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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

Businesses grapple with vax mandates and COVID policies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A growing number of U.S. companies have mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for employees. But in the absence of a federal mandate there's a wide variance in what’s happening — mandates for all, some, or none — with employee demands being put front and center thanks to the Great Resignation.

Why it matters: How companies answer questions about vaccines and return-to-work policies has wide ranging impacts — on the health of their employees, on where people live, and on the strategic direction of their businesses.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
15 mins ago - Economy & Business

The great venture capital resignation

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

A growing number of top VCs are calling it quits, long before typical retirement age.

Between the lines: Generational turnover isn't new for venture capital, but in the past it's been born of lean times. What we're seeing now is the byproduct of unprecedented success.

Top economic regulators stressed by vacancies

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The boom times are all around us (from corporate deal sprees to the breakneck rise of cryptocurrency) — and the agencies in charge are stretched thin trying to police it.

Why it matters: Overwhelmed staff and a slew of vacant posts could set back President Biden's big regulatory agenda.