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June 4, 2021

E208 - Work Pandemic Protocols Influence Employee Behavior

Recorded live on June 3rd, 2021, hosted by Nick R…

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Recorded live on June 3rd, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome & Blake Arnsdorff.

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  • How does ownership work at your company? | symph0nica | /r/userexperience
  • How do you “gently” push back on clients demanding too much? | numnumcookiie | /r/userexperience


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| Disclaimer: Transcript provided by IBM Watson Speech to Text. Any inaccuracies or errors are not attributed to the Hosts or contributors to Human Factors Cast. |

Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. I almost forgot to record what's up everybody gets up SO 208 we're recording this live on 6/3/2021 as as human factors casting host Nick Rome I'm joined today across the internet ways by Mister Blake arms Dorf hello Nick and the internet waves how are you doing man Hey I'm good I know you're not great so we'll we'll get through this Blake is a little under the weather that's welcome. At that yeah great mentally he's great mentally just physically that's the problem right. What a start to a show guys. Let's get into some programming notes in a follow up to last week if you haven't already check out our deep dive on how VR works our perception of time we do have a link on our website we've been doing these deep dive follow up. Deep dive blog articles on on some of the questions that we your some of the stories we talk about on the show because it's. Never enough for Blake and I just sit here they're fantastically written and I say that not being the one that wrote them they are a fantastic companion piece to the podcast please go check those out as a reminder we have opened up the human factors has digital media lab if you have any interest in that it's a great opportunity for people looking to get involved with us so these are students looking for real world experience academics looking to share your work or designers looking to work on our portfolio any of the above or you know anything else that you might be able to think of we might be able to find a fit for you behind the scenes here at the human factors cast show. Yeah go check that out anyway we know why you're here let's go ahead and get into this first part of the show we like to call. That's right it's human factors this is the part of the show where we talk about everything related to the field of human factors be anything from medical privacy security robotics healthcare or workplace things what's going on this week it was so the realm of work please things there so we have a workplace pandering protocols are impacting our employees behavior both inside and outside of work so let's jump into it employer cove in 19 safety measures influence worker precautions even when they were not on the clock or at the workplace according to a new study out of Washington State University study found that workplace cultures that adopted covert 19 prevention met measures such as daily health checks and encouraging sick workers to stay home resulted in less sick presenteeism or going to work when you're feeling ill the effect was both inside and outside of work meaning fewer employees with covert 19 sep them to actually show up to work or go to other public places like the grocery store or gyms the same actually held true for attitudes toward Kobe 19 prevention measures recommended by the center for disease it big centers for disease control and prevention or CDC such as mask wearing social distancing employees working in companies with the strong guidelines on prevention measures were more likely to have positive attitudes towards CDC guidelines like wearing masks so the workplace covered 19 climate was shown to have a direct effect on shaping employee attitudes toward personal and preventative health measures and actions of the CDC was recommending or so the study is shown. As a public health officials and employees or employers should be aware of the impact that organization and workplace can have on their employees outside of work so it's not just employer is having an impact on the transmission that occurs when the workplace but they were actually influencing how people were going to act outside of work cynic this is a this is really like a tie all the way back to just the psychology roots so you really think about when you think of human factors in some way so you know it putting specific measures in place to prevent one thing it influence behavior tangential in another but overall first glance what do your gut feelings here your thoughts. First glance yeah it makes sense and I think that. There's a lot of the stories that were like yeah it doesn't make sense but if you if you think about break break this article down mmhm there's a couple things going on here. Mainly that the workplace culture carries on outside of your workplace and I feel like that alone is worth talking about because. It's it's true like I've seen it in my own life there's there's kind of this attitude that you take away from a certain type of culture that. You know like if it's very. Let's say there's 2 different types of cultures that I've worked in there's kind of a laid back culture where actually 3 let's just say 3 there's a laid back culture where things can get done when they get done as long as they're done by the deadline no one 's really you know kind of upset about it and then there's kind of the opposite where things are very driven you're in an environment where you don't have a whole lot of room to fail you don't go out of the room to do the things that you need to do to work on the thing because of X. Y. NZ in there somewhere in the middle where it's interesting because the culture of the people are laid back but yet the culture of the office is very up tight and needs things yesterday. Those are 3 very interesting cultures and I can imagine but while I've experienced how that translates to the real world because you know when I was working in the let's just say I'm working in the laid back culture now and that's definitely pervaded my personal life you know I don't feel as stressed about work about things that are happening except for this one instance which I'll talk about one more thing a little bit later but I don't feel as stressed as say I would in another job and I don't necessarily like let's say I'm working on hobbies if if if something happens in a hobby I'm less likely to be up tight about that thing then. I would be in another situation like let's say let's say something it is let's say I'm creating something right let's say I'm creating a a control panel here for anyone watching on video I'm here I'm creating a control panel this has been like a static thing for the last couple months. Sam felt like working on it and I haven't felt driven to work on it as much but that's also because I have a lot of going on and I'm giving myself a little bit of forgiveness now I've made a lot of progress on it you can see there but I'm. It's not done and that's okay I'm learning to live with that and if I was in another environment I would need to get it done otherwise I would feel unaccomplished anyway that's my that's my general take on it how do you feel like that you make me want to be much more introspective about how I'm approaching my outside of work life. I am