GameStop shares jump 12% as the company announces CEO George Sherman will step down in 3 months or sooner

Gamestop

GameStop’s shares rose 12% on Monday after the company announced its chief executive officer George Sherman will step down on July 31 or upon the appointment of a successor.

Shares were already up before the company’s announcement, buoyed by the company’s progress in making major changes led by activist investor Ryan Cohen.

GameStop said a board committee is actively looking to find a suitable replacement for Sherman’s position.

“GameStop appreciates the valuable leadership that George has provided throughout his tenure,” board chairman Ryan Cohen said in a statement. “He took many decisive steps to stabilize the business during challenging times. The company is much stronger today than when he joined. On a personal note, I also want to thank George for forming important partnerships with the new directors and executives who have joined GameStop in recent months.”

Sherman had been with the video-game retailer for less than two years. The company’s management shake-up is part of its wide “transformation” in culture and strategy being overseen by Cohen.

Gamestop was at the heart of a battle-play of “Wall Street versus The Little Guy” in a Reddit-fueled trading frenzy this year. It was hit with a stock downgrade last week by an analyst from Ascendiant Capital, who said its online popularity will have less of a long-term impact on the stock.

Shares ended at $154.49 per share at Friday’s close, but were trading as high as $173.08 on Monday.

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GameStop shares jump 6% as the company announces CEO George Sherman will step down in 3 months or sooner

Gamestop

GameStop’s shares rose 6% on Monday as the company announced its chief executive officer George Sherman will step down on July 31 or upon the appointment of a successor.

Shares were already up before the company’s announcement, buoyed by the company’s progress in making major changes led by activist investor Ryan Cohen.

GameStop said a board committee is actively looking to find a suitable replacement for Sherman’s position.

“GameStop appreciates the valuable leadership that George has provided throughout his tenure,” board chairman Ryan Cohen said in a statement. “He took many decisive steps to stabilize the business during challenging times. The company is much stronger today than when he joined. On a personal note, I also want to thank George for forming important partnerships with the new directors and executives who have joined GameStop in recent months.”

Sherman had been with the video-game retailer for less than two years. The company’s management shake-up is part of its wide “transformation” in culture and strategy being overseen by Cohen.

Gamestop was at the heart of a battle-play of “Wall Street versus The Little Guy” in a Reddit-fueled trading frenzy this year. It was hit with a stock downgrade last week by an analyst from Ascendiant Capital, who said its online popularity will have less of a long-term impact on the stock.

Shares ended at $154.49 per share at Friday’s close, but were trading as high as $164.96 in Monday’s pre-market session.

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A guide to Asana, the workplace management tool that helps streamline communication across teams

coworkers working on project at desktop computer in office
Asana can help your workplace streamline communication and organize projects.

  • Asana is a workplace management dashboard that helps streamline communication across companies and teams.
  • Asana is customizable, and allows users to break down projects into tasks and set clear goals for teams.
  • Asana also has integration with hundreds of other apps that businesses use, like Google Drive and Outlook.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Asana is a customizable workplace content management system (CMS) which is designed to help a wide range of companies achieve their organizational needs. More plainly, it’s an advanced organizational tool to help streamline projects.

Asana is made so that workplaces of any size can analyze their progress and address issues all in one place, eliminating the need for constant meetings, email updates, and memos.

What to know about Asana

Asana has a wide range of features available to help companies and the teams within them find a system to get things done as efficiently as possible. These features include:

Project and task management

Asana’s main feature is its project and task management tools. You can create lists or boards to host certain projects as a whole – these will detail all the initiatives, meetings, and programs involved in said projects.

From there, you can break these projects into tasks and subtasks to make them more manageable, and list the steps to complete them. You can also:

  • Give tasks to specific people so everyone knows who is working on what
  • Group tasks into sections or columns to keep them organized
  • Assign start dates and due dates, which can also include timed deadlines
  • Create reusable templates to make certain tasks easier to start
  • Add task dependencies to specify when some tasks need to be completed before others start
  • View your tasks in a timeline so everyone can see the project chronologically
  • Create rules to automate processes like assigning tasks and triaging
  • Add attachments from a number of integrated software

Communication tools

Of course, one of the most important – and difficult – parts of teamwork is communication. Asana has tools to streamline this as well.

