Sensible theories tell us that unemployment insurance levels could reduce workers’ job search intensity, but well-done studies found that wasn’t really the case in 2020. Demand may be rising faster than supply but things are changing fast, systematic data is slow, and so anyone who tells you they know exactly what’s happening in America broadly now is wrong.
What else is going on here?
Assuming employed, essential workers were more likely to get vaccinated earlier, the non-vaccinated rate is substantially higher for working-age Americans who are not working. My analysis of census data shows that, in January through March, for every 10 percent of working-age people vaccinated, about 1 percent more became employed. Our working-age employment rate remains about three percentage points down from February 2020. If this relationship continued to hold as we vaccinate the next 30 percent of working-age Americans, the remaining employment gap could close. It’s not that simple, but I do think that it suggests that public health remains the first-order issue.
For employers with some flexibility in setting wages, they may not raise wage offers to new hires because internal equity then pressures for raises to incumbents and that reduces their profit.These employers will feel like they want to hire, but not so much that they will raise wage offers enough to attract candidates. They will cry about labor shortages but not compete hard.
What can companies do to attract workers?
First, make the job better. Improve wages, benefits, training, safety and respect. Ensure every supervisor treats employees with respect. Are any consistently experiencing higher turnover in their unit?
Second, promote public health by taking coronavirus precautions. This will help everyone and reassure workers who’ve stayed out of the labor market due to health concerns.
Third, be more transparent about what the job offers. Many managers post vague job openings in order to preserve their bargaining flexibility, so they can make a tailored offer after learning about a specific candidate’s circumstances. However, vague vacancy descriptions can lead to two kinds of expensive errors. First, some people who would be a good fit don’t apply because they can’t recognize that the job would be a good fit. Second, people who would not be a good fit apply because the ad is not clear and then the manager has to waste time interfacing with them.
“I don’t know if it’ll solve it in the long run,” said Mr. Gigante of Proskauer Rose. “But I do think that’s what we’re talking to people about and talking to clients about.”
Requiring tests before an employee can come to work doesn’t fully protect other employees from contracting the disease. Tests vary in accuracy, and results refer only to the moment tests were administered. The more frequent the tests, the more informative they are. Mr. Gigante said he most commonly hears of companies mandating tests twice a week, though some situations, like a movie set or a courtroom, may require daily testing.
Some companies may not want to deal with considerations that come with such a program — like the cost, the need to figure out where and how to administer the tests, and the headache of keeping track of the results.
“Logistics and costs were making it less likely to be relied on by employers as an avenue, but as tests are becoming more available and less expensive, employers are looking at testing as a good layer of protection,” said David Schwartz, who runs the labor group at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Can employee wellness programs reward vaccinations?
Laura Godfrey in Saugatuck, Mich., is curious about the relationship between vaccinations and employee health care plans. “Companies have been focused on wellness to a determined level,” she writes. “So to ask for a vaccine seems reasonable.”
“It’s definitely something that’s on a lot of employers’ minds,” said Emily Zimmer, a partner who specializes in employee benefits at the law firm Troutman Pepper.
That’s particularly the case for companies with established wellness programs, she said. For example, if a company already rewards employees who receive annual flu shots, it would be easier to do the same for employees who receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
DealBook obtained an internal training video played for foreign workers at Cerner, a medical software provider and the largest H-1B visa user in Kansas City, Mo. In the video, the company provided three options for employees who didn’t win the H-1B visa lottery: Re-enroll in a degree program and work for the company on a student visa, a practice embraced by companies and universities in recent years; move to India if they had authorization to work there; or leave the company. Cerner declined to comment on the training video.
Obtaining a work visa is getting marginally easier. The Biden administration has already lifted some of the Trump administration’s changes to the application process. Spouses of immigrants applying for work permits will no longer need to be fingerprinted and photographed, a requirement that was put in place in 2019 and lengthened processing time, forcing tens of thousands of workers, like Mr. Parashar’s wife, to wait in visa backlogs during the pandemic.
In late April, the Biden administration issued policy guidance that asked immigration officers to defer to prior decisions when reviewing visa extension cases, a long-existing practice that was rescinded in 2017. The policy memo that made it more difficult for entry-level computer programmers to get a work visa was also rescinded in January.
