Leadership 101! What makes a good leader?

What is leadership, anyway?

Such a simple question, and yet it continues to vex popular consultants and laypeople alike. I’ve now written several books on leadership for employee engagement, and yet it occurred to me that I never actually paused to define what makes a leader. Let’s start with what leadership is not

Leadership has nothing to do with seniority or one’s position in the hierarchy of a company. Too many talk about a company’s leadership referring to the senior most executives in the organization. They are just that, senior executives. Leadership doesn’t automatically happen when you reach a certain pay grade. Hopefully you find it there, but there are no guarantees.

Leadership has nothing to do with titles. Similar to the point above, just because you have a C-level title, doesn’t automatically make you a “leader.” In all of my talks I stress the fact that you don’t need a title to lead. In fact, you can be a leader in your place of worship, your neighborhood, in your family, all without having a title.

Leadership has nothing to do with personal attributes. Say the word “leader” and most people think of a domineering, take-charge charismatic individual. We often think of icons from history like General Patton or President Lincoln. But leadership isn’t an adjective. We don’t need extroverted charismatic traits to practice leadership. And those with charisma don’t automatically lead.

Leadership isn’t management.  This is the big one. Leadership and management are not synonymous.  You have 15 people in your downline and P&L responsibility? Good for you, hopefully you are a good manager. Good management is needed. Managers need to plan, measure, monitor, coordinate, solve, hire, fire, and so many other things. Typically, managers manage thingsLeaders lead people.

So, again, what is Leadership?

Let’s see how some of the most respected business thinkers of our time define leadership, and let’s consider what’s wrong with their definitions.

Peter Drucker: “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.”

Really? This instance of tautology is so simplistic as to be dangerous. A new Army Captain is put in the command of 200 soldiers. He never leaves his room, or utters a word to the men and women in his unit. Perhaps routine orders are given through a subordinate. By default his troops have to “follow” orders. Is the Captain really a leader? Commander yes, leader no. Drucker is of course a brilliant thinker of modern business but his definition of leader is too simple.

Warren Bennis: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

Every spring you have a vision for a garden, and with lots of work carrots and tomatoes become a reality. Are you a leader? No, you’re a gardener. Bennis’ definition seems to have forgotten “others.”

Bill Gates: “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

This definition includes “others” and empowerment is a good thing. But to what end? I’ve seen many empowered “others” in my life, from rioting hooligans to Google workers who were so misaligned with the rest of the company they found themselves unemployed. Gates’ definition lacks the parts about goal or vision.

John Maxwell: “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”

I like minimalism but this reduction is too much. A robber with a gun has “influence” over his victim. A manager has the power to fire team members which provides a lot of influence. But does this influence make a robber or a manager a leader? Maxwell’s definition omits the source of influence.

So what is leadership?

DEFINITION: Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.

Notice key elements of this definition:

  • Leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power
  • Leadership requires others, and that implies they don’t need to be “direct reports”
  • No mention of personality traits, attributes, or even a title; there are many styles, many paths, to effective leadership
  • It includes a goal, not influence with no intended outcome

Lastly, what makes this definition so different from many of the academic definitions out there is the inclusion of “maximizes the efforts”. Most of my work is in the area of employee engagement, and engaged employees give discretionary effort.

I guess technically a leader could use social influence to just organize the efforts of others, but I think being a leader is about maximizing the effort. It’s not, “Hey everyone, let’s line up and get to the top of that hill someday.” But rather, “Hey, see that hill? Let’s see how fast we can get to the top…and I’ll buy the first round for anyone who can beat me up there.” So what do you think of my definition of leadership?  Social influence, others, maximize effort, towards a goal. Do those key elements work for you?

Original Article Found at https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/04/09/what-is-leadership/#405256205b90

To know more about why this matters to me, please read https://www.voiceauthor.com/2020/03/07/voice-author-why…r-the-millennial/

High paying jobs of the future

The 30 best high paying jobs of the future

  • Using employment projection and salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we found 30 high paying jobs of the future that are poised to enjoy healthy employment growth over the next decade.
  • Several tech and medical occupations show up on the list.

