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Exclusive: Google’s CEO Says If Your Return to the Office Plan Doesn’t Include These 3 Things You’re Doing It Wrong



Google’s CEO Says If Your Return to the Office Plan Doesn’t Include These 3 Things You’re Doing It Wrong

#Googles #CEO #Return #Office #Plan #Doesnt #Include #Youre #Wrong

There are few things, it seems, that are harder than getting employees who have grown used to working remotely to come back to the office. There are a lot of good reasons for that. Maybe the best of those is that, in many cases, those employees are just as–if not, more productive than when they were commuting to your office to sit in a cubicle for eight hours, five days a week.

Still, there are valid reasons to want your team back in the office. There definitely are roles and teams that benefit from being together in person. No matter how used to meeting on Zoom we get, it will never replace face-to-face conversations in terms of building relationships. Some types of collaboration are still easier when you’re all in a room together.

That’s why striking a balance between the needs of your business and the needs and desires of your individual team members is one of the most difficult challenges many leaders are facing right now. That’s true for both small businesses and giant corporations. 

Take Google, for example, which has put a lot of effort into figuring out the way forward. Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, has talked publicly about how the company is thinking about that balance. The company has invested in new types of workspaces, implemented a hybrid work plan, and given employees the flexibility to work remotely on a permanent basis when it fits. 

Pichai has highlighted three things that every business should consider as they think about and create a plan to return to the office:

1. Purpose

What’s the real reason you’re bringing people back to the office? If the answer is that you feel better having everyone in one place because it makes them easier to manage, you’re doing it wrong. On the other hand, smart leaders are focused on articulating the purpose and benefits of bringing people back together in one place.

“A set of our workforce will be fully remote, but most of our workforce will be coming in three days a week,” Pichai said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last year. “But I think we can be more purposeful about the time they’re in, making sure group meetings, collaboration, creative brainstorming, or community building happens then.”

2. Flexibility


“The thing I’m most excited about is I think the future of work will be flexible,” Pichai said. The point is that not everyone’s situation is the same, so your plan should have flexibility as a core value.

At Google, that means giving people choices. Some employees will be back in the office full time. Others will adopt a hybrid approach where they work in the office three days a week, and from home the rest of the time. In other cases, employees might choose to relocate and work fully remotely for a period of time. 

“Many of us would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple [of] days [a] week, spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently,” Pichai wrote in a blog post last year. “Google’s future workplace will have room for all of these possibilities.”

Even if you’re a small business, you might be surprised how many different options you can create for your team when you start with the assumption that your plan has to include an element of flexibility. 

3. Choice

It’s not enough to simply have different ways for people to work, you have to allow your team to have a say in which works best for them as a team, and as individuals. That’s a challenge because there will always be a tension between what a manager thinks is best for his or her team, and what an individual has decided is best for themselves. 

“The sense of creating community, fostering creativity in the workplace collaboration all makes you a better company,” Pichai said in an interview at Stanford University in April. “I view giving flexibility to people in the same way, to be very clear. I do think we strongly believe in in-person connections, but I think we can achieve that in a more purposeful way, and give employees more agency and flexibility.”

The point is that the best plan isn’t about getting everyone back to the office simply because that’s the way it used to be. The best plan is one that takes into consideration those three things: purpose, flexibility, and choice. 

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of



Exclusive: New York-based grand jury issues subpoenas to Truth Social SPAC board members –




New York-based grand jury issues subpoenas to Truth Social SPAC board members

#Yorkbased #grand #jury #issues #subpoenas #Truth #Social #SPAC #board #members

Plans for a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger for Donald Trump’s media group could have hit roadblocks with a New York-based federal grand jury sending subpoenas to members of the company’s board.

According to a new SEC filing, these subpoenas have requested documents related to “Digital World’s S-1 filings, communications with or about multiple individuals, and information regarding Rocket One Capital.”

The SEC had made inquiries about the acquisition corporation last December about its anticipated merger with Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the owner of the Truth Social platform.

Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC), the blank check company, said in the filing that these requests could “delay the effectiveness of the Registration Statement, which could materially delay, materially impede, or prevent the consummation of the Business Combination.” 

Truth Social launched to the general public in February on the App Store, but many folks had a lot of trouble getting into the social network, with waitlists going up to 100,000 users. In May, the company launched a web app, but there’s no Android version in sight. 

Trump currently has more than 3 million followers on Truth Social — which is much lower than more than 88 million he had on Twitter when he got banned from the platform last year.

