Liked Working from home was the dream but is it turning into a nightmare?

I’m picking up a distinct impression that the novelty of WFH has begun to wear thin as we realise that the pandemic might turn out to be a very long haul indeed. And the more we are obliged to interact with the technology at home, the more acute our perceptions of its implications and downsides are becoming

Replied to Weeknote 33/2020 by Doug Belshaw

There are many people who don’t get what I do, or why I do it. Sometimes I don’t really understand either. What I don’t need to spend time doing is wasting my life interacting with random bad faith actors — i.e. the ‘dogs’ barking at things they don’t understand.

Glad to hear that things are on the up Doug.

It is interesting working in project which has the intent of making my work obsolete, that is creating resources and building the capacity of others so that I am not depended upon so much. The challenge I am finding is that you can make something ‘reproducible’ however if the person in question does not actually want to reproduce it and follow your recipe then you are in trouble.

On ‘Doug-shaped’ things, I have recently been engaging with a few things from cricketer, Justin Langer. He talks about continually recentring around what matters. It kind of left me wondering, to borrow your point, what is ‘Aaron-shaped’? I do stuff, but I am not always sure what shape it really is.

Bookmarked Our remote work future is going to suck by Sean Blanda

Why are we always assuming a distributed workforce is a good thing for the worker?

Sean Blanda provides a different perspective on remote work. He discusses the focus on tasks, rather than time; the ways in which people can become forgotten; the creation of a culture of disruption; and a disruption to career growth. In response, Blanda believes companies should be encouraged to invest in the cities in which they are based, managers should trust employees to manage their own schedule, and remote work should be opt-in rather than required.

Some of this reminded me of Peter Ford’s Rise of the Robots, where he talks about offshoring as the first step towards automation.

As technology advances, we can expect that more and more of the routine tasks now performed by offshore workers will eventually be handled entirely by machines.

Replied to

Doug, what about when your desk/workspace is in the middle of an open planned living space 😱
Replied to a post by Colin WalkerColin Walker

It seems likely I’ll be working from home until at least the end of September but this house really isn’t a good fit for that – the longer this goes on the worse it gets. I see so many pieces of advice detailing how to better organise your work day, separate your work area, work in sprints and take regular breaks, but there is no room to distinguish work from home while my role is predominantly reactionary and I must be available. I have next to no control.

And then we can add to that being bombarded by continual bad news despite trying to avoid it.
The world is a roiling sea o…

I remember being told early on that you need to draw lines. If only. I have had to support our daughter who has been learning from home, while our open-planned house is not easily ‘locked off’. It is a bit different with schools returning in Australia, but a part of me wonders if this will have a return to people looking for houses with a study/work space?
Liked On Running an Office Like a Factory – Study Hacks – Cal Newport

This shift from push to pull is just one idea among many that could help make better sense of the chaos that defines modern knowledge work. As I argued recently, the time has come to start seeking these ideas. We can no longer allow the efforts in this sector to unfold as a haphazard cascade of email messages and hastily organized Zoom calls. We need to take seriously not just how much we work, but how this work is organized.

Replied to Weeknote 23/2020 (Open Educational Thinkering)

What I’ve been up to this week.

I really like how you framed your beginning Doug:

Note: these weekly reflections of mine are by their nature introspective. Any small hardships I experience as a privileged middle-aged white man are nothing to those experienced every day by those whose skin just happens to be a different colour to mine.

I wondered if I should even write (or publish) my recent newsletter, wondering if it were a case of privilage.

Congratulations on your choice to explore new beginnings. I was interested in your point about being good at something.

The past year has had me more in ‘manager’ role than ‘innovator’ role, which is another reason that I decided to wind down my role at Moodle. After all, just because other people tell you are good at something doesn’t meant you enjoy doing it.

It has me thinking about my own work. I have found myself good at far too much.

In an interview discussing life under lockdown, Charli XCX shared:

I’m in my house and I’ve walked around every room and noticed things about my house which I’ve lived in for four years, but I really do feel like this is the first time I’ve lived in my home and made my house a home.

This time has given cause to notice some spaces that have long been overlooked, as well as see others in a new light. After reading Erin Bromage’s breakdown of the different risks associated with the coronavirus, I wonder what work will look like moving forward? Will there be a move against open planned spaces? Will work spaces become smaller to diversify the risk? One thing I am confused about is how a back-up ‘secret’ space protects a business when the risk relates to who is actually in the room?

