The Do’s And Don'ts Of Returning To The Office (Transcript)

The Do’s And Don'ts Of Returning To The Office

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

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Adam Grant:
It's been more than two years since offices shut down, many people were sent home, and meetings turned into video calls...And now leaders want people back to the office! But many people have mixed feelings about that.


What do I think about going back? The poop emoji says it all.

I feel like going back to the office is fun to see your coworkers, maybe once a quarter for any planning sessions, but it's not necessary every week.

Eeew! The office stinks, I’ll never go back to the office ever again. Not even with a raise. Actually we should get a raise to stay home.

I'm really maybe going to work once a week, which is fun. I get to see people, but I still want to definitely keep that leverage and be able to work from home more often than not.

Oh, hell no. Why would I do that? Working from home has kept me from being around hella toxic people at the office. And to be quite honest, my mental health is doing better now that I'm not around my colleagues. So leave me at home.

Adam Grant:
Hybrid work is becoming the norm. Except that, right now, no one knows what “normal” hybrid work looks like. It’s the wild west. Kind of like when we first got on Zoom in 2020—with organizations charging straight into it without any road signs or directions. But if we want to make hybrid work… work, the evidence is clear that we need to draw a map.


I’m Adam Grant, and this is WorkLife, my podcast with the TED Audio Collective. I’m an organizational psychologist. I study how to make work not suck. In this show I take you inside the minds of fascinating people to help us rethink how we work, lead, and live.

Today: Going back to the office, and how to make a hybrid model work. Thanks to Service Now for sponsoring this episode.

[00:02:06] Nick Bloom:
So just to be very clear, in the US and most of Northern Europe, roughly 50% of people cannot work from home. So that's frontline retail manufacturing thing. A lot of essential services, nurses, police, fire. The other 50% of us can. The large majority will be hybrid.

[00:02:26] Adam Grant:
Nick Bloom is a Stanford economist, and he’s the ultimate source of data on remote and hybrid work.

[00:02:32] Nick Bloom :
I actually started working on this in 2004. And I've been interviewing folks that have been doing this for a long time. You go back to the eighties and it was truly horrible. I was talking to someone and she said, look, the way I used to operate when I was back in the eighties is my boss would drop off a huge pile of paper on my front doorstep and I'd have to process it and work through it. It's before we had computers and then I'd have to, you know, at the end of the day or the next day, drive it into the office.

[00:03:00] Adam Grant:
Well, the eighties version sounds terrible, except I want the boss who does home delivery.

[00:03:06] Nick Bloom:
Yeah. [Laughter] I was impressed that she said she managed to get her boss. Her boss did one drop.

[00:03:09] Adam Grant:
Some leaders have long resisted the idea of letting people do some of their work remotely. But back in 2010, Nick led a landmark experiment showing that when people who were randomly assigned to work entirely from home were 13% more productive – they took fewer breaks and shorter breaks – they were half as likely to quit. Fast forward to March 2020. COVID hit, and the whole world became a research lab for Nick and his colleagues. They started collecting a lot of data across jobs, industries, and levels.

[00:03:43] Nick Bloom:
We've been surveying 5,000 Americans a month since the beginning of the pandemic. And you can see there's been a sharp break in terms of how positive people are on work from home. So overwhelming majority, more than 80%, sets turned out much better than they thought. And the big upside of that is the average American spends 70 minutes each day, they go to work and back, which is 60 minutes from commute--typically we can meet 30 minutes each way--but there's an extra 10 minutes as well. It takes longer to get ready. So if you survey people, they, you know, they're basically spend a lot more time shaving, putting on makeup, you know, getting, getting kind of polished when they go to work. So you're saving your employees 70 minutes a day. It turns out roughly 30 of those 70 minutes people save, they work more on for the job. So if you're an employer each day, your employee works from home. They're putting in about 30 more minutes.

