WFD | Seating Charts

| Distributed Work | Prosocial Lies | Restaurant Work | Shorter Day, Not Shorter Week | Future Skilling |

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

2020–01–23 Beacon NY | Writing a lot elsewhere, so I’ve been distracted.

Quote of the Day

Even at the largest and most successful companies on the planet, so much of what employees come to know about how the organization functions is left to the lottery of seating charts.

| Noah Brier and James Gross, Learn Where You Work [an issue of their newsletter, which seems email only]

You Have To Go Slow To Go Fast

Is synchronous, always-on communication eroding productivity and causing stress?


The Future Of Work Is Distributed | Brad Feld wonders about distributed work. Good comments.


Lying for a benevolent reason makes people trust you | Judi Ketteler discusses research by Emma Levine about prosocial lies:

Telling a lie for benevolent reasons — what behavioral scientists call a prosocial lie — may just be a crucial leadership skill. Emma Levine, assistant professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, studies these types of lies and has found that prosocial lying isn’t just seen as acceptable, it’s seen as essential. Her research has found that we perceive those who tell prosocial lies to be more ethical than those who tell hurtful truths, if we understand the intentions of the deceiver. In other words, we favor benevolence over honesty, when it’s clear someone told a lie for benevolent reasons. She’s also found that prosocial lying can increase trust — which flies against the conventional wisdom that deception always destroys trust. In many situations, it’s seen as far more ethical to lie than to deliver raw truth.

(hat tip to Connor Joyce)


How 6 restaurant brands are boosting retention | Restaurant retention is just like everywhere else: people don’t quit the job, they quit their bosses:

“Research is pretty clear on why employees leave a foodservice operation,” Riehle. “It generally has to do with the immediate supervision.”

Keeping managers happy is a growing area of focus across many chains, especially since stable management can help with overall store metrics. Major restaurant chains have recently made investments to improve employee satisfaction: Taco Bell is testing a $100,000 manager salary in select markets this year, while Shake Shack is trialing a four-day work week for general managers.

Attracting and retaining better managers leads to better employee engagement and customer satisfaction.


A life of long weekends is alluring, but the shorter working day may be more practical | Andrew Veal looks at the historical background of reductions in the workweek and suggests it might be better to push for a shorter workday than to advocate for a four-day workweek.

I’m on the fence in terms of how it would work after general implementation, a decade from now, say. But I bet it will be easier to get adoption of shorter workdays in a still five-day workweek arrangement.


Fixing the Global Skills Mismatch | I like a lot of what is said in this BCG report, but there is a large mismatch between some of its observations. For example, the authors state

We are insufficiently focused on training for jobs that have yet to appear. It is expected, that by 2022, 27% of available jobs will be in roles that don’t yet exist.

Contrast that with this:

Employees must take responsibility for their own professional development so that they can choose their career paths and unlock their full potential.

How is an individual worker — one whose skills may be partially or completely out of date, or who may never have received appropriate training in the first place— supposed to be able to choose their career path if almost a third of future jobs don’t exist yet? And where are they supposed to get that training for future jobs?

No. I am sorry. Business will have to take a leading role — in partnership with educational institutions and government — to future proof the workforce. We can’t hide behind individual ‘choice’ in training and careers to act as a smokescreen for business indecision and inaction.

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