April 2020 - zoom fatigue, buffer time, less focus at work, and hiring the best is not what you think

We’re in the same storm, but we’re not necessarily on the same boat

Welcome to a new issue! I’m happy that you are here.

Due to some (self-inflicted) challenges in transferring to a new platform, I am taking the liberty of delivering the April issue… on May 3rd.

In the March issue I asked everyone how they were doing and that triggered several conversations and email exchanges. It was good to hear from many of you.

I hope this finds you safe and healthy. It’s become a bit of a cliché to start communications in that manner, but -hey- I really do hope this, so I’m tellin’ ya.


ON MY BLOG


TEN THINGS

  1. Report: people working from home during covid19 are working an average of 41.6 hours per week, which is the highest weekly average dating back to November 2019. They are also spending an extra 60-90 minutes per week in team sync meetings and nearly as much added time in 1-on-1 meetings. Result: a decrease in long blocks of time available to them to focus.

  2. A post by LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner about why people need to build buffer time into their remote work schedules generated over 30,000 reactions in 24 hours. Buffer time is meant to give people time for themselves rather than being filled with constant calls or household chores.

  3. A longer piece addressing why many of us are experiencing zoom fatigue. Well worth the read.

  4. While 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment over the past six weeks, the job-destroying effects of the pandemic haven't been evenly distributed. A consultancy that surveys jobs of the future is acknowledging that the future “is coming to pass faster than we realized." That will include a mix of high-technology jobs like Alternative Energy Manager and Business Intelligence Architect, as well as high-touch jobs for an aging population, like Home Health Aide (up 348% year-over-year in the first quarter). Jobs will return eventually — but they won't be the same ones we lost.

  5. A company had to lay off some of its employees. The CEO chose to write about the decision-making process and to identify where the responsibility lies: “It is important that all of you know I personally reviewed every list and every person. If you are one of those affected it is because I decided it. Your manager did not. For the majority of you it was quite the contrary. Your manager fought to keep you and I overrode them. They are blameless. If today is your last day, there is only one person to blame and it is me.” Refreshing.

  6. Covid19: We’re in the same storm, but we’re not necessarily on the same boat.

  7. This got me scratching my head (after a conversation with a restaurant owner): The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) money could be used to pay restaurants workers, but most workers are making more money from unemployment insurance than they would be at the restaurant. Simply offering laid-off workers their jobs back — to do nothing, while the restaurant is closed — makes them ineligible for unemployment. Therefore, using PPP funds for that purpose makes no sense for either employer or employee.

  8. This got me scratching my head also: Mile-long food lines, day(s)-long wait for callers trying to get through to unemployment offices, and the stock market is booming.

  9. Hiring “the best” isn’t always the brightest move in building your team. Harnessing a diversity of skills rather than a roster of pure talent is often a better team-building strategy. When everybody’s swinging hammers and no one’s sawing lumber, the house won’t get built.

  10. Wired co-founder and tech philosopher extraordinaire Kevin Kelly shared 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice for his 68th birthday. Scoop: "A worthy goal for a year is to learn enough about a subject so that you can’t believe how ignorant you were a year earlier.”


This one tweet packs a punch:


STATUS BOARD

Work: I’m writing a book and developing an online workshop for managers.

Music: Responding to an invitation on Facebook, I posted the cover of ten of my favorite albums. Not an easy task - so many to pick from!

Started reading: The active life by Parker Palmer.


Thanks for reading!

If you like this newsletter and want to support it, share it with your friends and colleagues, and tweet us some love.

If you’re seeing it for the first time and want your very own delivery, subscribe here.

One of the main reasons I switched to this platform is to make it easy for you to share your thoughts on some of the items - maybe an experience you had, a funny anecdote to tell… the Comments section below is all yours for that and more.

Another great use of that section is to share suggestions for material to include in the next issue - an article, a tweet, a news item, a video, a good book… whatever you have found useful, interesting -or even intriguing!- in matters of management, leadership, strategy or any other matter related to work life.

Be safe out there and see you next month!

Richard