Archive for Stephen Jones

Google CEO Sundar Pichai says 3 days in the office and 2 at home is a good ‘balance’ between in-person collaboration and time off from the commute

GettyImages Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the 2019 Google I/O conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 07, 2019 in Mountain View, California.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai discussed the company's hybrid working plans with The Wall Street Journal.
  • Three days in the office, two days remotely was a good "balance," Pichai said.
  • It gave staff lots of time to collaborate - but also let them avoid the daily commute.

Working three days a week in the office and two days remotely gives employees a good "balance" between time at home and time with their colleagues, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc., said.

Pichai said Google was "roughly planning on a three/two model," with employees given flexibility to work where they want for two days a week. Google first unveiled this "flexible work week" in December 2020.

Three days in the office was important for collaboration and community, Pichai said. Two days remotely gave employees time off from the commute, he said.

Pichai spoke to The Wall Street Journal's editor-in-chief Matt Murray at the paper's Tech Live Conference on Monday. The conversation was recorded in a podcast.

Pichai was asked whether the three days office, two days remote model would be a permanent change for the company.

"I think so," he said. "Even in places like New York and San Francisco our employees dealt with long commutes and that was a real issue. And so I do think people get a better balance in a three/two model."

Pichai said that the corporation's data shows that it can make the model work.

The company would "probably" invest in real estate to make it easy for teams to get together, he said.

Google recently agreed a $2.1 billion deal to expand it's so-called "Google Hudson Square" complex in New York, and Pichai said that the company was "reimagining" its spaces to make them more collaborative and "fun."

Alphabet has delayed its full office return until January 2022, and Pichai said that beyond then, the company would tell each local office to make their own decisions about returning to work.

Between 20% and 30% of staff had voluntarily returned to the office already, he said - that rose to 50% in New York.

In October, Pichai announced that employees needed to be vaccinated before returning to the office.

He told Murray that the company expected about 20% of its workforce to become fully remote over time, and that the company was giving people more freedom to relocate.

In August, a leaked pay calculator suggested that remote Google staffers could face a pay cut of up to 25%. The company said that it had always calculated pay based on location.

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A study of 61,000 Microsoft employees suggests remote work is bad for communication between different teams

Remote worker
Remote workers can pose "insider threats" to companies, not always intentionally.
  • Fully remote workers communicate less with people outside their team, a study suggests.
  • They are also slower to engage new starters, the study found.
  • Researchers analyzed the habits of 61,000 Microsoft staff before and after they switched to remote working.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

People working from home in the pandemic spoke less frequently with colleagues outside their team and took longer to engage with new hires, compared to when they worked in the office before COVID-19, a study suggests.

The study looked at the communication habits of 61,000 Microsoft staff while the company was working remotely during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study, published in the Journal Nature Human Behaviour, analyzed the communication habits of the employees between December 2019 and June 2020, before and after the company went fully remote on March 5, 2020.

The researchers said that this was the first time they had studied the impact of a firm-wide switch to remote working. Before the switch, 18% of Microsoft employees worked remotely.

The researchers, from Microsoft and the University of California Berkeley Haas Business School, collected data from instant messaging services, emails, calls, and meetings, and monitored working hours. They also collected weekly summaries of how long employees spent in meetings. The information was anonymized.

The results showed that workers communicated less frequently outside of their immediate teams or with colleagues they had "weak ties" with. The report defined a tie as strong "when they were in the top 50% of an employee's ties in terms of hours spent communicating," and as weak otherwise.

Employees also spent on average 25% less time collaborating across groups, took longer to engage newer or unfamiliar colleagues, and spent less time accessing new sources of information, the researchers found.

People did, however, spend more time communicating, and therefore built stronger connections with their immediate team members.

David Holtz, assistant professor of management of organizations at the Berkeley Haas business school, told the University's news portal that the results could have "major implications" on firms that are planning their future work strategy.

He said they need to be mindful of how any policy could affect the way teams and individual colleagues communicate.

