If you have a job that can be done mostly by phone and internet, working from home has possibly been an option for you for a long time (especially if anyone could get a hold of you at any time on that Blackberry device before iPhones and other smart phones became mainstream on the market.) Many workers quickly discovered how to work from home (aka telecommute) full-time in March of this year. Now, many companies are sorting out if and when to bring employees back to the office – some have started to do so, and some larger tech firms are looking at bringing people back in phases.
Since the global pandemic known as COVID-19 has pushed many to work from home indefinitely instead of it being a once a week or more sporadic occurrence, it begs the questions for the pros and cons of office spaces. There are several tech companies that when they decided to go to full-time work from home, they were actually helping to create a large impact of people not having to commute (less people packed in to buses or trains) as well as less people in downtown areas where it’s nearly impossible to socially distance. The hope is that this largely contributed to flattening the curve and stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the Washington Post, “Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google owner Alphabet and Facebook…collectively employ nearly 1.3 million workers”. Granted, some headlines can be misleading as Twitter and Square announced that their employees can work remotely indefinitely. Some other tech giants have said they are letting employees know that they can work from home until 2021.
Here are some highlights at what they are looking to do:
Facebook – Many will continue to work from home, but content creators have been asked to come back soon (with some receiving incentive pay).
Amazon – Warehouse employees have had to continue to work, and there has been some backlash on the health considerations. HQ workers have been told they can continue to work remotely until at least October.
Microsoft – They plan to bring people back starting in October and continue in phases, but will also allow employees to voluntarily return.
Google – They have emailed employees letting them know to consider staying away from campus until 2021.
We can all agree that there is a lot of value in working, and being in person so it almost seems like we are trying to make the best of the situation. This can be grappling for many leaders on when and how to bring back their employees to protect their safety as well as productivity. It seems that productivity has been fine “from home”.
As you can imagine, many of these office spaces (or “campuses”) provided lots of perks so that employees felt welcome, rewarded, and often accommodated for working long hours (free lunches, treats, yoga, coffee bars, ping pong, nap pods, etc.). Some are considering how to provide some of those perks to their employees while they work at home (whether it’s special coffee orders or what).
Ideally, they’d like to see people back working together and collaborating (some of the best ideas may come up in a hallway conversation), but it looks like data shows they are willing to allow more flexible schedules. Many smaller firms are also looking to these larger tech giants to see what their plans are.
Peloton is back-pedaling: Reports of price increases, layoffs, and cost cuts
(BUSINESS) After a recording of layoffs leaks, ‘supply chain’ issues cause shipping increases, and they consult for cost-cutting, Peloton is doomed.
Is Peloton in Trouble?
According to many reports, Peloton had success early in the pandemic when gyms shut down. Offering consumers a way to connect with a community for fitness along with varying financing options allowed the company to see growth when many other industries were being shuttered.
After two years, CNBC reports that the company is “being impacted by …supply chain challenges” and rising inflation costs. According to the report, customers will be paying an additional $250 for its bike and $350 for its tread for delivery and setup.
As demand has decreased, Peloton is also considering layoffs in their sales and marketing departments, overheard in a leaked audio call. The recording details executives discussing “Project Fuel” where they plan to cut 41% of the sales and marketing teams, as well as letting go of eCommerce employees and frontline workers at 15 retail stores.
Nasdaq reported that the stock fell 75% last year, after a year where it soared over 400%.
Peloton reviewing its overall structure
According to another report from CNBC, Peloton is working with McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, to lower costs as revenue has dropped and the growth of new subscriptions has slowed since the pandemic. Last November, according to NPR, Peloton had “its worst day as a publicly-traded company.” It also anticipates greater losses in 2022 than originally predicted. It makes sense that the company would reexamine their strategy as the economy changes. They aren’t the only one that is raising prices amid supply chain issues.
It will be interesting to watch how Peloton fares
Peloton has a large community that pays a monthly fee for connected fitness. While growth has slowed, the company still has a strong share of consumers. Although it is facing more competition in the home fitness market and more gyms are reopening, as Peloton adjusts to the new normal, it should remain a viable company.
CEO is offering folks thousands to *quit* their jobs, with one catch
(BUSINESS) A CEO out of Arizona is challenging employment norms by offering a sort of “sign-off” bonus upfront, but this method has one fatal flaw.
