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hybrid work

The future of work is hybrid – here are an expert’s recommendations

Alanah Mitchell, Associate Professor at Drake University shares expert recommendations for the future of hybrid work post-pandemic. 

COVID-19 has changed the way we work.

Even before the pandemic, the U.S. workforce increasingly relied on remote collaboration technologies like videoconferencing and Slack. The global crisis accelerated the adoption of these work tools and practices in an unprecedented way. By April 2020, about half of companies reported that more than 80% of their employees worked from home because of COVID-19.

That shift was made possible by decades of research into, and then development of, technologies that support remote work, but not everyone uses these technologies with the same ease. As early as 1987, groundbreaking research identified some of the challenges facing women working from home using technology. That included the difficulties of child care, work-home separation and employee growth opportunities.

Since that time, we have learned much more about virtual collaboration. As an associate professor of information systems, I’m interested in what we can expect as we eagerly anticipate a post-pandemic future. One thing stands out: Hybrid work arrangements – that is, employees who do some tasks in the office and others virtually – is clearly going to be a big part of the picture.

One survey from April 2021 shows 99% of human resources leaders expect employees to work in some kind of hybrid arrangement moving forward. Many have already begun. As just one example, Dropbox, the file hosting service, made a permanent shift during the pandemic, allowing employees to work from home and hold team meetings in the office.

The definition of “hybrid” varies in other organizations. Some workers might be in the office a couple days a week or every other day. Other businesses may require only occasional face-to-face time, perhaps meeting in a centralized location once each quarter.

Either way, research does show many companies fail in their implementation of a virtual workforce.

Remote work versus in the office

In-office work promotes structure and transparency, which may increase trust between management and workers. Developing an organizational culture happens naturally. Casual office conversations – a worker walking down the hall for a quick and unscheduled chat with a colleague, for instance – can lead to knowledge-sharing and collaborative problem-solving. That’s difficult to replicate in a virtual environment, which often relies on advance scheduling for online meetings – although that’s still feasible with enough planning and communication.

But if you look at different metrics, in-office work loses out to working from home. My recent research discovered remote workers report more productivity and enjoy working from home because of the flexibility, the ability to wear casual clothes, and the shortened or nonexistent commute time. Remote work also saves money. There is a significant cost savings for office space, one of the largest budget line items for organizations.

Hybrid arrangements attempt to combine the best of both worlds.

It’s not perfect

It’s true that hybrid work faces many of the same obstacles of face-to-face work. Poor planning and communication, ineffective or unnecessary meetings and confusion about task responsibilities happen remotely as well as in-person.

Perhaps the largest issue when working at home: technology and security concerns. Home networks, an easier target for cyberthreats, are typically more vulnerable than office networks. Remote workers are also more likely to share computers with someone else outside of their organization. Hybrid organizations must invest upfront to work through these complicated and often expensive issues.

With hybrid work, managers cannot see the work taking place. That means they must measure employee performance based on outcomes with clear performance metrics rather than the traditional focus on employee behavior.

Another potential pitfall: Fault lines can develop within hybrid teams – that is, misunderstandings or miscommunication between those in the office and those at home. These two groups may start to divide, potentially leading to tension and conflicts between them – an us-versus-them scenario.

hybrid work

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Establishing a hybrid environment

Numerous recommendations exist on the best way to develop a hybrid model. Here are a few of the best ideas.

Meeting too often or with little purpose – that is, meeting for the sake of meeting – leads to fatigue and burnout. Not everyone needs to be at every meeting, yet finesse from management is required to make sure no one feels left out. And meeting-free days can help with productivity and allow employees a block of uninterrupted time to focus on complex projects.

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Listening to employees is critical to making sure the hybrid environment is working. Continually seeking feedback, through one-on-one conversations, focus groups or human resources surveys, is important too. So is recognizing and rewarding employees with in-person or virtual kudos for their achievements. Performance incentives, such as financial rewards or tokens of appreciation including food delivery, help develop a supportive culture that increases employee commitment.

Finally: Both managers and employees must be transparent in their communication and understanding of hybrid plans. Policies must be in place to define what tasks happen in the office and remotely. Access to reliable communications is essential, particularly for remote work. All employees must receive the same information at the same time, and in a timely manner. After all, whether in the office or online, workers don’t want to feel they’re the last to know.The Conversation

You might be interested: Cloffice: The latest work-from-home trend to transform your workspace


Alanah Mitchell, Associate Professor and Chair of Information Management and Business Analytics, Drake University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

woman entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs thrive managing talented teams and balancing many investors

Richard A. Devine, of DePaul University and Siri Terjesen, Dean’s Distinguished Professor in Entrepreneurship at Florida Atlantic University share data that shows how women entrepreneurs thrive in business and leadership. 

