Teleworking where it can

Author: Manu Steens

In the press conference of 3 June (https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/news/nsc-0306/), measures for the reduction of the lock-down were given by the NSC (National Security Council) under the direction of Prime Minister Wilmès. A measure in which there is reasonable resentment among some employers is: “Working from home is recommended where possible”.

After all, many employers want their employees to go back to work in a 100% profitable way. This is understandable and desirable, since the economy is currently very damaged by the situation. However, does this also require a 100% presence on the work floor?

The NSC’s statement is nuanced in two ways: it says “Working from home is recommended” and “where possible”. In other words, this can be interpreted as follows: “dear employers, we advise you to continue to allow telework where possible, of course you may return to work where that is not possible, decide for yourself but please use your common sense”. And it’s this common sense that’s so desperately needed right now. Because what does it mean when you, like so many other employers, take a short cut and decide “that everyone goes back to work”? Arguments are given going from “the employees want social contact with their colleagues” to the other extreme “I want to be able to ask everyone questions when I have them” or “it doesn’t work 100% profitably now”.

Above all, such a reaction as an employer is unsubtle. It is absolute. It does not take into account the people who are afraid of being infected during (public or organised) transport. Such an action is tantamount to asking employees to leave their brains at home in the morning when they leave for work and only use them at home in the evening. As an employer, you pay emotional interest on this. Emotions cannot be switched off. And going against emotions is very demotivating. It is therefore better for the organisation to allow a limited presence on the work floor. The question then is, how can you best do that? Do you have to assign everyone a day? Or two days? Etc. And then work from home for the rest of the week where possible?

Looks like this is best pretty loosely organized. People should come to work when they need to. They know best when needed: they are experts in their job and know when they need certain things from the shop floor. Also when a face-to-face meeting with colleagues is important. So the principle can be better “you are welcome at the work environment, if you consider it necessary according to your personal needs” than by order of a higher hand. Because in the latter way, it just becomes more difficult to make good and even effective arrangements and to work together. In this way, the principle of “come to work one day a week”, for example, can be flexibly implemented in consultation with their colleagues. That is why the advice is: limit the number of places on the work floor and in the meeting rooms, and have everyone reserve a place if they feel the need to work away from home that day. Moreover, important conclusions can be drawn afterwards from the numbers that emerge from this in combination with the performance numbers. E.g. how much office space do you really need, and what are the real needs to work 100% profitably. From this you can then make suggestions for improvements.

Of course, this does not apply to production halls where, for example, cars are assembled and where you need the work force. That’s why “where possible”.

Elk nadeel heb se voordeel

Every disadvantage has its advantage

Author: Manu Steens

With this statement we associate a well-known Dutch footballer: Johan Cruijff. Another version of this statement says “Never waste a good crisis”.

This statement is rigorously universal: every crisis offers opportunities. An opportunity may lie behind every risk. Is that right? We are now in the midst of a terrible crisis. In Belgium alone, there are around 9,000 corona-related deaths. How on earth can you say that there are benefits to this crisis, you will say. That is so: people who have had a corona death in their family, have lost someone dear, victims of domestic violence, GAS-fines due to lock-down-fatigued behavior… are confronted with the dark side of the disease.

But every medal has two sides. What about the positives? Are they really there?

A first advantage of this crisis is that many people work at home in large numbers for now. The “bosses” of their organization are actually forced to trust their employees, something many may only feel when the work result is presented. Others have confidence from the start, and adapted all their HR policies to allow for more teleworking in non-pandemic times. This has the advantage that in the long run people will go “to work” differently, especially less than. Less desk space will be required, provided there is some organizational talent to arrange for it. That saves money. There will be less driving in cars. This even saves in several areas: less fuel, less mileage, less maintenance, and other car-related expenses. But also less exhaust gases: the air in the cities is purer. There also is less noise from the cars,…

Due to the introduction of the lock-down, the closing of the nightlife, the number of weekend casualties fell significantly. People now get to know each other better as well.

