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Random Acts of Kindness

Sometimes it’s the smallest acts that make the biggest difference.

February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day, the perfect opportunity to reconnect and reinvigorate. At the moment, life might be feeling a little less hopeful than usual;

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Boosting Energy Levels in the Post-Pandemic World

Your team’s energy levels have a significant impact on productivity, and after 16 months of lockdowns and remote working, energy levels are at an all-time low.

Now, as summer heat rages on and your people get ready for holidays abroad, schools being closed, and time off work, you may have noticed an even greater lull in their enthusiasm and energy.

The HBR article ‘The Pandemic is Widening the Productivity Gap’ suggests that energy was the hardest-hit productivity indicator during the pandemic, having rippling effects on engagement and employee retention. Maintaining high energy levels is essential for productivity and ensuring you get the best out of your team. You need to read your team’s energy levels, listen to them, and take actionable steps to bring everyone back up to scratch. 

This can have a tremendous impact on their mental health, engagement, resilience, and overall joy about their work. 

Here are 5 ways you can reinvigorate your team and boost energy levels:


1. Encourage rest and recovery

Many have worked non-stop for the last 16 months, rarely taking sick days or even holidays due to remote working. Remind your staff that just because they are working from home, it doesn’t mean that they cannot take time off or be ill. Many are feeling a constant pressure to work, and it has left many of us beyond burnt out. 


2. Be compassionate 

Everyone has had a challenging year, and grief surrounds so many things. Grieving over lost loved ones, lost special memories and occasions, or even just the lives we had before the pandemic. As a leader, you are surely grieving personally as well. Be sure that you are empathetic, compassionate and understanding of how your team feels and provide a safe space for them to express their feelings. It’s vital that everyone feels comfortable saying when they just aren’t coping well. Communication is crucial, and how you communicate as a leader can have a considerable impact on employee energy levels.


3. Reward and encourage employees 

According to The Achiever Workforce Institute and a recent study, 35% of employees said that more significant appreciation of their work would help them feel more supported during COVID-19. This directly impacts engagement and, subsequently, productivity. We know times are tough for many businesses but ensure that you are letting your employees know that they are valued and their contributions matter.


4. Provide resources and opportunities for staff to take care of their physical wellbeing

Your physical wellbeing directly impacts energy levels. So providing resources and time to allow your team to take care of their wellbeing can help prevent burnout and keep them motivated. Giving them space and time in their otherwise hectic lives to restore work-life balance and take care of themselves. Physical wellbeing has a direct impact on mental well-being, and a mentally resilient workforce is essential for productivity, 


5. Invest more in people 

Time is finite, energy is not, having your staff work long, gruelling hours does not benefit your company or your team. On the contrary, it leads to disengaged and burnt-out employees, as they invest considerable quantities of time instead of effectively and efficiently directing that time. By investing in upskilling, training, and supporting your team, you ensure that they are putting in quality time to get tasks done. 

Racism and Personal Responsibility

Following the last two weeks of addressing diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace. We would like to continue the conversation in the wake of the events of this last week.

Though we understand and believe that racism and discrimination are structural and there is so much work to be done in organisations and government, there is also so much to be done on the individual level. Personal responsibility for educating yourself and holding you and those around you accountable is paramount for battling the attitudes and horrendous displays of profane racism we saw after the England Euros loss.

We have put together a list of some incredible resources to provide a platform and signpost those that come across our pages to incredible books, movies, tv shows, social pages, and people to read watch, listen to and follow to educate yourself on the reality of discrimination to date.


Movies & TV Shows


13th

A classic recommendation, and if you haven’t watched it yet, what have you been doing the past year. A deep dive and revelatory documentary highlight systemic racism in the US which is a great way of seeing the ways in which discrimination can be entrenched in the system.

Two Distant Strangers

In this fictive Oscar-winning short film, now out on Netflix, it follows a young black man stuck in a time loop that leads him to re-live a deadly encounter with the police on the way home to see his dog. We will preface this one with a trigger warning as it has been criticised for verging on being traumatising for black viewers.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

In this fictive Oscar-winning short film, now out on Netflix, it follows a young black man stuck in a time loop that This incredible Oscar-winning biographical film starring the late Chadwick Boseman and the incredible Viola Davis is based on a fictional afternoon in which ‘The Mother of Blues’, Miss Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey and her band record the single “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” with her white manager and record label owner. Tensions mount between everyone there and erupt into a conflict that highlights race and artistic exploitation. It is a truly captivating film.

Self Made: Inspired By the life of Madam C.J. Walker

This biographical short series follows the journey of Madame C J Walker, America’s first black female millionaire and her journey to success – as well as her trials and tribulations as a black woman in a time that did not provide many opportunities. Starring Octavia Spencer.

What Happened, Miss Simone

Now out on Netflix, this biographical movie covers the life and music of Nina Simone using never before seen or heard footage and recordings. Perfect for any music lover.  

The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson

Marsha P Johns was a black trans woman and activist who fought for LGBTQ+  rights in New York, and one of the key figures in the Stonewall riots of 1969. This documentary follows her life of activism and the suspicious circumstances around her death in 1992.


Books


Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire

By Akala this semi-autobiographical book mixes the personal, historical and political. Speaking to our current situation as well as providing an understanding of the history and racial politics of Britain. With incredible references and resources, this book talks about a wide range of racialised issues and Akala’s own experiences confront the British aversion to talking about race and empire.

