The Best of This Week
The week’s must-reads for managing in the digital age, curated by the MIT SMR editors.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we at MIT SMR want to support our readers by offering free resources to help during the pandemic.
Work Redesign Can Ward Off Burnout
Escalating work demands and chronic overload can leave employees burned out as they struggle to meet expectations, but employers can address the issue by making reasonable and feasible changes to how work is done. How can companies address overload and its consequences while avoiding the flaws inherent in flexibility as an accommodation? Consider three research-based conditions organizations should foster.
Unprecedented Videoconferencing Use Is Causing ‘Zoom Fatigue’
National Geographic explores why Zoom calls leave us with “a perplexing sense of being drained while having accomplished nothing.” The fact is, perceiving subtle social cues takes little conscious effort in person, but virtual interactions can be exhausting. Hyperfocused on searching for nonverbal cues that it can’t find, the brain becomes overwhelmed, particularly when using the Brady Bunch-style gallery view. (Anyone else need a nap?)
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Supporting Working Parents, Remotely
Working from home during a pandemic isn’t easy for anyone, but it can be even tougher for working parents. Left unchecked, the challenges faced by employees trying to work in managed chaos could torpedo their productivity and creativity. Leaders and companies need to move rapidly to gain quick wins to help employees manage their work lives now — and to prepare for longer-term changes.
Sustainable Design, Informed by Behavioral Science
Behavioral science is a powerful tool that can be used to direct human behaviors toward sustainable outcomes. But too often, it focuses downstream, on changing end users’ behavior, rather than upstream, on earlier design processes. A recent panel report explores the untapped potential of design behavior for sustainability and why engaging with diverse stakeholders is critical.
Corporate Digital Responsibility Merges Sustainability and Digitization
Sustainability and digitization, two significant global business trends over the past several years, have developed more or less independently of each other and are too often treated as distinct concerns. But sustainable practices are good for the environment and beneficial for business, too. Spanning four areas — social, economic, technological, and environmental — corporate digital responsibility merges sustainability and digitization.
What Else We’re Reading This Week:
- How board chairs can navigate strategy execution in times of crisis
- Logic explores the California roots of the gig economy
- 7 tricks for making good decisions in a crisis
Quote of the Week:
“I don’t think of resilience as bouncing back. There is no ‘back.’ Clocks don’t go backwards. Calendars don’t go backwards. We’re moving forward. And the ability for people to move forward with hope is when you see resilience helping them bounce forward through that and then building trust. Every action, every decision you make throughout this crisis, is either going to build trust or degrade from it.”
— Eric McNulty, associate director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University, in this week’s Three Big Points podcast episode, “Leading Through a Crisis Day by Day”