Harvard shares tips for ‘crisis collaboration’

Diverse, cross-functional perspectives are the best way to collaborate during a crisis, according to the Harvard Business Review. Studies show that crisis makes people more risk-averse, which means they may be hesitant to make changes. Researchers are calling this ‘threat rigidity’ and suggest that companies ask questions, reinforce goals and play to their strengths. They also noted that collaboration had a positive effect on company bottom lines.  

UK government criticised for unclear messaging

The UK government has come under further scrutiny as a result of mixed messaging over safe working from home policies. In an interview with ITV, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said workers should “work from home if they can”, contradicting a previous statement from Boris Johnson that they should return to work. It comes as one of many confusing messages, including the new guidelines on face masks in shops from 24th July.

Fujitsu joins the ranks of permanent home working

Following in the footsteps of Slack and Twitter, Japanese technology organisation Fujitsu has introduced a permanent remote working initiative. The scheme, called ‘Work Life Shift’, will allow staff members to adjust their working patterns to create their desired work/life balance. A spokesperson said: “Work Life Shift is not only a concept of ‘work’, but represents a comprehensive initiative to realise employee wellbeing by shifting pre-existing notions of life and work through digital innovation.”

UK residents offered working getaway to Barbados

The Bajan government has revealed a new incentive for UK residents. Officials are offering British nationals the chance to work in Barbados for a year, in a scheme dubbed the ‘Barbados Welcome Stamp’. The move comes as an effort to boost tourism and increase the country’s GDP. All applicants will have to undergo COVID-19 testing, but the country has opened up its doors to international travellers as of 12th July.  

Apple captures WFH spirit in light-hearted, honest campaign

Tech giants Apple have produced a heart-warming video campaign that captures the essence of the move to working from home. Apple at Work – The Underdogs shows the frustrations with video conferencing, countless emails and short deadlines. While the campaign was designed to sell Apple devices, it also highlights the need to have one simple project management system for easy collaboration.

Younger employees “find remote working more difficult”

Despite the distractions of home schooling and working under our partners’ feet, it is actually the younger generations who are suffering more from working remotely. According to London-based tech developer Studio Graphene, 28% of Millennials have struggled to adapt, compared to just 11% of those over the age of 55. Their struggles came down to issues with technology, organisation and their internet connection, plus unsuitable living conditions.  

The real winners of working from home

Technology companies have been declared the “real winners” of working from home while the sports and hospitality industries continue to suffer. As giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Shopify and Square move towards a permanent working from home policy, others have benefitted from the uptake in internet use – in particular, videoconferencing platforms. However, experts warn that companies may have to adjust their hardware systems to foster these changes long-term.

Remote working takes the right “personality”

It’s time to start thinking about remote work as a skill set that can be developed and honed, says Tomoko Yokoi, researcher at the Global Centre for Digital Business Transformation. As with any skills-building, workers should identify their personality traits to see which ones serve them best for working remotely, for example, their willingness to work as part of a team. A global survey shows the best remote workers value communication and evaluation above all other things.

Why permanent remote working isn’t for everyone

Beware the short-term benefits of productivity and home comforts, warns one small business writer. While more and more companies are pivoting towards a “permanent” work from home scenario, others may soon find they miss the camaraderie of working face-to-face, says Gene Marks. He argues that employees may lose sight of the company’s values by working from home permanently. Having worked virtually for 10 years, he’s well equipped to argue both sides – and says the office isn’t on its way out just yet.  

How to avoid “technology saturation”

The experts at IT Pro are extolling the virtues of collaboration tools, which allow users to have real connections thanks to seeing their peers’ facial expressions. However, they also warn that we should avoid “technology saturation”, by avoiding too many messages and not always hopping on a 30-minute videoconference call that could have been a five-minute phone chat. He adds that we need to remember work/life balance and use these collaboration tools to create “virtual social spaces” as well as professional ones.