How Covid Did Away With the Sick Day

Some workers have no choice but to clock in. Others find the flexibility of remote work leads them to log in from their sick beds.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-return-to-office, #labor-and-jobs, #paid-time-off, #productivity, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting

Seeking a Return to Offices, Bosses Lost Leverage

Employer plans have played out like a game of chicken. Now workers are rebelling outright, and executives are trying everything to make the office worth it.

#coronavirus-return-to-office, #relocation-of-business, #telecommuting, #work-life-balance, #workplace-environment

Elon Musk Tells Tesla and SpaceX Workers to Return to Office 40 Hours a Week

In emails to workers at SpaceX and Tesla, Mr. Musk said they were required to spend a minimum of 40 hours a week in the office.

#coronavirus-return-to-office, #musk-elon, #space-exploration-technologies-corp, #telecommuting, #tesla-motors-inc, #workplace-environment

Working 9 to 2, and Again After Dinner

The pandemic upended the rigid 9-to-5 workday. Enter the age of the “triple peak” day.

#quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #working-hours

A Hybrid-Work Challenge: Monitoring Attendance

A hybrid-work challenge: taking attendance.

#coronavirus-return-to-office, #executives-and-management-theory, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #united-states, #workplace-environment

Wall Street Banks Are Getting Flexible on Working From Home

Many big banks are offering flexible working arrangements — sometimes grudgingly — as they chase talent that would rather stay home.

#bank-of-new-york-mellon-corporation, #banking-and-financial-institutions, #citigroup-inc, #goldman-sachs-group-inc, #hsbc-holdings-plc, #naratil-thomas-c-1961, #telecommuting, #ubs-ag, #work-life-balance

The Pandemic Has Made Island Life Even More Appealing

Plentiful air travel options, the rise of remote work and increased on-site amenities have transformed the island experience.

#bahama-islands, #canary-islands, #caribbean-area, #hawaii-the-big-island, #islands, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #telecommuting

After Two Years of Remote Work, Workers Question Office Life

The office was never one size fits all. It was one size fits some, with the expectation that everybody else would squeeze in.

#coronavirus-return-to-office, #labor-and-jobs, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #work-life-balance, #workplace-environment

Can Workers Climb the Career Ladder Working Remotely?

Translating opportunities for networking, mentoring and advancement to the virtual world isn’t easy.

#careers-and-professions, #coronavirus-return-to-office, #dealbookworkplace, #labor-and-jobs, #telecommuting, #workplace-environment

Remote Work Doesn’t Have to Be the ‘Mommy Track’

Despite the hand-wringing of some commentary.

#coronavirus-return-to-office, #internal-sub-only-nl, #parenting, #telecommuting, #work-life-balance

For Workers Who Are Never on Site, the ‘Off-Site’ Still Beckons

Some companies find bonding outside the tasks of a typical workday is more important than ever if that workday remains remote.

#computers-and-the-internet, #labor-and-jobs, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #videophones-and-videoconferencing, #workplace-environment

Say Hello Again to the Office, Fingers Crossed

Antsy executives have a message for their employees: Plans to return to in-person work are real this time.

#american-express-company, #bank-of-new-york-mellon-corporation, #chevron-corporation, #coronavirus-reopenings, #coronavirus-return-to-office, #express-employment-professionals, #goldman-sachs-group-inc, #google-inc, #gorman-james-p, #intuit-inc, #jefferies-group-inc, #jpmorgan-chasecompany, #meta-platforms-inc, #microsoft-corp, #midtown-area-manhattan-ny, #morgan-stanley, #partnership-for-new-york-city, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #real-estate-commercial, #telecommuting, #workplace-environment, #wylde-kathryn-s

Babies Have Entered the Chat

Up close and personal with work-from-home parents — and their unruly new colleagues.

#babies-and-infants, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #futureofwork2022, #labor-and-jobs, #parenting, #telecommuting, #work-life-balance, #zoom-video-communications

How a Casual Workplace Can Hurt Workers

The pandemic has eroded many of the formalities of white-collar work — changes that may benefit employers more than their employees.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #united-states, #work-life-balance, #working-hours, #workplace-environment

Goldman Sachs Follows Wall Street Rivals in Asking Staff to Work From Home

In a shift in policy as Covid cases rise, the Wall Street firm urged U.S. employees who can work remotely to do so until Jan. 18.

#bank-of-america-corporation, #banking-and-financial-institutions, #citigroup-inc, #coronavirus-return-to-office, #deutsche-bank-ag, #goldman-sachs-group-inc, #jpmorgan-chasecompany, #morgan-stanley, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #vaccination-and-immunization, #wells-fargocompany, #workplace-environment

The Worst of Both Worlds: Zooming From the Office

Work life for many is in a mushy middle ground, and what’s at stake isn’t just who is getting talked over in meetings. It’s whether flexibility is sustainable, even with all the benefits it confers.