The future of work is looking pretty bright, at least for nurses and software developers.

Plenty of medical and tech jobs are likely to keep growing in the next several years, and pay handsomely as well.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections program publishes estimates for job growth across hundreds of occupations. The most recent release compares how many people worked in each occupation in 2016 with the Bureau’s projections for 2026.

We combined those job growth projections with 2017 median annual earnings for each occupation from the Bureau’s Occupational Employment Statistics program, using the geometric mean of the two numbers, to find roles that are both growing and high-paying.

Read more33 high-paying jobs for people who don’t like stress

Since we are focused on high-paying jobs, we restricted our ranking to occupations with 2017 median earnings above the median among all occupations of $37,690.

Here are the 30 best high paying jobs of the future:

30. Family and general practitioners

Doctor in Virginia

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 19,200

Median annual earnings in 2017: $198,740

Typical educational requirements: Doctoral or professional degree

29. Dentists

dentist oral surgery surgeon

Mikhail Olykainen/Shutterstock

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 25,700

Median annual earnings in 2017: $151,440

Typical educational requirements: Doctoral or professional degree

28. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters



Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 75,200

Median annual earnings in 2017: $52,590

Typical educational requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

27. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

Nurse flu shot

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 88,900

Median annual earnings in 2017: $45,030

Typical educational requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award

26. Construction managers

facilities manager construction supervisor

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 44,800

Median annual earnings in 2017: $91,370

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

25. Physician assistants

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 39,600

Median annual earnings in 2017: $104,860

Typical educational requirements: Master’s degree

24. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives

salesman salesperson sales manager

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 76,400

Median annual earnings in 2017: $56,970

Typical educational requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

23. Secondary school teachers

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 76,800

Median annual earnings in 2017: $59,170

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

22. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

truck driver

Mel Evans/AP

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 108,400

Median annual earnings in 2017: $42,480

Typical educational requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award

21. Computer systems analysts

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 54,400

Median annual earnings in 2017: $88,270

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

20. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

oil rig

AP/Wong Maye-E

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 75,800

Median annual earnings in 2017: $64,070

Typical educational requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

19. Services sales representatives, all other



Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 94,900

Median annual earnings in 2017: $52,510

Typical educational requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

18. Systems software developers

software developer

Adam Berry/Getty Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 47,100

Median annual earnings in 2017: $107,600

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

17. Physical therapists

occupational therapist

Ben Sklar/Getty images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 67,100

Median annual earnings in 2017: $86,850

Typical educational requirements: Doctoral or professional degree

16. Nurse practitioners


David McNew/Getty Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 56,100

Median annual earnings in 2017: $103,880

Typical educational requirements: Master’s degree

15. Postsecondary health specialties teachers

lecture class college

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 60,600

Median annual earnings in 2017: $97,870

Typical educational requirements: Doctoral or professional degree

14. Elementary school teachers

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 104,100

Median annual earnings in 2017: $57,160

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

13. Computer and information systems managers

systems administrator computer technician

Wikimedia Commons/Rick Naystatt

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 44,200

Median annual earnings in 2017: $139,220

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

12. Business operations specialists, all other

businessman office phone call

Shutterstock.com/Monkey Business Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 90,300

Median annual earnings in 2017: $70,010

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

11. Medical and health services managers


Getty Images/Christopher Furlong

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 72,100

Median annual earnings in 2017: $98,350

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

10. Lawyers


Minerva Studio/Shutterstock

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 65,000

Median annual earnings in 2017: $119,250

Typical educational requirements: Doctoral or professional degree

9. Managers, all other

plant manager

John Phillips / Stringer / Getty Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 79,500

Median annual earnings in 2017: $105,610

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

8. Market research analysts and marketing specialists

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 138,300

Median annual earnings in 2017: $63,230

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

7. Physicians and surgeons, all other

plastic surgeon surgery patient

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 42,300

Median annual earnings in 2017: At least $208,000*

Typical educational requirements: Doctoral or professional degree

*The Bureau of Labor Statistics top-codes median earnings data and does not give specific figures for estimates above $208,000.

