Coinbase Losses Exceed Expectations As Sales Deteriorate

Leading crypto exchange Coinbase reported a Q2 net loss of just under $1.1 billion this afternoon, or $4.98 a share, as sales fell more than had been expected and the company’s company’s stock tumbled 6%.

The beleaguered exchange has been hit hard in recent months by a confluence of declining cryptocurrency market conditions, regulatory pushback and investor uncertainty that has dragged its stock price down over 55% since late March.

Coinbase recorded the majority of its $802.6 million in revenue last quarter–over 80%–from transaction fees on sales and exchanges of cryptocurrency. That’s down 61% from the corresponding 2021 quarter and 35% less than Q1.

Analysts had predicted revenue of $868.4 million for the quarter and an adjusted per share loss only about half as severe as reported. In Q2 2021, the company earned $1.6 billion.

The below-consensus revenue may have been reflected rising use of the exchange by customers who aren’t there currency trading, according to Michael Miller, an equity analyst at Morningstar. “Coinbase’s problem wasn’t so much that customers abandoned it — transacting users were essentially flat sequentially — but that there was a shift toward non-traders, such as those involved in staking.”

Despite the flood of red ink, Coinbase has an ace in the hole: its $6.2 billion of cash in the bank, barely changed from Q1. That figure includes $362 million of stablecoin USDC.

“Coinbase is really caught out with its cost structure, and now that crypto prices have come way down, they’re in a position where they do need to cut costs pretty dramatically,” says Miller. “While they are caught out on the costs side, though, they did go into this crypto downturn with a very strong balance sheet.”

The exchange cut costs aggressively last quarter, laying off 1,100 employees, 18% of its workforce, in mid-June and reducing its marketing outlays from a high point last fall (in which it spent $14 million on a single 60-second Super Bowl ad). Operating expenses, adjusted to remove cryptocurrency impairments, fell to $1.48 billion in Q2 from more than $1.5 billion in each of the two previous quarters but were still higher than $1.3 billion a year earlier.

“Expenses haven’t come down much—they were more or less flat sequentially. Coinbase did reduce cost guidance for the rest of 2022, though,” says Miller. “It does sound like they’re comfortable with this level of losses—they were within the guardrails they set. Unless revenues decline further, I wouldn’t expect to see any further layoffs.”

Coinbase’s web engagement fell dramatically, according to data from Simliarweb: visits to coinbase.com fell 45% in June, even while U.S. sites of competitors like FTX showed them more than doubling. Moreover, Coinbase’s weekly web display ads have dropped by over 35% since early June.

“By looking at web traffic and app traffic, you just see a trend towards somewhat of a decline in engagement for cryptocurrency in general,” says David Carr, senior insights manager at Similarweb. “But for Coinbase, the decrease in the percentage of customers using the app on a regular basis and the decrease in the amount of time they spend on the app are signs of lesser enthusiasm.”

Ben Weiss, CEO of crypto financial services and Bitcoin ATM provider CoinFlip, says the market may be overly pessimistic. “I feel that the market is conflating the performance of crypto assets with the companies in the crypto ecosystem, and therefore the reduction in Coinbase stock price is possibly an overcorrection,” says Weiss. “Coinbase is a household name in the crypto space and is extremely competitive among crypto exchanges. While companies must continue to innovate to stay relevant, Coinbase is still extremely well positioned among exchanges to continue to capitalize in the crypto space.”

I am a reporter for Forbes’ Money and Markets team. Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, I currently live in New York City.

Source: Coinbase Losses Exceed Expectations As Sales Deteriorate

Critics:

Coinbase operates as a remote-first company and has no physical headquarters As part of its SEC filing to go public, the company reported 43 million verified users, 7,000 institutions, and 115,000 ecosystem partners in over 100 countries. It also reported net revenue of $1.14 billion in 2020, up from $483 million the previous year. The company also reported a net income of $322 million after posting a loss in 2019.

Out of the $782 billion worth of assets on the crypto market, some $90 billion worth is held on the Coinbase platform. As of 2018, the company offered buy/sell trading functionality in 32 countries,while the cryptocurrency wallet was available in 190 countries worldwide. In a May 2022 Form 10-Q filing, Coinbase stated that “because custodially held crypto assets may be considered to be the property of a bankruptcy estate, in the event of a bankruptcy, the crypto assets we hold in custody on behalf of our customers could be subject to bankruptcy proceedings and such customers could be treated as our general unsecured creditors“.

The “Coinbase Effect” refers to the rise in price of cryptocurrencies listed for sale on a dominant crypto exchange such as Coinbase in the days after the news becomes public. According to Barron’s, the effect of getting a cryptocurrency listed on the exchange plays a big role in what cryptocurrencies gain widespread acceptance.

On February 16, 2018, Coinbase admitted that some customers were overcharged in error for credit and debit purchases of cryptocurrencies. The problem was initiated when banks and card issuers changed the merchant category code (MCC) for cryptocurrency purchases earlier that month. This meant that cryptocurrency payments would now be processed as “cash advances”, meaning that banks and credit card issuers could begin charging customers cash advance fees for cryptocurrency purchases.

