Try silence during brainstorming
Research shows that embracing silence during a brainstorm helps teams produce significantly more — and higher-quality — ideas. Silent brainstorming can be particularly useful in remote meetings. First, starting with the meeting invite, make sure everyone understands the goals of the brainstorming session. Then, at the beginning of your meeting, share a working document (such as a Google Doc) with key questions that need to be answered. Encourage all participants to contribute to the document for 10 to 20 minutes without talking. The leader can also participate, providing direction and asking attendees to elaborate on specific ideas as they’re being formed. Once the silent phase of the brainstorm is complete, you can begin a discussion if your group is relatively small. If the group is large, you can end the meeting, review the document and follow up with an email that shares conclusions and next steps.
(This tip is adapted from “Break Up Your Big Virtual Meetings,” by Liana Kreamer and Steven G. Rogelbergl.)
Close the racial wage gap in your company
There is no excuse for disparities in the wages paid to people of colour — especially women of colour, whose pay is twice discounted. If you are committed to addressing racial inequities in your organisation, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. To start, conduct a wage equity audit, and make ongoing adjustments, as needed. Commit to paying all of your employees a living wage, not just the minimum wage, which at the federal level in the US hasn’t been raised in a decade and hasn’t kept up with inflation. This has had a disproportionately negative impact on black workers. And eliminate last-minute variable shift scheduling that denies employees a 40-hour workweek and disrupts their lives. These moves are not only the right thing to do — they’re good business. Research has shown that the companies that pay well, offer good benefits and treat their hourly employees with respect are more profitable.
(This tip is adapted from “The 10 Commitments Companies Must Make to Advance Racial Justice,” by Mark R. Kramer.)
Bring the joy of learning to your job
We all know that thrilling feeling of learning something new – a new recipe, a new word in a foreign language, a new chord on the guitar. And yet, so many of us go through our workdays on autopilot without setting aside time to learn something new. How can you introduce the joy of learning into your professional life? Start by taking control of what you read to better yourself and your career. Pay attention to what genuinely interests you, rather than relying on a website’s algorithm for recommendations. Have an open mind about what “counts” as learning — you can find unexpected opportunities in movies, conversations with friends, speeches or social media feeds. Finally, keep a list of what you’ve learned lately, how you’ve used that new knowledge and what you hope to learn in the future. You’ll stay focused and motivated by tracking your progress and setting new goals. Taking these steps will help you take your professional learning and development into your own hands — and have some fun with it.
(This tip is adapted from “The Simple Joy of Learning on the Job,” by Marc Zao-Sanders and Catalina Schveninger.)
Carve out some time for hobbies
Most working parents know that it’s important to take time for themselves. But what does that actually look like in practice? One option is committing to a hobby. It can help you relax and recharge, hone new skills, become a better problem-solver and connect with others. But to reap these benefits, you have to be diligent about carving out regular time in your busy schedule. Whatever your interests are – arts and crafts, exercising or reading, for example – set aside at least one consistent hour each week to delve into them. You can invite some friends to join you. Consider organising a book club or knitting group, or joining an exercise class that you look forward to. Once your schedule is set, be sure to communicate the time commitment to your family, so they can respect it when it comes around each week. It’s your time, and it’s important to be vocal about what it means to you.
(This tip is adapted from “Working Parents, Save Time for Hobbies,” by Scott Behson.)
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, June 29th, 2020