Why emotional intelligence matters at the workplace

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After a brief sabbatical, Fahmida was appointed as the manager of a ready-made garment factory. On her first day, she had over a few thousand overworked, angry employees waiting for her. Productivity had dropped sharply and deadlines were being missed. Upon further inspection, she found that workers were being made to work night and day in large rooms with little ventilation and ceiling fans that did not work. Most of them were already dealing with multiple health problems. They seemed aggressive in their conduct and were barely open to communication. As the manager, Fahmida decided to take matters into her own hands. She installed proper ventilation and fixed most of the electric appliances. Fahmida also made sure her staff had access to safe drinking water at all times. She would make frequent rounds around the work stations and randomly asked individuals how they were doing. Within a month, productivity increased and deadlines were being met. Absenteeism dropped, the workers seemed to soften up to communicating with each other, and eventually, even began communicating better with their supervisors.

When looking to fill up managerial posts, employers seek problem-solvers like Fahmida. Emotional intelligence can be a key factor in understanding and solving real-life problems.

Here are five reasons why emotional intelligence is a must-have skill for achieving success in your career.

Better teamwork: People with higher emotional intelligence often try to adjust to other people’s communication styles and preferences. This means that they can chat it up with a talkative team member but also keep it short and stick to the point when it comes to colleagues who like keeping to themselves. They are generally more open to communicating with others. This helps strengthen ties within the team and reinforces a sense of belonging and trust in all the team members.

Adaptability to change: In this day and age of change, most workplaces endorse frequent progressive changes to the way things are done. Sometimes, an employee who is not as emotionally intelligent may resist and not welcome newer policies or rules. A more emotionally intelligent one, however, will embrace an ever-changing environment and thrive to grow with the company itself. This type of attitude may even influence other employees in the office.

Greater self-awareness: Emotionally intelligent people tend to be self-aware and more open to constructive criticism. As a result, they can assess their own strengths and weaknesses much more conclusively. They take feedback and make use of them as a reference point for growth and learning.

Greater self-control: Higher emotional intelligence usually means a deeper understanding of their own feelings. Emotionally intelligent people tend to be more accepting of both their positive and negative emotions. Be it an unhappy boss or a dissatisfied client, they take all kinds of inconvenient situations in stride, stay collected, and try to solve the problem or improve the status quo. They tend to be adept managers of their own emotions and even tend to help others in managing theirs.

Stronger in times of crisis: Whether it’s the company going through a crisis or your team being swamped with deadlines to meet, the emotionally intelligent employees are usually your best bet. While difficult times tend to bring out the worst in most of us, people with higher emotional quotient (EQ) tend to proactively take steps in leading everyone through the storm while trying to be empathetic towards everyone’s struggles, including their own. They try to handle all kinds of curveballs with resilience without having the looming fear of failure.

Emotional intelligence is not something you can simply read off of a self-help book or pick up from an article. It is a trait, a skill honed over time through real experiences and self-reflection. It is not something that you can acquire overnight. However, when you do, it will vastly help you to navigate through many difficult situations.

The importance of digital marketing for SMEs

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In 2014, to cope with the various curveballs that life was throwing my way, I decided to channel my time and effort into a small scale passion project: baking. I wanted the people out there to taste the desserts I made. Borrowed cameras, amateur lighting, some basic photo editing, and a few baking sessions later, I managed to launch my Facebook page. Fast forward to a month later, I was swamped with orders which my small kitchen and even smaller oven could not keep up with. Eventually, I had to set a bar on the number of orders I took in a week, forcing me to decline the remaining others. By the end of the year, I ended up with a bigger oven, an installed kitchen scale, and a solid number of loyal customers who placed regular orders,

This was six years ago, when Facebook was the only platform where people like me who wanted to give their passion project a chance to grow could showcase their products. Today in 2020, the same set of bakers, artists, and other talented individuals are presented with a plethora of platforms to do the same with much more ease, convenience, and to a much wider audience. When it comes to start-ups, passion projects, or businesses of any scale, digital marketing has essentially changed the way products and services are promoted and sold today. It has opened up a wide array of opportunities for them. This blog is my take on why digital marketing has become such a useful and indispensable tool for small and medium enterprises.

