It’s never been more clear: companies should give up on back to office and let us all work remotely, permanently

Work from home
  • With the rise of the Delta Variant, companies should switch to all remote.
  • All-remote is better for workplace collaboration, the environment, and companies’ bottom lines.
  • Companies that switch to all-remote should be intentional about collaboration and technology.
  • Jeff Chow is SVP Product at InVision.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It’s time to go back to the office for good – the home office.

With the CDC’s recommendation that even fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with “substantial” and “high” transmission of COVID-19, employees across industries are wondering what the new future of work looks like. As the possibility of another shelter-in-place order looms, companies are deciding whether moving to a hybrid situation – simultaneously in-person and remote – is worth it.

It’s not. Simply put, the concept of “forever remote” makes sense for numerous companies and industries. For many, America’s “back to work” isn’t a simple light switch, but many organizations are better off to shut the lights off at the traditional office. The switch to all remote will broaden a company’s talent pool and increase employee happiness and retention, while limiting a lease and lowering its carbon footprint.

There are benefits to becoming a fully-remote organization. A top example is that the talent pool now goes national, or even international. Organizations are no longer limited to recruiting employees from a given radius to their offices. Asynchronous work helps to open the door for employees to work across time zones to get projects and deliverables completed in time.

InVision, where I work, has been all-remote since its inception. We have the luxury of hiring people living across the US and in 25 countries.

Additionally, without the need for a large physical office presence, companies can save hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, on leasing office space or building an expansive campus.

There is also evidence that eliminating an office for all employees to work remotely is better for the environment. Eliminating a daily commute, whether it’s driving a vehicle or taking mass transit, helps cut down on emissions. This was initially noticed back in the spring and summer of 2020, when a decline in transportation due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a 6.4% decrease in global carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of 2.3 billion tons. The United States had the largest drop in carbon emissions at 12%, followed by the entirety of the European Union at 11%.

In a June 2021 McKinsey survey of over 1,600 employed people, researchers found about one in three workers back in an office said returning to in-person work negatively impacted their mental health. Those surveyed also reported “COVID-19 safety and flexible work arrangements could help alleviate stress” of returning to the office. Not everyone who works for the same company is going to get along. In an all-remote environment, it is far easier for people who are at odds to simply avoid each other. HR won’t have to spend nearly as much time mediating between (or terminating) office Hatfields and McCoys.

So, how exactly do you quickly pivot to remote again and stick with it? The key is intentionality. Teach managers to make a point of celebrating wins and good work on group calls. Build encouraging collaboration into managers’ Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s. Take advantage of face-to-face opportunities by holding in-person, all-company all-hands meetings as a time to build culture, not a time to just do more work.

Treat working groups to dinner (use some of the money you saved on your lease!) and let them get to know each other as people. To be intentional, invest in new ways of working that are oftentimes better ways of working: reducing necessary meetings and adjusting more feedback sessions to asynchronous collaboration. Meetings that remain on calendars should be reserved for the purpose of being highly engaging and energizing moments for teams to brainstorm and do generative sessions.

Second is technology. By now, we’re all familiar with the likes of Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, but there are other products that can actively improve collaboration (full disclosure: I work for InVision, which makes one such digital collaboration tool, namely Freehand).

Take a thorough look with your IT team (and talk to your employees) to see what they need on a day-to-day basis. What tools does your accounting team need? Do they differ from what the marketing team needs (spoiler alert: they do). And don’t force everyone to use the same tools. If your accounting team loves Microsoft Excel, that’s fine for them. I can guarantee, however, that your product design team is not going to use it.

Finally, invest in your employees’ ability to make the transition (again).

GreenGen, which provides green energy solutions for businesses and infrastructure projects, had one of the most pioneering ideas. “We had our employees do a two-day work-from-home resiliency test. This was to ensure that everyone’s home Wi-Fi was adequate so that all of our documents and materials were easily accessible online, and that we could troubleshoot any potential problems preemptively,” said Bradford H. Dockser, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of GreenGen. “Ensuring that our team members got monitors, mice, and keyboards at home made the transition seamless.” With that sort of intentional stress test, GreenGen didn’t skip a beat.