#coronavirus-reopenings, #labor-and-jobs, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #workplace-environment

If Remote Work Empties Downtowns, Can Theaters Fill Their Seats?

Since the pandemic, San Francisco has embraced work-from-home policies. Now venues and concert halls are wondering if weeknight audiences are a thing of the past.

#classical-music, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #culture-arts, #magic-theater, #opera, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #san-francisco-calif, #san-francisco-arts-commission, #san-francisco-ballet, #san-francisco-opera, #san-francisco-symphony, #telecommuting, #theater, #war-memorial-opera-house

Why Co-Working Spaces Are Betting on the Suburbs

Start-ups are betting that the pandemic has spawned a new kind of worker who wants an office space closer to home, without the long commute.

#co-working, #daybase, #hoboken-nj, #industrious-office, #new-york-city, #real-estate-commercial, #real-estate-board-of-new-york, #renting-and-leasing-real-estate, #telecommuting, #westfield-nj, #wework-companies-inc, #workplace-environment

Return to Office Makes a Big Difference for Budding Lawyers

The generational divide on returning to the office is not neatly drawn. For some young professionals, even in a pandemic, showing up is more than half the battle.

#careers-and-professions, #chicago-ill, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #dickinson-wright, #legal-profession, #millennial-generation, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #work-life-balance, #workplace-environment

A Home Built for the Next Pandemic

A new Covid concept house pitches itself as empowering and feminist. Is it?

#affordable-housing, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #internal-sub-only, #parenting, #telecommuting, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

Tech Jobs Are Everywhere Now

New data show that companies are increasingly hiring outside of places like Silicon Valley.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #internal-sub-only, #labor-and-jobs, #musk-elon, #relocation-of-business, #tai-katherine-1974, #telecommuting, #tesla-motors-inc, #urban-areas

Productivity Tips: Forget About Being Productive.

People and industries measure how productive they are in similar ways. This extended period of remote work for many has revealed how flawed that can be.

#labor-and-jobs, #productivity, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #work-life-balance, #working-hours

Want a Can’t Miss Productivity Tip? Forget About Being Productive.

People and industries measure how productive they are in similar ways. This extended period of remote work for many has revealed how flawed that can be.

#labor-and-jobs, #productivity, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #work-life-balance, #working-hours

Docs startup Almanac raises $34 million from Tiger as remote work shift hardens

As companies continue to delay their returns to the office and find temporary remote work policies becoming permanent, the startups building tooling for remote work-first cultures are finding a seemingly endless supply of customers.

“Companies are finding the shift to remote work is not a one-time aberration due to Covid,” Almanac CEO Adam Nathan tells TechCrunch. “Over the past several months we’ve seen pretty explosive revenue growth.”

Almanac, which builds a doc editor that takes feature cues like version control from developer platforms like Github, has been seizing on the shift to remote work, onboarding new customers through its open source office document library Core while pushing features that allow for easier onboarding like an online company handbook builder.

In the past couple years, timelines between funding rounds have been shrinking for fast-growing startups. Almanac announced its $9 million seed round earlier this year led by Floodgate, now they’re taking the wraps off of a $34 million Series A led by the pandemic’s most prolific startup investment powerhouse — Tiger Global. Floodgate again participated in the raise, alongside General Catalyst and a host of angels.

The company wants its collaborative doc editor to be the way more companies fully embrace online productivity software, leaving local-first document editors in the dust. While Alphabet’s G Suite is a rising presence in the office productivity suite world, Microsoft Office is still the market’s dominant force.

“We see ourselves as a generational challenger to Microsoft Office,” Nathan says. “It’s not only an old product, but it’s totally outmoded for what we do to today.”

While investors have backed plenty of startups based on pandemic era trends that have already seemed to fizzle out, the growing shift away from office culture or even hybrid culture towards full remote work has only grown more apparent as employees place a premium on jobs with flexible remote policies.

Major tech companies like Facebook have found themselves gradually adjusting policies towards full-remote work for staff that can do their jobs remotely. Meanwhile, Apple’s more aggressive return-to-office plan has prompted a rare outpouring of public and private criticism from employees at the company. Nathan only expects this divide to accelerate as more companies come tor grips with the shifting reality.

“I personally don’t believe that hybrid is a thing,” he says. “You have to pick a side, you’re either office culture or ‘cloud culture.’”

#almanac, #alphabet, #articles, #ceo, #cloud-computing, #economy, #general-catalyst, #github, #human-resource-management, #major, #microsoft, #onboarding, #productivity, #recruitment, #software, #startup-company, #startups, #telecommuting, #tiger-global

Rippling launches computer inventory management as more workers remain remote

Rippling, a startup building a platform to manage all aspects of employee data, from payroll and benefits through to device management, launched Rippling Inventory Management, what founder and CEO Parker Conrad is touting as the “world’s first cloud IT closet.”

