Paul Millerd shares the latest edition from his blog that explores the connections between the revolutionary and evolutionary writers in history with today’s dissemination of information on social media. He also shares a resource of links to today’s influential inter-intellect sites.
The meta-scenius and the future
Would Thoreau have convinced more people to move to Walden pond if he had Twitter?
That was the question I was thinking about as I read American Bloomsbury, a book about a “scenius” in the mid nineteenth century in Concord, Massachusetts.
“Scenius” was the term invented by Brian Eno that I became aware of because of Packy McCormick’s essay earlier this year. Packy was trying to understand what elements led to the emergence of famous “scenes” from history such as Scotland in the 1700s, Motown, and Silicon Valley.
As I read American Bloomsbury I was struck with how many now-famous authors happened to be living within a couple of blocks of each other.. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau and many others spent their days talking about their writing, carrying on about topics of the day and getting involved in a growing abolitionist movement.
However, most of the book highlights their shared turmoil and failure. Thoreau battled tuberculosis and died before 50. Emerson was kicked out of Harvard and the Church. Margaret Fuller died in a boat crash on Fire Island. Louis Marie Alcott had to start working to support her family because her fathers’ failed utopian communities.
Key points include:
- The digital Meta-scene
- Thoreau on Twitter
- Making the jump from online to offline
Access the links and read the full newsletter, #120: The Emergence Of The Digital Meta-Scene, Very Online People (VOP), Strangely Earnest Twitter, Digital Ambitions and Bold Offline Adventures, on the Boundless website.
Carlos Castelan’s company shares an article on how to find the right remote employees and how to manage them.
Managing a business takes a lot of ingenuity and drive, no matter what kind of industry you’re in. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only added to that, which is why it’s crucial that your business takes a critical look at your needs (both current future) to help keep things afloat. While smaller businesses often rely on government programs like SBA express bridge loans and the Main Street Business Lending Program to stay in business during these troubled times, larger companies can often avoid these types of loans by making internal changes, giving them a better chance of getting things under control without the use of external sources of funding.
Once you’ve gotten your finances under control, you can start thinking about putting together a remote team. Not only do you have to be extremely focused and dedicated, but you also have to be great at employee relations in order to ensure your team can go remote seamlessly. It can be tricky to maintain good communication with employees and keep everyone on the same page. Finding the right people for the job, if needed, and learning how to keep them motivated when there’s no office environment can be done; it just takes a little creativity. Knowing what mistakes to avoid will help you keep the process smooth.
Key points covered include:
- Finding the right people
- Keeping communication clear
- Staying organized
Read the full article, How to Find and Manage a Stellar Remote Team for Your Business, on NavioGroup.com.
In this post, Robyn M. Bolton explores how working remotely can improve company culture and accelerate innovation.
The seasons may be changing but, for most, there is no end in sight for our new Work From Home (WFH) existence. The prospect of more months of working from the kitchen table, searching for a quiet spot for a Zoom call, and juggling personal and professional responsibilities on a minute-by-minute basis is frustrating and overwhelming for most.
It’s also raising questions about the future of work. Will companies still maintain large physical office spaces? What new symbols of power and status will take the place of the corner office? Will people need to relocate when they change companies? When, if ever, will co-workers gather together in person?
How will company culture form? Will innovation continue or stall?
It is those last two questions, about culture and innovation, that every single one of my clients, all executives with responsibility for growth and innovation at their companies, have been asking and struggling to answer for the past few months.
Key points include:
- Accepting new situation
- Empowering the introvert
- Creating new innovation approaches
Read the full article, How to Transform WFH into the Best Thing to Happen to Innovation in Your Company, on Medium.
Zaheera Soomar shares a comprehensive and well-researched paper that highlights a framework organisations with remote and virtual teams can use as a guideline to build and maintain trust.
Trust is an important concept in assessing and measuring business behaviour from an organisational performance and culture lens, and has become a source of competitive advantage for organisations especially within the knowledge economy. Studies show that organizations with a high level of trust have increased employee morale, more productive workers, and lower staff turnover. Most organisations factor and measure trust as part of keeping a pulse on their organisational culture and design their initiatives around building and maintaining trust. While it is not impossible to build trust virtually, it certainly is harder and requires a different set of considerations. There has been a big shift by organizations catering for more remote and flexible work conditions over the past decade with the “virtual team” becoming the norm. The recent impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced most, if not all, organizations to move in that direction faster than planned. With this movement to more remote working conditions, that are likely to have longer-term impacts, companies will be faced with challenges that virtual teams typically face in establishing and maintaining trust.