definitely somebody who struggles with the work life balance I tend to stress myself really thin but there there's definitely something to be said for everything you just went through like talk about the various spectrums of work so I'll a long time ago in a galaxy far far away I worked in a very very. Get the all the way I've described before is like militant leadership where like I was clocking I was clocking in there was a there was like I would have a basically an executive secretary would check on me every hour to see what my progress had been like there was my laptop was constantly monitored it for the sake of KPIs like it's very different experience that I had and I found that I was much more straight stressed and anxious person outside of work than I'd ever been before. So it's interesting that you've kind of thought up and realize that the impact it has to your other. Kind of stuff do you do outside of work or whatever it may be because I go back and think about it something that I probably didn't pick up on was I played a lot less guitar because I would get a lot more frustrated with music production you know 5 years ago than I do now. Now a lot of that has to do with kind of changes that Kobe brought along as well though from like I've never had a remote job and suddenly a lot of most jobs turned into remote jobs so it's definitely that has some impact as well on like my current experience in terms of workplace stuff translating to my everyday life because a lot of ways I am more in charge of all my work place does and how I respond to it than ever before so I can I can imagine though because like we we thought when you think of work we spend so much time working. Whether it's whatever job it is you're spending some large amount of time in your week you know contributing to it as our culture becomes part of your everyday life whether you're kind of really picking up all the new ones are not but I definitely can identify with kind of practice as they were put in place in my company's culture as well as like practices for safety measures for co bid. I think it probably did have some pretty big influence on how I was treating the pandemic outside of work and have made me think more seriously about it for it be it impacted me be able to go to work and continue to work during the pandemic stuff so I think like you mentioned at the top it's not directly you know simple to catch this kind of thing going on but it does make intuitive sense when you start thinking about the logical implication of some place where you go all the time or someplace you're involved all the time influencing your life outside of work in this case well said yeah I want to focus on what exactly does carry over right so and we're talking about the specific. Sickness presenteeism and when we think about this concept it's it's largely how willing are you to go out when you're sick that's kind of the gist of it we can talk about this specific study but. We'll talk about your experience with the pandemic like and just generally like when you feel sick do you go outside or do you kind of power like you power through it go outside do the thing that you need to do. Or like do you take it easy and try to rest and try to get through it and tell work buzz off I'm trying to. Trying to read I'm trying to rest here and get better yeah a definite opinions I think I have gotten a lot all right I know right where is that like you know it depends but as it happens but I guess so I I've definitely gotten a lot better in the last few years about like if I am sick I know that the harder I go and push it work the worse it's going to get because I'm just one of those people that it takes awhile to get through being sick or whatever it is so I try to push work off however I do in this article brings up a little bit of this I do feel that you know maybe in grain the stigma that not necessarily work is pushed on me but societal pressures of pushed on me of like we don't matter if you're sick you should still go to work anyway and go get the work done like you're you're being paid that's what you should be doing so I definitely do I feel a lot of anxiety when I get sick which is ironic they were talking about this now. When I know when I when I get sick and I don't go to work like I feel like I'm letting my team down like the world's going to implode all the the simple just like falling apart world stuff that happens to be when I get sick right. So but I think Kobe can change some of that because like in instances like today I got up worked as long as I could before like my I just couldn't even stare at anything anymore and didn't didn't want to take any more Advil for the day. They did it because of the remote capability I was able to do that to get stuff done be sick not be around anybody and putting a by potentially you know not that's really in danger of more than just getting a cold but it was it was a way to kind of balance my anxiety if you well but what about your neck I mean because I've known you in a work setting I have I have a my perspective on what you're gonna say but what do you do in terms of like when you think of this like sick sickness presenteeism or going to work when you're feeling bad that's interesting I'm I'm interested to hear what you think I'm gonna say but I'll go ahead and say my thing so I'm in a previous life I would have gone to work when I was sick and this is largely because of the demands put on me by the job the things needed to get done there was a lot of pressure to get things done there wasn't a lot of good structure in place to accommodate for those instances where somebody gets sick. I will say I switched jobs just before the pandemic started with to a fully remote role so my role already was remote by the time covered 19 rolled around here in the states and. There was an interesting thing going on where I. I needed to get something done and the pandemic was just starting to be. Become like a real threat I guess it was right before like everything shut down you know it was like the this growing awareness of this thing happening and I was already weary. And I think it's largely because of the the company that I work for they were they you know they were they being overly cautious there was an event that was supposed to happen like a month after I joined and it was a big event lots of people all over the world and like you know is right up to the line where they were like no we can't do this. And you know it had it had to happen virtually. And I think because of that experience I was less likely to feel obligated to you know if I was sick I could just basically say Hey I can't today I just can't and being in a remote position I feel like there's more forgiveness on people's parts because they understand that there are other things happening around you most of the time when you're in a remote environment as long as you put in the hours and the work gets done I don't think anybody really has a problem or at least where I'm working at now ram proof where I'm working at now is pretty flexible in terms of. Work when you need to understand you have a 20 month old and he will need things at certain times of the day and he goes to sleep at a certain time so if you put in the work after hours that's fine too as long as. The things that you need to do get done and I think all that contributes largely to the ability I have to say. No I don't want to go into work when I'm sick I will say this also had a large impact on how safety how how I took safety