for W3c validation
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFSc_qVcyTE (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.
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 spatial.chat, 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:
- You can send a message to anywhere in Slack—from anywhere in Slack
- You can forward any message to any channel by reacting to it with an emoji
- You can reply to any email notification from Slack right from your inbox
- You can create your own workspace-wide auto-responses
- You can schedule messages for later
- You can create recurring reminders
- 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:
- Find your next favourite true crime podcast
- Try these simple hacks to bring nature into your home
- Learn more about how time is slipping away from us all
- Master the art of cooking with online lessons from a pro
- Watch the cast of Community do a table read on YouTube
- Add to your reading list with the best books of 2020 (so far)
- Listen to the fascinating story of Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the piano
- Discover why humans totally freak out when they get lost (and be glad you can’t get lost between the couch and the bathroom… probably).
absolutely no one:
my dad doing virtual reality: pic.twitter.com/nkLmtEJlZj
— Ashley Madison (@ashleycacioppo) May 16, 2020
I wish I lived in that neighborhood, I’m jealous! pic.twitter.com/u96kyS45MK
— 𝖆𝖑𝖊𝖝𝖎 🦇 (@alexivenegas_) May 14, 2020
Week 8 of lockdown: My girlfriend made an art gallery for our cat. pic.twitter.com/LDXKFmf4ST
— Jake Lambert (@LittleLostLad) May 15, 2020
Misinformation Friday Five
- Conspiracy theorist spreads false claim about Fauci, patents and COVID-19
- How the ‘Plandemic’ movie and its falsehoods spread widely online
- If someone shares the ‘Plandemic’ video, how should you respond?
- QAnon is more important than you think
- From 2017: The normalisation of conspiracy culture
COVID-19 Friday Five
- Some claim we can use “personalised AI” to battle the pandemic. Others think that’s a terrible idea.
- Coronavirus: Why the maths behind the UK’s ‘COVID alert levels’ makes no sense
- Microsoft open-sources its coronavirus threat data for security researchers
- How the coronavirus is killing the middle class
- Why meatpacking plants have become coronavirus hot spots
Work Friday Five
- Making space for humanity at work
- Sundar Pichai on managing Google through the pandemic
- 8 ways remote and traditional management meet in today’s workplace
- Remote team managers can learn a lot from open-source communities
- Organizational culture as a tool for change
Tech Friday Five
- Algorithms associating appearance and criminality have a dark past
- IBM’s new open-source tool helps developers make their apps more accessible
- What does JAY-Z’s fight over audio deepfakes mean for the future of AI music?
- Here’s everything you need to know about Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and how machines see
- Honor’s making a serious move into the smart home
Social Media Friday Five
- Facebook rolls out Shops, turning Pages into storefronts
- A blessing and a curse: The rich history behind ‘Black Twitter’
- How to know if your Instagram is actually worth growing
- How neuroscience can improve social media efforts and build fandoms
- Opinion: To fix social media, we need to introduce digital socialism
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
17:08 – the weird world of dropshipping
Other stories we bring up