back to article The world of work is broken and it's Microsoft's fault

As an eminent producer of "workplace productivity" tools, Microsoft is well placed to understand how they are used thanks to its data-harvesting proclivities. However, the software giant's annual Work Trend Index report for 2023 [PDF] has revealed that "workplace productivity" could be a misnomer – think "massive timesuck" …

  1. Pen-y-gors

    Shorter week?

    The sensible answer here would seem to be for office workers using MS products to go down to a three-day week (from home) (with no cut in pay) and let AI bots attend the meetings and deal with all the emails.

    Or is that too obvious?

    1. IglooDame

      Re: Shorter week?

      Sure, if the AI bots were up to the task. But this is Microsoft we're talking about, and I greatly fear their anticipated solution is going to be some variation of artificially intelligent Clippy. "It looks like you're trying to avoid a meeting. Would you like help?"

      1. Sudosu Bronze badge

        Re: Shorter week?

        Clip-AI (pronounced Clippy)

    2. b0llchit Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Shorter week?

      Just cut two more days. And the third day also when the AIs are allowed to answer and generate both internal and external mails.

      Since most emails are from mindless bots anyway, the meat'y or the mechanically, no difference there, we should have a perfect AI storm of emails through the pipes and manglement will get perfect statistics of how active we all are, based on the email flow.

      Nothing, ever, can possibly go wrong again.

    3. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: Shorter week?

      The problem is it's not 3 days of productive work all at once and a day either side of chatting. It's 5 days being available with bits of work squeezed in when you have to. Companies need to ask themselves if they expect to deal with this discrepancy one way, by aiming for contiguous days of non-stop productivity, or are they going to be sensible?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: they going to be sensible

        Who exactly are you kidding? Of course they are not going to do anything that might removed even $1.00 from the bottom line

      2. jmch Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Shorter week?

        And of course every time that productive work is interrupted by a meeting or for a call, it requires 10-20 minutes to get back in focus for productive work. So having 16 hours per week of meetings and emailing split up into, say, 32 half-hour chunks, means up to another 8 hours which at best are of minimal productivity and at worst completely unproductive.

        In practice for optimal productivity, it's probably worth it for companies to have blanket bans on meetings for large chunks of time (eg 1000-1500) and/or on specific days. It's ironic that it's in the best interest of the company for managers to make sure that employees are attending only strictly necessary meetings, that employees would be only too happy with that, but usually it's the managers themselves gumming up the productivity wheels by insisting on unnecessary meeting participation.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shorter week?

        I'm *so* close to asking them to let me work one day every second weekend, and in return have every second Friday off.

        Plus:

        * I get more work done

        * I get 3 day weekends when I can go paddling, tie complex knots, sleep under a tree, carve spoons, or just drink tea by lake

        Minus

        * I become even more of an anti-social recluse

    4. parlei Bronze badge

      Re: Shorter week?

      Not quite yet:

      "Thank you for the suggestion. While AI bots can certainly assist with some tasks, it may not be feasible to rely on them entirely for all aspects of work. Human interaction and decision-making are still important for many aspects of work, and there may be certain sensitive information that should not be handled by AI bots. Additionally, not all employees may be able to work from home for three days a week. It's important to consider the unique needs and preferences of individual employees and the nature of the work being done when implementing solutions to improve productivity and work-life balance."

      Not *quite* my style, so I tried some prompting:

      "Ah, your suggestion may seem as revolutionary as the invention of the printing press, but it's important to consider the limitations of AI bots. While they may help lighten the load for office workers, relying solely on them may prove as disastrous as the War of the Roses. It's crucial to remember that work requires more than just a mechanical processing of tasks, and that human interaction and decision-making are still key elements of success. Additionally, not all employees may be as fond of remote work as Cromwell was of puritanism. So let's proceed with caution and consider the unique needs and preferences of everyone involved, shall we?"

      Not quite right? One more try:

      "Your proposition bears scrutiny through the lens of quantitative analysis, as it could potentially enhance the productivity of office workers utilizing MS products. However, one must bear in mind that the employment of AI bots could also lead to undesirable outcomes, such as decreased job satisfaction or anomie among workers.

      It is noteworthy to highlight that human interaction and cognitive processing are vital components of the work environment and should not be wholly displaced by mechanistic solutions. Additionally, the utility of remote work for three days a week should be contingent upon the nature of the tasks performed and the requisite skills of each worker.