throughout the pandemic right like for me I was one of those people that was very cautious because I have a small child that I have to care for and at the time of the pandemic he would like just over a year old so. I'm it what sorry no he was younger than a year old and. And it was this weird thing is like I just we have this thing and I need to protect them and so wide taking every precaution necessary and I think. Yeah there's a point where I actually needed to go somewhere during the pandemic early days and you know it is just after the mask mandate and it was like one of those things are like I want to talk to anybody I want to go do anything but I need to do this because I needed to get my my card on a certain system. And it had to be done in a physical location to get that done and I needed to go interact with people but you know we we made sure that it was only me and one other person and that you know they opened the door and then you know there was hand sanitizer can everywhere and it was it was this intense protocol just to go to a computer in a Lysol the thing down before all that I think as a result of some of the actions that we you know took early on as a company so that's that's kind of where I'm at. Where where did you think I was gonna land but that. I is so I specifically remember an instance where I watched you pushed really hard to when you were feeling awful so it it's interesting that that's kind of changed in retrospect ed and I mean that I think the pandemic man it's all much more self aware of that kind of stuff in the impact it can have on others but that for me it like they're they're like I don't know if most the audience knows this stuff I have a few kind of weird conditions for my age and so things like being able to our work remotely when you know I'm having really target arthritis issues or whatever it's definitely changed my ability to see one save you to go but also the fact that like I know that if I start feeling much better you know Friday evening or Saturday morning I can work all weekend to make up time that I'd wouldn't have before because I didn't have a laptop remote working was not accepted yeah I got a so it's it's it's definitely one of those interesting changes in society in terms of just workplace culture affecting your outside perspective to. Yeah let's get into the study or talk about this a little bit you wanna give us a little run down here Blake yes so let's go let's go over just a high level details sort of study the researchers surveyed more than 300 working adults recruited through the Amazon mechanical Turk crowdsourcing website I mean he did this in 3 waves so the first surveyed workers back in 20 October 20 to assess the cove in 19 climate other workplaces then again in 12/20/20 about their attitudes toward CDC prevention guidelines and then finally in 2/20/21 another survey around about their work and non work behaviors when sick or exposed to CO between 19. So 3 for waves using just a survey through crowdsourcing tools pretty simple straightforward but obviously yielded some interesting results. Yeah I do I mentioned that this was so if you think about the time frame of this right October. Is right before major US holidays as you have thanksgiving in November and Christmas and other holidays in December and you have February we're all that kind of cools down and so you have kind of 3 phases where. What's before what's during and what's after the holidays where people are probably most likely to be more susceptible to waving those. I guess values you know if if like family or friends are involved I feel like during December and November especially there were probably a lot of people that didn't take the precautions that they needed to and you know we saw that big spike and in early December and January right because of it and so it's interesting that they gathered all that data during this time. I'm definitely do more move to in terms of yeah how people actually you know reacted to the guidance at that point in time because this would be you know height of people taking time off being away from the workplace and now they're still trying to see like how is that impacting your behavior in and outside of the workplace yeah so like alternately basically what they found is the headline right basically the things that happen in the workplace at employee attitudes towards the pandemic itself or or these prevention as it measures specifically like mask wearing or social distancing that type of thing. M. and ultimately whether or not they showed up to work or other places while feeling ill we're basically. Driven by the work attitudes right so that's that there's a significant connection between the workplace culture and their attitudes towards safety measures and going out when they're not feeling great I'm. I I mean I I have a I have a couple extra things that we can talk about here Blake but I mean is there anything else about the study that you are bring up. I think about this so here's something I actually want to go back and forth with you and you and I odd because you have a different mode experience than I do but let me related to the study I'm so just gonna bring up one of the points so they talked about the one interesting aspect of this entire kind of study is that remote workers were even influenced by their workplace's culture OB or how the workplace was handling code 19 in terms of like safety measures whatever maybe so for you and I it's gonna be it is pretty different because you had a remote job already. I think a lot of Miley kind of dealings with how the company was gonna handle Kobe 19 measures really hit me the most when I would go into the office so I would have to go in for random things that are part of my job. In like having to go through the process of taking my temperature or signing a piece of paper that's basically like binding that I came in I don't have code sometimes it was a lot it freaks me out a bit hard to let go in and actually do the work I was supposed to be doing in the office so that it may be I think in hindsight much more cautious as I went to the grocery store or like going out anywhere from beyond my apartment complex but for for you how did how do your kind of workplace you know I don't I don't know how that how you would even put it how they're kind of like reaction to cope it how did it impact you in any way or was that just really you already had the remote job so it was really you just putting in your own safety measures in place for you and your family that's a good question and what I'm glad you asked that because so what happened early on is they I mean they took just because I'm remote there's there's a physical office and the people still worked out of that physical office at the time I joined remotely and so you know once everybody went home and was doing remote work there were opportunities to go into the office kinda like you described I am far away from the office it was not happening you know is on the other side is on the other side of the country yeah and so I wouldn't go in the office anyway but whenever somebody did go into the office it was shared with a couple extra businesses and whenever a case came up or a potential exposure even like the slightest mention like Hey someone coughed we got to shut down the office for 2 weeks like that that's the kind of like no one goes and we're gonna send in a hazmat team like you know that that's the level that we're talking about there. You know to don't use the elevators