Girl, Woman, Other

By Bernardine Evaristo and winner of the 2019 Booker prize, this unconventional novel follows 12 characters in separate but intertwined storylines, with no focal character to paint a picture of black heritage in Britain. A must-read ode to the black woman in modern Britain.

Americanah

From the Award-winning Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this fictive book follows Nigerian teenagers that fall in love with aspirations to move to the United State for Education. But due to strict immigration laws, Ifemelu and Obinze are forced to separate as Ifemelu is granted a visa. Following two life stories on different trajectories into adulthood the story tackles race, immigration, and love in a globalized world.

Wish We Knew What to Say

By Dr. Pragya Agarwal this book is one for parents who would like assistance in understanding how they can speak to their children about race as well as understands the ways in which children perceive and understand race and racial difference.


People to keep an eye on 


Candace Braithwaite

Founder of ‘Make Motherhood Diverse, author, presenter, and journalist. Candace began documenting he journey as a mother in 2016 to show that black mothers and families were “not just surviving but thriving” illustrating an alternative to dominant narratives surrounding black motherhood.  Her debut 2016 book ‘Not Your Baby Mother’ is a must-read.

Sanchia Legister

By Bernardine Evaristo and winner of the 2019 Booker prize, this unconventional novel follows 12 characters in separate but intertwined storylines, with no focal character to paint a picture of black heritage in Britain. A must-read ode to the black woman in modern Britain.

She “brings her big afro, big smile and good vibes to the mat, with a fiyah playlist to help you find freedom, space, and unapologetic movement, in the hope of bringing yoga to the people dem.”

Jonelle Lewis

American Yogi Jonelle Lewis spent 20 years in London before returning back to the United States. Other than being an incredible yoga teacher (you can find her pre-recorded classes on Apple Fitness) she regularly posts about the hypocrisy and lack of diversity in the wellbeing industry and consistently holds people to account.

Ms Afropolitan

A writer, award-winning blogger, and keynote speaker Minna Salami writes on feminism and social issues from an African-centric point of view.

Marcus Rashford

After the Euros, I think most of us know who Marcus Rashford is. But he is more than a footballer. When the government planned to leave school children on Pupil Premium without food during the holidays during the pandemic. Rashford stepped up and donated to make sure students had a meal, as well as pressured and campaigned for the government to provide the Free School Meals (which they eventually did).

Renni-Edo Lodge

An award-winning journalist, author, and podcaster, Renni-Edo wrote the best-selling book ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’. The best-seller has informed the podcast she now hosts that dissects the nuances of race.

Building a Stronger Tomorrow: The Push for a More Inclusive Future

We are over halfway through the year, which means we have had a lot of our key D&I and Awareness days, and also time to reflect on the social movements that took place last summer.

From International Women’s Day to Pride, at PUSH we’ve been thinking about how we can build on the messages and activism of the past year and find ways to implement positive, lasting change. Thanks to Covid-19, the working landscape has been blown wide open, leaving an open chasm and abundant opportunity for remodelling the working world of the future – a world where no one is left behind. 

True inclusivity is about so much more than diversity; it is about a sense of belonging, and ensuring all of your colleagues – no matter their gender, race or sexual orientation – feel that they can be their most authentic selves at work. Nurturing uniqueness and individuality among your staff not only creates a positive impact on mental health and your office culture, but will also promote company growth. 


“research shows that unlocking women’s economic potential in the workplace over the coming years could add a staggering $2.1 trillion in GDP by 2025”


The stats on the potential in truly embracing and fostering inclusivity speak for themselves; in the US, research has found that 40% of GDP growth in the national economy between 1960 and 2010 can be attributed to women and people of colour being better represented in the labour force. And research shows that unlocking women’s economic potential in the workplace over the coming years could add a staggering $2.1 trillion in GDP by 2025. 

So how, as leaders, how do we funnel the essence of this year’s activism into our company culture in a practical and permanent way? The first is to open up the line of conversation with your staff and keep it open. Look critically at your organisation and identify what changes can be made and build these into a long-term actionable plan that you can sustain for years to come. Don’t let your desire for diversity look like a gimmick; your team needs to feel equally represented and supported each and every day. 

Also ensure that you invest in your talent. Upskilling staff will not only lead to increased confidence and an expansion of skillsets across the board, but also a sense that every member of the team is valued. Launched last month, the new PUSH App helps companies realise their potential in this area, helping people to connect and feel a sense of belonging, even if current working models mean they are physically apart. 

And on that subject, restructuring your company with inclusivity in mind will have a lot to do with how you tackle the topic of hybrid working. Many women have experienced burnout as they try to juggle working from home and the subsequent sense of needing to be constantly ‘on’ with the pressures of family life. For this reason the implementation of boundaries in your new working model is really important. Again include staff in these conversations to ensure everyone is comfortable with what is being laid out. 

Talking to staff has to lie at the core of your mission for a more inclusive workplace. The sad fact is that Covid has had a disproportionate impact on BAME communities – people from black and Asian ethnic groups were twice as likely to die from the virus compared to white people – meaning that members of these communities are more likely to be suffering from grief. Research also shows that 74% of LGBTQ+ people say that stress from the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, compared to 49% of those who are not LGBTQ+. Now, more than ever, it is important that these groups feel listened to and supported. Ensure there are systems in place so people have access to a safe space where they can share their feelings and seek help if they need it.

Inclusivity has to be about working with people, not against them, and if the past year has taught us anything, it is that we are stronger together. 

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