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As Elon Musk orders Tesla staff back to the office, many tech companies are doing the opposite – CBC News

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A sternly worded internal email, apparently sent by Elon Musk ordering Tesla employees to either return to the office or leave, is raising a lot of eyebrows at a time when employees are increasingly seeking flexible work arrangements. 

In a screenshot of the email, shared on Twitter, the richest man in the world warns employees at his electric car company that remote work is no longer acceptable.

Musk replied to the leaked email on Twitter and said people who think coming into work is antiquated “should pretend to work somewhere else.”

Just two days after that ordered was issued, Reuters reported that Musk sent an email to executives titled “pause all hiring worldwide.” In the email, he said he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy and needs to cut about 10 per cent of jobs at Tesla.

The company and its subsidiaries employ almost 100,000 people.

The hard-line approach on working arrangements from the controversy-prone billionaire, who once tweeted “the coronavirus panic is dumb,” strongly contrasts against how some other CEOs — particularly those in the tech and startup world — are handling this latest phase of working in a pandemic. New research also suggests it’s something employees value as much as a raise, and that it could even contribute to diversity in the workplace.

Vancouver-based entrepreneur Greg Gunn said he’ll give Musk credit for being very clear about what he wants from his employees. 

“It’s a power move,” Gunn said. “Tesla historically has been a great place to work and it’s been a coveted place to work.”

But he said Musk is ultimately “endorsing an old way of building businesses.” He ultimately finds the order disappointing.

WATCH | Hybrid work schedules becoming more common: 

Hybrid work the norm as office workers head back

2 months ago

Duration 0:55

On the streets of downtown Toronto on Monday morning, a number of workers spoke to CBC on their way into the office. While their circumstances differ, on the whole they were pleased to be back, and expecting a mix of office life and working from home to be their norm from now on.

Gunn co-founded Canadian company Commit in 2019, which has always been fully remote. The professional network, which has no physical headquarters, is an online community where startup engineers get paid to find their next career opportunities.

As someone who is strongly in favour of remote workplaces, Gunn said the approach allows him to recruit the best people for the job, regardless of where they live.

He said it also removes obstacles that can make it difficult for some people to integrate into a physical workspace.

“There’s the subtle politics and social capital that you have to gain in an office that, if you’re a caretaker or maybe you have some neurodiversity qualities, it creates barriers.”

Ontario public service more flexible than Musk

While remote work is impossible or impractical for many fields of work, such as health care and education, various sectors are offering different options for employees in this latest phase of the pandemic. 

Even outside the tech sector, Musk’s approach to enforcing full-time office work is stricter than some more traditional workplaces.

The Ontario public service, which includes about 60,000 public servants, so far requires staff who were working remotely to come into the office a minimum of three days a week.

“The OPS remains committed to providing employees with flexibility,” Ontario Treasury Board Secretariat spokesperson Kyle Richardson said in an email to CBC News.

Some bureaucrats who work at Queen’s Park in Toronto, pictured here on June 18, 2021, have more flexible work options than Tesla employees (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Canadian insurance company Intact Financial has gone even further, recently launching what it calls a “Hybrid World model,” which allows teams to discuss and plan when they will work from home and when they will work in office. 

Meanwhile, in the highly competitive tech industry, flexible work arrangements is being used as a way to recruit talent.

Video game company Ubisoft Montreal, for example, is now 100 per cent hybrid work and does not enforce minimum in-office work hours. 

“Our employees have the choice to come as they want or stay at home,” public relations manager Antoine Leduc-Labelle said in an email to CBC News.

At video game company Ubisoft Montreal, employees have the choice to work from home or come into the office, as they wish. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

AirBnb has taken a similar approach, announcing that the vast majority of employees will be allowed to live and work anywhere they want, given that the pandemic ended up being “the most productive two-year period” in the company’s history.

Brian Chesky, CEO of the online vacation rental platform, said limiting the company’s workforce to people who live within a commuting radius would only hurt the talent pool. 

“Today’s startups have embraced remote work and flexibility, and I think this will become the predominant way that we all work 10 years from now. This is where the world is going,” he said in an email sent to staff in April. 

‘This isn’t going to work’

Jose Maria Barrero, a co-founder of the WFH (Working From Home) Research Project, said his gut reaction to Musk’s approach is “this isn’t going to work very well for Tesla.”

He’s been surveying Americans monthly with other academic researchers since the start of the pandemic to gather information about people’s attitudes toward working arrangements.

