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

Flexibility makes us happier

Anne says: Another attention grabbing headline – Flexibility makes us happier! Plus the rest of the headline: “…with 3 clear trends emerging in post-pandemic hybrid work”. OK, so let’s take a closer look at the article and the claims.

The headline relates to a study conducted by Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. It’s an Australian-based study – unusual these days to have data like this. They surveyed 1421 knowledge workers, online, open to anyone doing some or totally remote work during March 2022. The currency is important to note with studies and findings at the moment. The context can shift so quickly that results can be outdated in much shorter time frames than usual.

Currently, they found about 23% were returning to 5 days per week in the office, a similar number working remotely full-time. And, 44% were on hybrid models of combined office and remote working.

The hybrid work model was found to be a mixture of 3 models: fixed days in the office, flexible choice of fixed days in the office, and fully flexible that allowed any combination of the workers’ choice.

And the happiness? The findings indicate it’s mostly about autonomy. The ability to choose and have control over the location of where they’re going to work. There was also a correlation with work-life balance enabling more focus on health and wellbeing.

The conclusion warns that it’s still very early in the evolution of hybrid work practices and both company and workers will need to monitor the benefits for longer term results.

And a final comment: The pandemic is not over yet. Just today the WHO has notified that it is not lifting the global health emergency warning – so terminology, such as post-pandemic, is not useful in setting expectations and managing approaches to flexible working.

Read: https://theconversation.com/flexibility-makes-us-happier-with-3-clear-trends-emerging-in-post-pandemic-hybrid-work-180310

Rewilding your attention

Jakkii says: This post is all about eschewing the narrow and ultimately very boring view algorithms have of you by purposefully rewilding your attention.

We’re all weird in different ways, but we’re all weird.

It’s true, right? We all have quirks, and we all have niche interests, even if we keep them to ourselves, even if they don’t spring to mind immediately when someone asks ‘what are your interests?’. And even if – maybe even especially if – algorithms in the media we use haven’t picked up on them. The author references his love of Canadian art and the 18th Century poet Alexander Pope. Maybe you’re really into crochet or big band jazz from the 1930s and ‘40s. And me, well, I am obsessed with Bake Off and all its derivative shows (including the Australian version!), I have a love of bluegrass, and I adore mountains and would live in a cabin in the mountains if it were at all a practical thing to do as a non-driver!

Algorithms don’t know any of that about me, though, and I’ve never once been served an ad or a post or a link that has anything to do with any of those things. It’s all mainstream and obvious, whether it’s work-related so serving me digital workplace, future of work, user research and UX items, or broad interests-based stuff, like travel and sports and craft beer. There’s nothing subtle or nuanced or niche about any of it, not really. But does it matter? In many ways, perhaps not. But as the author expresses here, the utter banality of it all has a naturally limiting effect on our worldview, on our curiosity and on our creativity. And this is where rewilding comes in.

If you want to have wilder, curiouser thoughts, you have to avoid the industrial monocropping of big-tech feeds. You want an intellectual forest, overgrown with mushrooms and towering weeds and a massive dead log where a family of raccoons has taken up residence.

So how do you cultivate this intellectual forest? It is, frankly, much more work than sitting back and letting an algorithm feed you. It requires exploring and investigating and diving into online rabbit holes (Wikipedia is, of course, great for this). Find newsletters where someone else is curating weird and wonderful things for you (one I really enjoy is Garbage Day for its wrap-up of weird and (not always) wonderful internet culture). You could curate your own feeds by going a bit more old school with RSS and a feed reader like Feedly, as the author does. Or, also as the author does, go ‘prospecting’, picking a random subject and just seeing what’s out there, what communities and conversations exist around these things.

Get wild. Get weird. Get curious.

You just might find it helps you see things a little differently, with a broadened perspective and maybe even some new ideas.

Read: https://uxdesign.cc/rewilding-your-attention-d518ede18855

Friday Five

Five things you might find interesting this week:

Sydney Business Insights – The Future, This Week Podcast

From our colleagues at the University of Sydney Business School, this week podcast hosts Dr Sandra Peter and Professor Kai Riemer discuss Elon Musk buying into Twitter (though he, probably thankfully for Twitter, won’t join the board after all).

Listen: https://sbi.sydney.edu.au/elon-musk-buys-twitter-well-sort-of/

PS: You might also enjoy Platformer’s analysis of Musk’s Twitter rollercoaster


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