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Oscar

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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.

@osc684

Does Your Office Have a Jargon Problem?

hbr.org

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.

  • 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.
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.

How To Make Office Small Talk Less Awkward And Fake Online

huffpost.com

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.

  • 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.

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.

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.

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.’
Top Characteristics of a Great Networker
  1. Good listener.
  2. Positive attitude: it makes people want to cooperate and associate with you.
  3. Collaborative to serve others. 
  4. Sincere and authentic.
  5.  Follows up.
  6. Trustworthy.
  7. Approachable.

7 Ways to Better Networking

entrepreneur.com

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.

How to build a workplace that supports mental health

bigthink.com

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.

  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.
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.

How to Brainstorm — Remotely

hbr.org

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.

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.

Faster Isn’t Better

Back-to-back video calls, all-day team chats combined with an expectation of immediate response is taking its toll on people trying to work from home.

In the quest to create a real-time interaction of the office, we are cutting the remote workers' ability to get things done.

When it comes to team communication, faster isn’t always better

qz.com

Asynchronous Vs Synchronous Communication
  • Asynchronous communication is when we send a message (such as emails) without expecting an immediate response. The recipient can take hours to answer it.

  • Synchronous (or real-time) communication is when you and the other person are engaged in a face-to-face audio or video conversation, like a video call or a phone call. The information discussed is responded immediately.

Instant messaging tools like Slack or Teams are synchronous, and in some companies, email is also used as a real-time communication tool.

Team communication has increased by 50 percent in the last 20 years. We spend an average of three hours a day working on emails. On an average, Slack users send about 200 messages in a day.

This near constant communication hampers work productivity, with video calls, one-on-one meetings, e-mail and team chat leaving little room for actual work.

The overhead of real-time communication leads to:

  1. An inability to focus and make any meaningful progress in work.
  2. The constant interruptions, and context-switching draining mental resources.
  3. A constant FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) due to connectivity being made a priority over productivity.
  4. More stress, high frustration and time pressure, which can lead to burnout
  5. Lower quality discussions due to lack of time to think and reflect.
  6. No offline time, which leads to a constant connection with work, disrupting the work-life balance.
  1. More control over the workday, and on how we structure our lifestyle due to flexible work hours.
  2. High-quality responses due to workers having the time to think, reflect, and provide insightful ideas.
  3. Better coordination and planning, leading to less stressful teamwork.
  4. Employees can block their hours for uninterrupted ‘Deep Work’ time.
  5. All conversations are automatically documented in email and chat.
  6. Easy to disconnect at the end of the day, leading to better work-life balance.

This requires managers to:

  1. Focus on the output rather than the number of hours worked.
  2. Trust their employees and give them space and freedom.
  3. Understand that 24/7 connectivity isn’t good for employees wellbeing.
  4. Get rid of unnecessary meetings.
  5. Encourage ‘Deep Work’ by disconnecting from communication tools periodically.
  6. Ensure communication is only within office hours.

While face-to-face connections are important, make sure that zoom meetings, phone calls and other real-time communication are not the rule, but an exception.

Personal and real-time interaction is good for team building, but we need to provide flexibility to the remote team in both work hours and location, and make it okay for them to disconnect when required.

There are mainly two ways to communicate within a company: synchronous and asynchronous communication. While the second type has always been widely practiced, as face-to-face meetings or any other in-person communication, the second type is just slowly being discovered. 

In fact, asynchronous communication enables team members to respond to their colleagues whenever they can, without putting pressure on them that the answer should be provided immediately.

Asynchronous Communication: What It Is & Why You Should Care About It

doist.com

While real-time communication inside of a team might lead to solving faster some issues, it also has various disadvantages. 

For instance, having your colleagues come to ask you questions to which you feel pressured to answer on the spot leads to you being continuously interrupted, which results in being less productive and feeling stressed or even getting a burnout, as you try to do everything in proper time.

The asynchronous workplace

When the employees are provided with control as to when they are willing to communicate with their co-workers, there are many advantages that emerge. 