[00:04:34] Adam Grant:
I loved your finding about the time saved around not commuting. Right? I remember reading this and thinking, whoa, wait a minute. Economists have discovered a way to get an extra hour in your day. Just work from home. Wow. Good for organizations and for humans.

Nick, are you saying that hybrid is the future?


[00:04:51] Nick Bloom:
Hybrid. Yeah. Hybrid is definitely the future. The future is starting now. We're in this return to the office moment over, you know, summer 2022.

[00:05:01] Adam Grant:
But some people–mostly CEOs and senior executives–are still resisting the idea. Here’s an email I got from a very senior, highly accomplished leader in the tech industry who is responsible for a bunch of products you probably use every week.

[00:05:15] Voiceover reads email:
I remain adamant that any engineering and product development team that I manage maximize time together in the office. Five days per week. Plus weekends! I remain highly skeptical that the kind of engines of growth development and innovation that drive Silicon Valley startups and mid-sized companies can be handled through hybrid work. I want my engineering and product teams at the office with me.


[00:05:44] Nick Bloom:
I'm like stunned into silence. It's like being read an email from a flat earther that's trying to argue with you that, you know, the world is flat. It really isn't round. [Adam laughs] And you know, actually Elvis is standing on one side and he's still alive. The evidence I have on this right now is so relevant to this. I did one randomized controlled trial at a big Chinese multinational., which is a, in a NASDAQ listed massive 30,000 person company and they agreed to do a randomized control trial for engineers, marketing and finance professionals. So 1600 of them over the second half of last year. So what they did is they took 1600 people, and if you have an odd birthday, so if you're born on the first, the third, the fifth, seventh of the month, et cetera, you got to work from home on Wednesday and Friday, and if you have an even birthday, the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, you stayed in the office five days a week. So this is exactly testing the email from your tech exec. And they track these folks for six months and what did they find?

[00:06:44] Adam Grant:
The people who worked from home two days a week were every bit as effective. They performed just as well, and they were just as likely to get promoted.

[00:06:53] Nick Bloom:
So there's no difference but quit rates were down 35% amongst the work from home employees, measures of job satisfaction, burnout, work-life balance are all massively better. And the firms said, look, this is incredibly positive, so much so we're just going to roll out to the whole company.

[00:07:10] Adam Grant:
In March 2022, rolled out working from home 2 days a week for the entire company.

[00:07:16] Nick Bloom:
And I know from talking to folks in China, there are other tech companies now thinking of copying them because the evidence is so strongly in favor of it.

[00:07:25] Adam Grant:
So how many days should you be onsite versus remote? It depends on how interdependent people are. In my world of organizational psychology, there are three kinds of interdependence, and they map perfectly onto individual sport, relay sport, and team sport.

I’m normally skeptical of sports metaphors at work. In your job, when was the last time you agreed exactly on how to keep score–and hired referees to enforce the rules? …But this one actually works.

If your workplace is full of people playing an individual sport like gymnastics, you can be remote first. Think call center reps and accountants, for example. Let everyone divide and conquer their own beam, vault, and floor routines whenever they want, and the whole will be roughly the sum of the parts.

If your projects are more like a relay race, though, you need more time together. Like on an assembly line at a carpentry shop, or in a media company where drafts are handed off from a writer to an editor to a designer. The person passing the baton needs to be in sync with the person receiving it. Where you need the most time together is when you’re playing a true team sport, like soccer. Think of a research & design lab or a consulting team. When excellence depends on repeatedly passing the ball back and forth, you really want to spend several days a week together.

[00:08:46] Nick Bloom:
As an example we're going to be in the office Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and work from home Wednesday, Friday. And then the plan is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, like exhaustingly social days. We're going to have all our meetings, presentations, client events, training, lunches on those three days, and try and get all that face to face time that used to be spread over five days into those three days. Then the other two days, Wednesday, Friday is home time for time for kind of quiet work, deep work, maybe one-on-ones cause they're fine over zoom. But they're not going to be days for big meetings.

