How to develop ourselves and make time rewarding during a pandemic?

Before the pandemic hit the world we were actively engaged in work and hobbies on a daily basis. Thanks to social distancing, our new reality has changed bustling cities into desolate ones and the lack of social interaction and consecutive months of lockdown has inevitably led to feelings of loneliness and boredom. Here are six handy tips to help you make this new found time meaningful and boost your energy. 

1. Reading 

Have you ever been determined to read a book within a fixed period of time, but then became distracted by other tasks? Now might be an ideal opportunity to lose yourself in a new, or old favourite, book. There are plenty of websites or apps providing access to millions of books at your fingertips. Reading not only helps to gain valuable knowledge but also encourages innovative ideas. Let’s be active readers and expand our horizons. 

2. Enrolling on online courses  

You can easily find a number of online courses, including fee-free and fee-paying, from the most prestigious universities in the world on websites such as Coursera, Udemy, edX, Academic Earth, etc. These courses furnish us with foundation-level knowledge in areas of interest and to keep up with today’s ever-changing world, we really need to continue learning so we stand out, are challenged and continuously developing ourselves. 

It is also helpful to join soft-skill courses related to communication, teamwork, leadership or other interpersonal skills that are key to increasing our productivity at work. For example, if you feel a bit insecure about striking up conversation, why not take a course in communication skills and pick up practical tips to effectively communicate with your friends and colleagues.  

3. Learning new languages 

With rapid development in technology, it is much easier and simpler to learn a new language through a website or applications such as Duolingo, Busuu, Memrise, Digital Dialects, etc. English is known as the “international language” which considerably benefits our career progression so how about making full use of this time to take more courses or join webinars and events to improve your English. Studying a different language means having a different perspective on life, so take advantage of this social distancing period and experience different cultures around the world. 

4. Taking part in webinars related to your interests 

Participating in webinars is an effective way to gain valuable insights from experts or specialists in fields that we are interested in. Attending webinars offers us a wonderful opportunity to obtain new knowledge and meet people with shared interests, bringing great benefits of mutual learning and the establishment of social relationships. 

5. Doing yoga, meditation and home workouts 

Health is the greatest wealth of human life, so we certainly need to take care of it through doing yoga, meditation or home workouts regularly. These forms of exercise help us to relieve stress and achieve a feeling of serenity and mindfulness in both mind and spirit, as well as build muscular strength and fitness. There are a vast number of websites, applications and YouTube videos that teach home workouts, meditation and yoga from beginner to advanced such as Yoga Journal, Simply Yoga, Happify, Omvana, Fitness Blender etc. Why not try to spend 30 – 45 minutes per day on exercise for a healthier life. 

6. Keeping in touch with family, friends and colleagues 

These days, it is relatively easy for us to stay connected with our friends, workmates, and family via email, phone, text and video. Mutual communication helps us to cope with pressure and feel deep relief in our mind. Let’s be open about sharing our problems as well as listening to others’ problems and look for solutions together, helping to turn “big” problems into “small” ones that can be resolved. Keeping in contact with each other ensures that we are doing well, even if it is just chit chat for fun and pleasure. We all need each other to live our lives to the fullest, and it is important to stay in touch with our family, co-workers and friends under any circumstances. 

Although the pandemic has brought a lot of tedium and solitude, we can still make the most of the time we have with the above suggested tips. 

 

Nailing teamwork together, even while we are social distancing

Teamwork is an essential skill which makes a huge contribution to work efficiency in almost all occupations. However, during a time we have never experienced before, resulting in long term social distancing we are unable to work together at the office where we can communicate physically and opinions are expressed through face-to-face interactions. As a consequence, we all face enormous challenges in communication and interaction with our colleagues while remote working.  

It is not what happens to us, but how we respond to it that matters. Everything always has a solution, so here are five tips to enhance teamwork effectiveness: 

1. Sense of responsibility 

It is generally known that working from home stops us from entering into a one-to-one or round-table discussion among team members about a certain issue. What’s more, we have a common tendency to become passive members when controversial questions arise and need to be tackled together. In this case, it’s always worth actively making a call to ask for help from co-workers. As face-to-face conversations cannot take place, we need to be not only more responsible for tasks but more active in discussion-related assignments as well. We are a piece of the whole and therefore we have to constantly strive for excellence together in order to deal with difficulties. The small success of each member will lead to the tremendous success of the team, as the idiom says “many a little makes a mickle”. 

