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.
There is such thing as too much teamwork: Open plan offices and the use of messaging apps like Slack have encouraged always-on, constant collaboration at work. But research from Harvard’s Ethan Bernstein suggests that we develop more, and better, solutions to problems when we take occasional breaks from the group so we can ponder on our own. Such intermittent collaboration strikes an ideal balance between working in isolation — which limits the quality of ideas — and constant group work, which limits the diversity of ideas. • Here’s what people are saying.
Mind the gender commuting gap: Men make up 65% of commuters who travel for an hour or longer in the U.K., while women account for 55% of commutes that last 15 minutes or less. According to research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies in London, this commute difference may play a role in the gender pay gap. The researchers found that women’s commute times drop after having a first child, perhaps out of a preference to work closer to home. And that shift may limit women’s employment options, restricting earning potential. •Here’s what people are saying.
You Asked: “When dealing with office (boss) bullies, where do you draw the line between trying to suck up and actually sticking up for yourself and standing your ground?” — Kathryn Marrinan, case worker at Cerebral Palsy of Ulster County
- “Dealing with bullies is one the most difficult challenges you can face at work. Here are the steps: 1. Assess that you really are dealing with a bully; 2. Remind yourself that bullies are usually insecure and shy. Is there a way you can pacify that and make them feel comfortable with you? Kindness should always be your first weapon; 3. Find a way to show them that you will not be humiliated; and 4. If all else fails, report the behavior to human resources.” — Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer, entrepreneur, philanthropist
- “If your boss is a bully, there is no one-size-fits all survival strategy. Escape now if you can get another job or if you have saved enough ‘take-this-job shove it’ money. If not, you may need to suck up to that jerk for a while — to plan your get away. Standing up to a powerful bully by yourself is risky. It works best when you band together with coworkers to document bad behavior, confront your tormentor and go over his or her head. And remember that many assholes are well meaning but clueless — learning the painful truth about themselves can help them to stop treating others like dirt.” — Bob Sutton, Stanford Professor and author of seven books including “The No Asshole Rule” and “The Asshole Survival Guide”
Looking for career advice from the pros? Submit your questions in the comments with #YouAsked and we’ll take care of the rest.
When acting authentic beats being authentic: Most of us have been told to just “be ourselves” at one time or another. In many cases, especially in professional settings, that’s terrible advice, argues psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. Rather than letting everything hang out, Chamorro-Premuzic points to research that suggests that satisfied, successful people are often highly skilled at adjusting their behavior to work well with others. And the very best of these so-called impression managers are able to pull this off in a way that comes across as authentic. • Here’s what people are saying.
To make more creative decisions, become a fly on the wall. We are more willing to be adventurous and bold when making decisions on behalf of others rather than for ourselves, according to research from University of Wisconsin’s Evan Polman. Such psychological distance allows us to free ourselves from excessive rumination and second-guessing. How do we apply this to our own choices? By becoming a fly on the wall in our own lives, Polman suggests, and asking how we might advise a friend facing a similar quandary or how someone we respect might tackle a particular challenge. • Here’s what people are saying.
One last idea: As we approach the holiday season, JetBlue Chair Joel Peterson reminds us of the uniquely powerful form of fulfillment we can experience when we are giving to others.
“A more lasting gratitude comes not from what we’ve received, but from what we’ve contributed to others through the bearing of burdens, through listening and through kindness.”
What’s your take? Join the conversations on today’s stories in the comments.