Work

What Le Corbusier Got Right About Office Space

“It wasn’t the environment itself that was stressful or distracting — it was the lack of control.” People work better when they have some control. Workers were observed to be more productive and feel more satisfied with their jobs when their employers gave them the freedom to decorate their workspaces as they wished. However, when managers shifted their decorations slightly, they felt their freedom was taken away and performed significantly worse and felt dissatisfied with their jobs. Read full article here

How To Survive Automation

With AI getting smarter — being able to learn rules of games without human intervention — people are naturally anxious about losing their jobs to automation. Aaron Bastani suggests we embrace automation and adopt fully automated luxury communism (FALC). FALC proposes automation to take over all human work while people sit back and reap the fruits of their labour. Automation, in this case, would serve human needs, which would bring about a science fiction-esque “post-work, post-scarcity society” where we would hopefully live like modern-day billionaires.
Read full article here

The New Neurasthenia

Burnout has been used to describe situations that go beyond its clinical criteria, becoming one of the hottest buzzwords of our times. Jonathan Malesic posits that we’re seeing more people getting burnt out because of the mismatch between the ideals of work and reality; idealised as purposeful, work is instead unfulfilling for many workers. But no one uses the term more than “affluent professionals who fetishise overwork” who have little experience with the exploitative realities of work, which has skyrocketed the relevance of the term. Read full article here

Are We Really Witnessing A Great Resignation?

The “great resignation” is the idea that people are quitting their jobs en masse during the pandemic, either to look for new jobs or to leave the workforce entirely. Although this seems to be a phenomenon in the US, nothing seems to have changed across the pond. Data from the Labour Force Survey, which releases official UK unemployment statistics monthly, shows that there’s no rise in both quit and hire rates for 2021; in fact, the job-to-job movement rate is well below the norm. Read full article here

Ageism In The Workplace

Older workers are often perceived as different by their younger colleagues, even without evidence backing these preconceived notions, leading to their exclusion from ingroups. Because they’re stereotyped to be weaker performers, less flexible, and less competent, older workers’ opinions are also less likely to be listened to. Continued exclusion and dismissal of opinions mean there is poorer communication and collaboration, along with less diverse viewpoints when it comes to decision-making, leading to poorer decisions and lower levels of creativity and innovation. Read full article here

Replace Waiters With QR Codes

Thomas Wells feels that society should do away with human waiters in lieu of QR codes that allow customers to order remotely. Although there are benefits to waiters, such as human interaction, he thinks those are far outweighed by their inconveniences. While dining out, we want to focus on our company and our meals, and flagging down a server disrupts your experience because you have to get their attention. Read full article here

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Burnout

Academics, especially those dealing with politics, have long had a blurred line dividing work and leisure, but this line has become even less defined after the pandemic began. And this increasingly blurry line—this melding of the work and leisure spheres—has made burnout feel even bleaker. For Adam B. Lerner, the colonisation of the private space by employers due to work from home mandates and “draconian” restrictions on leisure has made burnout more entrenched in the global crises that overwhelmed him and possibly many other academics. Read full article here

The Biggest Mistake I See Engineers Make

According to Zach Lloyd, working on a project by yourself for too long is one of the worst mistakes an engineer could make; you go longer without the feedback that keeps you on the right track and fixes problems before they get too complicated. Early-career engineers are said to be mainly at fault as they’re not used to working in a team in class. They usually work solo and are too used to presenting a big chunk of progress instead of bite-sized pieces that colleagues can review easily. Read full article here

Cost Of Attrition

Hiring someone quickly may seem like it fixes the problem of attrition — the sizing down of a team after the departure of an employee — but an employee takes more than just their expertise with them. Benji Weber notes that even if a company finds a replacement quickly, teams won’t be able to recover because interpersonal relationships amongst team members have been disrupted. It takes time for a new member to be assimilated into the team, so the time to recover from attrition is longer than you think. Read full article here

The Pursuit Of Purpose May Be Harming Your Organisation

A study reveals that there’s a definite bias towards thinking that a sense of purpose translates to a higher quality of work. In the study, participants were assigned to watch a video of a male actor portraying a calling-oriented, job-oriented, or neutral outlook towards his work, and then choose how much to reward him. Despite the lack of other information regarding his actual performance, participants consistently awarded his calling-oriented persona—in which he portrays someone who finds work fulfilling—more than his job-oriented or neutral personas. Read full article here

FASCINATING READS, SUMMARISED

The occasional email full of conversation-worthy content