The CEO of Okta asked his 3,500 employees to email him about where they’re going on vacation, to remind them about the importance of taking breaks

Okta Todd McKinnon
Okta CEO Todd McKinnon.

  • Okta CEO Todd McKinnon wants his 3,500 employees to tell him their vacation plans.
  • He told CNBC he shared his own vacation plans with staff to remind them the importance of taking breaks.
  • He said that about 950 people had emailed him, and “they’re still trickling in.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The CEO of cloud-software company Okta has asked employees to email him about where they’re going on vacation amid growing concerns of tech worker burnout.

Todd McKinnon told staff in a recent all-hands meeting about his upcoming family vacation in Napa, and encouraged the company’s 3,500 employees to email him plans for their own vacations in as much detail as they wanted, he told CNBC.

He said that he shared his plans to remind staff about the importance of taking breaks and a good work-life balance.

“I got a lot of emails,” McKinnon told CNBC. He said that around 950 members of staff had sent him their vacation plans so far, and “they’re still trickling in.”

This included one employee going to Maui, Hawaii who was looking forward to visiting the Mai Tai bar and another who wanted to travel around Europe, he said.

Read more: The CEO of $30 billion Okta says his company’s new cybersecurity alliances address the world shifting from remote work to ‘make it all work’

But not all their plans involved big trips overseas.

“It’s a lot of, ‘I’m going to see family, I haven’t seen my parents in a year,'” McKinnon said.

McKinnon still spends most of his time working remotely

As the vaccine rollout progresses, some tech companies such as Apple and Google are pushing staff to return to the office at least part-time, but Okta is taking a different stance.

In August, the company said that most employees would be able to work remotely forever. It’s been piloting a flexible work model known as “dynamic work” since 2019, which gives staff more choice about when and where they work.

Nearly all of its new job openings are now eligible for remote work, and 60% of its new hires are not located near an Okta office, Samantha Fisher, the company’s head of dynamic work, previously told Insider.

She said that the company expected around 85% of its workforce to be remote once its transition to “dynamic work” is complete, compared to 30% pre-pandemic.

But staff can still return to the office if they want. Okta has reopened its San Francisco office for vaccinated employees, but remodeled it for hot-desking and collaborative work.

McKinnon told CNBC that staff are happy to be back.

“What surprises people continuously, even me, is that they’ve forgotten the positive feeling of being around people,” he said.

McKinnon said he occasionally works from the office, but spends most of time elsewhere so that staff don’t feel pressured to return.

“I don’t want to imply that, well the CEO is back so you better go back,” he said. “Once people settle into this new groove, I’ll go back a lot. My personal preference is to go back.”

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Okta drops after company gives weak guidance and announces $6.5 billion Auth0 acquisition

Okta Auth0 deal
Okta cofounders Frederic Kerrest and CEO Todd McKinnon (top L to R) on a video call signing the agreement to acquire Auth0 for $6.5 billion with its cofounders CEO Eugenio Pace and Matias Woloski (bottom L to R)

  • Okta fell by nearly 10% Thursday as the ID-authentication software company’s outlook missed Wall Street’s view. 
  • The company expects a first-quarter adjusted loss of $0.20 to $0.21 a share compared with the consensus of a loss of $0.07. 
  • Okta plans to buy rival Auth0 in a transaction valued at $6.5 billion. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Okta shares dropped nearly 10% Thursday following a quarterly outlook that missed Wall Street’s estimate while the identity-authentication software maker said it plans to buy rival Auth0 in a $6.5 billion stock deal.

The company late Wednesday projected a first-quarter adjusted loss of $0.20 to $0.21 per share, which was wider than the consensus estimate of a per-share loss of $0.07. It also expects year-over-year growth in total revenue to $237 million to $239 million compared with Wall Street’s view of $237 million.

Shares of Okta lost as much as 9.6% when it hit an intraday low of $218. The stock later pared the decline to 4.5%. Over the past 12 months, the shares have advanced about 79%.

The company’s projection came within its fourth-quarter financial report and alongside a separate announcement about planning to buy Auth0. Okta said its guidance does not include any potential impact from the proposed Auth0 deal.

Okta said the pending deal will stoke growth in the $55 billion identity market. Auth0 will run as an independent business unit inside of Okta and both of its platforms will be supported and integrated over time.

The transaction “will accelerate our innovation, opening up new ways for our customers to leverage identity to meet their business needs,” said Todd McKinnon, Okta’s CEO and co-founder, in the statement.

For the fourth quarter, the company posted adjusted earnings of $0.06 a share, swinging from a loss of $0.01 a year ago. Revenue of $234.7 million increased from $167.3 million in the same period a year ago.

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