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Olympics

Japan Offering Virtual Tours In Light Of The 2020 Olympic Games Being Postponed

The coronavirus pandemic has obviously put a lot of major annual events on hold. Coachella, the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and now, most recently, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed until 2021. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the world’s biggest sporting competition that brings millions of individuals from all over the world together for two months was postponed due to health and safety concerns regarding the very contagious nature of COVID-19, however, many fans are still left extremely disappointed. 

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games were originally scheduled to begin on July 24th, but they will now be postponed 12 months as a part of a greater effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Before the final verdict was even announced this week, countries began pulling out of the Games for the same health and safety concerns, including Germany, Canada, and Australia. 

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“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the World Health Organization today, the International Olympic Committee president and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community. [We] wish for the world to see Tokyo as a beacon of hope and will leave the Olympic flame in the city until the Games commence next year,” Japan’s Prime Minister and IOC president said in a joint statement from the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.

The Japan National Tourism Organization is also passionate about maintaining the image of Tokyo being seen as a “beacon of hope,” so they’re offering something special for all disappointed spectators who now have to wait another year before they’re able to explore the wonders of Japan. The organization created a 360-degree virtual tour for the entire country. 

The tour itself, according to the website, will include some of Japan’s most notable attractions, such as the Tokyo Tower, Kyoto’s Sagano Bamboo Forest, Nara Park, and so much more! One of the experiences offered takes the form of a documentary style film titled Japan: Where Tradition Meets the Future, and can be viewed on YouTube from any of your personal devices. If you have Virtual Reality goggles you’ll be able to watch the film as if you’re in every part of Japan that’s being explored. 

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The film isn’t the only immersive Japan experience being offered; if you’re taking a more laid back approach to your time in quarantine, there’s a 24-hour live-stream of Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, which is one of the most famous metropolitan crosswalks in Asia because of how mesmerizing it can be to watch, and if you don’t believe me, just see for yourself.

Other live-stream services that Japan’s National Tourism Organization provides includes a live-stream of the Nihondaira Zoo, which is perfect for anyone in need of some wholesome wildlife content. Along those same lines the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park also set up a webcam for onlookers worldwide. 

Cat cafes have become synonymous with Japanese culture, specifically in Tokyo where they initially became so popular. Now, customers can make a cup of their favorite hot beverage at home and tune into the live-stream of Neko Café, one of Tokyo’s most famous cat cafes, where you’ll be able to relax with some furry friends all through your computer screen. 

Finally, one of the hottest tourist attractions in Japan would have to be viewing the blossoming of their iconic cherry blossom trees. Luckily, there are now several 360-degree virtual reality videos featuring the pink flowers in full bloom in some of Japan’s most beautiful parks such as Ueno Park in Tokyo, Miharu Falls in Fukushima, and Hirosaki Park.

So while we may have to wait another year to watch the world’s most powerful athletes come together to compete for gold, we can still take a virtual trip from the comfort of our own home and experience a whole new culture.

BBC Presents ‘Culture In Quarantine’ For Coronavirus Social-Distancing Initiative

Streaming services all over the internet are thriving during this time of social-distancing and self-quarantining. With Coronavirus shutting down any and all sources of art and culture to the outside world, the internet is all we have to turn to when it comes to watching some of our favorite movies, plays, shows, or visiting some of our favorite museums and theaters. 

Google Arts and Culture has teamed up with the world’s most famous museums to deliver virtual tours of each establishment for those staying at home, as we all should be. Beyond that, BroadwayHD offers online streaming of some of New York City’s most famous productions, and the Metropolitan Opera does the same. 

Most recently, the BBC has announced a plan to keep the world’s most prestigious art and cultural institutions alive through their own means of streaming. The “Culture in Quarantine Festival” will be covering everything from the theater and dance to art and classical music, all as a means of keeping the public a little more sane during this time of complete panic. 

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BBC Radio 3 made the initial announcement, but the festival itself will be covered on multiple platforms including social media and television. The festival will contain guides to closed exhibits or permanent gallery collections. Exclusive music and comedy performances along with pre-recorded versions of certain plays and other theater performances will also be included within the festival. 