Your Inbox tracks all your messages and their associated tasks. Here you can attach tasks to messages and use project conversations to have ongoing discussions. You can also proof images and PDFs, and any comments can even be turned into tasks so the team knows what corrections need to be made.

asana4
From your Inbox, you can view messages and manage tasks.

Multiple ways to view work

Because Asana is made to adapt to your workforce. As such, it offers several ways to view your projects and tasks:

  • My tasks: A view that gives you a personal to-do list
  • List: View and group your tasks in a grid structure
  • Board: Displays your upcoming tasks in a bulletin board style format
  • Calendar: Shows a list of tasks based on deadlines
  • Files: Groups together all the files uploaded to project
  • Inbox: Groups together all your conversations
asana
On the “My Tasks” tab, you can group your tasks by List, Board, Calendar, or Files.

There’s also a Search view for those who don’t want to painstakingly organize all their tasks.

Management and reporting tools

If you’re in charge of an organization, Asana’s reporting tools make it easy to keep project updates organized and send update reminders when necessary.

You can use Asana to set “Goals” to keep everyone on the same page, and “Milestones” to reward and encourage hard work.

You can also craft status updates for projects and portfolios to send messages to your team quickly, and check your Dashboard to see the status of all ongoing projects and tasks at once, and identify problem areas if necessary.

Creating Teams lets you group people together to collaborate on projects. The Team page includes an Overview tab to track projects, a Messages tab for group conversations and announcements, and a shared Calendar tab. You can add teammates as followers on tasks not assigned to them, to keep them updated and alert them if there are problems they can help with.

asana2
Your Team page includes a list of members and ongoing projects on the Overview tab, as well as a Messages tab and Calendar tab.

Administrators also have privacy controls – you can add permissions and other privacy controls to limit access to certain work, or even keep some teams that do sensitive work hidden.

Easy app integration

One of the things that makes Asana so easy to use is its app integration. There are a number of apps that work well with Asana, but the most notable are:

  • Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Office365, OneDrive, and Adobe Creative Cloud for file creation and sharing
  • Slack, Gmail, Outlook, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Power BI for communication
  • Harvest, a built-in time tracker tool

How to get Asana

Asana is available in three pre-set, tiered plans: Free, Premium, and Business. You can sign up for any of these packages on Asana’s website.

Asana Basic

This free version includes the following features:

  • Unlimited tasks, projects, messages, file storage, and entries in your activity log
  • List, Board, and Calendar Views
  • Project briefs and overviews
  • Mobile apps for both iOS and Android
  • 100-plus app integrations, including time tracking

Asana Premium

Premium plans are $13.49 per month, billed each month, plus $10.99 per month per user, billed annually.

Asana Premium includes all the features the free version does, plus:

  • Timeline view and Dashboard reporting
  • Advanced search features
  • The ability to create custom fields
  • Unlimited free guests – guests are users who don’t share the company’s email domain.
  • Forms, Rules, and Milestones
  • Admin controls
  • The ability to create private teams and projects

Asana Business

Asana Business is $30.49 per month, plus $24.99 per user per month annually.

Like Premium, it comes with all the features of the plans beneath it, plus the following:

  • Portfolio and Goal reporting
  • Workload view – allows you to see how much of your team’s resources are being used, and on which projects
  • The ability to build and customize rules
  • More customizable forms
  • The ability to request and give approvals on any project or task
  • Proofing for photos – allows you to leave commentary directly on pictures.
  • More advanced integrations with Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud, Tableau, and Power BI

Asana Enterprise

Asana Enterprise is designed for businesses with high-security needs and support on call. There is no set price for this plan – Asana recommends that you contact its sales team directly to discuss pricing that will work for your company.

You get all the features listed in the packages above, plus:

  • Extra security features
  • Data export and deletion
  • Advanced user controls
  • Custom branding
  • Priority support from Asana staff

How to get Asana notifications in Slack for your tasks and projectsWhat is Microsoft Teams? Here’s what you need to know about the workplace communication toolWhat is OneDrive? Everything you need to know about Microsoft’s cloud storage serviceWhat is Blackboard Collaborate? How to use Blackboard’s video-conferencing rooms

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3 signs that your manager or boss may be a narcissist

boss employee angry annoyed boss bored unhappy office work jobs
Narcissists can pretend they care about other people, but they’re really only interested in their own gain.