Easy access to a much wider audience

Today there is a wide range of social media platforms and websites to choose from, each curated to cater to a certain target audience. Enterprises can choose which platforms to use in order to maximize their reach and generate the highest number of sales leads. Using multiple platforms, both niche and mass, lets them cater to a much wider audience than what traditional marketing would have allowed.

Extremely cost efficient

With the advent of digital marketing, you no longer have to rent a billboard at a busy intersection to be seen or heard. All you have to do is put a few soft tools together, create engaging content, and post it. Promoting content and products in general is much cheaper when it comes to online marketing. Business pages on Instagram and Facebook are mostly free of cost to create and maintain. Even paid promotions require little to no money and still see rapid generation of sales.

Accessibility to customers is maximized

Digital marketing allows potential clienteles and customers to browse through catalogues leisurely and at their comfort through the power of the internet. This maximizes accessibility and encourages people to reach out to businesses expecting prompt and customized responses in addition to assistance and information on the products. The upside of text-based mode of employee-customer communication is that you can always assess the queries of the customer and react or respond accordingly, reducing the risk of friction between the consumer and producer while also maintaining a healthy relationship.

Easier to identify and know more about your target audience

Digital marketing lets you engage with your existing and prospective customers directly. You can strike up a conversation and eventually get to know them and what they are hoping to find. By interacting with people digitally, you can find out what they need, the kind of problems they face every day, and eventually figure out the kind of solutions you can offer. Instead of trying to make vague predictions, digital marketing provides you with concrete information based on which you can find out who your customers are and what they really want.

Allows enterprises to make data driven decisions

Thanks to tools like Google Analytics and Google Trends, it has become increasingly easy to obtain accurate information about your target group. Starting from how many people viewed your post, how many times your website was visited, to how much time was spent during each visit, nothing goes unrecorded. It is possible to map out lifestyles, daily habits, and activities of your clientele as well as target groups through the data obtained from digital marketing platforms. This helps enterprises to design their products better and to promote them in a way that will generate maximum sales leads.

Content creation is quick and easy

One thing the COVID-19 pandemic has proven is that employees can do just as much work efficiently from home as they do at their workplace, if not more. The friendly and familiar environment of home enables content creators of businesses to push out more interactive engagement while maintaining their quality; sometimes even exceeding them. Similarly, creating content has also become much easier and cheaper. Basic Photoshop skills, verbal prowess, and a good sense of the topic at hand gives any content creator a head start. A few dedicated hours to writing and a few cups of coffee make up the equation for a perfect, well written article.

At a recent virtual roundtable hosted by BYLC, Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone, briefly emphasized on the emerging growth and relevance of digital content and digital media. “In order to lead your company towards progress, it is absolutely essential to understand customer related data and create relevant digital content.” Whether you are looking for a job or starting your own enterprise,  knowing your way around digital marketing platforms has become a mandatory soft skill.

Nurturing your business and well-being: Lessons from Patrick Obonyo

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How many of us understand the full impact of committing to our business? Does it simply constitute effective leadership, or does it hold a deeper blend of other values like empathy, humanity, and adaptability?

BYLC Ventures held a three-day virtual bootcamp with 52 selected startups from July 9-11. The bootcamp involved insightful sessions that covered varying aspects of a business such as pitch decks, design thinking, and entrepreneurship. For the closing session, Patrick Obonyo, program manager of IKEA Foundation, shared his views on what it means to stay committed to your business as well as your well-being. In the session, Patrick emphasized the significance of certain business aspects such as expansion and teamwork that need to be better utilized by any founder.

Defining the role of you

Most startup founders believe in the notion that the whole journey of their company is defined and shaped by their vision solely. Albeit being partially true, Patrick clarified the misconception and advised partners to first focus strongly on their communication skills. He added that facing great challenges to achieve great communication is inevitable. Communicating right can change the whole game for a startup’s success.