These changes are taking place against a backdrop of a long-term trend in work force globalization that is driven by many factors, including the availability of skills and the relative cost of labor in other countries. For example, according to a review of jobs posted on top H-1B users’ websites by the data provider Thinknum, since 2018 the share of job openings outside the United States at Accenture, Capgemini and Cognizant has grown while the share of advertised U.S. jobs has shrunk.
If companies can’t get the visas they want to sponsor foreign workers in the United States, there is little stopping them from hiring workers outside the United States. And the increasing acceptance of remote work after the pandemic may mean even more types of jobs can be filled anywhere in the world.
Ben Wright, the chief executive of Velocity Global, a professional employer organization that hires workers overseas for clients while they wait for U.S. visas, said companies had been willing to accommodate foreign workers who could not come to the United States because of pandemic restrictions.
“You’re also seeing hiring managers say, ‘My gosh, my eyes are opened to the fact that we really can work from anywhere,’” he said. “That’s pulling these companies globally in a way that has never happened.”
Wilkins also stressed the economic risk of holding debt like Mississippi’s. The racial subordination of nearly half the state’s population constituted “an endless economic dead weight which is bound to reduce the fiscal attractiveness of the state’s securities quite apart from the moral issue,” he wrote. Wilkins implied that, by excluding Black Mississippians from economic opportunities, the state would have to devote greater expenditures toward welfare, policing and other areas that might otherwise be used to promote economic growth that would safeguard bondholders’ investments.
Behind these statements was a strategy to shift large capital holders that played key roles in the municipal bond market, nudging investment and commercial banks, pension funds and insurers to assist a campaign that sought to cut off capital investment from the Jim Crow South.
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Thus, before Donald Barnes, an executive vice president of Childs Securities, wrote a letter in 1965 to Gov. George Wallace questioning Alabama’s creditworthiness, civil rights activists sought to harness the power of finance in aid of the movement. Childs Securities’ decision to boycott Alabama came after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to boycott the state, and after dockworkers along the West Coast refused to handle Alabama-made products.
The lessons are twofold. First, it took social movements to push banks to divest from the South. Business was not the central agent of change in the fight for racial, economic and social justice, but in some cases it was an effective tool.
The second lesson is that businesses that joined the cause worked against industry peers, such as the analyst at Moody’s who said in 1965 that it was “not sympathetic with the civil rights movement.” The financiers at Childs Securities decided to stand with the N.A.A.C.P. and against Alabama, but also against their syndicate partners, many of whom did not agree with what one Boston banker called the “ill-conceived and immature” decision to publicly declare and act on their opposition to Alabama’s actions. Childs Securities battled on multiple fronts, including within a sector that put profits ahead of social issues.
These efforts have threads in common with contemporary social movements. In April, more than 140 racial justice leaders published an open letter that asked large asset managers to use their shareholder voting power to advance racial equity, including by opposing all-white boards and supporting more visibility into corporate political spending.
“You share unique power to shape corporate behavior and to change the business-as-usual practices that uphold white supremacy at the foundation of our economy,” they wrote.
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As companies reopen their offices, they are deciding how the virtual work arrangements they’ve relied on during the pandemic will factor into their long-term plans — or not.
Google’s “flexible workweek” calls for employees to spend at least three days a week in the office and the rest at home. Microsoft’s “hybrid workplace” means most employees can spend up to half their time working remotely. Ford Motor’s “flexible hybrid work model” leaves it up to workers and their managers to decide how much time they need to spend in the office.
Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase don’t have names for their postpandemic policies, because they expect most employees to return to the office for most of the time. Goldman’s C.E.O., David Solomon, called working from home an “aberration,” and JPMorgan’s chief, Jamie Dimon, said it had “serious weaknesses.”
But many companies have hatched a postpandemic plan in which employees return to the office for some of the time while mixing in more work from home than before. The appeal of this compromise is clear: Employers hope to give employees the flexibility and focus that come from working at home without sacrificing the in-person connections of the office.
How, exactly, to strike this balance can be less obvious.
Should companies require employees to be in the office on certain days? For a set number of days each week? How should those in the office accommodate colleagues working remotely?
To help answer pressing questions like these, DealBook assembled advice from experts about where to start, how to avoid common pitfalls, and the most important things to consider when not everyone is working in the same place.
a comparison of two accounting companies, researchers found that a flatter hierarchy helped facilitate virtual work, because remote workers didn’t feel too far from the center of the organization. Our own research also found a strong correlation between employee autonomy and productivity outside the office.
