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How Re-Turbulence is Making for a Bumpy Return to the Workplace for Many Employers

Michigan Business Beat
July 29, 2021 5:00 PM

mark-ostach_jpgDigital Wellness Expert Compares Covid Workplace Response to Flying

As employers navigate the ever-changing return to workplace plans, going through the re-turbulence with an open mind will be a key component. Digital Wellness expert Mark Ostach compares it to traveling on an airplane for a business trip where patience, rapid response, and flexibility are required. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reversed its recommendation Tuesday that fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas with “substantial-high” COVID-19 transmission rates. 

“As we enter another covid phase dealing with an uncertain future, expect and prepare for workplace turbulence,” said Ostach, a keynote speaker who helps organizations create a culture of connection in a hybrid workplace. “Handling unknown Covid impacts is similar to flying — we may need to re-examine and rapidly respond to flight changes, be patient and flexible and consider delaying our travel strategy as it applies to our return to office plans.” 

When we fly we often deal with flight delays, cancelation, and turbulence to reach our destination,” said Ostach. “I’m having many conversations with my clients about rethinking dates, plans, policies, and priorities. If we learned anything from last year, it is to be nimble and creative.” 

Ostach offered the following three strategies for employers to cope with the ambiguous covid turbulence: 

1.     If your flight (aka, return to the workplace) is delayed, keep your employees connected through candid communication using phrases like “I don’t know exactly when we will return”. Trust & autonomy can be built on when we are candid.

2.     Be open to other ways to get to your destination. When your flight is canceled, you may need to travel by car, subway, or train. Being flexible on how you come together for conferences, annual updates, and monthly meetings will be key. Most importantly is to make sure you keep the team connected on a regular basis.

3.     Put your oxygen mask on first. Managers need to take care of themselves so they are strong enough to lead their team. Many leaders are spending time on hypothetical situations based on future events. Although this is relevant, try your best to stay in the moment and not get caught in the “what if our return to workplace plans come crashing down?” 

Bonus Tip

Be sure to extend grace to your team and yourself. This is a perfect season to learn how to be more compassionate and caring in how we work with one another. And don’t be afraid to reschedule your flight - trust that you’ll eventually get to where you are going!

About Mark Ostach

Ostach’s goal is to restore energy and focus to organizations battling modern life’s non-stop pace and growing sense of disconnection. He’s done this with organizations that include Universal Studios, Detroit Pistons, Rocket Mortgage, Comerica, Detroit Regional Partnership, DTE, Consumers, Michigan Economic Development Corp (MEDC), & Honigman, LLP, Thermo Fisher Scientific, BASF, Allstate, HItachi, and others. 

Digital Wellness Expert Mark Ostach in the News: 

Wisconsin Public Radio: How To Find a Healthy Balance With Social Media 

WJR with Paul W. SmithFive Ways to Protect Your Digital Health during National Fatigue 

USA Today: Six Signs You Need to Unplug 

USA Today: Signs You Need Social Media Healthy Habits 

USA Today: Feeling unmotivated? Here are 12 ideas for sparking and maintaining motivation 

WILS AM Morning Wake up with David Akerly: How to Manage Your ‘Digital Diet’ and develop healthy digital routine: 

Mark Ostach Background:

Mark Ostach is on a mission to help professionals, teams, and leaders connect with themselves, each other, and their collective purpose. A wellspring of energy and born empath, Ostach holds degrees in business, psychology, and technology with an interest in behavioural neuroscience. 

A recipient of Crain’s Detroit Business 20 in Their 20s and Oakland County’s 40 Under 40 awards, he’s an experienced leader who’s helped create strong cultures for associations, businesses, and nonprofits. Clients have shared that Ostach is insightful, engaging, creative, motivating, and empathetic. He works from a leadership model that supports people to become more present and engaged. Mark works to raise his clients’ levels of self-awareness and identify strengths to support movement towards personal & professional goals. 

As a member of the Digital Wellness Collective, a global trade organization for digital wellness experts and organizations, Ostach is determined to remind the world that human connection is the most powerful connection we have. A nationally recognized speaker on digital wellness, Ostach has presented two TED talks and spoken to thousands of people all over the country, encouraging them to embrace a culture of digital wellbeing. 

Ostach released his book “Courage to Connect, Stories that encourage meaningful connection in your life™” last year. 


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Michigan Business Beat, hosted by Chris Holman, discusses economic development, new or unusual entrepreneurial initiatives, and successful business practices from different regions and industries around Michigan with a wide range of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

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