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51 STASHED IDEAS

Collaboration and communication are essential in the workspace, as well as social connections. But a balance is required between focused productivity and connectedness.

Meetings, email, real-time chat are all habits. And habits can be changed. Changing one keystone habit can start a chain reaction in how a team approaches everything about their work.

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For many corporations, task switching has become a requirement of the job.

  • One study points out that time spent on collaborative activities has increased by 50% over the past two decades.
  • Open office floor plans are still common, but the interruptions make it difficult for teams to get work done.
  • One survey shows that workers spend an average of six hours on email a day.
  • Meetings still take up 15% of companies' time.
  • Slack found that people spent an average of 10 hours a day in the app.

It is commonly known that when our attention is divided, it's harder to get things done. What's surprising is that so few of us use this common idea in our workdays.

It's not just productivity that suffers when workers are constantly interrupted, but research found that people will attempt to compensate by working faster, leading to more stress and effort. Take email as an example. In one study, email was removed from a group of civil workers for five days. Workers stress reduced over that time, and they reported feeling more in control of the workday.

Distracted every 10 minutes

On average, employees who do the majority of their work on computers are distracted almost every ten minutes.

Most of the interruptions are external - an incoming email or a colleague stopping by to chat. But a significant proportion also comes from the individuals who voluntarily switch tasks.

  • Set a maximum time your team spends in meetings. It can help your team rethink which meetings are necessary.
  • Have your team mark off time for deep work on their calendars. Hold that time sacred.
  • Have the team list the one important task they want to complete each day.
  • Limit email/group chat before a specific time in the morning
  • Make asynchronous communication the default. Delayed responses should be the preferred way of communication. It will enable your team to focus on their deep work.

Integrity is how you adhere to strong moral principles and how honest you are. Integrity is hard to judge and critical for trust building.

A lot of behaviors at work are seen as instrumental and strategic, leaving people ambiguous about whether actions are coming from underlying values or merely a façade. Thus, the more opportunities you have to articulate your values explicitly and to allow team members to see your values in action, the more likely they will have faith in you and invest their trust in you.

Trust isn’t easy to build
  • It usually develops after you and another person have spent some time interacting and assessing each other’s character.
  • Three of the most readable indicators of trust: Competence, Benevolence and Integrity.
  • If all goes well and that trust builds, you start to feel psychologically safe and can form a stable belief about one another.
  • Remote work has made all of this even more difficult to do.

Many of us are interacting through our screens and working on hybrid teams with people located in various areas of the world who we’re not likely to meet face-to-face anytime soon. We lack the luxury of regularly observing our peers in-person, making it harder to gauge their intentions, values, and characters (and vice versa).

This is a problem. Without it, you may not feel comfortable bringing your full self to work.

Competence is your ability to do something efficiently and successfully. When others perceive you as competent, they believe that you have the skills and knowledge to do what you say you will.

This allows them to perceive you as dependable, reliable, and predictable — all of which are essential drivers of trust.

Benevolence is the quality of being well-meaning and the degree to which you have others interests at heart.

Other will grow to trust you based on the extent to which they believe you care about their interests, and have the motivation to go beyond your self-needs to cater to the team’s needs.

  • Keep the chat safe. Wanting to ping your work friend about how much you dislike your job can cause you harm. Pinging a group chat by accident or DMing the wrong person could have serious implications. A good rule of thumb: Never say something on chat or email you wouldn't want your team to hear.
  • Choose wisely who you should vent to. It is better to chat with someone you trust than with a new intern who may not know what to do with the information.
  • Write it down until you feel some of that tension ease up. It may even help you to think more clearly about the issues you're facing.
  • Take a walk. A brief stroll can help distract you. It can also lower your blood pressure and boost your mood. You can also share your troubles with a confidante in a way that doesn't compromise the work environment.
Venting is not the same as complaining
  • Complaining is characterised by whining about the same issues while blaming external factors for your emotions. It tends to be chronic.
  • Venting is a momentary release of emotion and frustration. After blowing off some steam, you can continue with your day in a relatively normal manner.
Trust In Remote Work Environment

There is a massive shift towards remote working and companies have a differing approach towards trust, with some moving towards increased surveillance and control, and others moving towards autonomy and decentralization of work.

Globally, trust in national, institutional and organizational levels has declined over the past year but is increasing on a personal level.

As many of us shift towards a virtual world where all the training, consulting, meeting and managing is happening, we are becoming increasingly transparent and empathetic to the problems team members face and the solutions that are provided.

Domain-specific knowledge is sought-after but people are not negating trust in a person just because of their inability to get things done the first or second time.

Psychology scholars have identified three main pillars of accessing a person's trustworthiness:

  • Ability: The skills to conduct a given task successfully.
  • Benevolence: The good intentions of the person.
  • Integrity: The person’s values and principles being acceptable.
  • Virtual connections have made our values become more transparent and identifiable.
  • People are choosing health over wealth during the pandemic, and moving towards family, love and connections rather than competing with others.
  • Most of us are resilient and fighting hard to get through these turbulent and challenging times.
  • These common values move the needle towards more personal and team integrity.

As connections go virtual, the need for connecting increases, partly due to the overall difficult climate all around the world, and the isolation that the lockdowns have resulted in.

People are pitching in and connecting even with adverse circumstances at home, as most of us have personal problems we may be handling at home. This is providing a shared sense of caring and good intentions.

Intellectual Diversity

One of the things that make up a great organization is one that consists of a handful variety of capable intellectuals.

People who have differing perspectives in a group are more likely to generate unique and sometimes, unusual ideas due to their differences in the environment they grew up in - ranging from their education to life experiences.

It is not enough for organizations to just have shared values and goals. There needs to be a passion that drives team performance. In the great teams that we have looked up to - those that produce value and contribute marvelous changes to society - would say that they have a purpose worth fighting for.

Having this passion allows the team members to gain a strong sense of identity within the group and hold their values firmer than the rest.

Psychological safety is when a group is able to freely share their ideas without the fear of being criticized and being their natural selves.

Organizations that have psychological safety are more likely able to: profoundly contribute uncommon and remarkable ideas, admit to mistakes made and take responsibility, and are forward-looking towards growth and improvement.

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