6. Management analysts

financial analyst

create jobs 51/Shutterstock

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 115,200

Median annual earnings in 2017: $82,450

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

5. Accountants and auditors

accountant taxes

Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 139,900

Median annual earnings in 2017: $69,350

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

4. Financial managers

wall street bankers

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 108,600

Median annual earnings in 2017: $125,080

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

3. High paying jobs of the future: General and operations managers

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 205,200

Median annual earnings in 2017: $100,410

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

2.High paying jobs of the future: Applications software developers

developer tech software computer working google

Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 255,400

Median annual earnings in 2017: $101,790

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

1.High paying jobs of the future: Registered nurses

west virginia nurse hospital.JPG

Reuters/Mike Wood

Projected new positions between 2016 and 2026: 438,100

Median annual earnings in 2017: $70,000

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree

Original Article Found at https://www.businessinsider.com/best-jobs-future-growth-2019-3#2-applications-software-developers-29

To know more about why this matters to me, please read https://www.voiceauthor.com/2020/03/07/voice-author-why…r-the-millennial/

important ways jobs will change

The Future Of Work: 5 Important Ways Jobs Will Change

In many respects, the future of work is already here. Amid the headlines exclaiming the predicted loss of jobs due to automation and other changes brought by artificial intelligence (AI)machine learning and autonomous systems, it’s clear that the way we work and live is transforming. This evolution can be unnerving. Since we know change is inevitable, let’s look at how work will likely change and some ideas for how to prepare for it.

The Future Of Work: 5 Important Ways Jobs Will Change In The 4th Industrial Revolution


5 Ways Work Will Change in the Future

At least 30% of the activities associated with the majority of occupations in the United States could be automated, which includes even knowledge tasks that were previously thought to be safe according to a McKinsey Global Institute report. This echoes what executives see as well and prompted Rick Jensen, Chief Talent Officer at Intuit to say, “The workforce is changing massively.” Here are just a few of the ways:

1. Fluid gigs

Within an organization, positions will be more fluid, and a strict organizational chart will likely be tossed in favor of more project-based teams. This is especially appealing to Generation Z employees since 75% of Generation Z employees would be interested in having multiple roles in one place of employment. The “gig” economy will continue to expand where professionals sign on as contractors or freelancers and then move on to the next gig.

2. Decentralized workforces

Thanks to mobile technology and readily available internet access, remote workers are already common. Employees won’t need to be in the same location. This will make it easier for the next generation workers to choose to live anywhere, rather than find a job and then move to a city with that job.

3. Motivation to work

People will need something more than a paycheck as a motivation to work. Many want to work for an organization with a mission and purpose they believe in. They will also want different incentives such as personal development opportunities, the latest tech gadgets to facilitate their work-from-anywhere ambitions, and more.

4. Lifelong learning

Not only will employees want to learn throughout their career, but they will also need to learn new skills. Technology will continue to evolve the role humans play in the workforce, so everyone will be required to adapt their skills throughout their working lives.

5. Technology will augment human’s jobs

Artificial intelligence algorithms and intelligent machines will be co-workers to humans. The human workforce will need to develop a level of comfort and acceptance for how man and machine can collaborate using the best that both bring to the workplace.

How to Prepare for the Future of Work

Even though we can’t predict all the changes that will occur in the future, we do have a fair amount of certainty that there are some things people can do to prepare for it.

Rather than succumb to the doomsday predictions that “robots will take over all the jobs,” a more optimistic outlook is one where humans get the opportunity to do work that demands their creativity, imagination, social and emotional intelligence, and passion.

Individuals will need to act and engage in lifelong learning, so they are adaptable when the changes happen. The lifespan for any given skill set is shrinking, so it will be imperative for individuals to continue to invest in acquiring new skills. The shift to lifelong learning needs to happen now because the changes are already happening.