Above all, the main key to returning to the home office for good lies within communication. Technology and innovative products have helped to bring colleagues closer together virtually, as people work from anywhere at any time. Initial shelter-in-place orders taught many businesses across industries that remote work can be just as effective, if not more so, than the traditional office model. Businesses should make the call to go all-remote permanently. Their employees, their investors, and the environment will all thank you.

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10 US cities, including New York, DC, and San Francisco, lost almost all their business travel revenue this year

business travel
  • Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is wiping out a decade’s worth of revenue and job growth, a report says.
  • Corporate, government, and group travel is the industry’s largest source of revenue.
  • Travel revenue has been hammered by remote work and a new surge in COVID-19 cases.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US cities across the country will lose millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars in revenue in 2021 as far fewer people travel for business than before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, new data finds.

The US travel market, especially the hospitality sector, is suffering due to remote work and the coronavirus, according to research published by data analytics firm, Kalibri Labs, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association. The research was first reported on by Bloomberg.

Business travel revenue, which includes corporate, group, government, and other commercial categories, is down dramatically in cities across the US for 2021 compared to 2019, before the pandemic started.

Ten major cities have taken the biggest hit. The New York market, the highest earner in business travel, is projected to make about $530 million in revenue in 2021, down 88% from $4.5 billion in 2019. The Washington DC and Orlando markets, which both made around $2.7 billion in 2019, also reported an 80% plus drop versus 2019 numbers. San Francisco made the steepest drop, with revenue down 93% since 2019. Las Vegas, which hosts scores of large corporate events, is projected to lose 71.2% of its 2019 revenue this year.

The pandemic is “wiping out a decade’s worth of revenue and job growth” in the hospitality sector, the report concludes.

Revenue per available room for most generic business travel hotels are down 45% from 2019, Insider previously calculated. Business and group travel are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 at the earliest.

“Corporate groups generally provide a base of occupancy for the market and without that, hotels are really not going to have tremendous pricing power so it’s going to be a challenge for several years on the profitability side,” Evan Weiss, chief operating officer at LW Hospitality Advisors, told NY1 in January.

Travel across the board is still struggling to regain pacing after falling off a cliff during the pandemic.

“Dense urban markets such as New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, and San Francisco are still only 20% to 30% recovered,” Hyatt CEO Mark S. Hoplamazian said in a second quarter earnings call.

The hotel and hospitality industry buckled during the COVID-19 pandemic as airline travel stopped, offices closed, and millions of workers went fully remote and virtual. Leisure travel made a slight comeback this past summer as more people got vaccinated and opted to travel.

Analysts expected business travel to recover in September as work began to start up again. But employers are finding it more difficult to get employees to fully return to the office, including commitments to travel for work. Many conferences and trade shows, which are the main opportunities for work and group travel, are still held virtually, further reducing the need for business travel. COVID concerns also linger and the Delta variant is creating further uncertainty with travel.

50% of business travel will go away after the pandemic as in-person meetings become less regular, Bill Gates said in 2020.

Still, executives at large hotel chains have remained hopeful that business travel will bounce back, with some even offering alternative uses for hotel vacancies, such as temporary office space. The CEOs of Hyatt and Hilton both said in their earnings calls that they were seeing business travel revenue recovering, especially among regional small and medium-sized businesses. Congress also introduced the Save Hotel Jobs Act this week, aimed at further dampening the impact of decreased business travel on the hotel industry and its workers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I hated how I looked on video calls so I tried a clothing subscription service – here’s how it has transformed my morning routine

Katie Nave
Katie Nave sports items she got from Stitch Fix while working from home.

  • Katie Nave is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York who says she often felt unprofessional and messy on Zoom calls.
  • Nave decided to sign up for Stitch Fix and says using it has helped her achieve a more polished look.
  • It may not be a permanent fix, but at least for now, it’s helping her feel more confident at work.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A typical pandemic workday finds me juggling back-to-back Zoom meetings and entertaining my six-year-old, often doing an imperfect job at showing up for both.

