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How To Be More Productive During A Slow Week

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There’s always something that needs to be done when you’re very busy with work. But what happens when a project is finished and you get a few days before it all starts again? A slowdown in work is normal but it can be boring especially if you’re used to being in the thick of the action at work. During this time you’re probably looking for some things to do just to remain productive. Here are some great ideas to consider if you want to remain productive during a slow week.

Lend A Hand

Other departments or co-workers could be struggling to meet deadlines. Lend a hand to show that you are a team player. Ask if there is anything you can do to help (with your boss’ approval). Aside from staying productive, you could learn something new or get a glimpse of how co-workers or other departments work or function and how it affects your side of the job.

Succession Planning

Have you thought about what happens to your work or teammates should you go up in smoke tomorrow? You should consider this seriously and think about succession planning. You basically take your job description and break it down so that each task is outlined per month. If this document does not exist, create it. It will make your job easier should you leave your job and your boss will thank you for it.

If you have one, update it. It is important to keep your succession plan alive.

Call To Follow-up

When you’re busy, you don’t have a lot of time to spend talking to people on the phone. Now that you have a slow week, it’s time to pick up the phone to catch up with clients, suppliers and stakeholders. Start with small talk because this will gradually become a lengthy discussion when you ask for their thoughts on how things are going. You can also bounce ideas around in order to gain their trust and foster the spirit of teamwork.

Give Yourself An Annual Review

Reflect on your performance this past year and think of ways you can do your job better. Aside from this, you can ask yourself if you’re happy with your career or which direction you want to take it. Thinking about these things can help yourself grow as a person and employee. Bring up these insights during your next evaluation. Supervisors like employees who see the big picture.

Check In With Your Boss

Now that you have time to catch your breath, check in with your boss verbally or through email to update achievements and discuss the next steps. Employees sometimes forget to pass on good news to their superiors or to update on the future direction of projects. Catching your breath during a slow week is a good way to get managers up to speed. Aside from this, checking in with your boss reinforces your capabilities for bigger things in the future.

Slow days at work are rare, which is why doing these kinds of things are important. Focusing on your interests and staying proactive can help advance your career, improve professional knowledge and keep you on top of things.

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Business

Sony Stocks Plummet After Microsoft-Activision Deal

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Sony shares fell by more than after a Microsoft-Activision deal was announced. 

There is no doubt that this deal weakens Sony’s position in the market.

“Whether or not Activison Blizzard’s content is progressively made exclusive to Xbox platforms and services, inclusion of new releases into Xbox Game Pass for several major games franchises, including Call of Duty, will undermine Sony’s third-party business.” 

Piers Harding-Rolls, games research director at Ampere Analysis, explains the situation. 

Sony has benefitted from the ability to negotiate timed exclusive content for Call of Duty but this is now under threat.” 

Shots fired in the never-ending console war. 

Did The Market Overreact?

Serkan Toto, CEO of Kantan Games, thinks so:

I think the market has totally overreacted in Japan today.

See?

Sony will continue to push out blockbusters, there can be no doubt about that.

Those PlayStation exclusives are pretty sweet. Spider-Man, The Last Of Us, Ghost of Tsushima? Come on now. 

Sony can, of course, fight back: they still have their own top in-house studios spread around the world, PlayStation remains a powerful brand in gaming, and acquisitions are in the cards for Sony as well.” 

PlayStation isn’t going down without a fight. 

The Console Wars Continue

For some time, Sony has been ahead of Microsoft. But the $68.7 billion Microsoft-Activision deal raises the stakes the highest they’ve been since the Black Friday Battle of 2013. Franchises like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft could become exclusive. 

How will Sony respond? We shall see what happens next in the seemingly never-ending console wars.

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Silicon Valley Blue-Collar Workers Hope To Return To Their Posts

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While big tech companies are delaying return to offices, Silicon Valley Blue-Collar workers anticipate full return in the coming months. 

Despite the economic disruption experienced due to the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses tried their best to ensure business continuity. Big tech companies were the first to allow their white-collar employees to work from home when the pandemic hit. However, not everyone can work remotely, like in the case of service workers.

Madeleine Rivera, 33, is a contractual food service worker at Google’s campus. Rivera is holding on to the slightest signs that workers will return to the company in the future. Recently, she handed out free peach ice pops to Google employees who have returned to work already. She’s trying not to overthink about the rising COVID cases in the country. According to her, being optimistic and happy matters. 

As the Delta variant enters a new troubling phase, more tech companies like Lyft and Facebook delay re-opening their workplaces early next year. Because of this, the companies’ contracted cafeteria workers, cleaners, and shuttle drivers are becoming more anxious. 

Most Silicon Valley blue-collar workers are not sure whether the Delta variant will delay their returns even longer or, worse, risk their jobs entirely if in-office work becomes less significant than it was before. As many white-collar employees have settled into work from home, blue-collar workers are struggling even more because of the unpredictable situation. 

“My kids don’t want me to go back to work, but I said I have to do it,” said Liliana Morales, 37, a food service staff at Facebook. Morales recently returned to work after having been on paid vacation since the pandemic started. Everyone needs to go back to their everyday routines, and it has been months that she has been out of work, Morales said.

