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Time to dial up the fun?
ALSO: Goldmans 5-day-office culture 'an aberration' / ready to work from Spain?
“If you get into the habit of life not being fun, you start to not even notice.”
With an undue focus on work and productivity over the last couple of years I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this article by Elle Hunt in The Guardian. It explores the philosophy expounded in The Power of Fun, the new book by Catherine Price, author of How to Break Up With Your Phone. On the strength of The Guardian piece I promptly read the book (I wasn’t alone it hurtled into the top 100 books on Amazon that day). I get through a lot of these sort of titles looking for interesting stuff to cover but if I’m honest I found it lacked the fizz of Elle’s article, so that’s what I’m recommending you read first.
It inspired me to reflect on how much fun I was having in my life and what I could do to change that. Simultaneously (and independently) my sister was equally as moved by the article and it’s become an interesting test for both of us, to send someone the piece and to see what actions it inspires in them. (Spoiler: some people seem to have given up on fun).
Tiny amounts of bias pack boardrooms with men
I included something about this research about a month ago but the New York Times did a wonderful visualisation which enhances the story, showing that a tiny (3%) bias towards men in firms leads to boardrooms full of men. Worth clicking through and watching the animation.
In contrast to Goldman Sachs Wall Street banks are learning they need to come to terms with hybrid working to retain their staff
Want your next year to gain some of the main character energy that its currently lacking? Maybe you need to change location… Spain wants UK remote workers to come and enjoy the Iberian lifestyle - and have introduced the Digital Nomad Visa scheme to attract Brits who no longer benefit from EU citizenship. The scheme, which should be law by the spring, is also likely to see rival schemes from Venice who want to fill an increasingly empty city
If, like me, you’ve got a strangely voyeuristic desire to read about cultures that go wrong in order to understand what great culture looks like in contrast then there’s two good articles here. Firstly a deep dive on the frat boy culture at video games giant Blizzard, including endemic drinking cultures, promoting men with bad HR rap sheets and jokes about rape (sounds like the Met Police). Secondly a timely examination of when productivity incentives go wrong at Lyra Health. Lyra’s mental health counsellors were measured on when their patients should start to feel better - and it encouraged bad behaviours
Do me a favour: something to do on your 3 days in the office - asking for favours is more effective in person than remotely
When do you get your best ideas? A surprisingly large amount really do occur in our brief time in the shower:
Totem of office culture, Canary Wharf looks like its in trouble. Firstly, as a sign of the trends affecting its tenants one of them, Clifford Chance, completed a review of its needs and has decided it requires two-thirds less office space and is planning to leave. Then a PR initiative was launched by the owner who said they are going to revamp the whole building to make it more appealing (because it is too expensive to knock it down)
If your work is suffering from a lot of resignations right now and you can’t pinpoint why this perspective from a US Army veteran is really interesting
“You’ve lost your tribe. Your sense of community and belonging at work depended on cohesive social networks, and so many of those have been disrupted during the pandemic”
Free ticket to The Economist event
I’m speaking (in real life) at The Economist’s workplace event on Tuesday 29th March - I’m talking about some of the challenges ahead for work. Virtual tickets are free.