Customers who purchased cryptocurrency on their exchange between January 22 and February 11, 2018, could have been affected. At first, Visa blamed Coinbase, telling the Financial Times on February 16 that it had “not made any systems changes that would result in the duplicate transactions cardholders are reporting.” However, the latest statement from Visa and Worldpay on the Coinbase blog clarifies: “This issue was not caused by Coinbase.

In March 2018, Quartz reported that the number of monthly customer complaints against Coinbase jumped more than 100% in January of that year, to 889, citing official Consumer Financial Protection Bureau data, with more than 400 of those categorized as “money was not available when promised”.The article also noted that the company was subsequently increasing its customer service staff to reduce wait times. In December 2021, CNBC reported that Coinbase froze the cryptocurrency GYEN due to a sudden price spike, resulting in many traders losing money.

On July 22, 2022, a former Coinbase product manager, Ishan Wahi, along with Nikhil Wahi (Ishan’s brother) and Sameer Ramani (a friend), was charged in the first-ever insider trading case in cryptocurrency by prosecutors for the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission.According to the complaint filed in SEC v. Wahi, Ishan Wahi allegedly shared information that certain tokens were about to be listed by Coinbase with Nikhil Wahi and Ramani, who then allegedly acted upon that information to make trades for an alleged illicit profit in excess of $1.5 million.

According to federal prosecutors, Ishan Wahi purchased a one-way ticket to India upon being summoned by Coinbase to the company’s Seattle office for a meeting. Wahi was subsequently intercepted by law enforcement from boarding a May 16 flight to India. Coinbase’s chief security officer, Philip Martin, noted that the company provided prosecutors with information from an internal investigation.

Related contents:

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Understanding And Managing The 4 Types Of Hybrid Workers

Hybrid work isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Here’s how managers can better understand and support different preferences and attitudes across their hybrid teams.

The conversation between business leaders and employees about long-term hybrid work plans is a complex one. We’re trying to answer some really big questions: How is our in-person time best used? What tools do people need to succeed, wherever they are? How do we build a sustainable hybrid system?

As we strive to address these big-picture challenges, managers overseeing day-to-day operations are struggling through a messy middle ground. Every day, they’re tasked with guiding different types of employees in an entirely new (and often shifting) work environment that affects individuals differently. Managing hybrid work today can feel like trying to cross a bridge that’s still under construction.

To understand how hybrid work is affecting people, we commissioned a global survey with Economist Impact. One of its central findings was that 77% of hybrid workers agree that their managers need more specific training on managing hybrid teams. To help address this training gap, we took a deep dive into the Economist Impact research and coupled our findings with proven best practices at Google. With the right tools and guidance, hybrid teams can be successful and drive impact together, no matter where teammates work.

Discovering the four types of hybrid workers in your organization

Economist Impact recently categorized employees into four segments based on their relationship to hybrid work: evangelists, pragmatists, fair-minded, and undecided. Interestingly, employees did not fall into categories based on neatly predictable criteria like role, seniority, or industry. Instead, the primary driver was more personal: how hybrid work affects their everyday lives. The study found that feelings about hybrid work are often determined by factors like need for child care, length of commute, and personal work styles.

Here’s a look at the four types of hybrid workers identified by Economist Impact, coupled with tips for managing each one.

The evangelist: Happy with hybrid. They want to sustain the current model.

As you might guess from their name, the evangelists (24%) are the most optimistic about hybrid work and typically very satisfied with the policies, technology, and social dynamics already in place. Many work fully off-site. At Google, we have long had distributed teams who are central to our organization, so we recognize many hybrid work evangelists in our midst by their enthusiasm, productivity, and loyalty. The system is working for them.

The questions we are always looking to answer are: how do we make sure that our most satisfied employees stay that way, and how can we tap into their enthusiasm to help their colleagues see the benefits of a hybrid structure? Here are a few ideas:

  • Empower them to keep working in a way that supports their natural productivity, using centralized tools like Google Drive for easy collaboration and shared calendars so coworkers can clearly see their schedules and availability.
  • Invite them to share their best practices company-wide by creating and moderating Google Spaces dedicated to hybrid work tips, work-from-home hacks, and more.
  • Keep them engaged through short Google Meet check-ins on a quarterly basis, with the agenda focused on how hybrid work practices are functioning and whether improvements can be made.
  • Offer continuing support by making sure they have the right technology, especially if they work fully off-site. Ask: “Is technology helping them stay in the mix across all the ways and places that hybrid work happens?”

The pragmatists: Optimistic, but facing challenges. They need to be heard.

The largest segment identified by Economist Impact were pragmatists (39%), a group who is optimistic about hybrid work, but experiencing significant challenges with it. Their sentiment can be summed up as, “Yes, but …”. Meaning that they want hybrid to work, and they want to be a part of making it work, but they don’t think it’s working well… yet. Pragmatists feel that their organization’s new policies don’t incorporate enough employee input and are more likely to feel these policies are unfair.

Pragmatists are also concerned with blurred work-life boundaries. This demographic includes workers who have less location and/or time flexibility, so they may not be experiencing significant benefits of a “flexible” workplace. Here are some ways to support pragmatists:

  • Gather input by creating an anonymous survey using Google Forms. Ask what’s working or not about hybrid schedules, team processes, technology tools and training, work-life balance, etc. Repeat these surveys at regular intervals to ensure that pragmatists’ voices continue to be heard.
  • To improve flexibility while ensuring collective team work, agree on “core work hours” in which teams determine daily hours when they will typically be online and meetings will take place. Offer flexibility around the “non-core” hours for focused individual work or personal needs such as medical appointments or taking children to school.
  • Enhance transparency and shared understanding across the team about each others’ preferences and schedules using Calendar features like working location and focus time.
  • Enable teams to communicate and collaborate across locations and time zones through shared comments in Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

The fair-minded: Feeling good, hoping for continued cultural change. They want to improve the dialogue.