Barrero said the data generally suggests flexible working arrangements are as valuable as about a 10 per cent pay increase for most people. He said the group’s research suggests women, as well as racial and ethnic minorities, tend to have a higher preference for working from home. 

In the tech industry and beyond, many companies are offering a variety of hybrid work arrangements ranging from options with a minimum number of in-office days to fully-flexible options. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

He added the caveat that a single, blanket approach to working arrangements across an entire company might not be best.

Instead, he suggested, it’s better if companies look at role-specific work arrangements, based on whether someone works on a factory floor versus developing computer code.

“I think that companies that are asking people back to work [in office] full-time are ignoring this and are basically setting themselves up for the employees to call their bluff,” Barrero said. 

Hard to put the genie back in the bottle

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon acknowledged the new standard directly in his latest annual shareholder letter, in which he wrote “it’s clear that working from home will become more permanent in American business.” 

Dimon said he expects roughly 40 per cent of his employees will continue to work under a hybrid model with varying flexibility. 

Barrero said for many who work desk jobs, things will probably never go back to how they were before the pandemic.

“It’s very hard to put the genie back in the bottle,” Barrero said. 

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Accounting firm EY to pay $100M US fine after auditors caught cheating on ethics exams – CBC News

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Accounting firm Ernst & Young will pay $100 million US to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges that its auditors cheated on certified public accounting (CPA) exams and that it misled the agency’s investigators.

The London-based auditor admitted to the charges and agreed to pay what the SEC said is its largest fine against an auditor.

“EY acknowledges the findings determined by the SEC,” said Brendan Mullin, EY media relations director, adding that the firm’s response has been “thorough, extensive and effective.”

“At EY, nothing is more important than our integrity and our ethics.”

The CPA is the key qualification for accountants in the United States.

EY has also agreed to “undertake extensive remedial measures to fix the firm’s ethical issues,” the SEC said.

49 people got test answers ahead of time

The Wall Street watchdog found that 49 EY professionals “obtained or circulated” answer keys to CPA licence exams, while hundreds of others cheated to complete the continuing professional education components relating to CPA ethics.

“This action involves breaches of trust by gatekeepers … entrusted to audit many of our nation’s public companies. It’s simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams,” said Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s enforcement director, in a statement.

“And it’s equally shocking that Ernst & Young hindered our investigation of this misconduct,” added Grewal.

EY submitted to the SEC that it did not have issues with cheating when, in fact, the firm had been informed of potential cheating on a CPA ethics exam by a member of staff, the SEC said.

It added that EY admitted it did not correct its submission even after an internal EY investigation confirmed there had been cheating, and even after its senior lawyers discussed the matter with the firm’s senior management.

The SEC’s order also finds that EY violated a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) rule requiring the firm to maintain integrity in the performance of a professional service.

The SEC has ordered EY to retain two independent consultants to help remediate its deficiencies. One will review the firm’s policies and procedures relating to ethics and integrity. The other will review EY’s conduct regarding its disclosure failures, including whether any EY employees contributed to the firm’s failure to correct its misleading submission, the SEC said.

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Canada's transport minister speaks out about 'unacceptable issues' at airports following reports of luggage chaos at Pearson – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Canada’s transport minister is speaking out about the “unacceptable issues” that continue to result in significant delays at Canadian airports after images surfaced on social media showing hundreds of pieces of luggage piled up at Pearson International Airport.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson, told CP24 on Tuesday that a number of issues over the past several days have led to “challenges with baggage,” including “flight delays and cancellations, staff shortages and temporary mechanical disruptions with the baggage system.”

So far dozens of people have spoken out about losing their luggage at Pearson, including one woman who told CP24 that her bag was lost once on the way to Phoenix and then again on the way back to Toronto, resulting in a frustrating “suitcase scavenger hunt” that ultimately proved fruitless.

There have also been numerous images shared on social media showing huge piles of luggage in the baggage claim area at Pearson, which travellers have had to search through in the hopes of finding their missing bags.

“What we are seeing today is that while many of those Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and Canadian Border Security Agency issues have significantly improved we continue to see delays, cancellations and luggage issues,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told reporters at an unrelated announcement in the GTA on Wednesday. “I have had conversations with the four largest airports and the two largest airlines just on Thursday and I will be having follow up conversations with them soon. They know that they need to add more resources and they are working on that and we are offering our support to address these issues. But these are unacceptable issues.”

Pearson has been plagued by delays for months now amid increased demand and some staffing shortages.

Alghabra said that at this point the federal government has done everything in its control to address the issues at airports, including increasing staffing at customs and at security checkpoints.