Some CEOs have contended that working from home is bad for company culture and employee relationships. Goldman Sachs CEO David Soloman, JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon, and the UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak have been among the high profile figures to question the impact of remote working on company culture, team collaboration, and worker wellbeing.

They've particularly worried about the impact of remote working on new starters and younger graduates.

Deutsche Bank's UK CEO Tiina Lee previously told Insider that she wanted all graduate bankers to be in the office five days a week so they could ask experienced staff questions.

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AI tools that companies use to scan resumes are stopping 27 million people finding new jobs, a Harvard report says

Job fair Florida
A man hands his resume to an employer at the 25th annual Central Florida Employment Council Job Fair at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.
  • 27 million "hidden workers" in the US are being filtered out of job applications by automated tech, a report says.
  • Their skills are regularly overlooked by the AI-driven hiring practices many employers rely on.
  • Groups that are disproportionately overlooked include caregivers and immigrants, according to the Harvard report.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Automated hiring systems, such as CV scanners, are stopping an estimated 27 million people from finding full-time work.

Businesses relying on automatic, sometimes AI-driven tech are turning down viable candidates, which means these people are "hidden" from recruiters, according to a report by Harvard Business School and Accenture.

As many as 75% of employers rely on this technology, according to the report.

These "hidden workers" are defined as candidates actively seeking employment, but who are regularly denied, and discouraged, by "hiring processes that focus on what they don't have (such as credentials) rather than the value they can bring (such as capabilities)," the report said.

Groups that are disproportionately affected include caregivers, veterans, immigrants, people with disabilities, prison leavers, and people whose spouse has relocated, the report said.

The academics from Harvard Business School's project on Managing the Future of Work found that as the number of job seekers increased over the past two decades, companies increasingly turned to technology, such as software that scans resumes for keywords and experience, to filter out candidates.

The software scans applications based on specific criteria defined by the employer, but this often means it sorts workers based on what's missing from their CV, rather than what they can bring to a role, the report said.

Employers failing to widen their nets for candidates

This has coincided with a widening skills gap - the rapid pace of technological change has made it harder for workers to keep their skills up to date, the report said. At the same time, employers in general have failed to recognise the competitive advantage of widening their nets, researchers said.

The report sorted "hidden workers" into three categories: 63% are working one or multiple part time jobs, but would like a full time role, and 33% are seeking employment but have been unemployed for a long time.

The remaining 4% are classed as "missing from the workforce" in that they are not seeking employment, but are able and willing to work under the right circumstances. They may have specific caring responsibilities, for example.

To understand the wider impact of hiring practices on job applicants, the researchers also polled 8,000 former and current "hidden workers," as well as 2,250 executives from UK, US, and Germany. They found that COVID-19 has temporarily exacerbated the problem, but that finding work was just as hard pre-pandemic for many people.

The report makes a number of recommendations to companies. These include shifting from "negative" to "affirmative" filters when combing resumes, which emphasize the skills a person can bring to a role, rather than missing experience, such as not going to college.

Another recommendation is to make the application process easier to attract a wider pool of candidates - 84% of those polled said that they found job applications difficult.

Employers should also make it clearer when employees can expect to hear back, the report said.

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Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said he secretly lived in Argentina for a month after reading ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferriss

jimmy wales
Wales cofounded Wikipedia in 2001.
  • Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales appeared on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast.
  • He was asked for book recommendations, and said that he moved to Argentina after reading Ferriss'.
  • He didn't specify when, but said that no one knew he was there.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Jimmy Wales, cofounder of Wikipedia, revealed he secretly moved to Argentina for a month after reading Tim Ferriss's book "The 4-Hour Workweek."

Wales, a futures and options trader before founding Wikipedia in 2001, appeared on August episode of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast and was asked which books he gifts or recommends to people more than others.

Wales didn't include Ferriss' book, but did say "The 4-Hour Workweek" had "a huge impact" on him and encouraged him to take a step back. He ended up moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital for a short period.

"You've got this whole rat race thing going on, you're following all the normal things, and you just step back and go 'Hey, is there a radical, different way of looking at this?'" Wales said of his decision.

