Five TED talk videos around new ways of working

We’re back with another TED talk roundup!

The pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting how people view work. We’ve seen early retirements (some by choice, some not…), young workers looking at companies’ commitments to social issues (DEI and climate change being hot topics), and employees reprioritising their private lives by requesting more flexible working conditions.

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In short, 2021 has been a year of transitions that will undoubtedly shape our working lives well into 2022 and beyond. With that in mind, we’ve been looking at how you can help support new ways of working at your business and embrace the new normal of hybrid and home working.

Here are our five favourite TED talk videos from the last few months sharing fascinating insights around workplace stress, authenticity and work-life balance.

1. The routines, rituals and boundaries we need in stressful times | Esther Perel

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it can’t be denied that many people have had to cope with varying levels of stress. In CIPD’s ‘Health and wellbeing at work 2021’ survey report, 79% of respondents said they’ve had some stress-related absence in their organisation over the last year. So, is it any wonder we’re constantly given different recommendations on how to tackle stress?

Therapist Esther Perel argues that ‘stress’ is too broad a word, overwhelming and hard to cure when you can’t pinpoint the actual feelings leading to stress. Whether that’s anxiety, sadness, anger, or boredom, it’s essential that those are specified to be able to deal with accumulating stress. Once you’ve pinpointed the source of these emotions, you can then start creating routines, establishing systems, and setting up boundaries to deal with these issues.

In the video, Esther further offers practical tools and techniques that can help you recentre and gain back your sense of self in such stressful times – well worth a watch.

2. The myth of bringing your full, authentic self to work | Jodi-Ann Burey

There’s nothing about diversity in the workplace that hasn’t already been said. We’re all aware of its practical benefits to businesses. So as part of their DEI efforts, many organisations encourage employees to bring their full, authentic selves to work.

But when the workplace culture cannot fully support that authenticity, showing up as their authentic selves is not an option for underrepresented groups. Writer Jodi-Ann Burey explains that not fully understanding what it means to bring one’s authenticity can make the workplace an uncomfortable space for professionals from minoritised communities, limiting their progress and opportunities.

In her TED Talk, Jodi-Ann explains the various privileges that can be found at work and how to counter them in order to achieve true equity. She encourages leaders to take up the mantel in making those changes in their organisations.

3. Sophie Williams: The rigged test of leadership | TED

We’ve heard of the ‘glass ceiling’, but have you heard of the ‘glass cliff’? Equality activist Sophie Williams explains that it’s when a person (often from an underrepresented group) takes on a leadership role in the workplace only to find their chance of success limited before they’ve even started.

Backed with various studies, Sophie explains the different reasons that lead up to these unfair situations and how the inability to succeed in such circumstances negatively feeds back to these underrepresented groups, causing a vicious cycle of inequality.

The good news, however, is that there’s always room for improvement, as Sophie suggests what organisations can do to ensure success in leadership roles can be achieved by everyone.

4. lessons the pandemic taught us about work, life and balance | Patty McCord

We’ve seen a lot of change in the past 18 months due to COVID-19, and given the pandemic is still far from over, it’s likely 2022 will be more of the same. The world of work is no exception as almost overnight, we’ve seen a rise of organisations shifting their normal on-site/office work to homeworking. Then back to the office again… then back home… and back to the office… you get the idea…

This begs the question: just what is ‘Normal’ now when it comes to the world of work? Can we run the risk of going ‘back to normal’ given that the pandemic has no end date? And just what does this mean for the future of how we all work given the changes we’ve all experienced?

With shifting employer and employee expectations, consultant Patty McCord looks at the four key lessons people have learned working from home during the pandemic and how these can be used by companies to rethink their ways of working.

5. Why working from home is good for the business | The Way We Work, a TED series

While some business leaders like Netflix’s Reed Hastings or Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon are still unconvinced about the benefits of working from home, we can’t deny the positive impacts it’s had for many employees and their businesses.

People can collaborate more freely and even overcome physical barriers such as location and time zones. Plus, this newly found flexibility has made people feel more engaged, productive and motivated towards their work.

Certainly, there were some challenges – especially for those who were not used to this style of working: dealing with loneliness and isolation during the lockdown, uncertainties around job security, and setting up the right boundaries to prevent burnout and presenteeism. Luckily, these challenges can be overcome…

In this TED series, WordPress co-founder and CEO of Automattic Matt Mullenweg highlights the ever-changing workplace conventions, drawing from his experience of leading a scattered workforce to give brilliant tips on how to ensure everyone stays and feels connected, wherever they are.

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