because they may have pressed the buttons. You need anything let us know you got to sign papers like you like you describe it was one of those things and I think seeing all those emails come through. I mean not that I ever didn't take the pandemic seriously but it also you know kind of hammered home the severity of it. Well yeah like this is seriously in again not that I ever thought that it wasn't but. I think part of that obviously transferred right and and like I said I had I had to do that instance where I had to go somewhere and do something during a pandemic early on when we didn't know it was very scary no one knew what was going on you know Disneyland was shut down what's going on and so I'm. It was one of those things where we didn't quite know what to do it was just 2 people is me and somebody else and we did our best and you know that there was no thermometer there was nothing like that but it was one of those instances where we were both kind of freaked out about it and they were like Hey this is cool of you know we both wear masks and all that stuff it was you know. So that's that's my experience. Yeah it's a it's a tough one for sure but it I guess like the major finding here to also that we can kind of go back and forth on there the the Big Apple double take away is that the researchers really were harping on it noting that many you US organizations have a long standing cultures like I talked about earlier stigmatizing sick leave and encouraging people to still come to work when you're sick and it looks like based off of the research that's done here is hopefully by this helping to put all these workplace culture aspects of curbing Kobe 19 employees that may relate to how people treat just being sick and coming into the office and general release that's that's kind of the goal here are of of trying to understand how workplace culture is affected in the long term. Yeah I think that's that's a good point and I mean if you think about like physical jobs that couldn't stop working because of the pandemic right healthcare workers had to go in and I'm positive that they have a long standing culture of of promoting stay home when you're sick I bet you those attitudes transferred over and I bet you there are yeah I can definitely see it where some of those other organizations that did stigmatize the sick leave like you've got to get this done it's your responsibility I can definitely see those kind of struggling with this too. And and people struggling with it especially if their workplace cultures like that I do have a couple points that I want to bring up here. I guess they're they're more phrased as questions and we can kind of talk about them but some questions you might be having like how can we increase sort of these acceptance of these health measures to continue decreasing this sickness presenteeism like what can we do let's talk about the application here what can we do to. Encourage some of those pro social pro health behaviors or pro health work places right this is a tough question I don't necessarily have a great answer for it what do you think yeah it's it's hard I think I think it comes down to like a leadership thing in some ways and if you and like creating policy and guidelines that way in terms of like trying to ingrain it somewhere but it if you don't feel comfortable like in your workplace not coming here not working or not coming to work whether that's your motor not working when you're sick that can be that's just always give me an issue in less like overall leadership is okay with the fact his plan their projects in a way that it's you're not a single point of failure or whatever it may be but I think it it comes down to a lot of ways communicating that to your your entire company and that comes I don't think that's necessarily from my limited perspective right that's not like get on a project to project our team to team basis that's like a larger corporation need to get that message out there putting it in their in their guidance or handbooks or whatever they put out to continue along because it I think some of these will stay some of these measures will stay in place for the interim right as as you see more people doing in person meetings and all that kind of stuff so the the. The visual consequences of cover 19 so seeing people still in masks and you know still distancing from each other and in smaller work spaces I think that will continue to you know get people to stay away from work if they don't feel good. But let him 6 to 10 months time what's what's different I'm not really sure in last companies are actively trying to put the stuff into their own work culture and trying to get rid of the stigma itself of like okay cove it's over let's go back to how things were in 20 whatever 2019 and let's just you know work through work through the pain and the sickness and suffering and all that kind of stuff so I I don't know what the best options are I think there will still be lingering effects though from cove it itself to help try and push us towards like them could work when you're sick yeah I agree with that and I agree that right now leadership is probably the 1 soul away you can do it however there are ways that you can. Negotiate that especially as employees right there are few star union started labor union with your company. This was you know the big fight against Amazon Mike we want to unionize so that way we don't have to pee in bottles while we're in our trucks like that's the level that they're talking about and it's unsafe unhealthy. And you know if you have a labor union you can negotiate with management and say things like Hey we don't want to have to feel this pressure when we are feeling ill is there anything like here's explains the solutions that might help that and we want you to implement them and you have to do it because we say so where the labor union and so that's that's kind of the the. Larger structural change that needs to happen in order for the people to rise up and take control of their environments but I agree right now it's kind of leader in leadership's hands and and if you don't have a great leader or someone who encourages pushing through that pain then it's gonna be a little bit more difficult. I'm. You wanna take this next one. Sure so the next kind of question point we've got here so will this lead so this entire workplace change lead to an increase in working from home especially if people are feeling like they might be sick but maybe well enough to work I certainly hope so and I hope that it's definitely a cultural thing that companies will accept it although I do I don't know how it's actually depend on overtime because even some of the larger corporations that at during Copa 90 were the early people early companies to say like work all work from home for the rest of the year before it became kind of the norm even they're trying to bring people back in the office and I think there are certain aspects of jobs like doing R. N. destaca whatever it may be you have to kind of be enough physical space and sometimes but I think allowing this option is. I think it's hyper critical for some of these companies to 6 continue succeeding because there is and I know you're you're all touch on this later on but there is this whole culture that's kind of evolving it's like well you're not gonna let me work remotely where else able to do that successfully for a period of time even if it was due to it you know outside circumstances OB it fit my lifestyle better so this is