These interventions have been going on for several months now, and people feel the needs come to the surface for which they need each other more. For which they have to apply a new way of solving problems. So new solutions arise. The first shops opened, and there was a brief fear that the garden centers would be taken by surprise. Nothing could be further from the truth. People were very disciplined. There was no question of a surprise. After that, the smaller shops opened again. Again there was no question of a surprise. That seems to indicate that many people are embarking on a new culture, one that has spontaneously occurred through the habit of “staying in your home” for two months now.

Such a cultural change can therefore be seen as an opportunity, where companies can save a lot on several aspects of employment. Hopefully, the number of traffic jams can also be permanently reduced. This also reduces the general emission of fine dust from cars. The number of accidents is decreasing. People can be less hunted at work that they can handle more at home, which saves them private time. After all, they have to travel considerably less to and from work. “With a little help of their friends”. And for suspicious executives, it can be a good experience to see that the work has continued and that his employees have continued to work. E.g. thanks to on-line meetings through an ever-improving technology called the internet. And that in the future they will do even better at home if the children can also go to school. A culture change in the organization where employees have more sliding hours can be beneficial for some professions.

In this way every disadvantage also has its advantage. Although it remains human to only want the benefits.

Tribal Leadership – Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

Authors: Dave Logan; John King; Halee Fischer-Wright

The authors indicate that you can recognize tribes  in your organization, and what level of culture these tribes can have. The latter you recognize on the basis of language use by the members of the tribe.

But first you need to know what a tribe is. A tribe is any group of 20 to 150 people who know each other enough to stop on the street and have a chat. They often correspond to the people in your email address book and your smartphone. Often a small company is a tribe, often a large company is a tribe of tribes. A small tribe (20 people) often has only one culture, a (medium to) large tribe (50 to 150 people) can have multiple culture levels at the same time.

Tribal leadership is leadership that focuses on the language and behavior within a culture. It does not seek to sharpen cognitions, beliefs, attitudes, or other factors that we can only measure indirectly. It does focus on language use, behavior and relationship structures. To start this leadership, the leader must start practicing two things:

  1. The tribes tell him their level of culture through their language use.
  2. Upgrading the tribes to a “higher” culture level.

The authors’ research shows that the use of the following vocabulary is typical of the culture levels:

Stage Mindset Word usage – examples
1 Life sucks – clusters of ‘gangs’ – alienation Life, sucks, interrupts, can’t, stop, whatever
2 My life sucks – clusters of apathetic victims – separated Boss, life, trying, can’t, give up, quit, sucks
3 I’m great – “lone warrior”, culture of the “wild, wild west” I, my, my, job, profession, do, did, have, went
4 We’re great – radiating tribe pride relations as a partnership We, our team, do, they, have, did, committed, value
5 Life is great – innocent wondering, relations in teams Wow !, miracle, happy, vision, values, we do.

 

In addition, they also provide a number of tools with which you can upgrade from a group of a “lower” culture level to a “higher” culture level. The success factors that you have to look out for are the words that the tribe will use during their evolution to a higher level. In doing so, the leader must again keep two things in mind:

  1. The tribe must rise systematically stage by stage, it cannot skip a stage.
  2. The tribe has to master the stage for a while.

Levels from level 1 to 2:

  • The person has to see it and want it. Go where the action is: eat with colleagues, go to meetings, take up social functions …
  • Encourage a break with others with a “life sucks” mentality

From level 2 to 3:

  • Encourage making friends in dyadic (two-person) relationships.
  • Encourage friendship with people in late stage 3.
  • Show her that her work makes a difference.
  • Show what her strengths are within her competences.
  • Show her growth potential that she still has to acquire, but keep it positive.
  • Give her projects that she can do well in a short time. Don’t follow it too closely.

From level 3 to 4:

  • Encourage triads (three-person relationships).
  • Let her get to know others with the same core values, discover corresponding interests, and find opportunities where they can complement each other in terms of work.
  • Encourage her to take on projects she can’t handle alone. So let her work with partners.
  • Show her that the success comes from her own work, but that the next step is something that requires a different style: collaboration.
  • Describe role models who focus on “we”, triads and group success
  • Tell about your own step from stage 3 to 4
  • Teach her that real power is not in knowledge but in networking. Make it clear that you are on her side.
  • Encourage transparency. Encourage her to tell more than what is absolutely necessary.