"The 4-Hour Workweek" is based on Ferriss' own experiences and offers tips and tricks on how people can manage their time and cut down on their workload without significantly losing income. Ferriss is famed for his productivity and life hacks, and interviews business people and celebrities on their productivity habits and careers.

Wales said he used a Vonage phone whose number was registered to New York, fooling callers and coworkers.

"So I got into my apartment in Buenos Aires and nobody knew I was there," he said. "They all thought I was in New York because I was working remote anyway."

Wales added he ran into difficulties when organizing travel from from Buenos Aires to speeches he was giving in Korea and Milan. "It's like, you've got to fly around the world twice to get to that place," he said.

Wales didn't say when this took place. He has given several speeches in Korea over the years, including in 2008, 2012, 2015, and 2018.

The two books Wales did include on his most-recommended shortlist were, he said, "quite simple'' and "quite common."

The first is "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," a runthrough of traits that define successful people, authored by the late management professor Steven Covey, and a favorite among management gurus and business leaders since it was first published in 1989. The habits include "starting with the end in mind", "being proactive" and "thinking win-win."

Wales said that he hasn't applied all of Covey's principles, but found the book helpful as a person who is prone to following whatever interests him at a given moment. "It's like, okay pull myself together, and here's a system for getting things done," he said.

Wales second recommendation was "Your Money or Your Life" by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.

"It basically sets forth the argument that you don't need as much money as you think to live," he said. "A lot of how we live, which is very expensive, collapses into things that we would rather not be trapped into like commuting, or having to wear certain clothes."

He also said that he had also tried and failed to apply the method outlined in "Getting Things Done" by the consultant David Allen.

It involves organizing tasks based on their likelihood of completion and how relevant they are. Wales said that although he found it interesting, he couldn't buy into the concept.

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A community about secretly working 2 full-time jobs has exploded as users swap advice on hacking their way to a $700,000 salary

Man working from home with a bicycle.
  • Overemployed.com was set up in April to help people find and work multiple jobs at once.
  • Membership to its Discord channel more than tripled last week as people joined to swap tips.
  • Two users claimed they worked multiple jobs to earn $750,000 or more.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A growing number of people appear to be hacking working from home by working multiple full-time jobs at once.

While many white-collar workers have found themselves reassessing work-life balance and spending more time with family, the Wall Street Journal's Rachel Feintzeig has uncovered a community dedicated to being "overemployed."

Some workers interviewed by Feintzeig claim that they work up to 100 hours a week and earn as much as $600,000 at the top end.

Helping fuel this phenomenon is Overemployed.com, a site founded in April this year by a person calling themselves "Isaac" and offering advice for anyone trying to maintain multiple full-time jobs. An Overemployed.com book is due for publication in 2022.

On the site, Isaac writes that he planned to quit after being passed over for promotion and hearing of potential redundancies. As he tells it, he soon realized that it may be more profitable to not quit at all, instead overlapping two jobs as a "hedge against uncertainty during the pandemic."

Isaac claims that he has managed to keep to a 40-hour work week while working two full-time jobs and has decided to do so until their next restricted stock units are vested before negotiating a severance.

"This wait-and-see strategy has netted me over $300,000 of additional income so far - income I'd have forgone had I simply quit my job," he wrote. Insider has not verified Isaac's claims.

Despite the potential complications of tax, irate bosses, and burnout, workers have flocked to Overworked.com's Discord server since the Wall Street Journal article, with members almost tripling over the last week.

On August 9, the account welcomed its 766th member. By August 17 there were more than 2,300 members.

Members are swapping tips to hit high six-figure salaries

On joining, members are asked to introduce themselves, explain their functional role, years of job experience and their two-job situation.

Some want to earn additional income while they transition jobs, some are looking for another while they're working from home, others already have multiple roles and want to add a third.

Many of the posts indicate that members work in software and development, security, or finance.

In other threads participants are sharing accounts of their two-job failures, successes, and routines. They also swap advice on tax and legal risks.