In addition, employees will need to shape their own career path. Gone are the days when a career trajectory is outlined at one company with predictable climbs up the corporate ladder. Therefore, employees should pursue a diverse set of work experiences and take the initiative to shape their own career paths.

Individuals will need to step into the opportunity that pursuing your passion provides rather than shrink back to what had resulted in success in the past. This shift in work opens the possibility to achieve more of our potential. We need to begin to think of work as more than a paycheck.

Employers need to think differently about how they recruit and hire new employees. Companies need to review a prospective employee’s potential and assess skills that are less likely to be automated any time soon, including emotional intelligence, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

Another way employers will need to adjust operations is to create a structure and culture that honors lifelong learning, and that celebrates creativity. It’s time for employers to assess their benefit and incentive programs to ensure they are providing the motivation the next generation of employees will want in order to attract the best talent.

While nothing is certain, it’s important for every human to begin taking steps in the direction to prepare for a future where machines become colleagues. If we don’t begin to adapt to the changes today, it will be challenging to catch up later.

Original Article Found at https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/07/15/the-future-of-work-5-important-ways-jobs-will-change-in-the-4th-industrial-revolution/#400ef6b354c7

To know more about why this matters to me, please read https://www.voiceauthor.com/2020/03/07/voice-author-why…r-the-millennial/


jobs that won't exist

13 Disappearing jobs that won’t exist by 2030

Technology is moving at an increasingly fast pace, with every facet of our lives now linked intrinsically to microchips in one way or another. While this might all be in the name of progress, it is also having a negative effect on many traditional careers, which are becoming more and more automated. As a result, it is important to avoid choosing an industry that is made up of jobs that won’t exist by 2030.

There are already warning signs. A recent study by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) found that nearly 60 per cent of young people in the country are currently training for careers that will be two-thirds automated in the next 10 to 15 years. That is a huge waste of skills.

Therefore, if you’re considering a career in one of the following fields, then maybe you should think again.

Here are 13 jobs that won’t exist by 2030, in our opinion:

1. Travel Agents

There was once a time (in the UK at least) when booking your summer getaway to Malaga was a case of popping into Thomson’s on a Saturday afternoon, skimming through a few brochures and having a cheery sales rep called Michelle put the whole thing together on an oversized computer.

Now, with the abundance of easy-to-use comparison websites, anybody can arrange their own holiday. All you need is your bank card and a few spare hours to research your destination, with the likes of SkyScanner, Trivago and Opodo tailoring flight and hotel searches to your exact price and date range. Many travel operators have realised this, and are closing down branches to focus on their online offers.

There are still plenty of other opportunities in the wider travel industry though.

2. Cashiers

There has been increased talk in the last few years about the reality of a cashless society, with advances in contactless payments, Apple Pay and even cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin becoming prominent within mainstream society. While not everyone is on board, with some preferring to still use cash to better track their spending, one thing is for sure: the requirement for people to handle the payments is no more. With self-service tills and stations already a common site in supermarket chains and popular restaurants such as McDonald’s, the demise of the cashier seems inevitable.

3. Librarians

Although there will always be books in the world – regardless of the success of e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle – it doesn’t look good for the librarians that catalogue them.

Many public libraries are struggling to stay open due to funding cuts, with most relying on volunteers to even stay open, while academic institutions have long since started uploading their texts to a digital format for convenience (and preservation) reasons. While this increased access to literature is a good thing, it is still a shame to see libraries and their helpful and knowledgeable custodians becoming obsolete.

4. Postal Couriers

While there will still be the need for couriers to deliver parcels, things don’t look good for the traditional postman or woman delivering letters each morning. This is mainly because the things that they deliver won’t exist in the next 20 years, with bills and statements viewed and paid online, junk mail moving to your email inbox rather than your letterbox, and the writing of letters long since a dying art. Despite this, companies still frustratingly ask you for a utility bill as proof of address, even though the likes of Sky and British Gas abandoned paper statements long ago.