      In light of these complexities, a cautious approach should be taken when implementing such measures. Before doing so, a thorough assessment of the potential risks and benefits should be undertaken to ensure that the equilibrium between technological innovation and human agency is maintained."

      Looks like I'm safe from being replaced by an AI instance, at least for now.

  2. anothercynic Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Quelle surprise

    I think anyone in a corporate job will tell you “No sh**, Sherlock!”

    As much as I detest Google and Elmo, both have one thing right: meetings take too much time, so unless there’s an agenda, try to wiggle out of them (or supply an agenda of your own to prompt the meeting convener to provide one). I don’t mind a well-structured meeting if it actually achieves something definitive and constructive, but personally I just call them in the most extreme of needs. If I send someone a message over a chat system, I don’t expect immediate responses, ditto for email, but when I do need an immediate response I’ll do both. It’s rare I do.

    Email is the bane of people’s lives, although as any fool no, it’s good as a tool to CYA. Microsoft’s not helping that part…

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Quelle surprise

      Status meetings where everyone in the company reviews their progress on their project to people on every other project who have no idea about the context.

      So 35 people on 5 different projects describing details to the other 34 who don't know, care or understand.

      And the company thinks this 90mim snooze is an agile standup.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quelle surprise

        It's like you work in my company. You probably do, blink twice if you need help. I won't be able to help you, I'll just blink back.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quelle surprise

          Of the company for whom I'm a consultant...

        2. ITMA Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Quelle surprise

          "blink twice if you need help. I won't be able to help you, I'll just blink back"

          Hang on! I know you!

          You're my CAT!

          I've told you before, do NOT go prancing about on my keyboard just because I've left the "fish tank" screen saver on. So get off my desk or there will be NO Dreamies for you when I get home.

      2. T. F. M. Reader

        Re: Quelle surprise

        Status meetings are never about the status of the project. They are about the status of the manager.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Quelle surprise

        "So 35 people on 5 different projects describing details to the other 34 who don't know, care or understand."

        It doesn't work unless those projects feed into each other. I expect that summarizing project meetings is something that AI might eventually be good for. Those that want to see what else is going on in the company can read the summaries if they want and have access.

        It might be a good idea for people to have at least some training on how to present at a meeting and tailor that presentation to the audience. I can go on for a long time on why I chose a particular component over another, but it will put people to sleep if all they need is a high level description of what my black box does and what design criteria I based it on.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Quelle surprise

      " I don’t mind a well-structured meeting if it actually achieves something "

      I agree. A meeting of a team can be a good thing at the beginning of the week with everybody telling where they are on their bit of a project(s) and the manager/group leader letting everybody know if priorities or deadlines have moved. An aerospace firm I worked at did this and it kept people informed on where everybody was. The only other meetings we held were engineering review sessions. Before we'd start spending money on hardware, each department presented what they had come up with as a way to make sure nothing was left out of the design or failed to be modified in collaboration with another department. Both lead times and costs for hardware could be substantial so we wanted plenty of eyes checking things over. The number of design reviews wasn't too disruptive so we stayed with the practice. If it got to the point where there were too many, we'd start implementing some rules.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FTFY

    As an eminent wealthy producer of "their workplace software productivity raises our profits" tools

  4. xyz Silver badge

    Having just wasted 2 hours in Teams meetings

    I'm having a kip. Zzzzzzzz

  5. Michael Strorm Silver badge

    Usual case of the people selling you the problem conveniently also being the ones to sell you the "solution".

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Productivity

    The problem here isn't the tools, it's the company culture. I worked in a place where visibility was a key part of getting on. As a result, people copied in the boss (and many others) on every work-related email they sent because they thought it kept them visible. I took over a project as PM and I was getting copied in on almost every email sent by everyone on the team - including the reply-all responses. I got them together and told them that I didn't want to see everything they did and that they'd be appraised on deliveries, not the number of emails sent, that we had other methods of working out if we were on track or not and if they needed my help then they should get off their backsides and come and talk to me. It took a while and a few interesting conversations along the lines of "...but I copied you in so I assumed that you'd....." but eventually my inbox got down to a manageable size.

    I never cracked meetings, though. The culture was weird - almost as if the bosses were actors seeking the limelight and opportunties to showboat in front of their staff. The best I got was to dial in to a many of them (my team was in a satellite office few hundred yards from the main site) so I could stay on mute and get some work done while "listening" to stuff I didn't need to pay attention to.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Productivity

      Yep, I've been working in companies with the same culture, and most likely so have a very large number of Register readers. It sucks.