The dashboard enables businesses to automatically store, ship and retrieve employee computers in a way that is remote and hands-free. Rippling stores and monitors company devices so they no longer need an “IT closet” on-site or utilize an employee’s home. Rippling also manages the logistics related to the devices, including wiping and assigning devices and issuing prepaid mailers for machines that need to be returned.

Customers pay a per employee, per month fee to use the dashboard to hire, or fire employees, and set up all of the apps (and access) that the employee will need on their computer. In addition, the user can see all of the outstanding shipments and where they are in the process of being delivered or returned.

The product launch is buoyed by a massive $145 million Series B round in 2020 that gave the company a valuation of $1.35 billion.

Rippling inventory management gif. Image Credits: Rippling

The inventory management platform stems from a problem Rippling saw as remote work became more prevalent over the past 18 months, Conrad told TechCrunch. The company itself used to have an IT closet, which he considers “the last physical part about managing employees.”

“What this does is kill the IT closet,” he added. “If you don’t work in an office and decide to leave, some companies don’t have a process on how to get the former employee’s device back. We had a situation ourselves where employees would ship computers back to one person, and she had them stacked up in her apartment.”

The leadership team spent a long time looking for an inventory management service, and also saw customers posting about it on social media. However, Conrad considers this a problem that didn’t really exist until March 2020.

He explained that with the exception of a few outlier companies, most were not remote and physically handed a computer to new employees or gathered them from the desk of someone who left. Once they were remote, it was difficult to keep track of who had which device and how to get them back if needed.

“Everyone can be done online now, and you don’t have to come into the office to sign paperwork,” Conrad said. “This is the last piece that companies need and works to solve the last-mile problem.”


#enterprise, #funding, #hiring, #it, #logistics, #mobile-device-management, #parker-conrad, #personnel, #rippling, #saas, #social-media, #startups, #tc, #telecommuting

De Blasio’s Return-to-Work Mandate for City Employees Is a Mistake

The mayor’s rushed, illogical return-to-office mandate for city employees is a big mistake.

#city-planning-department-nyc, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #de-blasio-bill, #labor-and-jobs, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #work-life-balance, #workplace-environment

NY Edges Closer to Pre-Covid Life, as City Workers Return

The city’s more than 300,000 municipal employees must report to full-time, in-person work on Monday. Many of them are not happy.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #de-blasio-bill, #district-council-37, #government-employees, #labor-and-jobs, #new-york-city, #organized-labor, #telecommuting, #vaccination-and-immunization, #workplace-environment

New York Edges Closer to Prepandemic Life, as City Workers Return

The city’s more than 300,000 municipal employees must report to full-time, in-person work on Monday. Many of them are not happy.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #de-blasio-bill, #district-council-37, #government-employees, #labor-and-jobs, #new-york-city, #organized-labor, #telecommuting, #vaccination-and-immunization, #workplace-environment

If You Never Met Your Co-Workers in Person, Did You Even Work There?

As the pandemic drags on, more people are beginning and leaving new jobs without once seeing their colleagues face-to-face, leading to an easy-come, easy-go attitude toward workplaces.

#computers-and-the-internet, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dapper-labs-inc, #google-inc, #labor-and-jobs, #pricewaterhousecoopers, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #videophones-and-videoconferencing, #work-life-balance, #workplace-environment

Fractory raises $9M to rethink the manufacturing supply chain for metalworks

The manufacturing industry took a hard hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are signs of how it is slowly starting to come back into shape — helped in part by new efforts to make factories more responsive to the fluctuations in demand that come with the ups and downs of grappling with the shifting economy, virus outbreaks and more. Today, a businesses that is positioning itself as part of that new guard of flexible custom manufacturing — a startup called Fractory — is announcing a Series A of $9 million (€7.7 million) that underscores the trend.

The funding is being led by OTB Ventures, a leading European investor focussed on early growth, post-product, high-tech start-ups, with existing investors Trind VenturesSuperhero CapitalUnited Angels VCStartup Wise Guys and Verve Ventures also participating.

Founded in Estonia but now based in Manchester, England — historically a strong hub for manufacturing in the country, and close to Fractory’s customers — Fractory has built a platform to make it easier for those that need to get custom metalwork to upload and order it, and for factories to pick up new customers and jobs based on those requests.

Fractory’s Series A will be used to continue expanding its technology, and to bring more partners into its ecosystem.

To date, the company has worked with more than 24,000 customers and hundreds of manufacturers and metal companies, and altogether it has helped crank out more than 2.5 million metal parts.