The BBC states that this will be “a virtual festival of the arts…rooted in the experience of both voluntary and involuntary isolation. All this will be done hand-in-hand with the wider arts and cultural sector through coverage and collaboration.”

BBC Radio 3 has begun streaming different classical music genres and performers throughout the week, but their main plan is to begin playing recordings from some of Europe’s most famous orchestras to bring some of the cancelled concerts that were meant to take place in the coming weeks, right into peoples homes. 

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In addition, BBC is hoping to shine a major spotlight on the freelance musicians of the world, who are now even more limited in sharing their craft due to the quarantine. There’s a major emphasis on mental health with this festival as well. The many art forms within the umbrella of “Art and Culture” often act as a sort of therapy for people. Not only practicing certain crafts, but being inspired by others is what motivates many artists, so this festival is working to keep those worlds connected and open. 

“For a sector that thrives on bringing people together to share live and shared experiences, and that brings benefits for us all, it raises the urgent question: what is culture in a state of quarantine? For me, a precious ray of sunshine has emerged in the clear determination of artists, performers, curators and producers to keep creating and connecting with audiences whatever the circumstances. Historically, artists thrive on periods of isolation and it seems certain that the current period will result in new plays, poems, books, films, paintings, sculptures and all other forms of art that might not otherwise occur,” said Director of Arts at the BBC, Jonty Claypole.

The amount of streaming services that have come together to deliver at home entertainment for those of us who are stuck and worried about the massive unknown that comes with a global pandemic is astounding. It’s easy to get trapped in an endless thread about all the major and minor facts regarding COVID-19, but more times than not that’s just going to cause more hysteria. Follow the government’s orders, maintain good hygiene, and keep your distance as much as possible. Use this time to focus on you and your mental health and make sure you’re giving yourself everything you need to keep your mind, body and soul in a good place.

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Billie Eilish Makes Powerful Statement About Body Shaming During Concert Interlude

Billie Eilish has truly had one of the biggest success stories in the music industry. After winning in all four big categories at the Grammy’s and charting number one with her album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” Eilish has already had a career most just dream about; and she’s only 18-years-old. 

Eilish started her world tour this week in Miami, Florida, and she kicked it off with a powerful statement about body image, social media, and society’s obsession with how someone looks. Eilish has always been criticized for the way she dresses, often in baggy designer clothes that are five times bigger than her actual clothing size. She’s been very public in the past over why this is; as her entire career so far has occurred while Eilish was still under the age of 18, and she hated the idea of older individuals judging her and objectifying her body, especially as an underage individual. 

During an interlude between songs at the first show, a video clip of Eilish appeared on the massive screens illuminating the stage. The clip showed her in a black sweatshirt as soft lighting illuminated different parts of her body. As the lighting faded in and out, Eilish began taking off her sweatshirt and then shirt, while a powerful monologue from Eilish herself played in the background. 

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“Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it. Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me. But I feel you watching, always. And nothing I do goes unseen. Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach? My hips? The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted?” she said.

Eilish has also recently been very public with the fact that it’s impossible to live in the spotlight and not feel like you’re being constantly scrutinized for your choices as an entertainer and individual. At last month’s Brit Awards, she admitted to feeling very hated, and went on to say in a speech, “So while I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sighs of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move.”

As the interlude concludes, Eilish is heard criticizing society’s obsession with celebrities body types, and leaves the audience with a question before beginning her next set; “Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?” As previously stated, this isn’t the first time Eilish has been public about her anger over the double standard of how the media talks about male artists versus female artists. 

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“I wear what I want to wear, but of course, everyone sees it as ‘she’s saying no to being sexualised’ and ‘she’s saying no to being the stereotypical female’. The positive [comments] about how I dress have this slut-shaming element, and I can’t [overstate how] strongly I do not appreciate that, at all, I don’t like that there’s this weird new world of supporting me by shaming people that [may not] want to [dress like me],”  she said to V magazine in 2019.

Eilish is among many female artists who have always expressed their disappointment in how much the industry still focuses on image and overall aesthetics. Recently, Lizzo took to Tik Tok to criticize the app itself for body shaming her by deleting her posts whenever she poses in a swimsuit. Taylor Swift also recently discussed her past struggles with an eating disorder in her new Netflix documentary Miss Americana. 

