‘Productivity-sapping vampires’: How to improve the hybrid-meetings culture

In theory, hybrid working is perfect, promising flexibility, convenience and empowerment. However, in practice, many organizations are finding, to their horror, it can be the worst of both in-person and remote working. Its logistical complexity has the potential to restrict collaboration and, ultimately, productivity. And that is largely down to the number and inefficiency of hybrid meetings.

“Employees are overwhelmed with meetings — back-to-back meetings, poorly run meetings and just flat-out too many meetings,” said J. P. Gownder, vp and principal analyst at Forrester Research, and co-author of a new report, “Master Hybrid Meetings With These Five Steps.” “Today’s hybrid meetings fail in-person participants, fail remote participants, still, fail to provide social cues, and fail the business.”

Gownder cited Harvard Business Review data from last year that found that 92% of employees considered meetings costly and unproductive, as 70% of meetings kept employees from productive task work. 

It wasn’t like this before the coronavirus crisis, though. “The frequency of meetings increased by 13% during the first year of the pandemic, and leaders tell us those meetings were sticky — they never fell off of calendars,” Gownder said. Without taking steps to remedy this problem, “meetings threaten to become productivity-sapping energy vampires,” he added.

So what should be done?

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in March 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Why the need for leaders to address poor workplace communication is so urgent now

Ineffective communication costs U.S. businesses $1.2 trillion annually, or $12,506 per employee, pointed out by Grammarly Business’s latest State of Business Communication report, published in early March. But are leaders receiving the message that urgent improvement is required? 

The Grammarly Business survey of 251 business leaders and 1,001 knowledge workers suggested connection problems are growing. Time spent on written communication grew 18% compared to 2022, while worker stress levels were 7% higher due to poor communication, and this caused a 15% decline in productivity.

Further, the research, conducted in partnership with The Harris Poll, showed that workers spent over 70% of their working weeks communicating on various channels. Yet 58% wished they had better tools to streamline communication. “Leaders who shrug off the massive impact of poor communication on their bottom line will lose,” argued Matt Rosenberg, Grammarly’s chief revenue officer and head of Grammarly Business. 

Rosenberg said that the results of the second annual report indicated the challenge was growing, causing a “greater impact on everything from operational efficiency to employee and customer satisfaction.” As a result, he urged a rethink of communications strategies. “At a time when the stakes are critically high, leaders who invest in empowering efficient, consistent communication across their organizations will see results and profits climb.”

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in March 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Can a ‘signature scent’ boost office appeal – or does it reek of desperation?

According to U.S. poet Diane Ackerman, “nothing is more memorable than a smell.” She wrote: “One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town.”

Perhaps leaders with a good nose for business have been reading Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses. Scents are now being diffused into more workplaces – partly to attract employees and clients and develop positive brand associations. But while retailers, members clubs, and hotels have been wafting whiffs around for some time, does doing so in an office setting work, or does it, well, reek of desperation?

Jane Helliwell, founder of The Scent Styling Company, stressed the magic of a good smell. “Never underestimate the power of scent on a person’s mood,” she said. Further, certain fragrances can alter a worker’s mindset. For instance, rosemary is known to have a positive effect on memory and alertness, said Helliwell. Meanwhile, lemon is “great for cognitive function.” Jasmine is “energizing,” and ginger helps fight fatigue and “enhances performance and productivity.”

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in March 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Here are four tips for improving hybrid working and workplace community

People remain undecided about whether remote- and hybrid-working models are better or worse for workplace community, in the U.K. especially. That’s the conclusion of workplace culture and recognition firm O.C. Tanner’s 2023 Global Culture Report.

The global study – which aggregated answers from over 36,000 employees, leaders, HR professionals, and business executives – found 37% of U.K. respondents felt hybrid work made it harder to create a workplace community, but 41% reckoned the opposite.

Similarly, 37% of U.K. employees that had shifted to hybrid working thought the workplace culture was now better, while 43% said it was at the same level. Notably, however, 68% of U.S. respondents believed the move to hybrid working had improved culture, and the global figure was 59%.

Regardless of the unclear verdict, there is clearly room for improvement. To help, WorkLife gathered experts’ top tips for creating a better workplace community for a hybrid or remote workforce.

