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Business As Usual? Not This Year.



2020 already! Who isn’t reeling at that realisation?


But adjust we must. So as you settle back into your usual work routine, we have a suggestion for you.


Don’t.


You see, this year we’d like to kick things off with a challenge (fear not – it’s nothing too wearying or worthy. We feel that fatigue too, you know.) Our proposition is simply this: that you rein in all those random resolutions and begin your working year by incorporating one – just one! – new initiative into your usual work process. And that’s it: just try something new. Manageable? We think so. To make it even easier, we’ve provided some routine-refreshing recommendations below:


Make mentoring a must.


Let’s start with something simple: either become a mentor to someone, or find yourself one. After all, who doesn’t enjoy sharing their wisdom? If you’re in a position to become a mentor, let that be known amongst your peers, colleagues and business networks. And if you’re not quite at that level yet? Then get yourself there by finding someone to mentor you: identify a person you respect either inside or outside your business – and just ask. Ultimately, what mentoring offers is either an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to a person’s professional development or the chance to learn valuable skills from someone you admire. That’s a win-win.


Develop a VTO (Volunteering Time Off) policy.


Upskilling. Team-bonding. Increased employee engagement. We’ve already discussed the various benefits of VTO policies, so it’s not surprising that more and more companies both here and globally are embracing the concept. Has yours? If not, take this opportunity to explore some options and set the process in motion. Your wokeness will impress your co-workers – and the feel-good factor’s fantastic, too.


Adopt a different working approach


The tradition of working an eight-hour day, five days a week, is almost an anachronism. And that’s because there’s never been a better time to try working remotely or to incorporate some flexibility into your usual working hours. The technology to support alternative working methods is easier to use and more accessible than ever, while traditional work cultures are changing as fast as the tech. And the benefits? Just ask employees at Perpetual Guardian, to cite just one success story. Why not follow their example?


Stay relevant


Let’s face it, the expression “you snooze, you lose” has never been more apt. That’s why the world’s highest of high-achievers – business leaders like Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett – all set aside at least an hour a day for “deliberate learning”: activities like reading, reflection and experimentation in order to improve their knowledge and skills. So follow their lead. Identify your own area of interest or a gap in your knowledge, and schedule in a little self-improvement. Remember, you can start small. As little as half an hour of self-imposed homework every couple of days will still pay dividends in terms of personal and professional development.


Take advantage of new tech.


Sure, there’s a bewildering – and constantly evolving – array of new technology on offer. But don’t be intimidated. Just do your homework: find a company with a proven track record who can provide the right product with the right support. And then dip your toe in – once again, it’s possible to start small. No matter how significant your commitment, embrace what tech offers: an opportunity to increase productivity and performance – and, most importantly, the ability to keep up with or even overtake your competitors.


Promote policies which support diversity.


Gone are the days of a predominantly white, male workforce: today’s workplaces have never been so diverse. And the positive impact of this is huge: research shows that differences across age, culture, gender, ethnicity, sexuality and more deliver significant improvements to business performance. So it makes sense to prioritise initiatives that promote diversity, educating yourself and your employees in the process. But perhaps most importantly, fostering a culture of inclusivity is, fundamentally, just a jolly nice thing to do. So why wouldn’t you?


Be ruthless with your most valuable resource.


Which is, of course, time. So take a long, hard look at your calendar. Do you really need to attend every upcoming event or meeting? Will your presence add real value? If not, cut it from your schedule. Challenge your team members to do the same. Sure, being selective requires some thought – but your sanity’s at stake. Which segues nicely to:


Make “me time” mandatory.


Not only is it ok to allow yourself some time out, it’s essential. Block out an hour – whether it’s to take a walk, grab a coffee or sit somewhere quiet – and, most importantly, make this a non-negotiable fixture in your diary. Ensure your team members know that you’re not available during this time. Not only will they respect your space, it will encourage them to do the same. The result? A workplace that’s a whole lot happier.



Go on, admit it. Unlike so many of the challenges we set ourselves in these optimistic early months, taking on one – just one! – of these suggestions is actually achievable. And we hope we’ve provided a little inspiration without being too, you know, inspirational (it may be a new year, but even we’re not quite ready for the full Tony Robbins yet). In other words, there’s no more excuses. Pick the recommendation that resonates most with you. And, in true PEP style: just do it.