We're facilitating many of our client projects remotely at the moment. Learn more about our expertise in this area.

Unplugging, Straddlers and Collaboration


Many people have been sharing the recent news regarding France clocking off at 6, expressing their jealousy at this clear work/play divide. The problem is, with all the opportunities and instant access that smartphones and tablets offer us, logging off and completely relaxing is becoming near impossible. Tanya Schevitz tackles this issue of ‘unplugging’ in her article Tips for Unplugging and What to Do Once You Do.

Follow that with this Q&A with Ellen Langer, who has spent nearly 40 years researching mindfulness. She believes that by paying attention to what’s going on around us, instead of operating on auto-pilot, we can reduce stress, unlock creativity, and boost performance.

Also related, The Art and Science of Doing Nothing discusses Andrew Smart’s book of the same title. It follows on from this concept of unplugging to say that busyness is detrimental to our health, creativity, social skills and emotional well-being, whereas idleness actually promotes these aspects. “Through idleness, great ideas buried in your unconsciousness have the chance to enter your awareness.”

Moving on, according to Lauren Weber and Rachel Feintzeig – authors of The Wall Street Journal article, Companies Say No to Having an HR Department – are HR departments zapping creativity? From the article: “Executives say the traditional HR department—which claims dominion over everything from hiring and firing to maintaining workplace diversity—stifles innovation and bogs down businesses with inefficient policies and processes.” We think that HR departments can be a tremendous help to creativity and innovation, but it’s interesting to see this viewpoint.

We recently enjoyed Vineet Nayar’s A Shared Purpose Drives Collaboration. Nayar uses 3 examples to demonstrate the success of natural collaboration in the face of disaster; Apollo 13, 9/11 and the SARS outbreak of 2002. These examples argue that true collaboration is born from a combination of evident goals, a time frame and ‘deeply felt longing.’

Finally, a term for those who have lived in 2 completely different eras, from analogue to digital, has been created: Straddlers. Kim Hastreiter from Papermag.com discusses how It’s All The Same But Different for those born into ‘the straddle generation’. This is those who have lived through typewriters to dial-up to wifi; from Francs to Euros to Bitcoin; from film canisters to selfies to 3D printed busts. She explains how the speed and opportunities now available both excites her and leaves her breathless. 

Some more things we enjoyed reading recently:
John Kotter’s Plan to Accelerate Your Business
An interview with Deb Mangone, Senior Director of Worldwide Innovation at Pfizer
Why Your Employees Should Be Playing With Lego Robots
3 Interview Questions for Screening Innovative Employees
General Stanley McChrystal offers 16 leadership lessons
Cultural difference: holistic and specific thinkers
Management is all about control vs. happiness
Bond with your colleagues at a sleepover
Empathy is essential to the creative process
How China’s Growth Imposes Costs on the Rest of the World

Photo Credit: clasesdeperiodismo via Compfight cc

You may also like…

Using Scenario Planning to think about the future

Using Scenario Planning to think about the future

Because of the sheer variety of ingredients involved, there isn’t one defined future that is set in stone and that will apply to everyone in exactly the same way. Use an approach like Scenario Planning to consider alternative futures.

How we run remote workshops using MURAL

How we run remote workshops using MURAL

Collaborating online gets less attention than straightforward video conferencing but it’s where the action is. Here’s how we use one of the most popular whiteboard apps in our meetings and workshops.