Vibrant floaties in a pool
Photo: Toni Cuenca/Unsplash

Get out your floaties: It’s time to work from the pool

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Happy end of July! Today: what it really means when your company has a work-from-anywhere policy, how layoffs impact company reputation, and rising worker costs.

The limits of work from anywhere

Earlier this summer, I decided to put my laptop on a massive watermelon floatie and work. I got to cool off, get some vitamin D and get my work done all at once — but my laptop and phone got too hot for the sun so I took my work to the shade. Still, there’s no Protocol policy telling me I couldn’t have stayed out there on the watermelon floatie.

But HR experts said remote workers need to have a little common sense when they’re out of the office, too. It’s generally OK to work at the beach, in a coffee shop or in the backyard, but managers and employees should consider whether they’ll be just as productive in those spaces.

  • Zoë Harte, Upwork’s chief people officer, said managers should set expectations for how employees can work and encourage communication about time zones or Wi-Fi access.
  • “Is there a chance your Wi-Fi is not as reliable as it is in your home office? Or do you need to take a two-hour lunch break because surf's up? We want to encourage workers to have flexibility,” Harte told me.

Beyond questions of time zones and Wi-Fi quality, some workers might choose to work while they’re taking a bath or hanging out in their kid’s playroom. Others have run into nightmare situations where someone walks in on a Zoom call naked or had their live interview interrupted by a child.

  • Yury Molodtsov, COO of MA Family, said it’s OK to hop on a Zoom call with a kid or to work from a bathtub, but employees might want to make sure their camera’s off while they’re taking a bath (even if you’re angling the computer just right!).
  • Companies could also tell their employees to keep their office door locked during calls or to make sure they’re fully dressed for video meetings in case cameras need to be on, UC Today pointed out.

Remote employees might be either excited or hesitant to leave their at-home office for a beach or pool.

  • Ryan Rea, director of growth for Miami Tech Life and a marketing director for Chicago-based Sontiq, said he told his company before he was even hired that he wanted to work remotely. Rea prefers remote work because it allows him to take cruises once a month and work.
  • But Samir Soriano, a performance marketer at Pocket Gems, keeps to his living room even though he could leave for a coffee shop or park. “I'm scared that my performance will wane if I get too casual with my work setting,” Soriano told me.

The heat would probably get the best of me if I chose to work by the pool every day. And the last time I worked outside I was on a Zoom call while a bee circled me. Work from anywhere is all fun and games until the place gets in the way of the work.

Read the full story on Protocol.

— Sarah Roach (email | twitter)

Reputation killer

Are layoffs a scarlet letter on your company’s reputation? Not all HR leaders agree.

Tech companies have already cut thousands of jobs this year; some are now implementing a second round of layoffs. But even among some of Silicon Valley’s most seasoned HR chiefs, there’s substantial disagreement over whether cutting jobs is shameful or an unavoidable part of staying afloat.

“If your company does layoffs, [it] seems like you should be disqualified from any ‘best place to work for’ lists/surveys for at least one year following,” Credit Karma’s HR head, Colleen McCreary, posted on LinkedIn earlier this month. “And if they’re handled poorly, that disqualification extends even longer, especially large public companies who should know better.”

Read the full story here.


Chip shortage could undermine national security: The global shortage of semiconductors has impeded the production of everything from pickup trucks to PlayStations. But there are graver implications than a scarcity of consumer goods. If the U.S. does not ensure continued domestic access to leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing, experts say our national security could suffer.

Read more from Micron

Rising wages

Hiring’s getting pretty weird, folks, and tech companies appear to be in a unique hiring position compared to other private companies. While a wide range of tech companies continue to lay workers off and freeze or slow hiring, the costs paid to workers in general are continuing to increase in the private sector.

Employer pay costs increased more than 5% for the 12-month period ending in June, according to data out Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the fastest increase since 2001, according to The Wall Street Journal. Job openings in general have also remained high this year, giving workers some pay power despite other flagging economic indicators.

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.

↓ Crypto exchange CoinFLEX cut a “significant number” of staff across all departments and geographies, the company announced Friday. The company said the cuts would reduce its cost base by 50% to 60%.

↓ Rivian laid off 840 employees, or 6% of its workforce, this week. CEO RJ Scaringe said in an email to staff the company needed to adjust to a world that’s “dramatically changed."

↓ Petition platform laid off 19% of its global team on Thursday. Nick Allardice, CEO, said the move was a part of the company’s goal to “sharpen our focus.”

↓ Ed-tech platform Career Karma conducted layoffs this week. Though the company did not confirm the number affected, TechCrunch reported that a third of the staff was cut, and its c-suite was not impacted.

↓ Indian transportation company Ola laid off 1,000 employees, according to The Economic Times, with the goal of focusing efforts on its electric mobility business. The company is also reportedly eyeing a merger with Uber.

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

More stories from us

A pro-Kremlin group used Telegram to coordinate talking points for real Russians, helping propaganda about the war in Ukraine spread on Instagram and YouTube.

Chipmakers got their $52 billion. It will now take years for American chipmaking to flourish.

Charging batteries is what keeps most electric vehicles on the road. But swapping out dead batteries for new ones could be a model that takes off in specific corners of the U.S. EV market.

Around the internet

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

Interns are “people-starved,” going into the office far more than their managers. (The New York Times)

Sequoia is opening a New York office — its first U.S.-based office outside of Silicon Valley. (The Information)

We’re getting ruder at work, apparently, according to a study from the University of Arkansas. (Fast Company)

Why do we work so hard before vacation? (The Atlantic)


Chip shortage could undermine national security: To ensure American security, prosperity and technological leadership, industry leaders say the U.S. must encourage domestic manufacturing of chips in order to reduce our reliance on East Asia producers for crucial electronics components.

Read more from Micron

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