Say hello to WFG (work from gym)
When it comes to choosing the right remote office spot, workers are increasingly seeking co-working spaces that are close to the places they already frequent. Experts explain that many employees who have the option to work remotely are coming down from their work-from-home buzz, and while they still prefer not to commute to the office, they’re craving the excitement of more social environments. That’s why, as attendance still recovers from pre-pandemic levels, many gyms are starting to take advantage of this newfound desire for workplace convenience and socializing by offering up their services. Some gyms have created co-working spaces to casually separate the exercisers from the zoomers, while others have started charging extra by offering entire floors for clients to comfortably stay and work all day.
Even Zoom prefers in-person meetings
Zoom, the videoconferencing platform that took off during the pandemic, has rescinded two of its most highly sought-after flexible work policies by calling employees back to the office and nixing no-meeting Wednesdays. The explanation? Collaboration – despite the research that shows that no-meeting days and fewer meetings overall give employees more time to actually do their jobs. While many other tech companies have joined Zoom in tightening their office attendance policies, the company’s retraction of meeting restrictions doesn’t seem to be the norm. Shopify eliminated all recurring meetings with more than two employees and started discouraging Wednesday meetings earlier this year, while many other companies like Meta, Clorox, Canva, and Twilio have incorporated no-meeting days into their workweeks.
The AI corner
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are racing to become AI powerhouses
In an effort to join the global artificial intelligence arms race that’s squeezing the supply of Silicon Valley’s hottest commodity, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are buying up thousands of Nvidia chips, which are crucial for building AI software. As the world’s leading tech companies rush to obtain the scarce chips for AI development (which have long wait lists), the Gulf powerhouses have publicly stated their goal of becoming leaders in AI, with insiders saying that Saudi Arabia is set to receive 3,000 specialist chips worth about $120 million by the end of 2023. OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman recently praised the Gulf region’s foresight in recognizing the importance of AI, saying the countries could end up playing a central role in the global conversation around the emerging technology and its regulation.
Hollywood is ready to make concessions on AI
Eager to put the strike to an end, Hollywood studios have offered writers a new deal with concessions in several matters, including the use of artificial intelligence. While the striking writers are largely willing to shape stories with the help of AI software, they certainly do not want it to affect the credits that are essential to their prestige and compensation. That’s why, as of last week, the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, which represents big media companies such as Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. and Paramount Global, has agreed to ensure humans get credited as screenplay writers, even if AI played a role in the work. Talks are continuing this week, so stay tuned to find out if you can expect another season of your favorite show in 2024.
Getting your employees to share productive feedback
Have you ever given your boss feedback on how to be a more effective manager?
While 90% of workers said they would stay at a company that takes and acts on their feedback, according to IBM research, it’s not so easy to get your employees to share their honest critiques of their bosses. When it comes to employee-manager relationships, there’s an inherent power imbalance, which makes it hard for employees to feel comfortable speaking up – as their manager, they don’t want to risk offending you, and they certainly don’t want to face repercussions and retaliation for sharing their genuine feedback. The result? They’ll often simply assure you everything’s fine or avoid the request altogether in order to remain in your good graces.
The unfortunate outcome of this is that your employees don’t feel heard, and you don’t have the insights you need to make necessary changes. Recent Workforce Institute research found that 74% of employees report they’re more effective at their job when they feel heard, and a staggering 41% of workers have quit their jobs because they didn’t feel they were listened to, according to a recent TINYpulse study. All this said, it’s so important to create a culture in which your team members feel both comfortable and empowered to share their ideas and input.
So, how can you encourage your team members to share their productive feedback? Click here to get the tips in video format.
Convey a need
Remind your team members that when you oversee multiple people, you’re bound to have blind spots, which is why you’re counting on them to come to you when they recognize areas that could improve. Whether it’s processes that need to be reworked or team dynamics that require some attention, let them know their input is crucial to the success of the team. By framing their feedback as a need, it can really increase your employees’ openness to sharing.
Model effective feedback
Give your employees the tools to share feedback in an effective way by setting the right example when you give feedback.
- Critique their behavior, not their character. For example, rather than telling your team member “you’re often rude in meetings,” which can feel like an attack on their character, saying, “you tend to interrupt people in meetings,” which is more actionable and easier to address.
- Put a greater emphasis on the future rather than getting stuck in the past. Overly referencing specific examples can lead to defensiveness and cloud the message of the feedback, so try to mainly talk about what can be done going forward in order to help the person receiving the feedback do better the next time around.
Phrase your questions carefully
Be intentional about the way you ask your employees for feedback. Using words like “we” and “you” in the questions avoids the risk of the response feeling like an attack on you when there are opportunities to improve, and framing questions in a positive way can make all the difference. For example, asking your team members questions like, “What am I doing wrong as a manager?” may be hard to answer honestly, whereas asking “What would make you feel more recognized for your accomplishments?” is less intimidating given that it’s not about blame and it’s more solution-oriented (reducing the fear of possibly offending you.)
Ask for it regularly
As a leader, you have the ability to encourage regular and honest feedback, and the more you can embed it into your team culture, the more effective and impactful it will be. Make it clear that frequent feedback should address both the good and the bad because it’s helpful to know what needs to change and what’s working. Additionally, emphasizing that feedback can be about behaviors that should continue ensures the concept doesn’t feel like a scary overwhelming conversation that only comes up when something is wrong. So, in weekly one-on-ones with your team members, make sure to share your feedback with them whenever relevant and leave time to casually ask if there’s anything your employees need to feel more supported.
Provide anonymous feedback options
According to the State Of Employee Feedback report by AllVoices, 74% of employees would be more inclined to give feedback about their company, workload, and culture if the feedback channel was anonymous. So, while one-on-one chats are important spaces to embed regular feedback, make sure you create other ways for employees to offer their input, such as anonymous surveys or suggestion boxes.
Listen and acknowledge
When your employee gives you feedback, it’s so important to be an engaged and active listener. Make eye contact, nod when relevant, and ask follow-up questions if something isn’t clear. Try not to interrupt or be quick to challenge a point when your employee is sharing feedback because if they get the feeling that you’re not okay with this and not really open to listening, you’ll lose the opportunity to get their insights and feedback again in the future. And, when possible, set action items for yourself to show your team members the real steps you’re going to take to resolve the issues they’ve brought up.
Say thank you
Gratitude goes a long way – especially when it comes to employee feedback. When your team members know you appreciate their feedback and really plan to utilize it, they’ll be way more open to sharing going forward. So, after an employee offers their feedback, try to start your response with something like, “first of all, thanks for bringing this to my attention – this is really helpful,” in order to send the right message and make them feel heard. Then once you’ve started to enact relevant changes, check in with the employee to see if things have improved for them. Make it clear that you’re committed to making changes that will produce a more positive and meaningful experience for your team.
Water cooler chatter
Doctors transplanted a pig kidney into a human a month ago, and it’s still working. The kidney was genetically modified and then transplanted into a 57-year-old brain-dead person more than a month ago, which is advancing efforts to use animals to ease perennial shortages for humans. More than 6,000 people in the U.S. die waiting for organs every year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.
China’s solution to record youth unemployment? Stop publishing the data. The National Bureau of Statistics said it would stop releasing age group-specific unemployment data after China’s youth unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds rose to a record high of 21.3% in June – one of many indicators of China’s current economic distress.
Question of the week
Last week’s answer: Coca cola
This week’s question: How much are Formula 1’s ten teams worth?