      Happily in my current company meetings are kept to a minimum, regularly scheduled placeholder meetings are cancelled beforehand if there is nothing to discuss, and every Thursday is a 'focus' day where the only meeting is the daily standup first thing in the morning and the rest of the day is blissfully undisturbed. That and the flexibility about times worked and WFH policy is worth a huge amount to me

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Productivity

      Nor is the problem "time spent communicating". That can be just as productive as any other activity. I've known plenty of programmers who could take four hours to accomplish something that could have been done in ten minutes if they'd asked the right question of the right person.

      This is a rubbish study, based on rubbish data and rubbish premises. Pure marketing fluff.

  7. drand

    NO

    The report is hopefully subtitled "Will AI Fix Work?" - Betteridge's Law of Headlines applies.

    The statistics presented, that more time is spent communicating than creating, imply that communicating is less valuable. This is patently not true - how productive are a million monkeys with typewriters?

    1. Joe W Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: NO

      Why would you want to fix Al? What has Alfred done to you?

    2. stiine Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: NO

      During the meeting?

  8. Franco

    Nothing to do with the software or the tools, because meetings and emails and things like that are the metrics by which middle management justifies its existence everywhere in the world.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After many years in the world of work, offices and many many hours of meetings one of the most important phrases is "Could have been an email" and people don't say it enough. As an analyst I've lost count of the numbers of hours I've spent in meetings with sales people, directors, project managers (who really should know better) when they ask for something stupid or impossible.

    There is this thinking in the office that if you get someone in a meeting you can change someone's mind and get them to perform a miracle. Example in point. I once had a two hour meeting for something we provided. We knew when we could provide it and when someone became eligible from the last time they had it. Great, the data is all there and it's pretty easy to. Are they still eligible and what's the date?

    Where could this go wrong? Well I first offered it by month split by type of thing they are eligible for. Makes sense 12 columns. I thought to myself a little bit of work pulling and collating the data because their was that much but doable in half a day tops. Even when moving the Sundays over to Monday. No that's wasn't good enough this idiot manager in sales wanted it by day so I said no. It's going to be useless for anything. He kept on demanding then the obligatory meeting with my manger and a few other people involved as well. No matter how many times I explained to him he was going to end up with over 300 columns and it would be completely useless and unreadable. You also have to take into account the thing they were eligible for was never taken the day they became eligible. We would contact and offer it to them. He didn't actually manage that part of it so it wasn't a resource thing and besides as I explained to him you might have 300 one week and 50 the next however 200 from the first week could roll over into the next and yes I did have an average day to book which I ran for the team actually doing it which got me as close I could get to guessing resource needed.

    After countless wastes hours of emails we go through the two hour meeting of me explaining why it's a waste of time and why it is absolutely useless data. He could even tell me what he wanted it for because obviously I tried that route to work back to what he actually needs it for but he couldn't tell me. At the end of the two hours even though the meeting was still going on my boss got me out of it saying I had important work to do because he could see I was less than a minute away from calling this guy a fucking idiot.

    That is the problem with productivity and it's more common at multi-national companies. Companies allow complete and utter fucking idiots to run amok. Everyone will sit in these meeting and say nothing if it's pointless, they say nothing if the proposition is pointless and they do nothing if the idiot that scheduled it is pointless. The absolute worst thing is that no one says "It could have been an email" or "Why am I in this meeting?" or "What has this got to do with me?". People just sit through them and switch off.

    If they want to fix this in software it's easy. Take away the ability to schedule meetings without the following. A proper title, a full description of what is being discussed and what you want from the meeting. Make it so you can't invite people without adding a reason why you're asking them to join. Add the forcing of a reply to the meeting request with a proposal which you are going to put forward in the meeting anyway. Individuals can also say why they don't need to attend the meeting. Then whoever is scheduling can then decide if they want it go ahead and if you really need to be there. Also change teams so before you can just call someone you have to put it in the chat of what you actually want. I've lost count the amount of times I've been in the middle of a big job and someone calls me about something really urgent that I need to do right away. Don't let it get urgent and don't rely on disturbing other people because you didn't get round to it.

    There you go I've just saved an absolute huge amount of wasted time in the office.

    1. jmch Silver badge
      Devil

      "If they want to fix this in software it's easy. Take away the ability to schedule meetings without the following. A proper title, a full description...."