Chris Ronzio, the CEO of Trainual, a software company in Arizona that aims to systemize and scale your small business, is offering cold hard cash to quit your job in an unconventional ploy to bypass the effects of the Great Resignation.
Before you rush to turn in your notice and make some extra cash, you should know that this offer is dependent on being selected as a hirable candidate and making it through the hiring process for Trainual. This option is also offered to new hires after 2 weeks of employment.
This model of employment gives the employee the ability to fire the company and walk away with a little sum of money. The thought process of the CEO was outlined in an article by the Insider, saying it is a strategic move to retain top talent and maintain a strong company culture. While this is a unique approach…it has a glaring flaw. The offer is only good for the initial two-week period. However, it can take some time to recognize the shortcomings of any company when you begin employment. We can all recognize the long-term financial potential of reoccurring income and while $5,000 is not anything to shake your finger at, it will eventually be gone. I think we can all agree that constructive criticism can be difficult to swallow at times, however, if Trainual was truly invested in this model they would extend the offer at other key times during employment. What if this offer was again available at the 1-year mark? If the offer reappeared at a one-year review, the turnover may increase.
Per the Insider article, Ronzio was quoted as saying, “With today’s market, hiring teams have to move quickly to assess candidates and get them through the process to a competitive offer, so it’s impossible to be right 100% of the time,” Ronzio said. The CEO added, “The offer to quit allows the dust to settle from a speedy process and let the new team member throw a red flag if they’re feeling anything but excited.”
These statements detail another dimension to consider which is the employment hiring process and timeline. If top candidates are in such high demand that the process has to be sped up to secure a workforce, this monetary compensation can help to ensure the hiring decision. Although, when the offer was implemented in May of 2020, the offer was $2500, half of what it is now. Ronzio reasoned that they could stay while they looked for another job so they increased the amount to compensate for those with a higher salary range.
Let me preface this by saying that yes, accountability should exist, but I would be interested to know the turnover rate for the hiring team. The cost to the company from this unique approach adds extra weight for those making the decisions on who to hire. The stress the hiring team faces has to be factored into the candidate decisions. How many times can the hiring team get it wrong before they’re let go? While the pressure to hire the right candidate should always factor in, one has to wonder about the effects of this model.
Zoom fatigue? This new messaging tool is here to replace live meetings
(BUSINESS) Live meetings & emails can feel monotonous & unproductive. This new messaging tool offers everything we’re wanting in remote communications.
Even before the pandemic, meetings where everyone was corporally present were becoming less frequent. With technologies allowing for Jim to “conference in” from the east coast and Judy to “video in” from the west, computer-mediated meetings have been becoming the norm for quite some time. This has become even more true over the last few years, both due to the pandemic and due to new technologies such as ZipMessage. What’s that, you ask? Let’s ask the expert. “It’s a video messaging tool made for replacing live meetings with asynchronous conversations,” explained founder Brian Casel in his tutorial video of ZipMessage.
The tool is designed to create video, voice, and screen conversations without live meetings. It’s described as async video messaging software, made for remote work.
As the website explains, people everywhere are experiencing meeting overload. Remote teams everywhere are embracing asynchronous (“async”) communication to overcome three big problems with live meetings.
First, Zoom fatigue is a real thing. ZipMessage states that “your team craves the space for the high-value deep work.”
Second, great ideas are bound to get lost in these spaces. It’s impossible to retain each item being shared, even if taking notes.
Third, email doesn’t fully cut it. Typed messages don’t always convey the full message. With ZipMessage, you can still type your thoughts, but you also have the option of recording a video and sharing attachments.
The conversation about that meeting topic is kept to one page in a back-and-forth, threaded format. Anyone with a link can join in on the conversation without anything to download, install, or sign up for.
This allows you to talk in real-time while giving the opportunity to go back and recap what may have been missed the first time around. In addition to conversation pages and the face/voice/screen/text options, ZipMessage offers intake forms and the ability to go public or private.
It also includes integration with Zapier and Slack. There are embed options, automatic transcriptions, pre-recorded message templates, text and attachments, branded link URLs, multi-speed playback, and more.
This isn’t only useful for communicating with your team, but it can be used to share information with customers, as well.
Will you be ZipMessage-ing?
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