Photograph of San Francisco
Photo: Jared Erondu/Unsplash

The tech hub is changing. Can workplace culture keep up?

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Kids today just don’t want to work, amiright? I am wrong. Nobody has ever really wanted to work. Today: Why experts say that tech hubs will always be tech hubs, even when people aren’t commuting into offices every day. The downturn in the economy is changing everything in tech, including big companies’ diversity goals. Plus, some personnel news.

Enjoy your Thursday,

Meg Morrone, Senior Editor (email | twitter)

Is a tech hub still a tech hub, even without the offices?

Ryan Rea helps run Miami Tech Life, an organization that emerged from the pandemic and helps tech workers — especially those who just got to the city — connect. Rea said there’s a desire for connection in tech cities even during remote work, and the group helps foster that. And more than that, the fact that the group exists shows how tech hubs aren’t going dormant. They just look different now.

Remote work is changing tech hubs. As I wrote in Source Code this week, lots of people aren’t going back to the office, but they’re not leaving cities either. San Francisco Mayor London Breed said there hasn’t been a mass exodus from the city even while office vacancies persist.

  • The same could be said about other cities filled with tech workers. They aren’t fleeing in droves, but hybrid and remote work is as popular as ever.
  • As a result, cities are talking about how they can adapt to less foot traffic around offices. “Our concerts, our activities, our conventions, a lot of the things that people would want to visit a major city for is what we have to also focus on,” Breed said.

The hub is still there. Employees just might not feel the need anymore to crowd around downtown San Francisco or other areas where offices are concentrated.

  • Mark Muro, a senior fellow and policy director at Brookings Metro, told me that workers might spread around the city. They could move to neighborhoods or suburbs farther away from the office, for instance, because they don’t need to commute as much.
  • But to be clear, a tech hub is still a tech hub even when you take offices out of the picture. “We never defined tech hubs as places with a bunch of offices,” San Francisco chief economist Ted Egan told me. “We always defined it as places with a bunch of talent, places with a lot of financing, places with an entrepreneurial culture.”
  • Egan added that as long as universities keep producing research and VCs keep investing in new ideas, cities like San Francisco and Seattle won’t lose their tech charm.

Tech workers just need to find other ways to interact with one another. For Miami Tech Life, at least, that involves a mix of coworking sessions, socials and happy hours — not necessarily time in the office.

  • Rea, the director of growth for Miami Tech Life, said the organization plans boat day dinners, mixers and other social events. Tech workers with a particular interest, like crypto, also plan coworking sessions a few times a week, and Rea organizes office hours (then a corresponding happy hour) with employees who just moved to Miami.
  • Rea said he’s happier than he was before the pandemic began because he’s been able to meet people across companies while working remotely in the city. “When you were in an office, you sort of fell in with certain groups or certain cliques,” Rea told me. “And that was your world. But now everyone does different things [together].”

Tech hubs might be changing, but they certainly haven’t gone away. On top of rethinking what an office is used for, maybe it’s time to think about what the rest of a city is used for, too.

Sarah Roach, reporter (email | twitter)

Meta hits some diversity goals, but what happens next?

Meta pledged in 2019 to double the number of Black and Latinx employees in the U.S., and the number of women globally, by 2024. It fulfilled these goals early, according to a diversity progress report the company released this week. Meta's numbers stand at 46.5% Asian, 37.6% White, 6.7% Latinx, 4.9% Black and 4% two or more races. The percentages of Black and Latinx employees at Meta still fall below those of the greater U.S. population.

Underrepresented people — including women, people of color, veterans and people with disabilities — make up 46.7% of Meta's global workforce. This is up by about a percentage point from 2021. Women represent 36.7% of Meta's global leadership. Last year, Meta made strides in increasing the number of Black leaders, but its overall representation of women declined slightly.

Read the full story.


They created Digital People. Now they've made celebrities available as Digital Twins:Soul Machines co-founder and CEO Greg Cross and his co-founder Mark Sagar, Ph.D., FRSNZ are leading their Auckland and San Francisco-based teams to create AI-enabled Digital People™️ to populate the internet, at first, and soon the metaverse.

Read more from Soul Machines

Some personnel news

Anyone else having a bad case of Great Resignation whiplash? It’s hard to keep up with which tech companies are growing, shrinking, floating or sinking. We’re here to help.

↓ Lyft cut around 60 employees, or about 2% of total staff, on July 20 as it consolidates global operations.

↓ Varo, the first consumer neobank to secure a national banking license with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, just announced it’s laying off 75 employees.

A new Biden plan is pushing to quickly fill cybersecurity jobs.

↔ Alphabet-owned Google announced to staff on July 20 that it’s pausing hiring for two weeks, The Information reported, following news that it would slow hiring and spending through the rest of the year.

For more news on hiring, firing and rewiring, see our tech company tracker.

Report: HR pros are laser-focused on workplace culture

This week HR Dive released its second annual “Identity of HR survey,” covering the most-pressing issues for human resources professionals.

  • More than half of HR pros (57%) said culture issues were of utmost importance to them. This includes dealing with loss of engagement, worker isolation and mentorships.
  • Hiring is also a top concern, with 36.5% of HR pros listing it as their most-pressing issue.

Other pain points listed as primary concerns:

  • Training, 8%
  • Compliance, 7%
  • Tech, 7%

More stories from us

Atlassian decided to go fully remote. Here’s how it did it.

Zuck wants you to go to college in the metaverse.

Another group of Activision Blizzard employees are trying to start a union.

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

A great long read about the importance of work besties. (The New York Times)

Does your DEI plan cover neurodiversity? (Fast Company)

Coming soon: Re-create the iconic Dunder Mifflin office in your own remote office. (Lego)


They created Digital People. Now they've made celebrities available as Digital Twins: Soul Machines is at the cutting edge of AGI research with its unique Digital Brain, based on the latest neuroscience and developmental psychology research.

Read more from Soul Machines

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