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Flexible, Empathetic Bosses Were a Pandemic Blip

They've grown apathetic of never-ending demands

Were a space alien to have visited the U.S. in late 2020, it might have gotten a very skewed idea about the employee-employer relationship in the world of corporate America. Companies were sending their white collar workers money to buy desks and chairs for their work-from-home offices, and gift baskets to buoy their spirits; they were encouraging them to take vacation days and pay attention to their mental health. They were launching Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs in the wake of the death of George Floyd, pledging to hire and promote more women after #MeToo, and jettisoning tough performance reviews for more “empathetic” evaluations.

That, though, was just a pandemic blip. It’s not just the spate of layoffs—including more than 100,000 in the tech industry alone in 2023—that have left professional workers reeling. Even people who still have jobs may notice that their employer is no longer the same empathetic, understanding boss that they bonded with in the first two years of the pandemic. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook employees that their performances would be graded more intensely than before; Alphabet’s CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly urged employees to work with “greater urgency, sharper focus, and more hunger”; Twitter owner Elon Musk advised employees who didn’t want to work long hours at high intensity to quit.

It’s not just tech. “We are managing out our less productive agents more aggressively,” said Mark Jones, the chief financial officer of Goosehead Insurance, a publicly-traded insurance company, to analysts in October, explaining that the company was now in a “post-pandemic environment.” Goosehead also cut its corporate staff by 18 percent over the quarter “to focus on increasing productivity.”

Please select this link to read the complete article from TIME.

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