As a work-from-home single parent, fussing over my weekday wardrobe is low on my priority list. I’ve blossomed from the early quarantine days of sweatshirts and messy buns for the most part, but I wouldn’t say my outfits are boardroom-ready.

I vividly remember sitting on an all-staff call, thanking my generous colleague for her public shoutout, and looking into my tiny square on the screen. This was a moment where I desperately wanted to appear professional, and instead I had on a band t-shirt from college and a zit on my chin (I’m a 37-year-old woman). I hadn’t expected to have to turn on my camera, but I looked like such a mess that even the Zoom “touch up my appearance” feature was at a loss.

I hated how unprofessional I looked on Zoom calls and wanted a change

Katie Nave
Nave’s usual work from home outfit.

Unwilling to live through that moment again, I began to consider my options for how to overhaul my look.
Several of my friends had tried subscription clothing services and said they’d be pleased with how it enhanced their wardrobes. I gathered specific details, along with promo codes, and decided to give it a try.

I decided to sign up for a monthly clothing delivery service

After comparing costs and commitment levels, I landed on trying Stitch Fix. Several friends vouched for its reliability, and I found it to be affordable. The service doesn’t require a subscription and returns are free. You only pay a $20 styling fee per order, and it’s credited towards any of the items you choose to keep. The deal is that you get five clothing and accessory items, tailored to your style, delivered as frequently as you’d like – and you send back what doesn’t work for you.

After signing up for a monthly delivery, I took a survey about my style preferences, sizes, lifestyle, preferred brands, and price points. While I derive no joy from shopping, it turns out that I love sitting on my couch and judging outfits. The app has regular style questionnaires, aimed at determining the pieces that will suit you best and are easy and fun to wear.

Getting my first box of surprise clothing and accessories in the mail was pretty exciting

The box arrived with a lightweight black blazer, a short summer dress, a bralette, a breezy maxi dress, and a basic white sleeveless top. I tried the brand new pieces on, and decided to keep everything, aside from the somewhat frumpy maxi dress. Keeping these items cost me $350.

If you decide to keep the entire box of items, Stitch Fix will credit back the $20 styling fee. If not, the fee goes towards what you do keep. Also, the company has a price-matching program, so if you find any of the items for a lower price elsewhere, they’ll match it.

The claims were true that returns were straightforward and I wasn’t charged for anything I didn’t want. I simply put the items I didn’t like back into the package and shipped them back for free at my local UPS store.

The cohesive wardrobe made my morning routine easier

Katie Nave
A new outfit from Nave’s first subscription box.

As I wore the clothes for the first time for work, I realized the joy it brought to actually wear something new for the first time in a very long time. Plus, I didn’t have to stand paralyzed in front of my closet wondering what look I was going for today – like a college kid preparing for finals or an exhausted mom trying to keep it all together.

Over Zoom, I noticed that I felt better in my skin, more confident and polished, and not horrified at what I saw in my tiny digital square.

It may not be a permanent fix, but at least for now, it’s helping me feel more confident at work

I don’t know how long I’ll keep the subscription boxes coming, as I’m a person who doesn’t do well with a lot of clutter and I’m well aware that making more sustainable choices when it comes to fashion is crucial. So, it’s quite possible this is a short-term solution to the luxury problem of hitting a COVID clothing slump.

Still, signing up for a clothing delivery service is one small perk that makes me feel more professional and is bringing a little joy and ease to my morning routine. Maybe it won’t last forever, but at least for now, I’m not haunted by my workday Zoom fashion statements.

Read the original article on Business Insider

People are still working from home as the Delta variant pushes back employers’ and workers’ office plans

working remotely
  • The Delta variant and coronavirus have forced some employees to stay working from home.
  • In August, about 13% of employed people worked remotely because of the pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The number of remote workers stalled from the previous month after dropping earlier in the year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Delta variant and the ongoing pandemic seem to still be affecting plans to have workers return to the office.

The latest data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed there wasn’t a decline in remote workers over August.