What is the culture of the company? Companies with an individualistic cultureseem to make a smoother transition to virtual work; by contrast, companies that stress “us” over “me” have been slower to adopt online collaboration.
What is each team’s schedule? If schedules are similar and work is interdependent, it’s good to encourage everyone to work roughly at the same time. If employees live in different time zones, it’s better to set a few common windows for real-time communications like videoconferences, and let most other work unfold through email or document sharing.
These factors make it easier for managers to address the most common challenges faced by hybrid teams. Take communication barriers: What if half the team is in the office and the other half is dialing in from home? If their locations are dispersed (so the Zoom callers can’t make it into the office) and the organization is flat and decentralized, the company could use a buddy system to make each person in the room responsible for keeping one particular Zoom caller fully in the conversation. If the caller misses something, the in-room buddy can fill in that person via text chat; if the caller is being talked over, the in-room buddy can step in to ensure that the person is heard.
Another common dilemma is deciding exactly who will be in the office on which days. This is further complicated by a significant gap between executive and employee perspectives, with most executives feeling that company culture depends on people spending at least three days a week in the office and most employees saying they want to spend at least three days a week working remotely.
monthly surveys about remote work that my research team has conducted since May, we’ve found that 30 percent of U.S. employees never want to return to working in the office, while 25 percent never want to spend another day working from home. Given such different views, it seems natural to let the workers choose. One manager told me: “I treat my team like adults. They get to decide when and where they work as long as they get their jobs done.”
But this approach raises two concerns. One is that it’s likely to result in “mixed mode,” the widely disliked situation when some people are at home and others are at the office, all appearing in one Zoom box in the conference room.
The second, less obvious concern is the risk to diversity. It turns out that who wants to work from home after the pandemic is not random. In our research we found that among college graduates with young children, women want to work from home full time almost 50 percent more often than men do.
This is problematic given evidence that working from home while your colleagues are in the office can hurt your chance of promotion. In a study I ran in China at a large multinational company, we randomly assigned volunteers to work remotely or remain in the office. Remote employees had a 50 percent lower rate of promotion after 21 months than their colleagues in the office.
categories of team interactions, which companies can consider when deciding how to structure work — regardless of where it happens.
Content interactions: communication about tasks, such as sharing feedback while sitting side by side. When work went virtual, more of these interactions took place asynchronously, through digital work tools such as Slack. One manager said communication had improved because individuals had more time to think.
Bounce interactions: new idea generation, as with an impromptu whiteboard brainstorming session. In the virtual version, individuals often generated ideas on their own, and then they and others emailed them back and forth. That made it harder to align with others; some teams adjusted by moving brainstorming sessions to videoconferences.
Players, observers, lobbyists and the lobbied alike consider this a critical moment for crypto and its influencers. Succeeding or failing to persuade officials now will determine whether regulation allows the digital gold rush to accelerate or slows it to a sputter.
What’s at stake?
Here are four of the big issues keeping crypto lobbyists busy:
Reputation. The impression that crypto facilitates crime is voiced with some frequency by lawmakers and regulators, and it remains a significant hurdle to legitimacy. The Crypto Council’s first commissioned publication is an analysis of Bitcoin’s illicit use, and it concludes that concerns are “significantly overstated” and that blockchain technology could be better used by law enforcement to stop crime and collect intelligence.
Reporting requirements. New anti-money-laundering rules passed this year will significantly expand disclosures for digital currencies. The Treasury has also proposed rules that would require detailed reporting for transactions over $3,000 involving “unhosted wallets,” or digital wallets that are not associated with a third-party financial institution, and require institutions handling cryptocurrencies to process more data. The Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental watchdog and standards body, recently provided draft guidance on virtual assets that would require service providers to hand over further information.
Securities insecurities. When is a digital asset a security and when is it a commodity? Not technically a riddle, this question has puzzled regulators and innovators for some time. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are released via a decentralized network generally qualify as commodities and are less heavily regulated than securities, which represent a stake in a venture. Tokens released by people and companies are more likely to be characterized as securities because they more often represent a stake in the issuer’s project.
The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Ripple Labs in December, accusing it of selling unregistered securities in the form of a token called XRP. Ripple insists that XRP is a commodity. A decision in this case may prove to be a watershed for determining how to properly characterize cryptocurrencies in the future.