Most concerned about employee wellbeing, fairness, and inclusion, the fair-minded (23%) report an overall positive impact of hybrid work on their lives. Whereas the pragmatists express a “Yes, but…” sentiment, the fair-minded express “Yes, and…”. They like where this is going, and they want more. Over the long term, they are hoping for greater flexibility in their location and work schedule. They believe that better communication and collaboration will strengthen the culture of trust in the workplace and benefit everyone. Here are strategies for managing the fair-minded:

  • Foster social connection by adopting platforms specifically built for inclusivity and get creative in using them – it’s OK to have fun! Choose thematic backgrounds or break into small groups for a quick icebreaker before a meeting.
  • Build an inclusive environment by providing opportunities to bond at in-person events devoted to mentoring, discussion, and socializing.
  • Keep people informed via a “hybrid-work hub” on Google Spaces where management can share the latest policies and employees can ask questions.
  • Strengthen the culture of trust by shifting toward impact-oriented performance evaluations.

The undecided: Craving connection, direction, and better technology. They need to hear from you.

At 13%, the undecided may represent the smallest number of respondents, but they’re a group that need significant support. Why are they undecided? Overall, it’s because they’ve yet to experience significant benefits from flexible work. They’re more likely to be at organizations that have not issued formal hybrid policies, so they’re working in uncertain environments.

This group also reports higher rates of technology challenges, suggesting that they haven’t been equipped with the right tools to connect, collaborate, and communicate remotely. And finally, many are frontline workers who have suffered from limited social interactions or extra strain during the pandemic that has affected their mental health.

With so many challenges, it’s not surprising this cohort is the least confident about the future. Strategies for meeting the needs of the undecided include:

  • Clarify your hybrid policies through active communication. Consider hosting regular “re-onboarding” video calls with small groups to make sure everyone understands hybrid policies and gets training on new processes or tools.
  • Strengthen their sense of belonging with clear, inclusive updates on company wide projects and achievements via Google Meet video conferencing. Use the Q&A function so employees can ask questions and everyone can see answers, or conduct live polling to survey a specific topic. Follow up your meeting with an email recap for those who could not attend.
  • Help teams communicate and collaborate better with instant communication tools like Spaces in Google Chat, which keeps conversations about scheduling, shared tasks, and files together.

Let’s make it work

As leaders, it’s important to understand and acknowledge your team members’ different experiences of hybrid work. Do you know which of the four types your employees fall into? Taking the time to engage with them and learn their preferences allows you to shape policies while also making decisions that help the organization get work done. A thoughtfully planned hybrid work structure can adapt to individual needs, connect distributed workforces, and, ultimately, strengthen your organization. While our global shift to hybrid work was born out of necessity, we can use it to provide opportunity for every type of worker.

Vice President, Digital Work Experience

Source: Understanding And Managing The 4 Types Of Hybrid Workers

Related contents:

Insta360 keeps hybrid workers in the frame with gimbal-packing 4K webcam New Atlas

New Congressional Bill Would Create Hybrid Job Classification for Gig Workers – But is Already Facing Stiff Opposition JD Supra

19:41 Tue, 02 Aug
11:19 Fri, 29 Jul
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20:09 Wed, 03 Aug
Remote work is the norm, but not so much for leaders. theHRDIRECTOR

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The Future of Remote Work, According To 6 Experts

Whether you’re a remote work booster or a skeptic, there are lots of unanswered questions about what happens next for remote work, especially as Covid-19 restrictions continue to fade and as fears of a recession loom.

How many people are going to work remotely in the future, and will that change in an economic downturn? Will remote work affect their chances of promotion? What does it mean for where people live and the offices they used to work in? Does this have any effect on the majority of people who don’t get to work remotely? If employees don’t have to work in person to be effective, couldn’t their jobs be outsourced?

It turns out there’s a dangerous line between arguing for remote work and arguing yourself out of a job. And since remote work makes employees less visible, they will have to find other ways to let higher-ups know they exist or risk being passed over for pay raises. Remote work will also have long-lasting effects on the built environment, requiring office owners to renovate and allowing employees the potential for a higher quality of living. Finally, what happens during a recession largely depends on whether your company decides to save money by reducing real estate or laying off the employees they never met.

One thing that’s clear is that remote work is not going away. There are, however, a number of ways to make it better and more commonplace, and to ensure that it doesn’t harm you more than it helps.

To get a better idea of what could be coming, we asked some of the most informed remote work thinkers — people who study economics, human resources, and real estate — to make sense of what to expect in the future of remote work. Their answers, edited for length and clarity, are below.

Five years from now, what percentage of the US population will work remotely?

Johnny Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management: I think that number will never exceed 30 percent fully remote. What percentage will have some remote work? Probably 60 to 65 percent. There are some roles that will never be remote. But even in retail, employers are trying to figure out how to give that worker population some ability to work remotely. One retail company I talked with is going to make it so that the people who work in the store five days a week now do one day a week in customer service remotely.