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13.4% of employed people teleworked or worked from home in the last four weeks because of the pandemic in August.

While this represented a drop from earlier in the year when the share was 23.2% in January, the August numbers were nearly identical to July’s, at 13.2%.

“The number of people working remotely due to the pandemic … held steady between July and August, so that I think is one of the biggest effects of delta here in this report,” Julia Pollak, chief labor economist at ZipRecruiter, told ABC News.

Computer and mathematical occupations still have a high share of remote workers, with a share 46.0% in August, according to the data.

Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor, also noted in a recent blog post on Glassdoor that the share of employed workers increased by 0.2 percentage points.

“A resurgence in remote work is likely to delay the economic recovery even more for central business districts reliant on corporate office workers,” Zhao wrote.

Some companies have had to modify their reopening plans after concerns about the Delta variant and the coronavirus. For instance, Bloomberg reported that Apple is pushing back its plans until at least January 2022. Google is also pushing back reopening until January.

A survey by the Partnership for New York City found that Manhattan employers were not as hopeful to see employees back in the office in September as they previously were.

The nonprofit found in an August survey that Manhattan employers expected 41% of staff will return to the office by the end of September – a steep drop from the 62% of confident employers in a May survey.

Some companies across different industries are also requiring employees to be vaccinated if they are in the office as the US continues to see coronavirus cases rise.

The seven-day moving average for coronavirus cases was 150,316 for September 3, according to the CDC.

64% of US adults are fully vaccinated and 74.8% have received at least one dose, according to CDC data as of September 4.

According to a list of companies compiled by NBC News, companies like Goldman Sachs, Delta Air Lines, and DoorDash have some sort of vaccination requirement. Goldman Sachs is requiring people in the office, including clients, to be fully vaccinated, NBC reported. Additionally, fully vaccinated employees will have to do weekly coronavirus testing starting September 7, as well as wear masks in some areas of the office.

The Delta variant and concerns about the virus aren’t just affecting how people work but the recovery of jobs lost during the pandemic. The US lost over 22 million jobs in March and April last year and job figures are slowly making their way back to pre-pandemic levels.

However, the US only added 235,000 jobs in August, much lower than what economists expected to see.

Both Zhao and Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed, told Insider that the Delta variant and the coronavirus pandemic are affecting the labor market and employment recovery.

“Delta seems to be the overwhelming factor affecting the labor market right now,” Zhao told Insider’s Juliana Kaplan,

Read the original article on Business Insider

There are just 4 essential skills to add to your resume to find remote work in 2021

interview zoom
New skills are needed to work efficiently with remote teams and to be as productive as possible.

  • Finding a job this year is a very different ballgame from what it was pre-pandemic.
  • Digitization has accelerated, tech is more advanced, and remote work is more common.
  • Here are the skills job advice blog Infoempleo says you need to include on your resume to find work.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

If you’re looking for work, finding a job this year is a very different ballgame from what it was pre-pandemic.

A lot has changed – digitization has accelerated, tech is more advanced than ever, and remote work has become the norm for many.

All these changes mean new skills are needed to work efficiently with remote teams and to be as productive as possible.

You need to make sure not only that you’ve brushed up on the skills that are most sought-after by recruiters but that your resume is up-to-date as well, according to job advice blog Infoempleo.

These are the top four skillsets Infoempleo says you should include if you’re looking for a job while working from home.

1. Digital and programming skills

Since the pandemic started, people with skills in ​​digital marketing, web development, web design, and programming have become even more pivotal to companies than they were previously.

With a growing number of companies moving towards remote working or hybrid working models, it’s crucial to have an understanding of digital tools and programs needed for remote work.

2. Social network skills

Being able to navigate and manage social networks is a professional skill that has been growing in demand for some time, but demand has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic.

Many companies may not have the budget to allocate an entire role to a social media manager.

As a result, social media skills that complement your core areas of expertise are greatly attractive to recruiters.

3. Tech skills

Tech skills in fields like robotics, augmented reality, the internet of things, or AI can be invaluable to companies in the context of the changes brought about by the pandemic.

