Welcome back to Collective Bookmarks. This week’s newsletter is a 5-7 minute read depending on how many pings you get from slack while reading it.
We have some exciting parts of Collective starting to take shape. So we thought it might be time to talk a bit more about what Collective does. Our mission is to enable workplace professionals. Workplace professionals come from many backgrounds but we generally believe this includes; facilities, real estate, IT, HR, People, Employee Experience, and Remote. Why remote too? Even if teams are remote, they need to great professionals to design great ways of working for them, and we want to help enable those folks.
Collective seeks to enable workplace professionals in 3 ways; curating information, being a crossroads of community, and increasing discoverability of solutions. You may notice that our newsletter is actually shaped around the 3 parts we just mentioned above. That’s pretty intentional and as we build more of our company those parts and pieces will take shape quickly. We’re thrilled to be building actively in the background for now and excited to share more announcements over the coming months.
In This Week’s Issue:
As always if you have feedback or want to sponsor / support you can reach out below.
Three Things You Should Know
From The World of Work and Place
1.Biz Conferences Are Back, But Is This The Future?
In her latest piece for Bloomberg’s WorkShift, Julia Hobsbawm, looks at the resurgence of the business conference. These conferences are no longer just a place to share information, reconnect, and see new offerings. They represent a way for groups large and small to get out of the office without getting “out of office.” Her observation that the periphery of these large conferences are the most active places, and not the main market halls is spot on.
What We Think: We’ve also observed that whenever we attend a conference of more than 1000 people the outside areas tend to be the most active. There are people meeting, chatting, catching up, and honestly just getting updated on their community. With more and more industries having a distributed workforce and the “donut effect” of people moving away from central locations – this behavior makes perfect sense. A conference (especially niche community ones) is a great way to get people focused in a specific area together, and likely the only time they would do so outside of zoom. Julia’s pieces are always well written so we recommend you take a look at the full piece below.
2. Into The Metaverse
In the latest episode of the “Imagine A Place” podcast host Doug Shapiro dives into the idea of the metaverse with expert Christopher Neff. They get into what the metaverse is currently perceived to be, what it could be long term, and also what role design has to play in it.
What We Think: Two main points hit us hard from this podcast. First, the idea that 20 years ago we had to make an effort to go Online but today, we have to make an effort to go Offline was an awesome a-ha moment. Taking time to go offline has become something we’re regularly encouraged to do, but has become more and more difficult to achieve in our 24/7 connected world. The second idea that hit hard for us was that architects and designers have a large role to play in the metaverse. Big expansive open worlds are interesting, but creating complex intricate intimate spaces is far more immersive. That’s something that architects and designers are so very good at doing. Will workplace designers of today be designing the metaverse spaces of tomorrow? Listen to the full episode for more.
3. A (Better) Argument for Working Less
In his recent piece in Every, Simone Stolzhoff crafts a compelling argument for working less. Not to increase productivity but to improve our quality of life. As he points out in his article, the countries with the greatest work life balance map closely to those with the greatest quality of life satisfaction. Working less doesn’t enable us to do more work or side hustle, but can be there to enable us to be better parents, siblings, and dive into the things that make us human.
What We Think: We really appreciate the take down of Taylorist methods at the start of the article and Simone’s honest look at productivity culture. Taylorist views obviously affected the way our workplaces were designed for far too long and we’re happy that workplace professionals more and more are embracing balance. As workplace professionals we have the ability to help shape our work cultures not just for our direct teams but at the companies we advise. We highly recommend checking out the article below and Simone’s upcoming book which can be found in the article as well.
One Big Thing
“Put simply, working less allows us to be fuller versions of ourselves. ” – Simone Stolzoff
Someone You Should Know
In The World of Work And Place
Melissa Fisher, a cultural anthropologist, is a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Institute for Public
Knowledge, a faculty member at NYU’s School of Professional Studies, and a Distinguished
Principal Research Fellow at the Conference Board, a global think tank. Her expertise lies in
organizational studies, with a special focus on globalization, culture, and the built environment.
Her current research explores how workplace experts are designing future workplaces in an age
of pandemics. Her first book, a co-edited volume, Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections
on the New Economy (Duke University Press, 2006) explored how corporate structures were
altered by radical innovations during the turn of the new millennium. Wall Street Women (Duke
University Press, 2012) her second book, examined the first generation of women in finance
(1956-2010). In addition to pursuing an academic career over the past two decades, Fisher
regularly provides consulting to businesses in corporate real estate, finance, and other industries.
In Her Own Words: I have always been fascinated by culture and the world of work. But my initial foray into becoming a cultural anthropologist actually began when I was a modern dancer at Barnard
College, where I interned at P.S 122, an alternative performance art space in NYC, and wrote my
senior anthropology thesis on dance and the downtown 1980s cultural art scene. Ultimately, I
entered the Anthropology Department at Columbia University, where I decided to focus my
attention further downtown in the financial district of NYC and study the first generation of
women on Wall Street which I turned into my first single authored book.
Studying global corporations was not a conventional research topic within anthropology in the
nineties. However, I was convinced that one of anthropology’s most important values is its
ability to illuminate how seemingly individual experiences of, for example, career mobility or
job loss are not “individual” but are shaped by structures of culture, power, and meaning.
Recently, in 2017, while teaching at the University of Copenhagen, I met Peter Ankerstjerne,
who was at the time, the Group Chief Marketing Office (CMO) at ISS/AS Facility Services in
Copenhagen. As a result of our meeting, I commenced a project on the future of work in facility
management, a study which has taken some extraordinary permutations since the pandemic!
Today I am not only writing a book about the future of work based on interviews with facility
managers, corporate real estate professionals and other workplace experts in Copenhagen and
beyond. I am also thrilled to be partnering with firms on a wide range of work-related topics. For
example, one key vexing problem businesses face today is how to maintain corporate cultures in
hybrid work environments and bring employees back to the office. In my advising practice, I
draw on anthropological tools to enable leaders to gain insights into workplace culture defined as
a system of beliefs, values, and symbols; create a unified sense of it across digital and material
locations; and build meaningful, productive work experiences aligned with organizational goals.
A Product We’re Into Right Now
Kadence is a full suite of easy-to-use hybrid working software designed to improve the coordination of people, space and time to help your teams work smarter. We are building the next-generation operating system for the workplace to help your team thrive, boost productivity and power a more positive way of working.
What We Think: We sat down with the Kadence team to hear their story and were really impressed by the rigor with which they’re approaching solving for the needs of teams in a hybrid world. With strong integrations and an open API, Kadence is building a strong product for making hybrid work for teams. You can check out more about the team and product below.
That’s It For This Week
We Appreciate You
As one of our over 500+ weekly readers we appreciate you being an early subscriber. We’ve reached over 6000 humans already and can’t wait to reach even more of you. Together, we believe we can enable teams at the intersection of work and place to move beyond conversation.
Until next time – Omar and Kayla