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Hello again friends. I read a lot of email newsletters; approaching 400 a week. Like everything on the internet, they have their weird biases. In general, they're written for a tech-savvy, desk-bound audience. Around a quarter tackle working and the workplace, but only by that same narrow definition. A plausible reason would be that those writing and reading these things tend to work at desks in offices. But I have another.
Hotdeskers. Can't see 'em? Click to view in browser.
HOTDESKING: The more of us there are, so the value of space increases. This is felt first in urban and metropolitan environments, where offices tend to be. So as the rent goes up, employers have to use less space, make their floorspace work harder, or move the work elsewhere. This fuels a few familiar trends: relocation, offshoring, automation and remodelling office space to be more 'flexible'.

And so, the distracting torture of open-plan and, when even that's not enough, the hidden hell of hotdesking. Open-plan and hot-desks are popular with employers because the benefits (like number of desks and their occupancy) are relatively easy to quantify, while the drawbacks (like wasted time and worker wellbeing) are more obscure. This is all bad for the workers within. By taking down the walls, workers lose emotional insulation. By pulling dedicated spaces, workers lose their sense of ownership. And no amount of employer perks can make up for it.

The real reason my inbox is brimming with thoughts about this narrow definition of a workplace may be because it's becoming the worst place to get anything done. Fortunately, it's ripe for disruption. Some employers have recognised the importance of creating the right environments for innovation, which is just a short step away from creating environments suitable for, y'know, work.

There are plenty of ideas for how work could change for the better. Some, like the four-day week, sound desirable but may come at the price of greater flexibility. Further, those starting out, just now stumbling into the open-plan office wasting the first half-hour of their career trying to find somewhere to sit, do so with a new set of expectations about what it means to work. We can but hope Gen Z will fix the workplace for all of us. ๐Ÿ’ผ
๐Ÿ’„ The real cost of not wearing makeup at the office: the author spends 15 times more than her husband on personal grooming, but is there a professional cost of opting out?

๐Ÿ˜ป Good News, Your Cat Might Actually Care That You Exist: study shows cats form attachments to their owners and aren't, as one might assume, just waiting for us to die so they can eat our remains.

๐ŸŽถ The Unsolved Case of the Most Mysterious Song on the Internet: amateur detectives have spent thousands of hours since trying to figure out the source of a catchy New Wave anthem that appeared on the internet with no information about who wrote or recorded it. Also good from Rolling Stone: The Music Industry Gave Everything to Spotify. Could That Change?

๐Ÿ”ฎ Dark crystals: the brutal reality behind a booming wellness craze: growing demand for so-called healing crystals is damaging the biologically diverse and fragile ecosystem of Madagascar, where labourers, many of them children, are put to work in dangerous mines.

๐Ÿ“ž Meet Electrophone, the streaming service youโ€™ve never heard of: Long before Spotify, music buffs signed up to hear live concerts by telephone

๐Ÿ‘€ Learning How to See: designer and developer Matthew Strรถm uses illusions to invite us to consider the subconscious element of seeing, both in ourselves and those who view our works.

๐Ÿฉ Labradoodle Creator Says the Breed Is His Lifeโ€™s Regret: having created a demand that unethical, ruthless breeders were more than happy to meet, the original breeder says he opened a Pandora box and released a Frankenstein monster.
Work different: Unless you have a real job, like midwife or firefighter, you might get away with working from home. Why do we schlep into an office anymore anyway? The workplace is digital now anyway, plus at home there's definitely somewhere to sit.

Working remotely has advantages and catches. You can't just be your current work-self; you need to work differently. Mike Davidson, from prototyping platform InVision, documented his experiences after a year of working remotely. Then programmer and writer Matt Haughey offered his tips from 16 years of working from home.

If you leave hotdesking anxiety behind you, it's good to know that Leapers supports those who work in more contemporary ways, including publishing their great guide to looking after yourself when working for yourself. On October 10th, they're inviting those who work alone to work together and share experiences. Let's hope there's enough seats. ๐Ÿ›‹
Finally: Guard is an AI that reads baffling privacy policies so you don't have to, and is surprisingly good at it. ๐Ÿ”

Lawks a-mercy, it's the bottom of the email. More good stuff next week. Know someone who likes interesting things? And whose dreary inbox would benefit from an injection of interestingness? Of course you do! They can join in at momorgan.com/blast. ๐Ÿ’Œ

Found something I'd like? Is there something you'd like to see more? Or anything else; I'd love to hear from youโ€”hit reply! If these emails are not being delivered correctly, try adding this address to your contacts. Meanwhile all back-issues are in the archive.

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