5. Bank Tellers

While banks won’t disappear altogether; many local branches will and already have closed. This is due to the convenience and user-friendly nature of online and telephone banking, where you can make transactions and manage your account with ease – and all from the comfort of your own home, bus or anywhere.

People will still need to consult with financial advisors and experts, so banks will still remain open; there will just be a lot less of them.

6. Textile Workers

The dwindling number of employees in the textiles industry isn’t due to the lack of demand for products, but rather how they are made. With machines now able to perform a lot of the manufacturing and production work, there are less and less opportunities for unskilled workers.

On the upside, the move towards semi-automation means that highly-skilled specialist operators will be required, albeit in smaller numbers.

7. The Print Industry

This covers a range of jobs, from newspaper and magazine publishers to the factory workers that produce and distribute them. There has been speculation about the future of the print media industry for some time now, with various publications investing more time and content into their online versions; additionally, millennials are preferring to get their news from less biased, less mainstream sources, meaning that the industry as a whole needs to adapt and evolve or become extinct.

One thing is for sure though, the age of the print newspaper is coming to an end – why wait until tomorrow to read about the news when there is an absolute wealth of sources online that offers minute by minute coverage?

8. Sports Referees and Umpires

If you’ve ever fancied a career as a referee or an umpire, chances are your services won’t be required in the future. Soccer’s governing body FIFA is relenting to pressure to introduce more technology into the game, with goal-line technology now a standard and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system being utilized in top European leagues. This follows the example of other sports such as tennis, cricket and rugby, which have long since been using technology to make real-time decisions during a match.

While some feel that a move to artificial refereeing is a positive thing and reduces the scope for error, others argue that many sports rules are open to interpretation and that the possibility of human error increases the drama and spectacle of the match.

9. Pilots

Although the idea of planes being flown by machines might put some off flying for life, it is actually very likely that you’ve already been onboard an auto-piloted flight. Modern commercial aircraft respond to flight plans, inputted by the pilot, which then calculate and implement the best way of getting there.

Indeed, according to aviation consultant Douglas M. Moss, Asian flight carriers forbid their pilots from landing the plane, insisting the process must be automated.

As the likes of Boeing continue to work on developing fully automated flight systems – as well as the developments in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the military – there seems there will be less need for someone to actually fly the plane. Flight crews have already been cut from 3 to 2; it is likely that by 2030 only one supervising officer will be required to man the cockpit.

10. Taxi / Uber Drivers

Driverless cars might once have been the domain of science fiction and James Bond movies, but with advances in technology, companies such as Waymo (Google’s sister company) are getting increasingly closer to bringing one to market. This doesn’t exactly bode well for those who make a living out of driving, such as taxi and Uber drivers.

It’s not all bad news though. Waymo CEO John Krafcik is yet to give a timeline for when these cars will be introduced, and journalists who were given a demonstration of the company’s progress recently have stated the technology is still in a primitive stage.

A thought to ponder on, are a lot of the jobs that won’t exist frontend jobs? Are we moving to a world of less human interaction?

11. Lumberjacks

As more and more paper products become digital, and corporations and governments shift towards a greener and more sustainable environment, lumberjacks are increasingly becoming an endangered species. There is already massive amounts of research into the development of alternative eco-friendly building materials, as well as talk about the longer-term future of human labor being replaced by more sophisticated and advanced technologies.

12. Telemarketers

Most people (apart from telemarketers of course) will actually be pleased about this one, or at least they would be if the annoying unwanted sales calls weren’t being replaced with even more annoying automated sales calls. Many telemarketing companies (especially small ones, that don’t always play so closely to the rules) have adopted this new approach that negates hiring costs and can engage potential customers at any time of the day or night.

Unless you’re adamant that, at some point in your life, you were mis-sold PPI, it is unlikely that the demise of telemarketers will be mourned.

