Diversity, belonging & some attention seeking from Bill Gates
The biggest stories in work and workplace culture
“It’s really affecting me that I walk in and all I see is white people”
Shout out to Nihal Arthanayake the Radio 5 Live presenter who spoke to a conference about diversity last week. He’s endured a relentless week of abuse from angry Blue Ticks on X (the social network that exists in the space that Twitter once occupied) as a result.
If we don't see people who look like us and think like us, it takes a toll on how we feel. As Nihal says, “I don’t think there’s a single Muslim involved in the senior editorial processes [at the station]".
Even on a personal level, his memories of looking out for the bully in the playground that he experienced growing up in Essex lives with him now in the workplace. He's ever vigilant when he's surrounded with people who don't look like him. “It’s a survival instinct that carries on to this day.”
We saw more evidence of this during the pandemic - it's why for many people flexible working is a diversity and inclusion issue.
Non-white workers reported feeling happier working from home because they experienced fewer micro-aggressions. Similarly many young women have reported that working from home reduced their experience of sexual harassment from male colleagues.
It's worth us having heightened awareness of what an inclusive workplace looks like and listening to voices like Nihal's will make us work harder to achieve it.
This is yet another reminder that flexible working is a diversity and inclusion issue. I was with one organisation last week who said that office attendance was significantly lower for non-white employees in their organisation. They didn’t know why but they knew it was something that deserved their attention.
Four day week? Bill Gates has the ‘7 minute abs’ solution for that
Bill Gates has been out there with some hype chat this week. You've been to Tenerife, he's been to Elevenerife. You're talking a 4-day week, he's on the 3-day week bus.
The big question that no one asks these gurus is how on earth is this going to happen with neoliberalism?
The person who owns the companies is going to be doing well for sure, but how do the rest of us put money on the table, because I'm pretty certain most firms aren't going to up my wages for doing fewer days.
Next up: I’m going to ‘7 minute abs’ him and start talking about the 2 day week.
He talks about Meta Cities, the city hubs that we travel into while working mainly remote, saying that this usage makes them take on an expanded hub-like role
As a result labour isn’t dispersing randomly across the world but is still radiating around major hubs (often specifically linked to a small group of cities twinned with different industries)
We’ve long known that workers tend to work less when other colleagues are doing the same work as them (a phenomenon known as ‘social loafing’. But it’s been observed that this occurs when we work alongside A.I too
Better workplace culture really does lead to better results. Happy workers are 13% more productive than their colleagues. An Oxford University study of BT contact centre workers found that they made more outgoing calls and turned more of their calls into sales
Since Twitter/X has become overrun with Tickheads paying to be at the top of the comments it’s become a smaller and smaller part of my daily media habits, I’ve replaced some of it with LinkedIn (which is definitely a little bit weird), but I was delighted to be featured in their Big Ideas for 2024 feature
“Don’t reply to your emails” - articles like this really do my nut in. A freelance writer explains how her solution to message overload is to not reply to any of them. Great. It’s completely pointless when it comes to most people’s jobs
Dystopian tale of the week: Some firms in the US are forcing low paid workers to buy themselves out of a contract to leave
AI advice: Be more student
Why are the vast majority of students using AI but just a tiny portion of businesses?
Customer facing businesses even less likely with 58% stating they have no plans to use it.
The really interesting difference here is about incentive.
Students (assessed individually, resourceful in thinking of how to get their work done) and firms (often focussed on process and routine).
While applications of AI are only just taking shape it might be wise for all of us to think more like students when doing our work.