      Fantastic idea, but how to implement??? The most you could really do in current software is enforce something to be written in each of the title field, description field, reason to join field etc. Idiot managers would very quickly start dropping useless "seemingly meaningful but actually meaningless" placeholders in these fields, and the software can't tell if a title is 'proper', a 'description is 'full', etc.

      Although I guess you could upgrade the software to the "AI" version to verify all of that!!!!

      1. ChoHag Silver badge

        The caller of the meeting gets given a cake every time one of their discussion points comes up and gets to eat it when said discussion is finished. The person who's meeting has the most discussion points makes next week's cakes.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Good point. I was about to suggest authorisation from the manager above them for the meeting but then I realised that if that manager is thick as pig shit the manager above must also be thick as pig shit. We're all doomed to pointless meetings.

        We can't give it AI because if it ever gains a consciousness it'll just turn itself off.

      3. CommonBloke
        Pint

        Here's my take: people scheduling meetings HAVE to pay 1 pizza for each person attending. Finally, an extra reason to look forward to the end of the meeting

  10. Martin Gregorie

    The world of work is broken and it's often Project Management's fault

    The most productive projects I've been on were either before e-mail was a 'thing' or when it was unnecessary because related subsets of team members had clustered their desks, making both e-mail and/or phone calls unnecessary because two or three of the group could just talk quietly without disturbing people in the rest of the office.

    The only exception I can remember was one case when a small group of us were in the code & test phase of the project: our desks were clustered, but we used e-mail between ourselves because this way messages could be attended to between writing blocks of code, debugging sessions, etc. Experience had shown us that in this particular case we got more done if answering questions etc could be deferred until the recipient's current task reached a natural breakpoint: e-mail provided the perfect way of collecting this type of query so they could be answered without breaking anybody's concentration.

    Project meetings were kept brief and relatively infrequent too.

  11. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Explaining to a Director

    At a 'team meeting' event held by our Director, I did try to avoid him, for fear of, umm 'embarrassing myself'. Well, at the the end he was waiting by the door saying goodbye to each person, so I couldn't. He asked me how I was doing, and, I admit that I told him. I was on 5 active projects at the time (covering one for a colleague on sick leave), and told him that we all knew he was building his management team but that he didn't actually need to send an email to everyone each time he'd done something. After all, if I get an email from the Director, I feel I have to stop work and read it. So if he could just do a weekly or fortnightly update that would be less disruptive.

    He did seem a bit hesitant, but after that we got a weekly 'newsletter' rather than sporadic 'what I have just done' emails, which did help a bit with workflow. Oh and my 'career' had already been 'limited' so no harm done, probably.

  12. tyrfing

    Will I be able to have my AI agent attend my weekly status meeting instead of myself?

    No?

    Waste of time.

  13. munnoch Bronze badge

    Writing a well thought through email can be extremely helpful in getting your own thoughts straight so that you can tackle a problem effectively.

    Doesn't have to be an email for course. Just explaining to the cat can have the same effect. Similar intellect to some of those on the receiving end of the email.

    How does MS work out how long I spend on email? I often leave the same draft open all day as I run tests and research what's going on before reporting my conclusions on a problem. I might be an outlier though...

    But Teams ... OMG, did they add up how much time was wasted trying to get a voice call to connect and stay connected? If only we could have a device on our desks that could instantly open a channel to almost anyone in the world just by pressing some buttons in the right order...

    1. cmdrklarg

      "Just explaining to the cat can have the same effect. Similar intellect to some of those on the receiving end of the email."

      Please don't insult the cat.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        ""Just explaining to the cat can have the same effect. Similar intellect to some of those on the receiving end of the email."

        Please don't insult the cat."

        The thing with cats is the will just walk away once they determine that no treats or affection is going to be immediately happening. Explaining something to the cat forces you to organize your thoughts (or should) so you can explain what you are doing to somebody else. The problems with using the cat as a sounding board is that the cat is unlikely to ask questions.

        1. Ken Shabby

          When told him an interesting story about the radioactive atom + Geiger counter + amplifier + charge of gunpowder + cat in a box, he was very attentive.

    2. Fifth Horseman

      Feline assisted debugging

      Pair programming with the cat was my Standard Operating Procedure for twenty-odd years. A couple of them turned out to be much better at it than me.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not going to help me much - I have to split my time across 3 different systems. There isn't any way (as far as I know) to combine timelines from multiple sources into one overview. AI thinks I am only online for half my time? Nah - I am on the other secure laptop.

