Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Cartoon of the Week

Jakkii says: This cartoon really struck me this week. There’s something so accurate about our need to be distracted from our circumstances – in some ways even starting to reopen and do things like return to the pub feels like it’s as much a distraction from the ongoing and persistent threat of COVID-19 as it is a necessary part of getting the country moving forward, both economically and socially. Those distractions are so needed that even if they might be terrible, like the arrival of this Godzilla-esque creature, they are embraced and welcomed into our lives. I think for me, the message here is about keeping sight of the bigger picture and not losing perspective – or reality – even as we seek out or take comfort in distractions, both individually and collectively, whether in our teams, organisations, or society at large.

Putting the “X” Back into Employee Experience

Anne says: This webinar from Kristine Dery, MIT Sloan Research Scientist, is particularly relevant in current times. Kristine’s research with organisations has been focusing on employee experience – in particular, this webinar talks about the current crisis and the focus on rapid digital transformation and the huge opportunities to fundamentally change the employee experience. She defines employee experience as the ability to make it easier for people to do their jobs. Of course, in current crisis environments, this can be challenging. Yet companies that are investing in employee experience our outperforming their competitors.

There are six levers that impact employee experience and there’s examples from the research to illustrate how each of these can create vastly different employee experiences. There’s also a warning that, if we continue to focus only on the physical space, or designing digital spaces, or both, we’ll miss the important learnings from this crisis. Kristine calls it: “a crisis wasted”. If we can’t learn from how we’ve been working, understand what we can bring with us into the future workplace – whatever that looks like – we are ignoring the impact on people and how they’ve managed, under duress, to remain relatively effective.

There’s some important messages in this short recording – it left me really considering how we can collectively create change in positive ways, and combine this knowledge to design new, adaptive ways of working. Definitely worth watching more than once!

Watch (28 minutes)

Working through it

This resource from Culture Amp is a seven-part series including podcasts and articles. It’s just launched this week – so don’t feel left behind, join up!

The introductory comments reveal the direction and focus of the resource:

…how people respond over time to drastic and unexpected changes. We’ll aim to take an honest look at why this has been such a difficult time for us all – but also at how better understanding human nature can help us chart a course for ourselves and our teams towards true, positive transformation.

Many companies are attempting to design new ways of working and returning to the office, but there’s a lot more to deconstruct than just who sits where, how much hand sanitizer is available and how the shared spaces (like the lunch room and kitchen areas) will function.

As was demonstrated in Kristine Dery’s research, providing time for sharing experiences and creating collective meaning is going to be an important part of reframing culture and to create new ways of working.

Read & subscribe

Not just a pretty face: These dogs’ noses could sniff out COVID-19

Whoopi says: I’m surprised it’s taken people this long to tap into the sniffer dogs to find the virus!!

Already used to detect malaria and cancer, these dogs are being taught to smell out COVID-19. That’s if COVID-19 has a smell – the scientists just aren’t sure yet. However, this team of dogs – and their profiles / CVs are listed – have been selected to be part of a trial.

I’m quite sure they’ll achieve it – and I’ll be watching eagerly for updates!


Why you can’t believe all the visual cues you get on video chats

Jakkii says: My links are focused on communication this week. This one I think is quite important, not least because many of us are new to spending so much time in online video meetings, but also because even those who have been doing it a long time haven’t necessarily stopped to consider the practical aspects of communication through online video discussions. This short read covers a few key topics:

  • Visual noise
  • Difficulty reading cues
  • Emotional interference
  • Unconscious bias
  • Easy fake

It’s a good quick read and each of these are things to be aware of so we can learn to spot them – and counteract them.

Interestingly, in our Remote Working Meetup this morning one participant was discussing their first online facilitation of a post-incident review. These types of workshops are often emotionally charged, and difficult for all participants (and the facilitator!). However, with the structured format of the online work, the visibility of participation (or lack thereof), and, importantly, the lack of influence of the emotional energy of others made the session much smoother and far less emotional than has typically been the case. It’s particularly intriguing to reflect on the whys and wherefores of that experience. One fellow meetup participant wondered if, in addition to the distance created by a screen, there might be something in the fact that in a video call people can see themselves. Perhaps seeing themselves angry might itself defuse the emotion, or at least the outward expression of it. All fascinating things to think about.

