January 16, 2022
Photo: Luis Alvarez/Getty Images
Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter, where we share the latest tips, tools and insights to help you stay informed about the modern tech office. Today: mental health at work, how Google is solving for hybrid meetings and work-from-home perks.
—Amber Burton, reporter (twitter | email)
This week, I wrote about a subject that is super controversial in tech: the notorious performance improvement plan, otherwise known as the PIP.
One of my sources, Betsey Trudeau, told me about the painful process of her own PIP, which ultimately resulted in termination. During the course of her PIP, Trudeau was dealing with severe depression, which she said she had told her manager about.
To Trudeau, living and working with depression was “no different than somebody who needs to wear glasses or somebody who requires insulin.” But she feels like her manager viewed it as an excuse for her performance. In retrospect, she told me she no longer feels comfortable telling a manager about mental health issues, for fear of retaliation.
Another source — whom I referred to in the story under the pseudonym Emily due to the nondisclosure agreement she signed — was put on a PIP with some unusual, non-performance-related terms: “You can’t lie, you can’t be emotional and you have to better manage conflicts with teammates.”
According to HR experts and lawyers I spoke to, PIPs are not an appropriate tool for behavioral issues. (The first “P” stands for “performance,” not “behavior” or “emotions.”)
So what do you do as a manager when you notice an employee is dealing with mental health issues? My colleague Anna Kramer has reported on some more things not to do:
Stay tuned for more from the Protocol Workplace team on what you should do when an employee comes to you about mental health issues at work. And if you have a story to share about your experience talking about or dealing with mental health issues in the workplace, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for encrypted messages.
It now seems almost certain that antitrust action, privacy laws and more will influence the tech industry and will soon affect the most powerful companies. Our expert panel will discuss what lawmakers hope to achieve, how tech companies are already responding to possible regulation and what it might look like a few years from now. Join Justin Brookman, Julie Brill, Samir Jain and Linda Moore, moderated by Protocol Senior Reporter Ben Brody on Jan. 26 at 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET.
Google has entered the race to make hybrid meetings better with its latest video conferencing feature, Google Companion. Companion enables meeting attendees joining from an IRL conference room to log into meetings separately from their own devices without depending on Google Hangout hardware. Participants can then use features like chat, polls, hand-raising and screen-sharing without depending on the sole conference room monitor. Meeting platforms are all working to bridge the gap between the people dialing in from home and the office. Zoom most recently released “Smart Gallery,” which uses hardware and AI to isolate faces in a conference room and place them in separate tiles. Microsoft is also experimenting with a new type of conference room with a curved table and projected screen. The goal for all the platforms is to create a more equal meeting.
As businesses grow during the pandemic, they also encounter pressing challenges to maintain that success. Among them is the pressure to strengthen their digital backbone, which leads to the question: How can companies find the ideal technology provider suited to their evolving needs?
The best way to add a failed company to your resume.
This week’s “Ask a Tech Worker:” How likely is your company to adopt a four-day workweek?Women often face more backlash than men when negotiating pay.
The latest in pay, perks and benefits news in the workplace.
Some tech companies are realizing the added financial pressure put on employees in a hybrid workplace. In addition to commuting to the office, hybrid employees are balancing the costs of maintaining a home office. Because of this, employers are offering more benefits to subsidize workers’ remote lives. My colleague Allison Levitsky found that the perks are vast. Here’s a look at some of the expenses companies are willing to pay for as more people shift to working from home.
I think we’re all too familiar with the concept of burnout at this point in the pandemic. And to say it was the buzzword of 2021 would be an understatement. Employees are tired. The weight of the pandemic and all that has come along with it caused many workers to leave their jobs and seek healthier relationships to work. Visier surveyed 1,000 full-time U.S. employees about their experiences with workplace burnout. Here are some of the highlights:
Payroll platform Deel appointed Casey Bailey as its head of People. Prior to joining the company, Bailey was senior vice president of People and Places at Divvy.
A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day, see you Tuesday.