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Hello dear readers.
Janina here, standing in for Isabel while she takes a break in Copenhagen.
We want to feature a new part of the newsletter where you can show off where you work, and how you feel about it.
So this week I’m kicking things off with a special request: whether you’re in a high-design home office, a cubbyhole under your stairs, a slick city office, a cool co-working space, or even the beach, we want an insight into the ways you work and the detritus (or not) on your desk/table/couch/sunbed (delete as appropriate).
We want pictures and a description of why you love or hate it — perhaps you don’t even care as long as you have a spot to perch — and the small items you might have that bring you comfort or just cheer you up each day. You can send this to us at [email protected].
The aim is to feature a picture of your workspaces in our newsletter each week, along with a description.
I’m getting things started with my very own desk here at FT HQ in London.
Upsides? The double screen. That alone is enough to get me into the office more often because it makes my job much easier. My desk is quite roomy too, so I can spread out a bit. As you can probably tell, the newsroom is not really hot-desking terrain — territory is marked with books, papers and varying types of tea, as well as myriad other items. I have a couple of Covid-19 tests for emergencies and a collection of mini soy sauces from food chain Itsu — I feel bad throwing them away. Downsides are a lack of natural light. FT HQ is a smart place but perhaps feels a little grey sometimes.
Here are some interesting spaces in which others find inspiration, from a feature I pulled together in 2019 about the work environments that inspire productivity, based in places from downtown Nashville in the US, to England’s Lake District.
Meanwhile, if you are yet to perfect your homeworking space, here are some top tips from shelves and lighting to hiding clutter. And if you’re considering ditching your desk for a sunbed, learn what it’s like to be a digital nomad.
We’re looking forward to receiving your fascinating contributions, and remember, if you need soy sauce, I have supplies.
Top stories from the world of work:
The art of getting over an office faux pas. Pilita Clark offers her tips on recovering from a work blunder. It takes conviction and guile, she writes.
Lockdowns are over. WFH isn’t. Why? Tim Harford says it’s hard to believe we will return to 95 per cent attendance at the workplace in his lifetime.
A day at the virtual office. For some companies, the FT’s San Francisco correspondent Patrick McGee finds the future of work is already here as employees connect in the metaverse.
How does your 2023 bonus measure up? As investment banks slash their bonus pools, payouts this year may be below par — but an FT poll found that readers feel hanging on to their jobs is the real bonus.
Here’s how to stop an ever-sicker workforce from dropping out. Sarah O’Connor argues that occupational therapists may provide a practical solution to those struggling with their physical or mental health.
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The benefits of a neurodiverse workplace
This week, the FT’s Emma Jacobs wrote about the benefits of revealing neurodiversity in the workplace. A sharp rise in the diagnoses of neurodiversity — which includes autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dyslexia and dysgraphia — among adults means many more workers, including senior managers, will need to consider the impact on their jobs, and their bosses may have to adapt. Disclosing a diagnosis is difficult and sensitive, but a number of chief executives and other senior managers describe how it can lead to a better working environment.
Emma pointed to these key takeaways to improve the workplace for neurodiverse employees:
Message from the top: Senior leaders speaking — or writing — on the topic can make a strong impact and highlight an organisation’s values.
Hiring: Examine recruitment screening for biases. Consider preparing candidates for the interview and giving them tasks or questions that match the job.
Training: Informational training sessions help employees feel confident about disclosing their diagnosis and encourage understanding of different behaviour.
Mentoring: Creating a mentorship system helps workers navigate career progression and office politics — especially if they have unique needs.
Workplace adjustments: These can include allowing noise-cancelling headphones, or reducing the brightness of office lighting.
You can also hear more from the former chair of the Institute of Directors, Charlotte Valeur, who was diagnosed with autism in her fifties and features in Emma’s piece. In this interview with the FT in 2021, she talks in depth about her own diagnosis and why she decided to launch the Institute of Neurodiversity.
Last week Isabel highlighted the success of a UK four-day workweek trial, in which 61 organisations took part. The issue certainly divides opinion. Here’s what FT readers think.
A reader, Anonysouris, believes it could help retain workers.
If we want to encourage women and older people into the workforce (or to stay in the workforce) to increase the tax take, reduce NHS costs and benefit society and the economy, this could be a good way to go about it.
Stonebenp was doubtful of whether it could work.
It’s wishful thinking to see this rolled out everywhere. I would like to see a much longer-term follow up. Would love it to be a thing, but sorry haven’t drank the cool aid just yet!
asdf1_ notes how professional services firms are responding.
I know people at BCG who decided to go for a 90 per cent contract — 10 per cent less pay but more holiday per year. I am curious if this will ever trickle down to M&A or if the hard culture will continue to exist.
Meanwhile, Italian expat believes self-selection plagues such trials.
Companies that can afford to implement the changes are far more likely to participate.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
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