what I would rather DO so although I don't know if this will happen everywhere I would say there's a large amount of companies and I have to deal with people wanting to negotiate this into their their work life being able to work remotely at least X. amount of days a week or if I'm if I'm not feeling well being able to work from my laptop or whatever but I mean from your perspective Nick what do you think this do you think this is gonna be a long standing thing for some people or so just give me like short lived as Kobe it kind of disappears yeah I hope so too I think a lot of companies had to relax their strict stances on you're only working when you're in the office you know and I think that's gonna go a long way for allowing people to if not work from home all the time at least be able to you know put in a couple hours so they don't feel like they're losing a lot or feel like you they're still doing the thing that they want to do it like they're people that feel super passionate about their jobs and you know they will probably still want to work when they're sick but they don't want to expose other people to that sickness and so allowing them to stay home and you know I got the Sniffles I don't want to give everybody in the office this big mega corporation that I work for I don't wanna spread a cold through it like I need to work from home today or tomorrow or through the week that I need to stay home and what does that do well I think companies are stupid if they don't go with it because then it's like well you've just saved you know health of a bunch of your employees that is not going to slow everything down to a halt things are going to get done and you know there's lasting effects that go on with health problems if you feel like you can't rest and get over. Something it might lead you to fatigue which impacts your performance at work there's a bunch of other things going on here. You know and and maybe we'll jump into those in the deep dive fatigue performance that type of thing when you're feeling ill and are at work but. You know I do want to touch on one more point here is that we've kind of seen this impact that code has had on. Hunt basically the world like what does this look like when you step back and prioritize your mental health or basically you know I want to live my life and not feel beholden to a company what what kind of shift this will have on culture. You know like pulling back the so so I think. There was a story that came out the other day basically that said you know people who are working remote would rather quit their job like us significant portion I think it's like 30 percent of people would rather quit their job then go back to a hybrid scenario where they are working in the office and working remote or just working in the office a rather quit because it's been so good for their mental health. You know and I think there are other ways that you can kind of. Other things that you can lump into this like the 5 day work week is that still going to be a thing I mean I know you have a book that you like to plug called what is it the 3 or 4 day work week or something yep the. 4 hour work week yeah there you go there you go 4:00 hours away a week. So I mean you know I think there's a lot there's a cultural shift happening too and I think companies ought to wise enough to understand that the workers that they're looking for are not going to want to work for them. If unless they relax a little on what they're requiring I know what your thoughts. Yeah I I totally agree I think there is a need to take a step back and really assess what so there there are definitely aspects of some some jobs that you need to be an up and a space to do them but you need to be end up on a factory floor for some of the some of the tech you might be working on or if you're you know building a physical product you may need to be able to actually access that physical product you know take beta test home with your whatever baby but I think the the mental health things a big deal to me specifically but I I know it is for a lot of people and for for some people you know work for home is just not an option they just don't like it and I I you know I've come across a couple of friends who like they ended up co workers quit their jobs completely because they couldn't work from home they just couldn't figure out how to make make it work and in their head they like had to be in an office so there's different types of people but I do I really do think it is the case that I I've talked to a few people over the past month about this is companies do you have to be a good a little bit more open. Because there's a lot of companies that are big that have moved to this remote culture now and don't have a problem with it and they're they're looking to bring in now more talent so now that now that we're seeing a lot more remote jobs you've got to kind of weigh the pros and cons for like do you need to be remote do you need to have somebody on site in a building can you continue to grow at a rate that you would be able to in your current space by going about there's just a lot of factors that are worth taking into account but I personally think a lot of like bigger tech companies people would do human factors you acts work are going to be looking for a mod style jobs because of what the last you know over a year has kind of resulted in an adult really I think it comes down to where you what is the company still be able to be successful when it was remote if you can answer that question that might help kind of died principles and things you put in put in place as you go forward yeah lots of benefits to working remote all right well I just wanna thank our patrons this week for selecting the topic and thank you to our friends over at Washington State University for our news story this week you want to follow along we do post the link to the links to the original articles on our blog as well as our slack and discord says we find them so join us over there for more discussion we're gonna take a quick break and then we'll be back to see what's going on in the human factors community. Human factors cast brings you the best in human factors news interviews conference coverage and overall fun conversations into each and every episode we produce but we can't do it without you. The human factors cast network is 100 percent listener supported all the funds are going to running the show come from our listeners our patrons are our priority and we want to ensure we're giving back to you for supporting us pledges start at just $1 per month and include rewards like access to our weekly Q. and a is with the hosts personalized professional reviews and human factors minute patrie on only weekly podcast where the host breakdown unique obscure and interesting human factors topics in just one minute patron rewards are always evolving so stop by Petri slash human factors cast to see what support level may be right for you thank you and remember it depends. Yes huge thank you as always to our patrons especially our honorary human factors cast staff patrons Michelle Tripp patrons like you keep the show running and thank you all so much for your continued support I don't think people realize patrons of the ones that keep the lights on over here like we have a lot of stuff that we use. And you know it takes a lot to keep the show up and running. And truly we couldn't do it without you so thank you. You know we have a couple ways in which you can help out there's a couple different