January 13, 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: how to support parents at work, the women supporting whistleblowers, and Glassdoor’s "Best Places to Work" for 2022.
—Amber Burton, reporter (email | twitter)
Parents are tired. And who can blame them? We’ve entered yet another year accompanied by spikes in COVID-19 cases. Classrooms are closing and children are entering online school again for weeks at a time, and it’s leaving some parents with the double duty of working and parenting. It’s a crisis, to say the least.
In response, some tech companies are stepping up their support for caregivers who are working with children at home. The offerings are vast, ranging from child care and online classes to virtual therapy.
One service that companies have embraced is Outschool, the online learning platform that achieved unicorn status last year after raising a $75 million series C. The ed-tech company offers live classes for children ages 3 to 18. Twitter, Alto Pharmacy and Quizlet have all partnered with Outschool to provide support for their employees with children. With a quirky and diverse set of offerings, parents can find everything from math to Minecraft classes depending on their goals. “The Science of Thoughts” has become particularly popular among children and parents alike, said Amir Nathoo, co-founder and head of Outschool.
The partnerships with employers are pretty straightforward: Companies provide a wallet or set aside money for parents to specifically use on Outschool classes.
Nathoo also said Outschool is currently seeing a jump in demand of more than 50% month-over-month. He attributes it to parents adjusting to the new semester alongside their children. Across the U.S., we’re seeing children sent home for remote learning due to COVID-19 cases, exposure and teacher absences. The trends Outschool is observing based off of when children are using the platform is revealing. More children have been active on the site during the day, suggesting that children are at home and parents are filling the gaps within their school days while they work.
The varying schedules from week-to-week have put a strain on many parents, causing stress and upping the likelihood of burnout. To combat this, more HR leaders have sought out mental health providers to offset unseen stressors. Brightline is one such company that has come on the scene to help both parents and children. The virtual care company started forming partnerships last year and has seen an influx in inbound requests from employers. Brightline has partnered with a total of 35 employers and five health plans over the past year to provide in-network care. Here's how it works for employers and employees:
Naomi Allen, the CEO and co-founder of Brightline, said employers have been attracted to their service for a mix of reasons: “high employee burnout, high risk of employee attrition, increasing claims costs because of the use of the emergency room — because when you don't get ahead of mental health needs they don't just go away, they get exacerbated,” she said. All of which lead to extra costs for employers.
In addition to providing services, some companies are simply providing the flexibility parents need at this time without question. Pinterest, for example, which has become known for its support for parents, allows its caregiving employees to take leave if needed.
The key to offering supportive benefits for parents is not just about funding, but also educating on how the benefits might be used, Nathoo said. As with any new benefit, there can be uncertainty at first. “Using levers such as employee resource groups to spread that knowledge, I would say, is critically important,” he said.
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. Speakers for our free, online event include 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.
"I'm drowning in meetings," said every team last year. Shake up the meeting status quo with video communication that works for your team. Meet Rewatch – a video hub designed for distributed work. Record, organize, and share the videos your team needs to work smarter.
A two-person startup has become one of the most powerful forces for holding major companies accountable. My colleague Anna Kramer interviewed the two women behind the whistleblower support firm Lioness. Ariella Steinhorn and Amber Scorah founded the company that now has a word-of-mouth reputation for allowing people to share their stories about financial fraud, white-collar crimes, harassment and unethical or manipulative business practices. What makes the firm different from other whistleblower networks is its connections and paid partnerships with law firms. Law firms pay Lioness as a partner, and Lioness refers clients to their attorneys for help and pro bono legal advice.
Negotiating a tech salary? This expert has advice for you.
Coinbase is planning to shut down various weeks throughout the year so employees can recharge.
Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, employees will get a second chance to vote for unionizing in February.
Performance improvement plans are scary. Here are steps for making the process more effective.
From company all-hands to project updates, our distributed teams rely on video to get more done, together. But one thing is not working: our back-to-back-to-back video calls. Learn how to make video work for your team in 2022 – with our ebook.
What object creates unbridled glee in children and working professionals alike? The Pop It, a colorful toy with bubbles you can poke. Like its predecessor the fidget spinner, the Pop It went viral with the help of social media. Quite a few of us at Protocol have confessed to borrowing (let’s be honest, stealing) our younger family members' Pop Its. But you can also order your own to limit fidgeting and spark joy throughout the day.
Glassdoor released its 2022 list of "Best Places to Work" this week, and tech companies ruled the rankings. As the pandemic wears on, workers report that tech companies continue to excel when it comes to offering flexibility and positive employee experiences, Glassdoor’s senior economist Daniel Zhao told Protocol. Chip giant Nvidia topped the list, and a total of 40 tech companies ranked in the top 100 best places to work among large U.S. companies. This is up from 28 tech companies in 2021. Here’s a look at some of the top employee-rated tech companies and where they ranked.
Indeed appointed Svenja Gudell as its chief economist. Gudell will lead the Indeed Hiring Lab, Indeed’s team of economists who provide insights about the global labor market. Gudell was formerly the chief economist at Zillow.
Online ordering platform Lunchbox appointed Chelsea Kingsbury as its head of People. Kingsbury was previously director of Culture and Engagement at the company.
A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.
The head of HR is now responsible for grappling with a number of public health questions.
Northwest Arkansas is offering bitcoin and a bike to entice tech workers to move to the state.
The Verge now has a guide for all things WFH, because let’s face it: Two years into the pandemic, we’re still trying to figure it out.
The future of HR might be an app on your smartphone.
Um… apparently people are using the flexibility of working from home to go to brunch on Fridays.
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day, see you Sunday.