[00:09:19] Adam Grant:
A company that’s structured like a soccer team can go with your 3-2 model. Three days at the office and 2 days at home and do it successfully! But, Nick, I noticed that one of your findings with that model is that people were more likely to send emails and Slack messages on nights or weekends. What’s going on there?

[00:09:35] Nick Bloom:
I think you're exactly right. So initially you think, well look, this is really bad. Uh, you know, they're struggling to set boundaries. I think when I look at the data of rule, it's worth noting two other things, one is we asked them about work-life balance burnout and a few questions. The folks that get to work from home are much more positive on this. What I think this tells us is that on the days they work from home, we know they work quite a lot less. To put numbers on it, on the two days they worked from home --Wednesday, Friday--they're working about three hours, less out of a night. That says a lot. And roughly making that time on the other days of the week and the weekend.

[00:10:14] Adam Grant:
Overall, Nick’s evidence shows that hybrid work is good for satisfaction, retention and work-life balance– as well as fewer sick days– and doesn’t have costs for performance or promotions. This might be why the majority of offices are going forward with a hybrid work policy. Typically 3 days at the office, 2 days from home. But don’t get ahead of yourself and assume that you can hit play and just loop that song forever. This is the time to test and learn.

[00:10:43] Nick Bloom:
I’m aligned with you, Adam, I'm very much suggesting firms are thoughtful, collect data, and evaluate what's going on. So companies should basically be looking at the hours, assessing what people are doing, surveying their employees anonymously, regularly. And checking that working from home is working for them. And it's not leading to some kind of nasty burnout because managers are pushing more work onto them.

[00:11:04] Adam Grant:
So if you decide to test a 3-2 model, the big question is whether we should all show up on the same 3 days.

[00:11:11] Nick Bloom:
The main struggle I hear managers tell me about is this paradox of choice versus coordination. So they'll say, you know, my employees, they really want to choose which days they want to work from home. The problem is hybrid to work, you do need to coordinate on the days of the week you're in. And then the days of the week, you're home. Once you fix it up and people accept it and you move ahead, then I think hybrid works well.

[00:11:35] Adam Grant:
If hybrid means everyone can work from home whenever they want, proximity bias is a problem. Managers reward the people they interact with in person. The coordinated approach -- having everyone in the office on the same days -- can solve the fairness problem that might leave some groups at a disadvantage.

[00:11:54] Nick Bloom:
So imagine you're Apple and you've agreed to work from home Wednesday-Friday. And suddenly Tim cook says, who's the CEO. You know what? I really like being in the office. I'm going to start coming in on Wednesday, Friday. So Tim starts coming in on Wednesday, Friday. Of course, people that work for him, may also start coming on Wednesday, Friday. And what you'll find and we've seen in the data is some folks we'll come in. And some folks will be less happy coming in, they find the workplace less congenial. They have constraints. If you look across large samples, it tends to be people with young kids, folks that are disabled, live a long way from the office, that are minorities, are slightly less likely to come in on those days. And the problem is there's plenty of evidence for presenteeism bias. So what will happen is the people that come in are more likely to get promoted and you have a diversity crisis.

[00:12:44] Adam Grant:
You're saying we have to close the office those two days a week.

[00:12:47] Nick Bloom:
Well, you don't have to close it. I think it's essential that management takes a lead. My solution is look, do something super boring, which is, you know, plain vanilla, 3-2 hybrid, uh, have them come into the office that say Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, work from home Wednesday, Friday, try that out for six or seven months. And at the end of the year, you know, November, December collect data, survey the whole company, set up focus groups and come up with a new longer run plan.

[00:13:16] Adam Grant:
I think this is the most important tip that comes out of your research is-- I work with so many leaders who are heavy on opinion, but light on data. And they're rushing in to make commitments about what the next year or two or five are going to look like without having any clue. How do people feel about hybrid? What's going to work for them? And I think what you're calling on us to do is to think more like scientists and say before making a premature commitment, run a series of experiments and then track the effects and learn. You would never launch a product without AB testing it. Why are you rolling out an office plan and a structure and a culture to hopefully work for people without doing that same disciplined AB testing.

