Explaining is often waste

When people ask me about my life’s ambitions, I often joke that my goal is to become independently wealthy so that I can afford to get some work done. Mainly that’s about being able to do things without having to explain them first, so that the finished product can be the explanation. I think this will be a major labor saving improvement.

Via Robert. Source: Habitat Chronicles: You can’t tell people anything

🗂 Link: A spot of after-hours business email does you good, apparently

Published in the Computers in Human Behaviour academic journal, the study enumerates no fewer than 72 actions that people apparently take while managing their work emails. We can count five – delete, mark as spam, forward, reply and read but ignore – and can only imagine that reaching the figure of 72 must include crying and rocking in the corner of the office while reading the full contents of one’s inbox.

Source: A spot of after-hours business email does you good, apparently

Link: Strong Opinions Loosely Held Might be the Worst Idea in Tech

On a certain kind of team, where everyone shares that ethos, and there is very little power differential, this can work well. I’ve had the pleasure of working on teams like that, and it is all kinds of fun. When you have a handful of solid engineers that understand each other, and all of them feel free to say “you are wrong about X, that is absolutely insane, and I question your entire family structure if you believe that, clearly Y is the way to go”, and then you all happily grab lunch together (at Linguini’s), that’s a great feeling of camaraderie.

Unfortunately, that ideal is seldom achieved.

Source: Strong Opinions Loosely Held Might be the Worst Idea in Tech

Link: Transform Your Corporate Culture With These 5 Proven Steps

“A 2017 Gallup report found only 33 percent of US employees said they were engaged at work. This surprisingly low rate has serious consequences: their actively disengaged colleagues are estimated to have cost the US between $483 and $605 billion annually in lost productivity.”
Original source: Transform Your Corporate Culture With These 5 Proven Steps

Link: Bulls**t Jobs (Part 1 of ∞)

“It’s too soon to have a good sample size. But it seems to usually work. I think it works because there is nobody at Mr. Smith’s workplace – maybe nobody in the entire world – who cares whether Mr. Smith brings a chair into work. Somebody wrote up a procedure for employees using special chairs, so that they’re not the sort of cowboys who make decisions without procedures. Somebody else feels like they have to enforce it, so that they’re not the sort of rebel who flouts procedures. But nobody cares.”
Original source: Bulls**t Jobs (Part 1 of ∞)

Link: Employees should work on hard things, not easy things

‘For a business to thrive, each employee must ultimately be worth three times their wages to the business. That means if someone is getting paid $60k per year, their worth to the business likely exceeds $180k. People often underestimate what they are worth. One way people, especially more junior employees, underestimate themselves is by failing to spend most of their time on things that are really hard for them to do. All employees (not just entry level employees) should strive to have at least 70% of their time doing things that are really difficult. These are the tasks that require the most thought, rigor, and attention. And these are the tasks that result in the most growth.’

Of course, this assumes a capitalist view of work. Work is there to generate profit, not help people pass the time (find value in being alive) and making sure they have the means to eat and such.
Original source: Employees should work on hard things, not easy things

Link: US wages have been flat, despite growing economy

“The conundrum of stuck wages [for “non-managerial workers”?] has vexed economists for more than a decade, but their underlying assumption had been that as joblessness drops — it’s at 4% now — companies will be forced to push up wages to attract and retain workers. Now that that hasn’t happened, the feeling is beginning to creep in that this is the new normal.”
Original source: US wages have been flat, despite growing economy

Link: Employee Surveys Are Still One of the Best Ways to Measure Engagement

If people don’t fill out the HR survey, there’s a higher chance they’re about to punch-out: “People who don’t fill out either of our two annual surveys are 2.6 times more likely to leave in the next six months.”
Original source: Employee Surveys Are Still One of the Best Ways to Measure Engagement

Link: The Smart, the Stupid, and the Catastrophically Scary

“Part of me likes being a programmer—because we’re the last job. I can see a future—if we don’t manage to blow ourselves up first—in the robot paradise where people are either robot engineers or programmers, or I guess do marketing. Or maybe bake pies, or smell things? Those are essentially the hardest things for a computer to do. But computers do everything else.”
Original source: The Smart, the Stupid, and the Catastrophically Scary

Link: Gartner Says Employees in Germany Report Lower Discretionary Effort than Global Average

“German employees’ discretionary effort fell below the global industry average, according to the latest worldwide research by Gartner. High employee discretionary effort, which is the willingness to go above and beyond in one’s job, was reported by 12.6 percent of employees in Germany in 1Q18, a nearly four percentage point drop from the previous quarter and below the global average of 15.2 percent.”

