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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The HR startup Humu is using "nudges" from behavioral science to help companies to better manage the more permanent transition to remote or hybrid work.

Why it matters: Adopting remote or hybrid work after the emergency of the pandemic will require unlearning the psychological habits of the office and harnessing tools that guide us to making the human connections that used to be automatic.

How it works: Humu "sends personalized, customized nudges to different members of a team at different times and in different combinations that actually change behavior," says Laszlo Bock, the company's co-founder and CEO, and the former head of people at Google.

Background: The company crafts its approach from the work of behavioral economists like Richard Thaler, who pioneered the use of small nudges — such as putting healthy food front and center in a cafeteria while hiding the salty snacks — to direct behavior.

  • "If you're working on inclusion, you need to create an atmosphere of psychological safety," says Bock. "So an employee might get a nudge that says, 'You've got a meeting this afternoon — try speaking up in the first 10 minutes.'"

Between the lines: Bock is a believer in the value of remote and hybrid work, but he worries that corporate culture will erode, especially for the millions of people hired during the remote-only period of the pandemic who missed out on what he calls the "imprintable moment" of joining a company, when the feeling of connection is often the strongest.

There's a huge opportunity to be intentional and turbocharge an organization's performance, but people are missing it because they're thinking about work purely as a logistical issue.
— Laszlo Bock, Humu

Go deeper

Jun 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

"Great resignation" wave coming for companies

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Companies that made it through the pandemic in one piece now have a major new problem: more than a quarter of their employees may leave.

What's happening: Workers have had more than a year to reconsider work-life balance or career paths, and as the world opens back up, many of them will give their two weeks' notice and make those changes they’ve been dreaming about.

Landlords mount legal challenge to Biden admin's new eviction moratorium

President Biden at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A group of landlords and real-estate companies issued a legal challenge on Wednesday night in a D.C. district court to the Biden administration's new national eviction moratorium.

Driving the news: The Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors' emergency motion argues that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's order Tuesday barring evictions for most of the U.S. through Oct. 3 exceeds the CDC's powers, according to a statement from the National Association of Realtors.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

U.S. Olympic beach volleyball duo one step away from realizing gold medal dream

April Ross and Alix Klineman of Team USA celebrate after the play against Team Cuba during the Women's Round of 16 beach volleyball on day ten of the Tokyo Games. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Alix Klineman and April Ross are guaranteed to earn at least an Olympic silver medal after defeating Switzerland 2-0 in the Tokyo Games on Thursday morning local time.

Of note: It's the latest chapter in an enduring partnership, driven by past failures and bound by future aspirations.