Infoempleo stresses, that demand for staff “with knowledge of specific cloud software and collaborative work tools has increased.”

As companies are relying on this tech more and more so, make sure to include any pertinent skills on your resume.

4. Soft skills

Self-discipline, communication skills, and initiative are generally considered to be very sought-after traits but are particularly so if you’re looking to work from home.

These skills are even more essential now that, often, your colleagues and those to whom you report are at a physical distance.

As a result, you need to make it clear on your resume that you’re able to put these skills and qualities to use.

“It’s important that resilience, improved digital skills, and the ability to adapt to change stand out on your resume,” says Infoempleo.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I quit my job to travel and work remotely 5 years ago – here’s what I wish I knew about the digital nomad lifestyle before becoming one

Stephanie Smolders
Stephanie Smolders recommends saving as much as possible before starting a digital nomad lifestyle.

  • Stephanie Smolders is a marketing and business coach, writer, and digital nomad.
  • She and her partner have been traveling the world full time while working remotely since 2016.
  • If they were to start over, Smolders says they’d bulk up on savings and be more flexible with travel plans.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It may sound idyllic to be a remote worker and log onto your computer from anywhere in the world.

It is, but after five years of working remotely as a digital nomad, there are definitely a few things I wish I’d known beforehand.

In 2016, I quit my teaching job and started traveling full-time and working remotely with my partner, Peter. Our fair share of mistakes have taught us a lot. If we were to start over again, this is what we would do differently.

1. You get what you pay for

Save yourself endless frustration and energy by not always going for the cheapest option. At first, we tried hard to save extra cash, whether on software and tools we needed for work, flights and accommodation, or even restaurant visits. We’d spend hours figuring out how to save an extra $20 a month on a software that was supposed to save us time.

In most cases, we’d discover that we needed the premium or paid plan after all, could have used that extra storage, or should have paid for a flexible flight ticket. The amount of time we spent trying to be frugal was not worth the couple hundred dollars we saved. Now, when we think we need something, we get it and save ourselves on time.

2. The lifestyle will cost more than you think

On the road, things rarely go as planned. A general rule of thumb we’ve learned is that your estimated lifestyle costs 25% more than you think and planning takes double the time. Overestimate your budget and your timing so you save yourself guilt-tripping later on. We now calculate 25% more in our budget because it’s hard to estimate your daily spending in a new country.

3. Take a break and enjoy

Doha 2017 Stephanie Smolders
Smolders in Doha, Qatar in 2017.

In the first three years, despite traveling to over 40 countries, we rarely explored or took a day off. We started a marketing company and wanted to provide the best service to our clients, so we hardly even took weekends off.

Looking back, we missed a lot of the beauty of traveling and connecting with a new country and culture. Despite the tropical locations, if you’re working as a digital nomad you’re not always on vacation, so never taking a real break will be unhealthy and unsustainable in the long run.

Now, we take at least a week-long break every three months. It keeps us motivated and productive. Even when you live in paradise, if you’re working full-time you still need a few days off every couple of months to recharge.

4. Don’t skip out on insurance

Working remotely and traveling comes with a lot of risks. Not knowing the culture or local regulations can make it difficult to find a hospital, who to ask for help when you get into an accident, or what to do if your property get stolen or lost.

As a preventative measure, we knew it was important to get travel and health insurance tailored to digital nomads that understand the lifestyle. For health insurance, we use Safety Wing Nomad Insurance and are covered with our Revolut Metal plan for all travel-related incidents and theft.

5. Remain flexible at all times

Stephanie Smolders' partner Peter working from a hotel while on their travels.
Smolders and her partner Peter working from a hotel while on their travels.

On two occasions we decided to change our travel plans completely but our flights and accommodation were already paid for. We hadn’t paid for flexible options so we ended up losing our money, about $2,500. This isn’t a situation you can afford often.

