Welcome back to Collective Bookmarks. This week’s newsletter is a 7 minute read or about the time it takes to make your pasta al dente.
One of the main stories in the newsletter this week is about the reversal of flexible work policies by some companies. We find this to be extremely unfortunate since all current research has shown that employees that are given flexibility are more productive and RTO mandates lead to lower overall engagement.
Of course we can’t ignore the loneliness issue that our country is suffering from, but without intentional design and nurturing – the community needed to alleviate that issue can’t exist. Forceful mandates don’t encourage community.
We hope that by empowering workplace professionals like you with information, community, and solutions we can help to enable a brighter future for everyone. Lets get to it.
In This Week’s Issue:
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Three Things You Should Know
From The World of Work and Place
1.Microsoft Asks: Will AI Fix Work?
In their most recent research report Microsoft looks at the impact that AI will have on work. In the report they highlight 3 key areas; digital debt, AI and employee alliance, and the need for every employee to have an AI aptitude. The digital debt section is particularly enlightening as they state “Nearly 2 in 3 people (64%) say they struggle with having the time and energy to do their job—and those people are 3.5x more likely to also struggle with innovation and strategic thinking.” This debt leads to less time spent on innovation and the report highlights AIs ability to help alleviate some of this debt.
What We Think: We agree with the report that as new technologies emerge and are widely adopted that we must update our skill sets to include them. AI, LLMs, and other forms of the technology are quickly being adopted into every software product we touch. Understanding how to utilize them for our benefit can be helpful. We highlighted the image above because we also agree that accessing the right information and the inefficiency of meetings are huge barriers to productivity. If we all had an AI project manager our lives might be just a little more organized and maybe we could focus on the meeting instead of taking notes. Regardless of whether we agree with the implementations of AI, it appears to be here to stay. Over 100,000,000 people have signed up to use ChatGPT from OpenAI to date. But, if we truly want to make the future work, human effort will be required. The full report is linked below.
2. Is This the Video Booth of the Future?
We all know that video conferencing lacks the nuance of in person interactions. Thankfully, there are a number of companies currently working to address that problem. In this recent piece for Verge, Chris Welch got to try out Logitech’s Project Ghost. Project Ghost was designed in collaboration with furniture manufacturer Steelcase. As Welch reports, the technology powering it (Logitech’s Rally system) has been around for some time and the more novel piece is the design of the housing. There’s no tricky 3d imaging here, Logitech instead is using a mirror to bounce the image and hide the camera to allow for a more seamless experience.
Why it Matters: As Welch points out, this unit is expected to cost somewhere between 15-20k. For those familiar with commercial furniture costs, and when you add in the cost of the technology piece – that’s not an outlandish price. However, we would love to see a version of something like this with a door. The lack of privacy of open concepts like this always comes up as an issue for teams procuring these items This desire for privacy is why phone booth products have been so popular. We do like the design of this product overall and the purpose behind creating a more seamless experience when on video calls with team members. Check out the full review with tons of images below.
3. Companies Renege on Remote Work Promises
As reported in TechRadar and The Register, this past week saw some more companies pull back on their remote work promises they made during the pandemic. Notably, Dell called more workers back into the office for a minimum of 3 days a week if they lived within an hour commute of the office. They did say that they were considering requests to continue to work remotely on a case by case basis for anyone outside these zones.
What We Think: As we’ve written on previously, remote working may be reduced but 25% of all hours worked are now worked remotely in the U.S. That’s a huge jump from the period before the pandemic. Additionally study after study has shown that employees want flexibility, and flexible work policies lead to better employee engagement. Workplace leaders should, at the very least, be ensuring that their leadership team has the most up to date research on this and are making informed decisions. However, if your leadership team goes so far as to go against their own research, that might not be a battle you can win.
One Big Thing
“There’s an enormous opportunity for AI-powered tools to help alleviate digital debt, build AI aptitude, and empower employees.” Satya Nadella CEO of Microsoft
Someone You Should Know
In The World of Work And Place
Denise Brouder is the Founder and Head of Data & Insights at SWAYworkplace, a learning & development consultancy focused on optimizing performance in hybrid work models through behavior change. Her mission is to use the power of hybrid to level the playing field and create equal access to work for all, for good.
Following a 10+ year career on Wall St., Denise followed her sense of curiosity and passion for problem solving into the startup world as a founding team member in early stage technology companies. She founded SWAY in 2019 to develop a training methodology that delivers the mindset, skills and techniques of hybrid work mastery, at scale.
You’ll find Denise with her sleeves rolled up working with teams across industries and across the world.
“The magic mix to optimize performance in hybrid is 50% mindset, 50% skills and techniques – in that order”.
In Her Own Words: Denise is a hybrid work researcher who develops cutting-edge thought leadership at the intersection of systems thinking, futurist thinking and human potential. She sees the future of work as an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine work in a way that allows us to live balanced, purposeful and meaningful lives; and has a burning desire to instill a Future of Work mindset in the everyday person.
Her motto; go big or go home.
A Product We’re Into Right Now
Almanac is how the fastest remote teams work on the internet, with more structure, more transparency, and fewer meetings. It’s the only async all-in-one platform where you can write, approve, organize, and track docs. Whether you’re looking to document knowledge, collaborate with teammates, or manage projects, you can do it all on Almanac.
What We Think: It’s obvious by now that the “where” of working has changed. Our methods still need updating though. We were very excited to see some of the features (approvals / decision making) and other parts that Almanac was building into their product. The reason we’re featuring them as well, is that they have been working on something called “The Modern Work Method.” Based on over 5000 interviews with business professionals, they developed a guide for more effective ways of working. We’re always excited to see product teams take a deep research based approach to solving difficult problems.
That’s It For This Week
We Appreciate You
As one of our over 600+ 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