The age of technology has ushered in a plethora of social behaviors, among which is a reassessment of how we work. The number of people working remotely leaving companies struggling with whether or not to even have a central office. These decisions impact how people work and decide how to bring themselves into a work environment. What is the real-life balance in a world where the virtual and the real are blurred?
Erica Keswin tackles these aspects in her new book, Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Sure Fire ways to Design a Workplace That’s Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World. As I started to read the review copy, I soon realized the book is as ambitious as the title is long. It is a worthwhile read for small business owners expanding their team and learning how to care about their workers.
What Is Bring Your Human To Work About?
The book covers the behaviors that managers should encourage to create a good work space. An inclusive work environment is crucial for creating community and critical in maintaining that community feeling even when people are speaking through a computer or smartphone to get stuff done. Given the rising percentage of remote work and debates about the merits of open space work places, Keswin’s choice to focus on human interaction is instantly savvy and timely.
Each chapter has a human action plan with a brief description of three takeaways.
Chapter 2 speaks about sustainability. On first blush the topic may sound like an examination of ecological issues, but what Keswin describes is the care managers must take of people. The chapter talks about taking care of family, standing by employees during difficult times. The push for better bereavement practices by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who lost her husband Dave Goldberg in 2015, is examined.
Chapter 3 examines the balance of tech and social connection, noting how the restaurant Sweetgreen uses “intimacy to scale” as a way of determining the best ways to personalize their services.
Other chapters address scheduling meetings, giving to the community and disconnecting from technology. One interesting chapter addresses the need to develop office space that fosters interaction among employees. With so much media attention focused on the question of whether open space work environments are truly a benefit, Keswin’s idea of space as a way to encourage meaningful human contact is refreshing. Here’s an example of Keswin’s advocacy.
“It’s pretty simple: if you want to get the most out of the people in your company, pay attention to space. A survey by Steelcase discovered that only 11 percent of workers surveyed were highly satisfied with their work environment … On the other hand, an office environment that fosters connection can raise employee productivity by at least 25 percent.”
What I Liked About Bring Your Human To Work
The book focuses in particular on what constitutes a successful life balance — creating relationships with others and ourselves. When Keswin writes about developing work behaviors, for example, she notes how holistic the strategy must be to be successful.
“To stay ahead of the curve — to play the long game — we must craft vital, intentional work practices that account for the complexity of people’s real lives. This crafting must consider all the people our business impacts, which means all stakeholders, including our employees, our customers, and our partners. The long game is broad and inclusive, spanning our macro, and micro spheres of influence.”
I also liked Keswin’s actionable ideas that an organization can quickly adopt, with a payoff understandable to all. When Keswin notes the value of disconnecting — to let the mind wander — she suggests software instructing customers to “resend their messages when people are back from vacation.” Her examples are taken from aspiring organizations that have traction but have yet to scale. The aforementioned Sweetgreen is a good example, as well as online intimates retailer ThirdLove. So businesses with small teams will find the ideas and concepts easy to adopt as well as intriguing to read.
Why Read Bring Your Human To Work?
Bring Your Human To Work can help spark ideas as to how to keep a team connected. The ideas are actionable, collected from startups successful and aspiring. Read Bring Your Human To Work to make the right ideas work for creating a pleasant work environment, no matter where your team may be.