options for you like the commercial side we also have a show sponsor role so that's something that you want to do it only once show sponsor a month so you know you wanna hop on that that's. If you if you need to reach a bunch of human factors professionals that's your place. Yeah with that I think we should get into the next part of the show Blake came. That's right it came from we got this this is the part of the show research all over the internet that graphic is so stupid I'm sorry research you all over the internet to bring your topics the community is talking about any topics bear game long is Blake and I can talk about it so that's that's the criteria and it relates to human factors and professional development all that stuff we have we have 3 up this week when we just going to jump into this first one how does ownership work at your company this is written by symphonic on the user experience sub reddit you going to write I'm a junior you X. designer who's been working at a large tech company for nearly a year now since joining I've been confused and frustrated about how to own a project my company has a lot of overlap between teams which creates some confusion about who should own an initiative. Are they going to write an example I'll say the example I think it's worth it. For example a few months ago I identified a big gap in our product that customers were complaining about not having a page to view upcoming events so I worked on some concepts got some feedback from other designers and presented it to the PM she's got my page way down to a tiny list that's now ham fisted onto another page in our product and design by someone else a new designer recently joined that PM's team and she has my same idea of having a separate events page and the P. M. now seems to support it. Which is great for the product but also a bit frustrating since I had to go I did I since I wanted to own designing that experiences I've been stuck working on smaller projects also because I'm on the events team while those designers on the invite list team I'm curious on how ownership works to other companies do you can assign projects from your PM do you need to take initiative and ask for work to work on projects how do you advocate for working on exciting projects Blake how does this work yeah this is interesting so I feel like I'm in a weird position for this mainly because I I I am the lead you X. designer only because I am the only U. axes einer on most of my projects that's changing a little bit now but a lot of times it for me it's for filling the designer role so it's not so much about what what actual like piece of my working on it's like I'm working on the whole thing for 2 projects so I'm I have a little bit less experience in terms of how it's doled out in larger companies however I will offer some some thoughts and insights because I've had I've had questions trying to figure out how do I become a better design leader and how do I how does this work at bigger companies who have you know very structured approaches or they set their product teams up completely differently and they have a lot more collaboration so I've talked to a few friends that work at larger companies and the biggest thing that I have seen in terms of a commonality is being vocal about things you would like to do and that means talking to your P. M. and actually trying to get a sense of Hey I want to own something what what is there that's coming up that I can do and it sounds like in this case you it's definitely worth having a conversation with your PM about the idea that you brought forth even bringing up the at the concept of you just watched another designer kind of create a similar concept meant and what I understand like what you could have done better in terms of trying to take ownership or moving to a new design team. Because it sounds like you may just want to work on something different than what's in your kind of like business or product area right now so is he having open dialogue with your management even asking other designers about how their tracks and help they present their work to their PM's may be helpful as well. Because getting diverse perspectives on this kind of stuff can help you figure out the best route for you to figure out how to grow and kind of keep moving forward I intend for exciting projects I mean I think the biggest thing there is kind of like showing interest when they come up and you know try to figure out how to get your foot in the door talking to teams are working on them talking to the developers that work on stuff just really trying to get your foot in there but Nick from your perspective like what does it look like taking ownership for something Jeez I struggle with this so much this I I struggle with trying to answer this. I'll try my best so I think there's a couple pieces of context here that I'm missing and in the sense of. How your excitement was communicated I think excitements. Most of the time gets communicated by body language so this was an email that you sent to your PM saying Hey I think this thing could work versus a physical conversation where you're like Hey we really need to do something about this because users keep bringing this up there's a very different way of approaching that problem. I think communication is key and I think especially when you can. Communicate in person or over video where somebody can see that visible excitement that you get about a project. Can really come through now I've had this happen to me where I presented an idea and at the time it wasn't accepted and then somebody else brought it up and then it was accepted and I'm left going what what the heck you know I guess I did this a couple months ago and it was not accepted then and now it is. The other person getting credit for it that sucks that really sucks but. You know I think the only way to get through that is to. Say at work it strategically into the way that you communicate about thing be like no you're absolutely right that is a great idea and actually I did a lot of preliminary work a couple months ago I did a lot of preliminary work a couple months ago would you like to see it as a great place to start with this. So you bring in your experience into that thing and make yourself invaluable to it. You know even if it is a side project Hey you know I I started to notice a couple months ago and here's X. Y. NZ and come to the table with it if you're really excited about something. Then do your due diligence I don't know I'm the end terms of working on exciting projects I'm. I don't know I I I also struggle with that one because it's like I've tried to push my way onto exciting projects and maybe they weren't so exciting when I got there. And I am kind of like in the enjoy your scraps peasants the camp right now thank. Look the market out there is weird and so it's like you know if the feud if you're picky then you might not have a job but then also. You don't know what you don't go for what we're trying to say there it's like you don't know what you can do until you try to get it anyway that's pretty much yeah are you just get there see what looks like I mean yeah I I have a I have a colleague who just got accepted to a very prestigious company and it sounds like a ton of fun and I'm really excited for them. And I I am not going to call them out on the show but I am very excited about what they're going to do let's just say they are working for. A large company and they are doing some really cool things let's say is my dream