Japan’s armies of “salarymen” were famous for spending endless hours at the office. Now one tech giant is trying to make the experience more cuddly by allowing in pets.
Fujitsu Ltd (6702.T), which makes everything from air conditioners to supercomputers, opened an experimental “dog office” in July at one of its buildings in Kawasaki, near Tokyo.
After teleworking throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Yuka Hatagaki was one Fujitsu employee lured back to the office a few times each month along with her five-year-old Maltese-poodle cross, Noel.
“Communicating got more difficult as remote working became a norm,” Hatagaki told Reuters. “So I thought here would be a great place to be able to come and communicate with other people with the help of our dogs.”
The scheme is something more akin to Silicon Valley than corporate Japan, but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a rapid shift in work patterns. Teleworking in Japan increased from 10% to 28% between December 2019 and May 2020, though still lower than many major economies, based on OECD data.
Advertising company Dentsu Group Inc (4324.T) and logistics provider Nippon Express Co are among companies that have mulled selling their central Tokyo headquarters to save money as more workers worked from home.
Fujitsu’s dog office, separated from standard working areas and operating on a trial basis until the end of the year, has workstations for three staffers and space for up to six dogs at a time. It also features stain-proof carpets and a range of pet supplies.
But while 30-year-old Hatagaki was drawn back to the office by the promise of working with her dog, Fujitsu says the purpose of the project is not to get workers back inside the building. Fujitsu and financial services firm Nomura Holdings Inc (8604.T) were among companies saying they would make working from home a permanent option even after the pandemic.
“Ever since COVID, working life and our personal lives have gone through enormous changes,” said Mitsuya Akamatsu, Fujitsu’s head of work style strategy. “We are always thinking about what kind of changes are needed.”
“We can’t say whether we will stick with this style of working alongside pets long-term because it’s still a trial, but personally I think it would be good to see it spread across our society,” he added.
Another dog office user, Mayumi Inoue, became a pet owner during the pandemic. She said coming in to work also offered some upsides for her dog, a six-month-old Pomeranian named Toramaru.
“Compared to being at home, your dog gets to meet up with its dog friends and with people, so there’s a good incentive for them as well,” Inoue said.
Overheated housing hotspots on the West Coast are cooling down more rapidly than any others in the country as higher mortgage rates drive a nationwide price correction, according to an analysis conducted by real estate firm Redfin.
Of the 100 most populous US metro areas, Seattle’s housing market cooled the most from February through August of this year – a period in which mortgage rates surged. Las Vegas ranked second on the list of steepest slowdowns, followed by San Jose, Calif.
Nine of the top 10 cities with the dubious distinction were located in the western half of the country, including four within California. North Port, Fla., was the only East Coast market near the top of the list.
“These are all places where homebuyers are feeling the sting of rising home prices, higher mortgage rates and inflation very sharply. They’re slowing down partly because so many people have been priced out and partly because last year’s record-low rates made them unsustainably hot,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather.
“The good news is that the slowdown is dampening competition and giving those who can still afford to buy more negotiating power,” he added.
Redfin based its rankings on calculations related to the year-over-year changes in home prices, price declines, housing inventory levels, pending home sales, sale-to-list ratios and the share of homes that went off the market within two weeks, the firm said.
Mortgage rates have skyrocketed since January as the Federal Reserve moves forward with interest rate hikes that make it more expensive to borrow money. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.29% as of this week, up by more than 3.40% compared to one year ago.
The median home price in Seattle is a whopping $775,000 – meaning the typical monthly mortgage payment is $4,400. That’s more than $1,000 per month more than went rates were closer to 3% at the start of the year.
“A lot of sellers aren’t able to get the price they want because buyers don’t want to compete with other offers when mortgage rates are double what they were a year ago,” said Seattle Redfin agent David Palmer. “That means there are fewer sellers listing their homes and fewer buyers making offers on the ones that do hit the market.”
The firm noted that many cities on the list, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Sacramento and North Port – were “relocation hotspots” during pandemic-era shift toward remote work. As monetary policy tightens and more companies return to the office, those markets are cooling fast.
Additionally, cities with large populations of tech workers are seeing less demand because worker compensation is often tied to stocks – nearly all of which are down considerably in recent months.
A growing number of analysts are warning of a housing correction. This week, Pantheon economist Ian Shepherdson said home prices could fall by 20% by the middle of next year as the market resets.
Amazon clawed back raises for some recently promoted corporate employees after discovering an internal glitch made the pay packages more lucrative than they should have been.
Amazon brass gave managers the bad news in a Thursday email obtained by Insider. The managers were told that the impacted employees received larger bonuses than they should have because the payouts were erroneously calculated based on outdated Amazon stock prices.
It’s unclear how many Amazon employees are receiving less money than they initially expected following the promotions. But an internal IT ticket related to the software glitch suggested that about 40% of workers promoted in the current quarter have “been impacted by this issue,” according to Insider.
When reached for comment, Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser confirmed the incident had occurred.
“We identified and immediately corrected an issue with some newly promoted employees’ compensation communications,” Glasser said in a statement. “We are working with employees to ensure they understand their updated compensation.”
Shares of Amazon are down nearly 33% since the start of the year – a decline that roughly matches that of the Nasdaq composite index over the same period. High-cap tech stocks have struggled this year during Federal Reserve rate hikes and recession fears hammer the sector.
In the email to managers, Amazon acknowledged that due to the recent stock slump and the glitch, “it is likely that the promotional cash value your employee will now receive is lower than you originally discussed with them.”
“We recognize that this is an uncomfortable conversation to have,” the email said.
The glitch occurred as Amazon and other tech companies attempt to navigate a worsening financial outlook after share prices boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy recently indicated the company would continue to hire, but at a much slower pace than it has over the last few years.