2. Technical application 

It will be extremely beneficial to become a modern technical user, especially during a pandemic that prevents us from social interactions. Technology helps us to keep in touch with colleagues via email, text, phone or video as well as makes our discussions easier and more accessible than ever. 

3. Mutual help, respect and sympathy 

The company workspace is obviously different from home, where we can be distracted with a wide variety of home-based care such as housework, cooking and babysitting. Unfortunately, this heavily influences our workmates’ wellbeing and health of their body and mind. It is vital to keep in contact with them so that we can understand their situations and offer immediate help if need be. Similarly, if our work is fraught with any problems, they will be quick to offer us assistance. Success will smile on those who are aware of the importance of tight union, so let’s always be kind and reliable colleagues. Remember the saying, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. 

4. Punctuality 

To keep track of the progress of our tasks, we can utilise some free task management tools that enormously help to manage our projects and tasks effectively, such as Trello, Taskworld, ProofHub, TeamWork, etc. These tools have many useful features including setting due dates, tracking time spent on tasks and time logs for each project. Let’s become more proactive in exploiting state-of-the-art technology to help us work better and more efficiently. 

5. Praise and encouragement 

Remote working is always a tough challenge for any team, so it is absolutely indispensable to give colleagues positive encouragement when they face difficulties and to praise them for their outstanding performance. This will be a strong motivation for team members to succeed in work and life.  

It is evident that we have all faced difficulties when working from home during the pandemic. Nevertheless, we can still achieve effective teamwork by combining the above tips. We hope that these tips will help you and your team achieve the most effective teamworking possible. 

How to enhance team bonding during the pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work globally. Remote working has become the new norm for organisations around the world. However, besides the pros, remote working has also brought cons to employees’ working lives. Social distancing and lack of physical interaction can make employees feel isolated and depressed. This could influence productivity at work and also the employee’s well-being.    

So, team bonding plays a key role in connecting members together. According to research, 65% of online workers felt isolated from colleagues when not having team bonding sessions.    

Here are suggestions for you to celebrate virtual team bonding:    

1. Truth or dare?     

“Truth or dare” is a popular game with many people. It allows people to ask others in-depth questions or take funny actions. This game is famous in the offline world because it requires human interaction. But during this time, we can also play this game virtually. Players can use Wheel of Names to pick the players randomly, then they can create the truth or dare list. The game is suitable for a big group and could create a funny moment for the team.   

“Truth or dare” is a simple game, but an important consideration is that while the game allows us to ask questions to get to know colleagues better, rules and boundaries should be set, so as not to invade the privacy of others, and to keep the game appropriate for the workplace.  

2. Sharing session    

When working from home, there are fewer opportunities to catch up with each other and share feelings. Therefore, a sharing session allows every member to share their feelings or any difficulty that they are facing, so that everybody can listen and suggest solutions. For those not comfortable talking publicly, a form could be created to fill in anonymously, so they can feel free to share whatever they want.     

This session is a chance for everybody to hear and share which can enhance relationships among team members.    

3. Kahoot time!    

Kahoot has a simple format, which functions as a quiz, and is suitable for every team size. The team members have to answer a specific number of questions that the moderator created.

The questions vary from different topics including general knowledge, films, movies, songs. Kahoot also suggests various types of questions for players such as math, science, history, social studies. Furthermore, we can give a prize to the winners to motivate the team members to put more effort into playing games.     

Access to Kahoot.com to create the quiz. The players can access Kahoot.it to enjoy the game.   

4. Mojiparty     

Mojiparty is an emoji guessing game that you can play for free online. Play with your pals and see who can decode the most emojis from various categories to win, including TV shows, foods, brands, music. This game allows every member to interact with each other and relieve stress after a hard-working day.   

The game is easy to access with various modes for every group type. Access mojiparty.io to play now!    

5. Skribbl    

This game challenges your team’s creativity. Someone has to draw their chosen word every round and others have to guess it to gain points. The person who has the highest point will win. The game has the same format as mojiparty, but it allows us to draw the words in our style. It is free online and for multiple players which is suitable for every group size. It does not only challenge the painter, but also those who guess the words. Access skribbl.io to play now!    

From the five activities, we hope that you could find a suitable one to bring your team together and enhance employee bonding. A teambuilding session is key to driving a successful team. Not only does it relieve stress at work but it also helps to build relationships among colleagues.  