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in March 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Hybrid working and the trust challenge

Some of the hurdles around identity and productivity have been cleared, but no one has the perfect solution, according to a roundtable of experts

In early 2023, three years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic that spurred work trends already trotting along, the pace of change continues at a frightening gallop. It’s been a bumpy ride for both employer and employee. 

The hurdles of trust and security still loom large and must be cleared to improve Britain’s productivity growth, which has lagged behind G7 peers since the last financial crash. 

The most recent Office for National Statistics, corrected in late January, calculated Britain’s average output per hour or per worker – a vital metric to gauge living standards and future wages – contracted 0.3% between 2020 and 2021 when the economy struggled under pandemic restrictions. Only France’s 0.5% decline was worse during the same period.

Last September, a Microsoft report, which surveyed 20,000 people across 11 countries, discerned a “productivity paranoia” suffered by leaders who worried their workers were underperforming despite increasing hours and meetings. While 87% of employees felt they were productive, 85% of senior leaders said the shift to hybrid work made it challenging to have confidence in staff performance.

However, a new study suggests a corner has been turned on trust, at least in the UK. The research, launched in late January by global identity and access management company Okta, found that of the 500-plus business leaders quizzed, 85% believed remote or hybrid working is not causing disappointing workforce output.

As encouraging as these results are for hybrid working evangelists, doubts linger, says Rachel Phillips, Okta’s vice president in the UK and Ireland. She points out that while 61% of the business leaders surveyed believe that remote workers are more productive, 15% still think that they are less so.

Measuring success

Karen Jacks, chief technology officer at Bird & Bird, whose 1,400 lawyers operate in 31 countries, identifies two critical problems with hybrid working, trust and productivity. She notes that measuring hybrid working output and performance in some industries is tricky, given there are intangible factors, such as brainstorming sessions or virtual check-in meetings. 

“Because we are a professional services organisation, and lawyers record what they are working on, it’s straightforward to monitor productivity,” she says. Notably, throughout the pandemic, Bird & Bird’s productivity level increased. “It continues to be at a high level, with people encouraged to come into the office around 50% of their time.”

Chanuka Weerasinghe, chief technology officer at Hawes & Curtis and engyin.com, agrees that determining either employee engagement or output for a hybrid workforce is complex for many reasons. “There are certain things we can’t measure, or they are hard to measure,” he concedes. “Also, we could use monitoring software, but it is intrusive, and we don’t want to come across like we are spying on employees.”

Nefarious actors might be snooping, though. From a security perspective, hybrid working has multiplied attack vectors, says Andrew Tsonchev, cybersecurity firm Darktrace’s vice president of technology. But most organisations have responded to limited potential cyber threats. “It feels like we are now in a more stable era of hybrid working, and all of the significant changes that needed to happen have been made,” he says. 

Regarding identity, Tsonchev is pleased that many businesses have, finally, embraced a zero trust model – “never trust, always verify” – to cybersecurity. “The conditions of hybrid work make concepts like zero trust non-optional, which is good,” he adds.

Cultural change

Another trust-related issue could be cultural for some organisations, says Jacks. If some leaders are sniffy about people working away from the office, more fool them. “We make sure our people know we trust them,” she says. “People used to say ‘oh, you’re working from home’ with quotation marks, but I think that attitude is changing.”

This insight chimes with Becky Wender, global head of culture, talent and learning at global cosmetics firm Avon. “At times, we have tried to legislate for everyone being bad as opposed to trusting people to do the right thing and then dealing with those who don’t,” she says.

Key to a culture of trust is connection and communication. Wender began her role in April 2020, at the start of the first lockdown. She turned to the company’s learning experience platform, Fuse, to ensure the workforce stayed connected. “Leaders ran events, and we had things like making hand sanitiser with our kids,” she says. 

Buoyed by that early triumph, Wender created a “two-day virtual career festival” attended by 3,400 associates from the 39 markets in which Avon operates. “There were 69 learning sessions, and a huge success,” she says. “Now we are back in the office more, the question is: how do we use technology to help all our markets stay connected?” 

Connection problem

Andy Hepworth, future of work transformation director at consulting and digital services company Sopra Steria, argues that flipping things around and asking employees what’s working, and what’s not, helps reconnect and reinvigorate a hybrid workforce. 