job so. Very excited for them and they didn't know if they were gonna take it because of a couple factors but they they applied to it because they didn't know that they would get it and they ended up got it getting it so anyway that lesson of the story just go for things I guess right yeah try never really know where you're gonna end up I was a mass all right when we get into the next one. This one I feel like I can talk about how do you gently push back on clients demanding too much this one 's from numb numb cookie on the user experience sub reddit hi I'm generally a very blunt person that just graduated and started working as a U. acts designer at a at a corporate. When I need to push back I just say something on the lines of no this is not possible for X. Y. NZ reasons obviously I've received some flak because of this and earned the reputation of being rude which I totally understand however I am looking to change it and I would love any examples information or courses that can help me improve thanks in advance Blake how do you gently push back on clients demanding too much. Tactics here so this is this is awesome this sounds like somebody who recognizes not an issue but they recognize a character trait they have during that there seem like they're in a job or in a setting that doesn't react well to that so this is this is great this is somebody who has a lot of self awareness and wants that kind of change the way they're tackling something I think the biggest part here I'm making a lot of assumptions about this person so forgive me on that side but I think a big 1 is going to be being prepared to hear something and you're gonna have a gut response to it which may be correct because you a lot of times you'll know like there there's no way we have scope to do X. Y. and Z. this doesn't make any sense but it's kind of being ready and got checking yourself when you start to hear yourself make that sound of melt third for 12 and 3 we definitely can't do there's no way to handle it and you got to think about how to present that strategically to your your stakeholder your team whatever it may be. And sometimes that goes back to going pulling up and zooming out to the project plan like were in really tying it to specific milestones that you guys have laughed so saying like okay these ideas are valid if if they are provide rationales are not let's say all the ideas brought to your valid but the time line is just not bear there's no way to get it done so you would have to present the fact that things some things would have to come off of the table in terms of what's gonna be your MVP let's say if you want to go down this route of doing the new U. X. Y. and Z. feature and so it just becomes more of a practice of how you present yourself and your kind of rationale for why something can't fit in the design scope right now but also being open to saying like we could do this what we would need to do this in a larger time scale or we would need more money to be able to pull this off so it's I think the good thing here is this person's gut instincts may be correct. But in terms of how they're presenting you know positive solutions to what people are asking of them that's really where the ought to spend a lot of time kind of figuring out how to present that stuff and that comes with time because you you work on your project you understand how to re scope them you understand how what the trade offs are of doing different features different times based on time budget and development all that kind of stuff but Nick how do you kind of push back when demands get a little bit too high yeah that's a skill that. I think what you said is is great right like this slow yourself down don't respond immediately. Let it marinate for a little bit and make people feel like they're heard you know don't. I feel like there's there's 2 approaches to this right there's one. I'm. That okay there's one jumping in immediately and calling somebody out when somebody says we need to do this because in before they even get on to the because someone called him outright cuts him off to help them out we can't do that X. Y. Z.. There's the second approach where you listen to somebody's entire thought process and then you say X. Y. Z. that's a little bit more helpful. People tend to think of themselves as really important like podcast hosts who just want to have a podcast to talk about things every week. Anyway point is. Pope feel heard when they're allowed to complete their thoughts. And so maybe just say it afterwards now there's a third approach that I'm gonna suggest here that's worked for me and your mileage may vary but I've had pretty sick pretty good success this. If something needs to be done or this you know whoever says the client says something needs to be done. Then ask questions how might that might work how might that work you know like what do you think is the right solution to that and maybe they themselves will back themselves into a corner B. I.'s not possible because of this okay all right. You know and and I think that's probably the most tactful approach is to ask them questions that allow them to get to that conclusion on their own. That doesn't make you come off as a rude person it makes you come off as an inquisitive person and perhaps someone that is considering all angles without being rude right you're simply asking questions about how that might be done. Mmhm and you know if you reverse logic them into thinking okay no it can't be done then. You've won I I consider that a win now there's also like you're talking to clients there's also what's on paper for your expected that you're expected to do. And in most cases unless you're a freelancer in which case is a little different but in most cases you have some protection for that role there's either somebody that will. Go back to the negotiating table with them and say you know that I think that's that's a great idea let's check with so and so to see if we can add that to the work and they will negotiate on your behalf to keep it the original thing right you can I mean you tell me private that. Don't don't adjust this this is not what we're on the hook for. In a lot of cases you have that protection if your freelancer I don't know what to tell you other than Hey you know like we we agreed on that I'm happy to talk about what that scope might be like if we were to pursue that route you know I think I think that's 2 ways of going about it. Yeah if you're a freelancer get rid talk to other people or freelancers get really good at writing contracts yes I will help you a lot and then you can re scope stuff as you need to be up like let's say this other one for next week and let's just get into one more thing this is the right no introduction this is just one more thing where we talk about stuff going on in our lives like what you got going on with you all right this is random and odd but so I think it was last week 2 weeks ago 2 years ago I don't remember when it was last time we did a podcast I talked about like how awesome I was in there how awesome my fight Google's AI. Desired patterns library was the follow up yeah I'd so and like I was I was really start like I can't even tell you I sat on that website went through so many things I'm going through their their machine learning course right now because it's it's just something I'm interested in and no 0 about but this is kind of the flip side of all that stuff and this is a thing that I don't I don't know it came into my email box randomly so I