[00:13:56] Nick Bloom:
And one of the reasons to collect data is to highlight that CEO's, In the case of work from home, the demographic of those folks tends to be pretty much in favor of return to office if you look at our survey data, so it's kind of risky for one or two senior folks to make a decision based on the whole company, because you could easily get it wrong. I think for leaders, It's a good idea to poll your members anonymous. Get a sense of what people want. You don't have to, you know, follow what they want to do, but at least you're informed before you make a decision, and importantly, can defend it.

[00:14:31] Adam Grant:
Hybrid work is a global experiment for 2022. Much like the remote experiment of 2020 that none of us opted into. So what hypotheses do you want to test about how to make hybrid collaboration work? What should you put in your Petri dish? And what kinds of mistakes might spoil the whole experiment? More on that, after the break.




Ok, you’re a leader or a manager, and you’ve started testing 3 days onsite, 2 days anywhere. You’re collecting data. Woohoo! But that doesn’t mean it will be easy.

[00:19:19] Tsedal Neeley:
Hybrid is much more complicated. It requires intentional planning, intentional leadership, intentionally building the right technologies, norms, and processes.

[00:19:30] Adam Grant:
Tsedal Neeley is an expert on work and technology at Harvard Business School. She’s been studying virtual teams and collaboration for decades. And she has some guidance for hybrid workplaces. Think of it as a pair of safety goggles to protect you from toxic fumes, like…

[00:19:46] Tsedal Neeley:
I am sitting at my desk, staring at a screen all day, feeling extremely resentful after now I've done a two hour commute, why am I here?

[00:19:54] Adam Grant:
A good lab has clear guidelines.

[00:19:59] Tsedal Neeley:
The reality is that we need to have design principles that help us determine when in person work is necessary. Because the office should no longer be a destination. It should be a tool. Digital tools should not just be regarded as technology. It should be regarded as a place for community as well. So we need to invent the future that we want using the office as a tool, using technology as a place and trusting people to be able to give us what we want and need.

[00:20:34] Adam Grant:
I love the vision of the office as a tool– and the digital space as a place. With that vision in mind, we can set out to use each tool for what it’s best for — like the office for building community and culture, and the digital space for reflection and deep work.

[00:20:50] Tsedal Neeley:
We see some companies say we're going to get together once per quarter, to spend together two, three days in a retreat format where we're going to spend half of our time bonding and connecting as a team buzzing around, in that way, and then aligning around goals. And then we'll go our separate ways. I've seen other organizations where they've said, we want people in five days a month, which is, five days that are coordinated. You have to have anchor days where everyone shows up at the same time. And when we're together on those days, we're going to have these types of activities.

[00:21:26] Adam Grant:
But using in-person and remote spaces effectively is not as straightforward as it seems.

[00:21:33] Tsedal Neeley:
Leaders have to level up. The reality is, to me, the in-person culture that leaders were accustomed to. It's more like the theater culture. We're all in the same place. I walk in, I use my physicality to convey all these things. Today we're kind of in a world of television, right. And as soon as people understand what it means to lead an organization where you can easily be out of sight, out of sync, and out of touch, they would do very differently.

[00:22:04] Adam Grant:
So what do you need to do to lead and collaborate effectively in a hybrid world? Tsedal has a few key ideas, starting with one for managers:

[00:22:13] Tsedal Neeley:
Number one, people need to feel your digital presence and your physical presence as well.

[00:22:20] Adam Grant:
That means over communicating. Some leaders are doing a weekly video update to keep people in the loop on what they’re thinking. Others are holding daily office hours to find out how people are feeling.

[00:22:32] Tsedal Neeley:
Leaders have to develop emotional trust. People have to believe that leaders see them, that they care about their difficulties, that they care about their preferences, that they care about their careers and career development. And you have to be able to convey all of those things through your actions and your deeds.

