August 4, 2021
Photo: Luis Alvarez / Getty Images
Welcome back to the Protocol Workplace newsletter. We're glad you're here.
This week Microsoft announced that starting in September, the company will require proof of vaccination for all employees who plan to visit any Microsoft campus. What the company did not say was exactly how verification would work. HR vendors like ADP and Workday are developing tools to help employers track and secure vaccine information, but there's still no standard as to what proof companies require other than a physical vaccine card or a photo of it.
As more and more tech companies begin to institute vaccine mandates, we hope they find something that works better than the NY Covid Safe app, which apparently can't tell the difference between a vaccine card and a menu for meat.
Protocol reporter Allison Levitsky has been covering the rapidly evolving return to office and says that many companies are taking employees at their word that they're vaccinated, although that might change with the continued rise in cases, especially among the unvaccinated.
As for me, last week I filled out the online form to get the digital record of my vaccination status (#TeamModerna). The form was easy enough to complete and I assumed that when I received a link to the online "card," via text, I'd be able to add it to my Apple Wallet for safekeeping and easy access. Yeah. No.
Having covered the technology industry for more than twenty years, I don't know why I continue to be Charlie Brown thinking this time I'll get to kick Lucy's football, this time technology will make important things easier. Instead, I took a screenshot of the QR code and saved it in a locked Apple Note, where it is sort of secure and maybe a little easier to access than keeping the screenshot in my camera roll, which is what the State of California website recommends for people with iPhones. Am I the only one who doesn't want to be scrolling through her camera roll to find that photo to show her employer?
If you have an Android Phone you can save your record to Google Pay and there are many third-party apps that will let you add your card to your wallet, but the security and data-collecting practices of these apps are less than ideal.
— Meg Morrone
Senior Editor, Protocol | Workplace
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Is it better to schedule breaks in between a series of different meetings or should you knock them all out in a row to allow for more focused meetingless time before or after? Should meetings be once a week, bi-weekly, or how about never? These are among the constant questions we ask ourselves in our hybrid world where meetings must be planned and intentional lest someone scold us that our meeting could have been an email. Our panel of experts convenes this month to show us how to bring people together without wasting anyone's time. Clear your meeting schedule so you can attend. And then go ahead and clear your meeting schedule for the rest of the week.
The president of Activision Blizzard is officially out as of Tuesday, following a deluge of reports of sexual harassment, discrimination against women and a "frat bro" culture inside the company. President J. Allen Brack will be replaced by two executive VPs, Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, who will co-lead the studio. The company's SVP of Human Resources, Jesse Meschuk, has also left.
As part of Activision's Q2 earnings report Tuesday evening, the California lawsuit was added to the company's list of risk factors: "If we experience prolonged periods of adverse publicity, significantly reduced productivity or other negative consequences relating to this matter, our business likely would be adversely impacted."
Twitter calls it META. Google calls it "Ethical AI." Whatever the name, teams dedicated to making sure AI and ML tools are used ethically and responsibly are becoming a core part of lots of tech companies. They've come with plenty of controversy in the past — just ask Timnit Gebru — but Twitter's Rumman Chowdhury and Jutta Williams said they're dedicated to proving it's possible to get right.
It's easy for folks in security, compliance and teams like META to feel like the bummers in the room, telling everyone to slow down and be careful. But Williams framed it differently: "I used to say, why are there brakes on a car? It's so that you can drive fast."
This balance between qualitative and quantitative data is a critical one to get right with your team, in everything from AI models to the new KPIs of hybrid work. (There's no magical rubric for balancing employee well-being vs. code commits.) And it's only possible if everyone buys in.
In today's world, hybrid organizations face more challenges than ever. For companies to stay competitive, leaders need to proactively spot gaps, identify opportunities, and streamline work. Uncover how Trello Enterprise can help teams break down those department silos and share key information for more collaborative work.
Join Protocol's David Pierce for a conversation with Mural's CEO Mariano Suarez-Battan and Calendly's Annie Pearl during our upcoming event: A Better Meeting August 17 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET Learn More
The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Amazon violated labor laws during the months-long mail-in union election at a Bessemer, Alabama facility, which means that a second election will likely be held soon, date to be determined. Amazon, of course, plans to appeal the decision.
Though the union organizers (represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union) lost the vote by more than a 2:1 ratio in April, Amazon's conduct "usurped" the NLRB's authority, according to a decision from hearing officer Kerstin Meyers released Tuesday morning.
Powering a productive team means using a powerful tool. Meet Trello Enterprise: the tool designed to help your team move work forward. Trello Enterprise makes it easy to collaborate with teammates, organize tasks, and understand what's due now (and what's up next). It's more than work. It's a way of working together.
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great week, see you next Wednesday.