💬 Issue #28: Freedom vs. Goliath
Small tech wins talent from big tech, leadership roles focus on worker flexibility, and work breaks vary widely.
Small tech capitalizes on big tech's RTO mandates, remote work breaks are healthier than in-office breaks, and the office whisperer helps us avoid hybrid disaster. Good morning from Friday-land.
HEAD OF FLEX
The “office whisperer” has spoken again. Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, CEO of a consultancy called Disaster Avoidance Experts (😬), has been advising executives to abandon RTO mandates and embrace a mix of strategies to adapt to the new normal of remote and hybrid work. “You can’t just snap your fingers and get people to change their behaviors,” the good doctor says.
A key part of this mix at big companies is assigning leadership to own the strategy as the “head of flexible work." Dr. T talks to several execs whose titles sorta match that role and digs into prescriptions for making it all happen.
- Fast Company, 5 minutes
FREEDOM IS THE ULTIMATE PERK
It wasn't so long ago that Google, Meta, and Apple were the trailblazers of job benefits. Besides a hefty paycheck, they were throwing in all sorts of free stuff--gourmet meals, massages, and even on-site laundry. (Let's ignore, for now, that many of these bennies also nudged employees to stay at work for long hours.)
Then came the pandemic, and suddenly the office became a risky place to be. That's when these companies led the way in providing the ultimate perk: the freedom to work from wherever you wanted.
Fast-forward to mid-2023: in an effort to correct for the long-overdue tech correction on Wall Street, these tech giants haven't just cut back on all those fancy on-site benefits, they've also started to ask the people they didn't lay off to return to the office 2-3 days a week. So much for that freedom stuff. And no soup for you.
On the bright side, this has left a food-truck-sized opening for smaller tech companies and start-ups to compete with the biggies for talent on this point. With their flexible remote policies, small tech companies are expressing their ability to innovate and grow, just like the big tech brands used to do.
- Vox, 8 minutes
MY BREAK VS. YOUR BREAK
“The breaks at home are the breaks I choose to take,” says Larry Lock, a 26-year-old hybrid worker in Virginia. “And the breaks in the office are the ones that are taken for me.”
Stanford University data indicate that remote workers tend to do more physical exercise, personal errands, and childcare during workday breaks. In contrast, office workers often pass the time by browsing the internet or playing games on their phones.
Brenda Schumacher, a marketing and communications professional in the Dallas area, remembers walking into her office complex every day at 9 a.m. to face the long warm-up: colleagues exchanging hellos, putting away their lunches, filling up coffee cups. “Nothing really got done that first hour,” she said. “That was our work-life balance, right there.”
- WSJ, 5 minutes
FOR FURTHER BOOKMARKING
YESTERYEAR TECH OF THE WEEK
Need some accessories to match your decorative SCSI or parallel cables? No need to look further than this listing: a still shrink-wrapped Iomega Zip 100, a.k.a. the sneaker network of the 90s.
See ya next week!
— 💬 The EiT Crew at Status Hero