  • Narcissistic people often consider themselves to be the most important person in the room.
  • Managers or bosses who are narcissistic are likely to put their own interests ahead of everyone else.
  • These types of managers often make people feel unsafe to take risks or express themselves openly.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Relationships at work matter greatly to our well-being, and perhaps no work relationship affects us more strongly than the one we have with our manager. In fact, people who leave their job frequently report that their manager is their most important reason for doing so.

Managers’ narcissistic tendencies are often a key issue that troubles their relationship with their employees. Although narcissists tend to make a good first impression, their true nature unfolds over time and reveals that they care above all about themselves, not about others.

Our recent studies show that narcissistic managers are poorly equipped to develop good, sustainable relationships with others because their selfish behavior and disregard for others erodes what is the basis of all good relationships – trust.

My fellow researchers and I therefore wondered: Could some narcissistic managers develop the ability to camouflage their lack of concern for others and make others trust them by creating the impression that they care?

How do narcissistic managers erode others’ trust in them?

Narcissistic individuals display a range of self-centered characteristics, including selfishness, entitlement, arrogance, and the exploition of people for personal gain. They consider themselves as more important, talented, and attractive than others, but they are also insecure about themselves and have a strong need to be admired. Narcissists thus simultaneously crave other people’s reaffirmation and validation of their inflated self-image, and feel entitled to attention and admiration.

This duality of craving and feeling entitled to admiration leads narcissistic individuals to consider themselves born to be leaders and to feel entitled to leadership positions, positions in which they may be seen and admired.

Unfortunately, we tend to interpret a narcissistic individual’s overconfidence as a signal that they are, in fact, competent and that they would make a good leader. So narcissists’ aspiration for leadership positions combined with the good first impressions that they make can cause them to rise in hierarchies, which results in narcissistic traits being relatively common among managers.

Although narcissistic individuals may make a good impression initially, they can be ill-suited to leadership positions, because effective leadership requires developing collaborative, reciprocal, trusting relationships with others. Instead, as our research consistently finds, narcissistic managers are considered less trustworthy by those who work for them. This is because developing trust requires integrity and caring about others, neither of which come natural to narcissistic individuals.

In fact, narcissistic managers are likely to put their own interests ahead of those of others and may even step on others when doing so is needed to achieve personal gain. Consequently, as our studies confirmed, a narcissistic, untrustworthy manager will make people feel unsafe to take risks, make mistakes, and express themselves openly.

Is it easy to spot a narcissist?

Because the effects of narcissistic leaders are likely to come out and their true nature may be revealed over time, it is tempting to think that we could easily detect a narcissistic manager. If this is the case, we may simply – through selection tests in organizational recruitments, for example – try to detect them and ensure that they’re not selected for leadership positions.

Such efforts certainly hold merit, as narcissistic individuals are typically not shy about admitting that they want to be admired or even that they overlook the interests of others. Indeed, in general, narcissists do not present themselves as agreeable or modest. However, narcissists are not incompetent and they have the capability to learn that they may be even more effective in attaining their selfish goals if they present themselves in a socially acceptable way or, in other words, if they camouflage their lack of care and fly under the radar.

A consistent finding in our studies is that some narcissistic managers engage in techniques to manage the impression that others have of them – they actively seek to behave in ways that makes them appear sincere to others. Moreover, our findings indicate that these impression-management techniques can be successful: employees perceive highly narcissistic managers that try to make themselves appear sincere as more trustworthy than their highly narcissistic counterparts who do not engage in this impression management behaviour and, because of this, their employees feel safer to express themselves openly. In a nutshell, they can fake that they care and be successful in doing so.

What might this fake caring look like?

When someone behaves in a way that seems caring, it can be difficult to tell whether or not they are faking it. Fortunately, there may be some signs. In general, the fact that narcissistic individuals need to learn how to give others the impression that they care, means that they cannot rely on spontaneous behaviour and responses. This means that their seemingly sincere behaviour is likely to appear awkward or scripted. For example:

  • Someone who is truly caring is likely to spontaneously ask you how you are doing, and is likely to be aware of what is going on in your life. In contrast, a person who does not really care is less likely to ask you spontaneously. Instead, it could be that they only ever ask how you are after you have just asked them. It could simply be that your question reminded them to express caring about you in return. Moreover, they may be unlikely to ask follow-up questions after having shown their superficially caring behaviour. After all, they are not truly interested in you.
  • Someone who is truly caring is likely to listen and be more empathic. In contrast, if you find yourself telling a story about your own experience and the experience suddenly appears to be about them, their seemingly empathic response to your story might be only an opportunity for them to tell a story about themselves. Similarly, it is possible that their reaction to your story is not empathic at all, remains superficial, and only sticks to the facts.
  • At the same time, however, if they only let you talk and never share or relate to what you are saying, it may well be that they have made you believe that they are interested in you but that they do not actually care. Someone who is caring and trustworthy is likely to express trust in you as well – for example, by sharing about their own life – because trustworthy people are likely to see relationships as a two-way street.

