25% of bosses hoped Return to Work policies would cause employees to quit. Hashtag Trending for Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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25% of Bosses Hoped RTO Would Make Staff Quit, HP Reports 20% Drop in Printed Pages Since Pandemic, Frontier Hackers Threaten to Leak Data for 750,000+ Customers and what will happen at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference?

These stories and more on this “we knew it all along” edition of Hashtag Trending. I’m your host Jim Love, let’s get into it.

A new study from HR software company BambooHR presents sobering data about the true motivations and effects of return-to-office mandates. According to the survey of over 1,500 employees, a quarter of executives and a fifth of HR professionals openly admitted they hoped enforcing Return to Office (RTO) would lead to employees voluntarily leaving.

The findings back up suspicions that for some companies, RTO pushes were essentially employed as stealthy pseudo-layoffs amid the tight labor market. Over a third of leadership respondents said their firms had undertaken actual layoffs in the past year when not enough staffers quit over RTO rules.

The survey paints a picture of plummeting employee morale and rising workplace surveillance in the wake of RTO policies. 42% of staffers now say they come into the office solely to be visible to managers, while remote employees feel compelled to demonstrate “hyper-availability.”

Anita Grantham, BambooHR’s head of HR, called it a “distrusting and performative culture” detrimental to growth. She urged companies to have an open discussion around work models that avoids micromanagement.

The data reflects earlier signs that returns-to-office largely failed to achieve their desired boost in productivity and engagement. With employee happiness already at a low, the findings suggest many corporations badly mishandled the transition and jeopardized culture in the process.

Sources include: The Register

HP CEO Enrique Lores revealed a stark reality facing the print industry – the number of pages being printed has dropped by around 20% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Speaking at the Bernstein Annual Strategic Decision Conference, Lores attributed the decline to hybrid work models leading to fewer people in offices every day.

“Before the pandemic, our estimates were that we were expecting to see a 20 percent reduction of printing. And actually…this is more or less where we are,” Lores stated.

While printing spiked temporarily during lockdowns as people worked from home, Lores said home printing has also seen a recent downturn.

The drop poses a challenge for HP and rivals as reduced printed output impacts sales of printers, ink and toner. HP’s print hardware revenue has now fallen for 9 consecutive quarters.

Compounding the issue, Lores noted customers are extending the life of existing printers rather than upgrading, further impacting future revenue streams.

However, HP is countering by pushing more subscriptions for ink, toner and printers. It now has over 13 million subscribers across various plans.  Although this has not been one of their more successful customer experience triumphs. As a tech publisher, we used to get angry letters about digital identity – now as a publisher, we get emails about printer subscription plans.

The company is, however, betting on better times with hopes for a recovery in industrial and commercial printing, where label and packaging output is rebounding after recent declines.

Sources include: The Register

Telecommunications giant Frontier Communications is dealing with a massive fallout after a cyberattack exposed private data for over 750,000 customers. And the hackers are threatening to leak even more unless their ransom demands are met.

In mid-April, the RansomHub cybercrime group breached Frontier’s systems, accessing names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers and other sensitive information for 751,895 customers according to notices filed.

The hackers claim to have data on 2 million Frontier subscribers total and have given the company until June 14th to pay an undisclosed ransom. If not, they are threatening to publish the entire 5GB trove of stolen personal and financial details online.

Frontier has notified impacted customers and is providing a year of free credit monitoring. But the company maintains that no financial data like credit card numbers was accessed, despite the hackers’ claims.

In response to the “criminal extortion scheme,” Frontier says it bolstered network defenses, alerted authorities, and was forced to temporarily shut down some systems to contain the breach.

Sources include: The Verge

It’s that time of year for predictions – who will win the Stanley Cup in Hockey, the NBA finals and what will Apple introduce at its World Wide Developer Conference next week.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, there will be “Apple Intelligence” features powered by OpenAI which will be  opt-in by default across iOS, macOS and iPadOS.

This contrasts with Microsoft and Google, which had their services included by default.

Rather than prioritizing splashy generative AI capabilities, Apple is said to be focusing on AI features with “broad appeal” and real usefulness.

Rumours are that the Apple Intelligence features will include an OpenAI powered chatbot, possibly a revamped version of Siri that could (finally) control apps. Other predictions are again practical things like webpage summaries, Voice Memos transcription, suggested text replies, automated email triaging and of course, something we’ve all been praying for – custom emoji creation.

I’m making fun of this, but somehow I think this might be a big hit, says the guy whose only emoji is a colon, a dash and a bracket and I’m thrilled when it makes a smiley face.

The AI roll-out will also emphasize data privacy.  Apple will keep to its on-device processing where possible using Apple’s Neural Engine chips. For cloud-based processing, Apple reportedly plans to assure users their data won’t be monetized or used for profiling.

The catch – only Apple’s latest A17 Pro and M-series processors will support all local AI capabilities at launch.

Beyond AI, the WWDC updates are expected to include redesigned Control Center and Settings apps, new messaging features, a standalone password manager and iPad calculator app.

While light on hardware releases, the event could preview Macs refreshed with next-gen M3 or M4 chips.

By making powerful AI assistive features opt-in with robust privacy protections, Apple appears to be staking out differentiation in an increasingly crowded AI market rife with surveillance and security concerns.

But remember, these are only predictions – so we’ll have to wait and see. For what its worth, for me  the Celtics in the NBA are logical, the Oilers in the Stanley Cup are hopeful and Siri that can actually do something useful – nothing short of a miracle.

And that’s our show for today.

Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a daily news show, with a weekend interview show we call the Weekend Edition.

Show notes are at technewsday.ca or .com  – either one works.

We love your comments.  Contact me at editorial@technewsday.com

I’m your host Jim Love, have a Terrific Tuesday…

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