13. Fishermen

While imports of seafood and farmed fish are cheaper and increasingly more common, both the UK and US have been guilty of overfishing. This causes major disruptions within ecosystems, affecting food chains and survival rates of marine life; at the same time, the effects of climate change are also having an impact on the available stocks of fish.

None of this looks good for professional fishermen, who are subject to ever stricter quotas as a result of these developments. Even the few who choose to remain in the profession will be unlikely to escape technology, with research underway into fishing “bots” that can do the job instead of humans.

So If these jobs won’t exist then ‘What Should I Do Instead?’

Although the prospects for these jobs might look grim, it’s not all bad news. A recent report by tech giant Dell claims that 85 per cent of the jobs that will be available in 2030 have not even been invented yet, with the technological landscape set to become unrecognisable over the next 13 years. Many of the jobs in this list will also become redefined as opposed to totally eradicated, with skills that can be transferable to other roles. Flexibility and a willingness to change career will be an important attribute in the future job market.


If you want to be totally bulletproof from the claws of progression though, author Martin Ford recommends pursuing a career in one of the 3 following groups:

Creative Jobs

Jobs that require genuine creativity, such as an artist, a scientist or a business strategist. By their definition, computers cannot and will never be able to replicate true human inspiration.

Relationship Based Jobs

These are roles that require the building and nurturing of complex relationships with other people, such as doctors and other medical professionals, or business professionals that might need to cultivate close relationships with clients.

Unpredictable Jobs

Unpredictable Jobs will never come up in a list of jobs that won’t exist! These are jobs that are likely to throw up unpredictable scenarios, such as those faced by the emergency services, or trades that could be called out to emergencies in random locations such as plumbers or gas engineers.

So there you have it. Do you agree with our selection of jobs that won’t exist by 2030? Do you work in any of these fields? Or do you know of any other jobs that might not exist in the future? Share them in the comments below…

Original Article Found at https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/trends/sorry-but-working-from-home-is-overrated-5020171.html

To know more about why this matters to me, please read https://www.voiceauthor.com/2020/03/07/voice-author-why…r-the-millennial/

Working from home

Sorry but working from home is overrated

While the coronavirus outbreak has already created inconveniences (and much worse) for millions of people in the form of travel restrictions, health scares and stock market turmoil, it has been an exciting time for some fans of remote work. But I’m here to tell you: Sorry but working from home is overrated.

Kevin Roose

I’m writing this from the makeshift quarantine bunker in my dining room — sweatpants on, hand sanitizer nearby, snacking my way through my emergency rations. I’m getting plenty of work done, but I’m starting to get unnerved by the lack of stimulation. It’s been hours (days?) since I interacted face to face with a human who is not related to me, and cabin fever is setting in. So is working from home overrated?

Among the coronavirus’ many effects is a boom in people like me: office workers, shooed away from the office, trying to acclimate to a work-from-home lifestyle.

While the outbreak has already created inconveniences (and much worse) for millions of people in the form of travel restrictions, health scares and stock market turmoil, it has been an exciting time for some fans of remote work. They argue that quarantined workers are getting a glimpse of our glorious, office-free future.

“This is not how I envisioned the distributed work revolution taking hold,” wrote Matt Mullenweg, chief executive of Automattic, the software company that owns the WordPress blogging platform.

Mullenweg, whose company’s workforce is fully distributed, sees a silver lining in the coronavirus. In his blog post last week, he wrote that it “might also offer an opportunity for many companies to finally build a culture that allows long-overdue work flexibility.”

I get where he’s coming from. I was a remote worker for two years a while back. For most of that time, I was a work-from-home evangelist who told everyone within earshot about the benefits of avoiding the office. No commute! No distracting co-workers! Home-cooked lunch! What’s not to love?

But I’ve been researching the pros and cons of remote work for my upcoming book about human survival in the age of artificial intelligence and automation. And I’ve now come to a very different conclusion: Most people should work in an office, or near other people, and avoid solitary work-from-home arrangements whenever possible.

