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Startups signal a return of some office expenses

Protocol Workplace

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: Spending trends in the startup workplace, paternity leave, and gender bias in the workplace.

—Amber Burton, reporter (twitter | email)

Startups are spending money again. Here's what's coming back.

One of the best litmus tests for what's to come in the workplace is to look at how tech companies and startups are spending their money. We wanted to know what those money-spenders think is still worth investing in and what they're leaving in the past (R.I.P. permanent office space).

Kruze Consulting, an accounting firm focused on early-stage startups, recently looked at how its 500-plus startup clients are spending, offering a clear picture of what expenses are returning to workplaces. Here's a look at what's springing back to life and what's not.

Travel is making a comeback, specifically short-term rentals.

  • Airbnb expenses skyrocketed, signaling that more companies are feeling comfortable enough to gather for off-sites and all-hands meetings. According to Kruze Consulting, Airbnb spending among its clients is up 500% since April 2020. In addition, spending on flights is up nearly 1,000%, suggesting business trips are back.

The triumphant return of food delivery! Because what's work without free food?

  • As more people return to the office, at least some days of the week, spending on food delivery services has increased.
  • Prior to the pandemic, startups averaged around $1,000 a quarter on food delivery. During the height of the pandemic that expense dropped dramatically to about $300 a quarter. Now it's bounced back to about $700 per quarter.

Temporary workspaces are all the rage again and so are ride-hailing services.

  • Kruze Consulting observed a rebound in spending on WeWork office space. Prior to the pandemic, startups spent about $4,500 a month on office space rentals. During the height of the pandemic, spending on rentals dropped to around $1,200 a month (less than most NYC apartments). Spending is now back to an average of $2,500 a month.
  • Ride-hailing expenses were almost nonexistent during the pandemic, but have jumped back up to about $1,000 a month for Kruze's startup clients. For some employees, a free ride home is incentive enough to lure them to the office.

Some expenses have not recovered.

  • No surprise: It's long-term office space. While more people are renting temporary space again, fewer companies are signing long-term office leases as they allow more of their workforces to adopt hybrid and remote schedules.
  • The money once spent on office snacks has also dipped dramatically, as bulk snack orders of pretzels and popcorn have decreased with the increase of remote and hybrid work.

Last, vice president of FP&A and Marketing at Kruze Consulting Healy Jones told Protocol the shift to hiring people everywhere without the constraints of geography has had the most notable effect on spending. He's seen a massive rise in investing in professional employer organizations (PEOs) which help companies hire people from all over the world. The move also reinforces the trend toward more disparate workplaces and why we're starting to observe more travel — employees are finally meeting.

"When we get together now, it's kind of special," he told Protocol. "It's a big deal when people get to work in an office."

Men aren't taking their paternity leave

The evidence is in: Paternity leave has been deemed beneficial for all involved. So why are men still hesitant to take it? Some are worried taking the extended time off will hurt their careers, and the ones who do take it are worried it comes at a cost, wrote my colleague Michelle Ma. While these worries aren't new, especially for women, public discourse as of late has made clear that gender still plays a major role in how workers approach parental leave. The tech industry in particular has room to grow in terms of promoting a culture where everyone feels comfortable taking leave. "To say 'I'm not going to be investing for six weeks' is scary as hell," said Atin Batra, founder and general partner of an ed tech VC fund.

Read the full story here.

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Today's tips & tools

Decluttering your browser is just as important as decluttering your desk, if not more so. Many of us amass a ridiculous number of tabs and windows. It causes distraction, makes sites impossible to find and clogs precious browser memory. Previously in Protocol Workplace, we told you how to group your tabs on Google Chrome. But there are even more strategies to cut down your tabs. HuffPost reporter Monica Torres noted a bunch after talking to the guy who invented them.

  • Put your tabs into a list. Google Chrome extension OneTab converts all your tabs into a list. Firefox add-on Tree Tabs turns your tabs into a tree-like structure. And Tab Lister works with Firefox and Chrome.
  • Automatically close inactive tabs. Tab Wrangler and Tab Suspender close tabs after a designated amount of time. Mute all inactive tabs targets those pesky tabs that blast sounds when you're not using them.

— Lizzy Lawrence, reporter (twitter | email)


Seamlessly connect your teams and customers with team messaging, video meetings, and a business phone, all on one platform. RingCentral breaks down barriers so you can run and grow your business, from anywhere. Welcome to the reliable, secure place where people do their best work and say hello to possibilities, together.

Learn more

Women in tech still perceive inequity

For a long time women have been outnumbered by men in tech. And while progress has been made in terms of equity, some say overcoming inherent bias has been a slower trek. Consulting firm New View Strategies recently surveyed 1,000 women in tech to get a better picture of their experience in the male-dominated industry. Here are some of the biggest takeaways.

  • Over a third of survey respondents (38%) reported having witnessed gender bias in the workplace. That same percentage also said "men are assumed to be more capable than women in their tech-based workplace."
  • 46% of people said their tech company is not "actively prioritizing" gender equality in the hiring process or company culture. 26% of people simply answered no, their organization doesn't prioritize gender equality in hiring or culture.
  • The pandemic hasn't put an end to gender bias in the workplace. Of those surveyed, 14% said they've experienced bias since the start of the pandemic.
  • Last, 43% of respondents still believe there is a gender pay gap at their tech organization.

Making moves

SaaS company LiveRamp appointed Sharawn Tipton as its chief people officer. Prior to joining LiveRamp, Tipton was chief diversity and inclusion officer at Micron Technology.

Stitch Fix appointed Linda Aiello as its chief people and culture officer. Prior to joining the company, Aiello was the executive vice president of employee success business partners at Salesforce.

Misfits Gaming appointed Candace Rhymer as its chief people officer. Prior to joining, Rhymer was chief operating officer at BrightBytes.

Tealium, an enterprise tag management company, appointed Adrianne Court as its new chief human resources officer. Court formerly led HR, culture and facilities experience programs at Alkami.

Around the internet

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

It's not just you: Taking part in hybrid work life from the office is awkward.

Where does the seven-day week come from, and how much does it order our lives?

Managing conflict in the hybrid workplace feels all the more challenging. Here's a guide for managing conflict from home.

Is remote work making "mommy tracking" even more pervasive in the workplace?

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to workplace@protocol.com. Have a great weekend, see you next week.

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