Building through teamwork

Patrick outlined the factors that help in running a business smoothly. He cautioned that the journey will not be a joy tide for any startup founder. The founder(s) will need to have grit and resilience for successful leadership, but will also need to prioritize teamwork in the company. To move forward as a company, as well as through their people, founders will need to go through team differences, work around plausible issues, and inevitably come out stronger in the process. Patrick advised the startups on building teams within the business that complement each other. By implementing an integrated culture, success will follow shortly.

Innovation on the schedule

In the early days of a startup, it is very easy for a company’s top priorities to become shelved for the future. Despite the challenges, all founders should endeavor to avoid this distortion and always keep their main focus in place, Patrick advised. Finding a unique selling point that builds your value proposition can greatly aid any startup to stand out from other businesses in the market. Patrick further stated that it is essential, now more than ever, to drive new enterprises that can revolutionize the way businesses stand across the globe.

Finding your synergy

Any startup must fully assess the factors that can enhance their growth as well as the ones that can  limit it. A prime example in today’s global market is the use of technology. Patrick shared his views on utilizing technology aptly in a business in order to expand their growth for the future. Similarly, other factors such as CSR or the environment can play key roles in defining a startup’s potential for success. A startup can reap useful benefits by finding the synergy where environmentally-friendly measures meet cost-reduction strategies. As can be seen from various real life examples, companies which have been able to merge environmentally-friendly measures with sustainability strategies have usually been able to manage their costs very effectively.

For his closing remarks, Patrick offered some simple yet profound advice to the founders: whether or not they are chosen as winners from this bootcamp, it does not completely alter their future professional trajectory. What the founders need to focus instead on is thinking about the ways that they can change how their businesses function currently. While all external factors (technology, economy, legal) aid a company to grow and expand, it is humanity that helps it most to eventually succeed.

The need for critical thinkers: Now more than ever

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As an avid reader of different blogs and articles, Cracked was one of the websites I used to frequent in my early twenties. One of the many articles which has played a big part in shaping my perception was called 6 Harsh Truths that will make you a better person. A part of that article describes the following situation:

Someone you love got shot and is lying on the street, bleeding and screaming in pain. A man rushes up to you and asks you to step aside. He squats to look over your loved one’s bullet wound and pulls out a pocket knife. He is preparing to operate on the wound right there. Feeling completely defeated and helpless, you ask him if he is a doctor. He tells you he isn’t. You are a little taken aback at this point and you ask, “But you know what you’re doing, right? You’re an old Army medic, or …”

He says no and  goes on to tell you that he is punctual, earns an honest living, and pays his taxes on time. He is a great son to his mother, lives a life full of rewarding hobbies, and does not use abusive language. Confused and frustrated you ask, “But how does any of that matter? Someone I love is lying here bleeding. I need someone who can operate on a gunshot wound. Can you do that or not?!”

This scenario struck a chord with me on many levels. At present, when the world is fighting to survive through a global pandemic, we need proactive doers who can innovate, take initiative, and get things done. This is why critical thinking is so relevant and important, especially in today’s world. Here is my take on why it’s a skill that the currently ailing world needs.

It is the ultimate road to problem solving

During a crisis, your critical thinking skill will lead you to a solution to the problem. When a situation arises, especially one that requires a specific solution, it will not matter how good a Samaritan you have been all your life. The question boils down to whether you can solve the problem at hand or not. Your critical thinking ability allows you to see beyond what meets the eye, fully understand the situation at hand and act accordingly.

It makes you a better decision maker

In any given situation, specifically at the workplace, your position calls for making decisions which would impact others who work around you. A critical thinker is more likely to make a sound, well-rounded decision where everyone can make the best out of a situation or be able to minimize any negative impact on others during a crisis.

It encourages curiosity

As an adult, a child who never stops asking questions, no matter how mundane or silly, has always been my favorite. A critical thinker is always curious and will always ask questions because that will lead them to change from how they are to how they should be and beyond. Critical thinkers are also hardwired to find solutions to existing problems.

It ensures that your opinions are well-informed

It is said, test takers who end up with a P on the Myers’ Briggs 16 personalities test are more on the perceiving side. They usually stay open to the possibility that they might stumble upon any piece of information that may change the course of forming an opinion. This helps them to form better, more informed opinions.