Notably, the former US President has a special deal with Truth Social, which bars him to cross-post something on other social networks for six hours. So even if Elon Musk unbans Trump after he takes over Twitter, the account will just likely repost content from Truth Social after a delay. 


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Exclusive: Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: Spirit Airlines, BioNTech, Robinhood and more –




Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: Spirit Airlines, BioNTech, Robinhood and more

#Stocks #making #biggest #moves #premarket #Spirit #Airlines #BioNTech #Robinhood

Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:

Spirit Airlines (SAVE) – Spirit Airlines lost 4.7% in the premarket after saying it would accept the latest improved takeover bid from Frontier Group (ULCC). The latest Frontier cash-and-stock bid is valued at $2.7 billion based on Friday’s closing prices, while the most recent JetBlue (JBLU) all-cash offer is worth $3.7 billion. Spirit believes it is unlikely regulators would approve a combination with JetBlue, a notion that JetBlue has disputed. Frontier lost 1.7% while JetBlue was unchanged.

BioNTech (BNTX) – BioNTech added 2.1% in premarket trading after the drug maker and partner Pfizer (PFE) said their omicron-based Covid-19 booster shots generated an improved immune response against the variant.

Robinhood Markets (HOOD) – Robinhood rose 2.5% in premarket action after Goldman Sachs upgraded the trading platform operator’s stock to “neutral” from “sell” although it cut the price target to $9.50 per share from $11.50. The rise comes despite the release of a Congressional report detailing the trading platform’s difficulties in handling the meme stock frenzy of January 2021.

Digital World Acquisition (DWAC) – In an SEC filing, the SPAC linked to former President Donald Trump’s media company said additional subpoenas were issued in an ongoing probe of its registration statement regarding the proposed business combination. Digital World said the investigation could materially impede, delay or even prevent the combination from being consummated. The stock slid 5.8% in the premarket.

Coinbase (COIN) – The cryptocurrency exchange operator saw its stock slide 5.3% in the premarket after Goldman downgraded it to “sell” from “neutral,” pointing to the continued fall in crypto prices and slower industry activity levels.

Altria (MO) – Altria rose 1% in the premarket after Juul won a temporary stay of the FDA ban on its e-cigarette products. Altria holds a 35% stake in Juul.

Newmark Group (NMRK) – The commercial real estate firm’s shares rose 1.6% in the premarket after the New York Post reported on increasing talk of a possible merger between Newmark and rival Cushman & Wakefield.


Walgreens (WBA) – India-based conglomerate Reliance Industries is reportedly in talks with global lenders to raise $8 billion to finance the purchase of Walgreens’ Boots drugstore chain. Walgreens added 1% in premarket trading.

Chewy (CHWY) – Chewy jumped 4.1% in premarket action after Needham upgraded it to “buy” from “hold,” saying that price increases for the pet products retailer are sticking and that supply chain issues are improving.

AutoZone (AZO) – The auto parts retailer was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Goldman Sachs, which called it a good defensive play as the vast majority of auto parts sales are non-discretionary and demand remains relatively inelastic. The stock gained 1.9% in the premarket.

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Exclusive: How to support your employees as the world of work evolves –




How to support your employees as the world of work evolves

#support #employees #world #work #evolves

The world of work is changing rapidly and, as the owner of a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), you need to respond.

Technological advances, the war for talent, and remote and flexible working have all accelerated due to the pandemic and workers changing jobs in record numbers, known as the Great Resignation.

Smart small business owners are adapting quickly by developing and creating new roles for workers as the requirements for some positions become automated.

They are also boosting learning and development opportunities, improving communication techniques, and supporting well-being and job and career security.

In this article – which follows on from part one, Redefining how your people work in the post-pandemic world – we highlight how you can do the same for your small business.

Here’s what we cover:

Creating new roles in the business

The Great Resignation continues to threaten SME business models, with more than half of employees (54%) considering leaving their job in the next 18 months, according to research by MetLife.

If you can evolve and create new roles, this can help persuade employees to stay.

More flexibility in hours, conditions and location, plus remote or hybrid working options are key tools of persuasion.


How these changes affect roles depends on each company and individual, so the key is to try different things to see what works for your firm.

As Steve Cadigan, talent adviser and author of Workquake, says: “Battling for top talent forces you to be creative.

“Experimentation has become best practice.”

Some companies, including SMEs, are doing away with offices completely.

Others are going further by building all remote workforces across multiple timezones, which requires so-called asynchronous communication (async).

