Google spied on employees and fired them for unionizing, U.S. labor board says

The U.S. National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against Google and its parent company Alphabet, accusing the tech juggernaut of violating labor laws.

The company was allegedly “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act,” according to the complaint filed Tuesday.

Specifically, the NLRB case documents accuse Google of illegally spying on employees, firing several employees in retaliation for attempting to unionize, and illegally blocking employees from sharing work grievances and information with each other using general tools like calendars, email, meeting rooms, and an internal communication tool at Google called MemeGen.

The NLRB said it expects an answer from Google by Dec. 16 and the agency said it will hold a hearing on April 12, 2021, in San Francisco.

Google didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

The NLRB’s conclusion comes a year after CNBC

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Google is allowing employees back on campus for outdoor-only meetings because remote isn’t always enough

a group of people that are standing in the grass: AMY OSBORNE/AFP via Getty Images

© Provided by Business Insider
AMY OSBORNE/AFP via Getty Images

  • Google is holding face-to-face gatherings outdoors on lawns and other parts of its campuses as it gets ready to welcome staff back to offices next year, a spokesperson told CNBC.  
  • The news followed Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai’s September announcement that the company was making changes to its physical spaces to enable a hybrid model of work.
  • “We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having that sense of community, is super important for whenever you have to solve hard problems, you have to create something new,” said Pichai during an interview for Time 100. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Google is testing socially distanced outdoor meetings on company campuses, preparing to get employees back to offices next year.

The socially-distanced meetings, called “onsite off-site”, are held on lawns and other parts of the tech giant campuses where COVID-19 restrictions

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Helping Your Employees Adapt To New Technology

Co-Founder and CTO of STRATAFOLIO, an asset management, automation and analytics company servicing the commercial real estate industry.

Businesses have to evolve over time. Whether you’re replacing old, outdated technology or you need new solutions to keep up with your fast-growing business, you’re going to have to invest in new and improved technology.

Why Your Employees Need To Be On Board

Whenever you’re upgrading hardware or introducing new software, your goal as an employer is to get the most out of your tech investments. And in order to do that, you need your employees to be fully on board. This is often easier said than done! Not everyone is excited about the prospect of changing their daily routine around new technology. However, there are some things you can do to make it easier for everyone.

Set Your Employees Up for Success

Fear of the unknown, lack of communication,

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Google allowing employees to hold some meetings outdoors on campus

A cyclist rides past Google Inc. offices inside the Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016.

Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google has begun holding in-person meetings outdoors on company campuses as it prepares for employees to return to offices next year.

A company spokesperson told CNBC it’s begun hosting “onsite off-sites,” or socially distanced meetings, on lawns and other areas on its campuses where it’s allowed by authorities. It’s a way to bring aboard new hires and collaborate on important projects offline amid the pandemic, which has required most employees to work from home, the company said.

“Engineering leaders typically, when they wanted to collaborate and build a product plan for the next year, or come up with a new concept, they used to go offsite to find uninterrupted time,” Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said at the Fortune Brainstorm conference this

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Oyo Has $1 Billion to Fund Operations Until IPO, CEO Tells Employees

(Bloomberg) — Ritesh Agarwal, founder and chief executive officer of Oyo Hotels, told employees the Indian startup is making progress in recovering from the coronavirus fallout and has about $1 billion to fund operations until an initial public offering.

A pedestrian walks past an Oyo hotel, operated by Oyo Hotels Japan G.K., in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. Oyo has drawn particular attention in SoftBank Group Corp.’s portfolio of startups because of its similarities to WeWork. Both are trying to change traditional real estate businesses with technology. Both have charismatic young founders. Now, skeptics say Oyo could also fall short, further undermining Son’s grand ideas about technology investing.

© Bloomberg
A pedestrian walks past an Oyo hotel, operated by Oyo Hotels Japan G.K., in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. Oyo has drawn particular attention in SoftBank Group Corp.’s portfolio of startups because of its similarities to WeWork. Both are trying to change traditional real estate businesses with technology. Both have charismatic young founders. Now, skeptics say Oyo could also fall short, further undermining Son’s grand ideas about technology investing.