None of these stories are verified by Insider, but the volume and frequency of messages is enough to suggest people are pretty interested in two jobs as a life hack.

Naturally, there is an obsession among users with "TC" or total compensation.

One person claims they are working three roles and earning $785,000 - but adds the pace is unsustainable and they would "settle at close to 500,000."

A second says their compensation, which includes stock options, comes in at around $750,000.

And those who say they're successful at holding down multiple roles advise others to avoid over-socializing with colleagues to prevent being pulled into multiple, potentially conflicting meetings. Others recommend mastering the art of delegation.

"What's working for me is the fact that Job A is just in coast mode" wrote another community member, under the name Emmojo. "Job B on the other hand is very demanding, I currently work 40 hours a week, entirely at Job B due to the intensity."

Another account, posting under the name KittyMama, claims they have two jobs in different time zones. "I keep separate computers for each and toggle back and forth all day. Minimize meetings. Keep up with work in chunks. Totally do-able!," they wrote.

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Remote interns who created virtual water cooler moments with managers significantly boosted their chances of getting hired, a study shows

smartphone video call conference call
  • A Harvard study looked into how interns' interactions affected their job prospects at a company.
  • Remote interns who created 'water-cooler moments' with managers boosted their shot of landing a job.
  • The study hasn't been peer-reviewed, and didn't show if the findings apply over a longer internship.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

One of the dominant reasons cited by bosses for workers to return to the office is the importance of "water cooler moments."

The narrative goes, that if workers, especially younger ones, are absent from the office they miss out on the chance for serendipitous, informal conversations with colleagues and therefore the opportunity to bond and learn from senior colleagues. Creativity and company culture also take a hit.

However, not only are water-cooler moments completely possible to recreate virtually, but interns who engage in them with managers "significantly" improve their chances of getting a full-time job at the end, according to the results of one recent study.

Harvard Business School academics Iavor Bojinov, Prithwiraj Choudhury, and Jacqueline Lane wanted to understand the impact that virtual informal interactions on an intern's career prospects.

They studied one cohort of 1,370 new summer interns starting at an unspecified global corporation of 30,000 staff.

The internship was adapted as a result of the pandemic to be virtual and shortened to five weeks. Interns were based across 16 different locations.

The researchers observed three types of interaction between interns and colleagues.

In one situation, interns regularly jumped into informal Zoom meetings with colleagues and managers - sometimes they proactively instigated these water cooler conversations on their own initiative.

Another situation consisted of asynchronous question-and-answer sessions where senior managers publicly answered written questions submitted by interns.

The final situation involved group project meetings between interns without managers present.

The main measure of performance outcomes was whether the interns received a job offer following the five-week course. The researchers also collected ratings from managers and self-reported performance reviews from colleagues.

The key finding? Interns who had more face-to-face Zoom time with managers were 4.7% to 7.3% more likely to receive a job offer at the end of the five-week internship.

"The survey measures suggest that the virtual water coolers may have facilitated information and advice sharing, which possibly enabled the interns to improve their job performance and career outcomes," wrote the researchers.

The working paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, offers weight to the idea that it's possible to bond with colleagues and create cohesive corporate cultures while working remotely, but there are some limitations.

The study gave no indication of how relations are impacted over a longer time period, only five weeks.

It also only focused on interactions within a context where everyone was remote.

Given a significant number of firms are planning to pursue a hybrid way of working in the future, how this would affect an intern's career path needs further understanding.

The findings also reveal some potentially problematic consequences about the nature of remote and hybrid work.

The study found interns were more likely to receive a job offer if they were demographically similar in terms of race and gender to the manager they were interacting with - by a variation of between 9% to 13%.

The researchers don't provide a breakdown of the demographics, but this could be problematic given women and Black and other minority backgrounds are often underrepresented at manager level.

In addition, parents or those with caring responsibilities - which statistically are more likely to be women - could also be at a disadvantage, as the evidence that the chances of receiving a job offer could be tipped in the favour of those who are able to be available spontaneously, or can dedicate more time to bonding with colleagues.

Employees must work to stay visible while remote, but managers should take some responsibility too.