“We invited everyone within the UK business to participate in workshops, one-to-one meetings, questionnaires, or just to drop suggestions through,” he says. “We collated and meticulously catalogued it all to assess where we were as a company. We looked at where the hotspots were and what we needed to prioritise to improve the lives of our colleagues because a one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid doesn’t work.”

Hepworth points out that those earlier on in their careers are often especially keen to be in the office to learn “through osmosis” from more experienced colleagues. But he stresses that managers and leaders have an essential role to play here. “There is a dependency on reciprocation; otherwise, people coming in to learn will be stuck in a vacuum,” he warns.

Again, the solution lies in reframing the potential issue. Hence, lots of in-person events are organised at the Sopra Steria offices around what Hepworth neatly calls the “three Cs”. He explains: “We get together to connect, collaborate or congratulate.”

Similarly, Okta’s Phillips makes herself available to her team members for ask-me-anything sessions and encourages in-office get-togethers for “moments that matter”. She is conscious of how some young or vulnerable employees might struggle without physical interaction with colleagues. 

Additionally, Phillips references Gartner data that reveals the bonds between remote-working teams have strengthened, but relationships outside that bubble are weaker due to infrequent contact. “We are siloed by video-conferencing and tend to engage with the same people daily.” 

Phillips adds: “Hybrid working is not going away, so how do we enable people within that environment to be as impactful as possible?”

No one has the perfect answer, yet.

This article was first published by Raconteur, as part of the Future of Work special report in The Times, in February 2023

‘These challenges will only deepen’: Confessions of a PR exec on mounting hybrid-working pressures

Numerous studies indicate that middle managers are feeling the squeeze in the post-pandemic rush to move to hybrid- and remote-working models. Further, they are not being adequately supported, financially or otherwise.

At the start of 2023, Gartner identified “managers will be sandwiched by leader and employee expectations” as one of the top nine workplace predictions for chief human resource officers this year. A workplace culture and recognition firm O.C. Tanner’s 2023 Global Culture Report, published last September, found that 41% of U.K. managers felt pressured to choose between what their leaders want and the demands of their direct reports.

For WorkLife’s latest installment of Confessions, where anonymity is traded for candor, a senior PR executive based in London shared how rising pressure to manage expectations from above and below is unsustainable, and she feels unsupported and under-compensated. She’s currently looking for another job.

To what extent is managing a hybrid team making you more squeezed and why?

Managing a remote team in a distributed environment requires more time to support junior staff members. While some junior team members thrive, others – unaccustomed to keeping up the pace from home – fall behind.

To some extent, it’s understandable. After all, we are individuals who work well in different environments. However, it’s the responsibility of senior leadership to step in and resolve these challenges early within an employee’s onboarding cycle. Unfortunately, this often doesn’t happen, allowing these challenges to deepen and develop over time.

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in February 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

How hybrid working is failing due to poor execution

Few leaders can say they have perfected hybrid working at their organization. The evolution from pre-pandemic working methods was always going to be messy and stressful, and a steep learning curve. With no one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf solution, the scale and logistics of making a hybrid strategy work have been headache-inducing for many.

In a desperate attempt to ease the pain, and with dark clouds of a financial crisis looming, many employers, twitching from productivity paranoia, have retreated to old ways and imposed return-to-work mandates rather than persevering, opting to treat the symptom rather than the root cause of the problem.

But hybrid working is failing due to poor execution rather than as a concept — and that lack of success is primarily down to leadership — according to a global pulse survey by business consultancy Gartner, which questioned 330 HR leaders across a range of industries. So in that sense, will such RTO diktats not be regressive and more damaging in the longer term?

Gartner’s data shows 69% of business leaders have expressed concerns about collaboration, culture, creativity, and engagement. Little wonder more office-centric workforce strategies have been written up frantically. Further, 54% of human resources leaders reckoned their employees are less connected to their organizations than before the coronavirus crisis.

However, those who believe returning to the office will boost staff productivity, visibility, and loyalty are failing to realize and address the underlying issue.

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in February 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

How hybrid working brings teams closer but also creates ‘micro cultures’ and internal conflicts

Who needs a water cooler in the digital age? Paradoxically, the pandemic-induced shift to hybrid and remote working has, in many instances, drawn teams closer together, according to Gartner research. 

