Work. Shouldn't. Suck. (12/15/20)

Providing resources, research, and reflections on human-centered organizational design for thriving workplaces. From the people at // This edition by Tim Cynova.

Did you end up here because your awesome friend shared this with you?


“Let’s hop into Zoom,” must be a leading contender for Workplace Phrase of the Year. Zoom and Microsoft Teams have become ubiquitous in the 2020 workplace. But Zoom and Teams are also the QWERTY keyboard. Does everyone know how to use them? Pretty much. Are they the best way to communicate virtually in this day and age? Not necessarily. (And I’m sure we all know of at least one company mis-using them with their idea that working virtually means being on Zoom together non-stop from 9-to-5.)

My fellow co-CEO at Fractured Atlas and co-founder of Crux XR, Lauren Ruffin, just published this extensive comparison of Zoom alternatives. These alternatives aren’t just different “Brady Bunch”-style video apps. They offer different ways for us to more intentionally convene and communicate, from the small group discussion to full-on conferences. Some apps use cool technology like spacial audio and the ability to move from one group of people to another, making it sound much like when we do the same thing together in 3D. Some apps pair video and whiteboards so users don’t need to flip between an infinite number of overlapping app windows. ProTip: Some of my coworkers host virtual water cooler gatherings as a way to take these apps out for a spin and learn what they can do.

Un-Zoom Your Workplace

What’s new in my queue

This week, a friend remarked that we only pick up 40% of communication cues over Zoom versus what’s typical when we’re together in 3D, *and* the experience is twice as exhausting. In other words, our brains are working twice as hard for 40% of the results. (No wonder many of us feel like we need to take a nap after every 30-minute call. Oh, that’s just me?) Sadly, we couldn’t locate the article that cited the research. But, it did send me down a rabbit hole of articles related to how we can better understand, and more intentionally craft virtual, human-centered workplace connections. Here are some new and returning items in my queue as I contemplate the question:

What we’ve been wondering

What lies at the intersection of psychological safety and characteristics of white supremacy culture? During a recent staff workshop, we were discussing the concept of psychological safety in organizations as defined by the ground-breaking research of Amy C. Edmondson. One of my coworkers asked the facilitator if they knew of any studies that looked at the negative impacts of white supremacy culture on psychological safety. The facilitator hadn’t, so we called on the socials and org development colleagues to see what we could find. We’re still sifting through all of the recommendations, but here are a few of the resources we received:

Have you come across anything that explores this intersectionality? Please share them in the comments.

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2021 Brings Increases To Hourly Comp Thresholds

Heads up: As of 1/1/21, New York City and its surrounding counties will complete a six-year transition that increases the base level for a position to qualify as exempt from overtime to $58,500/year. Meaning, if a role doesn’t pay someone a minimum of that amount in this region their role is automatically classified as hourly and is eligible to receive overtime. Aren’t nonprofits exempt from this? Nope. But I’m the Executive Director. Nope.

What about me? I don’t live in New York. Here’s a collection of the other updates occurring across the U.S. Want a quick refresher about the difference between exempt and non-exempt and the classification tests that must be applied to each role? Here you go. Think these changes might impact you and positions at your organization? Ping an employment attorney. Think you can delay for another day? Next time we see each other, remind me to tell you about the small business I learned about that was anonymously reported and fined $2.1M because they mis-classed a handful of employees. 😬

Puppy pic, you know, just because.

Thanks for coming along on this adventure! Discover more about organizational journeys in anti-racism, shared leadership models, and entirely virtual workplaces on Work. Shouldn't. Suck.