Most people have a natural inclination to trust others who show signs of caring, so we are vulnerable to the assumption that narcissists have good intentions, especially those narcissists who engage in extra effort to appear sincere. Some awareness of this effect and the ways in which we might recognize fake caring is helpful to protect well-intentioned people from being exploited and manipulated.

Melvyn R.W. Hamstra, assistant professor in leadership and organizational behavior, IÉSEG School of Management

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation
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Employers claim they want to improve workers’ wellbeing, but refuse to do the one thing that will actually help: pay them more

Woman meditating work
HR departments love spending money on wellness programs and meditation apps.

  • Like sexual harassment training and gender equity initiatives, there isn’t much evidence that employee wellness programs work.
  • Yet HR departments seem intent on pouring money into health-tracking and meditation apps.
  • The best thing employers can do is pay their employees more and reduce their economic stressors.
  • Catherine Liu is professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California Irvine. She is the author of the book Virtue Hoarders: the Case Against the Professional Managerial Class.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I take the University of California online anti-sexual harassment training course regularly, and when I do, I believe I’m helping the world become a better place. Like most working women, I’ve suffered harassment at work, and despite evidence from empirical studies and from my own experience that the training doesn’t work and that I take it to limit the liability of my employer in a sexual harassment lawsuit, I will myself to believe in it.

Staff and faculty who have been harassed simply suck it up and move on, changing positions if possible or just avoiding the offender. Occasionally, a scandal breaks through and a harassment case leads to the dismissal of a famous professor or administrator; yet, the victims who brought the suit forward usually live forever with the reputation of being a “troublemaker.”

Despite countless initiatives, corporate and university gender equity programs failed to mitigate damage done to the lives of working women wrought by COVID lockdowns as work moved home and online, and schools and daycares closed. Women’s participation in the workforce has dropped to 1988 levels, with women bearing the brunt of COVID unemployment figures at every level of income and education: four decades of progress for women at work has been undone in one year.

Like sexual harassment and gender equity initiatives, employee wellness programs are another managerial innovation that large organizations love, despite mounting evidence that such programs do not significantly improve employee health or save employers money.

Employee wellness programs don’t work

The University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana and Rand Corporation studies have shown that employee participation in employee wellness programs were low and that those who used them tended to be healthier and better paid – essentially resulting in a covert shift of organizational resources away from the lowest paid and unhealthiest employees to the best paid and healthiest ones. The Rand Corporation findings focused on maximizing employer return on investment, and recommended that employers focus their wellness programs on employees with the most severe health issues.

And yet, if your boss is paying attention to your muscle mass, poor sleep, lack of exercise or bad eating habits, I can guarantee that they are not interested in your wellbeing. They are, instead, very worried about having to pay higher health insurance premiums if their workforce is plagued with chronic ill health. Wellness programs neither save employers money nor increase employee wellbeing, but they continue to proliferate. Human Resources wellness centers cannot stop spending money on health tracking, meditation, and exercise apps that are “free to download” onto employee smartphones.

Through my workplace, I can download MyStrength, an app that helps me cope with stress in real time, or I can try the Headspace app, which will also help me “weather the storm” through meditation and exercise. If these two apps do not get me to optimal wellness, there is an app that reminds me to step away occasionally from my desk to do downward-facing dog.

As retired Harvard Business School Professor, Shoshana Zuboff shows in her book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, once data gathering reaches a certain scale, it becomes enormously valuable and exploitable. What is to prevent employers from monetizing the data gathered by all those “free” wellness apps? Very little, according to Zuboff, because privacy regulations lag behind tech innovations.

