Rebranded Twitter threatens companies to spend more on ads, remote workers put in longer hours than in-office colleagues

Plus, why a surface-level “nice” work culture is ineffective.

Greetings, comms pros! Let’s look at some news stories from this week and see what lessons we can learn from them.

1 . Twitter tells businesses to buy more ads or risk loss of verification

The questionable decisions keep on rolling in from Twitter, or rather, the new “Muskified” entity known as X. This week, the social platform told companies they need to spend more on advertising with them or they’ll risk losing their verified status.

According to The Verge:

Starting August 7th, advertisers that haven’t reached certain spending thresholds will lose their official brand account verification. According to emails obtained by The Wall Street Journal, brands need to have spent at least $1,000 on ads within the prior 30 days or $6,000 in the previous 180 days to retain the gold checkmark identifying that the account belongs to a verified brand.

The discord Twitter has been sowing under its new leadership is well known. Between the recent rebrand to X, the verification debacle of Twitter Blue, and now this, is Twitter even still worth using for marketing and communications purposes? That’s to be determined, but if things keep going down this path of uncertainty, more organizations will take a look at whether Twitter needs to be a major part of their social media rotation.

2. Study: remote workers put in longer hours, work harder

We’ve written endlessly about how remote work is beneficial for mental health, but might remote workers actually be putting in more work? According to one study, the answer is yes.

According to The Hill:

Several studies suggest remote and hybrid employees actually work slightly longer hours than their office-bound colleagues, findings echoed by an avalanche of anecdotal evidence gathered from millions of teleworkers in the past three years.

One of the most celebrated studies, which tracked more than 60,000 Microsoft employees over the first half of 2020, found that remote work triggered a 10 percent boost in weekly hours.   

Remote employees are working more, in part, because they are commuting less. Another landmark study, based on data from 27 countries, found that remote workers saved 72 minutes in daily commuting time. On average, employees spent about half an hour of that extra time engaged in daily work: more than two hours a week.

Not only do remote workers log longer hours, but they also seem to get work done at a faster clip. An oft-cited, pre-pandemic study of workers in a Chinese travel agency found a 13 percent boost in performance for home workers. They worked more hours per shift, and each hour was a bit more productive.

That’s a lot to unpack, but the underlying message is clear: The idea that remote workers aren’t going to get as much done just because they’re working within the four walls of their home isn’t just a myth, it’s been debunked by data. No matter the work situations your organization has in place, communicators should work with everyone’s situation individually when possible and work to build a positive workplace environment. That way, no matter where your employees are based, they can get their jobs done with confidence.

3. ’Nice‘ workplace cultures might actually be a bad thing, report says

When searching for a job, what’s one of the first things you want in a new organization? We’d be willing to bet that positive work culture is one of them. But could it be possible that overly nice workplaces might actually be a toxic, negative thing? According to research, apparently so.

According to CNBC:

“There has been a huge push around well-being and niceness at work, being kind, empathic and being caring — which are obviously good traits to have,” Tessa West, who is also a psychology professor at NYU, told CNBC Make It.

“But what ends up happening is, we’ve somehow pitted niceness against clear communication and confrontation, even when it’s necessary.”

Communication is the key, as it so often is in our big takeaways. Should you treat your coworkers with kindness and respect? Of course, you should! But you should also communicate in a way that gets the message across sincerely. When our demeanor obstructs the intention of the message we’re trying to send, that’s not effective communication. And when you want to build a truly positive place to work, you should be clear about what you mean. Sometimes being positive about a situation means being real, pragmatic and honest when it isn’t all sunshine and roses. Being kind on top of that doesn’t hurt though.

  1. How about some good news?

Have a great weekend comms all-stars!

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.

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