To be clear, Fractory isn’t a manufacturer itself, nor does it have no plans to get involved in that part of the process. Rather, it is in the business of enterprise software, with a marketplace for those who are able to carry out manufacturing jobs — currently in the area of metalwork — to engage with companies that need metal parts made for them, using intelligent tools to identify what needs to be made and connecting that potential job to the specialist manufacturers that can make it.

The challenge that Fractory is solving is not unlike that faced in a lot of industries that have variable supply and demand, a lot of fragmentation, and generally an inefficient way of sourcing work.

As Martin Vares, Fractory’s founder and MD, described it to me, companies who need metal parts made might have one factory they regularly work with. But if there are any circumstances that might mean that this factory cannot carry out a job, then the customer needs to shop around and find others to do it instead. This can be a time-consuming, and costly process.

“It’s a very fragmented market and there are so many ways to manufacture products, and the connection between those two is complicated,” he said. “In the past, if you wanted to outsource something, it would mean multiple emails to multiple places. But you can’t go to 30 different suppliers like that individually. We make it into a one-stop shop.”

On the other side, factories are always looking for better ways to fill out their roster of work so there is little downtime — factories want to avoid having people paid to work with no work coming in, or machinery that is not being used.

“The average uptime capacity is 50%,” Vares said of the metalwork plants on Fractory’s platform (and in the industry in general). “We have a lot more machines out there than are being used. We really want to solve the issue of leftover capacity and make the market function better and reduce waste. We want to make their factories more efficient and thus sustainable.”

The Fractory approach involves customers — today those customers are typically in construction, or other heavy machinery industries like ship building, aerospace and automotive — uploading CAD files specifying what they need made. These then get sent out to a network of manufacturers to bid for and take on as jobs — a little like a freelance marketplace, but for manufacturing jobs. About 30% of those jobs are then fully automated, while the other 70% might include some involvement from Fractory to help advise customers on their approach, including in the quoting of the work, manufacturing, delivery and more. The plan is to build in more technology to improve the proportion that can be automated, Vares said. That would include further investment in RPA, but also computer vision to better understand what a customer is looking to do, and how best to execute it.

Currently Fractory’s platform can help fill orders for laser cutting and metal folding services, including work like CNC machining, and it’s next looking at industrial additive 3D printing. It will also be looking at other materials like stonework and chip making.

Manufacturing is one of those industries that has in some ways been very slow to modernize, which in a way is not a huge surprise: equipment is heavy and expensive, and generally the maxim of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies in this world. That’s why companies that are building more intelligent software to at least run that legacy equipment more efficiently are finding some footing. Xometry, a bigger company out of the U.S. that also has built a bridge between manufacturers and companies that need things custom made, went public earlier this year and now has a market cap of over $3 billion. Others in the same space include Hubs (which is now part of Protolabs) and Qimtek, among others.

One selling point that Fractory has been pushing is that it generally aims to keep manufacturing local to the customer to reduce the logistics component of the work to reduce carbon emissions, although as the company grows it will be interesting to see how and if it adheres to that commitment.

In the meantime, investors believe that Fractory’s approach and fast growth are strong signs that it’s here to stay and make an impact in the industry.

“Fractory has created an enterprise software platform like no other in the manufacturing setting. Its rapid customer adoption is clear demonstrable feedback of the value that Fractory brings to manufacturing supply chains with technology to automate and digitise an ecosystem poised for innovation,” said Marcin Hejka in a statement. “We have invested in a great product and a talented group of software engineers, committed to developing a product and continuing with their formidable track record of rapid international growth

#3d-printing, #aerospace, #articles, #business, #cad, #economy, #emerging-technologies, #enterprise, #entrepreneurship, #estonia, #europe, #fractory, #funding, #hardware, #industrial-design, #laser, #manchester, #manufacturing, #maryland, #metal, #outsourcing, #series-a, #startup-company, #startup-wise-guys, #tc, #telecommuting, #united-angels-vc, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #xometry

Goodbye to the ‘Office Mom’

If cultivating a certain kind of workplace culture is important, it shouldn’t be extra work that goes uncompensated, researchers say.

#quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #women-and-girls, #workplace-environment

When Chance Encounters at the Water Cooler Are Most Useful

Research suggests that initially meeting in person is helpful, especially for people who don’t work closely.

#creativity, #innovation, #research, #science-and-technology, #telecommuting, #workplace-environment

Here Are The Winners of Remote Work

There are already examples of how gains are captured by the few and not the many.

#education-k-12, #income-inequality, #labor-and-jobs, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #wages-and-salaries

How Parents Can Ask for Flexibility When Offices Reopen

With some employers looking to bring staff back to work on-site, here’s how parents can ask for schedule accommodations.