Async focuses on transparent documentation and collaboration tools. These allow people in different time zones to work together without having to be ‘always on’.

Moving towards that model also requires much experimentation, including figuring out who should work synchronously and asynchronously and how to combine the two.

In general, more traditional ‘sync’ roles are for those who need real time and in-person communication. These may include executives, new hires, and client-facing and culture-building roles.

Async is for those who can mostly work remotely and without real-time communications, such as coders and project workers.

But the move towards all-remote workforces and async communication will be among the biggest changes for employers and employees over the next few years.

So many more roles will likely be created or adapted to work that way.


A related trend is that remote, hybrid and async working are all accelerating the march towards automation, which will change the requirements for a significant number of jobs in the next 10 years.

Such technological advances will force SMEs to evolve roles and create new ones even more rapidly.

According to Brookings Institute, technological advances are creating new jobs, including some well-paid roles for highly educated workers who can develop skills that complement technology.

These include creative, analytical and communication roles.

Those with post-secondary education or qualifications will fare better, which is a challenge for SMEs because they tend to have more and wider shortages of graduates than larger employers.

Kevin Daniels, professor of organisational behaviour at University of East Anglia (UAE) and co-creator of the Evolve Workplace Wellbeing website, says the drive to automation should not just increase efficiency but how people experience work.

“Organisations that do it well make the jobs interesting, and ask employees to use their skills to solve problems and innovate, even in small ways,” he says.

“They also ensure they’re not doing the same thing every day and can see their work evolving.

“If people can see the results of their performance and how they benefit customers and society, that also helps a lot.”

For example, in a call centre, employees might only be allowed 30 seconds per call. Or they may triage calls but never find out if and how the problem was solved.

Neither are satisfying for the employee.


Career development and upskilling

In fact, all SME workers will likely need more education and training in skills that complement technology and other workplace changes.

Some of the UK’s educational structures, whose roots go back more than 200 years, aren’t suited to the skills workers need in this rapidly changing environment.

This is leading some SMEs to invest more in lifelong learning for their employees.

But many do not have the budget for in-depth training.

If that applies to your company, you may focus on cheaper learning opportunities such as job shadowing, coaching and mentoring, stretch assignments, and job enlargement and enrichment.

Addressing concerns around job and career security

It’s a significant challenge for SMEs because lifelong learning has become critical to job and career security, says Steve Cadigan.

“I don’t think people want job security anymore, they want career security,” he says. “That’s why talent has become loyal to their learning, not your company.

“They think, ‘The more I learn, the more secure my career becomes, and the less vulnerable I am in my current firm.’”

If you grow them, they might just stay.

If they feel they can grow elsewhere, they will likely leave.

This is a major shift in how people think, says Steve.


He adds: “The key is to find ways to build learning into the job. That is not a day when a professor comes in. It’s new projects, leaders, teams, assignments and roles so you learn while contributing.

“It’s a big stretch for many companies.”

Supporting employees with flexible, remote and hybrid working

Employees also need a wide range of support structures to cope with more flexible working practices (employers can use cloud HR software to manage these structures).

According to Heejung Chung, author of The Flexibility Paradox, flexible working brings a range of challenges, such as leading employees to work even harder and let work encroach more on family life.

Some claim that, if not carefully managed, flexible working can also widen gender inequalities.

SMEs planning to offer more flexible working need support tools and policies to help avoid such effects or bolster existing ones.

One way to address these challenges is to give leaders and managers more time to focus on supporting teams and individuals.

If you and your managers can act like coaches to your team and give them more decision-making autonomy, that should improve engagement in the more flexible world of work.

Heejung also suggests communicating clearly that employees will not receive worse evaluations just because they work from home.

Measure their value and productivity as objectively as possible. Actively encourage good work-life balance and boundary setting for example, around non-availability on email.

With a hybrid model, in-office days should not look like working from home days, for example, with lots of videoconference meetings, adds Heejung.


Instead, make sure people interact and bond, for example, by protecting and encouraging watercooler chats.

Use the time for brainstorming and decision-making. Save more individually focused or online work for home.

Improving communication for remote working

Claire Trachet, founder of advisory firm Trachet, says the move to remote and hybrid working also requires specific changes to the way employees communicate.

“SMEs need to focus on fluid and regular communication between remote working teams and people,” she says.

“Too often, people become siloed as companies stick to the cadence of meetings they had when working in person.

“For example, with remote work, they need to reduce the time spent on check-ins, but make them more regular to foster connectivity.

