulds.” Well we’re here to help you embrace who you are and be true to yourself.

They had connection as a result of authenticity.
They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be
in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do
for connection.

Brené Brown speaks to vulnerability and being authentic in her TED Talk – one of the most popular talks of all time.

Using Dr. Brown’s TED Talk and our own experience with authenticity, we’ve come up with a few tips for how to achieve true authenticity and for how to maintain it:

  • Be self-aware. A huge part of being authentic is to be aware of yourself. What are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? What motivates you? How do you want to grow? What are you good at? What do you admire about others? Asking these questions can feel uncomfortable and “mushy,” but we promise that’s the first step to embracing your whole self.
  • Embrace your imperfections. Acknowledge your imperfections, understand that they make you who you are, and embrace them. Does that mean you shouldn’t continue to grow and develop? Does this mean you should have the “I’m me. Take it or leave it.” mentality? Definitely not! Just be sure you’re not compromising your values, and make sure you’re growing and developing how YOU want to, and not how others want you to.
  • Know your values. At the core of who we are is what we believe and what we value. By defining and understanding your values, you can gut-check if something is affecting who you are. If a situation is uncomfortable but doesn’t compromise your values, give it a shot! If it does, say no, thanks. Stick to them, and you’ll find a deeper sense of self in everything you do.
  • Discomfort leads to growth. Situations that make you uncomfortable are great situations for helping you understand yourself. This overlaps with understanding your emotions, but uncomfortable situations are also some of the biggest opportunities for growth. Putting yourself out there in uncomfortable situations (that still align with your values) feels vulnerable, but vulnerability is normal! And as Brené Brown mentions, vulnerability leads to connection – connection with what you do and those around you.
  • Ditch those who want to change you. Surround yourself with people who accept and celebrate who you are. If they are trying to change you, it should be in a supportive way where they’re helping you grow in the ways that you want to. Create and maintain relationships that make you a better you.

There’s a theme here you may have noticed: being authentic can be uncomfortable! You have to put yourself out there to be judged and not always kindly, but by being vulnerable, you’ll build yourself a network of family, friends, work, values, community… the list goes on… where you can be your “you-est” you. This is the key to true and consistent authenticity!

Apply the Five!

As mentioned above, understanding your values can help guide you to situations that help you grow in ways that are true to yourself. Your “homework” this Thrive is to define your values.

You can define your values in situations where you feel a strong emotion – anger, sadness, pride, shame, happiness, motivation, etc. That might seem broad, but think about it:

You finish a task, and you’re really proud. Why? Is it some of your best work? Did it exceed your boss’s or client’s expectations? Did you finish it before the deadline? Did you finish it in record time? Did you work on it with others? Did you finish it all by yourself? Did it challenge you? Did you learn a lot from it?

All of these questions can lead to a different value which identifies why you feel proud of the completed task. If you can understand the why’s of your emotions, you’ll find your values and get a better understanding of yourself and what drives you.

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Sarah Lowe!

In the competitive DC area, there’s a lot of “faking it ’til you make it.” Unfortunately, I don’t have much of a poker face. Because I’m a poor card player, I have always had to be comfortable in my skin and honest with myself.

I have also failed a lot: in school, in jobs, in relationships, in parenting (and I’m only 14 months in!). Evolving from failures has helped me grow into a more authentic self. One of the greatest compliments I have ever received was from a dear friend who told me, “I admire your resiliency. If you fall off the horse, you get right back up.” Leveraging vulnerable moments to learn from mistakes is critical to being authentic.

Left: Sarah sporting her middle school awesomeness.
Right: Sarah acing a professional headshot.
Motto: Lean into your awkwardness, and grow from it.

“Faking it” is upheld in our culture, but why do we aspire to lack authenticity? Being our authentic selves is vulnerable, and vulnerability is one of our strongest assets to connecting to others. There is a level of dishonesty in “faking it,” so I say embrace the failures and struggles in life! In Brené Browns’ TED Talk, called The Power of Vulnerability, she discusses human connection. She says that connection is “what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

I challenge everyone to try to say, “I don’t know!” more often. See if this simple phrase changes your perspective, your personal and working relationships, and your sense of self in being a truer you!


Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees thrive when they are involved, mentored, challenged, promoted, paid well, appreciated, valued, on a mission, empowered, and trusted.
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

Engaging Remote Employees

Thrive in Five
As the world gets smaller and smaller, our work force spreads wider and wider. Remote work is becoming increasingly popular with new technology with the trend towards more flexible working environments, but this begs the question, “What’s the best way to engage with remote employees?”

This Thrive in Five lays out the top tips for helping your distant employees feel like part of the team.

Do you want to get inspiring and growth-oriented messages to fuel your learning and be your best self? Click below to get the bi-weekly Thrive in Five messages sent directly to your inbox!

Expand your Community!

We read as many articles as we could, and we pulled out the themes from all the tips and strategies for engaging employees. We’ve ordered from most prevalent to least!

  • Build Relationships! No matter who you are – introvert or extrovert – people like to be cared about. Ask how they’re doing and genuinely mean it. Remote employees often don’t have the luxury of the water cooler chat, so build in time in your meetings to have some lighter conversation.
  • Communicate! It’s no surprise that this is a top theme we uncovered. Communication is key to engagement, remote employees or not. Employees need a platform to speak and be heard, and need to be given the appropriate amount of information and resources – not too little and not too much.
  • Focus on the work instead of the when. One of the big advantages of being a remote employee is having more autonomy in how and when you do your work. If you’re a manager of someone remote, promote this instead of micromanaging. If employees can work how they want and when they want, they are usually happier and more engaged.
  • Check in frequently. While you want to allow for autonomy and flexibility, you don’t want to leave remote employees on an island, either! Regular check-ins to see how things are going, answer questions, and address concerns are critical for staying engaged with any employee.
  • Use technology. “Face-to-Face” time doesn’t have to be in person. A video chat (yes, where you actually see the other person) is a good substitute for making that connection. You can also use technology to create a platform for project plans, communication, time management and more. Check out the options and see what works best for everyone on the team.
  • Reward good work. All good work should be rewarded. This could be as simple as saying, “Great job!” Or you could give a little extra with a spot bonus, “Employee of the Month” award, or some Paid Time Off to let them catch their breath after working so hard.
  • Keep a connection with the company. Remote employees, just like local employees, are usually more engaged if they see their impact in the big picture. Provide resources and have frequent discussions about how work is connected to the overall organizational goals. Employees who understand the impact of their work and buy in to their role in the company’s success are going to be your most engaged employees.
  • Eyes on the prize! Set goals, set milestones to those goals, and don’t lose sight! Of course, you should re-adjust as needed, but having something to work towards and hitting milestones along the way is motivating to most! Celebrate the smaller successes to boost engagement and continue the drive towards the bigger goal.

You might notice something interesting about all these tips… They work for any employee, not just the remote ones! Be active about touching base and about getting and giving feedback about what’s working and what isn’t.

Apply the Five!

Depending on your role in the remote, working relationship, we have two different “Apply the Five’s” for you:

Do you manage a remote employee?

Set a time to chat with your employee about what’s working and what’s not.

    1. Do they feel like part of the team/company?
    2. What do they like about remote work?
    3. What don’t they like?
    4. Which remote practices do they want to keep doing?
    5. What do they want to change?
Are you a remote employee?

Make a list of three things.

    1. Which remote practices do you want to continue doing?
    2. Which do you want to stop?
    3. What do you want to start doing?

Get some time with your manager to talk about your list, and see how you can both improve the remote work environment.

We’d like to take a moment to acknowledge that remote work is a two-way street. It is the manager’s responsibility to make an effort to connect with their remote employees and check in, and it is the employee’s responsibility to speak up if something isn’t working or they feel disengaged. If both parties take responsibility for their roles, the remote work environment can be a very successful one!

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Joe Kovack!

Joe and his wife Diane catching the sunset at the lake.

I began my professional career as an Air Traffic Control Specialist in Colorado and after my retirement, joined the remote workforce supporting a client in New Jersey. Before my career change, my experience telecommuting was sparse – a week or two working on a project that required remote work was about it. After my job change, I was a little worried about being able to connect with the company community and culture, but in the past couple of years, I’ve learned a lot about how to stay engaged and inspired as a full-time, remote worker.

In my situation, I try to make the most of the time difference by enjoying the two hours of silence in the morning since I’m on Mountain time and my client is on the East Coast. Getting off early and spending some time outside is an amazing reward for waking up at 5 am to do the virtual commute in the morning darkness. I believe that remote employees can be a contributor to the culture in office. Although there are some things that will be out of your reach, there are many other ways to help out virtually.