The best thing about remote work is the flexibility to go to places you want to be. When you sign a lease for a villa for six months but want to move after two, you’re in trouble. Twice, we lost money due to ending a house lease early. Negotiate flexible contracts for your housing, buy changeable flight tickets, and don’t commit to a long stay before you’ve seen a place in person.

6. Bulk up your savings

As mentioned before, things always cost more than you think. When working as a freelancer or starting your own business as we did, it’s great to know you have a buffer and at least a year’s worth of runway.

At the start, we didn’t always hit our income goals, and during the first few years, we had periods when we went way over our calculated budgets and as a result, had to make decisions that damaged our business’s ability to grow. With a bigger buffer, we could have hired better support earlier or afforded a bad quarter without putting the business at risk. In hindsight, we would probably have waited six months to a year longer to save up a year’s worth of expenses before starting our digital nomad journey.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I’m on a 3-month road trip across the US – here are the best money-saving hacks for working on the road

Meagan Drillinger
Meagan Drillinger is a travel writer currently road-tripping across the US.

  • Freelance writer Meagan Drillinger and her partner have been road-tripping across the US since May.
  • While working on the road has its perks, Drillinger says the lifestyle ended up being more costly than expected.
  • She’s gotten creative with accommodations and figured out how to eat and get gas as cheaply as possible.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

This year has seen many Americans eager to hit the road for domestic vacations during the pandemic. But with demand comes a spike in prices, and between hotels, gas prices, dining, and activities, the cost of a road trip can quickly rack up if you’re not careful with budgeting.

At the end of May, my partner and I packed our car up and decided to hit the road. It’s the end of August and we’re still going, with no plans to stop anytime soon. We both work remotely, and we’ve picked up tricks for life on the road to save money. Here’s how.

1. Get creative with your accommodations

Meagan Drillinger
Drillinger saves money on accommodations by house- and pet-sitting.

The No.1 money suck on a cross-country road trip are the accommodations – especially in recent times when the majority of travelers are staying domestic. Airbnbs saw a 35% increase in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same time last year.

Since we’re on a $2,000 a month budget for accommodations, we’ve gotten creative. We joined Trusted Housesitters, a site where we’re verified and vetted through a closed network of homeowners who need people to watch their homes or pets while they’re away. We also rely heavily on Hotels.com and use a free membership account to unlock special prices and collect rewards.

Lastly, we also use Kampground of America (KOA). A caveat for the true outdoors people: KOA is *not* camping. You’ll see more campervans than you will actual tents or backpacks, but the cabin rentals at the KOA sites are clean, enclosed, and often have electricity and running water. Becoming a KOA member costs $33 and saves you 10% on every booking. On average, KOA cabins range from $54 to $250 depending on the time of year, and tent sites can range from $24 to $80 per night.

2. Find cheap gas

There is no road trip without gas. Unfortunately for 2021 road trippers, gas prices have surged. Sill, there are ways to still seek out cheap gas – we use GasBuddy, an app that shows all the gas stations and prices in the area, either in a list or on a map, so you can see just how far you’d have to drive to save a few cents on the gallon. A few cents here and there may not seem like much, but when you’re operating on a budget and using gallons a day, every dollar counts.

Another bit of advice is to always keep the tank above a quarter full. This has nothing to do with saving money, but it can certainly save you once you start hitting the wilder sections of states where gas stations are few and far between.

3. Drive economically

Meagan Drillinger
Driving the speed limit will help a tank of gas last even longer.

Driving sensibly saves money. Aggressive driving (read: speeding) wastes gas. In fact, speeding can both lower your gas mileage on the highway and as well as in stop and go traffic.

Another suggestion is to turn off “toll roads” on Google Maps. The E-ZPass toll between New York City and Washington, D.C., for example, is about $35 – each way. Avoiding toll roads often doesn’t add that much time and can save you at least a few tanks of gas in dollars.

4. Eat what you bring

You don’t have to skip every recommendation, but you may want to narrow it down to a “can’t miss” restaurant list to stay on budget.

Pack a cooler of breakfast essentials, sandwich fillings, protein bars, and water to ensure you’ve always got something on hand for when hunger strikes. It also helps to become a loyalty customer at a particular grocery chain like Safeway or Kroger to get special deals.