Only a handful of the top companies in the U.S. are led by a woman.

Efforts to change that and promote more women into positions of leadership have relied primarily on questions of equality. But is there also a business case for putting more women in charge?

Previous research on differences in leadership styles between men and women has suggested the latter make decisions using more collaborative and relational methods, which enables them to better manage a range of groups and resources. But it wasn’t able to show whether this actually led to better results.

Thanks to a study we co-authored in 2019, we have data that shows women-led businesses, in certain scenarios, do indeed perform better than those run by men.

The case for female leadership

Our research, conducted with colleagues Gonzalo Molina-Sieiro and Michael Holmes, focused on entrepreneurs trying to grow their nascent companies quickly.

We began with the results of the Kauffman Firm Survey, which tracked 4,928 companies founded in 2004 by conducting annual surveys through 2011. The database includes lots of information critical to understanding what factors influence performance, including revenue, employees and intellectual property. For our purposes, it also includes many details about the main entrepreneur and top managers behind the venture, including education, experience and gender.

Most entrepreneurs run small operations with few employees and little desire to grow much. A small share, however, lead what we call “high-growth ventures,” which are often defined as companies that experience annualized employment growth of 20% or more during a three-year period.

These companies are a significant engine of economic activity, producing millions of jobs a year in the United States alone and are responsible for a majority of new jobs created in the U.S. over the last several decades.

For our purposes, we defined a high-growth venture as among the top 10% of all entrepreneurial businesses in our sample in terms of employee growth in any given year. While the majority of these were led by a male entrepreneur, about a quarter were run by a woman.

women entrepreneurs, team-work,

Photo by RF._.studio from Pexels

Collaborative management styles

In our research, we started by comparing how female-led companies performed in terms of employee growth versus those helmed by men.

In preliminary analyses we found that, overall, a female-led business was less likely to experience high growth. However, we knew that there was more to the story since other research has indicated the strengths they bring to organizations.

Given what we know about female leaders’ collaborative and relational know-how, we developed a theory that they should be particularly skilled at leveraging the talents of senior executives and managers. For example, many female leaders argue building relationships with employees helps create win-win scenarios where employees feel valued, which also helps them avoid the double bind of appearing too authoritative.

So we examined two markers of human capital and management talent: the number of top managers with a college degree or higher and how many had previous entrepreneurial experience.

The results were clear: Female-led companies with more educated managers were more likely to attain high employment growth than male peers with a management team with similar levels of experience.

Levels of entrepreneurial experience, on the other hand, didn’t make a difference for high growth.

Investors and capital

We also looked at two other variables: the number of ownership stakes and financial capital.

An important way companies grow is by raising funds. To do so, they often trade equity in the business for financial support. But giving investors a say on internal decisions like management and strategy can lead to conflict and division. It can also upset the balance of power among top managers.

An interesting finding from our research, however, is that female-led companies were more likely to hire rapidly and grow when there were more top managers or investors who held ownership stakes in the company. Research has shown that female leaders often excel at managing conflict, which helps explain our results.

As for capital, much has been written about the struggle women entrepreneurs face obtaining financing for their startups. But when they finally do secure financial capital, how do they fare?

To find out, we looked only at companies in our database that had received financial support from a venture capital firm. Again, we found that companies led by a woman experienced stronger hiring growth than those that had a man in charge.

Other research has found that female entrepreneurs do more with less and are able to generate more revenue per funds invested than their male counterparts.

Utilizing women’s skills and experience

The point of our study is not to show that female-led companies – high growth or not – perform better than men.

Rather, our research suggests that women do bring valuable and unique skills and experience to the table that can make a significant difference to business success. Yet, given so few companies are run by women, their skills and experiences are not fully utilized.

There are many well-known ways to help fix this, of course, such as implementing better family leave policies that are friendly to women staying in their careers, setting up development programs aimed at encouraging female entrepreneurs and finding ways to improve their access to financial capital – to name just a few.

Giving more opportunities to women entrepreneurs isn’t just good for them. It can be good for the entire economy.The Conversation

You might be interested: Gender washing: seven kinds of marketing hypocrisy about empowering women


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

4 ways to get more Black and Latino teachers in K-12 public schools

Travis Bristol, Assistant Professor of Education at University of California, Berkeley, shares 4 ways to encourage diversity in public schools. 

Black children are more likely to score higher on standardized tests and finish high school and want to attend college, and less likely to be suspended, if they have a Black teacher. Similarly, studies show that Latino students who have a Latino teacher are more likely to want to take advanced coursework.

This data reflects earlier research on Black and Latino teachers and the positive social and emotional experiences they create for their students.