[00:22:53] Adam Grant:
What are the most novel examples you've seen of leaders accomplishing those goals in this virtual slash hybrid world?

[00:22:59] Tsedal Neeley:
You know, it's interesting. It's holding meetings, for example. And at the end of a 60 minute meeting to say, you know what, I'm going to hang out for overtime for the next 10, 15 minutes after our meeting. Anyone who wants to hang out and talk to me, I'll be right here. Another thing that is so powerful and important is called structuring unstructured time. We live in a world where people take 60 minutes for a meeting and fill the entire 60 minutes on agenda items. In this kind of virtual environment hybrid environment. You actually need to spend six to seven minutes, oftentimes 10% of the time, checking in with people. It could be something as simple as "I want everyone to chat in how you're doing today." So you built in all of these moments intentionally, and people come to trust you, have confidence in you and on each other.

[00:23:54] Adam Grant:
The second step is to be clear about norms for virtual interaction. Like building in alerts for people once they've dominated 30% of the conversation, agreeing on times when it’s ok to have cameras off, or fostering a lively chat channel to bring quieter voices into the discussion.

[00:24:11] Tsedal Neeley:
What people have to realize is that you have to be very explicit around the rules of engagement in these hybrid gatherings. How do we communicate? How do we make sure that every person can contribute? And we need to make sure that our turn-taking is carefully thought through. So some people have to dial up. Some people have to dial down and a leader's responsibility is to hold an inclusive meeting each and every time.

[00:24:40] Adam Grant:
When you talk about the rules of engagement, you're reminding me of something that I found extremely valuable when I taught virtually for the first time. So I was teaching with Nancy Rothbard, Sigal Barsade, and Samir Nurmohamed, and we said, we've got to, we have 80 students at a time in a section. We need to get their voices in. How do we make sure that everyone's included? And we decided that we would use the chat window instead of the raise hand feature. We would give them hashtags. So we had, if you have a question put in hashtag question and you can type it out, or we'll just see that you have a question and we'll call on you. We did hashtag debate. If you want to challenge something that I've said, or one of your classmates has said. We did a hashtag on fire, which was a Seagal invention. If you have a burning question or burning comment and you have to get in now, if I see on fire, I literally stop at mid-sentence floor's yours. And that way you can, you can make your very timely point. And then the students added a hashtag #aha when they had a light bulb moment. Which was so valuable because I was able to track– is the learning happening in real time.

And I have to tell you, I had the deepest richest conversations I've ever had in the classroom because instead of calling on the random hand that happened to be waving, I was able to choreograph. I could see who had a relevant point to make, who had a question that would, you know, that would complicate our thinking, who is going to challenge and enrich the conversation. And, look, I missed the energy of the live classroom during that, right, I felt like I was in a black hole and we were violating the first law of thermodynamics. I'm like, I'm putting a lot of energy in, but less is coming back. That's supposed to be physically impossible. And I was thrilled to have the energy back once we came back into the classroom-- I miss the rules of engagement of the chat. It seems like something that every working team could be doing in a hybrid world.

[00:26:27] Tsedal Neeley:
I wish I knew about this when I was teaching remotely, but I'll be using it in the future. It's brilliant. Right? What does remote give us? Remote gives us a second channel of communication and the chat is a powerful way to actually not only orchestrate, but to communicate. At the end of the day, what I think it is going to be so important for all of us is to be multimodal workers.

[00:26:53] Adam Grant:
This is Tsedal's third point for hybrid. We need to be multimodal–to toggle between multiple channels to communicate.

[00:27:01] Tsedal Neeley:
We're in hybrid format and this requires us to use different skills, different ways of conveying information. No matter what. This is kind of the world we are in today, it's not one that is better than the other. We need to be phenomenal multimodal workers. This is what this time calls for.