Nicholas Bloom, economics professor at Stanford University, co-founder of WFH Research: Currently, 10 percent of the US workforce are fully remote and 35 percent are hybrid remote. In five years, I think both numbers will be pretty similar. Pushing this up is continued technological improvements in working-from-home technology. Pushing this down is the pandemic ebbing from memory.

Julie Whelan, global head of occupier research at Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis: The last few years has proven that people are able to work remotely. Now, we are trying to mix a combination of in-person and remote work — that is where the challenges shine. I am not convinced we will see a large jump in fully remote work; I think jobs that are fully remote will always remain the minority.

What has to change for more people to be able to work remotely?

Matthew Kahn, economics professor at the University of Southern California and author of Going Remote: How the Flexible Work Economy Can Improve Our Lives and Our Cities: Firms must have clear performance metrics — ideally ones that can be verified using quantitative data, so that remote workers understand in real time how they are performing. Firms must also figure out how to configure “virtual watercooler” interactions so that remote workers are less likely to feel like they are out of the loop.

Arpit Gupta, assistant professor of finance at New York University Stern School of Business: Companies need to have better ways to onboard new workers and get them involved in corporate culture. They also need to improve remote workers’ ability to connect with different parts of the organization and create better ways to manage new idea generation and creativity. Finally, they need to ensure improved promotion prospects for purely remote workers and the ability to go completely remotely from one firm to another.

Bloom: The main driver of working from home is whether it makes business sense for the organization, and if employees are happy doing this. This is driven by technology and the job task. Over time the technology is slowly improving to support working from home. I have been working on this topic for almost 20 years, and the changes over that period have been incredible.

Twenty years ago, working from home meant telephone calls and emailing or mailing small files. Now it’s all video calls and the cloud. Within 10 years, I predict new major technologies will arise to make this far better. In terms of job tasks, these are also changing to support working from home. For example, my neighbor is a doctor and pre-pandemic was in the office every day, but now sees patients remotely two days a week, as her job tasks now include televisits.

Taylor: We as management have to get comfortable with a total paradigm shift. We constantly say, “That can’t happen.” And the fact of the matter is we have to be willing to challenge our notions of what can’t happen and say, “Can it?” We’re in this dynamic stage where we’re determining whether or not it works. So the question, “Can you work remotely?” is really not the question. Is it possible? Yes, during the pandemic we proved that it’s possible. The question is, will there be trade-offs?

How might remote work affect jobs that aren’t remote?

Gupta: Changing consumption patterns will create more demand for goods and services — and the people who provide them — in the suburbs and remote-friendly destinations, relative to office central business districts in current metropolitan areas.

Bloom: Many non-remote jobs interact with remote workers. Think of retail and food service workers in city centers. If office employees move to remote work, these service workers have to change their location of work, too.

Taylor: More jobs might become partially remote. For a nurse, we’ll give them three days in the hospital and two days as a tele-nurse. So we are thinking a sharing of responsibilities to get to hybrid, even in those roles that absolutely, at the end of the day, largely have to be in person.

Will remote workers find it harder to advance than their in-person colleagues?

Taylor: Yes, point-blank. More than two-thirds of supervisors (67 percent) consider remote workers more easily replaceable than onsite workers, and 62 percent believe fully remote work is detrimental to employees’ career objectives. Managers acknowledged that when they are looking to give an assignment, they oftentimes forget the remote worker. Proximity matters.

Something that is of particular importance to me as an African American is, for years, we argued that we weren’t able to build relationships with the majority community. We didn’t have access to them and therefore visibility. Well, you really lose access and visibility if you’re at home and they’re in the office.

“Working remotely significantly reduces your opportunities to build relationships with people who can influence your career”

I’ve heard this argument that office culture is a white male-dominated relic of the past. That might be. But as long as those white males are in the office making decisions about who is going to be promoted, then you are very likely putting yourself at a disadvantage. It’s not a question of, is that right or wrong, fair or not. It’s just what it is. Working remotely significantly reduces your opportunities to build relationships with people who can influence your career.

Whelan: There is a risk that those people who get more face time are naturally at an advantage to advance faster than others. However, if an organization truly supports flexible work, then behavior around promotions and compensation gains needs to be discussed early, observed closely, and action should be taken if desired outcomes are not met. Just because people may work remotely some of the time — or all of the time, depending on company policy — that doesn’t mean they cannot be visible. So it is incumbent on everyone, including the employee themselves, to make sure people remain visible, front-of-mind, and reviewed based on job performance despite a remote status.

Kahn: The answer to this key question hinges on whether a given firm promotes based on a type of nepotism or based on objective value added to the firm’s core goals. Face-to-face interaction does build up trust and friendship. If bosses play favorites, then the remote workers will have a disadvantage in getting promoted. Those bosses who seek to promote based on a meritocratic criteria will emphasize the value of the quality of face-to-face interactions over the quantity of face-to-face interaction at work. Such an emphasis of quality over quantity of face-to-face interaction will alleviate concerns that remote workers are second-class citizens, as they may visit the headquarters just a few days a month.

Those firms that figure out these new work configurations will have an edge in attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce.

