💬 Issue #39 - Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out
Unhappy, obsessive workers and the coffee badgers who are doing great, actually!
It’s Friday, will you think about work all weekend? The vast majority of knowledge workers are in a terrible situationship with their jobs: they find them unsatisfying and also can’t stop thinking about them. Have you considered keeping it casual by coffee badging?
SAD DESK LUNCH
We’ve all spent a lot of time debating the RTO question over the past few years. But what if we’ve been asking the wrong question, and focusing on office-or-home misses something fundamental about the nature of work? Maybe it’s not where you work, but how you work.
That’s the big realization from Enrique Lores. The CEO of HP commissioned a study the company calls “the HP Work Relationship Index.” After asking 15,000 people in twelve countries about their relationship to work and their expectations for the future, HP came upon a disturbing piece of data. Only 27% of the workers polled said that they have a healthy relationship to their work. There are more people who believe that the Earth is only several thousand years old than there are folks who are satisfied with their jobs.
Lores suggests rethinking productivity measures and their relationship to worker satisfaction -- after all, happier teams tend to be more productive and effective. A whopping 83% of respondents said they’d be willing to earn less money if it meant feeling happier in their job. Fewer than a quarter said they “experience the flexibility, autonomy, and work-life balance they seek”: Lores argues that redefining company culture and using today’s technology to support new culture goals will be key to supporting and maintaining a creative and resilient workforce, wherever their desks are.
FREE YOUR MIND
If you could see thought bubbles above the heads of the people around you at the gym, you would see a failed murder board of half-completed PowerPoint slides, Jack Torrance-style repetitive emails, and a whole lot of rumination over office politics. It may look like the guy next to you on the treadmill is happily listening to Appetite for Destruction and thinking about the Roman Empire, but in reality, he – and probably you too – is thinking about work.
But you don’t have to live that way! Rachel Feintzeig at The WSJ has some suggestions to help you break your mental work obsession:
First, figure out how deep you’re in it. Track when/where/how long you’re thinking about work outside of work.
Give yourself a memory task that takes your full attention (naming all fifty state capitals, e.g.) to break the mental tether to that work issue (Frankfort!).
Separate your personal identity from your work identity, so you’re not tortured by past mistakes that rattle your sense of self. (Tbh this is just good advice in general.)
Mark the transition from work with a simple ritual that reminds your brain to turn off the spigot marked “work.”
Develop other interests. After all, “you can’t think about work when you’re trying not to crash a boat,” says the CEO of a marketing firm who took up boating and reclaimed her brain outside of work. Ahoy!
Have you noticed a new creature in the office? He ambles in a few minutes after ten, exchanges pleasantries with his office mates, and then cadges a company lunch before toddling out the door to beat the afternoon traffic. Confident and suddenly ubiquitous, he is … the coffee badger.
“More than half, 58%, of hybrid workers admit to ‘coffee badging,’ or the act of going into the office building for their morning coffee, earning an imaginary badge for it, and then going home to work for the remainder of the day,” reports CNBC. (How they manage a commute pre-coffee is a subject for another day.)
These workers see the value in being at the office -- connecting with colleagues and problem-solving in person -- but know that they get their best work done outside the office. This kind of flexibility builds trust between workers and their managers, key to worker satisfaction at every level.
ELSEWHERE ON THE INTERNETS
YESTERYEAR TECH OF THE WEEK
DJ Mike Llama FTW
See ya next week,
– The EiT crew at Status Hero