"I would definitely advocate proactive facilitation," Karin Reed, an executive coach and the author of "Suddenly Virtual" told Insider. "It does really require the leader of the meeting to be very conscious of who has spoken and who might have something to add."

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This CEO moved his company to a 4-day week. He struggled to stop working all 5 days.

alarm clock
It takes planning to cut down from a full 5-day week.
  • The CEO of UK legal firm Arken introduced a 4-day workweek in June.
  • Although the firm experienced uplifts in productivity and wellbeing, there were challenges too.
  • These included getting out of the 5-day mindset, cutting extra chatter, and ruthless planning.

More bosses around the world are toying with the concept of introducing a four-day week.

Dave Newick is one CEO who has done it - and can speak to the difficulties of changing from a five-day-week mindset.

Newick is the CEO of Arken.legal, a digital wills and trustee business based in Kent, UK.

In June 2021, following a nine-month trial, the company announced that it was switching permanently to a four-day week.

All 22 staff now have one extra day off a week that they can spend how they wish. Most take every Friday, except for a couple of team members who cover on a rotational basis and instead take Monday off.

Staff work an average of 32 hours a week, typically starting at 9 a.m. and leaving the office at 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday, Newick told Insider.

Dave Newick
Dave Newick, CEO of Arken.

The company says that wellbeing and work-life balance have improved as a result of the switch - with 85% of staff polled internally saying the trial had improved their view of the company. There's also been no recognizable drop in productivity.

Asked about teething problems, Newick said these mostly revolved around behavior, including his own.

"Some of that is actually challenging your existing thinking," he said. "I'm 54 years old. I've worked a certain way, five days a week, most of my working life."

When he began the trial, Newick found himself working five days a week - and had to be told by others in his team he was inadvertently setting an expectation that others had to do the same.

Eventually, he said, he learned to step away on Fridays though it took time.

The business originally intended to introduce a three-month trial starting October to test the concept, but subsequent UK coronavirus lockdowns meant this was extended to 9 months.

The firm picked Friday as its default day off because it suited clients and the Arken staff who work part-time.

Making a four-day week work has meant being serious about productivity, Newick said.

"You realize that you think you're a highly productive business - but actually when you really start to drill down on it, you realize that there is this kind of unproductive piece," he said.

"Once you start measuring productivity and give people a reference framework to that, then you realize what the art of the possible is."

Employees use software to map their time and tasks and operate according to two-week sprint cycles - an agile form of project management that sets each employee's responsibilities over the next two weeks to ensure that they're clear about what needs to be done and how to do it.

Adapting processes to ensure that as much as possible is automated has been important, added Newick, but the process also requires discipline from staff to ensure that they don't message colleagues outside of hours or answer emails or other notifications when people are off.

Watercooler conversations have also taken a hit.

"You don't appreciate just how much time can be frittered away in any one day. I'd go to the office sometimes and there were conversations going on just a little bit too long, around stuff that didn't really matter," said Newick.

He added that this wasn't a diktat by management and that employees opted to cut down on conversations. He said the office continues to socialize regularly.

Ultimately, though, he acknowledged it's not a way of working or transition that suits everyone, and that some people had left after the change.

Trust and hiring the right people is essential, said Newick. "You've got to make sure that they're self-managing and that they're actually doing this because they want to and because it matters to them."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Location-based pay is the newest conflict between workers and employers, as remote Googlers face a 25% salary cut

Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
  • Employers are mulling pay cuts for remote workers with reduced living costs.
  • Google, Facebook, and UK government departments have all suggested cutting pay for remote workers.
  • But with a labor shortage and more workers willing to change jobs, it's not clear many firms will really risk it.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Workers who permanently choose not to commute into the office face a new sting: A pay cut from employers who argue their living costs are lower.

This latest conflict comes after white-collar workers took on employers over returning to the office and (mostly) won, and as employers gear up to mandate vaccines for returning workers.

The pay debate centers on whether those no longer commuting into city centers or other expensive hubs deserve to receive their current wages.