Here are some tips for staying engaged while working remotely:

  • Stay connected – Technology is your friend, remember to use the tools, such as Skype, IM, etc.
  • Set up a dedicated workspace – Try to keep it functional and FUN.
  • Make the time zone work for you – “The early bird catches the worm.”
  • Set up regular meetings with leadership – it keeps you sharp and engaged.
  • Respond quickly – To the extent possible, be “virtually onsite”.

Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees thrive when they are involved, mentored, challenged, promoted, paid well, appreciated, valued, on a mission, empowered, and trusted.
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

Avoiding Burn-Out in 2019

Thrive in Five
In many ways, a successful career is a game of stamina and patience, even when working at a job you love. We’re only human and will burn out in a flame of glory if we don’t learn to pace ourselves. Burnout is found to cause loss of sleep, increased anxiety, frequent illness and constant fatigue. Hard work and long hours are only worth it if you can enjoy yourself throughout the process.

Read more in this Thrive in Five to learn some tips and tricks to avoid burnout this year!

Do you want to get inspiring and growth-oriented messages to fuel your learning and be your best self? Click below to get the bi-weekly Thrive in Five messages sent directly to your inbox!

Be Productive – Not Busy

  • Own your calendar – An empty space on your calendar does not (always) mean that you must accept that 30 meeting from a co-worker when you really needed those minutes to prepare for your next big meeting. Sometimes it helps to actually block out time on your calendar to do specific tasks.
  • Prioritize – As you move up in your career, there will be more emails in your inbox, more tasks on your to-do list and more meetings on your calendar, but no more hours in the day to get it all done. Try, at the beginning of each day (or end the day prior), taking a step back and evaluating what the most impactful tasks are that you need to accomplish. (Source)
  • Learn to say no – If you are someone who feels the need to please others and put their needs before your own, it can be a very daunting thought to assert yourself to say no. Once you start learning to say no, you will reduce the stress and the likelihood of burnout. Hint: Click the orange tip to learn more about the benefits of saying no!

  • Delegate – Many professionals experience burnout because they fail to know when to delegate, especially when they are enthusiastic to show they can do it all. Inevitably, this mentality can lead to burn-out. Delegation is a valuable skill, use it! (Source)
  • Know how to recharge, and quickly – Working long hours without taking an effective break will always lead to burnout. Experiment to figure out what works best – meditation, a walk around the block, a quick phone call with mom – and spend your free time on those supercharging activities.
  • Know your core values – If you do this, you’ll be able to remind yourself of what’s important to address and what’s trivial.
  • Set boundaries – This allows for a set aside (guilt free!) time for you to rest and recharge! For example, if you don’t like to talk on the phone after 9pm, when at home set phone to “do not disturb” from 9pm until 9am. (Source)

Apply the Five!

Burnout can creep up on the best of us. If you’re reading this Thrive, it’s a good guess that you might be already feeling its effects and want to know how you can counter it before you burn out in that flame of glory mentioned above.

That being said, our “Apply the Five” this time is to pick at least 1 or 2 of the tips above to work on this year to help feed that flame of glory so it burns all year without burning you!

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Denise Dommes!

Growing up, I was very close with my grandmother, and she would often tell me “Denise, you should always treat others as you wish they would treat you”. I truly believe in the “Golden Rule,” so I always live by it, but how does it prevent burn out?

First – I’ve realized that to “treat others as you want to be treated,” you need to “treat yourself”first, so I make sure to incorporate these things into my life:

  • “Me Time” – time away from everyone, just for myself. This could be watching “mindless TV,” listening to music, or sitting outside with a glass of wine.
  • Exercise – bike riding, working out at the gym, and jogging are my staples.
  • Time with my best friend, my daughter Laura.

Denise and her daughter, Laura, in NYC Mother’s Day Weekend 2018

Second – I’m an organized person. For me, the feeling of being overwhelmed comes from not having a good sense of everything that needs to get done or how I’m going to accomplish it. Writing it all down eases that stress and makes me realize that everything is manageable.

Third – It gives me joy to chat with and learn about a person – not just about their work, but about their personal lives, families, and yes, their favorite college football team! I am a huge Kansas State Wildcats fan – EMAW! So, if you see me and we haven’t met yet, introduce yourself!