One other issue with video chat is the audio – from too many people talking at once, to the distraction of having so many voices available. Sure, breakout rooms exist in tools like Zoom, but they don’t allow you to easily move between groups. One fascinating tool I came across recently is, which connects to Zoom and essentially brings everyone (up to 50 people) into a virtual space that is more like a real room would be. You’re able to move your avatar around the room to mix and mingle with the other participants. Fascinatingly, there’s even an auditory component – as your avatar moves closer to someone, they get louder; as you move further away, they start to fade out. This mimics the way sound and our perception of it behaves in the real world. The goal of the creators was to recreate a cocktail party in the digital world – you can try it out yourself and see if you think they’ve achieved it! (Disclaimer: I haven’t done any investigation into the security side of the tool).

It’s easy to fire up a Zoom or a Teams meeting, but given the complexities of video chats, it’s well worth stopping to think before doing so and asking – do we really need to have this meeting, does it need to be on Zoom, and do we need to have everyone on video for the entire meeting or do we just say our hellos at the start and then switch off? The context of what you need to do will dictate what works best for that moment, but much like our pre-covid need to stop having in person meetings “just because”, we should probably at least be questioning our temptation to jump straight to video every time we need to have a chat during these times of covid.


7 Slack secrets that will change how you communicate with coworkers

Jakkii says: Still online but moving from visual to text-based communications, this piece is a nice collection of tips about Slack features and apps that can help you use Slack more effectively. Hopefully, whether you’re a long term Slack user or a newcomer, you might find something useful in this list:

  1. You can send a message to anywhere in Slack—from anywhere in Slack
  2. You can forward any message to any channel by reacting to it with an emoji
  3. You can reply to any email notification from Slack right from your inbox
  4. You can create your own workspace-wide auto-responses
  5. You can schedule messages for later
  6. You can create recurring reminders
  7. You can embed hyperlinks within your message text

You can, of course, check out the article for all of the detail. I didn’t know the last one – I’m going to be trying that in Slack when I next need to share a link!


Around the house

Jakkii says: Stage 1 easing of restrictions is upon most of us – or will be soon – here in Australia. This means for many of us who are comfortable doing so, we can now go back out to support small businesses, including those in the hospitality industry like restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars, in small numbers and for short periods. This is a tough time for them and a particularly tricky balance between managing small numbers and availability. If you choose to make a booking, please please please DO NOT flake out on them. If your circumstances change, and especially if someone is feeling unwell, contact them immediately – the earlier the better – to change or cancel your booking. But PLEASE don’t do that just because you don’t feel like it today, or because the weather’s a bit shit. You should take this approach in normal times anyway, but it’s especially important right now.

And for when you’re not out and about, here’s this week’s list of things you can do from the comfort of your home:

Friday Funnies









Misinformation Friday Five

COVID-19 Friday Five

Work Friday Five

Tech Friday Five

Social Media Friday Five

Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast

This week: farmers live-streaming, singles Zoom dating, and dropshipping. Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

The stories this week

03:58 – selling products via live-streaming in China boosts recovery

13:37 – video dating is helping singles and platforms during lockdown

17:08 – the weird world of dropshipping

Other stories we bring up

Our previous discussion of the impact of COVID19 on the oil industry

Oil dropped again to below $30 a barrel

Elon Musk’s baby boy is called X Æ A-12

Our previous special on Airbnb during the COVID-19 lockdown

Airbnb is laying off a quarter of its staff

US patent office rules that artificial intelligence cannot be a legal inventor

Live-streaming sales and Lipstick Brother No 1 on the BBC

Live-streaming helped China’s farmers survive the pandemic

US farmers are adapting to the pandemic by offering at-home delivery

Our previous conversation with Simon Kemp on the use of video around the world

Zoom Bachelorette

Dating apps have struggled


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