On Wednesday, news emerged that Google employees who work remotely full-time might face a salary haircut of as much as 25%.

And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has indicated that employees looking to "flee to lower-cost cities" could expect to have their compensation adjusted.

In the UK, The Guardian reported that several government departments were mulling whether to remove an approximately £4,000 ($5,500) top-up for civil servants who live in London and faced higher living costs.

The news came the same week UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak said working from home could hurt the career of younger workers.

The FDA Union, which represents the UK's civil servants, said the "insulting and cowardly attacks" had caused anger, and underappreciated the roles played by its members - 81% of whom already live and work outside of London.

Is this really the start of a new battle between firms and staff?

There are two sides to every story, and each argument holds its merits.

Companies such as Google and Facebook have invested vast sums in large, fancy campuses and want to see a return on their investment by having employees in the building.

It's also not uncommon for companies to vary pay, with 49% of UK employers already determining salaries by location, according to the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD).

But workers argue that they shouldn't be penalized for cutting their living costs, and that their employers may make savings in the long term.

It isn't clear how many businesses will risk the fight right now.

More workers are open to reassessing their careers and purpose than ever. During a tight labor market, employers attempting to reassess pay could drive away talent.

Given that it's still early in the days of hybrid work, it would be a rash action to take right now, a CIPD spokeswoman told Insider.

It could also lead to "an employment law minefield for businesses", said Malcolm Gregory, employment lawyer and partner at UK firm Royds Withy King.

"If they want all staff to work from an office, they may face an increase in formal requests to work from home that cannot be ignored. If they offer fully remote working and wish to reduce salaries, they will need to gain consent. That may not always be given."

British staff with protected characteristics under UK employment law - such as age, disability, and pregnancy - who find it difficult to commute could be able to bring claims against their employer.

However Gregory added that US workers could face more aggressive workforce strategies from their employers, due to the fact that most employment is at will.

Legal or HR headaches may be why few companies have cut pay so far.

Neither Google, nor Facebook have actually cut workers' pay. And a spokesperson for UK prime minister Boris Johnson said civil servants would not be punished for continuing to work remotely.

According to CIPD data, just 7% of companies are changing pay to reflect home working or have plans to.

In reality, decisions around pay and location will vary between sectors and businesses - but it will stay a point of public discussion for the foreseeable future.

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If you’re the remote worker in a meeting you’re more likely to be overlooked – here’s how to stay visible

Zoom face
  • Hybrid meetings could lead to remote workers being overlooked.
  • Karin Reed, author of "Suddenly Virtual", says it's important to create a virtual presence.
  • She shared her tips with Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

In March 2020 the way that many companies worked changed forever. With much of the world in lockdown, those that could were thrown into working remotely - some for the first time.

How well a person coped was largely dependent on factors like their age, job role, living situation, and the quality of the manager - but in some ways, the playing field leveled.

The hybrid working plans that many companies are rolling out following the pandemic will change that, according to Karin Reed, co-author of "Suddenly Virtual: How to Make Remote Meetings Work."

There is a huge difference between being virtual like many were at the start of the pandemic, and the hybrid way of working that many companies are planning for, said Reed.

With people split between the home and the office, companies will go from a situation where there is a single mode of communication to one where people are showing up from different locations, and potentially using different means of communication, said Reed.

This could easily lead to meetings becoming confusing or tip the conversation in favor of those who are physically in the room. That could mean those who work remotely are overlooked.

Early research indicates that it may be primarily women who lose out as a result, with more women (31%) than men (23%) saying they would prefer to work at home all the time, per December data from Pew.

Adapting to hybrid will require employees and managers to rethink how they communicate, Reed, who is a former broadcast journalist and now coaches CEOs on communication, told Insider.

She shared some top tips for remote workers to avoid getting lost in hybrid meetings.

1. Be engaged, even if your manager is leading

Video call
Video call from home featuring grid view.

Ultimately managers have the overwhelming responsibility to create presence for everyone in the meeting, but attendees also have a responsibility to understand who is in the meeting, said Reed.