Bloom: Fully remote workers may find slow career progression, particularly those who are early in their careers. As individuals advance in their careers, however, personal mentoring becomes somewhat less important. It is also worth noting most remote workers in the US are not fully remote. They are mostly hybrid, coming into the office for three days a week on average, and as such, they get a good dose of personal interaction. So, yes, fully remote workers may face some career advancement costs, but hybrid workers likely will face little or no costs.

What’s going to happen to all the offices?

Whelan: Offices will still exist — they will just evolve. The most sought-after locations, the most desirable amenities, and the most productive space design will continue to morph as population migration and work patterns settle into a new place. The workplace today is anywhere you have a mobile device and an internet connection. But the physical office as a place to gather, innovate, and connect cannot easily be replaced.

Bloom: In the short run, not much. The reason is scheduling. Most firms are either letting employees choose their working-from-home days, which typically means Monday and Friday, or are scheduling teams or the whole firm to come in on the same days, often Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. As such, they cannot cut space. Nobody sublets an office on Monday and Friday.

In the longer run, clever scheduling software, like Kadence, will organize teams and working groups to come in on different days: Say the industrials team is in the office on Monday and Tuesday, and the residential team on Wednesday and Thursday. But from talking to hundreds of firms, this is probably some years away from being a major reality. Until that time, office demand will be soft but won’t see major drops.

If you want to look for big impacts on real estate, then focus on city center retail. With office workers working from home about 50 percent of days, retail expenditure in central New York, San Francisco, and other big cities has collapsed, and that retail spending, jobs, and space is moving out to the suburbs.

Kahn: In high-quality-of-life cities, these commercial buildings will be converted into housing as well as schools and centers for our population’s aging senior citizens.

Taylor: There is no question that we’re going to have less demand for the traditional office space. Will it go away? No.

To what extent will remote work affect where people live?

Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin: Remote work is already affecting where people live. A record nearly one-third of homebuyers looked to relocate out of their home metro in the second quarter of 2022. That’s up from roughly 26 percent before the pandemic. Many people who have the flexibility to move have been doing so during the pandemic, often taking their higher housing budgets with them and, in turn, contributing to higher home prices in the places they’re moving. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in popular Sunbelt cities like Phoenix, Miami, and Austin, which have seen a surge of in-migration from more expensive coastal metros like NYC, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Taylor: We are absolutely seeing people move further away. Hell, I’ve even seen people who have to be in-office two days a week say, “Hey, I live in a totally different city, and I can commute in.” So I can live in Atlanta, work in Washington, DC, buy a plane ticket for those two days, get a hotel, and the math says it’s actually cheaper and better for me to live where I want to live and commute — even if the company doesn’t pay for it, because I don’t have to pay for housing in DC.

Kahn: In expensive superstar cities, working-from-home workers will be more likely to move to the suburban fringe, where land is cheaper and the homes are newer. Remote workers will also seek out beautiful areas that offer them the leisure opportunities they desire. Real estate prices in Santa Barbara, California, have boomed since March 2020 due to its beauty and its proximity to Los Angeles. Perhaps surprisingly, medium-size cities such as Baltimore will gain. Located along the Amtrak Corridor, Baltimore offers easy access to Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia and features much lower housing prices.

How will it affect pay?

Fairweather: Some companies are localizing pay for their workers who relocate and work remotely, but plenty are letting remote workers keep their high salaries. The biggest winners will be coastal workers who move to more affordable places and maintain their salary. They’ll find their money goes much further, not just for housing but for other goods and services.

The biggest losers are people already living in popular migration destinations who may not have the option to move somewhere less expensive, and whose salaries may not go as far as they once did, thanks to both higher inflation and rising home prices in their area. However, some people living in popular migration destinations may be happy that their home values have increased and their local businesses have more high-earning customers.

Bloom: Working from home is a perk, so it means any individual firm offering hybrid-WFH can pay about 5 to 10 percent less. But, of course, there are also general equilibrium effects in that firms compete for talent in a labor market. If every firm offers working from home, no individual firm can cut pay without losing employees.

Will remote work cause companies to hire more contractors or more people outside the US?

Taylor: An employee came to me, and she made a really, really compelling case: “Johnny, I don’t need to come into the office.” She literally gave me a three-page memo making the case for why she could work remotely. And I smiled and said, “Be careful what you pray for. In the process of saying, ‘I don’t need to interact with other people, I’m an individual contributor,’ you’ve literally made the case that your job can be outsourced. And now I don’t have to cover your pension plan, I don’t have to deal with a salary increase every year, I don’t have to do any of that.” And guess what? I did exactly that. I outsourced that role.

Let’s face it, most of us could have a fully contracted environment, but what we want is a culture, people who have a long-term commitment. We want to build leadership; we need management. And we do that by having consistent relationships and getting to develop our people, so there’s a lot of upside to employing people internally and reasons that we don’t outsource. But there’s a lot of space between not doing it and doing a little bit.

Gupta: Yes, to both outside contractors and outside the US employees. But these workers will be more integrated into existing job functions and teams, rather than outsourcing entire processes.

Kahn: This offshoring is a serious possibility. Those firms that require some monthly face-to-face interaction at the corporate headquarters will be less likely to engage in offshoring.