From level 4 to 5:

  • Ensure her triads are based on values, benefits and opportunities.
  • Encourage the use of market conditions to make history.
  • If the market doesn’t deliver anything, create an opportunity.
  • Recruit others to the tribe who share the values ​​of the group’s strategy.
  • If the team encounters difficulties, also refer to others for solutions. Do not try to solve everything yourself (that is level 3 behavior).
  • “Change the oil regularly” with the following questions: 1) what is going well, 2) what is not going well and 3) what can the team do about it?

 

Tribal leaders do their work for the good of others, not for themselves, and they are rewarded with loyal employees, hard work, innovation and collaboration. The tribe can complete more difficult assignments in a shorter time with a higher quality of finish.

The Psychology of Cyber Crime – Concepts and Principles

Authors: Grainne Kirwan; Andrew Power

The authors have set themselves the goal of bundling a number of ideas about the psychology of cyber crime. However, this is not easy, especially because it is not so simple to define cyber crime as an overarching container concept. They try to do that in the first chapter of section 1 (Introduction): “Creating the Ground Rules: How can Cybercrime be Defined and Governed?” The term covers a wide variety of thefts, private issues such as disputes between buyers and sellers, and all kinds of anti-social behavior. The definition they work with becomes “any activity occurring online which has intended negative consequences for others”

A first category are crimes that already exist offline, but are now facilitated by the internet. Examples are bank card fraud, theft of information, blackmail, obscenity, money laundering, etc. A second category are new crimes that did not exist before working with networked computers. Examples are hacking, denial of service, distribution of malware, …

A third category comes to mind when computer users start using online Avatars. This can be, for example, the harassing of someone online, which then continues offline.

The government can respond to cybercrime through laws; a response can come from companies with, among other things, a practical code of conduct, a technical response or a user response.

Because the internet is growing in terms of the number of users and the number of hours per user, we can speak of a term such as “cyber citizen”. That means there is a need for a framework of laws, rules and guidelines to keep order online.

The next question is “Can Forensic Psychology Contribute to Solving the Problem of Cybercrime?”. This determines the issue in Chapter 2.

Forensic psychology as a concept is well known to the general public through television series. But they provide a distorted picture. So the first question is “What is Forensic Psychology?”. In this work the broad definition is chosen that states that “forensic psychology is a combination of legal psychology covering the application of psychological knowledge and methods to the process of law and criminological psychology dealing with the application of psychological theory and method to the understanding ( and reduction) of criminal behavior ”. The authors also assume that “it will be considered to include any way by which psychology can be of assistance at any stage in the criminal justice process.”

Tasks in which forensic psychology is involved are the assessment of offenders with regard to psychological disorders, the punishment, rehabilitation and the associated risk assessment. This includes interviewing suspects and analyzing eyewitness accounts. And ultimately also profiling offenders in criminal investigations.

Chapter 3 continues with the question “Can Theories of Crime be Applied to Cybercriminal Acts?”.

After all, theoretical explanations of crimes can help society understand how and why crimes are happening. But it also helps predict future criminal behavior. In addition, the insight provides a basis for successful rehabilitation strategies, as well as preventive strategies. There are different types of theories:

  • Social theories (which views crime on a social level rather than individually),
  • Community theory that states that sometimes crime does not happen randomly in society,
  • Socialization Influence Theories, which state that psychology is important because, for example, it involves observational learning,
  • Individual Theories, which state that certain traits of the person determine the likelihood that he or she will become a criminal, and what type of criminal.

Such theories can then (perhaps) be applied to cyber crime. Important in this are:

  • Social Construction of Crime: some cases are already criminally offline, others are offline in a gray area, but are not socially accepted,
  • Biological Theories of Crime: A comparison is made with the ancient “science” of cranology. There is some evidence that the majority of cyber criminals are men, but there is very little information on how biological theories explain cyber crime. So it’s been noticed somewhat, but we don’t know why it would be true,
  • Learning Theories: A cyber criminal candidate may be put off by fear of punishment, or by guilt when he / she sees the consequences for the victim. Or he / she may induce to commit the crime online, but not to commit it offline, such as cyberbullying.
  • Eysenck’s Theory of crime: he applied conditioning learning theory to crime, and came up with the idea that people with more extroversion, neurotisism, and psychoses are more likely to engage in criminal behavior. This theory is strongly contradicted by his colleagues.
  • Psychoanalytic theories do not appear to be fertile ground for explanations of criminal behavior.
  • Addiction and Arousal Theory: it has been noted that treatment of the addiction often leads to a reduction / cessation of criminal behavior. There are also testimonials from cyber criminals that “they get a thrill” of committing the crime.
  • Neutralization theory: criminals rationalize their guilt feelings with different types of argumentation. There is also some evidence for cyber criminals doing this.
  • Geographic theories are also important in cybercrime: different countries or groups of countries have different laws, different definitions of certain types of crimes. But the ease of access to the means to commit the crime also plays a role. E.g. having a computer, servers, network, internet.

Section 2 deals with Internet-specific crimes.

Section 3 deals with online variations of offline crimes

I summarize a few things about these two sections in this Excel sheet:

Section 4 talks about crimes in virtual worlds.

This is not so much about pure crime over the internet, but about crimes against people, who, among other things, present themselves as avatars. Chapter 12 asks the question “Crime in Virtual Worlds: Should Victims Feel Distressed?” This includes property crime, such as theft of property, but also crimes against persons, such as their avatar, including rape, stalking, etc., which can also continue offline. The question of police action and preventive action is addressed. But there appears to be mainly anecdotal data, not so much a large mass of empirical data.

Finally, Chapter 13 deals with “On-Line Governance”: what is needed in online government, what else is needed, how do political tendencies emerge, and how has “Second Life” been important in the past. But also: is a “Virtual Government” an added value? ”. Or should the government stay away from the Virtual World? E.g. because it is hopeless, or even unwanted?

Corona – Phases Blue – Yellow – Orange, how should we be consistent?

Author: Manu Steens

In phase blue, there was a lot of talk about individual hygiene measures. (This is about washing hands and at the same time singing “happy birthday” twice, not giving hands but an elbow strike or a Vulcan greeting, coughing in your elbow, …) Since phase orange, the term ‘social distancing’ has been expressly formulated. This clearly marked the transition from personal measures (individual hygiene) to collective responsibility (keeping a distance). This distance can be done in several ways, such as telework, a shift of the working hours, or skipping a chair at meetings (and therefore only use half the capacity of your meeting room).

The idea behind this is always that of the Gauss curve. If there is a high spike in infections, health care capacity problems will arise. After all, there are often too many sick people with regard to the number of hospital beds, with regard to the available equipment and with regard to the number of care providers, the hands that keep you alive on that hospital bed. However, there are measures to deal with such peaks: the personal and collective measures mentioned above and much more. However, you only know when the peak has been reached, when it has passed (and the number of infections has fallen). So the idea is to flatten the peak to prevent hospitals from getting into trouble. That is currently the aim of any measure. Each measure helps when applied.

How serious is the disease actually? A large percentage of infected people are simply sick at home. They lie in bed with a cup of tea, read a book and watch Netflix. However, a smaller percentage of fragile people need to be helped in the hospital. Most critics had some medical problems before they were infected with the coronavirus. (For comparison: flu causes about 500-1000 deaths per year in Belgium.) What are the measures of social distancing now doing?

Seven known basic factors that have an impact on the spread of the virus are:

  1. Where many people gather, the virus can easily spread. So: avoid places with a lot of people.
  2. Intensity of contact: an intense hug is more contagious than Vulcan salute, especially if you keep a distance of 2 meters.
  3. Duration of the contact: are you going to put a card with friends for a few hours, or party all night with a lot of friends? That is worse than borrowing an egg from the neighbors.
  4. The place where you are: poorly ventilated areas stack the virus more easily than a well-ventilated flat.
  5. The age mix of people: a school full of young people is not as bad as the grandchildren visiting the retirement home, especially when it gets busy.
  6. Support for measures: the government must be able to explain it. After all, interference without insight leads to pronunciation without prospect.
  7. The “delayability” of an activity: can you postpone it until after the epidemic / pandemic? Then you can no longer get infected.

Following these seven principles throughout the phases takes us very far. If we are extremely consistent in this, at least, and everyone thinks along with us about how things can be improved.