Education historian Vanessa Siddle Walker writes about how, even before the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision in 1954, Black teachers and principals provided their students with tools and a framework to navigate a society that was anti-Black. And renowned education researcher Gloria Ladson-Billings explains Black teachers’ capacity to draw on their own experiences as Black people in the U.S. and incorporate their Black students’ cultural experiences into the classroom.

Given the added value of teachers of color, a pressing problem remains: There is a considerable demographic mismatch between teachers and students of color in the U.S. While teachers of color represent 21% of public school educators, students of color account for more than 52% of public school students.

As an education researcher, I study the experiences of teachers of color. Here are four ways to get more teachers from ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds in K-12 classrooms.

1. Focus on retention

Policymakers, school principals and philanthropies have spent a great deal of resources on recruiting teachers of color. And those efforts have paid off. More Black and Latino teachers are entering the teacher workforce.

The story now is one of retention.

Teachers of color leave the profession and move to other schools at a higher rate than their white peers. An analysis of nine school districts found that Black teachers in particular have higher turnover rates than their white and Latino peers. For example, the number of Black teachers in Chicago Public Schools decreased by 39% between 2002 and 2011, compared to a 3% decrease in white teachers and a 6% increase in Latino teachers during the same period.

2. Improve leadership, work conditions

Historically, researchers believed that teachers in urban schools that predominantly serve children of color left their schools because they did not want to work with those students. But teachers don’t leave their students; teachers leave their principals.

Principals create the working conditions that lead to turnover by not supporting teachers or providing the resources they need to work with their students.

To ensure that principals instead create conditions that help teachers of color thrive, they need high-quality preparation. This preparation should include a focus on how to support new teachers as well as work collegially with students, caregivers and teachers.

Model programs that continue to do this work are The Leadership Academy and the Principal Leadership Institute at University of California, Berkeley.

latino students,

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

3. Fund schools equitably

To retain teachers of color, districts have to improve the working conditions in their schools. One way to do this is to fund schools more equitably.

Some states, like California, have a more progressive, equitable funding formula. That means schools that have a significant number of students who are unhoused, adopted, qualify for free or reduced lunch, or speak English as a second language get more money and resources.

Other states, like New York and Illinois, which are home to some of our country’s largest public school districts, have more regressive funding formulas. Since public schools are primarily funded by local property taxes, students who live in high-income communities across New York State, for example, attend more well-resourced schools than children living in low-income communities. Legal efforts to dismantle this separate and unequal funding system are ongoing.

You might be interested: 3 Latina teachers in their toughest moments face complex cultural challenges

4. Redesign teacher training

The U.S. has a wide variety of teacher preparation programs. There’s no common framework for thinking about how to prepare people to become teachers.

Furthermore, in states like California and Texas, after two months of preparation a new teacher can teach children in historically marginalized communities. Given where these teachers are placed, it is clear that school districts, like Oakland Public Schools, will hire those new educators.

Placing the most inexperienced teachers in schools with the most challenging working conditions increases turnover.

What stands in the way of getting more Black and Latino teachers in classrooms is not a clear understanding of the problem, but the courage to act on what we already know.


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Travis Bristol, Assistant Professor of Education, University of California, Berkeley

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

women in charge

Internships in Congress overwhelmingly go to white students

James R. Jones, professor at Rutgers University – Newark , examines data surrounding the racial disparities in paid congressional internships. The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

When it comes to paid congressional internships, white students get more than their fair share, but Black and Latino students don’t get enough.

That is the key finding of a new report I co-authored with Tiffany Win and Carlos Mark Vera for Pay Our Interns, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that is pushing to increase the number of paid internships in various sectors.

These racial disparities come despite 2018 legislation that provides House and Senate offices with allowances exclusively for paid internships. I investigated whom congressional offices hired with these allowances during the first year that this funding was available in 2019.

I found that while white students make up only 56% of undergraduate college students nationwide, they accounted for 76% of paid interns in Congress. In contrast, Black and Latino students make up 14% and 19% of all undergraduates, respectively, but accounted for only 6.7% and 7.9% of paid congressional interns, respectively.

Why it matters

Racial representation among paid congressional internships is important because internships often lead to paid staff positions. In a 2020 study of congressional staff, over 50% indicated that they started their careers on Capitol Hill as interns. Accordingly, if people of color are underrepresented among paid congressional interns, they will similarly be underrepresented among legislative staff.

That matters because congressional staff are important behind-the-scenes actors in making American law. They provide critical advice, guidance and analysis to lawmakers. Congressional staffers are also involved in nearly all dimensions of legislative work, from coming up with ideas to providing services for constituents to the oversight of the federal government and day-to-day operations of the legislature.

internships,

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

If the only staffers in the room advising members of Congress on policymaking decisions are white, then the policies this nation makes may not be as richly informed as they would otherwise be.