Bloom: This is already happening, from what firms tell me. Anti-immigration policies initiated by Trump have accelerated this process by reducing the ability of foreign workers to migrate to the US. So dozens of firms have said if they can’t get workers to their jobs in the US, they will move their jobs abroad. Working from home has shown how easy it is to have fully remote employees and teams, and in an era of tight domestic labor markets with restricted immigration, moving jobs overseas is one common solution (the other being automation).

But I should point out currently that this is probably good for most US citizens. US labor markets are incredibly tight, generating painful inflation and shortages of goods and services. Try taking a flight, booking a restaurant meal, or hiring a contractor. It is extremely hard, as there is too much demand for labor right now. So having some foreign workers fill that gap in is good news. Of course, if the US hits a hard recession and unemployment rises drastically, that benefit will be less clear.

What will happen to remote work in a recession?

Gupta: I actually suspect remote work will increase. While firms have bargaining power against employees, they mostly want to cut costs like real estate leases, pushing people remote.

Firms are also less interested in onboarding new employees into corporate culture and long-term innovation — two important use cases for the office. It’s more about keeping things going, which can be handled by existing workers at home.

Kahn: Scenario 1: The boss has discretion over who to fire and is more likely to fire the remote worker, because the boss doesn’t really know this worker and hasn’t built up a friendship with the worker.

Scenario 2: Since remote workers do not bear a fixed daily cost of commuting to the office, such workers can more easily reduce their hours to meet the firm’s new demand for labor. In this case, remote workers may be less likely to be fired.

Taylor: Reversing this — putting this genie back in the bottle — is not going to happen. What I think is more likely to happen during a recession is that productivity will become even more important. And so then you will see employers looking really, really hard at the data because they’re going to have to make choices between employee A and employee B. And so employees who are more productive and more efficient are the people who are going to make it through.

Fairweather: Historically, recessions have lasted longer because it takes time for workers to move to job opportunities. If a salesperson in Cleveland lost her job, she may have had to move to San Francisco to find another sales job. But with remote work, you can do a sales job from anywhere. Hopefully this recession is shorter than historical recessions because of remote work.

Source: The future of remote work, according to 6 experts – Vox

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Wave Of High-Profile Tech Layoffs Raises Fear Of Recessions–And Stalled Careers–Past

If you’ve been on LinkedIn recently, you’ve likely seen posts about someone being laid off or having a dream job offer rescinded, often by a high-profile, once hot startup. According to the tracker Layoffs.fyi, so far this year, 349 startups have laid off more than 53,000 employees.

Startups looking at the prospect of falling venture capital valuations are scrambling to conserve the cash they have. Just yesterday, OpenSea, the early leader in the once bubbly non-fungible token (NFT) market, cut 20% of its workforce. Earlier this month, virtual office startup Gather let a third of its 90 employees go. Last month, high-flying ID verification unicorn Socure laid off 13% of its employees.

And it’s not just startups. Coinbase, the nation’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, laid off 1,100 employees and rescinded some job offers. Elon Musk’s Tesla is cutting 3.5% of its workforce. Meta has plans to slash hiring of engineers this year by at least 30%.

While most of the layoff news has come from tech companies, the mortgage industry, too, has been slashing away as higher interest rates crush mortgage volume. This week loanDepot disclosed plans to eliminate thousands of jobs. Real estate companies RedFin and Compass have cut about 450 jobs each, and PIMCO-backed First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation let go of more than 75% of its workforce in June, before filing for a chapter 11 bankruptcy a week later.

Despite such high-profile layoffs, unemployment remained at a low 3.6% in June as the economy added 372,000 jobs. Moreover, interviews with recent job–or job offer–losers, as well as hiring managers, suggest that so far at least, most of those cut are landing on their feet with new offers.

Yet the sense of dread is unmistakable, with more consumers now pessimistic than optimistic about the short-term labor market, according to the Conference Board. And the layoffs could just be getting started: Oracle recently considered letting go of thousands of employees as early as August.

“In the tech industry, this is dejà vu all over again,” observes economist Anthony Carnevale, who has been involved with employment and education policy for four decades and is now director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “This is pretty much precisely what happened in the late 1970s, early 80s, when technology was not penetrating American industry rapidly enough and [former Fed Chair] Paul Volcker put on the brakes. We get high interest rates, high unemployment rates, and basically that shuts down technology investment and secondly, it chokes the industry.”

Given the current low unemployment rates, Carnevale adds, it’s still a question whether the slowdown will ultimately “create dislocation of substantial sorts in tech or any other industry.” His answer? “Yes and no,” he says. “The yes is yes, specific technology-based industries might be affected, interest rates being the culprit here. But what we’re seeing in the churn is that people who are seeking jobs are getting jobs. And we haven’t come to the point yet where it’s a classic recession…in which people don’t get jobs.” He noted that in general, wages are increasing — though those increases are generally offset by inflation.

“So what does that mean going forward? It may mean a slowdown in startups and in the expansion of particular technology companies, in even the overall industry if it’s strong enough, but so far, it has not meant that people can’t find jobs,” Carnevale said. “And it does not reflect on the possibilities for college graduates, at least so far, we don’t really see that.”

Indeed, a recent survey of almost 200 employers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that almost 90% of respondents will be hiring new graduates for both full-time and intern/co-op positions — up from last spring’s figure of 83%.