#content-type-service, #coronavirus-reopenings, #paid-time-off, #parenting, #telecommuting, #workplace-environment

Workers Can’t Wait to Return, but Delta Variant Upends Plans

As coronavirus cases rise and companies keep workplaces closed, frustrated employees can’t wait to return to their cubicles.

#blackveatch, #coronavirus-reopenings, #google-inc, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #workplace-environment

My Years on Wall Street Showed Me Why You Can’t Make a Deal on Zoom

Even as the Delta variant surges, it’s imperative that the finance industry get back into the office.

#banking-and-financial-institutions, #coronavirus-reopenings, #telecommuting, #workplace-environment

Beware Remote Bias

As hybrid offices become the norm, remote workers risk being forgotten by management.

#coronavirus-reopenings, #hiring-and-promotion, #telecommuting

Remote Workers May Face Challenges in the Hybrid Office

The benefits of working from anywhere can also come with bias against those who aren’t seen around the hallways.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #hiring-and-promotion, #telecommuting, #workplace-environment

Bring your own environment: The future of work

The world has just witnessed one of the fastest work transformations in history. COVID-19 saw businesses send people home en masse, leaning on technology to maintain business as usual. Working from home, once the exception rather than the rule, became responsible for two-thirds of economic activity as an estimated 1.1 billion people around the world were forced to perform their daily jobs remotely, up from 350 million in 2019.

As we explain in the 2021 Accenture Technology Vision report, this transformation is just the beginning. Looking ahead, where and how people work will be much more flexible concepts with the potential to bring benefits to employees and employers alike. In fact, 87% of executives Accenture surveyed believe that the remote workforce opens up the market for difficult-to-find talent.

These benefits will only be fully realized if enterprises adopt a strategic approach to the future of work. Think back to a few years ago, when the bring your own device (BYOD) trend was in vogue. Faced with demand from workers to use their own devices in the enterprise setting, businesses had to think through new policies and controls to support this model.

Employers must now do the same thing, but on a much bigger scale. BYOD has become “BYOE”: Employees are bringing their entire environments to work. These environments include a broader range of worker-owned tech (smart speakers, home networks, gaming consoles, security cameras and more) and their work setting. One person may have a home office set up in a shed in their garden, another may be working from the kitchen table, surrounded by their family.

Businesses need to accept that their employees’ environments are a permanent part of their enterprise and adjust them accordingly.

The workplace reimagined

Looking ahead, the BYOE-style of work won’t be limited to employees’ homes. People will be free to work from anywhere, and they will want to work in the environment that’s best for them — whether that’s the office, home or a hybrid mix of the two. This is something leaders must accommodate rather than fight.

Indeed, leaders can rethink the purpose of working at the warehouses, depots, factories, offices, labs and other locations that make up their businesses. They should consider carefully when it makes sense for people to be at certain sites and with certain people. They will thereby be able to optimize their operations.

A few years from now, the organizations that succeed will be the ones that resisted the urge to race everyone back to the office and instead rethought how their workforce operates. They will have put in place a robust strategy for change that includes the adoption of technology enablers like the cloud, AI, IoT and XR. But more importantly, this will outline how their reimagined workforce model can support and enable their people and how this can be reflected in the corporate culture.

Enabling the new

The first step toward this future requires gaining visibility into the employee experience. With BYOE, the employee experience has never been more important, but it has also never been harder to monitor. Workplace analytics will therefore be critical to understanding how employees’ environments are impacting their work and finding insights that can improve their experience and productivity.

Security is another primary enabler. Businesses need to accept that their employees’ environments are a permanent part of their enterprise and adjust them accordingly. IT security teams will have to do more than ensure that a worker’s laptop is secured with the latest firewall patches, and consider the worker’s network security and the security of all devices linked to that network, such as baby monitors and smart TVs.

Once the technology, analytics and security foundations are in place, businesses will be better positioned to unlock the full value of BYOE: operating model transformation. When companies go virtual-first, they have new opportunities to integrate emerging technologies into the workforce. With a virtual-first BYOE strategy, for example, businesses can have a warehouse full of robots doing the physical work, coupled with offsite employees safely monitoring and overseeing strategy.

Cultural change is key

Success in BYOE will also come down to culture. The enterprise must accept that the employee environment is now part of the “workplace” and accommodate people’s needs. This will be a large, slow-to-emerge cultural shift, but there will be quick wins, too.

Take the disconnect between in-person and remote workers as an example. So much is currently tied to geography, but the future will be all about balance. Workers in different roles will benefit from the work environment best suited to their needs. However, without careful implementation, the approach could lead to a divided workforce, where in-office and remote workers struggle to collaborate. Quora is already looking to overcome this challenge by requiring all employees who are attending meetings, regardless of whether they’re home or in the office, to appear on their own video screen.

Reimagining the organization for BYOE is a moving target and best practices are still emerging. But one thing is already clear: You can’t afford to wait. To attract the best talent and keep employees engaged, start planning now.

#accenture, #column, #consulting, #ec-column, #ec-future-of-work, #firewall, #labor, #mobile-device-management, #opinion, #quora, #remote-work, #remote-working, #telecommunications, #telecommuting, #working-remotely

We’re Kidding Ourselves That Workers Perform Well From Home

My office reopened at the height of the pandemic. We’ve thrived.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #legal-profession, #moderna-inc, #telecommuting

Return to Office Hits a Snag: Young Resisters

A generation gap has emerged between them and colleagues who value the workplace over the advantages of remote work. Bridging it may require flexibility.

#baby-boomers, #conference-board, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #generation-x, #millennial-generation, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #workplace-environment

The Battles to Come Over the Benefits of Working From Home

Not having to commute was the equivalent of a big bonus for many employees. In the future, bosses may expect more hours in exchange for remote work, an economist says.

#employee-fringe-benefits, #productivity, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #united-states, #wages-and-salaries

Simpplr raises $32M for its intranet platform

Simpplr, a modern platform for building intranet sites (or ’employee communications and enablement platforms,’ as the company calls it), today announced that it has raised a $32 million Series C round led by Tola Capital. Norwest Ventures, which led the company’s Series B round last year, as well as Salesforce Ventures and George Still Ventures also participated. This brings Simpplr’s total funding to just over $61 million.

As Simpplr CEO and founder Dhiraj Sharma told me, the Series B round was meant to help the team accelerate product innovation and development. Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic only increased demand for digital workplace solutions like Simpplr. As Sharma noted, the company’s thesis was always that the world was moving toward remote/hybrid work. The pandemic only accelerated this process and with that, the sense of urgency in its customer base to modernize their own platforms for communicating with their employees. To keep up with this growth, the company doubled its team since last August (though Sharma, just like many other startup founders I’ve recently talked to, also bemoaned that it’s becoming increasingly hard to find talent).

The company says that it added 100 enterprise customers over the course of the last year. Today, its customer base includes a number of early adopters like Splunk or Nutanix, which were always building toward a global workforce and always had a need for a product like Simpplr. But due to the pandemic, more traditional businesses like Fox, AAA insurance or Renewal by Andersen also needed to quickly find ways to support their newly remote workforces.

“When this pandemic happened, there were lots of traditional companies who didn’t think that they would be doing remote work as much in the near future as they had to,” Sharma said. “For them, things changed and then what they realized is that they did not have effective means of formal employee communication and also lacked the digital employee experience — and they realized that very quickly.”

Simpplr is obviously not the only intranet solution on the market, but Sharma argues that the service isn’t just recognized by analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester, but also highly reviewed by its customers, in large parts thanks to its focus on user experience. “UX is our number one strength and differentiator. We have been pushing the boundaries of intranet for last five years,” he said and cited features like the company’s auto-governance engine, which he likened to a “Roomba for your intranet.”

Image Credits: Simpplr

Analytics, too, is another area where Simpplr is trying to differentiate itself. “Our company’s mission is to help companies build a better workplace — and unless we can show the areas of improvement and provide insights like how to do something better, we just become a dumb tool,” he said. “For us, what is very important is not only that you are communicating but helping our customers to understand what’s working and what’s not working. What’s the impact of the communication and how are your employees feeling about it?”

Looking ahead, the company is working on building more AI into its tools – including its analytics — to help companies better communicate with their employees and understand the impact of those messages.

As for the new funding round, Sharma noted that he bootstrapped his previous two companies, which has made him take a somewhat conservative approach to fundraising. “When I used to hear that your investors or VCs expect growth at all costs, I just could never understand that,” he said. “So while building this company, even though this is a venture-funded company, I still wanted to make sure that I use the finances responsibly and I build a business in a sustainable manner. I wanted to make sure that if we raised a large investment, we have a proper use for that investment and that this investment will bring the right results.”

Tola Capital principal Eddie Kang will now join Simpplr’s board. “The future of work is hybrid and Simpplr is essential to a company’s ability to engage with employees,” he said. “As enterprise software investors, what excites us about Simpplr’s platform is that it allows leadership teams to streamline communications across channels and provides a turnkey platform that drives value to customers very quickly. Our partnership with Simpplr will accelerate its roadmap to meet the needs of global business leaders and communications teams.”

#analyst, #artificial-intelligence, #ceo, #enterprise, #forrester, #george, #intranet, #nutanix, #salesforce-ventures, #splunk, #tc, #telecommuting, #tola-capital

For Some People, Working From Home Sped Up Their Decision to Retire

Those near the top of the income ladder said it had given them a different perspective on work. As one financial manager put it, “They’re getting a flavor of what retirement will look like.”

#careers-and-professions, #content-type-service, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #personal-finances, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting

Localyze raises $12M for a SaaS that supports cross-border hiring and relocation

Y-Combinator-backed Localyze has nabbed $12 million in Series A funding led by Blossom Capital for a SaaS that supports staff relocations and hiring across borders.

Previous investor Frontline Ventures also participated,with a number of angel investors joining the round — including Andrew Robb (ex-Farfetch); Des Traynor, co-founder and CSO at Intercom; Hanno Renner, co-founder and CEO at Personio; David Clarke, former CTO at Workday; and Michael Wax, CEO of Forto.

In the first quarter of 2021, the Hamburg, Germany-based startup — which was founded in 2018 by a trio of women: CEO Hanna Asmussen, COO Lisa Dahlke, and CTO Franzi Löw — saw a record 300% revenue bump.

Localyze’s current roster of customers include the likes of Free Now, Trade Republic, Babbel, Thoughtworks, Tier Mobility, DeepL, Forto and Personio.

The startup suggests the pandemic-triggered rise in remote working is helping to drive demand for relocations as employees reassess where they want to be physically based. Its SaaS aims to streamline immigration-related admin tasks like visa applications; work and residence permits and registration; as well as providing help with housing and banking in the destination country.

“It was very interesting, we did of course see a negative impact from COVID-19 in 2020 but the main reason why we never worried about our business model is that we knew the businesses have never been the only driver of relocations,” Asmussen tells TechCrunch.

“We did a survey among the internationals we relocated and 98% stated that they wanted to relocate, and weren’t forced by the company. I of course believe that some people will choose not to relocate but at the same time, the increased flexibility [of remote working] opens many more doors for other people to relocate — and also for different time frames.”

To date, Localyze says it’s helped more than 2,000 people from over 100 countries relocate internationally. But it reckons that’s just the start.

“Relocation is becoming a benefit at some companies, and the overall number of people moving across borders during their working life is increasing drastically,” argues Asmussen.

Before COVID-19 hit and reconfigured so much of how we live, almost two million people relocated for work within Europe each year. But Localyze cites a PwC study on mobility in the global skilled workforce that suggests employee relocation is set to increase by 50% as we emerge from the pandemic.

“While the percentage of the global skilled workforce that is mobile — meaning that they work or worked abroad — is currently still very low, around 20% I think, it is expected to grow to up to 80% in the next decade,” she suggests. 

Localyze’s SaaS is designed to simplify and support staff relocations or cross-border hiring, offering digital tools to automate admin and case tracking, helping companies and employees navigate what can be complex, bureaucratic and even stressful immigration requirements.

“We developed a software that automates large parts of the relevant processes around global mobility,” explains Asmussen. “The core of our technology is a pipeline system that maps out all possibilities of how the employee can enter a country and matches the pipeline with the characteristics of that employee (e.g. nationality, family status or education). This guarantees that the employee gets all the relevant information throughout his/her process and that our case managers can focus on more individual questions.

“One big advantage of this pipeline system is that we built a no-code solution to manage it. Together with our CMS to edit the content of the steps, we are able to quickly expand the usability of our software to new countries and use cases.

“On the HR side our software helps to manage and track the process of all employees with the ease of mind that we notify them about changes or required actions. The HR manager can simply add a case, or transfer information over through our integration with their HRIS and we take it from there.”

Asmussen says the core of the platform is the automation of the paperwork with the startup supplementing that by providing a level of (human) support — in the form of case workers, who can field users’ questions and/or troubleshoot issues.

Case types its platform handles — such as obtaining a new visa, getting an extension etc — get broken down into a series of individual tasks that need to be carried out (and checked off), with the individual set of ‘dos’ determined by the characteristics of the person (origin, family, salary, etc.).

So essentially it’s built a decision tree with 30-50 variations per country, based on the specificity of each set of rules.

“The employee is seeing this as a personalized set of to do’s in her/his dashboard and can then go through them,” notes Asmussen, adding: “The case managers are there for questions and to give additional guidance when problems occur.

“Thanks to the automation engine, we can operate at 80% gross margin today.”

Localyze also offers a “pre-check” feature that give companies the opportunity to get information on a case that’s being considered — such as showing information on applicable conditions like the salary limits associated with a role when it comes to the visa of a new hire and the timeline that may be involved — to  make it easier for them to understand the complexity of a case. (Which may in turn help them make an informed decision on a start date for a particular hire.)

The startup says it’s been seeing growth rates hitting, on average, more than 30% month-on-month, as employer demand for its services accelerates.

The Series A funding will be used to capitalize on growing demand by expanding into new regions — with Localyze saying it will start by focusing on “major hubs” for international talent, in Ireland, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and the UK, so it can target more high-growth companies with offices across Europe.

Currently it has over 120 customers — and it’s expecting that to double by the end of the year.

