Twitter’s VP of Europe: The glorious open-plan office dream is dead
One 2014 study found we’re 15% less productive in open-plan workspaces, we have more trouble concentrating and we’re twice as likely to get sick with no walls to stop the spread of coughs and illness.
“We perceived offices as having hierarchy, the boss had a better office, but in fact the truth is that offices, cubicles and little spaces were far better for our productivity and for getting your job done,” Twitter’s vice president of Europe, Bruce Daisley, told The Memo.
Open Offices exist due to cost:
“There are two reasons why offices are open plan, one is that we ripped down the walls of hierarchy, but two is because it’s a lot cheaper. We can fit lots more people in open plan,” says Daisley.
And, sadly, that’s the reason why open-plan is here to stay.
Comcast tries to shut down pro-net neutrality site
Internet advocacy group, Fight for the Future, says Comcast sent it a cease-and-desist order demanding the group take down Comcastroturf.com on the grounds that it violates the company’s “valuable intellectual property.” The site appeals for help identifying what it claims are fraudulent comments posted on the FCC’s own site, supporting FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s plans to rollback net neutrality rules. Many comments have already been flagged as spam, or posted under people’s names without their permission. (It’s not the first time something like this has happened.)
Why Controlling the Masses Through Media No Longer Works
IBM’s Remote Work Reversal Is A Losing Battle Against The New Normal
In a study published in Harvard Business Review in 2014, remote workers proved both more productive and more loyal than their peers onsite. In fact, IBM’s recent policy switch goes against its own research. In both a 2014 white paper by IBM’s Smarter Workplace Institute and in a conference panel the company hosted just weeks ago, its own experts suggested that remote workers tend to be happier, less stressed, more productive, more engaged with their jobs and teams, and believe that their companies are more innovative as a result of flexible work arrangements.
At a time when smaller cities and rural areas are struggling, it’s backward-looking for a major corporation–especially one with such deep experience in remote work–to implement a policy that could take jobs away from regions that need them most. By demanding its employees flock to IBM’s urban headquarters, the company isn’t just sapping everyplace else of highly skilled talent, it’s also contributing to depopulating the communities where those remote workers live, and depressing local economies as a result.
“At tech companies, the permeating value is that they’re about trying to make the world a better place, whereas at hedge funds it’s about making more money,” Mr. Epstein said.
Nina Kuklisova, a quantitative associate at a large financial-services firm in New York, said she gets between three and five inquiries a week from recruiters about job opportunities at other finance firms and technology companies. The 27-year-old, while not actively looking for a job, said she is open to switching to the tech sector. However, negative feedback from friends employed in tech gives her pause.
How Many Robots Does It Take to Replace a Human Job?
The study’s authors find that the addition of one robot per 1,000 workers reduces the employment-to-population ratio (the number of people actually employed in an area divided by the number of people of working age) by 0.18 to 0.34 percentage points, and reduces wages by between 0.25 and 0.5 percent. On the low end, this amounts to one new robot replacing around three workers. The impact is unsurprisingly most pronounced in manufacturing (particularly in the production side of the auto industry), electronics, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, among others. Perhaps most importantly, there were negative effects for virtually all workers except managers.
This Neighborhood is Transforming by Letting Artists Buy Its Vacant Homes for Cheap
In Indianapolis, one block in the Garfield Park neighborhood south of the city’s downtown is experimenting with a different model. An arts nonprofit worked with other partners to buy and renovate vacant houses and is now offering to co-own them with artists. Artists will pay half the cost–one $80,000 home, for example, will sell for around $40,000. If they later move out, they’ll get their equity back, but no more; the house will be sold at the same cost to someone else, keeping the neighborhood accessible as the artists help make it more desirable.
“There is still a stigma that remote workers are disconnected from the rest of the team, yet this study proves that they are more sociable and proactively reach out to develop strong relationships. The new technology tools that enable communication and collaboration are motivating workers to pick up the phone, seek face time and create lasting bonds. This is the upside of remote work we rarely talk about,” says Jeanne Meister, partner, Future Workplace.
Why So Many Workers Prefer Their Remote Colleagues To The Ones In Their Office
Herrmann might be onto something. In a recent study by the communications company Polycom, which covered over 25,000 workers across 12 countries, 66% said their favorite colleague isn’t located in their own office but in another one far away.