“We have seen that people have stronger ties with their immediate hybrid team as they have more interactions with those members,” said Piers Hudson, senior director of Gartner’s HR functional strategy and management research team.

Conversely, Hudson noted bonds between people from different departments, who they would have previously run into more often when in an office environment, have weakened in hybrid and remote setups. “We found that employees interact once a week or less with their ‘weak ties’ — people outside their function — versus several times a week before the pandemic,” he said. 

For most hybrid or remote workers, though, team members are “the only people they interact with several times a day,” added Hudson. 

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in January 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

How to lead and manage stressed-out workforces

No organization can say it has nailed hybrid working.

To help navigate the journey ahead, WorkLife selected nine recent statistics to show the direction of travel, identify the most prominent likely obstacles, and offer advice from experts on how employers can overcome them.

Four were featured in this piece and the remaining five are here. These include:
– 70% of C-suite executives in the U.K. feel burnt out
– 79% of global employees are not engaged at work
– 85% of global business leaders with hybrid workforces are not confident employees are being productive
– 43% of hybrid workers don’t feel included in meetings
– U.S. workers have, on average 18 hours of meetings a week – but almost one-third are deemed unnecessary

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in December 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Hybrid working has evolved office gossip – but not for the better

Hybrid working boasts numerous benefits, but not hanging out in person with colleagues is one of the downsides – and it’s a biggie. Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index, published in September, found that 85% of 20,006 employees in 11 countries, including the U.S. and U.K., would be motivated to head to the office to rebuild team bonds. Clearly, there is a yearning for that social connection. After all, how do remote workers stay in the loop and share gossip?

Gossiping, like socializing, is human nature. And in the workplace, gossiping is crucial to learn about company dynamics and forging friendships with colleagues. Essentially, gossiping helps navigate – and perhaps influence – office politics and gain guidance, validation and respect. But office gossip is not what it used to be.

According to Dr. Alexandra Dobra-Kiel, head of behavioral research and insight at London consultancy Behave, gossiping serves four functions: information exchange, social integration, ego enhancement and social segregation. She pointed out that the first two are positive but the remaining two are the opposite.

Salt Lake City-based Bryan Stallings, the chief evangelist at Lucid Software, a company that offers a visual collaboration suite, stressed that bias is at the core of much of the gossip that happens in offices. “This may occur even more today with hybrid work.” Indeed, for hybrid and remote workers, assumptions are formed on the barest of information “because we’re separated and only see faces across screens,” he said. “With hybrid work, we experience a new kind of distance that, unless resolved through new work practices, can interrupt information sharing, decrease transparency, and ultimately erode trust.”

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in December 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

How the move to hybrid working has become a ‘buffet’ for cybercriminals

The future of work may be flexible, but are businesses – particularly small- to medium-sized organizations – investing enough time, money, and effort to ramp up cybersecurity sufficiently? No, is the short answer, and it’s a massive concern on the eve of 2023.

With the sophistication of cyber threats on the rise and the increased attack vectors exposed by hybrid working, bad actors are preying on the weakest links in the chain to reach top-tier targets. 

A witticism doing the rounds on the cybersecurity circuit jokes that the hackers who have transformed ransomware attacks – whereby criminals lock their target’s computer systems or data until a ransom is paid – into a multibillion-dollar industry are more professional than their most high-profile corporate victims. But it’s no laughing matter.

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in December 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Can the four-day working week ever really scale?

Perhaps less really is more. The recent headlines generated by the results of the largest four-day working week trial were undoubtedly eye-catching. In early December, the programs for 33 organizations, mainly in the U.S. and Ireland and spanning numerous industries, officially concluded after six months. A vast majority – over 90% – plan to continue the four-day week.

The report from 4 Day Week Global, a nonprofit organization facilitating the trial – and another one in the U.K. that includes 70 businesses and finishes next February – noted: “For the companies, relevant metrics showed high levels of success.” On average, revenue had risen 38% compared to 12 months earlier, and hiring also rose. Meanwhile, absenteeism was lower, and resignations were down.

And yet, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the four-day week may have a scale issue. Almost all of the companies in the trial were small- to medium-sized organizations – only two of the 33 participants employed more than 101 workers. Whether or not the four-day week can work for larger organizations is as yet, untested.

