06Jun

With hybrid models of work becoming so common, office culture is changing as well. This includes desk and floor plan setup. In the traditional sense, which most of us are used to, employees have a designated desk they work from when they’re in the office. But in recent years, companies have been trying out the new “hot desking” method.  

Hot desking eliminates assigned seating and allows employees to choose a different desk every day, first come first serve. While some consider this impersonal, others believe it provides flexibility and cuts down on the cost of office space.  

The Pros 

Those in favor of hot desking mostly credit the ability to work from different spaces, depending on workload and personal mood. It allows employees extra freedom they otherwise wouldn’t have in a more permanent work setting. And with fewer desks and people at any given time, the cost of rent decreases.  

In addition to this, it also encourages interaction between various employment levels. Without being tied to specific areas, entry level employees are more likely to engage with people at the senior or management level. WeWork, which is famously known for introducing the hot desking method in their offices, says, “According to 2018 research, co-working spaces are particularly valuable in forging relationships between ‘entrepreneurs, other businesses, startups, and innovators’ This is achieved through intentional, data-driven workspace design that includes shared spaces and infrastructure, and technologies like apps or online co-working communities.” 

The Cons 

While the pros of hot desking might seem appealing, the cons are quite also quite strong. With nowhere to keep personal belongs, such as coats and bags, employees can feel as though they are not being appreciated. Forbes elaborates by saying, “Employers frequently say their employees are their biggest asset. But when the company can’t even be bothered to let you have a permanent desk, then the opposite message is sent. Put another way; hot desks mean you don’t matter to the company.” 

Hot desking can also lead to company confusion. It can be hard to track colleagues down if everyone is in a different spot every day. This can further complicate training for new employees who need help from specific people or teams. And if the solution to these problems is to handle everything virtually, everyone might as well be working from home. 

Determining what is beneficial for your company 

We recently ran a poll on our LinkedIn to assess how people feel about hot desking. Many were divided, telling tales of their own companies trying out the method. At the end of the day, hot desking can be extremely beneficial and effective if it works for your company and people. Like anything, it’s not for everyone, but could still be worth the trial period.

 

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Green Key

Bank Finds Autism Spectrum Hires Make Great Technologists

In the five years since starting its Autism at Work program, global investment bank JP Morgan Chase has discovered there’s almost no job someone on the spectrum can’t do.

An autism spectrum candidate was interviewed for a developer job that required Java. It turned out it was a language he didn’t know, said Anthony Pacilio, the global head of the bank’s autism program.

“We interviewed him on a Friday and although he didn’t know Java he said he would be able to learn it by Monday,” Pacilio told eFinancialCareers. “He did that using a few books and YouTube tutorials and by Monday he was proficient enough in Java to get the job.”

Since starting the Autism at Work program in 2015, JP Morgan now hires some 180 people annually, placing them in a variety of jobs, many in technology. From initially hiring into quality assurance, people on the autism spectrum fill jobs in coding, cybersecurity and compliance.

“For the most part, a person on the spectrum can do any job that you give them,” says Pacilio.

They also outperform neurotypical hires. “We have also found that autistic people have an incredible approach to problem-solving. They are very granular and see things in completely different ways to neurotypical employees,” says Pacilio.

He says that autism program employees in just one technology role, for example, were as much as 140% more productive in completing tasks than their neurotypical colleagues, and they did it with no mistakes.

“That is almost unheard of,” Pacillo noted.

The bank has invested in training recruiters how to interview people on the spectrum and teaching managers new skills to accommodate their different styles and ways of communicating.

“Our recruiters have been trained to understand that a person on the spectrum may not make eye contact, or could take longer to answer questions than other recruits,” says Pacilio. “We are trying to get beyond the idea that when we hire we are looking for people who are gregarious and outgoing and look you in the eye.”

As cybersecurity specialist Jake Richard said in an article on the company website, It’s great knowing I have a support system here and that people understand what my strengths and challenges are. It’s very gratifying.”

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

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Jun 6, 2023

How to Get Your Co-Workers to Read What You Send


The ugly truth about those memos you send and reports you write is that no one wants to read them.

Don’t take it personally, says Aaron Orendorff. Most of us are overwhelmed with the volume of words that come at us. One estimate is that the average office worker receives almost 100 emails a day. Add in the messages that come in by text, Slack and hard copy and it’s like standing in front of a fire hose.

What can you do to get attention for what you send?

Write less, suggests Orendorff in an article for The New York Times. It’s the most counterintuitive of the eight suggestions he makes, though there’s strong evidence you’ll get more notice if you write only rarely. “Scarcity in professional writing is so, well, scarce that its absence is easier to illustrate than its presence,” he insists.

Before sending off a message, ask yourself, he says, if it must be sent immediately. If not, then ask if it need be sent at all and does it need to be sent to everyone on the To: or CC: lines?

When you must email or message, Orendorff says use fewer words and cut to the chase. “We long for clarity, for other people to say what they mean in as few, short words as possible,” he points out, recommending several methods for getting your point across quickly:

  • Put action words in your subject line — Instead of “Budget Attached,” write, “APPROVAL FOR ITEMS 9-12: Budget Attached.”
  • Don’t tell, ask — Instead of describing in detail your analysis or view of an issue, ask questions; the more pointed and clear the better.
  • Lead with the need — Say what you need. get to the point at the beginning of your memo or email or message. “Rather than building to the request — and risk muddling the meaning — this inversion forces us to lead with the need. After that, you’ll often find much of the rest can be removed.”
  • Make it about “us” — “When seeking assistance or buy-in, we typically ask colleagues for their ‘opinion.’ Turns out, that’s a mistake. Asking for an opinion produces a critic,” Orendorff explains. You’ll get better results if you can make it about “we.”
  • Write a people-proof TL;DR — The snarky expression “TL;DR” meaning “too long; didn’t read” is used to summarize an overly long memo or note. Orendorff suggests hijacking it as your own summary of who is to do what by when. “If the TL;DR clearly summarizes everything, send only the TL;DR.”

Taking to heart every one of Orendorff’s suggestions is no guarantee everyone will want to read what you write. At the very least, he says we can “make it easy on our colleagues to read it, respond to it and take action.”

Image by Muhammad Ribkhan

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