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For years, we’ve been teaching managers and leaders that culture is built on relationships, which are developed through constant interaction. The kind of interaction you can only get by being in the same place at the same time. Unfortunately, the ongoing health crisis has made those interactions hazardous, so leaders now need to imagine a new paradigm for designing and preserving a robust company culture.

That’s where Megan Dilley comes in. Megan is a senior consultant at Distribute Consulting: one of the world’s foremost consulting firms on remote work. Her company has been helping companies and the public sector transition to remote work since before the pandemic. We asked her about the many benefits of remote work, the leadership needed to succeed remotely, and some concrete advice on how to construct and maintain a united company culture in a divided spatial and temporal work environment.


An interview with Shasta Nelson, friendship expert
An interview with Shasta Nelson, friendship expert

Now that the health of our communities hinges on us staying away from one another, maintaining good work relationships may not seem like a top priority. After all, it’s exhausting enough to schedule video calls with friends and family; do we really have to check up on Bob in accounting? He’s a nice guy, but surely he has his own problems to worry about and doesn’t want to be bothered by his colleagues, right?

Turns out it’s not that simple. Having friends at work is pivotal not just for our own well-being, but also for the functioning of our teams, leaders, businesses, and society at large. To better understand the importance of workplace friendships and how to nurture them in these extraordinary times, I hopped on a call with friendship expert and author Shasta Nelson.


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I’ve lived most of my life in the majority. As a white male growing up in Switzerland, being a minority was just not part of my lived experience.

All of that changed four years ago, when I moved to Japan. I am exactly zero percent Japanese, and came here with only the most rudimentary understanding of the local language and culture.

My adventure started with two years of language school, after which I realized that I was only marginally closer to understanding this country. …


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In our society, we’ve been conditioned to believe that jobs are always good. Having a job is always better than not having one, regardless of how grueling, dangerous, or downright useless that job may be. This idea is so pervasive that it even transcends political divides — jobs are just as highly valued in capitalist America as they were in the Soviet Union.

However, when you look into that idea at the individual level, you start to notice some cracks. …


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As more companies adopt work-from-home policies, we increasingly hear people say they feel lonely, or that communication with their colleagues has become difficult. However, these problems are well known to those who have been working remotely for a long time.

Issues like this one only make it to the forefront once they start affecting a majority of people. When it’s a minority that has to deal with them, they’re often not well understood. With remote work becoming widespread, we have an opportunity to reconsider how we, in general, think of the issues that affect a minority of people.

How does working from home make you feel?

Over the past several months, remote work and work from home have been forced upon us. Many people are feeling the weight of these new policies. …


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The values of people and companies are changing. We’re shifting away from the idea that it’s normal to sacrifice oneself in favor of the company, and toward the point of view that the company is a tool that individuals can use to achieve a better life.

This is why, for a long time, I’ve referred to the ability to detach from one’s company as “corporate emancipation.” …


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Back in the spring of 2018, I was in a foxhole. Or at least that’s what it felt like.

I was eight months into this new job as a sales engineer for a small 15-person software startup in San Francisco. When you hear “startup,” you may be thinking of one of those unicorn success stories. A small band of savvy engineers catches a lucky break and makes it big by spurring on the next big revolution in tech. My story isn’t one of those. Or if it is, I’m still stuck in the first act.

Back then, the way the company was organized was pretty simple. We were two sales engineers (SEs), one for the west coast, one for east. We supported a team of eight account executives (AEs), assisting them in answering prospects’ technical questions and building proofs of concept. …


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The year is 2020. Society is overrun by machines. They are everywhere; transporting packages, cleaning floors, even ordering groceries. They are in hospitals saving lives, while also on battlefields sowing death.

Is this it? After thousands of years of dominance, has the human race met its match? Is the era of machines upon us?

According to Dr. Kate Darling, leading robot ethicist and researcher at the MIT Media Lab, we still have plenty of time before any potential robot apocalypse. …


Interview with Dr. Sally Augustin, environmental psychologist and principal at Design With Science

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Where we are influences how we feel and think. Nobody feels the same in a windowless cubicle as they do when hiking through the wilderness.

However, it can be spooky to hear just how much our environment affects our behavior. Can some evil scientist really control our minds by using cool lighting, hard office chairs and gentle ocean noises?

While the answer is probably no, we could still benefit from knowing more about how design choices influence our psychology. …


Interview with Michael C. Bush, CEO, Great Place to Work

Headshots of Great Place to Work CEO Michael C. Bush (left) and Kintone CEO Dave Landa (right)
Headshots of Great Place to Work CEO Michael C. Bush (left) and Kintone CEO Dave Landa (right)

In this time of global crisis, work can seem more stressful and overwhelming than ever. Many of us are confronted with a new daily reality, whether it’s working in isolation, being afraid for our livelihood, or having to work overtime to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.

It is precisely in times like these that we need to remember that light shining from within; the common motivator that unites us in our humanity: our pursuit of happiness.

In his quest to develop a deeper understanding of how to make his employees happier, Kintone Corporation CEO Dave Landa called up a happiness expert: Great Place to Work CEO Michael C. Bush. Together, they talked about the conditions for happiness at work, the merits of a happy workforce, and what we can do to not lose hope in these troubled times.

About

Alex Steullet

Editor in chief of Kintopia (kintopia.kintone.com). Swiss living in Tokyo. LLM in human rights law. Twitter @alexstwrites.

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