Don’t get me wrong: Working from home is a good option for new parents, people with disabilities and others who aren’t well-served by a traditional office setup. I don’t think we should ignore health guidelines and force people to work in an office during a pandemic. And I’m sympathetic to the millions of teachers, restaurant workers and other professionals for whom working from home has never been a viable option.

But for those of us lucky enough to be able to work from home, coronavirus or no, a few words of caution are in order.

Fans of remote work often cite studies showing that people who work from home are more productive, like a 2014 study led by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom. The study examined remote workers at a Chinese travel agency and found that they were 13% more efficient than their office-based peers.

But research also shows that what remote workers gain in productivity, they often miss in harder-to-measure benefits like creativity and innovative thinking. Studies have found that people working together in the same room tend to solve problems more quickly than remote collaborators, and that team cohesion suffers in remote work arrangements.

Remote workers also tend to take shorter breaks and fewer sick days than office-based ones, and in studies, many reports finding it hard to separate their work from their home lives. That’s a good thing if you’re a boss looking to squeeze extra efficiency out of your employees, but less ideal if you’re someone trying to achieve some work-life balance.

Working from home in isolation can be lonely, which explains the popularity of coworking spaces like WeWork and The Wing. Even in Silicon Valley, where the tools that allow for remote work are being built, many companies are strict about requiring their workers to come into the office.

Steve Jobs, for one, was a famous opponent of remote work, believing that Apple employees’ best work came from accidentally bumping into other people, not sitting at home in front of an email inbox.

“Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions,” Jobs said. “You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘Wow,’ and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas.”

I’ll grant that office work has its downsides, even in healthy times. Commuting has been shown to make us less happy, and the open-plan office, a truly cursed workplace design trend that emphasizes airy spaces with rows of desks and little privacy, has made distraction-free focus nearly impossible.

But being near other people also allows us to express our most human qualities, like empathy and collaboration. Those are the skills that can’t be automated. And they’re what produces the kind of meaningful interpersonal contact we miss out on when we’re stuck at home.

“There’s an element of social interaction that’s really important,” said Laszlo Bock, the chief executive of Humu, a Silicon Valley human resources startup.

Bock, who was previously Google’s top human resources officer, said that for most people, balancing office work with remote work is ideal. His company’s research has found that the ideal amount of work-from-home time is 1 1/2 days per week — enough to participate in office culture, with some time reserved for deep, focused work.

“The reason tech companies have micro-kitchens and free snacks is not because they think people are going to starve between 9 a.m. and noon,” he said. “It’s because that’s where you get those moments of serendipity.”

In recent years, some companies with sizable remote workforces have experimented with ways to create office culture over a distance.

Automattic, Mullenweg’s all-remote company, holds an annual weeklong staff retreat called the “grand meetup,” at which workers gather in the same place to socialize and work on group projects. At GitLab, an open-source collaboration platform, remote workers are encouraged to schedule “virtual coffee breaks” — purely social video conferences — with colleagues they don’t know well.

If the coronavirus continues to prevent people from going to the office, more companies may need to try tactics like working from home to help keep their workers happy and connected.

But some people may never be content with virtual water coolers.

“It’s a very personal decision that works for some and doesn’t work for others,” said Julia Austin, a former tech executive and professor at Harvard Business School. “Some people are more productive and happy and find other ways to get social contact if they work from home. And some people aren’t happy working alone.”

As a white-collar millennial, I’m supposed to be cheering on the remote work revolution. But I’ve realized that I can’t be my best, most human self in sweatpants, pretending to pay attention to video conferences between trips to the fridge.

I’ll stay home as long as my bosses and the health authorities advise. But honestly, I can’t wait to go back to work.

c.2020 The New York Times Company

Original Article Found at https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/trends/sorry-but-working-from-home-is-overrated-5020171.html

To know more about why this matters to me, please read https://www.voiceauthor.com/2020/03/07/voice-author-why…r-the-millennial/