Poor economic conditions drive wellness

Wellness initiatives are designed to disguise the role that a solid paycheck plays in people’s overall wellbeing – in fact, low pay is one of the greatest stressors for workers of all races and sexes. Low socioeconomic status and poor working conditions lead to higher levels of cortisol in the bloodstream. Other indicators of stress, like diabetes and obesity, increase across populations with lower job status and lower pay.

People who make good money and have a high degree of control over their work lives also enjoy dramatically greater degrees of mental and physical wellbeing. A recent study on Universal Basic Income (UBI) from Stockton, California, a small, economically struggling city in California’s Central Valley, confirmed the connection between money and wellbeing. For two years, the program gave $500 a month to 125 randomly selected residents living at or below the city’s median income.

Initial results of the study show that the monthly cash infusion led to dramatic decreases in depression and anxiety in recipients of the no-strings-attached cash. Improved mental wellbeing allowed recipients to pay debts, find work, and deepen relationships with friends and family. The findings from Stockton disprove the fantasy that working class and poor Americans would be profligate with cash infusions. UBI is a controversial issue, but the Stockton study offers important lessons about the power of money in relationship to mental health and overall well-being.

No boundaries at work

If the pre-woke workplace was filled with sexism, racism, and overtly punitive evaluation protocols that encouraged the promotion of networked, white, male employees, the contemporary workplace has evolved into experimental sites of surveillance and data-gathering, all in the name of “caring.”

Covertly coercive, wellness initiatives serve as excuses for upper management to push aside questions of pay and pay equity for superficial engagement with our most private experiences. But, the last place I want to talk about my experiences of trauma is at work; I do not want my workplace to be involved with my daily practice of healing my wounds.

Just as school was my refuge from the unpredictability of home life when I was a child, I looked to work as a place where I could put aside, if only temporarily, my hair-trigger adrenaline-fueled over-reactions to setbacks and obstacles in order to better engage in the meaningful, joyful exercise of collectively exercised reason and argument. As a professor, I have come to believe that the best thing I could do for my students, traumatized and not, is to provide a space where the use of one’s intellect and powers of reason are respected, rewarded, and recognized.

In the view of my employer though, my approach to trauma is both too old-fashioned and too commonsensical. In the past month, I have been asked to participate in training courses in trauma-sensitive pedagogy, whatever that could mean. The way in which COVID has impacted working mothers and the lowest paid employees at the university has hardened my cynicism about pseudo-progressive managerial initiatives to care for employee wellbeing and promote workplace equity.

It is not social media addiction or millennials who are to blame for the deterioration of personal boundaries and the demise of critical thinking in our age: it is the pseudo-therapeutic initiatives of our over-managed world that have made it dangerous for us to insist on maintaining boundaries anywhere, but especially at work. Managerial initiatives infantilize workers while undermining our autonomy as private, suffering subjects.

For those on the bottom of the pay scale in any organization, a bigger paycheck would improve their mental health far more than any wellness or trauma initiative imposed upon us by HR. For those at the top of the payscale who are rewarded for finding ways to pay their employees less, this is a hard, if not impossible lesson to learn.

Catherine Liu is professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California Irvine. She is the author of the book Virtue Hoarders: the Case Against the Professional Managerial Class (University of Minnesota Press, 2021). She lives in Southern California and writes for Jacobin and has appeared on Chapo Trap House and Bungacast talking about her book and the class formation of credentialed elites in the 2021 global economy.

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CEO behind P&G brands like Tide, Dawn, and Swiffer on how to spark creativity and collaboration among your team during difficult times

Procter & Gamble CEO
Shailesh Jejurikar.

  • Shailesh Jejurikar is the CEO of Procter & Gamble’s largest business line, Fabric & Home Care.
  • By maintaining a growth mindset, he’s helped his teams thrive despite pandemic uncertainty.
  • Jejurikar has employees challenge assumptions and connect with shoppers and emphasizes work-life balance.
  • This article is part of a series called “Leaders by Day,” which takes a look at how prominent business leaders are tackling various challenges in today’s economy. 

Shailesh Jejurikar is the CEO of Procter & Gamble’s largest business line, Fabric & Home Care, which accounted for more than a third of the company’s $71 billion in sales for 2020. 

He oversees 18,000 employees globally, has more than a dozen direct reports, and competes against consumer packaged goods giants like Unilever. He’s also responsible for over a dozen iconic brands including Bounce, Downy, Gain, Tide, Cascade, Dawn, Febreeze, Mr. Clean, and Swiffer.