This week, an S.E.C. commissioner, Hester Peirce, published an updated “safe harbor” proposal that would give developers a grace period to issue a token without fear of mischaracterization and to keep regulators informed. “The idea is to give people a three-year runway,” Ms. Peirce said.
Catching up with China. The Chinese government is already experimenting with a central bank digital currency, a digital yuan. China would be the first country to create a virtual currency, but many are considering it. Some crypto advocates worry that China’s alacrity in the space threatens the dollar, national security and American competitiveness.
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For more, see our previous weekend edition about the future of crypto regulation.
Meet me in the lobby
“With any new industry, figuring out Washington isn’t easy,” said Ms. Peirce, the S.E.C. commissioner. Entering a heavily regulated industry like finance and talking about technology that few officials understand only compound the difficulty for the crypto crowd.
Since joining the S.E.C. in 2018, Ms. Peirce has been a vocal supporter of blockchain both in the halls of power and in crypto insider circles, sharing her thoughts on hot topics like when there will finally be a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the United States. (Not soon enough, in her view, but perhaps soonish.)
As the sector matures, some things will get easier even while the landscape of players gets more complex. Blockchain businesses will increasingly speak to regulators who understand their language, Ms. Peirce said, like the new S.E.C. chair, Gary Gensler, a former M.I.T. professor who taught crypto classes and was coincidentally confirmed on the day that Coinbase listed.
When these sorts of companies enact work-life policies, why don’t they seem to stick?
Look at the reward structure. You have an OK base salary, but then the bonus is allocated based on how you’re stacking up at the end of the year against your peers. It’s like a tournament. It’s like a race. And all you know is that the people next to you, against whom you will be measured, are just as smart as you. They work just as hard. And so the only lever you have is try to outwork them. These reward structures perpetuate this work ethic.
When an organization says “we value work-life balance, we want our people to not work on weekends, we want blah blah blah” — there is still this competitive structure where people have an incentive to work all they can because others are doing the same thing, and only winners get rewarded.
Churning through talent may work for a company. But you found that many employees choose these grueling schedules, even when they come at great personal cost. One associate told you: “I work hard because I want to.”
The people who get hired at banks have been through performance competitions all their lives. When I talk to students at the beginning of their undergraduate career and ask them, “what do you want to be?” very few want to go into banking.
So what happens? When these firms descend onto campus, people start competing because that’s what they have been conditioned to do throughout their lives. They chase after what everyone else chases after, regardless of whether they actually care about the work. Regardless of whether there are consequences or not, these people want to win.
This is maybe the final part that locks people into these intense work schedules. It is the idea that there is a cadre of individuals who are the best and brightest, and if you don’t keep up the pace you’ll end up at some kind of second-tier firm — part of an undefinable “rest.”
What’s so bad about that?
The people in the best and the brightest group, they have opportunities, they earn a lot, they work with other interesting people, they work on global deals. The rest push paper with uninteresting colleagues and over time, you’ll become like them. That’s what people sincerely believe. They believe that if you don’t work for an elite organization, you fall into an abyss of personal social status descent.
A former Citigroup analyst in New York who left investment banking last summer said that in normal times managers would often be busy traveling, or would leave the office at night, which allowed analysts periods to focus on their existing work without being assigned new tasks. Those breaks disappeared during the pandemic.
“They were always available and working late,” he said of his managers during the pandemic. “They knew we were stuck working late. We couldn’t do anything else. So there was no separation from work and home.”
The analyst, who worked at Citi for three years, said virtual work was particularly hard on the first-year employees. “They weren’t able to learn how to be a banker in the office. They learned it virtually, and it’s so much harder,” he said. Working virtually, he believes, has also made it more difficult for new analysts to support each other. “They just get the downside to banking,” he said. “They don’t get the upside, the relationships.”
JPMorgan and Citigroup declined to comment.
As the work has become more isolating, the amount of it has exploded. At this point in the year, according to Dealogic, the value of debt issues are running a third higher than the previous 10-year average, acquisitions are more than double, and initial public offerings are some 15 times higher, propelled by the surge in blank-check shell companies known as SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies.
“We recognize that our people are very busy, because business is strong and volumes are at historic levels,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement in response to the first-year analysts’ presentation. “A year into Covid, people are understandably quite stretched, and that’s why we are listening to their concerns and taking multiple steps to address them.”
