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

“Your Ideas Are Not Your Identity”: Adam Grant on How to Get Better at Changing Your Mind

Anne says: This week’s article is somewhat of an extension on last week’s juggling – learning to learn something new. It’s a review of Adam Grant’s recent book, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, and the interview by Evan Nesterak with Adam Grant weaves the concept of changing your mind, the flexibility of thinking differently, while avoiding the prospect that your opinion/position on a topic is wrong. Immediately I was considering so many current issues where opinions are polarised – the binary I’m right, you’re wrong – with no apparent area in between.

There’s a couple of insightful comments that provide you with some guidance to achieve a flexible approach:

“If somebody sees an idea, or an opportunity, or forms an opinion that is different from mine, I should say, This is an interesting opportunity to learn something from someone who sees things differently from me, and I wonder if they know something I don’t.”

In our research work, as human-centred designers, we are required to be constantly aware of these differences and attempt to understand alternative perspectives or ways of working. We are always looking for alternative scenarios that may enable us to open new and meaningful conversations to uncover information that may not be immediately obvious if we only apply our personal perspectives.

The ability to accept there’s no single right answer, the challenge is to expose possibility and find a way to avoid the binary argument.

“I do not want to have both-sides conversations anymore. Whenever somebody says, here’s the other side, my first question is, Can you tell me what the third angle and the fourth look like?”

It occurs to me that our workplaces could benefit from discussions that look for the third and fourth angles, rather than consolidating the polarised opinions. Hybrid workplace models are going to need these types of conversations as we navigate new ways of working.

I haven’t read Adam’s book, it’s awaiting me on my iPad and I’m looking forward to carving out some time to explore these concepts further! If you’ve read it, I’d love to know your thoughts!


Steelcase – Global report: changing expectations and the future of work

Jakkii says: This recent global report from Steelcase is the “synthesis of eight primary studies designed to measure how the COVID-19 pandemic will change the future of work.” Conducted across multiple countries, the findings are informed by over 32,000 participants in total across the 8 studies.

Their key findings are grouped into four broad headings:

  • Working From Home Around the World – Benefits and Challenges

  • 12 The First Wave of Workplace Change – The Hybrid Future

  • 19 Changing Employee Expectations – Five Critical Elements

  • 33 Four Macro Shifts Organizations Need to Address

Some of the benefits of working from home (WFH) around the world include no commute, no office-based distractions, and the ability to focus & be productive. In contrast, some of the challenges of WFH around the world include a sense of isolation, concerns about productivity and engagement, and speed of decision making.

Steelcase identified five patterns of WFH experiences from this data:

  • The overworked caretaker
    Home office is a nonstop flow of competing demands

  • Relieved self-preservationist
    Home office is the only place I am safe

  • Frustrated creative networker
    Home office is a suspension of normal life and work

  • Autonomy seeker
    Home office is freedom

  • Isolated zoomer
    Home office is a lonely cage

I’d be interested to hear with which, if any, of these patterns you identify! For me, I am generally the Autonomy Seeker! As the article describes, this person feels just as productive at home as they did in the office, and enjoys being able to design or at least curate their own work experience.

Unsurprisingly, a key finding of the report is around the move towards hybrid workplaces, the topic du jour (or really, topic de l’année, of the year!). It does find that not all organisations are intending to go hybrid; from their dataset, 23% will return to the office and 5% will remain WFH on a more permanent basis, while the majority at 72% will be moving toward or already implementing a hybrid model.

Whether hybrid, office-based or distributed (remote, WFH), employee expectations from their workplaces and their employers are changing. In this report, they fall into five key elements:

  1. Safety

  2. Belonging

  3. Productivity

  4. Comfort

  5. Control

Now I don’t know about you, but those 5 headings don’t sound all that dissimilar to pre-pandemic, even if most office-based knowledge workers might not think so much about safety on a day to day basis (anecdotally speaking, of course!). So the ranking, as it were, is certainly different, but when you review the report you see that, not unexpectedly, something like Safety largely relates to being safe with respect to covid – and, perhaps, other possible future pandemics. Belonging here largely relates to why people miss the office – the connection with team, colleagues, leaders, and the organisation at large. And so on with productivity, comfort and control. Everything has changed, so of course what these headings might mean to us (or the participants) now probably looks quite different from those oh-so-innocent pre-covid days.

Finally, the report looks at four ‘macro shifts’ that Steelcase believe organisations need to address:

  • Design for safety

  • Design for productivity

  • Design to inspire community

  • Design for flexibility

Steelcase is an office furniture company, and what they’re referring to is design of the physical workplace, but I think these are certainly fairly extrapolated to design for the digital workplace and to broader hybrid workplace models as well. The report concludes with some guiding principles for designing a better work experience:

It’s not a difficult read, and while it covers 41 pages, there are lots of charts and illustrations in there to review over a cuppa. I found it a worthwhile read as we continue to consider what comes next, and how we can best be informed by data in our decision making, given the pandemic has been a new experience for us all. Particularly useful, I think, are datasets that indicate how people are thinking and feeling about work, working from home, and any return to the workplace, to help inform how we help our employees and our organisations define and navigate the next normal.


Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace

Remote work

Communication, engagement, and culture

Community management, moderation and misinformation

Privacy and data

The great Australian Facebook stoush

Social media


This is interesting: How investigative journalism flourished in hostile Russia

Things that make you go hmmm: The world faces a pandemic of human rights abuses in the wake of Covid-19

Space: Mars touchdown by Perseverance rover shown in thrilling video released by NASA

Science: How a 1960s discovery in Yellowstone made millions of COVID-19 PCR tests possible

Friday funny: Councillor Rowan Battley implores you to buy one of his wife’s crocheted dolls

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