Critical thinking improves relationships

Critical thinking strongly fosters the nurture and growth of a core human traitempathy. Empathy is the most vital ingredient to understanding the people around you and the environment you are in. This aspect of critical thinking allows you to empathize with others and to understand what drives them. It thereby helps you form healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

It fosters independence

Critical thinkers rely on their conscience for self-reflection and correction. This means that they are not easily swayed by external influences- something which makes them accountable and responsible individuals. A critical thinker is more likely to show higher mental and emotional stability because the person is inclined towards paving his own path through hurdles, making mistakes, learning from them, and making necessary corrections completely on their own. 

It’s a life skill

Educators all over the world believe that critical thinking is something that anyone should learn as early as their formative years and continue to practice all their lives. It is not something that you learn from a specific textbook or within the walls of a classroom. It is a skill you exercise, a muscle you grow, and continue to grow throughout your life. BYLCx offers a course on critical thinking but needless to say, your learning of the skill does not end with the course. It needs to be honed and exercised in the real world which needs proactive doers, problem solvers, go getters. 


The shifts in employment and the economy

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The COVID-19 pandemic will potentially result in millions of people losing their jobs all around the world. Bangladesh, being globally connected, will bear the brunt as well. Few industries, such as travel and tourism, hospitality, airlines, and manufacturing, have already taken a major hit, followed by a trickle-down effect on the other closely connected industries. 

The livelihood of millions of poor people is connected to the RMG sector and cancellation of existing orders coupled with non- or deferred payment of orders have already put many people’s survival at stake. Several small factories will be forced to shut down operations in the coming days, as they have insufficient capacity to recover from the losses that they have already incurred.  

Additionally, the service sector has been badly impacted and the health risks of being in close proximity to the public is adding to the strain suffered by the industry. Even if the situation improves in the next one or two quarters, Bangladesh will need at least one more year to fully recover from the losses. 

Over the past two months BYLC’s Office of Professional Development (OPD), which works on the professional training needs and placement opportunities for BYLC alumni, has been hosting Career Conversations that brings in experienced professionals from different sectors for virtual discussions on shifts in business needs and emerging skills sets required to adapt to the changing job market. In conversation with them, all the speakers spoke in unison on the need to develop robust solutions to alleviate the impact of COVID 19 on people and businesses. Some of the proposed solutions are outlined below.   

Support from the government and international donors

The government of Bangladesh has already declared multiple stimulus packages to alleviate the struggles of different industries, as well as small and medium enterprises. However, experts claim that this may not be enough. A lot more financial support is required from the government and international bodies to prevent job losses and ensure basic food and shelter for the greater population. Businesses need to keep running and pay salaries to their employees, which is where financial assistance from external bodies is absolutely imperative. 

Establish alternative means to navigate through difficult times 

COVID-19 has been a huge blow for organizations and individuals who live day-to-day and could not invest in savings or have the luxury to indulge in insurance or provident funds. 

Moving forward, organizations should try to maintain an emergency reserve to support their staff in such difficult times. If possible, they should rethink their overall payroll system because crises such as the ongoing pandemic could potentially become a common global occurrence. Advance preparation can make a significant difference on the impact of any future global crisis.  

Focus on reskilling oneself to keep abreast of the changing times

All the speakers urged on upscaling one’s skills to stay relevant in these ever-changing circumstances. People should start becoming comfortable with technology and invest in digital literacy. The demand for these skills will increase and new opportunities in this field will arise. Businesses will need to learn to conduct operations online and would require tech-savvy people to help them make the transition. Managers will need to learn to manage their subordinates online. Companies will also need to develop systems to engage its employees virtually and keep the work running even if people are working remotely. 

Contribute to the society by helping people in need

Daily wage laborers, who live hand to mouth, have been the most affected by COVID-19.  Each of us can take responsibility for at least one underprivileged person or family. Remember that daily wage earners give their blood and sweat for the development of the country but have to rely on scrapes to survive even in normal times. If all capable, privileged individuals do their part of contributing to society, the impact of this coronavirus will be far lesser than what we are currently experiencing. 

In the past, there have been several global economic disruptions. However, none of them have caused havoc on the same scale as COVID-19. Circumstances are different and so should be our actions. Let’s take this change positively and learn to work with patience, resilience, empathy, and be appreciative of the climate and environment for a healthy future. 