Jejurikar told Insider his typical 12-hour workday begins at 5 a.m. and is driven by where he happens to be in the world, whether at home in Geneva or at the company’s Ohio headquarters. By leading with a growth mindset, he’s been able to help his teams navigate the uncertainty of the pandemic – and by doing so, has more than doubled the pace of growth for his unit, from 5% in Q2 2020 to 12% in Q2 2021.

Here are the four principles he leads by:

Stay externally focused

“Our biggest creative breakthroughs as an organization have come from striving to solve a consumer’s problem, but you can only solve that problem if you understand it, and to do that you must remain connected,” Jejurikar said.

When the pandemic hit, he not only had his teams double down on check-ins with customers like superstores Target, Amazon, and Walmart, but he also had them set up one-to-one video chats with shoppers about the issues they’re facing and how they’re using the products.

“This is how we ideated Tide Hygienic Clean, which we sped to market in 90 days,” he said. “By talking directly to consumers, we learned that they were looking for a higher standard of clean. We did a lot of research on what that meant and then designed a product that removes everything that could possibly get stuck to fabric.” The product was featured in a recent Super Bowl ad about cleaning a sweatshirt with “Seinfeld” comedian Jason Alexander’s face on it.

Lean on tools for support

Prior to the pandemic, Jejurikar traveled frequently to locations to walk the corridors and interact with colleagues. But when his teams went remote, he became concerned about how he would be able to manage global R&D, manufacturing, marketing, and sales operations without physical contact.

Thanks to visual collaboration tools, he was not only able to stay close to his employees, but also boost creativity and productivity virtually.

“We found Microsoft Teams to be a very effective way to engage with each other across the globe and MURAL‘s virtual sticky notes proved essential for rapidly prototyping products in design sprints,” he said. “Perhaps the biggest surprise was how much Spotify in the rooms makes us feel like we’re working together apart.”

Challenge assumptions

As executive sponsor of Procter & Gamble’s sustainability program, Jejurika works with the company’s chief sustainability officer on frontier products like EC30 swatches, a waterless form of shampoos and cleaners in development to fight climate change.

“Our vision is to grow the size of the market we play in and grow our share of it by offering consumers new and innovative solutions,” Jejurikar said. “But our biggest challenges lie ahead.”

Faced with the dilemma of how to create products for a marketplace with many unknowns, Jejurika developed a process called “progility,” where he challenges his teams to question paradigms of what’s assumed to be true. Using curiosity to unlock consumer insights, he asks employees to look at what’s happening and find out why people are changing their behavior or suddenly using a certain product.

“In the case of Downy Unstoppable Beads, everyone assumed no one would want a fabric enhancer during a pandemic, yet it would go on to become one of Fabric & Home Care’s fastest-growing businesses,” Jejurikar said. “We had to first ask ourselves why we are assuming that it’s considered a discretionary purchase, then we realized that many people hadn’t tried it yet and needed an introduction.”

“The only way to anticipate change is to commit to learning,” he added. “Asking questions, being curious, listening carefully to the responses. A leader should always say, ‘I knew,’ never, ‘I know.'”

Embrace work-life balance

Success is not just measured against consumer expectations and sales but by employee satisfaction as well, Jejurikar said.

To this end, he instituted a mentor checkpoint to provide his employees a forum to share how the pandemic is impacting their lives and constraints that need to be accommodated.

“We’re helping our employees choose fewer things to do so they can direct their energy in the right place and stay balanced with their life priorities,” Jejurikar said.

Encouraging a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work day with breaks that include walks outside and calls to loved ones are some of the ways Jejurikar is helping his teams stay energized while working from home. He also models healthy practices by not checking email before bedtime and exercising five days a week.

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‘Hybrid work’ is going to cleave America in yet another way

Woman in front of her computer
Who gets to work from home?

  • Two new studies detail work-from-home trends during the pandemic and employees’ expectations for 2022.
  • As many as 1 in 3 college-educated Americans expect to work partially from home post-COVID.
  • But those with less education won’t get to work remotely in nearly the same numbers.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Since COVID-19 first sent vast swaths of US office workers home last spring, one of the biggest questions has been whether they’ll get to keep doing their jobs remotely after the crisis recedes. Two new studies by economists suggest that many will, mostly through a hybrid arrangement in which employees divide their weeks between the office and home. 