There is a fear of remote-work tools and policies, though. Many companies don’t implement them well, and wind up building virtual fences that hurt their projects’ success and limit accountability. When that happens, many employers think twice about going remote. Yahoo, in perhaps the best-known example, scrapped its remote-working policy in 2013 and maintained years afterward that that was the right move.
Why Office Perks Aren’t Enough to Attract and Retain Millennials
Take GE as an example. The erstwhile General Electric was founded before some millennials’ great-grandparents were born, but it’s doing a true job of remaining relevant for a new generation. In 2015 the company rolled out its “What’s the Matter With Owen” ad campaign aimed at potential millennial candidates. After its release, GE saw an 800 percent increase in applications and a 66 percent increase in traffic to the career site. GE surprised more than a few people by showing a sense of humor about its somewhat old-fashioned reputation. More importantly, the company highlighted some of the innovative work that goes on behind the scenes there, showing that it recognized the importance millennials place on being part of an organization with a well-defined mission. GE’s new look is more than skin deep: Moving its headquarters from suburban Connecticut to downtown Boston is a sign that the company is willing to adapt to how (and where) young employees want to work.
Senate votes to allow ISPs to collect personal data without permission
The Senate voted 50-48 in favor of S.J. 34, which would remove the rules and, under the authority of the Congressional Review Act, prevent similar rules from being enacted. It now heads to the House for approval.
“If signed by the President, this law would repeal the FCC’s widely-supported broadband privacy framework, and eliminate the requirement that cable and broadband providers offer customers a choice before selling their sensitive, personal information,” said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny in a joint statement.
Students who wrote longhand notes outperformed laptop note takers in recalling information to pass the quiz. And when the researchers examined the students’ notes, they found a clue as to why: The laptop notes tended to include a lot of verbatim transcription of the video, whereas handwritten notes couldn’t be written fast enough to do the same. If we can type fast enough to transcribe information verbatim, we can get away with writing notes without engaging our minds too much—we don’t have to think critically or even pay too much attention to simply write down exactly what someone’s saying.
When you get to the size of a remote workforce that IBM and Yahoo were faced with, the ability to recycle and refresh the tools supporting remote workers almost certainly becomes a management nightmare for IT staff. What likely happened was that rollouts of new tools took place, but the remote workers clung to the legacy tools they knew best.
As IT decision makers, it’s important to look at all aspects of telecommuting policy reversals. Yes, there likely were political and philosophical reasons behind IBM and Yahoo’s reversal on remote work policy. But technology may have also played a role. From an IT perspective, you should perhaps reevaluate your own telecommute processes and tools to make sure they are where they need to be.
IBM is making headlines due to leaked news that they are asking their marketing employees to relocate to 6 main offices or be terminated. The press is saying this is similar to a decision Marissa Mayer made with Yahoo in 2013. Is IBM doomed to repeat Yahoo’s mistakes or is this something different?
Data caps are becoming the norm, and that’s very bad news for consumers, who increasingly choose to stream video instead of paying exorbitant fees for pay TV. No other reason exists to impose such caps than the desire to increase profits. Here’s how Comcast justifies its data caps: “Our data plans are based on a principle of fairness. Those who use more Internet data, pay more. And those who use less Internet data, pay less.”
Sounds fair … except it isn’t true. Unlike wireless providers, broadband ISPs have capacity to spare, and Comcast admits as much. In a memo leaked last year, Comcast told its sales people that data caps were not related to network congestion.
How To Tell Your Boss You’re Completely Overwhelmed
Feeling like you’re personally contributing, connecting with others, leveraging your creativity—or whatever your role means to you—is an anchor for the work you do. It’s why you do what you do. Without personal meaning, you’ll start to wear down from relentlessly throwing yourself into the churn and pulse of things. You can’t sustain this kind of disconnected, meaningless work for very long.
Are We Solving the Right Problem with Supplier Risk Management?
An agile supply chain means that you can be reliable even though an increasing number of things are going wrong. You can only do this if you can avoid those things in the first place or recover from them when they happen. Either way, this requires supply chain risk management, not just supplier risk management, and certainly not just supplier viability management via financial statement monitoring.
A Tour of WeWork’s New Coworking Space in Philadelphia
The office space is just minutes away from the Old City District, the home of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and many other historical landmarks. The Market-Frankford Line has a stop on Girard Avenue, a five-minute walk from the office. There’s also a parking lot located diagonally across the street. Attracting a wide range of businesses, this Philadelphia office space is a great option for artists, designers, and other young entrepreneurs, as well as corporations looking for a local base of operations”, says WeWork