Types of pandemic productivity

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“You better learn the ways of spending your time productively from your uncle’s son!” I heard my mom bellow at my brother from the other end of the house as I sat down to write my piece on


Months and months of isolation with no specific time frame has impacted individuals in one way or the other. While some might find it exceptionally strenuous to deal with the grief or fear of losing a loved one, others may as well feel disgruntled trying to cope up with uninvited mood swings and dilemmas. However, after spending a prolonged amount of time under lockdown, it is possible to categorize the valuable in-house residents of this overwhelming pandemic market into a few distinct niches, as outlined below. 

The hopeful(s)

The true optimists, the ones who believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel and this too, shall pass. The hopeful(s) will usually be found comforting others and providing them with shoulders to rant on. We can surely rely on them for a heartwarming conversation or some jokes to hold onto our peace of mind in such trying times. 


The contemplators 

The contemplators are quite an intriguing group of individuals. We will usually find them gazing dreamily into space, foreseeing what the virus has in store for us. They are well aware of the economic, financial, and social consequences of a post-pandemic world and are always available to provide worthwhile insights and advice on such matters.

The all-nighters 

The all-nighters have skilfully transformed themselves into nocturnal species over the last few months. Going to sleep at 4 am, being fully energized after a web series spree, and waking up gloomily twelve hours later is the new normal for them. For a quick fun trick, we can try abruptly asking them to identify the day and date and enjoy staring at their confused faces! 


The nonchalant crew 

Calm, composed, and unconcerned about the pandemic, the world, and all that it contains. They are generally a pleasure to watch munching on snacks, reading a novel, or dwelling on satisfying memories instead of tracking disturbing news. They live by the motto ‘whatever is ought to happen, shall happen’ and there are no added benefits stressing over it. 

The achievers

The achievers have already mesmerized us by their involvement in a plethora of activities. Be it showcasing their hidden cooking skills, to the completion of numerous online courses, or their noble initiatives undertaken to help those in need. They have really made the best use of extra time and energy.  

Generally speaking, the current pattern indicates that one will fall under any one or two of the categories or make transitions between all of them depending on their mood, personality preference, or day-wise schedules. However, it is vital to remember that all versions of you existing in the pandemic are equally important and special. It is completely acceptable to not be able to gather the will to wake up from bed one morning and feel jaunty enough to outgrow everyone else on another. As vital as it is to accept reality, it is as well significant enough to welcome and support our inner urges and complexes. As long as we decide to hold our beliefs, values, and spirits strong in addition to keeping our sanities checked, everything else shall fall into place in no time.

Maa, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, not a productivity contest!” I squealed back as I typed the final words for my piece and ran off to give her a hug and clear her views on certain lockdown stigmas.

Maximizing on online learning

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As a teacher who has been in this profession for nearly a decade, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word ‘classroom’ is a room full of thirty odd children, bubbling with unbridled energy, the usual cacophony, the torrent of questions that come at you even before you say a word, and having to say “Quiet!” loudly enough to be heard across the next three rooms just to draw attention. Those are only a few ‘hacks’ I used to do to make the best of my 40 minutes in a traditional classroom. At present, with the major portion of the education industry shifting to the online platforms, students are spending a big chunk of their day attending zoom sessions and turning in assignments. As an online learner who invests time into one or more online courses, you owe it to yourself to make the most out of your learning experience. This blog post is my take on how you can get the best out of your journey of online education.

Appreciate online learning practices

A core benefit of online learning is the amount of time it saves for the learner, time which would have otherwise been spent in a traditional classroom as well as in the commute to it. It therefore saves a good amount of time and money. Utilize that time to gather your learnings with the course and to review materials previously covered. Consistent practice and repeated revisions will help you internalize the concepts better.

Dedicate a study space

Whether it is the corner table of a local cafe or the study table in your room, a dedicated study space makes a major difference in your learning and overall productivity. Make sure it is calm, well lit and comfortable, devoid of all things that may distract you and has everything you might need within reach. Being around your study space at a specific time of the day will direct your mind towards studying and achieving your daily goals for the course.