But while early-career recruiting is still strong, it can’t erase the memory of what happened in the wake of the Great Recession, with its large jobs loss and unusually slow recovery. Some new grads caught in the undertow experienced what economists call “permanent scarring”—meaning poor economic conditions when they graduated from college contributed to a long-term reduction in their employment prospects.

Again, that’s the scary prospect, but not, as of now, the reality.

Aidan Deery, associate director at the global talent partner X4 Technology, reports that among tech companies, “largely, everyone is still hiring” and “the demand for experienced professionals is at an all-time high.” He adds that those laid off from crypto companies like Coinbase are generally “very employable” and “highly sought after in the finance and technology world.”

Danny, 23, whose last name and former employer are not being included due to a nondisclosure agreement he signed, was let go in June from his engineering job at a sales productivity company. “I know I’ll be able to find a job,” he said, estimating that of the roughly 30 jobs he applied to since being laid off, 8-10 got back to him. “Three of them actually were like, ‘Yeah, just kidding, we’re not hiring for this role.’” Some of the other companies he started interviewing with stopped the process because of hiring freezes. However, Danny has already turned down one offer for reasons including the pay, and says he is still being picky in his job search.

Curio Health, a startup working to improve remote patient care, is among the companies still hiring. CEO Yuchen Wang worries that layoffs among startups may encourage job seekers to look to more established companies for future opportunities, but insists startups will retain their appeal because, “you take a broader responsibility, and you can grow faster and learn more.”

Wang has seen both sides of this job-cutting drama. He himself lost his job in 2001, shortly after earning a Masters in computer science at Georgia State, and in a later role, had to lay off employees himself because a contract did not pan out as well as expected. “These things kind of happen, even if you do everything 100% perfectly,’’ he says. “Treat it as a new start — there are more opportunities ahead than the one you just lost.”

Still, for some job-losers, the new start carries a unique challenge–one imposed by the U.S.’ dysfunctional system for retaining foreign tech talent. Twenty-seven-year-old software developer Amitesh Singh Baghel was laid off in late June while on STEM OPT, a visa program allowing graduate international students to gain work experience in the U.S. in their field. The catch: he lost his job as a software engineer at a data security startup before he completed his visa extension — about two weeks before his employment authorization document was set to expire.

He had been offered other jobs while working there but turned them down out of “goodwill” and because his manager, who also was let go, provided good mentorship. “I had other offers coming, but I chose to stay ignoring the red flags,” such as a manager being fired and not replaced, he said.

“I tried to negotiate. I was like, ‘Instead of giving me the severance pay, keep me on the payroll so that I can finish with the extension process and I’ll still work,’” he said. “I offered them a solution…but they didn’t want to do the extra work, which is understandable. I mean, it’s not their problem.”

And then there’s the experience of Jenna Radwan, 22, who recently earned her BS in Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of San Francisco. She originally accepted a job at San Francisco-based startup Hirect, which helps other tech startups recruit and hire. When she heard Hirect would pay her a base salary of $80,000 plus uncapped commission that could push her total compensation to a multiple of that, she cut short other interviews to accept the offer, “My ears perked up, my eyes got big, and I didn’t even see any of the other companies as even close competition,” she said.

But two weeks before her start date, Radwan got thrown a curveball. Her offer had been rescinded “due solely to the current unforeseen circumstances & drastic turn in the market.” “Due to the very volatile market conditions, the business & leadership team has decided to halt/freeze all forms of external hiring at this time, and we have entered an immediate hiring freeze and a round of layoffs,” reads an email from a recruiter that Radwan shared on LinkedIn. (A spokesman for Hirect confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it had rescinded two job offers due to the slump in tech hiring.)

Radwan was “in shock,” but quickly tapped into her network and reached out to recruiters she’d previously been in the process of interviewing with, and ultimately landed a job as a recruiter at Insight Global. “It was a wild ride but I know that I’m exactly where I am meant to be,” Radwan said, adding that she hadn’t really considered her values in terms of a career before then. “I just thought of money, but I realized that you can have money plus other things, like good company culture, like good job security, like good benefits, like good PTO,” she said.

Her advice for recent grads entering the job market amid the growing fear of offers being rescinded? Do your research, ask questions like how the company reacted to COVID in 2020 (i.e. was it quick to lay off workers?), talk to current employees and take time to weigh all your offers.

If you’re looking for an indication of the current gestalt, it may come from Radwan’s new employer. Insight Global is still hiring. But in June, it surveyed 1,000 workers and found 23% were “extremely worried” about losing their job in the next recession. Or, as Insight put it, the “Great Resignation” is giving way to the “Great Apprehension.”

Katherine Huggins

Source: Wave Of High-Profile Tech Layoffs Raises Fear Of Recessions–And Stalled Careers–Past

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Monitoring Employees Makes Them More Likely to Break Rules

As remote work becomes the norm, more and more companies have begun tracking employees through desktop monitoring, video surveillance, and other digital tools. These systems are designed to reduce rule-breaking — and yet new research suggests that in some cases, they can seriously backfire. Specifically, the authors found across two studies that monitored employees were substantially more likely to break rules, including engaging in behaviors such as cheating on a test, stealing equipment, and purposely working at a slow pace.

