If your home office is a little lacking in motivational and inspirational energy, Susan Meier’s new project may help you redesign a creative space. The project she co-founded with photographer Hallie Burton showcases the inspiring home workspaces and the stories of those who work there. This post profiles the home office and insights of art director Marcus Hay.
What do you do?
I’m an art director or creative director, and my main focus is creating imagery for photoshoots. I also do interior design and prop styling. It’s a mixed bag of different fields, but they all interrelate, and I use the same skill set throughout the different areas of my work.
Tell us about the space where you work.
I work in the living area. It’s a small space. I used to have to move around with my computer to wherever the light wasn’t hitting, so that I could see what was going on on the screen. I finally got blinds installed last week, and it’s been a godsend, because I can actually sit at my designated “desk” now, which is the dining table. It’s a very simple Saarinen tulip table, and, for me, it’s perfect. I like to work on a desk that’s white, because everything kind of pops off it. It feels clean and harmonious. I regularly clear it, and it becomes a blank canvas each time I start a new project. I have foamcore pin boards with inspiration swipes and paint swatches and sketches. And then of course I love my sketchbooks. I love working with pen and ink, so I have a good collection of brushes and ink pens and black India ink, which is my go-to. I try to have everything so it can fold up and be put away at night.
How would you describe your creative process?
When I art direct a photoshoot, everything you do has to consider what the ethos of the company is and what impression they want to leave on their customer. Then I delve into research, and that could be Pinterest, books, movies, anything. It’s a gradual process of pulling together inspirational swipes, textures, color combinations.
It’s largely digital, but because I do have a large collection of things, so it can be very tactile. It’s an organic process. My job is to bundle everything up in a package, so it becomes a visual language that everyone on the photoshoot is going to understand. Then you hope the weather behaves.
Key points include:
- What helps Marcus be most productive
- The most important elements of his work environment
- How his workspace has changed as a result of the pandemic
Read the full post, The Interior Soul., on workspace-studio.com.
Sean McCoy identifies key steps a business may take to alter the operation model and improve productivity.
We are in the initial stages of a productivity mega-trend. Forced by wage growth and enabled by technology, leading companies are already redesigning their operating models to make their people more productive.
The forces creating the productivity mega-trend
Wages are rising and look set to continue rising. Labor’s share of GDP is at a 90-year low, and we are seeing a reversion to long-run historical averages. 20 states raised their minimum wages in 2018, impacting 17M workers, over 10% of the country’s workforce. New technologies are radically re-shaping the processing of data and the interacting with prospects, leads, and customers. Repetitive work is being automated, and customer engagement is going digital. Extend the evolution of these two trends, wage growth and new technologies, and a firm can expect to experience one of two outcomes over the next business cycle: margin dilution or productivity growth.
How to join the productivity mega-trend
The first step to participate in the productivity mega-trend is to understand which of your business functions will be impacted. Functions with large spans of control and a large share of entry-level positions will be affected the most by wage growth. Functions where “data shuffling” is a common activity will be affected by automation technologies. Customer-facing functions will be impacted by the new customer-experience technologies. When listing functions that meet two or three of those criteria, at the top are functions such as inside sales, customer care, and customer service, and corporate functions such as Accounting, Finance, and HR.
Key points include:
- Wage increases
- How leads and customers interact with business
- Shifts from strategy to execution
Read the full article, The Productivity Mega-trend You Can’t Ignore, on McCoyConsultingGroup.com.
If you struggle to stay motivated when working from home, this post is for you. Jeremy Greenberg shares an article that explores the cons of working at home, and what you can do to improve your performance all by yourself.
Tens of millions of us — two thirds of all American full-time workers — are now working from home. This often means we’ve had little direct supervision or oversight in months, away from our colleagues’ (and our boss’s) watchful eye.
That may feel nice… but data shows that we perform better when we know we’re being observed. For example, in a study of 40,000 Virgin Atlantic flights conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, one group of captains was told that their fuel performance was being monitored, and the other group was not. The captains who knew they were being observed had better fuel efficiency throughout takeoff, flight, and landing. The principle that direct observation improves work performance is commonly known as the “Hawthorne effect.”
I’ve thought a lot about this lately, because I developed a podcast called Follow the Leader. I recorded a CEO during a pivotal moment in his business, and he later told me that the direct observation helped him focus. “I was more reflective and poised than I would have been having done this on my own,” said the CEO, Taymur Ahmad, of the company Actnano. Interesting! So how can we all gain that benefit, even if we don’t have a boss (or podcaster) watching?