Individuals like Eilish, Swift, and Lizzo are using their massive platforms to speak out against outdated patriarchal views of how the typical female artist “should look,” as there is no one way, and the real focus needs to be on the music they create. Eilish has become the youngest individual to clear out all big four categories at the Grammy’s, and is the first artist in general to do so since the 1980’s, but sure, keep judging her baggy designer pants. The full transcript of Eilish’s interlude speech is below: 


“Do you really know me? You have opinions about my opinions, about my music, about my clothes, about my body. Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it. Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me. But I feel you watching … always. And nothing I do goes unseen. So while I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sighs of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move. Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach? My hips? The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted? If what I wear is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why? You make assumptions about people based on their size. We decide who they are. We decide what they’re worth. If I wear more, if I wear less, who decides what that makes me? What that means? Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility”

Movie Film

Remembering The Legacy Of “Boys In The Band” Playwright, Mart Crawley

Mart Crawley, a playwright who’s most famously known for his groundbreaking 1968 off-Broadway play The Boys In The Band, has died at the age of 84.

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Europe’s Longest Cycling Bridge Begins Construction In The Netherlands

Construction on what is projected to be Europe’s longest bridge for cyclists and pedestrians has begun in the Netherlands. The Blauwe Loper, or Blue Carpet Bridge, will be over 2600 feet long, basically half of a mile, and stretch over a lake, nature reserve, canal, and motorway. The purpose of the bridge is to connect a new town in the Netherlands to the closest city for easy access. 

The plan is to eventually extend the bridge to be over 3,000 feet in length but construction is being done by phases, the first of which is predicted to be completed by December of 2020. The bridge itself will cost approximately six million American dollars and will connect Winschoten, located in the Groningen province in the Netherlands, to Blauwestad, which as previously mentioned is a brand new village that is also currently being constructed on reclaimed land in the Netherlands. 

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The Blue Carpet Bridge is being constructed with three demographics in mind; cyclists, pedestrians, and oddly enough, bats. As previously stated, the bridge itself will stretch over a nature preserve and a lake, more specifically Oldambtmeer lake, both of which are safe habitats for the Netherlands extensive bat population. 

Not only will the bridge be painted a “bat-friendly” green, studies show that bats are attracted to green hues at night, but it also will be lined with LED lighting to assist the creatures in finding their way from the nature preserve to the lake, or vice versa. 

Reinder Lanting, one of the main project leaders for the project, told a regional publication the main goals for the bridge in the long term, stating: “We think we can stretch it to a kilometre by connecting it to the main street in Blauwestad. This bridge is not going to rot. That is because it is technically well designed. The wood is not pressed together but has a sort of venting system.”

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The wood that Lanting is referring to is being sourced from Gabon in Central Africa. Gabon in general is known for their okoumé, which can be converted into plywood, in fact the country supplies it to over 90% of the world. With this wood Lanting and his team expect that the bridge will last for at least 80 years before it needs any major upgrades/renovations. 

The Dutch cycling embassy, a government-funded agency, tweeted: “The province of Groningen has started construction on the €6.5m, 800-metre Blauwe Loper … When completed in late 2020, it will be the longest bicycle bridge in Europe.”

The Netherlands in general have been making major systematic changes to their industrial geography to accommodate cyclists more. In general the efforts are to benefit the environment and combat the devastating effects of climate change. 

Currently, the longest cycling bridge in Europe is located in Sölvesborg, southern Sweden. THat bridge is around 2,400 feet, about 200 feet smaller than what the Blauwe Loper is projected to be when fully constructed. The largest cycling bridge in the world, however, is the Xiamen Bicycle Skyway in China. The Skyway is about 4.7 miles long, and weaves throughout China’s buildings like an extended High Line.

Art Museum

Free Contemporary Art Museum Opens In Massachusetts

The Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) opened a new art museum to the public on February 22nd with a bang, as they announced that admission to the museum would be completely free all year. According to their website, MassArt knew from the start they were going to create  a free art museum as a way “to open eyes, expand minds, and create opportunity through the lens of contemporary art.”

