Telecommunication and the Need for Margin


The Need for New Social Spaces

It has been 20 months since the pandemic began. Our lifestyles have changed significantly.

These changes have also affected our work styles, with an increase in job hoppers who switch jobs frequently in a short period.

Many of them have never met their colleagues in person. All communication is done through video conferences and chats, leading to a weakening of connections with coworkers and work. As a result of this detachment, the barrier to switching jobs has lowered, resulting in a record high of 3.9 million monthly resignations according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Companies are now challenged to create an environment that fosters communication in the workplace.

In November 2020, Facebook introduced a new role called “Director of Remote” to become a remote-first company. This role focuses on providing various support for remote workers, including relationships and benefits.

Jen Rhymer, a researcher at Stanford University, emphasizes the effectiveness of creating social spaces. Engaging in group activities and ensuring time for casual conversations are essential.

Furthermore, turning on the camera during video conferences can be effective in boosting motivation. Of course, it’s important to understand the potential downsides while maintaining consideration for others. Possible drawbacks should be kept in mind.

In Japan, the nationwide state of emergency was lifted in October. Companies will adopt various approaches, returning to pre-pandemic working styles or adopting hybrid approaches. As we gradually return to our previous routines, it’s important not to overlook the changes in required communication.

If You Never Met Your Co-Workers in Person, Did You Even Work There?


In-Person, Remote, or Something Else

In-person or remote?

This is an issue that’s challenging to decide in both education and the workplace.

Companies have various stances on remote work.

Apple, valuing the creativity of in-person communication, encourages employees to come to the office for a minimum of 3 days a week, while Slack, emphasizing digital-first, encourages its executives to come to the office for no more than 3 days a week.

Speaking personally, while I’m excited about in-person classes after a year and a half, the daily commute is a bit of a hassle.

Surprisingly, this “neither here nor there” sentiment might be the true feelings of working individuals.

According to an internal survey by Revolut, a UK fintech company, 98% of employees responded that they have adapted well to remote work, yet 65% still desire the freedom to enter the office.

In response to these results, the company is offering a new remote work program while reimagining the office as a space for collaboration.

Whether the focus is on in-person or remote work, based on the reevaluation of the significance of “meeting face to face” in the COVID-19 era, a redesign of in-person communication and office spaces is essential.

Revolut's 'digital nomad' program lets staff work anywhere in the world for 2 months a year (Business Insider)

Imperfect Words and Co-Creation

What constitutes “appropriate” text communication?

As communication becomes increasingly digital, the etiquette for texting is also evolving.

Among the younger generation, particularly teenagers, it’s discomforting to see a period at the end of a casual message, creating a sense of distance and unease. In other words, imperfect expressions, grammatically speaking, can create a certain comfort.

A book I recently read, “The Power of 9: How Your Choices Can Create Success”, also presents a similar example. “I love you” versus “I love u.” The former is grammatically correct, but the latter resonates with the recipient’s heart. Imperfect expressions like these also build connections with others.

Emojis can also be effective in communication. According to a study by the University of Ottawa on the impact of emojis, combining positive emojis with positive messages not only conveys warmth but also improves information processing speed. Negative emojis similarly have a significant impact, so it’s generally safe to avoid them.

Thus, even expressions that aren’t formally correct can be “appropriate” communication in certain cases. Of course, adapting to the relationship and situation with the other person is necessary. Why not explore the “appropriateness” that emerges between you and the other person?

What Are Your Texting Dos and Don’ts? (The New York Times)

Balancing Productivity and Meaningfulness

Opening the laptop along with your morning coffee turns your home into your workplace or school instantly when you wake up. The concept of telecommuting has become commonplace, but it’s quite a strange world when you consider that you’re working with people you’ve never met face-to-face. It’s hard to believe that just about two years ago, I used to rub my sleepy eyes and take the train to school every morning.

Now, the debate over the merits of remote work has become a global topic. Amidst this, Stanford University has published a study suggesting that remote work improves productivity by about 13%. Additionally, according to research by ConnectSolution, remote work a few times a month can lead to up to 77% higher productivity.

At this point, let’s pause and consider the significance of work from a well-being perspective. In Sweden, where I’m currently studying, there’s a trend towards easing restrictions, but many classes are still conducted online. In this context, the joy and meaningfulness of in-person communication and interactions with fellow students during group work or field research are evident.

In general, most people spend about 30% of their lives working. It’s a bit sad if this 30% of life gets swallowed by the wave of efficiency and turns into something mechanical. Even having time to discuss today’s lunch or weekend plans with friends or colleagues during lunch breaks can be quite enjoyable.