Protocol | Workplace

If they must come back, tech workers want drinks on tap

A recent Protocol survey found tech workers are most looking forward to free food and drinks when they return to the office.

​Facebook employees walking by the Biryani Indian restaurant on their Menlo Park campus.

Returning tech workers are interested in office perks.

Photo: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tech workers aren't rushing back to the office, but when they do, they are expecting some basic perks to come with it.

According to Protocol's recent survey of tech workers, in partnership with Morning Consult, the top two perks that people want to see when they return to the office are free food and complimentary drinks.

"I can tell you anecdotally many of our employees, including myself, do miss the culinary programs on campus," said Tracy Clayton, a communications employee at Facebook.

The perks listed in the survey ranged from in-office massages to yoga and exercise classes. Of the tech workers that participated in the survey, 60% want free food and snacks and 53% want drinks like coffee and beer on tap. Both perks were once common in tech offices around the country. Now, the perks are slowly returning as companies gauge new COVID-19 protocols and the muted demand from employees to return to the office.

Facebook has been known to offer employees an abundance of free food throughout its many offices, and other perks like an arcade in its Menlo Park headquarters. The company spokesperson said they are hoping to bring back many of the amenities employees have come to love.

While enterprise software company SAP is enticing its employees back with free food and coffee on tap, it also reopened its on-site gym and locker room this week with new safety measures, including a limit on the number of people allowed in the facilities. Two perks that have been slow to return are shuttles and commuter benefits. They will remain on pause based on low employee demand.

"I think our biggest perk is that employees can keep working from home through the end of the year," said a spokesperson at SAP. Employees are not required to return to the office at this time, and the software company is not specifying a certain number of days that workers must come into the office in 2022. It will be based on a person's team and manager. What was once an exception — remote work — will be completely embraced and expected, according to SAP.

Amazon is currently focusing more on its benefits for its employees rather than office perks; however, its famous Community Banana Stand is still in action at its Washington headquarters and Arlington office.

Airbnb, also known for its plethora of office perks, is following suit with the current perk of more flexible work. The vacation rental company has shared with its corporate employees that they will not be required to return to the office until September 2022.

In the past, Airbnb's San Francisco headquarters offered free food and, according to employees, kombucha on tap.

"We're going to allow a lot of flexibility. And even when we do ask people to come back, they're going to have a lot more flexibility than before. People aren't going to be expected to come back to the office five days a week, every week," said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky in its recent first-quarter earnings call.

Protocol | Enterprise

How Cloudflare thinks it can become ‘the fourth major public cloud’

With its new low-cost R2 cloud storage service, Cloudflare is jumping into direct competition with the AWS service that launched the cloud computing revolution.

Cloudflare will not charge data-egress fees for customers using R2, taking direct aim at the fees AWS charges developers to move data out of its widely popular S3 storage service.

Photo: Martina Albertazzi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Cloudflare is ready to launch a new cloud object storage service that promises to be cheaper than the established alternatives, a step the company believes will catapult it into direct competition with AWS and other cloud providers.

The service will be called R2 — "one less than S3," quipped Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince in an interview with Protocol ahead of Cloudflare's announcement Tuesday morning. Cloudflare will not charge data-egress fees for customers using R2, taking direct aim at the fees AWS charges developers to move data out of its widely popular S3 storage service.

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Tom Krazit

Tom Krazit ( @tomkrazit) is Protocol's enterprise editor, covering cloud computing and enterprise technology out of the Pacific Northwest. He has written and edited stories about the technology industry for almost two decades for publications such as IDG, CNET, paidContent, and GeekWire, and served as executive editor of Gigaom and Structure.

The pandemic won't be over until the economy recovers. While cities, states and regions across the U.S. are grappling with new variants, shifting mask policies and other factors that directly impact businesses large and small, it is nevertheless time for brands and enterprises to jumpstart COVID-19 recovery strategies.

Data will undoubtedly be critical to such strategies, but there is one type of data in particular that is poised to yield greater impact than ever in the COVID-19 Recovery Era: location data.

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Michele Morelli, Foursquare
As SVP of Marketing, Michele is responsible for overseeing the brand strategy, communications, and product and performance marketing of Foursquare’s apps and enterprise products. Prior to joining Foursquare, Michele held several senior leadership positions with wide-ranging responsibilities at AOL, Toluna, Citibank and Yahoo!.

VR pioneer The Void is plotting a comeback

Assets of the location-based VR startup have been acquired by a former investor, who plans a relaunch with key former team members.

The Void's New York outpost closed during the pandemic. Now, the company is planning a comeback under new ownership.

Photo: The Void

Location-based VR pioneer The Void may rise from the ashes next year: A former investor has acquired key assets of the defunct startup and is now looking to relaunch it with key team members, Protocol has learned. The company is said to be actively fundraising, and is getting ready to start hiring additional talent soon.

The Void's patents and trademarks were recently acquired by Hyper Reality Partners, a company headed by former OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel, who also used to be an investor in and board member of The Void. Hyper Reality Partners is actively fundraising for a relaunch of the VR startup, and is said to have raised as much as $20 million already, according to an industry insider.

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Janko Roettgers

Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.

Protocol | Workplace

A new McKinsey study shows that women do more emotional labor at work

The 2021 Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey found that women are far more likely than men to help their teams manage time and work-life balance and provide emotional support.

Senior leaders who identify as women were 60% more likely to provide emotional support to their teams and 26% more likely to help team members navigate work/life challenges, according to the report.

Photo: Luis Alvarez via Getty Images

Over the last year, emotional support, time management skills and work-life balance have become drastically more important and difficult in the workplace — and women leaders were far more likely than men to step in and do that work for their teams, according to the latest iteration of McKinsey and's annual Women in the Workplace report.

Senior leaders who identify as women were 60% more likely to provide emotional support to their teams, 24% more likely to ensure their teams' workload is manageable and 26% more likely to help team members navigate work/life challenges, according to the report. In addition, about one in five women senior leaders spend a substantial amount of time on DEI work that is not central to their job, compared to less than one in 10 male senior leaders.

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Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (Twitter: @ anna_c_kramer, email:, where she writes about labor and workplace issues. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

Amazon needs New World’s launch to be a success

New World arrives Tuesday. Whether it flops could determine the future of Amazon Games.

New World launches on Tuesday, after four delays. It could be Amazon's first big hit.

Image: Amazon

Amazon's New World launches on Tuesday, marking the end of a long and bumpy road to release day for the company's most pivotal video game release to date. There's a lot riding on New World, a massively multiplayer online game in the vein of iconic successes like Blizzard's long-running World of Warcraft and Square Enix's immensely popular Final Fantasy XIV.

If the game succeeds, New World will mark a rare success for a technology company in the gaming space. With the exception of Microsoft, which entered the console game industry nearly two decades ago, tech firms have tried time and again to use their engineering talent and resources to crack the code behind making successful video games. Almost every attempt has failed, but Amazon is the closest to having a hit on its hands. If it flops, we could see Amazon's gaming ambitions go the way of Google's.

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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
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