Identify learning objectives

Breaking down your course into daily bite sized goals creates a clear and defined road map for you to follow. This helps you set your mind in a direction in which it is headed and helps you to visualize the path ahead. Breaking it down into smaller targets as you progress also makes it less overwhelming altogether. The idea is to pick a small chunk of the course, ace it first, and then move on to the next.

Time management

Strong time management skills is an essential tool when it comes to achieving study goals. To ensure staying on track, always plan ahead and have the course necessities clearly chalked out while keeping an eye on assignments and due dates. Do not procrastinate and leave things for until right before the deadline. This is an easy trap to fall into for many (including yours truly). It not only becomes increasingly overwhelming as the deadline approaches, it also has a knock-on effect on the upcoming phases of the course, leaving an overall impact on the progress of the course. Keep a calendar handy with all the assignment due dates marked. This will help you manage study time effectively.

Self Discipline

This is a key determining factor of the pace and the quality of the progress you make in and through the course. That makes it a great opportunity to practice and build on your self discipline. Make it a point to not feel discouraged if you go off track for a bit. Leave some hours on your timeline to take a break and relax before you hop back on with some renewed energy.

Frequent contact with trainer

Unlike a traditional classroom where you might have to wait your turn to talk to the teacher, online courses enable the instructor to be much more accessible. Between discussion forums, emails, and text messages, it is easy to ask questions to clarify your concepts further or for help when you are facing any difficulties. This way you get a better understanding of the course in its entirety. The constant feedback from the instructor from time to time helps you stay on track and head in the right direction.

Virtual participation

Ask that question in a zoom call or post that opinion on a discussion board. Do not hesitate or second guess yourself. It is common to fear that what you say might not induce a lot of response from or draw the attention of the rest of the class, but that does not always need to be the goal. It is an agreed upon fact that online learning can make you feel isolated and learning in isolation can be very difficult. Active participation in a virtual class discussion helps feel involved and is a healthy reminder of the fact that there are others who have embarked on the same journey as you.

Staying motivated and regaining momentum

When it comes to online learning, if you go slightly off track or fall behind on schedule, it is very easy to lose the drive you had at the beginning. A great way around it is to simply talk about it. Share your learning experience with others whether it’s your course mate or your family. Talk about what you learned at the dinner table. Explain a new concept you picked up to someone who has no knowledge of the subject matter. This will serve as a constant reminder of the progress you have made. It will help you to collaborate with other learners of the course and thereby regain your original momentum.


Illumination or Inferno

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“Understanding suffering is the way to salvation because once you understand it, you have compassion, and the next thing you know, you are free.”

  • Jim Carrey, actor, producer, and writer

Knowing myself, it was not very hard to cope with the initial confinement. I could get up normally, there was no rush to get to the office, and I knew my loved ones were safe. Eventually, that essence of functionality began to waver; I became either obsessed with work or demotivated as time started to pass slowly. The more I tried to grasp the situation, the more it hit me. Nature does not want us here. We are killing the earth. We are abusing it. The thoughts came and went.

Then, I began to see news  of animals roaming around freely and the ozone layer mending itself. It seemed that all the earth needed was a little timeout from the human race. Perhaps you too should consider a timeout, for yourself, and the planet you call home.

This is a distressing time for all of us, and being positive about life is a little difficult. We can only move forward now by keeping ourselves alive and well. Finding positivity is crucial right now to survive. In one of the webinars organized by Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center, a speaker talked about how we should always find positivity in this trying time.

We can communicate positivity. Through positivity, we can also convey hope and offer solutions to persisting individual, social, or national problems. It can be just a small text to someone close, a call to a friend whom you haven’t reached out in many years, or greeting a neighbor on social media.These little tokens of appreciation can go a long way, and help people to recover themselves from the negativity surrounding us at present.

We can offer help to others. Many organizations have been distributing food to low-income communities to alleviate their suffering during this time. There are people who are feeding street animals so that they are not left behind to die. We all have limitations in our positions, but we can help by donating a small amount for the cause. Because little drops of water make a mighty ocean. Or we can help those who are living close to us, our neighbors, or our caretakers.