Three key areas covered are:
Read the full paper, A framework for building and maintain trust in remote and virtual teams, on F1000Research.com
Diane Mulcahy recently published an article on ADP.com that explains how companies can grow their contingent workforce and why they should.
Shifts in corporate supply and demand as a result of the global health event, and the halt of business travel have led to an increase in contingent workers for many companies. Independent workers give businesses more flexibility to staff up and down as the market environment changes, and to access the precise skills, expertise, and experience where and when they need it.
The need for the resiliency and flexibility that contingent workers provide is only increasing. There is still much uncertainty around the pace and stability of re-opening in this new normal. Companies that plan to “level up” and grow their contingent workforce as the economy re-opens can benefit from taking the following steps:
Concentrate Contingent Workforce Management
I was working with the senior management team of a Fortune 1000 company to implement better management practices for their independent workers. One problem they had was the “rogue” hiring of contingent workers across the company. Individual managers were hiring independent contractors for projects and tasks that fell within the budget limits they could manage without additional oversight. As a result, the senior management team had no visibility – and no way to manage, track, or control – the number of independent workers, or how much the company was spending on them.
A better approach is to concentrate oversight and management of contingent workers within your talent group. Creating a “one stop shop” for managers to access preferred workers, standard contracts and onboarding materials, and process invoices and payments makes it more efficient for hiring managers to bring on and manage contingent workers. It also allows the company to exercise control over cost and quality as well as how and where they are being deployed.
Additional steps in this article include:
- Managing your brand talent
- Mitigating risks of contingent workers
- The continuity and growth of institutional knowledge
Read the full article, Leveling Up Your Contingent Workforce, on the ADP website.
In this article for WorkMarket, Diane Mulcahy explains why gig workers may provide the solution you need to adapt to the current pandemic and changing business environment.
The world, the economic environment, and the demands placed on your company are all changing in unexpected ways. The difference between succeeding or failing to manage through a crisis can depend on your ability to add staff to critical functions, and access the exact skills and experience needed to respond to a changed business environment.
Gig workers can help your company weather this crisis by providing flexibility and resilience to your workforce. Maybe you need a skilled writer, blogger or technician to move a project forward or be “on the ground” in a specific geographic market. By using independent workers, you can respond to changing demands for specific skills, experience, or expertise, when and where you need them.
Independent workers bring other benefits to companies: they can increase the productivity of the workforce and support a high-performance culture. Companies that embrace the Gig Economy – made up of consultants, independent contractors, freelancers, and on-demand workers – will have a competitive advantage, in both good times and bad, over companies that don’t.
Points covered in this article include:
- Accessing talent
- Increasing productivity
- Supporting a high-performance culture
Read the full article, How Gig Workers Can Help Your Company Weather the Storm, on the WorkMarket website.
Diane Mulcahy explains why the current model of the office worker is difficult to change despite the evidence of increased productivity from the remote worker.
No one expected (or wanted) remote work to scale because of a virus and subsequent global pandemic. But, here we are.
The battle for remote work has been ongoing. Employees want the choice and flexibility to work outside the office at least some of the time, but many companies and even more managers resist it. Will this short-term (at minimum) and large-scale experiment in remote work change that?
It’s hard to argue any other outcome. Once companies have the processes and tools in place, and the results of weeks, or even months, of remote working, it will be difficult to put the genie back in the bottle.
That’s a good thing. The notion of mandatory daily employee attendance in the office is already obsolete. Not one – not one! – study suggests that working in an office eight hours a day, five days a week maximizes employee productivity, satisfaction, or performance. In fact, any data that exists on work in an office reveals that most employees aren’t engaged, waste a lot of time in the office not working, and that employee underperformance is a persistent problem, despite the omnipresence of management. Even worse, the direct costs of maintaining the traditional office-based workplace are high. CBRE estimates that the typical company in the U.S. spends upward of $12,000 per employee per year for office space. It’s hard to find a return-on-investment case for office space, and much harder still to find any company that makes a compelling one.
Included in this article:
- Links to studies on remote workers
- Key drivers of daily office attendance
- Quality of work
Read the full article, Remote Work Is The New Norm. Will It Last?, on the Forbes website.
Paul Millerd’s latest newsletter explores four questions surrounding the state of work, schools, and creativity and shares unexpected thoughts on the future of work.
