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New study shows under-desk cycling improves thinking more than standing. 
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New study shows under-desk cycling improves thinking more than standing. 

The NYT recently wrote about a study published by the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport that showed under-desk cycling improved subject's cognitive scores, accuracy, and speed.

Source: www.sciencedirect.com

The study compared sitting, standing, walking, and under-desk cycling. But before you requisition under-desk pedelers for everyone, be aware the study, while rigorous, only included 9 adults. 


Some theories about why IBM is moving 5,000 of its tech people back to the office
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Some theories about why IBM is moving 5,000 of its tech people back to the office

IBM pioneered telecommuting. Now it wants people back in the office.

That IBM called back its employees anyway is telling, especially given its history as 'a business whose business was how other businesses do business.' Perhaps Big Blue’s decision will prove to be a mere stumble in the long, inevitable march toward remote work for all. But there’s reason to regard the move as a signal, however faint, that telecommuting has reached its high-water markand that more is lost in working apart than was first apparent.

The communications technology offering the fastest, cheapest, and highest-bandwidth connection is still the office.”

Source: www.theatlantic.com

This thoughtful article by Jerry Useem in November’s Atlantic offers several rationales for IBM’s about face on remote work, including:

  • Need for “collaborative efficiency” – some studies indicate that groups can solve problems faster when working in proximity.
  • Research by Ben Waber, a visiting scientist at MIT, who found that people working in an office together traded an average of 38 communications about a problem vs. an average of 8 communications if the workers were in different locations.
  • “Radical collocation” – a term coined by Judith Olson, a researcher at UC Irvine. In the late 90s, Ford Motor Company let Olson run an experiment with six teams working on the exact same problem. All six teams worked in war rooms near each other. and all completed their software development projects in about a third of the time normally required for such work.

 

Our take: These studies by no means prove that remote work is less efficient than co-located work, but they help us understand why some companies might be swayed by reasoning that backs up their hunches.


How Adam Neumann, cofounder and CEO of WeWork, organized $20 billion in funding with one meeting
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How Adam Neumann, cofounder and CEO of WeWork, organized $20 billion in funding with one meeting

"At $20 billion, WeWork is the most valuable startup in America outside Uber and Airbnb. The bet: rather than just building co-working spaces, it's going to change everyone's office experience.

Softbank would invest $3 billion directly into WeWork. Neumann's team would build and manage the offices, and Softbank would handle the local relationships. Valuation: $20 billion. WeWork, which straddles real estate, hospitality and technology, was now worth about the same as hotel operator Hilton Worldwide."

Source: www.forbes.com

Business deals are breaking boundaries too. At the end of their taxicab meeting, Son emailed a photo of their “digital cocktail-napkin contract” to Neumann and their business relationship was sealed.


How do you keep remote workers from feeling like second-class citizens?  
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How do you keep remote workers from feeling like second-class citizens?  

Many employers, however, “have let remote work happen rather than make it happen. They haven’t done the (management) training,” says Kate Lister, president of consultancy Global Workplace Analytics.

 

Source: www.wsj.com

It's all too easy to forget that person who dialed into the meeting remotely (and for them to forget about you). Good communication doesn't just happen, you have to make it happen. That's true for face-to-face or remote employees. Dell, National Equity Fund, and many others make it work in a big way and reap the benefits in attraction/retention, engagement, cost reductions, and more.

 


Emotional Intelligence—A key skill for the future, particularly for managers of remote teams 
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Emotional Intelligence—A key skill for the future, particularly for managers of remote teams 

"No amount of technological wizardry or personal autonomy negates the fact–which has long been true for office-bound workers as well–that job satisfaction is still closely tied to having an effective, emotionally intelligent boss."

 

Source: www.fastcompany.com

Importantly, the article cautions:

  • Don't forget your remote team members. One examples cites a financial services firm that insists if one person is attending a meeting remotely, everyone else must attend using the same tool.
  • Establish trust by taking the time to get to know your remote team; sharing information about who you/they are as a person strengthens relationships.
  • Talk less and listen more. Emotionally intelligent managers excel at asking effective questions to draw their people out.


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