In addition, congressional employment provides a stepping stone to elected office. Today, the highest-ranking women in government, Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, both began their political careers as congressional interns.

When people get firsthand experience with how American democracy works, it better enables them to see themselves as leaders and public servants.

What still isn’t known

While our report examines the racial makeup of paid congressional interns, Congress does not collect or publish data on unpaid interns. To this end, it’s not known how many unpaid interns there are or the racial makeup of this group. Some congressional offices may pay their interns with funding beyond the allowances they get for interns, but we don’t believe many do.

What’s next

There are still a lot of unknowns about who works in Congress. My future research will continue to examine racial representation among congressional staff and the mechanisms that lead to racial inequities on Capitol Hill. I also plan to continue to urge Congress to adopt more transparent hiring practices so that this problem can be better understood.

You might be interested: So-called ‘good’ suburban schools often require trade-offs for Latino students

How we do our work

We analyzed congressional payroll data, which provides the names of every paid intern. From the list of people who interned in Congress between April and September 2019, Pay Our Interns researchers conducted an online search for photographs, social backgrounds and past employment data of all interns. We obtained data from a variety of sources, including Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. We collected racial demographic data for 96% of Senate interns and 95% of House interns.The Conversation

James R. Jones, Assistant Professor of African American and African Studies, Rutgers University – Newark

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

DACA, Dreamers,

DACA in doubt after court ruling: 3 questions answered

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Author: Kevin Johnson, University of California, Davis

Editor’s note: A federal court in Texas delivered a blow to an Obama-era federal program shielding hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from being deported.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled on July 16, 2021, in Texas v. United States that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was unlawful. Hanen put a hold on new applications. The decision caught many people off guard because, in 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court had rejected then-President Donald Trump’s effort to dismantle DACA, leaving the policy mostly intact.

The federal government under President Joe Biden has been accepting new applications for DACA protections. That must now stop, Hanen ruled.

We asked legal scholar Kevin Johnson, who specializes in immigration law, to explain what impact Hanen’s ruling will have on DACA – and what comes next.

DACA, Dreamers,

Molly Adams from USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1. If the Supreme Court already ruled DACA could continue, how can it be unlawful?

In Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of University of California, the Supreme Court did not decide whether DACA, established by President Barack Obama in 2012, was lawful. It held only that in its efforts to end DACA, the Trump administration had not followed the proper procedures required by the federal Administrative Procedure Act to terminate the policy.

In a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court ruled that President Trump’s attempt to end DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” because it had failed to adequately account for, among other things, the severe disruption of the lives of DACA recipients who had relied on the program in making life decisions.

By so doing, Trump had violated the Administrative Procedure Act, and, thus, his administration’s attempt to invalidate DACA was unlawful. As a result, the immigrants already protected by DACA would maintain their legal status, and the ruling seemed to require the administration to allow new DACA applications.

But the Trump administration refused to allow new applications to the program.

In Texas v. United States, Judge Hanen reviewed a different decision by a different president – the Biden administration’s decision to resume accepting new DACA applications. But his ruling relied on the Supreme Court’s analysis of President Trump’s attempted termination of DACA.

Hanen found that the Biden administration had not reopened applications following appropriate procedures under the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires allowing public notice and comment on the policy. As such, he ruled, the Biden administration could not accept new DACA applications.

2. What does the Texas court’s decision mean for current DACA recipients?

Judge Hanen’s ruling only bars the approval of new DACA applications. It does not eliminate DACA relief for the approximately 690,000 people already enrolled in the program.

Current DACA recipients may still apply for renewals every two years. The Biden administration is likely to grant those renewals absent a change in the applicant’s circumstances, such as a serious criminal conviction.

Put simply, for the time being, current DACA recipients are protected from deportation, but the Biden administration can no longer offer that same protection to other undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children – even if technically it seems they could apply for DACA.

3. What’s next in the DACA debate?

President Biden has said his administration will appeal Judge Hanen’s ruling, and the Supreme Court ultimately could take the case. If the ruling were reversed by a higher court, the Biden administration would be permitted to approve new DACA applications.

The courts aren’t the only place where DACA’s legal problems could be addressed. Biden, immigrant rights advocates and congressional Democrats, including Sen. Dick Durbin, are now calling for lawmakers to pass legislation permanently protecting DACA recipients.

The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 – introduced to Congress during President Trump’s campaign to end DACA – would provide a pathway to citizenship for current DACA recipients. That immigration reform would give them lasting legal status, rather than the temporary – and revocable – relief from deportation offered by DACA.

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Kevin Johnson, Dean and Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies, University of California, Davis