Are Your Remote Employees Working Two Jobs?

A startup, Overemployed offers tips on setting low expectations with bosses and staying visible at meetings.

Good morning!

Here are today’s highlights:

  • Startups help employers hire employees with disabilities.

  • With school starting and Delta spreading, parents face fresh stress.

  • Home Covid tests are flying off the shelves.

HUMAN RESOURCES

Do your remote workers actually have two jobs? “A small, dedicated group of white-collar workers, in industries from tech to banking to insurance, say they have found a way to double their pay: Work two full-time remote jobs, don’t tell anyone and, for the most part, don’t do too much work, either. Alone in their home offices, they toggle between two laptops. They play ‘Tetris’ with their calendars, trying to dodge endless meetings. Sometimes they log on to two meetings at once. They use paid time off—in some cases, unlimited—to juggle the occasional big project or ramp up at a new gig. Many say they don’t work more than 40 hours a week for both jobs combined. They don’t apologize for taking advantage of a system they feel has taken advantage of them.”

  • “Started by two tech workers this spring, [Overemployed] aims to rally workers around the concept of stealthily holding multiple jobs, framing it as a way to wrest back control after decades of stalled wages for some and a pandemic that led to unpredictable layoffs.”

  • “The site serves up tips on setting low expectations with bosses, staying visible at meetings and keeping LinkedIn profiles free of red flags.”

  • “The boss at his first company, he says, was distracted by managing up. The worker started handing off responsibilities to an eager new colleague. He took advantage of the company’s unlimited PTO policy with a month off, citing Covid-19 burnout.”

  • “By now he has perfected the art of diplomatically declining colleague requests. (‘Sorry, not enough bandwidth,’ he tells them.)”  READ MORE

Parents face fresh Covid stress as schools start and Delta spreads: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month that young children are at risk of becoming severely ill and that rates of Covid-19-associated hospitalizations in children under age 5 had tripled in the first half of July. Because it looked so certain that children would be back in the classroom this fall, many parents didn’t think they needed daytime child care. Now they fear stop-and-start quarantines, periods of virtual learning and ad-hoc arrangements as schools try to keep doors open while coping with outbreaks.”

  • “Some of the opened schools are already reverting to virtual learning for those children stuck at home due to Covid-19.”

  • “And some districts aren’t guaranteeing immediate virtual instruction if classrooms close, parents say.” READ MORE

STARTUPS

Startups are helping people with disabilities find jobs: “[Charlotte] Dales founded Inclusively, a platform that helps people with a variety of disabilities--from mobility impairments and chronic illnesses to autism and PTSD--find accessible jobs at nearly 30 large employers, including Microsoft, Salesforce, and Comcast. The Richmond, Virginia-based company raised a $5.5 million seed round in June, has 15 employees, and counts more than 15,000 job candidates on its platform. One in four American adults has some form of disability, and plenty of employers want to tap this talent pool, especially in the current tight labor market. But many don't know where to start.”

  • “There's no shortage of government agencies, charities, and advocacy groups helping people with disabilities find work, Dales says, but there's never been a single platform where companies can reach them all--and the people they support.”

  • “‘Because it's so fragmented across so many different systems, it's really hard for employers to access the talent pool at scale,’ she says.” READ MORE

PRICING

In yesterday’s Morning Report, we highlighted an article in which a consultant made the provocative claim that if you’re raising your prices now, you’re doing something wrong. That brought the following response from reader Buzz Park: “It's clear to me that Geoffrey James, the author of the Inc article ‘No, This Is Not a Good Time to Raise Your Prices’ has never actually owned a business other than the solo consulting business he references in his article. In CA many businesses run on very thin margins due to competition and extreme regulation. To suggest that a restaurant owner shouldn't raise his prices when his costs have skyrocketed (labor, food supplies AND materials) is a reflection of ignorance rather than business savvy.” READ MORE

THE COVID ECONOMY

Small landlords are suffering during the eviction ban: “Most of the landlords I speak with and know are really struggling because of these moratoriums, financially hurting with no relief in sight. They were struggling before, but this most recent moratorium may bankrupt them altogether. No one is raising a finger to help. The moratorium ties the hands of hardworking landlords like me, and it totally disrupts the real-estate market. As some landlords are losing their properties, private-equity firms are winning out. They can take advantage of the situation by coming in and taking these properties from the bank for pennies on the dollar because they have low cost of capital, low debt, and staying power.”

