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The workplace is still a hot mess

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: A workplace state of the union, testing resumes and rising tech salaries.

—Amber Burton, Reporter ( twitter | email )

A workplace state of the union

As we approach the end of the year — or at least the holidays, because let's face it, that's when out of office responses begin rolling in — I thought I'd take stock of where we are in terms of the tech industry and the workplace. Spoiler alert: It's still weird.

I myself picked up and moved from Manhattan to North Carolina several months into the pandemic and never went back. (Yes, I do in fact miss my small apartment with only two windows. Thanks for asking.) I've spent over a year working solely from home, most of my meetings take place over Zoom, and I've never met my team in person, except for that one colleague I recruited from my old place of work (hey, Michelle !), even though some experts say you shouldn't do that .

The uncertainty of my work life is far from unique. Grand declarations of returning to the office have been followed by grand email announcements from leaders across the industry postponing the return to the office . And despite countless predictions for the very near future of work, the current state of the workplace remains unclear. Eighteen months into the pandemic and routines are still hard to come by and several hours on video conference calls is still hard. Employees who once agreed to come to the office three days a week are doing well if they make it in even once a week .

So from our workplace (team) to yours, here's a look at where we are in the world of work, chaos and all:

We're in more meetings than ever .

  • The average professional now spends 21.5 hours a week in meetings… that's half of the work week. Before the pandemic, meetings took up about 14 hours a week. Most of the increase is attributed to more one-on-one meetings.
  • In October the average professional had 5.6 one-on-one meetings per week, up from about one in February 2020.

We're still waiting for magical enterprise technology to swoop in and solve all the problems in our hybrid work lives .

  • Companies rushed to adopt new tools following the pandemic to make working from various locations and conditions easier. While some tools caught on, others did not, and the new challenge has sent enterprise tech companies into a frenzy to create solutions.
  • Be patient: "Yes, the tool that you have today may not have the newest feature. But if you are willing to wait a little bit, it will get there," Nationwide CTO Jim Fowler told Protocol.

We're going head over heels for productivity apps.

  • Some are predicting the market size for productivity tools could reach almost $120 billion by 2028. All-in-one tool platforms are becoming one of the most popular trends among productivity startups.

Despite the increase in cool perks like unlimited vacation, people are taking less time off .

  • A 2018 study found employees at companies with unlimited PTO policies took fewer vacation days on average than employees at companies with traditional PTO policies. Now organizations are incentivizing workers to take more vacation time.

All this considered, tech companies are still betting on the home office as the future of work.

  • Many companies shelled out money for knowledge workers to buy monitors, webcams and other home office necessities last year.
  • Webex is betting on the future of hybrid work by investing in portable video conferencing monitors, enhanced digital whiteboards for conference rooms and new Webex features with the goal of improving meetings for remote workers.

What we learned from an anonymous software engineer and a fake resume

Would you interview someone who listed "team coffee maker" or "Phi Beta Phi — fraternity record for most vodka shots in one night" on their resume? According to an informal experiment run by an anonymous software engineer, the answer is a resounding 'yes!' The engineer, who requested not to be named, sent out a fake resume under the name of Angelina Lee with a list of flashy companies and bizarre job descriptions to boot. He wanted to test whether where you work and went to school really make a difference in tech, wrote my colleague Anna Kramer in her story this week. All signs point to the idea that it does. The fake applicant received repeated requests for interviews from Robinhood, Dropbox, Airtable and more.

Read the full story here .


Achieving work equity in a hybrid world means equipping employees with the tech tools that enable them to feel fully seen, heard and valued no matter where they are. Work equity is the outcome of a business that champions work-from-anywhere, deploying technology to give workers autonomy and increase collaboration across underrepresented groups.

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Enjoy reading Protocol's Workplace newsletter each week? Reach out to us! Protocol wants to hear your best tips, tools and hacks for our new work world. What gets you to inbox zero? Do we even do that anymore? And if you feel so inclined, tell us what you'd like to read. Reply to this email or email us directly: workplace@protocol.com.

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Today's tips & tools

We have multiple productivity tips to point you to today.

  • Roundup of Slack tips you wish you knew: Maybe learning how to make your Slack notification sound "hummus" isn't enough for you. Johnny Rodgers, a developer at Slack, tweeted out a list of very useful and satisfying Slack tips. Some of my favorites include organizing your channels into sections, command + clicking on a channel to open it in splitview and shift + esc to mark all messages as read (which is perhaps the most important and also the last one in the thread). I have a soft spot for the /shrug shortcut that turns into the remarkably applicable ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Copy and paste text from images: This could be a game changer, folks. With the latest iOS update, you can select text in Photos and paste it into whatever text app you desire. You can also do this on the Google Photos app, so do not fear if you're an Android user or dislike using the Apple Photos app. Or if you can't download iOS 15 because you're lazy and need to update your Cloud storage, like me.

— Lizzy Lawrence, Reporter ( twitter | email )

Talking tech and money

Here's something we all love talking about: money. And for tech workers, it was a good year. IT staffing company Motion Recruitment released its 2022 Tech Salary Guide on Wednesday, offering a peak at 2021 compensation trends and predictions for the year to come. Despite a year filled with enduring uncertainty, the rising demand for tech talent and the simultaneous talent gap pushed pay higher within the industry.

  • Tech salaries rose overall in 2021. On average, tech salaries were up a whopping 6.2%, and about 40% of IT workers reported receiving a pay increase.
  • The top three tech roles with the fastest growing salaries include cybersecurity analysts (up 16.3%), data scientists (up 12.8%) and DevOps engineers (up 12.2%).
  • Employees in smaller tech hubs are experiencing a pay boost as well. Tech salaries in Charlotte, NC rose almost 14%, and in Orlando, FL salaries rose just over 13%. Location will continue to play a large role in compensation in 2022, according to Motion Recruitment.

Around the internet

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

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

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