Sort of a weird survey, over 22,000 people globally.

Hot take: I’m sure employees would be very willing to go “above and beyond” if employers compensation also went “above and beyond.”
Original source: Gartner Says Employees in Germany Report Lower Discretionary Effort than Global Average

Link: Hey Boss, You Don’t Want Your Employees to Meditate

“Mindfulness might be unhelpful for dealing with difficult assignments at work, but it may be exactly what is called for in other contexts. There is no denying that mindfulness can be beneficial, bringing about calm and acceptance. Once you’ve reached a peak level of acceptance, however, you’re not going to be motivated to work harder.”
Original source: Hey Boss, You Don’t Want Your Employees to Meditate

Link: Reaching Peak Meeting Efficiency

‘Whiteboards are a tool used by a certain type of person to “take over” a meeting. Simply going to the board and picking up a pen changes the whole dynamic of meeting ownership, agenda, control and creates a power-dynamic that is pretty hostile to collaboration. The worst part of whiteboards is that some people just don’t have the ego or personality to go to a whiteboard so they will never contribute that way. The real problem is that whatever gets written on a whiteboard can have more weight than what is said by others or than it deserves simply because it was “written”. I’ve seen whole product positioning statements upended because someone stood up at a whiteboard and rearranged the 3×3 and bullied everyone by controlling the board.’

A whole about corporate meetings in the rest of the article.
Original source: Reaching Peak Meeting Efficiency

Link: Write it down

“Whenever someone asks me to do something that I think seems ill-conceived in some way, I ask them to write it down. That’s it. Because writing is high effort. Making sentences is the easy bit, it’s the thinking I want them to do. By considering their request it slows them down. Maybe 30% of the time or something, they come back and say ‘oh, that thing I asked you to do, I’ve had a think and it’s fine, we don’t need to do it’.

“This little method isn’t about doing less. Well, actually it is. It’s about doing less important things instead of important things. It’s not about being obstructive. I certainly don’t ask someone ‘why?’ five times (which is a shortcut to being called a smart-arse in my experience). This is about a light-touch way of asking someone to slow down.”
Original source: Write it down

Link: Measuring Trust and Its Impact on Leadership and Organisational Change

‘trust enables teams to “make decisions faster (and revisit them less often).” He pointed out that it encourages teams and individuals to “proactively admit to and learn from mistakes instead of scrambling to hide them.”’
Original source: Measuring Trust and Its Impact on Leadership and Organisational Change

Link: A 2-Year Stanford Study Shows the Astonishing Productivity Boost of Working From Home

“the robust, nearly two-year study showed an astounding productivity boost among the telecommuters equivalent to a full day’s work. Turns out work-from-home employees work a true full-shift (or more) versus being late to the office or leaving early multiple times a week and found it less distracting and easier to concentrate at home.”
Original source: A 2-Year Stanford Study Shows the Astonishing Productivity Boost of Working From Home

Link: For Women and Minorities to Get Ahead, Managers Must Assign Work Fairly

“For many women, the disparity in assignments comes back to what we’ve called maternal wall bias — a set of negative assumptions about mothers’ competence and commitment. After having a child, mothers come back to work to find that their best projects and clients have been reassigned to colleagues. In some cases, women report that it takes years to get back to the type of work they were doing before taking maternity leave. As a white female lawyer reported, “I made partner in the shortest time of any female. Things were great. I had my son. I worked part-time during leave and came back in nine weeks. My work was gone. It has taken two years and a change in focus to get back to the level I was at.”
Original source: For Women and Minorities to Get Ahead, Managers Must Assign Work Fairly

Link: IT staff will need to retrain when automation deskills their jobs

Gartner “predicted that, by 2020, 75% of organisations will experience visible business disruptions because of I&O skills gaps – a big jump from less than 20% in 2016.”
Original source: IT staff will need to retrain when automation deskills their jobs

Link: Why men need more consideration in the women in tech debate

Having to watch the kids is a big problem
For gender imbalance in the workforce. Maybe dads can step the fuck up: “It’s also about asking men to ask for paternity leave. The amount of men that I know that say, well I’m given two weeks and that’s it. They don’t push it, they don’t even have the conversation with their boss. If they don’t step up to also try to equalize it, things won’t change…. I was asked time and time again who’s going to look after my kid. The attention went too far.”

Also: “I’m particularly interested in, and in support of, AbdulJaleel’s comment around seeing more men leaving leadership roles as a way of tackling the gender imbalance.”
Original source: Why men need more consideration in the women in tech debate