Image Credit: SIPA USA via AP

Country-wide Concerns

While some Silicon Valley blue-collar workers are in better condition, they still have the same concerns as many fellow workers across the country. UCLA Labor Center director, Kent Wong, co-authored a book about the late Mike Garcia, a janitorial labor organizer who led strikes at Oracle and Apple. Wong said that because Morales and Rivera are members of a labor union, they are likely to be doing better than their non-union member counterparts. 

Previously, on a website Amazon created this year to convince workers in Alabama to vote against unionization, the company announced that they provided them with excellent hourly rates, attractive healthcare benefits, and career advancement. There is so much more than the workers can do with their career and family without paying premiums, Amazon said. 

But Wong said all blue-collar workers face problems, whether or not they have union membership. The bottom line is, they are still very vulnerable. 

Image Credit: SIPA USA via AP

Looking Ahead

In interviews, Silicon Valley blue-collar workers said that big tech companies primarily supported them throughout the pandemic. Others said the companies tried to find them other jobs when their original work was gone. Take, for example, the experience of Rivera, a former kitchen staff across Google’s campus in Mountain View, California. She was temporarily assigned to work as a receptionist in almost empty office buildings.

Some companies like Google are already starting to upgrade their headquarters. It’s to return to a sense of normalcy in Santa Clara County, the geographic heart of Silicon Valley.

Facebook is starting to recall their contractors. On the other hand, drivers are being asked to do training and practice driving empty buses, said Stacy Murphy, the representative for Teamsters Local 853 – the union of some Silicon Valley bus and shuttle drivers. 

Morales said that whatever her company orders, they will abide by it. If they say return to work, they will return to work.

Murphy believed that it had been a mixed bag for Silicon Valley firms needing shuttle drivers. Facebook continues to let its drivers make practice trips. While, Netflix and Amazon have been back to 100% capacity since June 2021. Tesla even expanded their service during the pandemic. On the contrary, Apple, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Salesforce never returned. 

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Elon Musk To Launch A Humanoid Robot Prototype Called “Tesla Bot”

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Apparently, Tesla is not busy creating electric cars and self-driving cars with enough waitlists for new customers. Or, anyone might be wondering where the Cybertruck is? CEO Elon Musk has announced a new baby: Tesla Bot. 

Elon Musk Tesla robot will probably be unveiled this year. It would be a humanoid robot dubbed as “Tesla Bot,” designed to perform tedious, repetitious, and dangerous work, Musk said. 

The billionaire CEO of Tesla disclosed the robot would be about 5 feet 8 inches (1.7 meters) tall and weigh 125 pounds (56 kilograms). In addition, the robot would be able to handle tasks such as attaching bolts to cars using a spanner or picking groceries at the supermarket.

Elon Musk Tesla Robot First Appearance

Speaking at Tesla’s AI Day activity, the CEO said the robot could have “great implications for the economy” by addressing the gaps in the workforce due to labor shortages. He said the new machine need not be that expensive. The Elon Musk Tesla robot is described as an extension of the company’s work on self-driving cars. Similarly, the robot will use the same computer chip and navigation system with eight cameras. 

Companies into robotics, such as Boston Dynamics, have produced bipedal robots. But the bulky, heavy machines they have demonstrated bear little similarity to the slim designs of the Elon Musk Tesla robot.

The robot’s first appearance came after a 90-minute PowerPoint presentation about the artificial intelligence upgrades on Tesla’s electric vehicles. The presentation also includes the Dojo supercomputer, a device that helps train cars to navigate city streets without a driver. That’s when Musk said that it makes sense to have a humanoid robot.  

Three slides showed Elon Musk Tesla robot specifications, and Musk pointed out that it is possible to outrun the Tesla Bot or overpower it. He has been questioning the use of robots as weapons in the past and warned about the risks artificial intelligence may cause. He also called it the most significant risk society is facing today.

Fears About AI in the Future

During the question and answer session after the presentation, Musk reiterated that we should be worried about AI. He clarified that Tesla makes useful AI that people love and is explicitly good. One slide showed that Tesla Bot would eliminate dangerous, repetitive, and monotonous tasks. Musk provided an example, suggesting that the Tesla robot could “go to the store and get groceries”. It may not be dangerous, but people might find it repetitive and boring. However, Musk did not reveal the concrete progress of building a humanoid robot. 

Companies building robotics, such as former Google subsidiary Boston Dynamics, have produced bipedal robots. But the bulky and heavy machines they have demonstrated bear little resemblance to the slim designs of the Elon Musk Tesla robot.

Elon Musk is famous for his bold statements about the future, jamming a little on how he envisions his Tesla Bot transforming the future of work, too. He said that, in the future, physical work would still be a personal choice. He added that it is possible if you want to do it, but you won’t need to do it. For him, it is difficult to predict the future. However, this is a vast difference between discussing a few PowerPoint slides and delivering the actual and functioning humanoid robot. Musk assured the public that a prototype would likely be available this year. 

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