So, what’s needed to take it to the next level?

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in December 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Why employee turnover is more contagious than ever

In the hybrid-working era, job departures are more contagious than ever.

When a teammate goes — whether pushed or pulled — it leaves colleagues reflecting on their positions while having to pick up the extra slack. And it means they are 9.1% more likely to head for the exit, too, according to a new report published in mid-November by global employee analytics and workforce platform Visier.

As the Great Resignation shows no sign of breaking stride, this statistic could become a thornier issue for business leaders and HR professionals.

A cluster of departures is also incredibly destabilizing for any organization and could lead to a recruitment scramble. This desperate-but-necessary tactic might plug the gaps before more employees leave, but the rush to hire could be a misstep if they turn out to be a bad fit for the company.

Piers Hudson, senior director of Gartner’s HR functional strategy and management research team, agreed with this insight. “Smaller teams have micro-cultures, so when someone goes, it is worse as a trigger point,” he said.

As such, Hudson was not shocked by the 9.1% figure. “If anything, I was surprised it wasn’t higher,” he said. “Any departure would lead you to reconsider your role. It might raise things like your compensation and whether the person who has left is being paid more elsewhere.”

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in November 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

In-office or remote work: which do Gen Zers really prefer for career progression?

The hybrid working headache is not shifting but intensifying. It is a straightforward calculation to work out that by the end of the decade, members of Generation Z — born between 1997 and 2012 — will make up around 30% of the workforce. Yet where they want to work, and thrive, is much harder to determine right now. 

A flurry of recent reports analyzing whether Gen Zers would prefer to be in the office or work remotely are wildly contradictory. For instance, a global report published in mid-October by workforce solutions company Aquent found that 77% of 18- to 24-year-olds are worried that remote work restricts their career progression. 

However, another report published in November by the Policy Institute at King’s College London and King’s Business School found that Gen Zers in London believed remote working had benefits that could help their career progression. Additionally, many people in this generation have just entered the workforce and have never worked in an office.

Considering the mixed picture, what could — and should — employers be doing today to better prepare for tomorrow, when this cohort will lead?

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in November 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

How this company is encouraging employees to create in-office FOMO to entice their colleagues back

The carrot and the stick have, respectively, been dangled and wielded to tempt or force workers back to the office, with varying success. So far, neither approach has worked that well. There is limited appetite for incentives like free yoga and chai lattes, or a team lunch on Fridays. And the stick approach is spurring people to leave.

Global mobility and food-delivery company Bolt has embraced a third approach: generating fear of missing out (FOMO).

Speaking during a recent round table event organized by messaging platform Slack in London, Mathis Bogens, Bolt’s head of internal communications, said he encourages staff in the office to post about having a great time on the organization’s Slack channels, to stoke jealousy in remote workers.

“We use FOMO. This is the easiest way,” he said. “You just share photographs of how much fun it is to be at the office,” he said. “For example, we will go out as a team and order pints and good food, enjoy it together, and share lots of photos on Slack. So those people who decided not to come to the office don’t feel good.”

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in November 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

House swap: Would you switch homes with a colleague to work in another country?

Would you open your doors to colleagues from other countries and swap homes with them for a few weeks or even months? To keep pace with working trends, some organizations are turning to Airbnb-style initiatives.

One such organization is London-headquartered financial technology company Wise — formerly TransferWise — which has 17 offices around the globe including in New York and Tokyo. In early 2021, spurred by the pandemic, Wise established a “work-from-anywhere” perkwhich allows employees to perform their jobs from anywhere in the world for up to 90 days a year.

So far more than 25% of the company’s 4,000 employees have used the perk and worked from places including Sri Lanka, Seychelles and Costa Rica. 

And, quite incredibly, the perk has taken on a life of its own thanks to the quick thinking of Wise employee Kadri-Ann Freiberg. The margin assurance specialist, based in Estonia’s capital Tallinn, sought to take advantage of the work-from-anywhere policy — but she didn’t want to pay rent on an additional property. So she took to the company’s Budapest Slack channel to ask if anyone else at Wise would be interested in swapping homes for a month, especially in Budapest, where she longed to visit. Freiberg’s post altered how her colleagues thought about the possibilities. 

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in November 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Are metaverse meetings the answer to engaging hybrid workers?

