When working remotely doesn’t work, message overload is real, and more stories

When working remotely doesn't work, message overload is real, and more stories.jpg

 

What’s happening in the world of work: The Saturday edition of the Daily Rundown highlights the business trends, perspectives, and hot topics you need to know to work smarter. Read on and join the conversation.

Is working from home really more productive? A lot of things can be done with a distributed workforce, but a lot of things can’t — and never will. It comes down to whether the job requires teamwork, says The Atlantic. Tasks best attacked by a team effort depend on serendipitous breakthroughs which happen when you bump into someone in a hallway, seldom in a Slack room. “Distance seems to drag collaborative efficiency down,” The Atlantic explains. “The communications technology offering the fastest, cheapest, and a highest-bandwidth connection is — for the moment, anyway — still the office.” • Share your thoughts: #RemoteWorkers

… On the other hand: Yes, you can suffer from “collaborative overload” — communication-induced burnout. That constant barrage of messages, meetings, and emails reduces productivity; according to a recent survey, “wasteful meetings” was the most-cited time drain for US employees and “excessive emails” was No. 2. Nonprofit expert Beth Kanter suggests scheduling “power hours” to set aside time for solo work, although she also notes that techniques can’t be effective unless companies respect the need for heads-down time. • Share your thoughts: #WorkplaceProductivity

Identifying future star performers can be tricky, reports Harvard Business Review. Part of the problem is that aptitude for career success isn’t the same as the desire to “make a crucial contribution to the organization,” HBR notes. Still, studies reveal that there are common traits “regardless of the context, job, and industry… which can be identified fairly early in the process,” namely ability, social skills and drive. In essence, the tell-tale signs of future rock stars are the ability to manage oneself and nurture relationships, and a can-do, must-do attitude. • Share your thoughts:#HighPotentialEmployees

Great leaders have to work at it. “We live in an age that assumes that individuals of great vision and impact are the result of rare, valuable endowments,” explains Harvard Business School professor Nancy Koehn. But through her examination of celebrated figures in history, she found that to be anything but true: Iconic leaders like Abraham Lincoln were made, not born. “The harder they worked on themselves, the more effective they became,” she writes. One key to this development? Self-examination — studying their own abilities to further hone leadership skills and style. • Share your thoughts: #LeadersAreMade

Creativity isn’t one-size-fits-all. Not everyone can be Mozart, but we can all tap into some type of creative thinking — whether that’s experiencing a “eureka” moment (biosociative creativity) to telling a great story (narratological creativity). Creativity takes five distinct forms, explains innovation expert Jeff DeGraff, and they can all be practiced — even the most challenging (intuitive creativity) which can be achieved through meditation or other means of freeing the mind. Everyone can build creative muscles: “You just have to keep trying new things.” • Share your thoughts:#CreativityTypes

One last idea: Don’t worry about finding your purpose, advises business writer and editor Theodore Kinni. You can still build a rewarding career, even if you don’t heed the purpose “siren call.” Start with what you’re good at and go from there — quit early and often until you’ve found work that works for you. • Share your thoughts:#SearchingForPurpose

“A sense of purpose is like an appendix. If you’ve got one, good for you. If you don’t, you’re not missing anything important.”

 

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