Gideon Tsang/Flickr

Elevators in corporate office hold quite a few people. In this instance, the Editor-in-chief and CEO of the magazine I had just interviewed to intern for was standing next to me.

He turned his head and looked at me quizzically.

"Do you work for me?" he asked me.

"Not yet," came out of my mouth. And the entire elevator filled with business professionals became incredibly quiet.

He was taken aback at first. Then he laughed and everyone laughed.

"Good answer," he told me.

My academic advisor died laughing. She said that was the shortest elevator pitch she's ever heard. I was surprised I had an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is a clear, brief summary about you, your work and what you can do for a company. Think of it as an oral cover letter that's 30 seconds or less. It's quick—normally the length of an elevator ride— hence the name. An effective pitch normally has three parts.

Start with who are you. It's pretty basic. Summarize your skills and unique traits into clear, concise thoughts. Emphasizing your distinctive take on a skill is important to standing out. If you're a social media expert, what is your area of expertise? "I am adept at turning niche content into viral hits on Instagram and Twitter" is far more memorable than "I am a social media savvy millennial."

The second piece is your ask or your goal. Are you looking for an opportunity to work with or for a company? Or are you asking from an interview, advice, or connections? Be honest and specific about what you want. It shows you have a goal in mind and are interested in completing the necessary steps to achieve the goal.

End with your why. Why do you want what you are pitching for? It needs to be genuine and or compelling, because otherwise why grant your request? "I want help people" or "I want to make your company better" is not enough. "I'm interested continuing research in food production in countries with high malnutrition rates in order to find a reliable solution to improving children's health." Or "I believe in your company's philosophy and helping you helps bring a bigger audience to the issue of the pay gap."

Once you've put all of your pieces together, it's time to practice delivery. There's a very fine line between being confident and cocky. Don't promise the moon when you know you can't deliver it. Knowing how to tip toe the line into delivering a strong, elevator pitch takes practice. Try your elevator pitch to yourself in a mirror. Then try it on friends and family until you can deliver it with confidence and without stuttering.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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