Virginia Trioli asked the question, what have you learned from living in lockdown? I have learnt that it is very difficult to do ‘deep work’ without a wife, especially when you are trying to work in a shared space. It can be easy to say you do not have the time, but I have found finding physical and mental space a bigger challenge.
One of the challenges to social distancing and working from home has been redistribution of space. Habits include particular expectations about the use of space. This all changes when you can no longer leave and go to the park or work. Open planned works until all of the sudden you want to commandeer the kitchen table to become your office. I was however left grateful after reading this account of a couple cooped up in a tiny house.
Listened The Jubilee: Fill Your Boots | Cory Doctorow’s craphound.com by Cory Doctorow | Cory Doctorow’s craphound.com

My latest podcast (MP3) is a reading of my 2017 Locus column “The Jubilee: Fill Your Boots ,” about the nature of material scarcity, which is a subject of enormous significance at this moment as production has ground to a halt, and in which the use of the internet to coordinate our activity is at an all-time high. The essay’s thesis is that the answer to the climate change crisis might coordination, not privation — holidays when our renewable energy sources weren’t producing, work when they were. Making hay while the sun shines. Given the enforced time off so many of us are living through, the ideas are more salient than they were when I started thinking about them in 2017.

Cory, this was definitely interesting to reconsider with the recent move to working from home.

I also liked your closing message.

Maybe our challenge is to learn to live with pandemics and develop coping mechanisms that help us.

The coronavirus has brought about a change where I have worked at home this week. What has been interesting is that although the physical space is different, what has stood out has been the implied responsibility and autonomy. I have missed speaking w/ colleagues whenever required, however it has made me more mindful of how I communicate.
After a frenetic few weeks, I was discussing the challenge of change management with a colleague and how my current role differs from being in the classroom. He said that I was more than a teacher delivers prescribed material, that my efforts to not only solve problems, but also build confidence and understanding make me an educator. I think that is where the challenge is. Think kind of has me thinking about Solo Taxonomy.
Replied to Given things as they are, how shall one individual live? (Doug Belshaw’s Thought Shrapnel)

All we can do, at any given point, is to weigh up where we are, using principles such as Fred Wilson’s:

  1. Am I working on something that inspires me (and others)?
  2. Am I working on something with a significant impact?
  3. Am I working in a way that makes getting where I want to go as easy as possible (and keeps me there as long as possible)?

As Altman writes, that’s likely to be in a place that doesn’t play politics and, to Bartlett’s point, it’s important to pay very close attention to power dynamics. In short, it’s important to ask ourselves regularly, “Am I best positioned to make the particular dent I’ve decided to make in the universe?”

Plenty to think about in this piece Doug, thank you. My only question is where family fits within all this? Always something to consider.
Liked A Four Letter Word Ending In K

‘The Future of Work’ is … nothing. There is no ‘Future of Work’. And before you get all uppity – I am not suggesting that work is just going to disappear, of course not. But I am saying that the Future of Work has nothing to do with work as we know it today. So let us plan for massive disruption – not business as usual linear thinking and look at what Income 2.0 might look like.

Liked Let’s talk about job satisfaction for teachers, not just about who leaves and when (EduResearch Matters)

Ideas from positive psychology suggest that intrinsic motivation in a job requires having opportunities for autonomy, competence, and relationships with other humans. The paper that my team published makes a few key points that, along with our findings outlined above, can be understood in this context.

  1. It seems that reshaping preservice teacher education (yet again) would not be the most effective place to put our future efforts.
  2. For all the studies that have been carried out about mentorship programs and their effectiveness, three out of ten early career teachers in Australia in our analysis either had an unhelpful mentor or had no mentor. Yes some states have since established a policy about mandatory mentorship programs, but for some beginning teachers (anecdotally) these can be just box-ticking exercises.
  3. The fact that clerical/administrative burdens was one of the strongest factors considered in linking on-the-job conditions to intention to leave the profession suggests that this may be a place to look for improving teacher satisfaction. The literature suggests that administrative burdens have increased for teachers in the last decade. It is difficult for any study to conclusively show that reducing this administrative burden would improve teacher satisfaction; but it is a proposal that certainly passes the common sense test. Again, this is a point made by many scholars before me; but having solid data to back it up adds to the case.