5. Stick to weekdays and don’t (necessarily) plan ahead

On average, it can be cheaper to check into hotels on Sunday because leisure travelers are typically heading home and business travelers don’t check in until Mondays. Camping over the weekend and saving hotels for the weekdays can also help you save on rates. Plus, if you don’t mind being last-minute, there’s typically more savings when booking accommodations the same week as your stay.

Regardless of how long you plan to spend on the road, these best practices will be sure to serve you and save you money.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff rules out a full return to work, says the pandemic will linger, and urges climate action in a new interview. Here are the 8 best quotes.

Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, wearing a sports coat jacket and in front of a blue background on a stage, extends his hands forward during a talk.
Marc Benioff.

  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff expects a permanent shift to remote work for some employees.
  • The billionaire executive warned of more COVID-19 variants and touted vaccines and testing.
  • Benioff also underscored the urgent need to address the climate crisis.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff predicted a permanent shift to remote work, warned the pandemic will continue indefinitely, and underlined the importance of vaccines and testing in a Yahoo Finance interview this week.

The billionaire owner of Time magazine also trumpeted Roblox, urged executives to cultivate equality and sustainability at their companies, and called for greater measures to combat the climate crisis.

Here are Benioff’s eight best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. “We’re not all coming back. About 15% of employees worldwide have come back to the office. Right now a lot of people are working and succeeding at home. They wanna continue to work at home, and that should be just all right with CEOs if their employees are productive.”

2. “I started Salesforce in an apartment in San Francisco. Today, I would start it on Slack and that is because my digital space is more important than my physical space. I need to bring everyone together.”

3. “Vaccines are extremely important. For our Salesforce employees, if they wanna come back in the office, they have to be vaccinated. Testing is also a critical part of making all of this work.”

4. “Roblox is a vision for the future of digital interactions. You’re creating custom worlds, you’re creating custom applications, but they’re all built on a consistent metaverse platform.”

5. “In this new world, if you’re not cultivating a beginner’s mind as a CEO, you’re making a mistake. It’s one of the reasons why we paid $27 billion for Slack – because we knew every company was gonna have to have a digital HQ. It was a must-have, not a want.”

6. “We’re in a pandemic world. This is a forever virus. We’re only on the Delta variant – that’s only the fourth Greek letter. There’s more Greek letters to come, there’s more variants to come.”

7. “CEOs need to be focused on their culture, their values, what is really important to them. Where is trust, where is safety, where are you with equality, where are you with sustainability? These are the core values of a corporation today.”

8. “We cannot run companies the way they are. Have you noticed the world is on fire? There’s fires everywhere, we’re in a sustainability crisis. We need to sequester 100 gigatons of carbon, we need to energize an ecopreneur revolution, we need to accelerate the Fortune 500 to net zero, and we need to plant a trillion trees.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

West Virginia offered $12,000 to remote workers looking to relocate – there were so many applicants that the state is giving them all $2,500 off their mortgage

Woman and man hike on rocks at top of mountain in West Virginia
  • West Virginia announced a program earlier this year that offers $12,000 if remote workers relocate.
  • The program was flooded with 7,500 applicants – 53 were selected.
  • The rest of the applicants will be offered $2,500 to help purchase a home in the Mountain State.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Earlier this year, the state of West Virginia offered remote workers $12,000 in cash if they relocated there for two years. Unsurprisingly, it was flooded with applications.

The talent attraction and retention program, dubbed Ascend West Virginia, was created by the state’s tourism department and Intuit Executive Chairman Brad D. Smith and his wife, Alys. Ascend WV announced Thursday that it has selected 53 people for its first “class” of remote workers moving to West Virginia.

Those workers, who hail from 21 different states as well as countries like Germany, will receive $12,000 in cash, plus free outdoor recreation, the option to earn certifications through West Virginia University, and access to coworking space and networking opportunities.

Those who were selected for the program will be moving to Morgantown, home to West Virginia University. Ascend WV said most of those workers are bringing family with them, meaning more than 110 people total will be relocating to the Mountain State.

