Remote Work Saves Lives

Deep Dive Careers Weekly Wave

October 19th, 2022

Thank you for being a loyal subscriber to my Deep Dive Careers blog. This week, economists ponder recent data, evidence emerges to back the health benefits of working from home, and proximity bias impacts promotions in the work place for younger workers.

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In the News

Economists are Confused: Expert observation of current hiring trends continues to send mixed signals to investors and citizens. Goldman Sachs, Wayfair and a host of other companies have either announced or signaled that layoffs may be coming.

Corporate giants Meta, Alphabet, Microsoft, and others have reported declining sales, and many smaller businesses continue to cite staffing shortages as a leading source of their problems.

As the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates in their effort to contain inflation, it appears increasingly likely that a recession is inevitable.

Remote Work Saves Lives: People who switched to remote work during Covid-19 erased an estimated 60 million hours of work related tasks each workday. Among other advantages, additional personal time outside of work provides a golden opportunity for more sleep. For those who are able to capture more sleep, better health outcomes may follow.

An Influx of Disabled Workers: Since Covid-19 reached the US, an estimated 1.7 million people became disabled. Separate research show a substantial increase in workplace disability claims. These were predominantly related to respiratory, infectious diseases, and mental health conditions.

Other News:

  • Build Back More Expensively: Many Florida homeowners will not be able to rebuild the homes they lost during hurricane Ian. As a result, wealthy developers are flocking to the state to build future homes that will likely be bigger and more luxurious, exacerbating wealth disparities in the area.
  • Broken Hearts: Due to recent stock market turbulence, and the scary bear market, some day traders have gone back to their day jobs.

What I’m Thinking About

Proximity Bias in the Workplace: Due to the impact of Covid-19, hybrid work arrangements continue to increase. According to the latest numbers from Gallup, in June 2022, approximately 78% of workers in “remote-capable” jobs are either hybrid or exclusively remote. This is an increase from the pre-pandemic percentage of 40% in 2019.

As remote work becomes normalized, an under reported by-product is a decrease in personal face time with colleagues, including those who may decide to promote younger workers.

Some say that companies should adjust their behavior by taking extra time to leverage data that accurately measures actual performance of remote workers. It is thought that by doing this, hiring decisions can be based more on merit than on personal affinity.

But proximity bias is a deeply ingrained, and well-known cognitive bias that has been recognized for decades. Even if companies take steps to avoid succumbing to the bias, it may be an insurmountable task.

What I’m Reading:

An organization known as the Foundation for Indidivual Rights and Expression has long been a favorite of mine. Back in 2012, they put together a Guide to Free Speech on Campus. The book is co-authored by Harvey A. Silverglate, David French, and Greg Lukianoff.

  • The guide describes a barrage of court cases at the Federal and State level and how they have impacted the state of free speech rights on US public and privately funded colleges and universities.

Get it in print. It is under $4.

Quote to Consider:

“Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.” – Herbert Hoover

Other Fun Stuff:

  • There is a war taking place for your attention and it is imperative to put up a fight to remain in control.
  • Can shared experiences help people overcome our deepest differences?

Career Related Articles

  • A cure for Ignorance: Admit you don’t know.
  • “Act Your Wage,” They Say: Others say, “think again.”
  • Post Wisely: What you say on social media matters. Here’s what NOT to post.
  • Ditching Degree Requirements: Employers are beginning to doubt that a college degree remains a reliable signal of employee competence.

DDC Throwback Article: 3 Paths Toward Specialized Knowledge
Which song best describes your approach to self-improvement and the accumulation of knowledge?

  1. Daydream Believer – The Monkees
  2. Helter Skelter – The Beatles
  3. My Life – Billy Joel

I’ll catch you next week. Thanks for reading.

*This post may contain affiliate links. These help financially support the Deep Dive Careers platform.

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