💬 Issue #32 - Another Dimension
From face-to-face work to KPI worship, everything in moderation – except preparation
Flexible hybrid work models hit the sweet spot for productivity, happiness, and cost-effectiveness; work your problems like an astronaut; and this is your org’s brain on data. It’s Friday, let’s wring out washcloths in space!
STEAL THIS DESK
All hail, flexible hybrid! According to a recent meta-analysis of work models for knowledge workers, hybrid bests in-office on multiple criteria, from productivity to rent to talent retention to employee happiness. By one estimate, giving employees a flexible hybrid option is the equivalent, satisfaction-wise, of an 8% raise. Stanford researcher Nick Bloom found that folks who work hybrid are more productive than those who are fully in-office. Perhaps unsurprisingly, unnecessary meetings and long commutes are hell on the sorts of deep work that power many organizations.
Why not go whole hog and commit to fully remote? For some sectors, the office allows for collaboration and creativity that can be harder to capture in a fully remote setting -- fully remote teams that rely on collaboration find a loss in productivity compared to a hybrid model.
No matter what the research shows, 5-day in-office work is a relic of the pre-pandemic past. Across all sectors, remote work is stabilizing around 25% of workdays, a fivefold jump as compared to 2019. (Were we ever so young?)
Come for the life tips, remain forever haunted by the vivid description of space station life (think diapers and “clumping” soft foods).
The takeaways from astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield’s book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, are on first blush pretty grim: think negative; prepare for the worst (emphasis on prepare… also on worst); sweat the details; and aim to be a mellow zero when part of a team.
But Hadfield’s preparation for the worst has made him calm and confident in the face of gnarly space problems, like fires 250 miles from Earth’s surface and fistfights in a spaceship smaller than a Sprinter van. Having lived through a zillion simulations means that in the most consequential moments (like, say, liftoff) Hadfield feels relief buoyed by knowledge. A confident ‘zero’ in his troop of fellow astronauts, Hadfield focuses first on listening and doing no harm; it’s only once he’s got a firm sense of context and goals that he works to move his mission forward.
MICRODOSING WITH DATA
A million KPIs can make for a pretty bad trip. According to Ágoston Török, “KPI psychosis” is just as bad as it sounds. Perhaps paradoxically, hyper sensitivity to measurables can lead your org further and further from reality.
In an attempt to make bias-free decisions (spoiler: data themselves include bias), orgs wrongly focus on KPIs to the exclusion of intuition, context, and – perhaps counterintuitively – consideration of their actual objectives. When all you consider is a computation, you’ve forgotten to ask whether your equation is still reliable, if it’s even measuring what you need measured, or – unnervingly – whether your objective is even measurable.
KPI optimization recognizes that data are most meaningful when contextualized, and for context, you don’t need computers, you need human beings.
ELSEWHERE ON THE INTERNETS
YESTERYEAR TECH OF THE WEEK
Start me up … (and waaaaaait for it). 🔈 on.
Until next week ,
— 💬 The EiT Crew at Status Hero