Lastly – I try to remember that happiness is a state of mind that you can absolutely choose. It’s not always easy, but I can always find the positive, and I’d much rather work to find the positive than dwell on the negative!

So, treat yourself (and don’t feel guilty when you do), try to find the positive, and be happy. It’s infectious!


Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees thrive when they are involved, mentored, challenged, promoted, paid well, appreciated, valued, on a mission, empowered, and trusted.
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

Laughter for Stress Management

Thrive in Five
Happy New Year! Our guess is that you had some time over the holidays to hang out with friends or family, or you found some sacred time to yourself to catch up on your favorite shows. But our big question is: Did you laugh?

Think about the last time you had a really good belly-laugh. What was it about? How did you feel afterwards? Is it making you smile now? How does it make you feel just thinking about it?

Chances are high that you probably felt pretty darn good after a healthy laugh, and you probably even feel a little more relaxed just re-living the scenario in your head. Why is that? Are there any measurable benefits to laughing? If we’ve sparked your interest, read on to learn more in this Thrive in Five!

Do you want to get inspiring and growth-oriented messages to fuel your learning and be your best self? Click below to get the bi-weekly Thrive in Five messages sent directly to your inbox!

Laughter Each Day Keeps the Doctor Away

While we think it’s safe to say that laughter is a feel good (unless you’re sore from doing a core workout the day before), we did some digging to find out why.

Did you know?

  • Laughter releases endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin which relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Laughter also decreases adrenaline and cortisol – stress hormones.
  • Laughter increases our heart rate and thus our energy levels, allowing us to focus more easily.
  • Laughter, like remaining positive, releases neuropeptides which help fight stress and other illnesses.

Another fun fact about laughter is that even if you fake it, your body responds to it as if it’s real. AND, if you fake it long enough, it most likely will turn into real laughter! So… if you’re having a rough time or feeling stressed, find a safe space where you can laugh it out! Maybe just put headphones in or something so people don’t think you’re nuts, or invite them to join you!

The last interesting thing we’d like to share about laughter is this awesome study on college students that showed that humor actually lowered anxiety more than exercise! Good news for you busy folks out there, but don’t let that convince you to drop your New Year’s resolution! (Shameless plug: Have you seen our Thrive about how less exercise is more when it comes to increasing productivity and energy?)

Apply the Five!

This is a fun Thrive, so you get “fun” homework!

For this Thrive, we challenge you to find 30 minutes every day to laugh (or at least smile).

Whether that means:

  • happy hour with a co-worker,
  • watching a sitcom,
  • listening to comedy podcasts on your way to and from work,
  • watching fail videos on YouTube,
  • browsing the “aww” section of Reddit, or
  • joining an improv class…

it’s up to you! Just laugh and reap the benefits!

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Jake Howard!

Jake sporting his holiday attire circa 2015 for a prank picture for his grandma – she didn’t find it funny, but hopefully you will!

I’m definitely one of those guys that finds humor in just about everything. There’s something so incredibly rewarding when you can get a friend or coworker to completely lose it and breakdown laughing… even better when you get one of those little snorts.

I think it’s fantastic how we all have our own brand of humor. You might be into situational comedy where you’re basically a walking Seinfeld episode, or perhaps you never take yourself too seriously and indulge in a little self-deprecation, or maybe, just maybe, you’re my old co-worker “Bill” who has that special soul-crushing “humor” and never fails with the old, “Hey Big Guy! Workin’ hard or hardly workin’? Heh heh hyahh!” *Queue finger guns* (I think we’ve all worked with this guy.)

No matter your style, laughter is such a powerful way to connect with people; we can’t help but want to be around those who make us laugh. Too often we get so caught up with the back-to-back (to back) meetings and looming deadlines that we forget to take the time to give ourselves, and those around us, a little chuckle. Don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to include that amusing anecdote in the team status email or stick around after the staff meeting and partake in some witty banter.

So go ahead… holster those finger guns, spice up those email chains, and it could be you that makes someone’s day a little bit brighter.


Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees thrive when they are involved, mentored, challenged, promoted, paid well, appreciated, valued, on a mission, empowered, and trusted.
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

Exercise on Productivity

Thrive in Five
We’ve all heard that exercise increases productivity, but how much exercise are we talking about? Because we all know time is a factor! Well… Good news! It turns out less is more when it comes to working out. No need to have those grueling workouts to get the boost you’re looking for!