want to talk about it and just throw it out there so people are aware of it and voice my own concern I'm just a guy who wants to be heard on podcasts I guess but so Google is it like a lot of companies they're throwing a lot of money into artificial intelligence development. It seems like a bat is going to change the world completely it's going to change the technology landscape as we understand it but with I'm not gonna say it I'm not gonna say this spider man thing but with that kind of really intense new technology that some people like you on mosque or not even really sure about or government officials are kind of concerned about there needs to be some some people behind it that are paying attention and and doing the research and saying like mmhm that's dangerous for ethics standpoint or just basically keeping technology in track SO most companies have either at ethics that set of ethics standards Google definitely does we talk about on the show before. And they have committees that are focused only on doing research that focuses on the ethics of A. I. development and how it will eventually end up in products. However Google has recently fired fired and then lost some of its main principle researchers in this A. I. ethics group and I thought that was odd because the rash the reason Bob weir the reason for why one of the main readers researchers was fired all comes down to a paper that was written now Google I don't know if you're you know this Nick I certainly didn't know how much they put into research but they put like multiple billions of dollars and a researcher for AI for anything and so they have lots of money that siding to research stuff they don't have to release all the papers that they write for all the stuff they put all this all the research they do they don't have to make publications out of all of it but I found it really disturbing that this particular researcher was. You know a big big in the community of A. I. research which I know nothing about to be completely fair about it but the fact that Google would not release whatever this paper was that was so condemning that they decide they need to fire the researcher. It just concern to me because I'm a big proponent of Google's products I didn't know a bunch of people that work there and I just I enjoy the the company is kinda ethos that it puts out into the world but me knowing so little about A. I. it became concerning to see that that that there's a way that we may not be getting all the research shared with us out there out in the ether or whatever may be that some of these companies may be baby afraid of some of the results they're getting from whatever kind of ethical studies they end up doing. And I just thought it was something that would be worth making other people aware of to learn more about what's going on in terms of ethical design whether it's machine learning or AI or whatever may be in paying attention to that of the next you know 5 to 10 years because I think it will have a large impact in how that technology kind of develops and the products we start seeing that come out from it yeah you would you say Google is not making human factors accessible. I so I what I do want to be clear I think it's I think based off what I've read and the digging that I could do it is unclear to me just some simple simple dude that has a human factors background it does decide. It is not clear to me what's actually going on it's just clear that they're not going to release a paper but there's there's nothing there's no not enough specifics for me to say like Google doing something scary or bad it's like you know they just they're not gonna release the paper for whatever sets a reasons things seem cloudy around it. And they're having a hard time figuring out like I think a lot of other companies are who are probably not getting press over at the moment. They're trying to figure out how the hell this is all going to work how do we keep ethical design in the research that we're doing so that one we can we can compete in the business landscape so that we can be the first people to reach the A. I. summit get it into our products but how do we do it in a way that's not going to create biased you know AI systems or create you know privacy issues I think it's a giant ball of wax to try and solve and we're kind of seeing the throes of it at the moment in a large company. Yeah great 1 more thing I'm for me this frustrating experience I mentioned in the preshow I wanna mention here so we have tickets for a convention that we thought we would be here in town for but we're moving now and so at Star Wars celebration Anaheim 2022 and first off there's a whole bunch of frustrating things about this convention this will be held this year and then they pushed it to next year and then they moved it up next year so they moved it 3 times already I have our tickets and they were very expensive I think there were something like 400 each or something like that because it's multiple days anyway the hotel reservations went live today. And. They have this virtual queue where you get in line you wait you wait wait you get N. wasn't live until noon however people that purchased higher tier tickets so there's like the jet I night ticket and then there's the regular tickets they got in earlier anyway we had. Everything ready to go we got in and we wanted to get from you know this data that day and it would only let you reserve for the days of the convention so we want to pad it with one day on either side and they would only let you do the specific days so it was very frustrating and then the hotels that we wanted specifically work. On. And you know there's there's people who only have tickets for 2 days or one day or something like that and I feel like this would have been a much better process if they had done something like okay everybody of 40 passes gets in at this time and then 2:00 hours later everybody with 3 day passes gets in at this time and then you know kind of gated it that way. And so it's very stressful because we have like our tickets you know I'm hotel would have plain you know everything's kind of still in limbo and we're still planning on taking a couple days on which means we have to get a different hotel you know for those extra days the whole thing it's it's really dumb that they couldn't figure this out and conventions need to figure some stuff out anyway human factors behind that was terrible that's my one more thing for this week and that's it for today everyone let us know what you guys think of a news story this week you can hang out with us on our slack or discord or get in touch with us on any of our social channels visit our official website sign up for our newsletter stay up to date with all the latest impactors news like what you hear is what the show leave us a 5 star review tells her friends about us or consider supporting us on Patreon if you can't and as always least everything all our socials and website stop will be in the description this episode Mr Blake Armstrong thank you for being on the show today work our listeners going find you if they want to talk about B. S. convention sign up thing you guys are talking about yes could sit side of things you can always find me across social media at don't panic you explore inside of our discord at. As for me having your house Nick Rome you can find the streaming on twitch Tuesdays at 1:00 PM Pacific time for office hours and social media at Nick _ Rome. Tuning and human factors cast until next time. It depends.