Key points covered in this article include:
- Add self-observation to your routine
- Get an accountability partner
- Go public
Read the full article, You Work Better When You’re Being Watched. Here’s How To Monitor Yourself, on Entrepreneur.com
Ravi Rao was recently interviewed on the podcast The Why Word where he explains how businesses can become emotionally healthier places to work, and reap the benefits of a happier, motivated, and more productive workforce.
Humans survive because we care about each other, because we are connected to each other, because we are so aware of each other. The challenge with something like the COVID virus, and SARS, too, is that we have even diminished the, if you will, socially acceptable ways that touch occurs for adults; handshakes, hugs, pats on the back, high fives. These kinds of things now represent public health danger. Sometimes when someone says to me, ‘Hey, I’ve got a lot of great content. I can’t figure out how to put it in a presentation, that’s gripping.’ I always say, ‘How would you do it as a play? How would you tell that story if it was in the form of an anecdote?’
Points covered in this podcast include:
- How Ravi made the jump from neuroscience to acting to management consulting at McKinsey
- The scientific approach to emotion
- The emotional impact on business
Listen to the full podcast, Emotional Business, on YouTube.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Mukesh Jagota with JRCC Partners. Mukesh Jagota spent five years as a Senior Leader in the Consumer and Retail Practice at Strategy& (formerly, Booz & Co.). Mukesh was one of the firm’s key thought leaders in the area of Sales & Marketing. In particular, Mukesh has conducted numerous client projects and research in the areas of in organizational transformation, portfolio strategy, next-generation marketing and innovation capability building, insights & analytics, international strategy, CPG and retail trade effectiveness, digital strategy, and sales force effectiveness. Mukesh also led significant work across the firm’s Deals practice, including helping architect the largest ecommerce acquisition in history.
Prior to his time at Strategy&, Mukesh led a regional specialty retailer, tripling its size within three years, and was a finance professional (e.g., corporate finance consulting, investment banking, private equity). Since 2019, Mukesh has been Managing Partner at JRCC Partners, a boutique strategy consulting firm that counts multiple Fortune 500s as clients. Mukesh would be happy to collaborate on projects across the globe in the Consumer & Retail sectors or that focus on Deal (including due diligence) or Sales & Marketing related work.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Jay Jung with Embarc Advisors. Jay Jung was an Engagement Manager in McKinsey’s Hong Kong office where he was part of the Corporate Finance practice. His prior experience includes investment banking at Goldman Sachs New York and San Francisco offices, where he was a Vice President and completed ~$50 billion M&A and capital market in transactions. He also started his own technology startup, which raised funding from Softbank and other VCs.
In 2018, Jay started a consulting firm focused on helping startups and small medium size business in their fundraising, strategic finance, growth and M&A. He also works with private equity and venture capital firms in supporting investment due diligence, financial modeling and presentations. Jay lives in San Francisco, California. Jay is happy to collaborate on projects involving complex financial modeling, capital raise or M&A.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Luke Xie with Lux Advisors. Luke is a former McKinsey Business Analyst with the strategy practice and has been independent consulting since 2013. He has operating experience across early & late stage start-ups including Airbnb, Sentio (consumer hardware), and Coda Automotive (electric vehicles). Luke also has venture capital experience from working at Romulus Capital (early stage) and RocketFuel (blockchain). He has functional expertise in digital strategy, due diligence, entrepreneurship, growth, innovation, and support.
Luke lives in Los Angeles and is an avid racing driver and instructor. He is happy to collaborate on projects worldwide and is conversationally fluent in Mandarin.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Ricardo Fernandez to our community. Ricardo Fernandez spent 10 years in consulting in BCG, Accenture and KPMG focusing on strategic projects, due diligences, innovation, integrations and business plans.
The last 8 years he has been focusing on digital growth technology companies where he has experience in Growth, Sales, Marketing Operations and mostly in Financial Services. He recently left Prodigy Finance a Fintech marketplace that has originated $1B to lend to international students going to the top masters around the world.
Ricardo was CSMO and led up strategic partnerships for the company while sitting on the executive committee. Ricardo is based in Madrid and has 2 kids. He is an Engineer from UC Berkeley (with Honors) & MBA from INSEAD with a scholarship from Fundación Rafael del Pino.
Ricardo is happy to collaborate on projects focused on growth, sales and strategy in Europe