The MassArt Art Museum (MAAM), is located within the MassArt campus and is completely accessible for individuals in wheelchairs as well as welcoming to those with strollers. The individuals behind the museum wanted the entire establishment to feel immersive, so much so that even the bathrooms have a slew of wall art and intricate mirror designs that allow for the perfect selfie as you make your way through the museum. Besides just galleries MAAM also has an educational center where it will host workshops for not only students, but members of the community as well; anyone is welcome and encouraged to come. 

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“We have reimagined the museum-going experience to create an inviting and welcoming place for all our visitors, offering a richer engagement with exhibitions and programming. Our artists will also feel supported to realize their vision, and our students will be invited into the process to learn from the professional artists they aspire to be,” said Lisa Tung, Executive Director of the Museum.

MAAM is currently displaying artwork of all mediums created by MassArt faculty, students, and artists from all around the world who’s pieces have been curated by MassArt within the past decade. Tung went on to explain how students make up a majority of the museum staff, as one of the other main goals of the museum is to prepare students for careers in “art, education, and design.” All museum staff are also trained and paid accordingly, which is always helpful for college students in general. 

Before you even walk into the museum you will be greeted by a small plaza outside the main entrance which has a bunch of different outdoor seating options, as well as some outdoor art on display. Once inside, you’ll immediately take in the open concept design which displays two separate galleries within the museum entrance itself. One gallery is currently housing a group art exhibit titled  “Game Changers: Video Games & Contemporary Art.” The exhibit uses “animations and computer-generated images to explore the crossover between artmaking and game design.

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That exhibit will be on display until April 19th, and it only scratches the surface of the unique pieces that are so effortlessly spread throughout the museum. There are dozens of other large and intricate art displays within the 15,000 square foot museum space, all of which was recently renovated thanks to funding raised MassArt’s UNBOUND capital campaign; the campaign raised $12.5 million to fund the project.

“The MassArt Art Museum offers us an opportunity to introduce contemporary art to some members of our community for the first time. I am deeply grateful to our generous donors who have shared our vision and helped us to create this free contemporary art museum. In this space we will be able to inspire the next generation of MassArt students and art enthusiasts, and encourage longtime art lovers to consider new artistic perspectives and practices,” said MassArt President David Nelson in a press release

The MassArt Art Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, hours vary based on the day but doors typically stay open until 6 pm. So if you find yourself in the area, take a day to go explore some contemporary art for free!

Couple Mini Golfing

5 Unique Date Ideas To Spice Up Your Relationship

Candlelit dinners, red roses, and a perfect sunset with a perfect person. When dates are right, they’re really right and can make or break the future of a relationship; depending on what stage of the relationship a couple is in. So instead of making another reservation at the same restaurant, or going to see a movie at the same theater, try to spice up your next date with your significant other and discover things about yourselves you’d never even think to ask about if you were just sitting at a table together.  

Getting some physical activity is a great way to not only gage each others interests, but steer away from the regular ways of talking to our partners. Bowling, for example, is a relaxed and pressure-free “sport” that is just as fun as it can be romantic. If you’re doing any kind of sports outing, you need to ensure that your partner and you are on the same page about being playful and just having a good time with one another. Bowling is perfect for that as you’ll likely be surrounded by other couples and teens who are there for the same reason, to have some fun with some loved ones. 

Other dates that would require just the right amount of physical activity include mini golfing, going on a hike/nature walk in a new town, going to a batting cage, or even laser tagging!

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If you’re more so feeling a casual and intimate approach, look no further than your parents answer to a night of fun, and have a game night with your boo! That’s right, something you would think could only be fun for individuals above the age of 50, makes a great date night. Get a big bottle of your partner’s favorite wine with some other appetizers and set up at least three different board games, the more childish the better. Adding adult elements into family-friendly activities is extremely entertaining. So find a way to turn ‘Chutes and Ladders’ into a drinking game and have at it!

Have you ever considered role playing as a way of spicing up your dating life? Don’t be dirty, I mean role-playing as a tour guide, obviously. In all seriousness a fun, and definitely unique, idea for your next date should involve some sort of museum outing. By that I mean going somewhere that would already have a tour guide or expert to answer any questions you would have regarding the contents of whatever establishment you find yourselves at. 

