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🏢 The future of remote work, explained

The Hustle

The next stop for brand awareness? Your playlist. Mastercard, the payments pioneer, released its debut album, “Priceless,” this week, featuring 10 songs that all incorporate the company’s “sonic brand.”

In today’s email:

  • WFH: Would a recession get people back in offices?
  • Chart: More teens are working this summer.
  • Reads to carry you into the weekend.
  • Around the web: A strange art project, an ode to Costco, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet discuss AI age verification, creepy Alexa, and the pros and cons of remote work.

The big idea
going back to work

Will a recession get people back in the office?

In October 2020, a Pew Research Center survey found that 64% of respondents were working from home because their office closed amid the pandemic. By January 2022, 61% were doing it because they wanted to.

Many have embraced WFH’s benefits, but could a recession change all that? It’s a question The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, author of the Work in Progress newsletter, recently pondered.

What’s the logic?

Lately, it’s been a job seeker’s market, with companies offering higher wages and better perks to lure talent.

But if “the Great Resignation becomes the Great Labor Slackening,” Thompson writes, it could put power back in bosses’ hands — half of whom think in-office workers are more productive.

Meanwhile, real estate developer Stephen Ross suggests that employees might voluntarily go back because they’re afraid of being laid off.

  • In that same Pew Research Center survey, 14% of those who returned to the office did so because they feared missing work opportunities while at home.

Gen Z may also be a factor; the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) found 63% of them want in-person training, and only 23% consider a WFH option important.

But a recession could also mean…

… cutting costs. Sure, that could mean layoffs, but you know what else costs money? Offices — plus, electricity, internet, janitorial services, coffee, snacks, etc.

  • Global Workplace Analytics found that companies could save an average of $11k/yr. per half-time remote employee — a figure that would naturally increase for each full-time worker.
  • FlexJobs found the average employee saved $4k/yr. if working remotely, factoring in lunch, commuting, and wardrobe.

It’s also expensive to recruit and hire new employees, especially if talent would rather quit than return to the office.

So it’s also possible that WFH could expand as it becomes a perk used to recruit talent, while simultaneously saving money on office space and other benefits.

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Big bet: Fanatics, the sports merchandise giant, is reportedly in talks to buy Tipico, a sports gambling company. In preparation for the move, Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin sold his stake in the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.

Flight cuts: United Airlines will cut 12% of flights — ~50 flights per day — from its Newark, New Jersey, hub in an effort to reduce delays.

No more threads: Twitter is working on a new feature called Notes that will allow users to post long-form content on the app.

Kinda creepy: Amazon plans to build a system that will let Alexa mimic any voice after only listening to a minute of audio.

Futuristic farming: One engineer set out to solve labor shortages on California farms. His solution: a startup that pairs AI with robotics to complete tedious tasks like pruning grapevines.

Another exit: Nike is leaving Russia, following McDonald’s and Google, three months after it paused operations in the country. #ecommerce-retail

Rice: Researchers received $11m in funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to test whether gene-edited rice could fight climate change by trapping carbon dioxide in soil. #clean-energy

Swedish startup Einride will begin testing its autonomous pods on US roads this year, completing short shipments between a factory and a warehouse in Tennessee. #emerging-tech

Startup Kasheesh has exited stealth mode. Its model is similar to BNPL, but doesn’t involve a loan. Instead, it splits payments into debit, credit, and gift cards, sans fees or interest. #fintech-crypto

Google will pay the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit behind Wikipedia, to improve the info on its search engine. #big-tech

percentage of US teens with a summer job

Selina Lee

Teens are going back to work

Whether lifeguarding, babysitting, or slinging sandwiches from behind a deli counter, the summer job is a teenage rite of passage. At least, it was.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of 16- to 19-year-olds in the US with a summer job fell off a cliff.

But recent data from Pew Research Center suggests summer employment is back on the upswing after dropping early in the pandemic.

From 1948 to 2000…

… over half of US teens ages 16-19 held summer jobs. But that number fell hard in the following decade:

  • By 2010, less than 30% had summer jobs
  • After rising steadily for the next decade, that percentage dropped to 30.8% in 2020

But in 2021, teens bounced back, with 36.6% of 16- to 19-year-olds joining the workforce. Early data suggests the trend will continue this summer.

So, where are teens working?

Until 2001, the largest sector for teen workers was retail, but for the last two decades, that title goes to accomodation and food services. The category includes hotels, restaurants, snack shacks, and similar roles.

If you’re looking for the big money, you may want to practice your sidestroke. A recent report shows ~100 lifeguards in California made $200k+ last year amid a nationwide shortage.

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Weekend Reads

Welcome to Weekend Reads. Here are five recs to pair with your Saturday morning coffee.


  • “Just stop buying lattes.” Financial gurus have long preached cutting back on small luxuries like avocado toast — and margs — to afford a house. What are the origins of this personal finance myth?
  • Discord is dominating as the preferred communication platform for Web3. But WTF is actually going on over there? We sent a Hustle writer into the depths of five crypto servers to find out.

Spot the fake:


🤡 On this day: In 1997, Disney ordered subsidiary record label Hollywood Records to recall Insane Clown Posse’s “The Great Milenko.” The rap duo’s album was definitely not family-friendly, but the label had already shipped 100k copies.

🐍 Cure boredom: Remember “Snake?” “Slither” is a modern version of the classic game. Eat glowing pebbles to grow bigger while avoiding other players.

🏬 Essay: Yuxi Lin writes about how Costco fit into her life as an immigrant, from childhood to now.

😕 Haha: Here’s a weird, uh, art project, maybe. A series of signs in Boston beg a woman named Stacey to take the writer back. They lead to a website where you can leave and listen to voicemails.

🐾 Aww: And now, patty-cake, patty-cake.

Shower Thoughts
  1. “Really old rock stars are a fairly new thing.”  SOURCE

  2. “If you boil drinking water to kill germs, you’re still drinking them, they’re just dead.”  SOURCE

  3. “It’s your parent’s job to raise you. Your adult relationship with them is their performance review.”  SOURCE

  4. “While you take a picture for a group of people, you can tell them to do random things and they probably will.”  SOURCE

  5. “Only the poorest rich people fly in first class.”  SOURCE

via Reddit
How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “No running by the pool!” Dent.

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