Welcome back to another issue of Bookmarks. As we are continually seeking out interesting information to curate here each week, we have noticed an interesting trend happening on LinkedIN. More and more folks are highlighting issues with articles that cherry pick data and lead to a misunderstanding of the current/ future state of work. As long as it remains a respectful conversation, we’re excited to see more discourse like this take shape! We need accountability and to work to ensure that good quality information is shared.
This week’s newsletter is a 7 minute read, or the amount of time it takes to read the new terms of service that social media company just sent you. Collective Bookmarks is sponsored by HQO, the world’s leading workplace experience platform.
In This Week’s Issue:
Events We’re Attending: Labor Day BBQs
Books We’re Reading: The Elephant and the Flea
As always, if you have feedback or questions please reach out.
Three Things You Should Know
From The World of Work and Place
1. Remote Work Isn’t Going Away
In a recent HBR article the authors note that remote work surged during the pandemic, initially reaching over 50% of U.S. full workdays before decreasing to around 28% since early 2023. Top executives like JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s chief people officer advocate returning to the office, yet even senior management doesn’t anticipate this push succeeding. A survey conducted by the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, the University of Chicago, and Stanford reveals that executives expect both fully remote and hybrid work to continue growing. Factors supporting this projection include improving remote-working technology, startups born post-pandemic favoring remote work, the U.S. having a strong foundation for remote work due to good management practices and larger residences, and the preference of employees for remote work. While fully remote work may be slightly less productive than onsite work, it’s cost-effective and allows broader talent recruitment. Hybrid work seems to maintain or even boost productivity, save commuting time and costs, and support employee preferences. The authors suggest that a significant return to pre-pandemic office life is unlikely due to evolving remote technologies, flexible policies, and executives’ own predictions of remote work’s continued growth.
What We Think: It’s hard to argue with data and more keeps coming out every day that shows the costs / benefits of varying work models. The authors of the article do a great job outlining these while at the same time noting that remote work will continue to gain traction as technologies improve. For workplace professionals this has never been about returning to business as usual. Our role now should be to help our companies find the best model for them, weigh the risks / opportunities, and to help our teams achieve their goals.
2. Smucker’s Smooth Future of Work Plans
As covered in Fortune, J. M. Smucker, the company known for products like Jif peanut butter and Smucker’s jelly, is adopting a unique hybrid work model for its 1,300 employees based in Orrville, Ohio. Instead of mandating specific office days, Smucker is implementing 22 “core weeks” per year, allowing employees to plan around these weeks for in-person work. This approach enables workers to live remotely and travel to Orrville during core weeks, covering their own travel expenses. The flexibility appeals to employees like Nicole Massey, who commutes from the Bay Area for her management role, valuing the balance between work and family life. This strategy contrasts with companies like Chevron, Amazon, and Walmart, which cover employees’ relocation costs for office returns. Smucker’s approach seems successful, promoting limited resistance and higher attendance on core weeks, while also aligning with the broader trend of hybrid work’s benefits in terms of employee happiness, savings, and time management. The text emphasizes the importance of a well-structured hybrid model, which Smucker achieves through organized core weeks, demonstrating the potential for this approach to shape the future of work in an environment where typical office attendance remains relatively low.
What We Think: We really love to see a great example of a company taking a unique approach to their future of work. Especially when that company is what one might perceive as a company in a more traditional industry. It’s hard to believe employees paying for their own travel for such a high number of “core weeks” will be sustainable, but it will be interesting to watch the long term results. For now it seems to be working. Either way it is exciting to see companies navigating the future and making choices.
3. Reprogramming the Office
In Evelyn Lee‘s latest Collective Thoughts article, she describes the importance of your physical space staying relevant to your employee’s new ways of working, for return to office strategies and beyond. Effective space programming is essential for crafting your company’s unique in-office employee experience and it is unfortunately often overlooked. Now is the time to take action on this fundamental aspect of workplace.
HqO, ranked No. 75 on the Inc. 5000 list, is transforming how people connect with each other and the places they work. The HqO Workplace Experience Platform and App makes it easy for companies and commercial property teams to create modern workplaces through world-class amenities and services that allow people to thrive and produce the best results. Active in over 250 million square feet in 25 countries, 57% of the Fortune 100 rely on HqO to enhance their workplace experiences, improve employee satisfaction, and drive operational excellence.
One Big Thing
“We’re not heading into the office, but we’re not heading out either. It is completely level.” – Nick Bloom, Stanford University
What’s Happening in The Collective Connect Community?
Last week we Brian Elliott shared some great insights with our community and we had some great discussion after about the benefits that flexibility can bring to organizations. We also discussed how teams can get started and how the field is evolving. If you are a community member you can watch the replay in the community platform. Not a community member yet? You can join by clicking the link below. Our next community session will be with Denise Brouder from Sway Workplace.
A Product We’re Into
From Capturely: At Capturely, we believe visibility leads to opportunity and every person deserves to authentically be seen for who they are. Within 40 nanoseconds of seeing your picture on your profile, people subconsciously make a decision whether you will help them or hurt them, make their lives better or worse. In this brief moment, teams are creating instant connection or concern. After testing thousands of headshots we have created a formula that helps everyone show their authentic self in a way that maximizes connection. Our company is on a mission to align personal and professional brands through our in-person, virtual, or DIY headshots. No matter if you are a solopreneur or a Fortune 100, we can help you curate a captivating professional headshot.
What We Think: Can you tell which of the photos above was taken by a photographer in a dedicated setup and which one was taken remotely with a cell phone using Capturely’s virtual headshots app? No? The differences frankly are really hard to spot. As someone who has taken professional photos for people before, this experience was really great. You work with a dedicated photographer remotely who helps you find the right light, poses, and sets you up for success. For distributed teams who want to still have great looking photos of their teams with great pricing – Capturely makes the process easy and seamless. All you need is some natural light and Capturely handles the rest.
That’s It For This Week
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