Making Space in 2021

Making space for grief, the future of the workplace, and embracing change after chaos.

Victor Saad

Founder

Welcome to issue No. 30 of Work Different — a weekly summary of the top articles focused on workplace culture and career development.

Dear readers,
With holiday festivities being different this year, it feels like 2021 is going to slip into our lives without the usual fanfare. Personally, I’m looking forward to the quieter season with candles, journals, books, and remnants of home-cooked meals around the house.

How are you planning to turn off work and use the final days of the year to look back at the year? How can you encourage your teams to do the same?

The Experience Institute team will be off next week as we recharge and take in the new year. Thanks for being with us for 30 issues of Work Different. That’s pretty special. We’re looking forward to jumping back in with you in 2021.

Wishing you and yours our very best,
Victor and the Ei team

PS: If you didn’t have a chance to complete our annual feedback form for Ei’s writings, can you share your feedback here? It should take just a minute. Thank you!

On Making Space for Grief

In a year filled with loss, both personal and professional, how can we as team leaders provide safe spaces to mourn? 1. Acknowledgement. “Don’t just pretend that things are normal: Share your experience, invite people to share theirs, and make that behavior normal.”  2. Offer truth and take questions. Even if you don’t have answers, it will soothe people’s anxiety to be heard. Try to be a listening ear for your colleagues and teammates. Also avoid making long-term predictions when things are clearly uncertain. 3. Simplify the work. “When we are anxious and remote, it helps to focus on clear and concrete goals, to know what is expected and what is enough.” When we are able to share and sooth our grief with others, it makes the grief feel less heavy. Harvard Business Review. (Image credit above: Michał Bednarski)

On Change After Chaos

In this piece, experts across industries — from retail to education to social media — ask the question, In light of what happened in 2020, what should we expect for the year 2030? 1. The new school. Educational systems underwent a breakdown and a restructuring in 2020. Higher education will feature a mixture of being on campus and remote learning. “Low residency will become the default model for university education.” 2. Businesses moving outside. We’re seeing a rapid acceleration of changes in experiences that will last well beyond the pandemic: restaurants taken to the streets, fitness activities moving outdoors, theaters and the arts moving from stages to outdoor lawns. Access for new and diverse audiences will bring new programming and ways of interaction. 3. Fast-forwarded innovation. “This year has been the catalyst accelerating the development of things that were meant to happen 10 years from now.” Fast Company.

Credit:  Chiara Ghigliazza

On How and Where We Work

This year has also drastically changed our relationship with work and the workplace, with lasting impacts on company culture, the job market, demographic, and cities. 1. We’re rethinking where we work and live. With the physical flexibility that comes with remote work, millions of Americans are moving out of costly metropolitans, but most will likely prefer the idea of “third workplaces,” such as coffee shops and co-working spaces. 2. What matters at work is changing. “People increasingly care about company culture and belonging, which will be a key factor in firms’ abilities to recruit and retain talent.”  3. Acceleration of workplace technology. In addition to adopting tech that facilitates remote work, such as Zoom and Slack, “companies are also increasing their adoption of emerging artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning as they attempt to conduct business while minimizing human-to-human contact.” Axios.

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posted by

Victor Saad

Founder

I’m an author, educator, and community builder living in Chicago. I started Experience Institute, an organization helping college students and career professionals learn and grow through short-term, real-world experiences.

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