Hello, gang -- Aki is visiting family on Long Island this week, where he grew up, while Usman holds down the fort in Singapore.
Below, we have some striking data on meeting creep, on why people are leaving jobs (shocker: it has to do with their managers), and on employees' perception (dim) of how much their employers care about their wellbeing.
On the surface, it's a bearish set of data about our new and evolving world of work. But read on to see why we're -- dare we say it -- excited by the emerging opportunity that these insights imply.
Thanks, always, for reading -- and have a great week!
Aki & Usman
#leadership #wellness #control
The beginning of this article explains the emergence of a new trend: roughly 30% of knowledge workers are now seen logging on to get through email -- at 9 o'clock at night. (Researchers term this a "third peak", because it complements the existing pre and post-lunch spikes in work activity that we have long-observed).
One of the culprits? Meetings. Meetings are up an astounding 250% 🤯 compared to pre-pandemic levels, leaving less time during the day to reply to email.
The headline sums it up: only 24% of US employees feel strongly that their organization cares about their wellbeing. Which is down from a mid-pandemic peak of 49% -- and marks the lowest percentage in over 10 years. This despite the mountain of activity, spend -- and in some cases, lip service -- we have seen on wellness since the pandemic began.
We're firm believers that "people leave managers not jobs". This study from McKinsey didn't do much to dispel that belief: those it surveyed, who left a job without another in hand, cited "uncaring leaders" as the #1 reason. And reasons #2 and #3? Unsustainable work expectations and lack of career development -- also part of management's job description.
And yet, this is where we turn oddly optimistic. To begin with, can we take a brief moment to celebrate that so many people actually feel they deserve a caring leader? And are willing to up and walk away, absent that leader? 👏🏼
This survey aside, the broader picture that the nuggets in this email paint actually serve as a great reminder of just how much change we've been through. That this forced remote work experiment has until now been largely defined by lonely lockdowns, home schooling, and severely limited travel.
It was a lot, especially given how sudden the change came at us. Is it realistic -- or fair -- to think there would be no harsh downstream consequences? That we would get it right, right from the get-go?
So we get excited by the thought -- knock wood -- that the next phase of this experiment might be less defined by the harsh constraints of the first. That people and teams might be able to see more of one another. That we'll get better at working in remote and hybrid teams; that managers will improve at leading them remotely and asynchronously. That management will learn to let go of its fixation on the office, and with meetings. Or that it will be forced to, lest it suffer a huge talent cost.
Because now more than ever, we can hear -- and see in the data -- that people are vocalizing their desire to be cared for, by managers and organizations alike. What a tremendous opportunity this all represents then -- for both parties -- to demonstrate that care, to build that trust. And to lead.
Thanks for reading.