Hot desk hell

For a growing (and increasingly vocal) ensemble of office workers, hot desks simply arent cool

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AS WE DRAG into the third year of all this, the implementation of hybrid work is proving to be a rather slippery problem, pitting employees against their bosses, both often wanting different things out of the world of WFH.


The latest case in point: hot-desking, the practice of replacing individual desks or cubicles with bookable communal tables.


When hybrid work was new, hot-desking made some intuitive sense. But as time has worn on, it’s proving more divisive: employees don’t love it, citing an impersonal feeling about it, while employers do, citing that it saves them money.


“Beware the chilling effects of the hot desk,” writes Quartz’s Anne Quito.It’s wiped away the thrill of having been assigned a small parcel of office real estate, an emblem of belonging somewhere, of being part of a staff.”


Hot-desking is nothing new; it rode in on the open-office wave of the 2010s, talked up as “evolutionary” by its proponents and supported by money folks who liked the cost savings.


But even by the time the pandemic hit, there were signs that it was in trouble. Rather than make things easier and more collaborative, it was proving to be a time waster, with one study finding that on average, two whole weeks of work hours were wasted simply trying to find a desk. 

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Whats in a name?

Want to be inclusive? Start with learning to pronounce your co-workers name


DOES YOUR NAME get mispronounced or misspelled at work? (It is something that this newsletterman, Kieran — or, often, Kiernan, Keiran, etc. — knows a thing about).


Well, we’re not alone. A recent survey by NameCoach found that 44 per cent of employees have had their names mispronounced in job interviews. For one in four, that continued to happen even when they got the job, with 26 per cent reporting their name being mispronounced around the workplace.


It probably won’t surprise you to know that visible minorities feel this the worst, either. The survey went on to say that department managers are the worst culprits, followed by human resources and CEOs.


Workplace experts say this isn’t great, plus it’s also low-hanging fruit in terms of making a more diverse and welcoming workplace.


“Learning to pronounce a colleague’s name is not just a common courtesy, but an important effort in creating an inclusive workplace,” reads a Harvard Business Review tip. "Listen carefully to where they put emphasis, and where the inflections are. Repeat after them once or twice, not more.”


“What are people supposed to do when the inevitable happens?” asks Stav Ziv. There’s a few good tips — repetition, phonetic reminders, mnemonics, etc. — but in many cases the first big step is to start insisting on it in the first place.


“When I told [career coach Alex Durand] I’ve previously handled mistakes by adding a postscript to emails, he challenged me not to hesitate and to nudge the correction to the top of the message — to be very upfront about it.”

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Why you gotta be so rude?

You're not imaging it, people are ruder at work. For things to get better, we probably need to get back to the office

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RUDE BEHAVIOUR AT work is nothing new. Yet two years into the pandemic, you’re not alone if you think it’s getting worse. Recent studies show workplace rudeness is not only on the rise, but that virtual workspaces — key to the hybrid work models most of us have said we desire long-term — can cause us to feel undermined in the workplace.

By now we know the snafus that come with communicating in such an environment. We’ve experienced spotty internet or the invasion of a pet or child during video meetings, and we respond instantaneously to work texts and emails, even when they arrive outside of office hours. We’ve tried to cope with the absence of non-verbal communication — the instinctive gestures and non-verbal cues that complete everything we say. But those actions simply don’t translate as well on screen as they do in a meeting room.

And while societal incivility hasn’t been formally linked to economic outcomes, it’s notable that record-high job resignations have been led by workers in restaurant and healthcare positions — jobs that require daily interactions with customers.

All these shifts in our work and home lives, along with the dearth of once-prevalent social settings that may have helped us be on our best behaviour, have created fertile ground for rudeness, particularly in environments where success has traditionally depended on a degree of self-control. In short, we’ve built some bad habits.

The return to in-person work ― whatever that may look like ― promises to be a re-adjustment for pretty much everyone who has been fielding emails from their living room or kitchen for the past two years. As odd as working from home felt to everyone in March 2020, it’s going to be that much stranger for many to return to the office. Perhaps everyone can take comfort in the fact that we’re all rusty when it comes to workplace interactions.

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Rust in peace

Say goodbye to the Mazda 6, the Volkswagen Passat and eight other vehicles departing the Canadian automotive landscape


JUST ABOUT EVERY car that dealers could get in 2021 disappeared quickly into the hands of a new owner thanks to pandemic-related production slowdowns, chip shortages and pent-up demand. But even in this environment, there are models leaving Canadian showrooms for good.

There are plenty of replacements to make up for the losses of these departing automotive nameplates. A rash of electrics, from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 to the Nissan Ariya and Ford F-150 Lightning and countless others, are creating most of the headlines. Mazda will expand its SUV lineup with the CX-50. Acura’s even bringing back the Integra.

Without further ado, here are ten cars which will be put out to pasture in Canada in 2022: 


Acura NSX: 2022 marks the end of line for the second-generation Acura NSX, and there will only be 350 Type S versions built for global consumption. But don’t count it out forever ― Acura has already revived the nameplate once before after a decade absence. 


BMW i3: When it was first introduced, the quirky (suicide doors, minimalist recycled interior) BMW i3 was an EV favourite, trailing only the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S in global sales. In Canada, however, sales never amounted to more than a handful each year. 


Fiat 124 Spider: Time is up for the front-engine, rear-drive, two-passenger roadster, but it’s not all bad news: You can still buy the Mazda MX-5, which is basically the same car. 


Ford EcoSport: Ford was really, really late to the subcompact crossover party (the third-largest automotive segment in the country) and it showed with lacklustre sales. The way of the dodo it goes.


Honda Clarity: Less than 300 of this somewhat strange plug-in hybrid were sold in Canada 2021. For a company selling nearly 5,000 CR-Vs per month, that just doesn’t cut it. 


Mazda 6: Competing against the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata, the Mazda 6 didn’t offer a hybrid model. Don’t rule out a hybrid return down the road. 


Nissan NV200: Nissan’s days of selling commercial vans in North America are officially over. The U.S.-built Nissan NV pulls out of a segment that's otherwise dominated by the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.


Toyota Avalon: It’s tough enough to drum up demand for any sedan these days, let alone a premium-priced full-size sedan from a mainstream nameplate. Only around 200 were sold in Canada last year, so away it goes. 


Volkswagen Passat: Volkswagen brought the American-built Passat to Canada in 2012 hoping to soak up sales from the Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata, but it never found a receptive market. With steadily declining interest, the end of the road is here. 


Volkswagen Arteon: If finding an audience for the Passat proved difficult, finding one for a more expensive Arteon, positioned above the Passat, was downright impossible. Buyers simply turned to higher-end German badges (Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW) without a second look. 

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