Zoom calls are making us confused
ALSO: 2000 firm survey says most are going hybrid / listen to Robin Dunbar & Kim Scott
The collective intelligence of teams takes a hit on Zoom
A while ago I did a podcast about collective intelligence. This is the idea that groups are almost always more intelligent than individuals when it comes to solving problems. The lead researcher, Anita Williams Woolley, was fascinating - and helpfully gave us a test (the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test that you can use with your team and a group exercise). The essence of collective intelligence was that when groups were adept at reading each others non verbal signals it acted as a feedback loop for ideas and discussion. This month Williams-Woolley has released some research that suggests that the collective intelligence of groups declines on video calls. Fascinatingly this isn’t the case on phone calls (we seem to read cues and signals more authentically on audio calls than video ones).
This week there was lots of press coverage as firms start to announce their plans for normal working:
The estimate that 3m Brits will move to hybrid working seems to be low…
Especially in light of the CIPD saying that 63% of firms intend to increase their hybrid approach
A survey of 2000 firms says hybrid working is here for keeps - 71% of firms say their workers’ productivity has gone up
Google is expecting workers in the office 3 days a week from September (their announcement was a little confused, because another take on it said that workers would only be allowed to work remotely for 14 days a year but I think that is working from a different country for tax reasons)
Amazon have said their future working will be ‘office centric’
In other news, Goldman Sachs go back to the office today (in fact some of them were ‘invited in’ last week). Includes the memorable quotation: ‘Bankers were classed as key workers if their jobs support the functioning of the economy and financial stability’ - keen to hear the doorstep clapping for the Goldman crew
The HR body the CIPD shared their hybrid top tips for surviving the last stages of remote working: encourage boundary setting, nurture open conversations about wellbeing, coordinate tasks, think carefully about creative collaboration, facilitate networking, think about replacing informal learnings
What will happen with the empty office space? Floorplates cut to allow lightwells and courtyards? We should expect plenty of office buildings to be converted to homes
I’m truly fascinated with what a 20% decline in the demand for office space does to the commercial property sector. This article suggests the industry is likely to be hit by refinancing issues as they can’t fill empty space. (It’s also worth noting that pension funds are heavily committed to commercial property). It’s not impossible that we’re going to be hit with 2008 style slump as a lot of property loans are coming due.
Optimistically, fingers crossed that our city centres are going to be filled with cheap housing and plenty of life (Aside: I find it impossible to believe that urban housing won’t tumble in price especially as it all goes a bit 2008, I’d love to hear a counterargument)
Vaccines for specific cancers? Malaria? AIDS? If you've got 10 minutes this article on what's next for mRNA technology is exceptional.
This newsletter exists to be read and to reciprocate with you sharing it I’m giving away 30 copies of my book, The Joy of Work, this week to people who pass the newsletter on. Just hit the Share button below, then choose the Email option (it’ll look like this):
Tell a liked-minded friend or friends why you’re sharing it with them and add firstname.lastname@example.org in the address line. (If you want to know how this offer came about I explain the story on the Just Work new podcast).
How many people can you trust?
Robin Dunbar became renowned for proving that human beings can only form trusting relationships with 150 people. What does that mean for work and our friendship networks? This is such a wonderful listen. Along the way Robin explains why being around friends transforms us - and elevates us. He also gives his top tip for what we should do when we get back to the office.
It's time to kick bias out of your work
Kim Scott is the straight talking author of the phenomenal hit Radical Candour. Now she's back with a huge new book that's set to be equally as impact. (BTW completists will want to know that I chatted to Kim about Radical Candour in the olden days).
She joined me with business partner Trier Bryant to discuss workplace bias, bullying and harassment - and what any of us can do to stamp it out. Along the way we go into plenty of specific examples that will help you think about issues like this in your own workplace. We also get real talking about why standing up - even to good people - is an important thing we all need to do. There are some good stories in this episode and I’m not sure I come out of it looking too well.
Last week’s newsletter
If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to how to decide what is next for your firm then last week’s newsletter was widely shared.