Ideally, before launching into any sort of hybrid environment, there should be a team agreement to determine expectations and possibly develop a turn-taking policy.

However, regardless of who your manager is, it is important to create as much presence for yourself as possible, said Reed. Keeping your camera on is an obvious basic essential.

"If you are joining remotely, having your camera off makes it much more likely that you will be overlooked," said Reed.

2. Buddy up

If they can, remote workers should seek out an "in-room buddy" who can act as an advocate and pull them into conversations, suggested Reed. This could just be a fellow team member or friend who is in physical attendance.

It's also important to think about how you participate.

This doesn't always need to be verbal, said Reed. Using features like chat or "raise hand" present in most mainstream video call apps can also help to boost your presence.

"Hopefully the leader will attend to it and weave it into the dialogue, but trying to participate in as many forms as are available to you is a great best practice," advised Reed.

3. Over-communicate about your emotions

smartphone video call conference call

Another significant challenge that virtual attendees will have to overcome is the "stunted" nature of virtual communication, which can make it harder to read body language and other non-verbal cues, explained Reed.

"If you're remote, let people know how you're feeling about something. If you were in person with that person, you could probably gather that nuance better, but virtual is a little bit harder to read," said Reed.

Actively "verbalizing your emotions" can help people to better understand the intent of your message if they can't easily perceive your non-verbal cues.

4. Make it easier for others to read you with good lighting

Finally, Reed said, remember how you look on screen is important. But it's not all about vanity, it's about having respect for your conversation partner.

"It doesn't matter that much to us if we show up with our face in shadow, but it makes it very difficult for your conversation partner to receive your message in full," said Reed.

Aside from ensuring that your face is evenly illuminated, other key things to focus on are how you're framed - showing your full face and a large part of your body to ensure that people can read your body language - and to ensure that your background is not too distracting.

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Who you found a business with is more important than having a good idea, says Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

Brian Chesky
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.
  • Airbnb's CEO said that who you found a business with is more important than the idea itself.
  • Brian Chesky was speaking as part of the BBC's CEO Secrets series.
  • He said that the primary reason startups fail is because the founder runs out of energy and quits.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

If you want to grow a successful business, finding the right people to do it with is more important than the concept, according to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.

"I'd rather work with great founders on a not great idea, than not-excellent founders on a great idea," Chesky told BBC's CEO Secrets series.

He said there's often an obsession among founders with having a good idea and picking the right market, but after 13 years he thinks it matters more who you do it with than what you do.

Chesky cofounded the accommodation rental service in San Francisco in 2007, along with his then-roommate Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk.

Chesky and Gebbia started the business as a way of boosting rent, by letting designers in need of accommodation sleep on their lounge floor for $80 a night. Blecharczyk came onboard as they tried to grow the concept.

"Was Airbnb really a good idea?," asked Chesky. "It didn't seem like a good idea."

He said that he was initially trying to raise $150,000 and sell a 10% stake in the business, but could barely get meetings with investors.

"But if you have a great team, you can take an idea that people might think is a little crazy and you can find a way in," said Chesky, who added that the primary reason startups fail is because the founder quits, either because they lose motivation, traction, or run out of money.

"You don't just get sniped, you kind of crawl and fade away. So just having great founders that can support you is the most important thing I think."

Despite its initial struggles, Airbnb would eventually go on to receive initial backing from Y Combinator founder Paul Graham, as well as $600,000 seed investment from Sequoia Capital in 2009.

The company went public in December 2020 and has a market capitalization of around $89 billion.

All three cofounders remain in the business. Chesky as CEO, Blecharczyk as chief strategy officer and CEO of Airbnb China, while Gebbia is the chairman of charitable arm Airbnb.org and the company's recently launched design studio Samara.

When previously asked to share career advice Chesky has said that optimism is an important trait for a business leader and that people shouldn't listen to their parents when it comes to choosing their career.

He told the podcast host Dan Schawbel in April: "I wouldn't even advise you to "follow your passion," because that presumes you already know what your passion is. But most people have to discover it. And the only way to discover it is to take pressure off yourself."

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