The findings are some of the strongest indications yet that the country’s newfound embrace of remote work will outlast the pandemic. Potentially tens of millions of professionals could benefit. But the studies also show that the new work-from-home perks will be largely limited to the most privileged in the workforce.

In one of these papers, Alexander Bick at Arizona State University, Adam Blandin at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Karel Mertens at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas started tracking the prevalence of remote work in May. In December, they asked respondents an additional question in their survey: In 2022 and later, how many days do you expect to commute to work? 

Bick, Blandin, and Mertens found that a striking number of people – almost half of college-educated Americans – were preparing to keep working from home in some capacity after the pandemic. If those expectations bear out, that would mark a sea change from pre-pandemic times, as the chart below shows. 

But respondents also expected to work from home with less intensity in the future than they are right now. Throughout the crisis, more college-educated workers have been working a fully remote schedule than a hybrid one. In 2022 and beyond, it will likely be far more common to adopt a hybrid workweek: 32% said they expected to be partially remote and 14% said they’ll be remote full time, per the data on workers with a Bachelor’s degree that Bick and his co-authors provided to Insider. 

The findings echo the growing popularity of the hybrid model especially within tech circles, with Salesforce announcing earlier this month that most of its staff will soon adopt a partial work-from-home schedule. Spotify, Zillow, and VMware have pledged to create a hybrid option, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai has hinted at such a change, too. 

By having employees divide their weeks between the home and office, these businesses are hoping to get the best of both worlds. They want their staff to have the flexibility and productivity that they have enjoyed in their remote setups, but they also don’t want to sacrifice too many opportunities for the kind of collaboration that happens more easily in person. 

A less rosy future for workers with low pay 

But only a certain subset of workers will have access to such an option. That unequal future featured prominently in Bick’s survey, which showed that people who are highly educated, highly paid, and white expect to work from home in 2022 far more than their low-paid, less educated and Hispanic counterparts. A separate study by economists from Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago released in January showed similar disparities. 

That paper – written by Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, and Steven Davis – was also based on surveys of workers’ schedules throughout the pandemic, as well as their expectations for the future (their college-educated respondents had post-COVID expectations that were broadly in line with those in Bick’s survey, although with slightly fewer expecting to work from home). Barrero and his co-authors added an extra twist by asking respondents not only how often they expected to work remotely in the future but also how often they would prefer to. 

Making that distinction revealed interesting results. For example, people of all income levels said they would like to work from home for about half the week after the pandemic. But only the most highly paid workers said their employers’ plans came close to what they hoped. As the chart below shows, the less people earned, the greater the gap between what they wanted and what they would get. 

 

The pandemic’s work-from-home disparities

Those disparities have already played out in the pandemic. 

Consider the different trajectories for respondents in Bick’s study with varying levels of education. In the early months of the crisis, college-educated Americans switched to remote work en masse (see the navy bar on the far right of the chart below). And even as many businesses across the country reopened in the summer and fall, many of those workers stayed remote through the end of 2020 (see the purple bar on the far right). 

In comparison, people with less schooling didn’t see nearly as much of an increase in remote work last spring. And even those small gains were nearly wiped out by December, as shown in the almost non-existent purple bar on the far left. Similar patterns held for white respondents compared with their Hispanic counterparts.

These big disparities are new: Working from home wasn’t nearly as segregated by class or race before the pandemic. Remote workers did tend to be white, have higher incomes, and more schooling in February 2020, but only slightly so, according to the paper by Bick, Blandin, and Mertens. In other words, the pandemic served to cleave the have- and have-nots in the US labor market in yet another way. And both studies suggest that those disparities will become permanent ones. 

As vaccination accelerates across the US, Bick says he looks forward to seeing if his respondents’ expectations bear out in reality. He and his co-authors are expecting to keep surveying Americans through at least March. 

Andy Kiersz contributed reporting. 