At NashTech, we focus on our employees’ well-being, especially during the pandemic. Besides having sport and game clubs to encourage work-life balance, we also organise a wide range of activities and events online to stay connected with our Nashers during this challenging time.  

7 tips for effective email communications in the workplace

Email has become an inevitable and valuable communication tool in our work and personal lives. Moreover, email communication is an essential writing skill for employees because it reflects your working style and the professionalism of your organisations. However, it might be difficult to express tone and emotion solely via letters, which might lead to miscommunication, unprofessionalism and negative perception from the receivers.   

Therefore, to help you understand the core principles of writing emails and conveying the right message, here are seven tips to improve your email communication:    

1. Remember subject line   

47% receivers will not open an email without a subject line. An email without a subject is considered unprofessional and careless. The subject is the title of your email which gives receivers a summary of the inner message. Therefore, be really concise on the email purposes and name the subject accordingly for a positive first impression. The subject line should be about seven to ten words to make it attractive and clickable.   

2. Define the target reader   

Before starting to write an email, consider who the readers are, so you can choose suitable and relevant content. For example, writing to your colleagues is different from communicating with clients and managers. Avoid casual words such as “hey” or “hi” and remove slang words or acronyms when sending to clients and managers. For emails to colleagues, we can use casual words to make it friendlier.    

3. Build a structure  

A neat email will make it easy for readers to follow and understand the message. Too long or too short paragraphs could make them lose momentum and quit reading your email. So, dividing the texts into two to three sentences per paragraph could keep the reader’s interest and help them to follow the content easier. Also, remember to use BOLD or ITALIC to highlight important points and catch the attention of readers.      

4. Use simple words   

Even though emails need to be professional to some extent, it is not about writing essays or academic reports. So, keep the wording as simple as possible because the more complicated it gets, the higher chance that it could lead to miscommunication and confusion. Simple words make emails easy to understand and thus, improve the communication.   

5. Be calm  

We should not write emails when angry or agitated because it could influence the tone and mood of the email. Senders could bring negative emotion to their message and appear unprofessional. In this case, the writer needs to calm down before they begin to think about writing anything.     

6. Think about the time   

Avoid sending emails after working hours because it could annoy the receivers. The suitable time for us to send emails is during working hours which could increase motivation for recipients to read them. Also, we should respect the senders by replying within 24 hours from receiving. This also helps you to avoid skipping it.   

7. Proofread before sending   

Before sending any email, make sure everything is qualified because a minor mistake could lead to miscommunication. The important elements are: email address, subject line, grammar spelling, file attachment. Do not forget to put an appropriate closing such as “Best Regards” or “Sincerely” with the signature, so the receivers know the identity of sender.   

Writing an effective email is not too difficult but it challenges us to convey the right mood and message to readers. Therefore, we should spend time thinking about the readers and the points in our email. Remember the email could reflect your professionalism or your company’s values, so proofread any email before clicking “send”.   

How to weave creativity into your daily job

There is a preconceived notion that creativity and business do not mix well since business is all about following strict guidelines while creativity is more on the free-spirited and artistic side. However, creativity has more to offer than its artistic values. 

The difference between a dreadful 8-to-5 drudgery and a rewarding career often lies within an individual’s ability to effectively integrate their sense of creativity into their daily tasks. Creativity is the source of fresh and innovative ideas. Here, these ideas are nurtured and brought into reality 

Creative skills are a valuable asset in the workplace since it enables employees to devise better problem-solving techniques by imagining possible solutions, approach a task from different perspectives, or easily make connections between things and concepts to come up with advanced creation.  

Creativity has also been ranked by LinkedIn as the most sought-after soft skill amongst companies due to the rapid automation of tedious processes which resulted in a cut-down of process-oriented tasks. This transformation has left rooms open for those who can generate new ideas that inspire and help organisations overcome their current challenges.  

How to hone one’s creative skill? 

Some people are fortunate enough to be born with a congenital creative muscle, however, this skill can be strengthened and trained over time by adopting a few new habits and activities to your daily routine. 

1. Set out a day dreaming session 

Set out a period of time in your day to be completely immersed in your thoughts, create a monologue in your head about things that spark your curiosity. This can help you in the process of practicing the power of observation and imagination which is essential for creative thinking and innovation.