It also predicts existing accounts will expand in value — with Asmussen saying it’s closing larger ACVs (annual contract value), and seeing existing accounts “grow strongly” over time. (It offers tiered pricing for the SaaS, based on usage.)

Europe remains the primary focus for its business currently — with all cases it supports entailing helping customers relocate staff to the region (“from all over the world”) and within Europe itself. 

“The predominant destinations are Germany, Ireland, Spain and the UK,” says Asmussen. “With the funding, we want to accelerate our expansion in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal & Spain, besides our core market Germany. We’ve been operating in these markets for a while and now look at strengthening our go to market across Europe.”

She says Localyze’s 25-strong team will at least double by the end of the year, with the startup planning to hire across all teams — with a particular focus on expanding engineering and product to keep pace with the scaling business; and beefing up sales and customer support capacity to support its continued growth.  

On the competitor front, Asmussen names Estonia-headquartered Jobbatical as its closest rival for relocation support with the same digital focus.

She also points to Topia as providing some competing services — but says it has more of a focus on software for HR professionals and integrating partners vs Localyze providing both a HR and an employee portal plus the ‘glue’ of its “automation engine”.

Localyze also argues it differentiates vs “more traditional” relocation agencies (e.g. Cartus and Graebel), per Asmussen, because it offers “end-to-end support” in a fully digital form — giving users “full visibility and transparency at all times”, as she tells it, and helping to streamline and simplify processes in “what has previously been a complex and confusing space”.

Increased flexibility of work and and mobility of the global workforce looks set to be one firm (and typically welcome) legacy of the pandemic — one which Localyze already had a handle on supporting, putting it in a strong position to scale its SaaS as demand steps up in the coming years.

Rising levels of employee mobility may, in turn, make subscribing to a software service that assists relocations and cross-border hiring more of a ‘must have’ than a ‘nice to have’ for more types of businesses — especially as competition for talent heats up given the rising opportunities of remote work.

“In 2021, companies will need to define how they are going to operate post-COVID-19, and many companies keep locations as part of their people strategy. Yet they try to offer more flexibility in terms of location choices, which in many cases results in the creation of different talent hubs and a mix of remote with in-person hubs/offices. This means increased operations across borders and more employee mobility, both long and short-term, because people will make use of these options,” Asmussen predicts. 

Commenting on the Series A in a statement, Blossom Capital’s Ophelia Brown added: “Access to the very best talent is a huge consideration for businesses of all sizes, but for high-growth enterprises, it’s absolutely crucial that nothing gets in the way of being able to tap into the skills and abilities of staff anywhere in Europe. Localyze removes all of these barriers. Instead of being bogged down by the costly and lengthy relocation processes, enterprises can concentrate on the job at hand and their employees can feel confident and secure that their relocation – often one of the biggest decisions they’ll have to make in their career – is dealt with efficiently and without a hitch.”

#blossom-capital, #cartus, #europe, #farfetch, #forto, #frontline-ventures, #germany, #hamburg, #hanno-renner, #human-resource-management, #ireland, #localyze, #ophelia-brown, #personio, #personnel, #recent-funding, #saas, #software-as-a-service, #spain, #startup-company, #startups, #telecommuting, #united-kingdom

Work at Home or the Office? Either Way, There’s a Start-Up for That.

As more Americans return to an office a few days a week, start-ups providing tools for hybrid work are trying to cash in.

#cameras, #computers-and-the-internet, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #mobile-applications, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #shutdowns-institutional, #start-ups, #telecommuting, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #videophones-and-videoconferencing, #workplace-environment

Office Vacancies Soar in New York, a Dire Sign for the City’s Recovery

Nearly 19 percent of all office space in Manhattan has no tenants — the highest on record — as companies shed leases and embrace remote work.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #facebook-inc, #manhattan-nyc, #partnership-for-new-york-city, #real-estate-commercial, #relocation-of-business, #renting-and-leasing-real-estate, #telecommuting

How to Have a Good Meeting

Does this conversation need to be a meeting? Does anything?

#content-type-service, #labor-and-jobs, #productivity, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #washington-george-1732-99, #workplace-environment, #workplace-hazards-and-violations

Do Chance Meetings at the Office Boost Innovation? There’s No Evidence of It.

For some, the office even stifles creativity. As the pandemic eases in the U.S., a few companies seek to reimagine what work might look like.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #executives-and-management-theory, #telecommuting, #united-states, #work-life-balance, #workplace-environment

‘I Quit My Job’ Is a Signal of Economic Recovery

With new opportunities and a different perspective as the pandemic eases, workers are choosing to leave their jobs in record numbers.

#careers-and-professions, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #hiring-and-promotion, #labor-and-jobs, #labor-department-us, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #telecommuting, #unemployment, #united-states-economy, #wages-and-salaries, #work-life-balance