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Warren Buffett is a great judge of character, owes his success to shareholders, and has built a lasting culture, author Lawrence Cunningham says in a new interview. Here are the 11 best quotes.

warren buffett
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

  • Warren Buffett excels at sizing people up quickly, relied on a devoted group of shareholders to build Berkshire Hathaway, and has crafted a company culture that will outlive him, Lawrence Cunningham said on the “We Study Billionaires” podcast.
  • The billionaire investor’s conglomerate boasts a high-quality shareholder base that may have deterred activist investors from trying break it up, said the George Washington University law professor and author of several books about Buffett.
  • Here are Cunningham’s 11 best quotes from the discussion.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Warren Buffett is an excellent judge of character, needed loyal and patient shareholders to assemble Berkshire Hathaway, and has created a company culture that will last last long after his death, Lawrence Cunningham said on a recent episode of the “We Study Billionaires” podcast.

Cunningham – a law professor at George Washington University and the author of “The Essays of Warren Buffett,” “Margin of Trust,” and “Berkshire Beyond Buffett” – also discussed why Berkshire hasn’t been dismantled like many other conglomerates, and why its staid public image might be a positive.

Here are Cunningham’s 11 best quotes, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. “The singular trait, or skill, that explains most of Warren’s success over a long period and in particular settings is his ability to size people up. He can tell in a minute whether a CEO will be a faithful steward of Berkshire capital. At the slightest whiff of a lack of trustworthiness, he goes away.”

2. “He’s ultimately a very skeptical person of human nature, of the incentives that drive us to be selfish or to be emotional, irrational. It’s a high hurdle to gain Warren’s trust.”

3. “You can talk to any CEO of a Berkshire company and get the same report: ‘No, I never talk to Warren unless I call him.’ Some will say, ‘I haven’t talked to Warren in years.’ Others say, ‘I talk to him all the time because I can, I really enjoy doing it.'” – highlighting Buffett’s commitment to trusting and granting autonomy to the bosses of Berkshire’s subsidiaries.

Read more: Fundstrat’s Tom Lee says to buy these 10 transportation stocks that were the hardest hit by the pandemic and are most leveraged for the economy’s reopening in 2021

4. “When you join Berkshire, they burnish such a wonderful image that it’s the-all star arena, it’s the major leagues, you’re a manager of a certain temperament, part of our family. Becoming part of the Berkshire enterprise is a special thing.”

5. “The company he’s built is larger than the man who built it. He has infused Berkshire with a set of cultural attributes that give it the very best chance of surviving and prospering long after he’s gone.”

6. “Berkshire has attracted among the greatest densities of long-term, focused shareholders in corporate America. They are loyal, faithful, and most of them will stick around and give Buffett’s successors room to run. Not forever. They’re not fools. They’re not idiots, they’re not in love, this is not romance.”

Read more: 10 top Wall Street experts unveil their stock-market forecasts for 2021 – and tell you where to put your money

7. “Warren basically has a golden chair. If Carl Icahn wanted to attack, wanted to take a shot at Berkshire, he’d almost certainly lose immediately. Partly because Warren’s got the block of stock and equally because he’s got the other shareholders who would absolutely agree with him. It’s not a crowd that’s likely to accept Carl’s argument over Warren’s.” – explaining why activist investors haven’t targeted Berkshire and pressured it to break up.

8. “Warren couldn’t have done any of this without the shareholders. He needed to have high-quality shareholders, which he defined as long-term and focused. They gave him a runway. They stuck him with him through the tough periods. They gave him the strength, the fortitude to prevail, to be a CEO.”

9. “Quality shareholders add an informed, incentivized focus that very often helps management, certainly elongates their time horizon. But they’re not fools. They’re not sycophants, or cheerleaders. They’re in it for returns as well. So if managers are failing, they’ll sell, they’ll leave, join an activist campaign for that matter.”

Read more: How one real-estate investor went from broke to owning a 295-unit portfolio in 5 years

10. “There’s a significant elevation in the overall stock market. Enormous volumes of capital have flowed into the FAANGS and the unicorns. There’s enormous fascination, glamour, and excitement. Companies are going to change the world and with Facebook and Apple and Netflix and Alphabet, Berkshire looks very old and simple and tired. In my view, that’s good for Berkshire.” – arguing that a plethora of more exciting options for investors will leave Berkshire with a higher-quality shareholder base.

11. “That’s not quality-shareholder thinking. That’s day-trading thinking, it’s arbitrage, it’s opportunism. There’s nothing wrong with it, good for Bill. But if that’s the kind of person who is selling while Berkshire is buying back stock, that improves the average quality of the shareholder base.” – calling out Pershing Square chief Bill Ackman for selling Berkshire after Buffett failed to snap up bargains when the pandemic tanked markets last spring.

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