We have to have a positive mindset to navigate these uncharted waters. Engage with work and take some time out for yourself. Do something that makes you happy. Spend time with your family and get that game board that has been collecting dust all these years. If you are far away from your loved ones, have a chat at least once a day. You cannot make others happy if you do not exercise it yourself.

How can we transform the negative feelings of isolation into positive feelings of hope? In a session on BYLC’s Career Conversations, Zara Mahbub, CEO of Kazi IT Center Ltd., shared a beautiful outlook on staying positive through the very word QUARANTINE.

Q – Quality time with your family. Turn every activity into a fun group activity with your family members. In the process, younger ones in the family can learn responsibility and come out of this quarantine as a stronger individual.

U – Utilize every minute of the quarantine on positive actions. Plan and organize your life as you would like to see it now and after the quarantine is over. Think of this time period as a rehearsal before the final show.

A – Align your thoughts and perspective. You can do this by recalibrating, exercising, meditating, and praying. This is a great time to shift gears and refocus on our spiritual side.

R – Reach out to others in need. A small contribution from you can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. 

A – Ask others how they are. Spend some time connecting with your close and extended family and friends. It doesn’t matter when you last spoke to them; drop a message now, and reconnect with them. 

N – Need vs want. This is a good time to evaluate if we can survive without the things we want and instead focus on the things that we need. The prime question to ask ourselves is whether our ‘wants’ are necessary for a happier and healthier life. 

T – Take time out. If you are not working from home or have online classes, don’t feel guilty to do the things that you have always wanted to indulge in. You can sleep in, binge watch your favorite show, or reorganize your personal space.  

I – Identify Important things in your life. Sit back and think about what really matters.

N – Note down the important things in life. Write down your goals and how you plan to achieve them with a checkbox to each action item. Give yourself a timeline. 

E – Evolve into a better version of yourself. Be someone who cares for themselves and for their loved ones.  Most importantly, evolve into a being that truly loves this planet, its creatures, and its blessings.

You can decide what this life will mean to you and the people around you. You are an idea that makes up your presence. You are all the roles you play in this life. How you choose to deal with this time will ensure the result that comes afterwards.

Contemplating the new normal for HR and People Development

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Political analyst Robert Kelly is live on BBC News, discussing the heated topic of politics in the Korean peninsula when suddenly his adorable little daughter and son strut into the scene while his wife desperately tries to salvage the situation—all on live TV, broadcasted around the world. 

While this immediately went viral in 2017, such an incident might not seem so odd in the new normal of 2020 where our family and pets keep inadvertently walking into our Zoom meetings. While there are many aspects of our lives that will be noticeably different post-COVID-19, as an HR professional, I would like to focus on the perspective of people development and workplace adaptation to new changes. 

Which brings me to the first and most obvious question on everyone’s mind, will there even be people in the workplace?

The Remote Work

According to Global Workplace Analytics, over 4.7 million employees across the US have been working from home since 2017. Another US based study by OWL Labs found that employees allowed to work remotely were happier in the job, felt less stressed out and actually worked longer than onsite employees because they enjoyed it. What is even more striking is that 78% of respondents said they were even willing to take a pay cut to maintain their remote work status.

Personally, BYLC was the first organization on these shores that I’ve come across that had such a policy, long before the current predicament. BYLC embraces this concept and allows its employees 5 days of “Work from home” per month.

However, now we are in a world where it is almost mandatory to work from home and there are benefits for the employers too. They can save on variable office running costs and can even run efficiently with less space if fewer staff have to be in the office. 

Of course, some jobs still require people to be onsite while others require special equipment which are not available at home. However, do the vast majority of people really need to go to an office to do what they can do better at home?

The Gig Economy

The Gig Economy involves a system where people work on flexible, part-time, or freelance jobs and opportunities. 

Bangladesh has already embraced freelancing with around 500,000 active freelancers raking in around USD 100 million annually, according to the ICT division of Bangladesh.

However, the shift we are talking about is more than just freelancing and involves local companies and their hiring practices. As we get ready to face a possible global depression, companies are expected to either shrink operations or work with a leaner workforce. This will create a demand for skilled short-term professionals in a multitude of different fields, as it would be far riskier and more expensive for employers to hire staff on full time contracts in such a volatile environment. 

