Daily Digest News – July 12, 2021

DAILY DIGEST JULY 12

Hand selected flexible workspace news from the most reliable sources to keep you ahead of the pack. We find all the latest news, so you don’t have to. Morning and afternoon updates. Stay in the know.


Here’s what you need to know today:


Google Employees Upset With Undetermined Policies

Laura de Vesine, a senior site reliability engineer, recently resigned from her position at Google over issues with the company’s inflexible policies.

Last fall, de Vesine and her team were told they would need to relocate to North Carolina from Google’s Sunnyvale, California office. Initially, the team was told they would have to take a 15% salary cut, but that grew to 25% by late March. Then, the relocation plans were scrapped.

The back-and-forth has been frustrating for de Vesine, who added that Google isn’t keeping the best interest of their employees in mind.

“This feeling that I can’t realistically leave the Bay Area and work for Google is enough for me to have decided to leave,” said de Vesine. “It’s the fact that Google doesn’t prioritize the needs of human beings. The fact that we have lives outside of work, that people actually have families.”

Back in May, CEO Sundar Pichai revealed Google’s plans to shift to a hybrid work arrangement that requires employees to work from their offices three days each week starting in September.

However, as the company sorts out where employees will work and how much they will earn, Google workers have said that tension over this transition has reached a boiling point.

This grew tenfold last week when senior executive Urs Hölzle revealed his plans to work remotely from New Zealand. Many employees felt that this reserved privilege for leadership left lower-level staffers in the dust and highlighted the company’s hypocritical policies.

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UK Workers Want Closer Workplace Relationships

The Friends & Happiness in the Workplace Survey by Wildgoose shows that 47% of employees in the UK don’t have someone they would consider a friend in the workplace.

Even more, 8% of London workers stated that they started a new position during the pandemic, making it even more challenging to make friends.

Although unfortunate, these revelations are not surprising. Working from home has isolated many people over the past year or so, and it appears that employees are ready to return to the office at least some of the time.

For instance, 51% of London workers said they would like to socialize with their colleagues during happy hours, while 32% want a breakout area in the office.

“Some people have started jobs without meeting their new colleagues, which must be especially tough. Hopefully those people can now get to know their new workmates properly,” said Jonny Edser, managing director at Wildgoose. “And companies need to realise that face-to-face social events play a huge role in that, particularly when people have lacked social interaction in their everyday lives. For many people, what’s been missing is the chance to have fun with colleagues, rather than just focusing on work.”

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How Technology Has Impacted Older Workers

The National Bureau of Economic Research’s working paper titled “Computerization, Obsolescence, and the Length of Working Life” takes a deep look into how technology and the computerization of the workplace impacted older workers from 1984 to 2017.

According to the analysis, the computer knowledge gap between older and younger professionals was at its peak during the 1980s and early 1990s, but disappeared by the mid 2010s.

The researchers utilized responses from government surveys to measure the amount of computer skills workers over 50 were equipped with in their occupations. 

Computer knowledge gaps increased the likelihood that older workers would retire by 1 to 1.4 percentage points each year, which also raised the retirement rate from 8% to 9%.

Researchers also determined that a knowledge gap of 10 percentage points decreased annual wages by at minimum 2.5%, and at most 7%.

Those hit hardest by knowledge gaps included women, office workers, workers with some college education and older workers aged between 60 and 64.

Women historically receive less opportunities than men, including learning to use computers. Additionally, office workers may have viewed computers as trying to replace their jobs. Those with higher education likely had more chances to learn how to use computers. Lastly, older workers may have found that retraining was not necessary as they were already nearing the end of their careers.

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New York City Releases LGBTQI+ Workplace Inclusivity Guide

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the release of a new resource guide called “Work It, NYC: A Guide to LGBTQI+ Workplace Inclusivity” that aims to provide organizations with the tools and education to better support the LGBTQI+ community.

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The manual, which was created by the NYC Unity Project and the NYC Center for Youth Employment, provides insight into the challenges and obstacles that LGBTQI+ people face in employment and professional environments. 

The manual offers specific training needs and resources to help combat the disparities that the LGBTQI+ community have to deal with. Using the guide, leaders can have the awareness and prepare for interventions to protect LGBTQI+ people from discrimination and violence.

For instance, the guide includes an overview of key concepts and vocabulary to better understand different LGBTQI+ identities and use the correct, most respectful language.

Additionally, the manual highlights the legal obligations all businesses and employers must abide by to support LGBTQI+ people. 

It also focuses on the importance of understanding the trauma that many members of the LGBTQI+ community have dealt with and offers insight into how to better support transgender, gender noncorming and nonbinary program participants.

“LGBTQI+ New Yorkers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, period,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The ‘Work It, NYC’ manual will give our providers and local organizations the tools to better serve LGBTQI+ jobseekers as we emerge from the pandemic and create an economy that works for everyone.”

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Dropbox Studios Incorporates The Best Parts Of The Office

Dropbox will have a soft opening for its new concept called Dropbox Studios, which aims to address the transition to hybrid work arrangements.

According to Drew Houston, CEO and cofounder of Dropbox, the past year or so has served as an awakening for many companies who are now reevaluating their workplace strategies to better accommodate their employees’ needs.

Houston said that Dropbox in particular is rethinking its office design in a way that addresses the fact that it does not need permanent space in a building.

“We focused on having really great curated in-person experiences, some of which we coordinate at the company level and then some of which you can go into our studios, which have been refitted to support more collaboration,” said Houston.

Dropbox Studios focuses on supporting more collaborative opportunities between colleagues, featuring coffee shops that create a casual feel. The spaces also offer conference rooms, as well as classrooms for training sessions and group learning.

In essence, Dropbox Studios aims to serve as an environment that features the aspects of the office that employees actually miss, such as in-person interactions and community. 

Moving forward, Dropbox aims to open dedicated studios in city’s such as San Francisco, Seattle, Tokyo and Tel Aviv.

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Why Aren’t Employers Requiring Vaccines For Onsite Workers?

The Biden administration is encouraging employers to incentivize their workers to get vaccinated as the delta variant of Covid-19 continues to spread in areas with low vaccination rates.

One of these suggestions is offering workers paid time off so they are not financially penalized for getting the vaccine.

Although this sense of urgency has been part of the administration’s modus operandi since President Biden assumed office, it falls short of pushing companies to mandate vaccines for employees returning to the office.

According to a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission FAQ, antidiscrimination laws do not actually prevent employers from requiring on-site employees to get the vaccine. However, they do still have to abide by workers who cite religious or medical reasons for not getting the vaccine.

“There’s quite a tension between legally being allowed to require a vaccine and the potential culture hit on employee morale in requiring it,” said Sheeva Ghassemi-Vanni, a partner in the employment practices and litigation groups at law firm Fenwick & West. “Some, but certainly not all, employees feel there is a certain ‘big brother’ aspect to requiring a vaccination in the workplace.”

Although research shows that the majority of workers support a vaccine mandate in the office, only a few employers are actually requiring it. 

Ghassemi-Vanni added she has been advising clients to survey their own employees to understand what they want in order to have better insight into whether mandating the shot could be feasible.

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