In 2018, Google’s real estate group began to consider what it could do differently. It turned to the company’s research and development team for “built environments.” It was an eclectic group of architects, industrial and interior designers, structural engineers, builders and tech specialists led by Michelle Kaufmann, who worked with the renowned architect Frank Gehry before joining Google a decade ago.
Google focused on three trends: Work happens anywhere and not just in the office; what employees need from a workplace is changing constantly; and workplaces need to be more than desks, meeting rooms and amenities.
“The future of work that we thought was 10 years out,” Ms. Kaufmann said, “Covid brought us to that future now.” Read more (NY Times)
During the pandemic, we’ve shifted our attention away from strangers toward strengthening relationships with family, friends, and our closest colleagues. If you think of your network as a series of six concentric circles that decrease in emotional intensity as you move toward the larger outer rings, the innermost circle contains the five or so people you turn to in times of severe emotional and financial distress. The outermost ring is made up of the roughly 1,500 acquaintances or weak ties whom you would recognize by sight. When we compared the personal and work networks of hundreds of individuals pre- and post-pandemic, we found that the size of the outermost ring has shrunk. But that shrinkage was accompanied by a strengthening of our closest relationships. Read more (HBR)
“In a world where consumers want more, better and faster, we think Deliveroo is doing a good job,” concluded a report by the private investment bank Berenberg earlier this month. Plenty of people who make money from money are betting that Deliveroo is on a long-term path to profitability, even if its current set-up pushes the company further into the red with every order. “We truly believe we are still getting started,” declared Deliveroo’s founder, Will Shu, in a letter to prospective shareholders. “Join us on the journey.” But what is that journey’s ultimate destination? And what will the implications be – for the way we eat, the livelihoods of those who feed us and the future of our neighbourhoods – once we arrive? Read more (The Guardian)
Extreme formality runs deep in Japanese business culture, stifling employees’ sense of ownership and suppressing innovation. Unexpectedly, the COVID-19 pandemic offers a chance to disrupt such staid traditions. Excessive formality hurts companies in three ways. First, it discourages young minds from voicing their opinions. With the business environment shifting so quickly, and the maturity curve of wisdom being flattened — if not reversed — businesses only suffer by being deaf to younger voices. Read more (Nikkei Asia)
We will see a shift in the way people play, work, learn or simply hang out in 2021. Some of this connection will move into the Metaverse, a digital place where people seamlessly get together and interact in millions of 3D virtual experiences. Early iterations of the Metaverse emerged in the 1980s with VPL Research’s DataSuit and Linden Lab’s Second Life in 2003. However, it started to feel very real in 2020 as several platforms have been envisioning – and building – their own versions of the Metaverse. Read more (Wired)
On Instagram, influencers share images of bedside tables artfully arranged with CBD tinctures and calming pillow sprays. E-commerce sites devoted to sleep products entice shoppers with serene branding and invitations to “sleep well” and “become your best self”. Read more (BBC)
The typical Indian woman believes in the value of DIY beauty remedies based on age-old ayurvedic principles. She is raised on coconut oil in her hair, and favours gram flour, yoghurt and turmeric-based masks and scrubs that promise glowing, de-tanned, “lighter” skin. A significant number of women, particularly in rural India, still use talcum powder on their faces — perceived by some commentators as a possible hangover of the colonial era. Read more (Vogue Business)
JOB HUNTERS MAY now need to impress not just prospective bosses but artificial intelligence algorithms too—as employers screen candidates by having them answer interview questions on a video that is then assessed by a machine. Read more (Wired)