The 27-year-old entrepreneur made the comments in a fireside chat with Oyo board member Troy Alstead, after the once high-flying company endured months of layoffs and losses as Covid-19 hammered its business. Oyo is one of the largest

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Are Customers Behaving Worse To Customer Service Employees In The Face Of Covid?

Are customers behaving worse toward the people who serve them, in the face of the Covid-spawned crisis we’re all living through? Or are customers actually getting easier to please and more empathetic to the plight of the businesses and the customer service employees with whom they interact?

The reality is that it’s going both ways. First, here’s what I’m seeing (in my work as a customer service consultant and turnaround expert), on the negative side: Some customers, being under stress themselves, have been taking that stress out on what they view as a safe target: customer service representatives they interact with from a distance rather than family members they know they’ll have to face again at the dinner table or in the marital bed.

Which is monumentally unfair, but there it is.

In addition, the bizarro and disheartening national divide on masks and other anti-pandemic safety precautions has led

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How Small Businesses Can Train Employees for the Future Workplace

Train Employees on the Proper Tools

The first order of business must be teaching workers how to use tools properly, and that includes hardware. For collaboration tech, for example, it is important to have high-quality video and audio equipment to ensure an optimal meeting experience. It’s important that employees get comfortable, noise-canceling headsets so they are able to hear their coworkers clearly and contribute their own ideas without background noise. 

Quality webcams are also key to limiting distractions. There are many 4K webcams available that are superior to the 720p or 1080p cameras often built into computers. Employees need to feel comfortable using this kind of hardware to get the most out of applications like Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams. 

Employees must also be trained in supporting this collaboration tech, particularly since workers are physically distanced from IT teams. Workers need to be able to troubleshoot problems on their own,

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New Microsoft technology scores meetings by tracking employees’ body language and facial expressions for ‘boredom’ and ‘fatigue’

A new Microsoft patent shows how the technology giant might assign meetings scores based on attendees body language and facial expressions in the future.

a group of people standing in a room

© Provided by The Independent

The patent for an “insight computing system” would track numerous parameters including the number of people in a meeting, room temperature, time of day, the number of time each participant speaks, and more.

It would also track “speech patterns” that would be able to detect “boredom” or “fatigue”. This would be matched against other tasks such as “texting, checking email, [and] browsing the Internet” as well as being informed by an employee’s schedule.

This tracking could be done via a smartphone, computer, and a range of other electronic devices, which would allow the system to use wi-fi and Bluetooth beacons to count how many people are in a room at one time.

“Because conventional computerized scheduling systems lack real-world context, users

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What To Get Your Colleagues, Employees, And Clients This Holiday Season

It’s that time of the year again! The time for showing appreciation to those who make your life possible or better. Every year, I curate my own list of what to give that special someone in your professional life, whether that’s your colleagues, clients or employees. Here’s my holiday gift guide from last year and a special edition mini gift guide for this year as well. 

Here’s my 2020 list of the best holiday gifts. I am truly hopeful that you will find something for everyone on your list. 

For the Kitchen Maven:

Tovala: The ultimate

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Microsoft ‘Productivity Score’ monitors employees email, camera usage

  • Microsoft this month launched an analytics tool for employers called “Productivity Score.”
  • The tool collects detailed data about how employees are using Microsoft’s tools, including how much they use email and whether they turn their camera on during meetings.
  • Privacy experts have voiced concerns that the Microsoft tool is a serious invasion of privacy, as employers are able to view employees’ activity individually.
  • Data privacy researcher Wolfie Christl said it “turns Microsoft 365 into an full-fledged workplace surveillance tool.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Microsoft has a new tool that lets companies break down how much time employees are spending on work tools like email, Microsoft Teams, and Word — and privacy experts say it amounts to “workplace surveillance.”

The tool, called Productivity Score, was first announced by the company in October and launched on November 17. It allows employers to gather granular data about how their employees

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