[00:27:21] Adam Grant:
That's such an insightful point, multimodal is exactly what we need to be. One of the dynamics that jumped out at me is as I was using the chat actively, is it helped introverts get an equal place in the discussion–which tracks with evidence that remote interaction can enable introverts to be heard. I also noticed that the chat prioritized the quality and clarity of thought over the charisma and confidence that was behind it. Is that a shift we're going to see at a hybrid workplace?

[00:27:49] Tsedal Neeley:
You know, many people talk about the extent to which this a new way of working hybrid and even remote is democratizing. And what you're talking about is the quality of people's input and comments and contributions are much more visible to us in a more democratic way. We see this in terms of diversity, across gender differences, and those with diverse perspectives or backgrounds that might get drowned out otherwise. The other thing that has been very compelling to me is the findings from the Future Forum, Slack's think tank. How when they, quarterly, they surveyed about 10,000 workers and started to see that black and brown professionals disproportionately prefer remote or hybrid work, in fact to the tune of about 97%. And why is that? People say that they no longer have to take the psychological commute in order to feel included. They no longer have to deal with microaggressions that comes in many forms and the code switching that people have to do. And women feel the same way. And if we use all of the tools that are available to us, I think we're going to have more diverse and more inclusive places.

[00:29:12] Adam Grant:
That's such an important shift. And I think what you're surfacing here is that we can't just say, well, some people who've been historically marginalized are going to have a better experience online. So we'll let them be virtual more and then deprive them of the opportunities for face time and engagement on site. We actually need to rethink the office itself.

[00:29:34] Tsedal Neeley:
Exactly. And the solution to this is not to say all people of color, black and brown professionals from now on are remote. That's the wrong thing to do, but to understand what this reveals and how can we use the various tools that we have today in order to have more diversity, more representation and more inclusion.

[00:29:56] Adam Grant:
So how do we do that in a hybrid world? What does that look like?

[00:29:59] Tsedal Neeley:
The first thing that is so powerful is to actually explicitly do a relaunch. Meaning together, communicate and talk about the desired norms and goals that people have, the resources that are available to people.


[00:30:17] Adam Grant:
That’s the fourth recommendation: do a relaunch. Think about your re-entry process. What conversations have you had about how you want to interact? Here are some discussions that need to happen:

Voice 1:
How are we gonna handle different time zones– what will we do to accommodate people on different continents?

[00:30:36] Tsedal Neeley:
The best practice around that is to share the inconvenience, to truly understand that you have a globally or a distributed team, you have to together, come up with norms, such that you're sharing the inconvenience, people's locations should in no way be used against them and you cannot have certain members of any group, disproportionately being burdened by the time zone difference.

Voice 2:
When we’re onsite, how will we build connection and community? Are we getting together for lunch once a week, no agenda?

Voice 3:
On virtual days, are there times we agree to be reachable?

Voice 4:
And what kinds of information should we communicate face-to-face vs. digitally?

[00:31:25] Adam Grant:
Many people are sending simple information remotely, and saving complex information for in-person meetings. Not so fast.

[00:31:34] Tsedal Neeley:
If you have complex information processing, you actually want asynchronous because you want the delay for people to absorb that information.

Adam Grant:

Tsedal Neeley:
You need that. And the absence of that, guess what? You're going to have 2, 3, 4 meetings before you arrive at mutual understanding. This is unequivocal.

[00:31:55] Adam Grant:
It's so counterintuitive to people. The idea that like, I think generally people assume the more complex the issue is, the more critical it is for us to gather in person in the same room. And you're saying no.

Tsedal Neeley:
No. Absolutely no. It's inefficient. You're going to need so much more time together and meetings to arrive at a place. So you need what's called delayed time for people to be able to process that complex information.

[00:32:21] Adam Grant:
And that's a big part of why Amazon loves the structured memos, where people sit down and digest. Here's the decision we have to make. Here are the different options in their pros and cons before they start talking.