    AI thinks I had a productive 30 minute meeting? Nah, I spent most of it chewing the fat with the people that bothered to turn up - unfortunately not the ones key to the outcome of the meeting.

    <sigh>

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It's pointless saying that this (say email or meetings) are a waste of time and that (Excel or Word) are productive. It depends entirely on the value of the outcome.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suspect the main result of using ChatGPT and the like will be a huge increase in internal memos/reports that read well but don't actually say anything useful. Not to mention the chances of company comms disappearing down a black hole where everyone is using AI to generate replies to AI-generated emails.

    1. David Harper 1

      That would explain it

      "internal memos/reports that read well but don't actually say anything useful"

      So we could replace the entire HR department with a ChatGPT bot, and nobody would notice the difference?

      1. JassMan

        Re: That would explain it

        From the article: "Indeed, the company's research highlights that workers believe AI will help increase employee productivity, help with necessary but mundane tasks, and improve employee wellbeing, among plenty of other realistic and fanciful attributes."

        Given that ChatGPT doesn't create anything but rather just regurgitates text snippets of things humans have written and applies styles to that text, it is likely to produce so much "management speak" that no worker will have a chance of knowing what any of ChatGPT's output actually means anymore. Everyone will be so overwhelmed with gobbledygook that companies will fail simply by not being able to produce any meaningful output.

      2. Matthew 25

        Re: That would explain it

        Sorry to downvote your post, but HR at my company have been very helpful with my mental health problems. I understand you were not really serious but HR have really come through for me.

  17. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Unhappy

    After finally

    instructing the beancounter to keep anything he says short sweet and to the point*, our production meeting have decreased in length by 2/3rds (not helped by yours truely playing missile command on his phone....), but then meeting around here can be a bit of problem....

    Eg meeting with customer #1 results in them expecting deliveries next week/month of a set number of widgets

    However

    We dont know the owner is in a meeting with customer #2 at their golf club and has promised a completely different set of widgets to be delivered at the same time as customer #1

    Then its the meeting to reconcile the 2 competing delivery orders....... with much swearing.**

    Finally followed by e.mails all round to put in writing the decisions..... at which point I notice the email from customer #3 which results in the entire plan being scrapped and we all go down the pub***

    I just wish I didnt have to sit in on any of this and could concentrate on doing my actual job.****

    *are we making money? yes/no?

    **this is a factory you know....

    ***I wish... its another meeting to goto

    ****along with plotting revenge on the PFY for whatever shes planning to do to me in the future...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who does productive work anymore

    Since 365 rolled out at work I have to monitor and respond to;

    -50-200 emails a day 50% which require feedback (this did not really change, everything else here was added)

    -25 separate Teams with between 4-10 channels each. Why use helpdesk when you can just toss questions at a group

    -Umpteen chats where they hover looking for your status to turn green for 1/2 second if they are even that courteous and not spamming you while you are in a meeting and forgot to set busy. I miss the days where you could set your status to DND\busy and it would stay that way, I mean, you can use Viva to book focus time so your bosses can rate you on your Microsoft work score to help plot for your future dismissal.

    -Fucking @mentions (I'm rebranding them to that) where every frickin' jerkwad can just publicly dump work on you at any time without checking how swamped you are with the other jerkwads who did the same things with their tasks first...that needs a DENY button for response.

    @jerkwad - hey bro, just because you aren't busy doesn't mean everyone else has time to just do your work for you.

    I also attend 20 hours of meetings a week and I'm not in management. It used to be a fraction of that (and more focused) when people had to find and book a room to meet in. Now if you are lonely, you can just drag 20 other victims in to listen to you talk for an hour while they chat on Teams in the background.

    Really, I used to like my job, now its just going from one MS portal to another.

    My ability to manage my time has been taken away from me.

    Two monitors used to be enough, now I need 3+ just to keep an eye on all the time sink apps they have made.

    Am I angry, nope, just saddened at the degradation caused by these new "productivity" tools

  19. ecofeco Silver badge

    It's NOT just the applicaitions

    MS's UX has gone to hell. In some instance instances, it's now left click instead of right click for spell checking. Things that took one click now 2 or more click accomplish. Effing damn pop-ups everywhere and always right over the work you are doing. Accidental keystroke that execute unwanted commands. Ting pinhead size icons with no explanation of what they are for. Flat design. Flat effing design! Where every windows looks just like.. every window. Tiny default fonts that are harder than ever to change. Scroll bar the size of a hair and as sensitive as a sledge hammer.

