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Salesforce's futurist: If companies don't adapt to remote work, employees will leave

A new Salesforce study found that 60% of people expect remote work to be the norm, and most are embracing it.

Peter Schwartz

Peter Schwartz, Salesforce's senior vice president of strategic planning, thinks remote work is here to stay.

Photo: Peter Schwartz

It's not a surprise, and it's no longer a new idea, but Salesforce executive and futurist Peter Schwartz thinks we need radical social change to embrace the shifting future of work. He shared his thoughts about how companies and society can prepare for the future following the release of a new survey from Salesforce, which shows that more than half of the global population believe remote work and flexible schedules are the new normal.

  • Salesforce surveyed more than 20,000 global respondents in a range of industries and income levels, and more than 60% said that remote work will become the new norm. Around 40% of Americans said they would switch jobs if it meant they could work remotely.
  • Schwartz, the senior vice president for strategic planning at Salesforce, said that means companies need to cater to a range of expectations to make workers happy and attract talent. "There's a lot of diversity in people's expectations," he said. "Companies are going to have to respond to that diversity."

Remote work obviously doesn't affect everyone equally. The shift to remote work has caused what's been called the "first female recession," a reversal of a decade's worth of progress in the fight for pay and workplace equity. Career advancement opportunities often change for women when they have kids, Schwartz said: They are generally expected to shoulder a larger burden of the child-rearing responsibilities, which can create a disproportionate drag on women's advancement in the workplace.

  • Schwartz's solution? Changing how couples agree to split home and childcare assignments, and even redesigning the home to include spaces like "the classroom room" and "the home television studio."
  • "We were agricultural and semi-agricultural, husband and family and wife all worked together," he said. "Life was centered around the home. That's in many ways where we are heading once again."

Aside from the huge interest in remote work, the survey illustrated the importance of technical skills and job training in addressing the global social and racial inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. Minority communities were hardest hit by the pandemic's economic consequences, and, according to the survey, about 74% of Americans and an even larger portion of the global workforce believe that access to job opportunities is not improving.

For Schwartz, the answer to some of that inequality lies in the fact that 67% of U.S. workers say they don't have in-demand hard skills. By designing job training programs to change that number, businesses — but not really governments, which don't have the resources, he said — can help address the inequalities laid bare by the last six months of crisis.

  • Lots of leaders in tech and business agree with him. Google has planned a massive investment in job skills training at HBCUs, and nearly half of IBM's job openings don't require a traditional four-year college degree.
  • Scott Galloway, notorious for railing against the high cost of private universities, has long urged a massive public investment in trade schools, although he might disagree with Schwartz's assertion that businesses and not public institutions should do the work.
  • "It needs to be pervasive and large-scale," Schwartz said, "but the particulars are not that expensive. The honest truth is it's a hell of a lot cheaper than building a university."

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Protocol | Workplace

The Activision Blizzard lawsuit has opened the floodgates

An employee walkout, a tumbling stock price and damning new reports of misconduct.

Activision Blizzard is being sued for widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination.

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard is in crisis mode. The World of Warcraft publisher was the subject of a shocking lawsuit filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing last week over claims of widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination against female employees. The resulting fallout has only intensified by the day, culminating in a 500-person walkout at the headquarters of Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine on Wednesday.

The company's stock price has tumbled nearly 10% this week, and CEO Bobby Kotick acknowledged in a message to employees Tuesday that Activision Blizzard's initial response was "tone deaf." Meanwhile, there has been a continuous stream of new reports unearthing horrendous misconduct as more and more former and current employees speak out about the working conditions and alleged rampant misogyny at one of the video game industry's largest and most powerful employers.

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Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.

Over the last year, financial institutions have experienced unprecedented demand from their customers for exposure to cryptocurrency, and we've seen an inflow of institutional dollars driving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to record prices. Some banks have already launched cryptocurrency programs, but many more are evaluating the market.

That's why we've created the Crypto Maturity Model: an iterative roadmap for cryptocurrency product rollout, enabling financial institutions to evaluate market opportunities while addressing compliance requirements.

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Caitlin Barnett, Chainanalysis
Caitlin’s legal and compliance experience encompasses both cryptocurrency and traditional finance. As Director of Regulation and Compliance at Chainalysis, she helps leading financial institutions strategize and build compliance programs in order to adopt cryptocurrencies and offer new products to their customers. In addition, Caitlin helps facilitate dialogue with regulators and the industry on key policy issues within the cryptocurrency industry.
Protocol | Workplace

Founder sues the company that acquired her startup

Knoq founder Kendall Hope Tucker is suing the company that acquired her startup for discrimination, retaliation and fraud.

Kendall Hope Tucker, founder of Knoq, is suing Ad Practitioners, which acquired her company last year.

Photo: Kendall Hope Tucker

Kendall Hope Tucker felt excited when she sold her startup last December. Tucker, the founder of Knoq, was sad to "give up control of a company [she] had poured five years of [her] heart, soul and energy into building," she told Protocol, but ultimately felt hopeful that selling it to digital media company Ad Practitioners was the best financial outcome for her, her team and her investors. Now, seven months later, Tucker is suing Ad Practitioners alleging discrimination, retaliation and fraud.

Knoq found success selling its door-to-door sales and analytics services to companies such as Google Fiber, Inspire Energy, Fluent Home and others. Knoq representatives would walk around neighborhoods, knocking on doors to market its customers' products and services. The pandemic, however, threw a wrench in its business. Prior to the acquisition, Knoq says it raised $6.5 million from Initialized Capital, Haystack.vc, Techstars and others.

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Megan Rose Dickey
Megan Rose Dickey is a senior reporter at Protocol covering labor and diversity in tech. Prior to joining Protocol, she was a senior reporter at TechCrunch and a reporter at Business Insider.
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Protocol | Workplace

What’s the purpose of a chief purpose officer?

Cisco's EVP and chief people, policy & purpose officer shares how the company is creating a more conscious and hybrid work culture.

Like many large organizations, the leaders at Cisco spent much of the past year working to ensure their employees had an inclusive and flexible workplace while everyone worked from home during the pandemic. In doing so, they brought a new role into the mix. In March 2021 Francine Katsoudas transitioned from EVP and chief people officer to chief people, policy & purpose Officer.

For many, the role of a purpose officer is new. Purpose officers hold their companies accountable to their mission and the people who work for them. In a conversation with Protocol, Katsoudas shared how she is thinking about the expanded role and the future of hybrid work at Cisco.

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Amber Burton

Amber Burton (@amberbburton) is a reporter at Protocol. Previously, she covered personal finance and diversity in business at The Wall Street Journal. She earned an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and B.A. in English and Journalism from Wake Forest University. She lives in North Carolina.

Protocol | Fintech

The digital dollar is coming. The payments industry is worried.

Jodie Kelley heads the Electronic Transactions Association. The trade group's members, who process $7 trillion a year in payments, want a say in the digital currency.

Jodie Kelley is CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association.

Photo: Electronic Transactions Association

The Electronic Transactions Association launched in 1990 just as new technologies, led by the World Wide Web, began upending the world of commerce and finance.

The disruption hasn't stopped.

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

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