Once at the museum, or wherever, you and your partner should both choose some specific pieces for one another to become “experts” on, but instead of actually asking a tour guide, or looking up a certain piece of art on your phone, you’re going to improvise. Pretend to be a tour guide genius who knows about the ins and outs of the work you’ve been given. Then, give your partner a “tour” of the pieces and deal out all your newly created knowledge on them, you’d be surprised at the things you’d come up with on the spot. 

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We all love the Food Network and the many food creations we watch professional chefs and bakers alike whip up in a matter of minutes through our screens. Well, why can’t you be Bobby Flay for the evening? Host your own version of a cooking show with your partner and give amateur chef advice on a brand new dish that you just created. Better yet, you and your partner can have your own “Iron Chef” battle and make the same dish, but in your own unique way. Then at the end of the night you can both eat your specific creations and tell your “audience” who you guys believe the winner is. 

Finally, we’ve all heard of the “paint and sip” classes that have taken over the nation. These classes aren’t for couples specifically, although some are, but are still a great outing for you and any of your wine loving creative pals to do. However, to go even further than that, there’s a multitude of arts and craft dates that you and your significant other can go on, and don’t worry, you can still drink wine regardless of which craft you choose!

Go to Michaels or any other crafting supply store together and pick out something you each want to do either together, or separately but still in the same space obviously. Some additional ideas could be finger painting (remember what I said about adding adult elements, wine, to children’s activities), chalk drawing if you have a space for it, sculpting Model Magic statues, or you could even buy one of those fancy relaxing adult coloring books and some coloring pencils and call it a night!

Regardless of what you decide, there’s no reason to stay stuck in a dating routine if you don’t want to. We only have one life to live, and if we’re lucky enough to find a partner who wants to live that life, or part of it, with us, then we might as well have the most fun possible for the time being.

HR Conducting Interview

How To Be A Great Interviewer

When it comes to interviewing for a job, there’s a whole slew of online resources that interviewee’s can utilize to make the most out of every 15-30 minute job-defining conversation they have. However, what about the interviewer? Regardless of company title or rank, there are plenty of individuals around the world who have to interview other people everyday. Whether it be interviewing carpenters to renovate your kitchen, a new staff intern for the office, or even a new hiring manager so you don’t have to sit through any more interviews, interviewers should also keep a few things in mind to make sure that the process is fair for all parties involved. 

First and most obviously, before you begin the entire interview process, you need to make sure all applicants know beforehand exactly what you’re looking for in an ideal employee for whatever role you’re hiring for. Lucky for most, a lot of the application process now occurs online, so when someone is applying for a position, they likely see all the qualifications a business would be looking for before even talking to anyone at that business. 

However, it’s still important to be clear. So often job listings done online are way to general, which can waste a lot of time, especially if the application is long. Don’t just bullet point things like “looking for someone who can use Microsoft Word, is a team player, and willing to work odd hours.” Instead, list what specific duties potential employee’s will have to do on Microsoft Word for the job itself. What aspects of the job require teamwork and co-worker communication? Define “odd hours” and why employee’s in the past have had to work them. 

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These specifications are important not just for your employee to know, but for you to communicate as well so that you know the only individuals who are applying are mentally agreeing to all the distinct terms you’ve laid out. 

When it comes time to actually prepare for an interview, as the interviewer, make sure you’re choosing your questions to ask very carefully. Don’t ask generic interview questions like “what is your greatest strength/weakness” just because that seems like the right thing to do. What do you really need to know about a person in order to determine if they’ll be the right fit at your company/business/fulfilling whatever role you’re interviewing for?

Ask questions that will distinguish interviewee’s based on skill, ability to learn/grow, and overall experience. Skills can be taught, but only if they have a strong ability to adapt and learn; does their past job experience indicate to you that they have that ability?

Again, being clear is always the right route to go as the interviewer. You already know that as the individual being interviewed, there’s already a decent amount of anticipation and anxiety on their end that you have no business adding to. Don’t ask trick questions, and tell your candidates before the interview exactly what to expect when they come in so they can truly prepare for what’s to come. Remember, you’re not trying to scare applicants away, you’re trying to hire someone who’s best fit for the tasks at hand. The more upfront and honest you are, the more comfortable they’ll feel when it comes to presenting themselves, making the process easier for all parties. 