The workforce though should not be worried. This will eventually give professionals more freedom to work on the projects they like, the ability to work on multiple projects at the same time, and most importantly, have more control over the terms under which they work.

The Digital Revolution

We are deep into the third industrial revolution, a.k.a. the digital revolution. Organizations need to embrace this change now, not just as a priority but as a necessity. 

We need to embrace technologies that can help us speed up collaboration, increase communication, and be more data centric. While we have barely scratched the surface with data analytics here at home, the rest of the world has already moved on to more advanced techniques, such as working with artificial intelligence and machine learning. A basic understanding or knowledge of programming is quickly becoming a norm for the workplace of the future. We need to follow suit and start taking more informed decisions based on real world data as the world becomes harsher and reduces the margins for error for us all.

While all this talk of change may sound scary now, we need to realize the only thing that is constant in the world is change. Change is the real normal in our world and what matters is whether we embrace it or resist it. Every major event brings with it both losses and new opportunities. It is up to us to decide what we prioritize and how we decide to move forward.

How to make a captivating pitch deck

1280 720 Mohammad Habibullah Tamim

For an early-stage entrepreneur, your pitch deck can help you secure meetings with potential investors and could be the difference between walking out of the meeting with funding or just a mere handshake. One of the most critical tasks start-ups face is creating a stellar pitch deck that explains the business, the people behind it, and their revenue generating plan. Here are things to consider when designing a pitch deck.

Know your audience
Do some background research on potential investors and try to get an understanding of their interest in terms of investment. Make sure that the audience you are pitching to is right for your business. 

Focus on your message
Most people from your audience will probably remember two to three key points of your presentation, especially if you are in a competition. You need to make sure that the audience has one clear message, a one-sentence take-away from your presentation. Your message should include the problem you are addressing and the solution your business is offering.

Give appropriate information to the audience
Once you know your audience, devote time in providing the right information to them. What your investors want to know might be very different from what your targeted client base might want to know.

To help your audience understand your business better, include the following:

  • The market: Give your audience an idea about the size and appeal of the market you are targeting. Additionally, shed some light on the Total Addressable Market and how much of it you believe you can capture.
  • The competition: Common mistakes founders make is thinking that they don’t have any competition, especially when they are the first-movers. You need to clearly state where you are positioned in the competitive landscape and what makes your solution unique in terms of competitive advantage.
  • Business model: Explain how you are planning to generate money from this and identify key revenue me streams. Make sure it seems realistic to the audience and try to show it in the simplest form. Investors try to assess whether your business idea is viable and will be scalable in the long run.
  • The financials: Explain how much it is all going to cost. Include major expenditure and revenue projections. If you have managed some funding already, then put it in there.
  • The milestones and ask from investors: Include prior evidence of growth or traction along with milestones you hope to achieve with funding from investors. Timelines are a very useful way of exhibiting tractions, spendings, and milestones. Finally, clearly state how much money you need and how you are planning to spend them.
  • The team: Introduce your team and explain what they bring to the table. Try to showcase that they have relevant experience and skills for this business. Involving your team in the presentation will show people that you are not only a talented founder but also a great leader who can bring the best in people.

Keep it simple and get straight to the point
If your presentation is filled with too much information, your audience is likely to get overwhelmed and not pay attention to your words. Get straight to the point. Don’t make your audience wait till you are halfway in to get an idea about your business.

Capture attention with compelling visuals
 Relevant pictures, infographics, and other visuals can retain your audience’s attention over time and help create a storyline. They will also help you establish your brand image and product positioning.

Don’t make your presentation too text heavy
Use charts, graphs, and figures to illustrate your point, rather than just forcing your audience to read through your slides. Always convert your pitch deck to a PDF format so that you don’t lose the text fonts or formatting. There are a lot of free templates available on the internet, so make the most out of them.

Once we have gathered a comprehensive idea on making the ideal pitch deck, the next step is to implement on the action. You can make your own template from scratch, or extract from a ready-made templates base for pitch deck, inspired by real-life startups and businesses.

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