On Sunday, Goldman’s chief executive, David Solomon, sent a memo to employees in which he promised to enforce the firm’s policy against working on Saturdays, to shift bankers to the busiest desks and to hire more entry-level employees. A day later, Citi’s C.E.O., Jane Fraser, introduced “Zoom-free Fridays” and said that most employees could work from home for two days per week when the firm reopens its offices.
Other banks decided to work in the medium they know best: Money. Credit Suisse on Wednesday said that it would give lower-ranking employees a $20,000 bonus to acknowledge their work during a period of “unprecedented deal volume.”
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Walmart announced last month that it was raising pay for some of its lowest-wage workers. Investors responded by pummeling its shares, sending them down by more than 6 percent on the day.
That wasn’t quite as bad as in 2015, when the retailer’s stock dropped 10 percent after it said a wage increase would cut into profits.
$13.5 billion in profit in its most recent fiscal year.
Chief executives have in recent years publicly pronounced their commitment to “stakeholder capitalism” and “doing well by doing good.” But when it comes to paying workers a wage that can support their families, investors send executives a clear message: increase pay at your peril.
This is a problem. Worker compensation as a percentage of our national output has declined for decades, and especially steeply since 2000. Low-wage workers at companies including Amazon, McDonald’s and Walmart rely on public assistance such as food stamps to make ends meet, according to an October report from the Government Accountability Office. A shocking 30 percent of Americans couldn’t easily come up with $400 on their own in an emergency, and women and people of color generally earn less than their peers.
But two new books highlight good ideas for how to more fairly allocate pay, some new and others fallen into disuse. They can maybe even help investors to accept that reallocation.
Just Work,” Ms. Scott, a former Apple and Google executive, calls on managers to identify the gaps in pay between gender, racial and ethnic groups. “Unless you believe that white men are superior to others and that’s why they’re paid more, it’s impossible to believe that bias is not a factor,” she writes. American women, for example, make only about 85 percent of what men earn.
at Buffer, a social-media tools company, for example, and also at many government agencies. “More companies are finding that the simplest way to address pay disparity is to take the mystery out of the process,” Ms. Scott writes.
Ms. Scott also calls on business leaders to look at the spread between executives’ compensation and that of their lowest-paid employees. Research shows that raising low-wage workers’ compensation is one of the most effective ways to narrow the persistent racial pay gap. “If you are in charge of compensation, you can pay people who get paid less more and people who get paid most less,” Ms. Scott writes. “I’m not talking communism; I’m talking common human decency.”
Some companies are thinking similarly. Costco recently raised its starting wage to $16 per hour, from $15. The retailer has long been a case study for how higher wages can be a good business strategy, reducing employee turnover and theft, and improving customer service. Best Buy and Target both raised minimum pay to $15 per hour last year. Amazon says it benefited from higher staff morale and retention, and a significant jump in job applications after it raised starting pay to $15 per hour for all U.S. employees in 2018.
PayPal in recent years began focusing on employee financial health, including a metric it calls net disposable income, or what staff have left after taxes and necessary living expenses. It raised salaries and the company’s health-insurance contributions for its lowest-paid workers, which resulted in higher employee satisfaction and retention.
You’re Paid What You’re Worth.” One of the biggest myths is that what we’re paid reflects our performance, argues Mr. Rosenfeld, a professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis.
In theory, workers should be paid based on how much money a business generates thanks to their work, and for some rainmakers that may be clear. But that’s often not the case. Mr. Rosenfeld blames several structural factors for undermining the tie between the value workers contribute to their employer’s revenue and their compensation, including noncompete agreements, opacity around salaries and company performance and market concentration.
Beyond that, Mr. Rosenfeld makes the provocative contention that measuring most individual workers’ performance is fruitless. “For many jobs today, the whole effort to measure marginal productivity is misguided — not because the right tools haven’t been developed, but because there is no way to disentangle the productivity of one worker from that of others in the organization,” he writes.
He argues that even when it’s possible to tie individual performance to revenue, as with salespeople and lawyers, performance-based pay has deep flaws, such as generating cutthroat competition between colleagues.
If performance-based compensation is so problematic, what’s the alternative? One possibility is to link pay to the performance of the whole company. Profit-sharing programs, where companies give a percentage of earnings to employees, were common in the United States before the 1980s, but have mostly disappeared since.