They further found that this effect was driven by a shift in employees’ sense of agency and personal responsibility: Monitoring employees led them to subconsciously feel less responsibility for their own conduct, ultimately making them more likely to act in ways that they would otherwise consider immoral. However, when employees feel that they are being treated fairly, the authors found that they are less likely to suffer a drop in agency and are thus less likely to lose their sense of moral responsibility in response to monitoring.

As such, the authors suggest that in cases where monitoring is necessary, employers should take steps to enhance perceptions of justice and thus preserve employees’ sense of agency. In April 2020, global demand for employee monitoring software more than doubled. Online searches for “how to monitor employees working from home” increased by 1,705%, and sales for systems that track workers’ activity via desktop monitoring, keystroke tracking, video surveillance, GPS location tracking, and other digital tools went through the roof.

Some of these systems purport to use employee data to improve wellbeing — for example, Microsoft is developing a system that would use smart watches to collect data on employees’ blood pressure and heart rate, producing personalized “anxiety scores” to inform wellness recommendations. But the vast majority of employee monitoring tools are focused on tracking performance, increasing productivity, and deterring rule-breaking.

For example, a social-media marketing company in Florida installed software on employees’ work computers that takes screenshots of their desktop every 10 minutes and records how much time they spend on different activities. The company then uses this data to determine productivity levels and identify rule-breakers. Similarly, Amazon tracks smartphone data for its delivery drivers to monitor their efficiency and identify unsafe driving practices.

Given their prevalence, one might expect that these sorts of systems would be effective in reducing harmful workplace behavior. And indeed, studies have shown that in some contexts, monitoring can deter certain specific behaviors, such as theft by restaurant workers. However, our recent research suggests that in many cases, monitoring employees can seriously backfire.

When Monitoring Backfires

In our first study, we surveyed more than 100 employees across the U.S., some of whom were subject to monitoring at work and some of whom were not. We found that monitored employees were substantially more likely to take unapproved breaks, disregard instructions, damage workplace property, steal office equipment, and purposefully work at a slow pace, among other rule-breaking behaviors. Of course, this survey only determined correlation — so to prove causation, we ran a second, experimental study.

We asked another 200 U.S.-based employees to complete a series of tasks, and told half of them that they would be working under electronic surveillance. We then gave them an opportunity to cheat, and found that those who were told they were being monitored were actually more likely to cheat than those who didn’t think they were being monitored.

What drove this effect? In general, people are motivated to do the right thing by a combination of external factors (such as the threat of punishment or promise of reward) and their internal moral compass. Prior studies in support of employee monitoring generally focus on the former: situations in which targeted monitoring informs an immediate external response to a specific form of misconduct, such as retail workers who know they will be fired if they’re caught stealing on camera. But in many workplace contexts, employers cannot rely on carrots and sticks alone.

In these cases, employers must also depend on employees’ internal sense of morality — and our studies showed that monitoring employees causes them to subconsciously feel that they are less responsible for their own conduct, thus making them more likely to act immorally. Specifically, when we surveyed the participants in our studies, we found that those who were monitored were more likely to report that the authority figure overseeing their surveillance was responsible for their behavior, while the employees who weren’t monitored were more likely to take responsibility for their actions.

This reduction in agency in turn made the monitored employees more likely to act contrary to their own moral standards, ultimately leading them to engage in behavior that they would otherwise consider immoral.

To Boost Agency, Treat Employees Justly

Clearly, monitoring can have some major negative side effects. But is it possible to gain the benefits of monitoring employees without pushing them to abandon their morals? Being monitored is likely to always have at least some negative impact on people’s sense of agency and moral responsibility, but our studies did identify one mechanism that can reduce this effect: When employees feel that they are being treated fairly, they are less likely to suffer a drop in agency and are thus less likely to lose their sense of moral responsibility in response to monitoring.

In our experiment, we increased perceptions of employer fairness both by varying how respectfully the administrator interacted with the participants, and whether they received the cash reward they had been promised, and we found that monitored participants were less likely to cheat if they felt they were treated justly.

So what does this mean for employers? There are countless ways leaders can enhance perceptions of justice (and thus preserve employees’ sense of agency). As a starting point, rather than unilaterally implementing a monitoring system, leaders should find ways to give employees visibility and input into when surveillance is appropriate and when it should be off-limits — and then stick to those boundaries.

For example, financial services instant messaging platform Symphony enables managers to monitor employee conversations only to the extent necessary for record-keeping and legal compliance, with strict guidelines in place preventing any surveillance without a strong justification. Leaders should also find ways to give employees access to their own data, as well as aggregated, anonymized data collected from relevant teams. That data should in turn be used in ways that benefit employees (for example, to inform wellness initiatives or professional development opportunities).

And of course, leaders should do their best to communicate openly and transparently with employees about what data will be collected and how it will be used — in fact, one survey found that even just explaining the scope and purpose of monitoring can boost employees’ acceptance of the practice by about 70%.

When used right, monitoring employees can prevent accidents, boost performance, and improve overall wellbeing. But our research demonstrates that it can also reduce employees’ sense of agency and personal responsibility, potentially increasing the prevalence of the very behaviors that these systems are meant to deter. To mitigate this risk, leaders must ensure that they treat employees fairly, foster accountability, and frame monitoring as a tool for empowering — not punishing — employees.

By: Chase Thiel, Julena M. Bonner,John Bush, David Welsh, and Niharika Garud

Source: Monitoring Employees Makes Them More Likely to Break Rules

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