Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That Is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World
October 22, 2018
Erica Keswin's bestselling new book explores what it means to be human, and how to bring it into the workplace.
As the digital economy spreads, rewiring our businesses and our brains, we read more and more about how the most essential qualities at work are the most essentially human—things like empathy, communication, relationship-building. At the same time, workplace strategist Erica Keswin has noticed a marked decline in the kind of human interaction in workplaces that is essential to build those qualities. In her work as a management consultant, researcher, and writer, she's seeing an increase in workplace behavior that breaks them down: "employees calling into meetings down the hall, texting bad news to clients instead of calling, and eating lunch alone at their desks, wearing headphones."
As we've become more connected digitally, our everyday connections to those around us have frayed. As she writes in the introduction to her new book, Bring Your Human to Work:
At home, at school, and in the workplace, we're frowning into our phones, shooting for "Inbox Zero," and obsessively framing our lives into selfie-ops instead of living them. In so many ways, we're missing out on one another.
I wrote Bring Your Human to Work to inspire and guide those of us who want to be truly connected, to be real humans—in our lives, and especially at work.
There is a lot of advice out there to correct course, and Keswin highlights some of the very best of it—along with an abundance of real-world examples of it being implemented—to foster a more human workplace. But it all comes down to doing one thing: Honoring relationships.
Speaking of relationships… our old friend and former manager Todd Sattersten wrote a manifesto on How to Read a Business Book back in 2010, in which he stresses the importance of finding the right books to read. Most people turning to business books do so in an attempt to improve their workplace, or solve a specific problem at work, and spending time with the wrong book—even if it's a great book—is only going to delay you and divert your valuable attention. One of the best suggestions he gives to help pick the right book—one I use almost every day—is to peruse the table of contents, specifically the chapter titles and subtitles. This is especially helpful in more actionable books, those that offer very specific suggestions to tackle very specific problems, rather than just food for thought.
And Keswin's Bring Your Human to Work is very much of the actionable variety, offering "10 surefire ways to design a human workplace." Each of the 10 has a chapter devoted to it, and the book is built in a way that is accessible no matter where you are in business, no matter what kind of business you're in, allowing you to jump directly into the specific issue you're hoping to address. The chapters are:
- Be Real: Speak in a Human Voice
- Play the Long Game: True Sustainability Is a State of Mind
- The Sweet Spot: Finding That Special Something Between Tech and Connect
- Mind Your Meetings: Honoring Relationships with Purpose, Presence, and Protocols
- Well-Being at Work: Finding the Human Side of Wellness
- Give Back: You've Got Nothing to Lose, Only Inspired Employees to Gain
- Disconnect to Reconnect: Where There's a Will, There's a Way
- Space Matters: Curating Connection Starts with the Water Cooler
- Take Professional Development Personally: Empower Employees to Be Their Best Selves
- Say Thank You: It's a Human Thing to Do
In our review of Kat Holmes' Mismatch last week, we touched on her discussion of "the enduring notion that 'we shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.'" That "What we produce has an effect on society, which in turn shapes the next set of problems we aim to solve." In this book, Erika Keswin begins the chapter "Space Matters" with a quote from Winston Churchill: "We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us." Keswin touches on all this and more in Bring Your Human to Work, exemplifying that the same is true of our workplace culture, and how important it is to be deliberate in shaping it.
We have 20 copies available.