For instance, having the freedom to decide exactly how your working day should look like leads to more satisfied employees as well as to better communication within the team. Further benefits vary from feeling less stressed due to better planning to greater transparency and more efficient work.

While asynchronous communication has so many proven advantages, like happier employees, there is still a need for synchronous communication to be ensured within the team

Each team member should have at least one monthly one-on-one with their leader, teams should participate in Zoom sessions where only non-work topics are discussed, there should be organized yearly team buildings or new members should be given the chance to spend some time with their mentor while working in-person with them.

  • At the individual level, communicate as much information as possible through written messages, plan in advance whenever you need data from others, making sure your documents are shareable and sharing everything that needs to be known by the others as well as making sure discussions about the meetings are going to take place afterwards.
  • As a team leader, encourage writing communication as much as possible, evaluating employees based mainly on their results, making sure your team members are trustworthy, independent, responsible and organized, promoting transparency within the team and, last but not least, ensuring solutions suitable for emergencies, as you never know what might happen.
Removing Stress From Work

Games release pent up stress that they have in the job or otherwise. A happy employee is a productive employee.

Games create an atmosphere of trust, leading to better talent acquisition and retention, as employees choose to stay where they feel comfortable.

Why Playing Games at Work Could Increase Productivity and Employee Satisfaction

blog.hubspot.com

  • Short breaks between learning or working, and working for brief periods with small breaks in-between can lead to a higher-quality output. This is known as the Pomodoro Technique.

  • Games at work make employees form a bond with their co-workers, establishing friendships that lead to better teamwork and improved communication among team members.

It is a general notion at an office that gaming activities at work are counterproductive, however, games can be an amazing tool to create a better work environment, increasing employee satisfaction and productivity.

Gaming at work bridges the gap between work and relaxation, making work feel more enjoyable and fun, making employees see their working hours in a positive, joyful way.

Individuals have the tendency to consider that what they do better are the things they have long been working on. However, if we take a second to think about it, each and every one of us has at least one talent that makes a certain task seem a piece of cake.

Why Talented People Don't Use Their Strengths

hbr.org

A true leader should not only be able to identify his team members’ talent but also to encourage them into making the most of their natural gifts. 

There are a few techniques that enable leaders to name exactly the talents of each and every member of their team, such as finding out what annoys them the most, as often humans find it upsetting to see reflected their own strengths into the others’ weaknesses.

One sure way to identify your strengths is by paying attention to what you find as effortless in regards to whatever action you do, but the others tend to see it as a complex action. 

That is right, it might seem a piece of cake to you because you were gifted with certain qualities that enable you to perform the task so easily. However, the task in question might not be at all that easy.

Whenever you notice that you have a tendency to think about a certain topic for hours to come, check it out by putting it into practice: it might be that your natural gift is on its way to being revealed.

After having discovered your team members’ talents, make sure that the entire team bears in mind what each of them has a natural gift. Moreover, an analysis of their skills should be welcomed at any point, as it makes them aware of your acknowledgment as well as of their own potential. This could result in successful teamwork, as trusting and using one’s strength can only lead to accomplishments for both the individual and the team.

Multicultural people

Multicultural individuals commonly think, perceive, behave, and respond to global workplace issues in more complex ways than monocultural individuals.

Some multicultural individuals translate these differences into career success.

What Makes You "Multicultural"

hbr.org

  • Monocultural: Identity with one cultural group
  • Slightly multicultural: Identity primarily with one culture, and to a lesser extent with another culture
  • Moderately multicultural: Identity strongly with more than one culture
  • Highly multicultural: Identity with more than two cultures.
Multicultural minds

People can be categorized as multicultural by:

  • Having the ability to function in many cultures with ease.
  • Knowing multiple languages.
  • Having a multicultural mind, and can think in different ways.
Multiculturalism within Individuals

Multiculturalism within individuals can be defined as the degree to which they know, identify with, and internalize multiple cultures.

Mixed exposure

Multicultural people are not just confined to having parents from two different cultures. There can be other reasons like:

  • They have lived internationally.
  • They have immigrant parents or grandparents.
  • They lived in a multicultural city.

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