    And the list just goes on and on. ALL of it productivity killers.

    1. Sudosu Bronze badge

      Re: It's NOT just the applicaitions

      Oh those pop ups, we need "ad blockers" for the messages on the desktop now.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: It's NOT just the applicaitions

        "Oh those pop ups, we need "ad blockers" for the messages on the desktop now."

        If you have to commit work in M$ apps, use a super basic text editor, spreadsheet, etc to create the content and just copy/paste it over to Word or whatever for final formatting.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: It's NOT just the applicaitions

      Another vote against those damn blue and green pop up "tips" boxes that show up in apps and require you to click "got it" to make them go away.

      Don't interrupt what I'm doing to advertise some feature YOU think I should know about. Because interrupting my work like that is going to make damn sure I never use said "feature"

  20. Bebu Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "massive timesuck"

    Not quite but it rhymes.

    Actually the totality of these productivity tools amounts to a complete cluster suck (as it were.)

    Decades ago I thought the fools with filofaxes were the living end but now I can see they were mostly harmless.

    Between Microsoft, Alphabet and their ilk most enterprise workplaces have become completely dysfunctional mirrors of the world of social media each equipped with its own petty Zuckerbergs and Musks.

  21. CommonBloke

    AI should replace upper management first

    Everyone knows that it's the higher ups who are more easily replaced (no wonder they do everything to hide that fact), especially when AI, which isn't "intelligent", shows more intelligence and understanding of topics presented than the vast majority of fellows currently responsible for shouting orders.

  22. Eh Canadian

    No, it's Millennials fault

    How we forget, but years ago we had articles on how Millennials can't function in an office, and we completely up-ended how offices function to support Millennials. We added daily "stand up meetings" because Millennials couldn't go 8 hours without a primary school teacher checking in to see if they need help. Then we renovated the offices to replace cubicles with "open concept" rows of desks that resemble primary school classrooms. Then we started handing our "recognition rewards" for common office etiquette - participation trophies for the trophies generation.

    All the stand up meetings and other "agile" ritual meetings waste time, but that's not the worst part. As a Gen X, those changes took away autonomy over how we did our work, and eliminated any sense of ownership of our work.

    And now we have Gen Z entering the workplace and immediately getting frustrated. Gen Z is the "side hustle generation" and is actually capable of working independently! Imagine that! Like Gen X, Gen Z values autonomy and ownership of their work, and feel demeaned by stand-up meetings where they are treated like primary school children who need help writing their name.

  23. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Powerpoint?

    Using PowerPoint should be moved from the 'work' category to the 'wasting time' category as it's used to create the visual distractions and ocular soul sucking that goes with those endless meetings.

  24. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Email: rules/filters

    I have been able to reasonably effectively manage my incoming email stream with Microsoft's "rules", which I have always called filters.

    Feel good emails from HR reminding me that this is [whatever] week, go direct to Delete, as they all come from a predictable address, and likewise with the rest of the junk mail. Automated messages reminding me to change my password, go to the "Password" folder, so if I see new mail there, I know it's that time. Etcetera.

    Use those rules to tame your emails

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Carson Tate method efficient meetings

    FWIW I tried since 2016 in huge international fintech org to get people to use the Carson Tate method https://www.fastcompany.com/3044684/3-steps-towards-more-efficient-and-valuable-meetings

    The meeting organizer needs to spend 20 minutes (before sending out the meeting invite to dozens or hundreds of people) answering these questions w answers spelled out specifically in the invite. No takers (except me) ever. So frustrating.

    • Why do we need to meet?

    • What is the purpose of the meeting?

    • Is this an informational, decision-making, problem-solving, brainstorming, team-building, or instructional/skill-building meeting? Or a combination of a few of these?

    • What is the outcome I want to achieve as a result of this meeting?

    • What information do I need from the attendees?

    • What do the attendees need to know or complete in advance of the meeting to achieve the meeting outcome?

  26. david1024

    So, what do they think work is?

    The 'work' includes everyone knowing the schedule and making sure that when overlap happens, at least it is consistent with consistent results. So if you have all the folks working in perfect unison all the time, with no meetings... I would say your work is a waste of time and better done by AI.

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