Mr. Rosenfeld also suggests an approach unlikely to have fans among younger workers: pay based on seniority. It strips managers of their ability to play favorites, diminishes the impact of bias and rewards experience. “Seniority-based pay ensures we’re paid for our improvement,” Mr. Rosenfeld argues.
has historically supported raising the minimum wage to $15. And even that level falls short of providing workers with income sufficient to cover basic expenses in many parts of the country.
As Walmart was reminded very clearly, investors aren’t necessarily on the same page as the general public when it comes to better wages. That’s shortsighted. Researchers including Zeynep Ton, a professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, have shown that companies can be just as profitable when they pay higher wages, thanks to benefits such as better quality goods and services and lower staff turnover. Also, when workers struggle to make ends meet, it holds back the economy because they consume less.
On top of that, fair pay is a critical foundation for a fair society. Now is a good time for resetting assumptions about why we’re paid what we’re paid, and how compensation is determined. New approaches exist for those who are open to them.
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Humor: Serious Business,” which shows aspiring executives and entrepreneurs how to leverage laughter for better relationships and business results. They’ve also distilled their findings into a new book, “Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is A Secret Weapon in Business and Life.”
But can people really be taught to be funny at work? Should people be taught to be funny at work?
If you explain a joke, its force disperses. The whole point of “The Office,” after all, is that it’s agony to work with a self-appointed comedian. And the framing of humor as a tool of self-advancement is somewhat unsettling, evoking the image of a sociopath calmly studying the human psyche’s soft spots to exploit them for professional gain.
Humor at work is much less about wisecracks than about levity: the shared moments of lightness that propel relationships forward and balance the seriousness of labor.
more motivating and admired. Their employees are more engaged. Their teams are more likely to solve a creativity challenge. There’s all this evidence around the R.O.I. of humor.
And then the failure myth: People think that failing at humor is going to have these huge repercussions. We teach our students that it’s so much less about telling jokes. It’s about cultivating joy.
rule of three” or contrast or exaggeration to get the outcome they want — which is, in this case, laughs. It’s just like how athletes know the exact form that they should use.
That’s a good analogy. You can have a healthy, happy life as someone who exercises regularly but never crosses over into athletic competition. It sounds like it’s also fine to be a person who appreciates humor but prefers not to be the one cracking jokes.
has said: “The easiest way to be funny is not to try — instead, just look for moments to laugh.” This isn’t about being funny. This is about being generous with laughter. You’re empowering others to use it, and showing up much more as a human — not a clown.
How can leaders ensure the humor they’re encouraging is appropriate?
Aaker: Many people who have used humor to good effect in the past often equate humor with their style of humor. Like, “I just threw out a joke, it didn’t land, I think it would have two years ago, therefore the world is not funny anymore.” The calculation is not that the world is humorless, per se. It’s that we need to better understand the diversity of humor styles that other people have, and better understand — through empathy more than anything else — how to better read a room and understand the dynamics of status.
What’s interesting is that while trust in leadership is plunging — which is a problem for leaders who have used the same old jokes for a while — those organizations that somehow manage to maintain a high-trust environment are thriving.
We know that when employees rate what characteristics inspire trust, their answers are things like, “My boss speaks like a regular person.” We’re living in a time when empathy, inclusivity and authenticity are important for all leaders. Humor is actually a secret weapon that can serve them well.
So how do we keep levity alive on remote teams, when you don’t have the in-person benefits of facial expression and tone — or feel like you have much to laugh about?
Bagdonas: This was such a pressing need that at the beginning of the pandemic that we created a course called “Remotely Humorous,” which is all about having humor in remote teams.
Part of this is creating space for it. We need to have a norm that at the beginning of every call, we just talk like humans rather than jump right into the agenda. We talk about what just happened with our kids, or whose dog is running around in the background or what genuine mishap has happened in people’s lives due to this pandemic.
meetings, email and other workplace absurdities. “Never look for what’s funny,” Ms. Cooper told Stanford students in a guest lecture. “Look for what’s true, and go from there.”
The comedian and writer for shows like “The Good Place” and “The Late Late Show With James Corden” finds the funny in everything, including technology’s tendency to overcomplicate our personal and professional lives.
The host of “The Amber Ruffin Show” has been a writer on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” since 2014. She regularly appears with co-writer Jenny Hagel in the segment “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” where the two women deliver punch lines that would sound wrong coming from a straight white guy’s mouth, in any setting.
What do you think? Is work better when there’s humor or should it be strictly business? Let us know: email@example.com.