They will receive the $10,000 paid in monthly installments for the first year and the additional $2,000 if they stay for a second year.

But it appears to have been a competitive selection process: Ascend WV received 7,500 applicants for the program.

“As soon as I heard how many applications were pouring in, I knew the team had to think bigger,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said in a statement. “If this many people wanted to live and work in West Virginia, we had to do everything we could to make that a reality.”

The state decided to partner with Rocket Mortgage to offer all 7,500 applicants $2,500 off their closing costs if they purchase a home in West Virginia.

The program is also accepting applications for its next host city, Lewisburg, which is located in the southern part of the state, near the border of Virginia.

Read more: There’s a battle brewing over salaries for remote workers – and it could change the way everyone gets paid

Ascend WV is funded by a $25 million donation from the Smiths with the goal of luring remote workers to West Virginia by promoting the state’s access to hiking, rafting, rock climbing, skiing, and more.

“Modern technology and changing assumptions about work are finally liberating large numbers of knowledge workers from the office. When workers have geographic freedom, they look for a place that offers quality of life and experiences that make their lives outside of work more meaningful,” Smith said in a statement, adding that he believes this new class of workers is the “first step in establishing West Virginia a top remote-work destination.”

West Virginia is one of a handful of placed hoping to entice new residents as remote working continues to be the norm for many American office workers. Late last year, Tulsa, Oklahoma, announced a similar program that grants workers $10,000 to relocate to the city. And in early 2021, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez partnered with Softbank Capital to invest $100 million in making the city friendlier to tech startups hoping to relocate.

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The number of bosses saying they plan to downsize their office space has dropped from last year. It’s a sign that hybrid working is set be a long-term trend.

office worker
The physical office is here to stay.

  • The number of CEOs planning to cut office space has decreased from last year, a KPMG study found.
  • Instead they’re favoring increased flexibility, according to KPMG’s latest CEO Outlook survey.
  • KPMG also found more than half of CEOs are looking to increase investment in shared office space.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Many CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies are reconsidering their plans to cut down on their physical office space, instead they intend to offer staff more flexible working options and invest in shared office space, according to a new study from professional-services firm KPMG.

KPMG’s 2021 CEO Outlook survey, found that over a fifth (21%) of CEOs said they planned to, or have already cut down their office space, a significant decrease compared with this time last year, where almost 7 in 10 (69%) said they were planning to reduce their office footprint.

Over half of those surveyed (51%) said they were considering increasing their investments in shared office space. Elsewhere, around one-third of respondents (37%) said they have or plan to introduce long-term hybrid-work patterns that will see employees work remotely at least two days a week.

Every year, between June and August, KPMG polls 1,300 of the world’s top CEOs from countries including the US, UK, China, India, and Canada for its CEO Outlook survey.

It asks them about their optimism about the prospects of their business and their strategy plans over the next year. All companies in the report generate annual revenue of $500 million or more.

While the report didn’t go into detail on individual companies, HSBC and Shopify are among some of the high-profile names to have previously announced plans to cut office capacity, favoring remote work options. The advertising agency WPP outlined plans last year to shed 20% of its New York office space by 2025 in order to cut costs, while companies like Deloitte have told employees that they can work from anywhere.

The move in favor of flexibility chimes with a growing sentiment among many workers, who are seeking more of a balance between home and office working – though there is also a noisy minority of employees who favor entirely remote work.

Gary Reader, global head of clients and markets at KPMG, told Insider that the pandemic had forced business leaders to rethink their operations and the role employees play in the future of their companies.

“A hybrid model of working will likely be the trend for many organizations,” he added.

In August PwC polled 1,007 full- and part-time workers. Although 41% said that they wanted to be fully remote at the time, that reduced to 19% of respondents favoring fully remote work once the Delta variant is no longer a concern. The majority preferred a hybrid option of working in the future; around one-fifth of those polled (22%) said that they wanted to work remotely one day or less a week.

Read the original article on Business Insider