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Career

55 STASHED IDEAS

Working from home has decreased opportunities to connect with colleagues. It is a problem companies must solve. It could mean embracing nostalgia and creating conditions to make future nostalgia.

Tactics that might be usable in a workplace to evoke nostalgia:

  • Encouraging teams to contribute songs to shared playlists.
  • Using the start of a meeting for employees to tell a story or share a memory.
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Career

Nostalgia may be a vital tool

Nostalgia can be defined as a longing for an experience of another time in your life. The workplace holds many memories - you may have bonded with a colleague over a funny incident in a client presentation or an outburst from your former boss.

The feelings may not be the same warm feeling as other nostalgic moments, but the underlying emotions are just as strong. Research found nostalgia can be a tool for comfort and inspiration and can draw people together in strong bonds.

The past events we find personally meaningful are shared with those we care about. Nostalgia can bring a diverse group of people together, such as the workplace.

  • It can promote inclusivity in a work team.
  • It can help us empathise, and make people more open and tolerant.
  • Nostalgia can also be based on overcoming challenging situations.

In the workplace, nostalgia reflecting on earlier wins in one's career can be inspirational as well as remembering the challenges that have been mastered.

  • Research shows that nostalgia can increase creativity. When nostalgia makes people feel connected, they are more likely to act confidently and take risks with their work.
  • But nostalgia can also have a dark side. It can leave people stuck in the past, especially those who are afraid of change.
Workplace jargon

Jargon refers to terms, expressions, or acronyms specific to a particular industry or professional group.

People enjoy complaining about jargon, saying it is hard to understand, pretentious, and unnecessary. Many industries and government leaders criticize it, but jargon continues to thrive in most professions despite these complaints.

  • Jargon can make communication more difficult for outsiders and cause them to disengage.
  • Jargon can make people feel excluded.
  • It can sound meaningless.
  • It can hurt the impressions of a speaker. Audiences may view these speakers as manipulative or less likeable.
  • Identify when jargon is proper. When credibility is important, jargon may be useful. When understanding and engagement of a varied audience are necessary, excessive jargon can be costly.
  • Ask yourself if you can communicate the same idea in a simpler way.
  • If you want to reduce excessive jargon use in your company, start from the top.
  • Letting others know why you want to refrain from excessive jargon sends a message that you're confident in your abilities and more interested in being understood.

Jargon fulfils a number of fundamental needs.

  • It produces efficient and precise communication in some contexts.
  • It encourages social bonding by reinforcing a shared identity.
  • Jargon can also be used consciously or unconsciously to signal membership in a professional community.
  • It is used out of the desire for status in one's profession or because of insecurity.

Jargon is used in place of more easily understood, less professional alternatives.

When asking for some favour, do not start with pleasantries, like ‘how are you?’. The chit chat should not be clubbed with favours or even for a required input from the colleague.

Make the small talk feel like a much-needed break, a mental work-free zone.

When we initiate small talk, an instant response is expected, and that is because we are used to face-to-face conversations around the office water cooler.

Online conversations can have a different response time and the other person may respond after hours.

Not having a definitive goodbye is absolutely fine, so there is no reason to specifically ask to end the chat.

If the other person is not very well known to you, then the conversation can be formally ended with:

  • ‘Thank you’
  • ‘Let’s stay in touch’
  • ‘I’m glad we could connect’
  • ‘I appreciate your time.’
The Awkward Small Talk During WFH

Office chit chat, whether real or virtual is essential for building good relations with colleagues and makes our mood better. It is a reminder that not everything is about work when an office colleague talks about his dog or some hot new Netflix show.

Due to the pandemic, many such small talks are happening via Slack or Google Chat and can seem daunting to initiate. A few handy tips can make your virtual work life a little less awkward.

  • Just a ‘hi’ or ‘how are you’ is not going to cut it. You can open the conversation in a better way: ‘So what’s new in the past week?’
  • When asked something specific on an online chat, it is easier to interpret it, as it does not sound vague, overcoming the handicap of lack of visual/body language cues.
  • Ensure the topics do not include negative gossip or complaints, as these conversations can be easily accessed by other people.

Small talk happening online can be made better using emoji or funny GIFs. There are many tools at our disposal that help with engagement.

One can try video conversations to liven up the moment with the colleague. A Zoom lunch is a great option too.

  1. Becoming aware of the workplace environment and the policies that might adversely impact the employees.
  2. Learn from leaders and engage in employee wellbeing.
  3. Follow other companies who have taken necessary steps to curb mental health issues at the workplace.
  4. Understand the unique needs and opportunities of your workforce to develop tailored policies.
  5. Take practical steps like initiating training programs and facilitating the various workplace wellbeing strategies.
  6. Many workers have a stigma attached to seeking help for mental health problems and need to be educated about the process while making it frictionless.
  7. Remember that mental health is linked to everything, including physical and economic health.

Mental disorders that are unchecked and untreated in employees(and their family) often lead to reduced productivity, increase in workplace accidents, with a majority of the employees suffering from decreased concentration at work.

Treating mental health is not a big investment and employers can be the facilitators to reverse the grim scenario.

Mental Health In Today’s World

In an increasingly complex and competitive globalized environment, the growth curve of mental illness is a serious concern, with statistics showing that 800,000 people commit suicide per year, and about 4.4 per cent of the world’s population is under depression.

The consequences are also economic, as according to a study, India will lose about 1 trillion USD to mental illness in the next 10 years, and China 4.5 trillion USD.

Determine who is involved in the brainstorm

Identify the roles and expertise you want, and then find people who fit that description. This will help you ensure that the group you bring together is more diverse, bringing a range of different backgrounds and perspectives to the problem-solving task.

Prior to the pandemic, it was a hurdle for people with broad and diverse perspectives to be in the same room, physically together. With remote work, it is easier to bring in people having a range of different backgrounds and perspectives to sit together remotely and brainstorm on the task at hand.

Distance, whether physical, time-oriented, or social, makes the human mind think in an abstract manner. This is known as the construal-level theory.

Being physically distant from the problem at hand makes our viewpoint abstract, which can help us provide a birds-eye view of the problem and associate it with our own area of expertise, forming useful analogies and connections.

It shows that, during part of the sessions that involves idea generation, individuals think differently about a problem if they work alone. But when you bring the group together to generate ideas, they tend to think alike, converging on a common solution.

So start your brainstorming process by having each person generate potential solutions on their own, or perhaps have them work in small groups to think about possibilities.

© Brainstash, Inc

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