Read more in this Thrive in Five to learn the pros and cons to exercising during the work day!

Do you want to get inspiring and growth-oriented messages to fuel your learning and be your best self? Click below to get the bi-weekly Thrive in Five messages sent directly to your inbox!

Less is More

Exercise has many benefits which we’re sure you’ve heard of, but here’s a quick re-cap from Healthline:

  • It strengthens your muscles and bone (yes, bone!)
  • It reduces your risk of chronic diseases
  • It helps slow aging in your skin
  • It improves your capacity to memorize
  • It helps you relax and sleep better
  • It can help reduce chronic pain
  • It releases endorphins making you feel happier
What you might be surprised to learn is that more is not always better when it comes to exercise.

If your goal is to sleep better or combat insomnia, then vigorous exercise is great! However, if your goal is to increase your energy and mood, then vigorous exercise can have the opposite effect.

Productivityist.com mentions a couple studies that support this statement. One showed that low-intensity exercise reduced feelings of being tired more than high-intensity exercise. They mention another study as well that found that high-intensity exercise (cycling, in this case) actually reduced the person’s attention, memory and problem-solving abilities immediately after exercise, and these effects continued for more than 20 minutes after exercise was stopped.

Key takeaways:

  • If you have a lot to get done, don’t do a really intense work out before or in the middle of your workday – it will actually wipe you out.
  • Low-intensity exercise is best if you’re looking for a pick-me-up from the after-lunch coma routine – try walking or yoga!

Apply the Five!

No surprises here… your “homework” is to exercise! We’re not going to ask that you workout every day for 30 minutes, even though that’s what is recommended by most physicians. Instead, all we ask is that you make a conscious effort to increase your exercise when possible.

Here are a handful of helpful tips to get you started:

  1. Park in the spaces furthest from your destination.
  2. Use the stairs instead.
  3. Step in place during commercials.
  4. Walk to dinner and back if possible.
  5. Walk for 5 minutes every hour.
  6. Take the long way to the office bathroom.
  7. Walk the dog instead of just letting him or her out to use the bathroom.
  8. Get up and walk around during phone calls.

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Ryan Burke!

Even Achilles surgery doesn’t keep Ryan from getting “the zoomies”!


“I need you to live until you’re 90”. My wife seems to speak these words nearly every week. But in today’s world full of stress and numerous vices, how can someone make such a request? Sure, if I were to eat and drink the way nutritionists recommend, and couple that with a strict workout routine, I would no doubt be looking like a fitness model. But I’d also be broke, bored, and missing out on so many of the wonderful things this world has to offer.

I enjoy food. I enjoy drinks. I enjoy stuffing my face at midnight while binge watching Netflix and drinking eggnog that clocks in around 800 calories per glass. So how does one stay (relatively) fit while also enjoying the things they love?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you… the zero-sum game.

The idea is simple: workout to offset the terrible things you love. T he key is to find a workout routine that excites you and finding a time that works best with your schedule. Some of us have more energy in the morning, while others prefer to hit the gym after work. The internet is filled with hundreds of workout plans that fit your lifestyle; all you have to do is search. Find something that combines free weights and cardio, and start hitting the gym. The hardest part is pushing through the excuses of being tired, or too busy, etc. It helps to find a buddy who will push you through your workout, but if you commit yourself to working out on a regular basis, you’ll be enjoying those milkshakes in no time.

And if anyone is looking for a workout partner, or someone to yell at them throughout a workout, give me a call.


Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees thrive when they are involved, mentored, challenged, promoted, paid well, appreciated, valued, on a mission, empowered, and trusted.
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

Promote Yourself

Thrive in Five
Imagine the perfect boss. He or she is probably supportive of your professional and personal life. He or she is probably an expert at what they do. He or she is probably not overly-confident nor indecisive. He or she probably isn’t afraid to admit mistakes or ask for help. He or she is probably always looking for ways to improve through feedback or through continued education.

How are we doing? Painting the perfect picture? We hope so! This edition of Thrive in Five is about promoting yourself. Essentially, we’re defining what makes the perfect boss, so you can then become the perfect candidate for moving up the ladder, or moving in the direction you desire (because not all growth is vertical).

