Does anything lend itself to satire any better than Harvard Business Review (HBR)? I don’t think so, either. It’s almost as if the editors are trying to let us know HBR has become a parody of itself without coming out and telling us HBR has become a parody of itself. Case in point:
In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. In case that hadn’t already become evident to some of HBR’s readers, it saw fit to publish this article — “10 Digital Miscommunications — and How to Avoid Them” — which shone this light beneath the rock under which it presumes we’ve all been living:
As COVID-19 spreads across the world, more and more of us are starting to work from home … it’s crucial to take steps to avoid miscommunication when working as part of a virtual team … How do you hit the right tone over text? Did you go too far by adding that exclamation point? … Below are our top tactical tips.
That’s right. No HBR article would be complete without tips. Here they are (mercifully abbreviated and annotated, in brackets, as a public service):
- Add emojis (but proceed with caution). [If you’re telling Ignatz in the Parts Department he’s getting canned because you can’t make payroll, 🤣, 😘, and 🤪 may not be appropriate.]
- Realize typos send a message. [The message they send is that spending your days at home drinking and getting high might not be the most healthy or productive things you could be doing for yourself, the company, or the language.]
- Emotionally proofread your messages. [We’d suggest proofreading them grammatically, syntactically, and mechanically. But what do we know?]
- Punctuation marks matter even more for one-word or very short sentences. [Correct]
- Use richer communication channels when you’re first getting to know each other. [Especially if you can put the charges on your expense account, send things FedEx Overnight, rather than USPS Media Mail.]
- Default to video in general, when you can. [This is a good idea because, especially with Internet bandwidths stretched to breaking points during the pandemic, video provides endless sources of delays, break-ups, confusion, frustration, and other forms of amusement.]
- Communicate your level of urgency in Slack. [Especially since Slack’s notifications are dicey at best, it’s way better than just calling to let your boss know the Data Center’s on fire.]
- Don’t panic. [You can always build another Data Center.]
- Avoid email when you need a “yes.” [Email should be used exclusively for “no”, fuggedaboudit”, “NFW”, and other negative responses.]
- Don’t send emails or slack messages during off hours if it’s not urgent. [You may think you and Skivortz in Accounting are huge pals. But that doesn’t mean the feeling is mutual or that Mrs. Skivortz will be happy about you guys being pen pals at 3:00 a.m.]
Insult to Injury
The only thing worse than being stuck at home is being stuck at home with a bunch of HBR busybodies telling us what to do.
I wish they’d leave bad enough alone.