How would we like to work?

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During the pandemic, the topics of work-life balance, healthy work environments, satisfying work etc. came even more into focus than they had before. Work environments underwent dramatic changes in various lockdown situations. Whereas in many jobs or professions, employees and workers had no choice as to continue going to their respective work places, others, especially office workers, experienced working from home as a new normal.

Towards the end of the pandemic or the emergency situations, discussions intensified about how people wanted to work in future: which changes induced by the pandemic situation would they like to keep, where would they like to go back to how things were before – if at all – and what was truly missed.

Discussions erupted (and keep doing so in some companies) around the question if or how to continue working from home or going back to a company office building. Some phrase it as ‘home office versus back to the company’, but those who were or are able to work from home never left the company, only a central office building. Technology has made it possible to connect virtually in very effective ways. For more on this discussion and different positions see the little video embedded in an article from CBS news from 2021 where two economics professors discuss this question.

However, many discussions go beyond the mere questions of when and where we would like to work. The following is a list of some talks on various aspects of work and life. One question raised is if the two – work versus life actually should be juxtaposed the way they most commonly are.

TED Series/ The Way We Work

Warren Valdmanis: What makes a job good?

Patty McCord: 8 lessons on building a company people enjoy working for

You also find some of these links under my page on TED Talks, including talks on leadership e.g. those by Simon Sinek’s.

December 2022 update:

The latest TED talk I listened to is Ricardo Semler’s How to run a company with (almost) no rules. It might not be the easiest to listen to from a language learner’s perspective, so take your time. But if you like someone thinking and acting completely out of the box, in this case questioning many business practices company leaders and employees have taken for granted over decades, you are in for a treat.

November 2023 update

A highly recommendable article is from Harvard Business Review on office spaces that discusses the question: How can companies find out what the best office space design is in relation to what kind of work needs to be done. Very often, it seems, the discussion about office space design is conducted without real consideration for what is realistic. For instance, ‘open space/plan offices’ versus offices with doors for a small number of people is often debated as if only one can be right. Parties are too emotional and ideological, one group accusing the other of being old-fashioned or backward. The article explains how companies need to consider how people truly behave in different environments and find out which one is most conducive to which kinds of tasks. I have seen companies spend a lot of money for restructuring office areas only to find that they forgot to consult with the people who were supposed to work at these places.

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