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.
People who really miss the office are listening to its sounds at home
Anne says: What do you miss most about being in an office with other people? There’s a number of typical responses we’ve discussed during our Remote Meetup group sessions – but predominantly it’s people-related, not equipment, not the commute, not even the office plants. It’s people, it’s random workplace chatter and serendipity, informal moments of exchanging ideas, it’s even the favourite coffee place and that quick interaction with the barista who knows your name and your coffee type. But, I hadn’t even considered the office noise as something that people were missing. However, I must admit I miss the noise of cafes where I frequently go to write or edit my work.
When I saw this article, my initial reaction was how ridiculous, but then I read it, thought about ambient noise and the comfort factor. I also remembered open plan coworking offices and how annoying I found some of the chatter. Then, I actually started to think about it a little more… and then, I went to the link to Calm Office and played around with the noise generator. OMG – I’m not going to say anything more, except do it now. Select your noise levels and just work for an hour or so, then notice if you were able to focus more or less than your current working environment at home. Get it?!!
Enjoy and please try out different versions – the Sound of Colleagues is pretty cool too! (Jakkii says: and if you’re missing the cafe noise like Anne, try Coffitivity, which has long been a favourite of mine for those times I just need that familiar white noise of a cafe to help me focus!)
So while we’re working remotely, you can still have that ambient hum to avoid feeling completely disconnected.
Virtual watercooler moments – can they work when we’re remote?
Anne says: Now that you’ve had some time to listen to office noises (are you listening to them as you read this?), here’s the next conundrum people are struggling with and attempting to find a solution to. It’s the watercooler moments, the random workplace conversations, the corridor conversations, the spontaneous moments where you start chatting about something with someone and you suddenly find inspiration for a problem or new ways of approaching tasks. Or, you just exchange social moments that build trust and create bonds between people in the same workplace, but not necessarily part of the same team.
This article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reviews a number of commonly used technologies and how people are using them to recreate the informal conversations. Nicholas Bloom (a Stanford professor) mentions that a couple of issues that are difficult to replace via online channels include the rapid transfer of knowledge and continuing levels of innovation. These are both enhanced through face-to-face contact. But if we can’t achieve that, then we have to start looking at the alternatives – online.
A few weeks ago in the Work Friday Fives section of our Friday Faves we shared this MIT Technology Review article, “Remote workers want to re-create those watercooler moments, virtually.” It’s a good time to revisit it as it introduces some alternative technologies to the Wall Street Journal article, and also provides some theoretical perspectives that are worthwhile exploring: how people react, how they behave, and how can we support natural behaviours to enable casual interactions.
One of the issues raised refers to online conferences. Have you attended any of the current online, full day (over several days) conferences? What do you miss most? The people, the networking. I attended one recently that provided a breakout room (online) – I ventured over to take a look around, I waited for 5 minutes, no one else was there… so I left. It felt really weird and very lonely. I didn’t visit again during the breaks. I missed that opportunity to talk to others about the conference talks, the topics, the questions – it really just wasn’t the same! As a solution to this, one of the MIT lecturers has developed open source software called Minglr. He made this available during a conference, with guidelines for use and has written a paper on his findings.
For me, there are still concerns we need to address. What if you’ve recently joined the organisation, you don’t really know people, perhaps you’ve met a couple of people on a video hookup but you haven’t had the opportunity to connect informally. How do we provide ways for people to build connections and relationships? The WSJ article highlight the use of Donut, a Slack app, which based on algorithms will randomly allocate people to have informal catch ups. Likewise, Hallway, also a Slack app, will allocate people randomly to catch up for 10 minutes. But after you’ve participated in a few of these sessions, does the novelty wear off? I think it will, as demonstrated by other examples where software can connect you through always on video (yes, just like surveillance) and you tap on someone’s profile to have a chat with them. The disturbing aspect of always on video connections (or Zoom fatigue that I wrote about recently) was how people were covering up their cameras with sticky notes just to avoid being seen.
There’s no easy answer, but it’s encouraging that there are innovations and people trying to engage in novel ways to support watercooler moments and researching the impact on people and the way they work. However, we also need to be cognisant of distracting people from their work rather than supporting them to get their work done.
Ultimately, all these articles arrive at the same conclusion – we just miss being with other people.
Why every year—but especially 2020—feels like the worst ever
Jakkii says: Doesn’t this title just resonate immediately?? It sure did for me, I clicked through as soon as I read it.
Like many people, Eastwood had become obsessed with our world’s seemingly increasing danger—a response that has roots in our evolutionary development. Stories of fear and peril pique our anxiety. They put our brains on high alert, an advantage that once protected our early hominid ancestors from predators and natural disasters, but one that now leaves us “doomscrolling,” endlessly refreshing social media and online news to stay abreast of the latest threats. Our hearts race, and our minds keep constant vigil for the next perceived catastrophe. We yearn to feel prepared, so we become addicted to the updates, coming back for more until the world seems far worse than it ever has before.