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In addition, if you weave your interview with trick questions and over explanation, the individual up for the job is likely to speak on that once they leave, which has the potential to ruin any other opportunity at others wanting to apply for the position at hand. Even though the interviewee isn’t a part of the company yet, you still are, and you’re representing your businesses values the second you both sit down and begin the questionnaire process, so do it justice. 

Finally, make sure you’re giving both yourself, and the interviewee enough time to speak. It’s definitely important for you to describe the specific details of the job and your company as a whole, but don’t get caught in the trap of forgetting to let your candidate actually answer a question because you were too busy speaking. If hired, they’ll have plenty of time to learn about all the inner workings of the business and their particular job, so allow them time to speak up for themselves first. 

On the opposite end, do make sure that you leave space for you to actually mention the key points about the job and business that you deem as most important for a potential employee to know during an interview. Basically re-emphasize the qualifications that would be listed on the online application for your business, this way you have a template of things to mention, without going overboard.  

Interviewing can be overwhelming for all individuals involved, but it doesn’t have to be scary as long as there’s direct clear communication from the beginning. Everyone has the same goal of either wanting to be hired or wanting to hire someone best fit for the job, so take a deep breath, and make it happen.

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The Importance of Remembrance

It is an obvious statement to say that time moves forward. Particular events move further and further away as we accelerate into the future but one can always find threads of the past woven into the present day. Every new year brings with it another marker on the tally of memorialization and 2020 in particular yields some rather relevant anniversaries. January saw the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, whose memorials brought the horrors of the Holocaust back to the forefront of the public mind. September this year will also mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of the second world war. Both occasions mark an “ending” but hold with them the weight of trauma and horror that cannot be undone or turned away from.

Many of us believe, on a personal level, to try not to live in the past. Indeed, it is the basis of many mindfulness practices. The past cannot be changed and it is the present moment that is important. Nevertheless, acts of remembrance and memorialization are an important part of our culture. Each year we celebrate days dedicated to public figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. (January 20th), days celebrating the country’s history such as Independence Day (July 4th) and days that deliver respect for those who have suffered for the country, Memorial Day (May 25th).

Public memory is short-term and with our faces turned to the future, we understandably get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Yet, some events shook the world so undeniably that they are remembered not only on designated public days, but in the teachings of histories, literature’s and physical memorials in our cities. The after effects of events such as the holocaust and World War 2 resonate clearly into the future.

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It can be argued that regularly remembering these events can stop history from repeating itself, recognize where we have evolved and where we have yet to change. Unfortunately, the Holocaust, although a chilling warning against fascism, is not a stand-alone event or a blip in human nature. We have seen it again and again throughout history and since, with Apartheid and most recently the coordinated attacks on the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Sadly, therefore, the Holocaust has important messages that still need to be repeated today.

The anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz relived the historical fact, shared the narratives of survivors and told the stories of those lost. The importance of remembering such an event not only pays homage to those affected, understanding that even after seventy-five years the damage has not lessened, but it holds a scrutinizing mirror up to society as we recognize the depths of evil that humankind is capable of.

The honoring of the victims of the Holocaust prompted important discussions of Antisemitism to come further forward. Like racism and many other forms of prejudice Antisemitism is still not a thing of the past and concern is mounting due to a rise in this form of discrimination. An article from the BBC noted that the Anti Defamation League had recorded 1879 incidents of Antisemitism in 2018 which, although down from the previous year, demonstrates a growing trend. Worldwide studies of Antisemitism indicated a rising level of prejudiced crimes overall.

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Although many of the year’s anniversaries fall under the title of “seventy-five years since the end of World War 2” scattered through 2020 are many anniversaries of importance within that cohort. Notably, August will mark seventy-five years after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A subject which is fraught with moral complexities but the true atrocity of which is undeniable. Sadness and respect and for the 70,000 innocent Japanese people is still felt today and is very important to memorialize. In today’s society the fear of Nuclear warfare has a firm placement at the precipice of the worlds mind as countries attempt to avoid conflict. Dubbed “the bomb that shook the world,” the unprecedented and unpredictable volume of its devastation still shocks and scares us today.