[00:32:28] Adam Grant:
OK, this makes a ton of sense. So what does a bad relaunch look like?

[00:32:39] Tsedal Neeley:
The bad ones, or the less effective ones. I think have been, uh, those where you have the mixed messages, where, where leaders are conflicted

[00:32:49] Adam Grant:
That’s the fifth recommendation: don’t send mixed messages. By now, it should be clear that in-person isn’t superior to remote; it’s better for some tasks and worse for others. But you’ve probably seen leaders deliver mixed messages. You know, on the days when everyone is onsite, the boss raves about how much better it is.

[00:33:10] Tsedal Neeley:
"Oh, I'm so glad we're together in person. I just couldn't stand all the zoom zoom we've been doing." That's mixed signals. So what happens the next time? People see that there's a contradiction.

[00:33:23] Adam Grant:
When you talk about these mixed messages. It reminds me of a Voss, Cable, and Voss paper on organizational identity and professional theaters. And the, the takeaway that I that really stuck for me with that paper was you had like professional theaters with very different identities and goals, right? So some said, we're, we're about creating art. Other said, we're here to make money. Others said, we want to serve the community. And all of those models were effective. As long as leaders were on the same page about them and where they ran into trouble was a theater where multiple leaders did not agree on who we are. And it sounds like you're landing at a similar place around hybrid that there's not a right model, but it's important for leaders to be aligned on what the model is going to be for their organization.

[00:34:07] Tsedal Neeley:
A hundred percent. Wow I love that study. This is the phenomenon that we're seeing today. And once an organization makes a decision, whatever that may be--remote first hybrid in person, whatever their decision is, I would love to see every member of that leadership team commit to it, embrace it and move forward with it. Otherwise the confusion will play out inside of that workforce.

[00:34:36] Adam Grant:
It's easy to see how a lot of the recommendations you gave apply it to knowledge work. What about manufacturing? What about more traditionally blue collar, as opposed to white collar work, where there might not even be a quote unquote office, but there's a physical plant. How do you think about hybrid work there?

[00:34:53] Tsedal Neeley:
This is one of the most vexing aspects of this difficult and stubborn issue and here's what I've seen people do that's been incredibly effective. It's to give individuals who are physically tied to buildings and spaces, manufacturing, some members of IT organizations, etc,, to make sure that they are able to, get what I call remote learning days. Meaning give people free 10, 15 remote days out of the year, so that they're able to use that to learn and to up-skill and also experience the flexibility that everyone else is experiencing.

[00:35:33] Adam Grant:
Yes! I love that. What a great idea.

Tsedal Neeley:
Yeah. And it works. It's magical.


[00:35:42] Adam Grant:
I could see so many workplaces saying, okay, we're going to do anchor days. We're going to do retreats. And what I love about that is it creates variety and not just in the workday, but also in the workweek and the work month I could, I could imagine: 2030 office space, new addition. What the hell is the case of the Mondays? Every Monday is different. Why would I hate Mondays?

[00:36:02] Tsedal Neeley:
You would never hate Mondays.


[00:36:12] Adam Grant:
Next week on WorkLife.

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Our show is mixed by Ben Chesneau. Our fact checker is Paul Durbin. Original music by Hahnsdale Hsu and Allison Layton Brown. Ad stories produced by Pineapple Street Studios.

Special thanks to our sponsors: LinkedIn, Morgan Stanley, ServiceNow, and UKG.

For their research, thanks to Zannie Voss, Dan Cable, and Glenn Voss on organizational identity, Linn Van Dyne and colleagues on interdependence, Nancy Katz on sports teams at work, and Alexander Dennis and colleagues on introverts in virtual teams.


[00:37:22] Adam Grant:
When we first met, you were studying global teams and looking at language barriers and faux pas. And faux... pas? What is the plural of faux pas?


Tsedal Neeley:
Faux pas en francais. Yeah it's good, it's good.

Adam Grant:
Solamente hablo español, lo siento.