#71 - 25 June 2021
Reonbarding to the office, and hybrid work; Managing former peers; Time management won't save you
Hi there, everyone!
It’s been a busy week here of contacting recommended potential job candidates, building consensus among stakeholders, debugging code, and juggling finances - a normal set of activities in management land, where if we’re very lucky we got some training in maybe one of those things.
I’m starting to see some out-of-office notifications in response to newsletter issues, which genuinely delights me - it’s been a long 16 months and we all deserve a break. I hope that those who haven’t managed to take significant time off in a while get the opportunity over the summer or fall.
I also had a very nice conversation this past week with one reader; we’re looking into one possibility for a community forum (which might make unnecessary a revisit of the “Ask Managers Anything” feature from last year), and toying with the idea of community video chats. I’m pretty excited about how a couple of those things might work.
But for now, on to the roundup, and the weekend:
How to Re-Onboard Employees Who Started Remotely - Rebecca Zucker
Over the last 16 months or so, many of our teams have hired new people - if you are planning to go back into the office, even part-time, Zucker reminds you that you still have some onboarding tasks for those newer team members! Introduce them to people in person, show them the facilities and where everything is and how things are done, etc.
How to manage former peers as a new manager - Claire Lew
It’s kind of goofy that one of the most awkward situations for new managers to navigate is the most common situation we put people in for their first management role in research computing - taking their old boss’ job and managing their peers.
This is not actually a difficult role - you have a huge advantage over taking over a new team both by knowing the work of the team and the team members, and being a known quantity. Coming in from outside to run a team is challenging too! But for new managers who are uncomfortable getting used to the idea of being the manager, managing their former peers feels awkward. There’s really nothing to be done about that except accept it and move forward anyway - the sooner you stop seeming awkward about things, the sooner your team members will adjust.
Lew’s specific suggestions are to not avoid one-on-ones and to take consistent action.
The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? - Microsoft WorkLab
Most of the material here won’t be new to long-term readers, but it’s a data-driven exploration of the fact that for office workers, especially technical staff like us, flexible work - including the huge phase-space of ”hybrid” options - is here to stay, and it’s going to be challenging.
One point that I don’t see addressed enough is their point five about shrinking networks; Microsoft WorkLab has taken a look at anonymized outlook emails and team meeting statistics and found that networks have shrunk - there is more communication between immediate teams and less more broadly.
I think how that plays out will depend on the team - for instance, for us (a multi-institutional collaboration) the silos between sites more or less disintegrated between our team, but there are fewer communications between each sites team and other groups within their site. For instance, our team moved institutions during the pandemic, and we have very little communication with other groups in the new institution.
This can be addressed deliberately, but it takes work.
Managing Your Own Career
Time Management Won’t Save You - Dane Jensen, HBR
Just a reminder that time management will help you be more efficient at getting discrete tasks done, which is all well and good, but that’s far less important than being discerning about what you choose to do.
It turns out that ”for historical reasons”, you can name bash functions almost anything, including emoji, and have long been able to.