He said that his government is also looking at “possibly extending the suspension” of random COVID-19 testing, which was supposed to be lifted on July 1.

That, he said, is because it is taking longer than expected to address the logistics of moving the testing off-site.

“What we are seeing is the surge of demand for air travel beyond what anybody expected and that is honestly good news. But the surge in demand is outpacing the ability for airlines and airports to enhance the resources that they need to accommodate that surge,” he said. “So we are working with airlines and airports to ensure that the resources needed, that the scheduling adjustments that are needed are addressed. Because we are also seeing extreme peaks at certain hours of the day.”

Tory says he will speak with Air Canada about issues

Many of the luggage issues at Pearson have reportedly involved Air Canada flights.

In a statement provided to CP24 on Tuesday, Air Canada said “that avoiding baggage delays is a top priority” as they are “disruptive and inconvenient” for customers and lead to added costs that the airline ultimately has to bear.

But they said that with the “well-documented issues” plaguing airports and resulting in last-minute flight cancellations there are simply more instances of delayed bags.

“I think the overall record is better today at the airport than it was a few weeks ago and I think there is every reason to believe that progress will continue,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday when asked about the issues at Pearson. “I am not personally familiar with the precise way baggage is handled but certainly from my limited knowledge it occurs to me that most of the responsibility rests with the airlines, so I will, undertake in light of what has happened to be in touch with Air Canada and find out from their perspective what the problem is, what they are doing to solve their part of it and if they believe that governments in the broadest sense can be helpful in making things work better so those baggage issues don’t arise.”

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Canadian Businesses Need Integrated Facility Services

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Many Canadian businesses require professional facility management to streamline their operations for the smooth functioning of buildings and facilities. Hiring separate contractors for different facility responsibilities, however, can become more time consuming and convoluted. An integrated facilities management company can act as an end-to-end solution for all your facility management needs and take care of all responsibilities.

Hiring a qualified integrated facility services team allows businesses to consolidate facility management under a single discipline, which includes integrating tasks, employees, technology, and safety. This simplifies facility management by bringing together different services under a single contract.

Consider how your business operations and management can benefit from integrated facility services

Time to Focus on Core Business Tasks

An integrated facility services team will take care of all facility-related services, allowing you to better allocate your time and resources to core business tasks. When you remove the burden of facility management off your shoulders, you can focus more on other aspects of your business, such as designing or building products, communicating with clients, and marketing.

A professional facility service provider will develop a tailored solution to meet a facility’s specific requirements. An experienced team can follow regulatory standards, improve communication between employees, and create a better workplace environment.

Lower Operational Costs

According to research and analysis, 90,600 businesses disappeared between 2013 and 2017 – and this was before the impacts of the global pandemic. The costs associated with running a business continue to increase, impacting the life-expectancy of businesses across various industries.

Switching your facility management to consolidated integrated services led by a professional will reduce operational costs by allowing you to invest in one provider, rather than a handful. Having only one point of contact will also reduce the time and labor required needed to coordinate with the provider. You can leverage economies of scale by streamlining facility operations, making the process more cost-effective.

A knowledgeable integrated facility service team can audit your workplace and identify cost-saving opportunities. They can guide strategic sourcing and allow you to bundle vendor services and contracts to save you money. You may also get discounts or benefits from pre-negotiated rates when a single company handles your facility management services.

Better Response Time

Facility management includes a wide range of services that require attention for smooth business operations. If management is inefficient, you may notice delays in the work process, leading to revenue losses.

When integration is done correctly, you’ll notice that response times will improve. Most efficient integrated facility service teams use modern technology to manage multiple sites and business operations. This allows better collaboration among team members despite their location and improves response time.

Streamlined Operations

Compiling all your facility management activities with a single company can be faster, more cost-effective, and more efficient. When business operations are streamlined, your team will notice more flexibility, improving employee engagement and better relationships with stakeholders.

An integrated solution is a more comprehensive approach because it is simpler to manage a singular point of contact. This will streamline the decision-making process, improve quality, and enforce accountability.

Embracing Integrated Facility Services

The Canadian Facility Management Market stood at USD 32.17 billion in 2020 and is forecasted to grow until 2026. A singular point of contact will make business operations less overwhelming, allowing you to divert your attention to other aspects of your business.

The key to successful integration is hiring a professional company with extensive experience managing facilities. When you find the right provider, a weight will be lifted off your shoulders, allowing you to relax knowing that your management is in good hands.

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