International Women’s Day 2021: Using your seniority to support the next generation
As a brand run by women for women, there’s nothing we love more at LIBBY than to shout about the achievements of our incredible network of women. International Women’s Day (IWD) is the one day of the year where we unite in celebrating the achievements of women worldwide.
This IWD 2021 feels even more poignant because of the challenges women have experienced in the workplace after nearly a year of isolation and uncertainty. It hasn’t been easy for many; a generational study on morale and productivity by The Society for Human Resource Management revealed that millennials often struggle in silence much more than their senior colleagues.
There have been silver linings. In the long run, new flexible working practices will be beneficial for working mums, and re-evaluations of priorities mean that an all-round better work-life balance for women might be on the horizon.
Yet we shouldn’t forget how crucial the collaboration of the office environment is. Especially for the younger generation who are just starting to climb the career ladder. For them, support, guidance and mentorship from older colleagues is essential.
According to the latest UK government Covid-19 roadmap, guidance to work from home where possible will remain in place until at least 21st June. Making an effort to ensure that the younger generation doesn’t fall further behind between now and when we return to the office will pay dividends in the future.
Frequent contact is key to creating and maintaining healthy connections. Establish a group chat (Google Chat and Slack are two good professional messaging tools), and encourage everyone in your team to check-in and out each day; a simple hello and goodbye. This can make senior team members feel more approachable, and will encourage juniors to voice any problems they may have.
Try and keep formal written communication to a minimum in general, and encourage more ‘face-to-face’ video calls with your team. Frequent and swift conversations are more productive than fewer, lengthier meetings. On video calls, create opportunities for younger colleagues to speak up; acknowledge them by name, ask them questions directly and praise good work.
Our top tips for reducing social disconnect amongst the younger generation and increasing well-being:
- Schedule social blocks in your team’s calendar at least once a week, whether this be a virtual coffee date, lunch or Friday after-work drinks.
- Engage less via email and more via video call, even if this is a 15 minute daily catch-up.
- Introduce the concept of walking and talking. If a scheduled meeting doesn’t require the screen, encourage remote participation in the fresh air. Many people are guilty of not leaving the house for days on end in this current environment.