Meetings culture for hybrid workers is broken, according to recent reports and analyses. Some 43% of 31,000 workers polled from across 31 countries by Microsoft earlier this year said they don’t feel included in meetings. Some organizations are turning to the metaverse to make meetings more engaging. But can that really be the answer long term?

Despite its current low level of capability, numerous organizations have embraced the metaverse for meetings and not just for novelty value. One such business is Battenhall, which has created working spaces for employees in Meta’s Horizon Workrooms — a virtual reality meeting space it has developed — and an online game platform Roblox. “Meetings are one of the things that [the metaverse] is particularly useful for right now,” said London-based founder and CEO Drew Benvie.

For the last ten months, Benvie has used weekly team meetings in the metaverse. “Staff members reported that it increases feelings of togetherness for those working from home over traditional phone calls or video meetings,” he said. “While the metaverse is generally considered to be in its infancy … it makes Zoom calls feel prehistoric.”

Moreover, it’s what many workers want, especially younger cohorts. So finds Owl Labs’ new State of Hybrid Work report, which polled over 2,000 full-time U.K. employees. Indeed, 42% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they want an office metaverse, and a further 23% would be keen to work in VR. 

However, plenty of skeptics lurk. “I don’t think the metaverse will solve any of the issues [around engaging remote workers],” said Ariel Camus, founder and CEO of Microverse, a school that trains software engineers. “In fact, I think it will create new problems because there are new technological barriers for people to join and participate as equals in meetings.”

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in October 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Demand for fully remote jobs is on the decline

Is the desire for fully remote roles dwindling? Yes, dramatically, according to Flexa Careers’ most recent installment of the Flexible Working Index, which tracks where, when, and how people prefer to work and what companies offer. 

In August, 60% of job searches on Flexa’s global directory for flexible jobs were for fully remote roles. Yet it plummeted to 44% in September — a drop of 26 percentage points and, in pleasing symmetry, 26.4% — using a sample size of 43,569 searches by those hunting work (83% in the U.K. and 3% in the U.S.) and over 1,290 job adverts.

Interestingly, employers also mirrored the decline: only 10% of fully remote roles were advertised in September. The figure was 24% just a month earlier.

Could we be witnessing the start of seasonal fluctuations in demand for fully remote jobs?

Perhaps the drop in searches for fully remote roles hints at a deeper trend — employees and employers alike have concluded that being out-of-the-office five days a week is counter-productive. Moreover, it is increasing well-being issues and loneliness for some employees and, in turn, making it harder for employers to attract and retain talent. 

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in October 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Broken meetings culture is causing people to switch off, literally

It was only a matter of time. The endless meetings cycles that have become embedded in the working cultures of so many organizations across industries have escalated to the point where people are simply tuning out during them.

And with so many meetings still taking place on video, rather than in-person, a large number of people don’t think they need to be in them at all – which is leading to mass disengagement, according to some workplace sources.

A whopping 43% of 31,000 workers, polled from across 31 countries by Microsoft, said they don’t feel included in meetings. 

“Meeting culture is broken, and it’s having a significant impact on employee productivity and business efficiency,” said Sam Liang, CEO and co-founder of Otter.ai, a California-based software company that uses artificial intelligence to convert speech to text.

A recent Otter.ai study revealed that, on average, workers spend one-third of their time in meetings, 31% of which are considered unnecessary. But employers continue to plow ahead without changing these embedded structures.

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in October 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Time to break the stereotypes about Gen Z attitudes to work

Organizations are over-relying on stereotypes to try and understand what makes them tick in the scramble to attract and retain the best young talent.

Sure, Generation Zers have unique perspectives on careers and how to succeed in the workforce that differs from previous generations, but in the race to better understand an entire generation, important details are falling through the cracks.

For instance, Gen Z bore the brunt of the criticism for harboring so-called lazy work ethics like “quiet quitting.” But that falls short of the full truth, talent execs have asserted.

Meanwhile, new research has emerged that disproves another myth: that Gen Zers don’t want to work in an office, ever. It turns out a large proportion does want to experience in-person workplace environments. Indeed, 72% of 4,000 U.K. Gen Zers said they want to be in the office between three and five days a week, according to research published in September by Bright Network, a graduate careers and employment firm.

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in October 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.