“SMEs should also give people clear goals for each day or week.

“This enables staff to feel a sense of accomplishment each day, then disconnect. Companies should also adopt technology platforms that support remote working through workflow, communication and other business functions.”

Since the pandemic, isolation has become an increasing challenge.

Many companies are missing the benefits of informal interactions and are still looking for ways to replicate them.

Intentionality has become important because face-to-face interactions happen naturally in an office. In a remote team, you need to actively promote informal communication that builds bonds and camaraderie.


For example, technology firm GitLab encourages recruits to have online coffee chats and other social interactions to get to know people outside their team.

Another tip is to ensure everyone is included in decisions and everything is documented transparently to promote inclusion.

Remote working does not mean people never meet.

They should always have occasional opportunities to travel and meet in person.

Bruce Daisley, former Twitter vice president and author of Eat Sleep Work Repeat, says there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

“Companies might suggest phoning each other more regularly,” he says. “But half the company may resist that. So just try different things and allow people to vary if they don’t work.”

Supporting employee well-being

According to the MetLife study, 39% of employees would remain with their employer if they showed more care for their mental well-being.

Bruce says one danger of homeworking is employees save time on commuting but are giving some of that back to employers by working longer hours and feeling “always on”.

These factors increase the risk of burn out and stress, which can be harder to notice in a remote team.

GitLab suggests corporate leaders address this by promoting a non-judgemental culture and training and encouraging teams to prevent and report burnout.

Managers should also not celebrate working long hours or allow them to become the norm.


Kevin Daniels says: “As an SME owner, monitoring employee working hours, and reducing when necessary has to be a priority.”

He highlighted UEA’s Good Jobs Project 2021, which addresses this and other well-being issues. It says every company needs to start with a foundation of respect for employees that includes fair pay, hours and conditions.

The project proposes four further ways to boost employee morale:

  • Care about workers’ lives. This includes offering predictable shifts, learning opportunities, and flexibility around childcare.
  • Include them in conversations. And listen to their concerns.
  • Have workers’ backs. This includes avoiding blame, training to deal with difficult situations, and support when things go wrong
  • Let them connect. Give them discretion and time to take pride and meaning from supportive interactions with customers and colleagues, and allow for unscripted interactions.

These points are not in conflict so should be a ‘win-win-win’ for workers, customers and employers, says the project.

Kevin emphasises that you don’t have to be a huge company with expensive benefits, such as gym memberships or mindfulness training, to look after employee well-being.

Much support can be informal, simple, quick and inexpensive.

For example, there’s evidence that simple things such as installing the Headspace app or allowing staff to go for a walk at lunchtime improve well-being.

“The biggest challenge SMEs cite in improving staff well-being is not usually financial, it’s mostly about time and priorities,” says Kevin.

“But we found organisations have got better at listening to employees’ needs due to the pandemic.

“Firms also worry about opening a can of worms by discussing mental health.

“It’s a learning process to get over that and accept you might not get it right first time, but it’s important to try, so employees know you care.”

Reviewing contract requirements

Reviewing employees’ contracts to reflect changes such as flexible, remote or hybrid working can be complicated.


Huw Cooke, a senior associate in the employment law team at Burges Salmon, says that where employees can do their jobs from home, most employers are not changing the place of work in their contract, but are introducing a hybrid working policy.

“This avoids the need to change employment contracts and gives the employer flexibility if the working model needs adjusting,” he says.

“However, employers need to check contracts to avoid unexpected consequences, such as an expenses clause that applies wherever an employee lives.”

Employers also need to ensure that other clauses, such as around health and safety and data protection are suitable.

“However, many of our clients report that job candidates want specific working arrangements written into their employment contracts,” Huw adds.

“In this competitive market, employers may have to make legally binding commitments about working arrangements.”

The CIPD has produced a detailed review of employment law essentials for home and hybrid working.

Final thoughts: Meeting the challenge of redefining work

The changing world of work does not always benefit employers’ relationships with staff.

According to MetLife, 62% of employees and 72% of employers feel their relationship with each other changed, with one in three employers feeling it has weakened.

This helps explain the Great Resignation and is a concern for SMEs desperately trying to fill vacancies and hang on to valuable staff.

It may be hard work and expensive to redefine work and evolve roles to benefit employees and the business.


But if you can achieve that balance, through some of the measures discussed here, you have a much better chance of strengthening relationships with staff, tackling the talent gap, and building a more robust and sustainable workforce.

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