Memorialization is a crucial and cathartic pillar of society that allows both a communal grief, respect and solidarity. After times of such devastation this is important. Although seventy-five years may have passed there are still those alive who directly experienced World War 2, the Holocaust or the atomic bomb and those who dealt with loss or witnessed the after-effects and struggles of their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, grandparents and so on. 2021 will mark twenty years since the Twin Tower Attacks. A memory that is painfully held in the minds of many, the losses of which still play a significant role in many of our lives today. Memorializing such events spread awareness and understanding in the public sphere. Just as teaching children in history classes can, in a controlled environment, appropriately educate and inform in order for a public evolvement to take place. Clear rights and wrongs can be underlined and through understanding prevent history from repeating itself.

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Creating A Healthy Workplace Culture When Everyone Works Remotely

Building a proper company culture is essential in 2020. When it comes to your business, or the business you work for, you may not fully enjoy your job, but you should at least feel comfortable enough in your environment to do your work to the best of your ability, and with the support of everyone around you. However, now that we’re in a predominately digital age, more and more jobs are able to be done remotely. So how exactly do you create a company culture of comradery and support when you’re not all under the same roof?

First, even with a remotely run company, all staff members should get together physically at some point to learn about one another and their roles within the company. Obviously this is only a real option if all employee’s live in the same area, relatively, however, group video conference capabilities have reached their maximum potential in 2020, so as long as everyone has some sort of video-chat capable device, everyone will be able to get together. 

Staying in touch via video chat is a great idea in general for creating a work atmosphere of support and respect. Weekly video conferences are an easy way to keep communication open and fluid amongst co-workers. Save some time in every video conference for everyone to discuss any questions or make any comments regarding the work they’re doing as a whole. By encouraging communication that is both supportive and constructive, you’ll easily create an environment that is both vulnerable and motivating. 

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Projects within your field of work that require cross-collaboration amongst different co-workers are another great way at establishing trust. When remote workers branch out within their occupation and work with other employees, whether it be in person or over video chat, it’s more likely that they’ll build personal relationships with one another. Creating appropriate personal relationships in the workplace can kick start a domino effect of new connections with other co-workers as well; you never know when one employee might recommend your skills to another based off the work you did together. 

This type of relationship building only further builds up the trust amongst every employee, regardless of rank, and creates a culture of open communication habits. Another way of building personal friendships while working remotely can be by hosting regular “virtual coffee sessions” with the entire office; an idea created by Karan Rhodes, who works remotely for a Human Resources company and writes for Forbes Magazine. 

With today’s great video conferencing tools, a great tactic is to host regular virtual coffees with the entire team. Everyone literally comes to the conference with a coffee, tea or water to catch up in an informal way. You can have a mixture of topics—work and non-work related sessions—to add a ton of variety. For global teams, remember to rotate times to accommodate the multiple time zones.”

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Depending on your position within the company, holding regular “office hours” is a great way for all employees to know when you’re fully available to discuss any issue they may have. If every employee within a company has a designated slot of time in which they are most available, other employees will feel more comfortable not being physically with their co-workers should they have a question or concern about anything. 

Communication is obviously the key to creating an open culture amongst employees. If you’re in a position of power, keep your employee’s updated either with email threads, chain messaging, Slack, etc. on any and all progress that the company is making. When updating everyone on said progress, be specific with naming the employee’s who helped with whatever you’re updating everyone on. By being specific with your encouragement, you’ll not only motivate others to strive for the same level of success, but reassure everyone that their work is valued, seen, and well-done.  

Employee’s should also have group-chats that work outside the realm of the remote office in which they’re able to let off steam, build new personal connections, and discuss non-work related topics. While encouraging employees to not do work may seem far-fetched, it really is essential in creating deeper connections. When those relationships are established, the work within each employee will reflect that, because everyone will feel more trusting with one another to help.

Remote work is rising in popularity, but that doesn’t mean office comradery has to suffer as a result. Accentuate healthy means of communication, encourage collaboration, and emphasize success within an individual’s work, and the trust will follow.