Do you want to get inspiring and growth-oriented messages to fuel your learning and be your best self? Click below to get the bi-weekly Thrive in Five messages sent directly to your inbox!

Be Your Best Advocate

There are lots of articles about different ways to promote yourself. Some tips include:

  • network
  • speak publicly
  • create a business case
  • write impact statements
  • make sure you get credit where credit is due

However, to us, these tips and articles were missing the “human-centered” element and felt a little self-centered. “What do you mean? You’re supposed to be self-centered when promoting yourself!” Well… at Evans, we don’t think so, so we came up with our own top tips to promoting yourself “The Evans Way.” We approach the situation in a little different light, because we feel to become a leader, you have to be the type of person you want to follow.

Here’s what we came up with:

  • Use your talents and skills selflessly. As some of us at Evans say, “Work yourself out of a job.” Do what you do well with the final goal being to help others, not yourself. It will come back around… we promise.
  • Develop those with an interest in doing what you do. Be a mentor to someone who is eager to learn. By investing in the future of our workforce, you’re investing in yourself.
  • Openly share your knowledge by teaching. The best way to gain credibility in what you do is to teach others! Write blogs, teach a class, be a keynote speaker. Share what you know with the intent to teach, and others will come to see you as a leader in your field.
  • Be confident but stay humble. There’s a balance to being confident in your skills and being a know-it-all. Accept that while you might know a lot, you never know everything. And it’s 100% OK to admit when you don’t know!
  • Take ownership but give credit where credit is due. If you did a great job, don’t by any means downplay your hard work. However, definitely give props to those who supported the success. Notice that we didn’t say “your success” – hardly anyone accomplishes anything single-handedly.
  • Grow continually. Ask questions. Attend seminars. Read books. Do research. Never stop seeking to gain more knowledge. The more you know (and share!), the more others will see leadership in you.
  • Ask for feedback more than you give it. We almost put this as part of the previous bullet, but we thought it deserved its own spotlight. Asking for feedback is one of the most important things you can do to become a leader. Being imperfect is to be human, but admitting imperfection and seeking improvement suggestions from others is part of being a great leader.

Apply the Five!

Do our self-promotion tips resonate with you? Do you want to know how you’re doing? Well… we’ve created a simple self-assessment to tell you! Answer as honestly as possible, and try not to pick the answer you think is “correct” to get the best results. After you finish, view your score, and come back here to figure out how you did!

Score Key:

  • 0-15 points: Maybe you’re great at putting a good word in for yourself, or doing what’s expected of you, but try to put a little more emphasis on how you can promote yourself by helping others. We bet you’ll notice a difference in how others support you if you take the initiative to support them first!
  • 15-25 points: You’re off to a great start! It looks like you have a good foundation in considering others when you act. To continue to build on this, pick one or two of the questions you did not receive points for, and focus on improving in these areas.
  • 25-35 points: You’re killing it at promoting yourself “The Evans Way”! Keep up the great work!

Do you want to see how you answered compared to others? Click the “View Previous Results” link on the screen displayed right after you submit your answers.

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Emily Rego!

Emily literally climbing a ladder as a metaphor for figuratively climbing the corporate ladder!

“Promoting yourself” seems to me like an elusive concept that every professional is inundated with since one’s very first adult job interview. Yet as often as I have heard the phrase, I’ve historically been uncomfortable putting these words into practice. Not to say I’m a stranger to hard work and think I’m not worthy of promotion, because even though I give 1000% at everything I agree to take on (even if, like in basketball, I would never be particularly good at it), I am the first to hide from the spotlight, feeling that I totally don’t deserve it.

To explain, there is no way I would be able to shine in sports if my teammates weren’t amazing as well. There’s no way I would be recognized for performing well at work if my co-workers and clients weren’t there to show up to fill in my gaps and teach me along the way. There’s no way that the one time I had an intern I could have taught her so well if she wasn’t willing to learn.

However, discovering the Evans’ way of promoting oneself has given me a new perspective on this phrase’s meaning and how I have unconsciously taken steps to promote myself and others around me all along. I hope to grow more as a professional in 2019, be more intentional in my actions, and keep promoting not only myself but all of my Evans peers in this new year!


Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees thrive when they are involved, mentored, challenged, promoted, paid well, appreciated, valued, on a mission, empowered, and trusted.
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)