Agile Work News

  • Internal survey show federal telework recall has devastated morale and failed to increase collaboration or productivity

    The Education Department changed its telework policy last year, requiring most employees to show up to the office at least four days a week.


    When the U.S. Dept of Education recalled its teleworkers last year, they did so ostensibly to increase collaboration and improve customer service. Nine months have now passed and, based on a federal survey of over 2,100 supervisors and staff, the plan has back-fired. Not only do three-quarters of respondents say being in the office has not improved collaboration (only 6% say collaboration has improved), but over 87% say it has had a negative impact on morale, 86% say they know coworkers who already have or may leave the agency as a result of the change, and 75% say it has not improved productivity. Among supervisors, 77% expressed dissatisfaction with the telework policy changes.

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  • 5 Workforce Predictions for 2020

    Survey: Roughly 24 million Americans are seriously considering quitting their full-time jobs to pursue entrepreneurship.


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  • Why remote work should approached strategically instead of tactically

    "The changes remote work has introduced have happened so gradually you may not have noticed. But its growing popularity is remaking how we work, the tools we use to work, how we communicate at work, and even the hours we work.”


    Good article with lots of data to support the benefits of remote work including increased productivity, better work-life balance, being able to live in more affordable areas, and more.

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  • Working remotely: the pros and cons of working from home

    The changes remote work has introduced have happened so gradually you may not have noticed. But its growing popularity is remaking how we work, the tools we use to work, how we communicate at work, and even the hours we work. It’s also connected to population shifts from big cities to less populated areas, and it’s upending sectors of commercial real estate, both in terms of how spaces are designed and where they’re located.


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  • HOK’s “Designing a Neurodiverse Workplace” report is a must-read

    Neurodiversity, is an umbrella term for people who aren’t neurotypical, and includes such conditions as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and others. HOK’s comprehensive report shows how businesses can design for inclusion of this portion of the workforce.


    Fifteen to twenty percent of people have conditions that mean, to borrow a phrase from Apple, they “think different.” They represent a hugely under-utilized portion of the workforce. 


    Designing workspaces that are more inclusive of their diversity can help them perform better. A buzzing florescent light can be annoying for some but debilitating for others.


    The report offers practical takeaways including specific design strategies, operational changes, and individual adjustments that can help not only this underutilized source of talent thrive, but benefit the rest of your workforce in the process.

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  • Recent studies show wellness programs don’t work. So what does?

    “The research shows that employer health and wellness efforts fall short despite company investments in on-site gyms, ergonomics and healthy food choices…”


    Summary results from a survey of 1,600 professionals shows the right air, light, water, and temperature are more important to employees than perks like fitness facilities and healthy food choices.


    If your wellness programs aren’t working, maybe it’s time to go back to the basics.

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  • Forget STEM, the real skills gap is behavioral

    While digital skills remain important, soft skills have surpassed them in importance for executives around the world."


    Kids are learning skills today for jobs that won’t exist by the time they graduate. Skilled people fuel the global economy, but the half-life of useful skills is shrinking at a rapid rate. AI will pick up some of the load making retraining a crucial corporate function and uniquely human skills even more valuable. Behavioral skills such as agility and flexibility, ability to set priorities, innovation and creativity, ethics and integrity will be prized. 


    Amazingly, 50% of organizations are whistling past the graveyard with no skills development strategies today. And those that do have one are going to have to find new ways to find, train, and retain talent. Using analytics to predict and infer skills supply and demand will be essential.


    This report will help you understand the issue and provide three intriguing solutions: make it personal, turn up the transparency, and look inside and out.

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  • The enterprise guide to closing the skills gap

    While digital skills remain important, soft skills have surpassed them in importance for executives around the world.

    The half-life of skills continues to shrink, while the time it takes to close a skills gap has ballooned. Executives must find ways to stay ahead of skills relevancy.




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  • How would CRE/FM change if, as the headlines say, “Shareholder Value Is No Longer Everything”

    Chief executives from the Business Roundtable, including the leaders of Apple and JPMorgan Chase, argued that companies must also invest in employees and deliver value to customers.


    There was no shortage of commentary about the need for a new corporate purpose that came from the collective mouths of the chief executives of Apple, Pepsi, Walmart, and nearly 200 other organizations last week. Basically, these organizations agreed they must look to satisfy not just their investors, but a wide range of stakeholders including employees, suppliers, and the environment.

    Isn’t this what WE has been championing for years? While there’s nothing really new here, and the sentiment was criticized by many for its lack of specific commitments, it may be a harbinger of C-suite receptiveness toward many of the programs we support. It’s time to show they’re good for not more than the bottom line, they’re good for people and planet too.

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  • Harvard study reveals surprising impacts when employees are allowed to work not just from home, but anywhere

    A study found that “work from anywhere” policies increased productivity.


    A team from Harvard used 8 years of data from the US Patent & Trademark Office to examine the difference in outcomes between  work-from-home (WFH) vs. work-from-anywhere (WFA) programs. Here are the highlights of the 50+ page study

    – They confirmed earlier research showing productivity was higher for all remote workers

    – The productivity increase was greatest among WFA workers (4.4% percentage points higher than WFH), and lowest among WFH who lived >50 miles from the office (with the productivity increase among those who lived <50 miles from the office falling in between)

    – They showed that in one department (Art department) teams created informal remote relationships when they were located near colleagues and this increased their productivity 

    – Older WFA workers were more likely to move out of the region (Alexandria) than younger WFA workers, but both groups experienced a reduction in the cost-of-living  

    – For remote workers whose job required significant interaction with colleagues, having a mandated set of IT tools increased productivity even further (3%) 

    – There was no decline in quality among either group of remote workers

    PTO’s remote worker avoided 84 million miles of travel thus reducing emissions by 44k tons

    PTO saved $38M in RE

    The study valued the productivity from PTO’s remote work program at $1.3 billion. It reduced commuter travel by 84M miles and emissions by 44k tons. And it saved the agency $38M in real estate costs.

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