See? Totally relatable, at least for some – many? most? – of us.
The article is a really interesting read on perspective, on doomscrolling and how it goes hand in hand with social media, and how to shift our thinking from endless negativity by controlling our biases and moving to more “rosy introspection, or less antisocial networking.”
If the title of this article resonated with you, have a read through the piece. Challenge yourself to control your nostalgia bias, to step away from the media we’re consuming and embrace other media and sources that bring fun and joy instead of doom and gloom. This isn’t about pollyanna-ing all over the place – it’s OK to not feel OK and to struggle and feel like things aren’t going well. But it’s also important to recognise how the media we consume impacts how we feel and how we perceive the world, and that there are things we can do to shift the dial there and help make our perception of our world a more positive place to live.
Around the house
Hands free telephone mask, 1960s pic.twitter.com/pjCE3zqKxA
— Leviatha9 🖤🐉 🔥👑🔥 (@Leviatha99) September 9, 2020
Jakkii says: Look at that thing! Are they answering the phone, or are they actually a serial killer? Turns out it’s not actually a ‘hands-free telephone mask’, even though that does sound convenient despite the terrifying aesthetic, but instead it’s actually an ‘electric simulation mask’ from the 90s, an even more horrifying sounding beauty product that basically zaps your face to make you glow. Or something.
Don’t try this at home. Instead, entertain yourself with these reads and things to do around the house:
- While away the hours by spending Bill Gates’ money
- Explore about the many different types of yoga
- Camping is the trend of 2020. Find out how to do it well
- Understand more about how Beirut has rebuilt before, and how the city will do it again
- Did you know there was canned wine? Now you do. And now you can read about its rise
- Journey to the ghost towns behind the gates
- 8tracks wants to become your favorite place to discover new music all over again
- Need to get moving? Try dance music – research shows it’s nearly impossible not to move to it
- Movie review: The Social Dilemma, now on Netflix
Misinformation Friday Five
- TikTok suicide video: it’s time platforms collaborated to limit disturbing content
- It’s (still) time to end ‘Trending’ on Twitter
- How Facebook’s new election rules sidestep the real problem (see also Facebook won’t stop Facebook spreading lies about the election)
- Twitter flags Trump’s tweets for ‘encouraging people to potentially vote twice’
- How Facebook failed Kenosha (and now: Facebook removes Patriot Prayer pages in bid to halt ‘violent social militias’)
COVID-19 Friday Five
- The NASA astronaut who returned to a pandemic-ridden Earth
- Thanks to the pandemic, The future of anti-surveillance fashion is bright (because the world is going to hell)
- The coronavirus could be here to stay. Your privacy may be another victim.
- The pandemic is shifting how students study abroad
- The coronavirus is mutating — does it matter?
Work Friday Five
- The office will never be the same
- We may be more productive, but remote work is still missing this
- Will a platform strategy help Microsoft Teams win the long game?
- Sacked by an algorithm: Managing the future (while students figured out they were being graded by AI, and then how to cheat)
- How Slack employees use Slack
Tech Friday Five
- The tech field failed a 25-year challenge to achieve gender equality by 2020 – culture change is key to getting on track
- We asked 3 CEOs what tech trends will dominate post-COVID
- How group streaming could look in the future
- Watch: This AI mashup of movie characters singing ‘All Star’ is the best DeepFake ever
- Portland becomes first US city to ban companies from using facial recognition in public places
Trump vs TikTok & China
- TikTok, U.S. discuss ways to avoid sale
- TikTok bid highlights Oracle’s public embrace of Trump
- WeChat users can’t second-guess Trump’s authority, U.S. says
- TikTok, WeChat are just the beginning, nations fight over data to leave decades-long impact
- Facing Trump Ban, China’s TikTok embeds itself into U.S. culture
Australia vs Google & Facebook
- Why Google and Facebook are being asked to pay for the news they use – explainer
- Why Facebook is going to war in Australia
- How much should Facebook have to pay for news? We have a suggestion how to calculate it
- (video) 7.30 Report: Facebook is threatening to shut down the sharing of Australian news on its platform
- After two years without Facebook, I won’t be back
Social Media Friday Five
- Facebook will pay users to stay off their platform in a new study to track online political behaviour
- Twitter and R U OK? create interactive adventure conversation thread
- QUT develops algorithm aiming to block misogyny from Twitter
- Facebook to stop moving data from EU to US: 5 things you need to know
- 4 scenarios for the future of Facebook
Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast
This #Fortnite: the epic #Epic #Apple battle.
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
08:10 – Apple vs Epic in an epic battle
Other stories we bring up