  • “Our tenants don't have to provide any documentation to us, so they could be working, and we see that they're buying new goods, but they're not paying rent.”

  • “We're not there yet, but if it becomes clear people are taking advantage of the moratorium, we will have to discuss action with our legal team.”

  • “We've been very cautious of all of our income, capital, and cash because we don't know if the moratorium is going to continue, or if this pandemic is going to continue.” READ MORE

OPPORTUNITIES

Home Covid tests are selling briskly: “The popularity of at-home COVID-19 testing kits has skyrocketed as the Delta variant has spread, leaving many consumers scrambling to find them as retailers struggle to catch up with demand. Over-the-counter COVID-19 test kits are now the top-selling items in CVS stores, a spokeswoman said. Manufacturers of BinaxNOW Self Tests said demand for its products is increasing as cases rise and it’s working with retailers to keep store shelves stocked. ‘The phrase flying off the shelves would probably be appropriate,’ said Tim Halfin, regional pharmacy director for H-E-B’s Houston Division.” READ MORE

LOGISTICS

Cargo ships are again idling off Southern California ports: “Aboard are hundreds of thousands of boxes stuffed with goods bound for manufacturers and retailers as U.S. businesses hustle to restock inventories and prepare for the holiday shopping season. Just a couple of months ago, the number of container ships at anchor in the two ports, which together handle more than a third of all U.S. seaborne imports, had dwindled to nine. In normal times, the number is one, or none.”

  • “Leaders of the two ports say the armada of cargo ships is due to surging volumes and unpredictability in global supply chains caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and exacerbated by shippers pulling holiday-season imports forward to avoid delays later.”

  • “Airfreight isn’t an option for many shippers because of the expense. Liner companies say in most cases diverting cargo to less congested seaports isn’t possible because they aren’t equipped to handle tens of thousands of containers, many bound for inland destinations thousands of miles away.” READ MORE

BUSINESS MODELS

Ford wants buyers to order online and wait: “Company executives say efforts to shift more of Ford’s auto retailing operations to a so-called build-to-order model, where people custom-order online and take delivery at the dealership, would help cut inventory costs for the company and its dealers. It would also help Ford to deliver more vehicles that customers specifically want, while weeding out the hard-to-sell models that end up collecting dust at dealerships and lead to profit-sapping discounts, they say.”

  • “The nagging computer-chip shortage that has disrupted global car production this year already has pushed Ford and other automakers in this direction.”

  • “Dealership lots are so bare that shoppers had little choice but to order their new wheels and then wait, sometimes for months, to take delivery.”

  • “Ford now wants to use the chip crisis to push through long-term changes to its U.S. sales organization and operate with tens of thousands of fewer vehicles on the ground at dealerships.” READ MORE

INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand has ordered a lockdown after its first Covid case in six months: “The seven-day lockdown for Auckland will close schools and most businesses and also be imposed on another region, Coromandel, that the infected person, a 58-year-old Auckland man, traveled to. All other parts of the country will be required to lock down for three days. New Zealand has had just over 2,500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and few deaths, according to data from its health ministry.”

  • “The country has been helped by a strict initial lockdown last year and its remote island geography.”

  • “Its borders have been closed to virtually all travelers, except those such as citizens and long-term residents, since March 2020.” READ MORE

THE 21 HATS PODCAST

Episode 73: Get Rid of the Arsonists: This week, we have a very special episode. It’s the dog days of August, and the only regular available was Jay Goltz. So we reached out to a bunch of loyal listeners who we happen to know have listened to every episode of this podcast, and we asked them if there was more they wanted to know about Jay—or if they’d heard enough. It turned out, they had some great questions, including: What Jay thought of Dana’s “Jay” iImpression? What exactly Jay does all day? How he learned to delegate? How he knows when it’s time to fire someone? And which of the other 21 Hats Podcast businesses he’d be inclined to invest in?

If you see a story that business owners should know about, hit reply and send me the link. If you got something out of this email, you can click the heart symbol, you can click the comment icon below, and you can share it with a friend. Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren