Here’s the Latest WE:Brief – WE keep you in the know!

 

  • Misleading report on home office productivity
  • Since 2019, distance to office has nearly tripled for employees of small and midsize companies
  • Dan Pink on the psychological, physiological, pathological, and neurobiological role of the sign in managing stress
  • New research shows office mandates don’t work for people or profit
  • Four companies that are getting hybrid & culture right
  • Where AI is headed and how it will impact everything you do
  • KPMG survey shows two-thirds of CEOs think employees will be back in the office full-time three years from now
  • Leaders are clueless about whether employees want to separate or integrate their work and life.
  • Regular remote work can halve an employee’s carbon footprint but only if they modify their behavior
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New study shows that despite return-to-office mandates from larger companies, a large portion of Americans who work for small and midsized businesses now live farther from their employers.
Kate Lister‘s Summary/Insights:
A brand new study of move trends among employees of small and mid-size employers—which collectively account for 99% of US companies and 59% of the US workforce—shows the average distance between home and office almost tripled since the start of the pandemic (from 10 miles to 27 miles). The share of employees who live more than 50 miles from their employer mushroomed nearly fivefold. 

 

The biggest shift in distance was among, the highest earners (those making over $250k/year), Millennials, and those hired after the start of the pandemic.

 

This trend will have far-reaching impacts, both good and bad, on society including housing affordability, downtown and suburban commerce, commercial real estate values, shifting political lines, opportunities for the un- and under-employed, diversity, entrepreneurship, sustainability, transportation options and infrastructure, funding for city services, business travel, and more.

 

 

 

 

Two new studies suggest remote work not only lures more diverse and experienced candidates willing to trade higher pay for flexibility—but that office mandates don’t appear to boost financial performance, hurting job satisfaction instead. 
Kate Lister‘s Summary/Insights:
The article cites several new large academic studies that 1) debunk the CEO gripes about distributed work reducing productivity and engagement, 2) show that distributed work increases diversity, 3) more powerful CEOs are more likely to issue return-to-office mandates and 4) firms with a prior quarter drop in stock price were more likely to introduce an RTO mandate. 

 

In terms of diversity, a study from Wharton that looked at data from over half a million jobs, found jobs offered as “remote” received 15% more female applicants, 33% more minority applicants, and a 17% increase in applicant experience.
We can start to see, dimly, what the near future of AI looks like.
Kate Lister‘s Summary/Insights:
This is a really interesting article about where AI and large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT are headed soon. It’s written by a professor from Wharton who is studying how AI will change how we learn and how we work.

 

He predicts the next iteration will be able to out-innovate many humans and enhance our performance of complex tasks. Google, Microsoft/Open AI, and a few others are adding the ability of their models to hear, speak, see, and create images. These models can now match the performance of experts in diagnosing disease, reading radiology reports, detecting design and production defects, evaluating auto insurance claims, critiquing VC pitches, prioritizing emails, and more. 

 

The author stresses that these models are not perfect, but they are already performing far better than they were just ten months ago.
A new metric reveals how employees want to configure work and life, a preference that can have a big impact on how they are managed in the new workforce.
Kate Lister‘s Summary/Insights:
Maybe we should ask them rather than assume?
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In recent years, millions of people worldwide transitioned from working in offices to at home, sparking a rise in questions about productivity, health…
Kate Lister‘s Summary/Insights:
Studies, or more specifically, the headlines about them boil my blood. In this one, the highlights indicate that “work performance” is better in-office. However, the findings show only one of the five factors they use to measure performance, motivation, has a statistically significant positive impact. Two other measures, stress and fatigue, are significantly higher in the office. And the last two, work output and focus do not have a statistically significant impact!

 

So how do those findings support a highlight about “work performance” being better in the office? They don’t.

Meanwhile, they don’t even include the finding that “connection to coworkers“, which issignificantly better in the office, as a work performance measure. 

I’m guessing only the geeks among us read beyond the title, bulleted highlights, and conclusion in scientific papers. The media certainly doesn’t and it looks like even peer-reviewed journals are skimming, not reading their entries.
Drawing on the scientific paper, “The Integrative Role of Sigh in Psychology, Physiology, Pathology, and Neurobiology,” Dan Pink shares his favorite stress buster. 
Kate Lister‘s Summary/Insights:
If reading a 25-page scientific paper on how a simple sigh can help relieve your stress and anxiety is your kind of fun, Google the title of this post. If it isn’t, watch this 3-minute video from Dan Pink. Spoiler alert: two short breaths in, one out. 

 

 

Here’s how some “Best Companies to Work For” create and sustain organizational culture as employees juggle in-office and virtual work.
Kate Lister‘s Summary/Insights:
The article offers four great examples of companies that are doubling down on getting distributed work, working right and reaping the results. Their flexibility initiatives are paired with new practices, new employee resources, and workplace redesign.

 

Synchrony credits the program for a 35% increase in their applicant pool.

 

ServiceNow credits flexible work for 90% of its staff for a 44% reduction in turnover, 94% participation in their employee voice survey, and engagement at 81%. 

 

Nationwide credits the changes they have made to support flexibility for fortifying its culture and contributing to honor as a Best Place To Work two years in a row.

 

AECOM says it’s digital-first mindset has help them put well-being at the center of its culture.

 

But fewer CEOs feel confident of their firm’s fortunes than last year, a KPMG survey shows. More execs also want people back in the office.
Kate Lister‘s Summary/Insights:
A new survey of CEOs conducted by KPMG suggests large employers are still not on board with hybrid or remote work. 64% think employees will be back in the office in three years’ time (up from just 34% in 2022). 

 

REALLY? This certainly isn’t what I am seeing and hearing. How about you?

 

Nearly nine in ten say they will use favorable assignments, raises, and promotions as rewards for those who comply. 

 

REALLY? Is that even legal? Leaders may think those incentives are carrots but I would bet the employees who want a hybrid or remote arrangement will see them as sticks.
Kate Lister‘s Summary/Insights:
Remote work advocates have long held that working from home can substantially reduce an employee’s carbon footprint. An in-depth study from Cornell University and Microsoft found that may be true, but only if they do so two or more days a week, do not replace their commuter travel with driving for other reasons, and their employer is able to reduce real estate or energy usage.

 

Desk-sharing among hybrid workers, for example, was shown to reduce a company’s carbon footprint by 28%. Under those conditions, the research estimates remote work four or five days a week can reduce an employee’s carbon footprint by up to 54%. Less frequent work-from-home can reduce it by up to 29%, but at one day a week, there is almost no savings.

 

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,meticulously measured in-office and at-home energy usage. The latter included the carbon footprint associated with home computer equipment—which was found to be negligible. They also looked at extra energy used due to heating, cooling, lighting, and even cooking; and “induced driving”—extra trips to the store, school pickups, social activities, and more. 

 

As companies struggle to quantify their Scope 3 environmental impact, which includes employee travel, they need to understand there isn’t necessarily a one-to-one reduction in remote work and an employee’s carbon footprint. 

 

Eptura™ is a global worktech company that digitally connects people, workplaces, and assets in a unified platform to enable our customers to thrive. In 2023, Eptura’s Workplace Index reports explored the changing work environment in detail, painting a complete picture of the current state and near future of asset and facility management.