The US has lost 38 million jobs. Some of those may come back. Many will not. Going into 2021, the US will likely have the highest unemployment rate in the last 100 years.
I’ve written quite a bit about the fragile labor economy and believe the gaps I’ve written about have become more visible than ever.
Here are the questions I’m thinking about for the next year.
#1. What happens when work doesn’t seem a necessary part of our lives?
In Max Weber’s famous treatise on Capitalism published in the 1800’s, he argued that a central element that enabled capitalism to emerge and succeed starting in the 1500s was the fact that so many people eventually developed a “spirit” for capitalism.
Many people incorrectly equate this spirit as greed, but as Weber points out, greed is timeless and universal not a product of capitalism. It has been seen at all times in history and in all types of economic systems. Instead Weber suggests that capitalism might have become so effective because of its ability to restrain greed:
‘Capitalism may even be identical with the restraint, or at least a rational tempering, of this irrational impulse.’
By channeling this natural human urge into work, it can theoretically benefit not only the greedy person, but society at large.
What then motivates work?
Included in this article:
- How does unstable work relate to how people think about the future?
- How will the cross-generation disconnect be resolved?
- What is the role of making stuff and our relationship to optimism and the future?
Read the full article, Four Work Questions, Alternative Path Stories, Facebook’s Deeper Game & Creativity, on the Boundless website.
Sarah Ralston Miller and Zaheera Soomar co-authored this article on how to support and strengthen company culture during the current crisis.
Through the Covid-19 pandemic, our world of work has changed almost overnight. In the past few weeks, we’ve spoken with senior leaders at organizations with whom we have been working to strengthen their ethical culture. These leaders understand that their culture is an essential resource to navigate through the current crisis, and are finding new ways to cultivate ethical culture under these radically-changed circumstances. Drawing on our conversations with leaders across business and civil society, here are a few reflections on ways to guide your own culture during this period.
Be deliberate about your remote-based culture. It is important that we understand how the shift to remote work environments impacts our organizational culture, no matter how temporary we hope it will be. Being intentional about what we put in place can enable benefits and mitigate risks. Transitioning to remote work without building a corresponding culture creates multiple risks, including loss of employee engagement and inclusion, impact to productivity, lack of connectedness between individual and overall organization goals, increased fragmentation and risks of misconduct related to changing accountabilities.
Areas covered in this article include:
- Remote-based culture
- Agility and adaptability
Read the full article, Cultivating Culture in a Crisis, on the Principia website.
As more employees work from home, it is important to establish clear guidelines and routines, this post from David Burnie’s company provides ten questions businesses should ask to ensure the switch to working remotely runs smoothly.
Establishing a work from home (WFH) program is an essential part of a business continuity plan.
In the current COVID 19 crisis, executing a work from home (WFH) policy is a top priority for organizations. A robust work from home policy will enable an organization to continue operating during a significant disruption while limiting the impact on employees and customers.
A WFH policy requires a broad set of considerations to ensure it is adequately developed, including the provision of tools (e.g., laptop, headset, increased VPN capacity) and revised processes and practices. To assist organizations in making the shift to working from home, we developed ten questions to consider to build an effective WFH policy.
Points covered in this article include:
- Tool required
- Secure access
- Tracking and managing performance
Read the full article, Work from Home Best Practices, on the Burnie Group website.
As more people get used to working remotely, Paul Millerd shares valuable advice and fourteen tips that should not be followed.
I’ve either put these tips into practice in my own life or can confirm that other people have. People rarely talk about these practices in public because there is a certain amount of shame and embarrassment about telling people you work less.
Advice on working remotely Paul shares include:
- The morning routine
- Asynchronous communication
- The bi-modal workday
- Expectations of motivation
Read the full article, Don’t Follow this Advice on Working Remotely, on the Boundless website.
Diane Mulcahy interviews Krystal Hicks to find out why some companies don’t hire remote employees, and how the Gig Economy has shifted the power balance between employers and employees.
Krystal Hicks is the founder of JOBTALK, a company that grew out of her side gig providing talent, recruiting, and job-hunting advice to companies and individuals. Before going out on her own, she managed U.S. Talent Acquisition for the Swiss chocolate maker Lindt, and was the former Director of Career Services at the University of New Hampshire.
Points they discuss include:
- Leaders lacking trust
- Managerial Darwinism
- The power balance between employers and employees
- Understanding what employees want
Read the full article, Women In The Gig Economy: Krystal Hicks On Why Companies Don’t Trust Their Employees, on the Forbes Inc. website.