“I don’t think that you’ll see us hiring at the same rates that we did,” Jassy said during an appearance at Code Conference earlier this month, according to the Wall Street Journal. “But we’ll be hiring.”
The Dow breached its mid-June lows on an intraday basis to touch 29,643.93 points and hit a near-two year low.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are also closing in on mid-June lows, their weakest points for the year.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 400 points, or 1.4%, at 29,668.18, the S&P 500 was down 65 points, or 1.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite was down nearly 200 points, or 1.7%.
All the three indexes were set for sharp weekly losses.
Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are already in bear market and down more than 22% and 30%, respectively, so far this year, amid worries about a host of issues including the Ukraine conflict and tightening financial conditions across the globe.
The central bank raised rates by a widely expected 75 basis points on Wednesday and signaled a longer trajectory for policy rates, dashing hopes that the Fed expects to get inflation under control in the near term.
“The most recent Fed actions leave us with the feeling that the end of the rate rises is not near,” said Rick Meckler, a partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, NJ.
“There is very little positive news right now and it could lead to a sort of a final selloff … it’s certainly possible that we could be approaching the near-term lows.”
Dire outlooks from a handful of companies – most recently FedEx and Ford Motor — have also added to woes in a seasonally weak period for markets.
Goldman Sachs cut its year-end 2022 target for the benchmark S&P 500 index by about 16% to 3,600 points, a 2.5% decline from current levels.
Technology and growth stocks slid with megacap names including Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Tesla all down more than 1%.
Costco Wholesale shed 2.4% after the big-box retailer reported a fall in its fourth-quarter profit margins.
The CBOE volatility index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, rose to 28.72 points.
Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman argued that the US should open its doors to “increased immigration,” saying such a shift in policy would be more effective at combating inflation than raising interest rates.
“Doesn’t it make more sense to moderate wage inflation with increased immigration than by raising rates, destroying demand, putting people out of work, and causing a recession?” Ackman wrote on Twitter late Thursday.
The CEO of Pershing Square Capital added that the Federal Reserve faces an uphill battle against key challenges, including the current wave of rampant wage inflation that is pushing prices higher and sapping corporate profits.
“Inflation can be mitigated by reducing demand and/or by increasing supply. Thefederal reserve can only reduce demand by raising rates, a very blunt tool,” he wrote. “Wage inflation will likely continue until rates rise to restrictive levels.”
Ackman — who has a net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Bloomberg — concluded his tweetstorm saying, “if we can target immigration policy to achieve important political objectives like catalyzing a Russian talent drain to the US, why shouldn’t we?”
Ackman’s comments come on the heels of the Federal Reserve raising rates by 0.75 percentage points this week for the third straight time, after which Fed chairman Jerome Powell said, “we have got to get inflation behind us; I wish there were a painless way to do that. There isn’t.”
By the end of last year, Americans amassed a total of $15.6 trillion in household debt. New York accounted for 5.6% of the total, or $869.4 billion.
California led the nation in national average household debt. Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois round out the top five.
According to DiNapoli’s office, average household debt has rose by 4% nationally and 2% in the Empire State during the first two quarters of this year — outpacing the previous highs that were set in 2008.
The vast majority of household debt both nationwide and statewide was made up by mortgage debt, according to the Thursday report.
In New York, 69.2% of residents’ average household debt — or $601.2 billion — was owed to lenders for mortgage payments. Nationwide, that figure was 70.2% — or $10.9 trillion.
“Households across the nation have record levels of debt, after a temporary decline at the onset of the pandemic in 2020,” DiNapoli said.
“We’re seeing debt rise for New Yorkers with student loans, mortgages and credit cards.”
DiNapoli added: “Borrowing can help individuals achieve their personal and financial goals, but high levels of debt can cause damaging long-term consequences.”
“I urge policymakers to improve access for individuals and families to financial education resources, so they are better prepared to build a stronger financial future.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly grew agitated during a “heated” all-hands meeting in which an employee asked why the search engine was “nickel-and-diming” workers by taking away perks and benefits.
One worker summoned the nerve to ask Pichai why Google was “nickel-and-diming employees” when the company reported “record profits and huge cash reserves,” according to audio obtained by CNBC.
The Googler’s pointed question was met with a positive response by his colleagues, who rated it high on the company’s internal Dory Q&A system, according to CNBC.
Pichai reportedly paused to gather his thoughts and offer a measured response.
“How do I say it?” the CEO is reported to have told the disgruntled employee.
“Look, I hope all of you are reading the news, externally,” Pichai continued. “The fact that you know, we are being a bit more responsible through one of the toughest macroeconomic conditions underway in the past decade, I think it’s important that as a company, we pull together to get through moments like this.”
Pichai is said to have sounded annoyed, telling his charges: “We don’t get to choose the macroeconomic conditions always.” He added that it was important for the company “to be smart, to be frugal, to be scrappy, to be more efficient.”
“I remember when Google was small and scrappy,” Pichai said.
“Fun didn’t always — we shouldn’t always equate fun with money. I think you can walk into a hard-working startup and people may be having fun and it shouldn’t always equate to money.”
One employee commented on Dory that it was ironic for Pichai to be slashing travel expenses while at the same time flying out to New York from his Bay Area headquarters to meet with them.
“It’s an interesting choice for Sundar to be in New York…after travel for employees is cut to only the most business critical,” the employee reportedly wrote on Dory.
“I’m sure Sundar has business-critical meetings in New York.”
Pichai responded: “I think so. I think it qualified.” The response drew laughter from the audience, according to CNBC.
“I’m a bit concerned that you think what we’ve done is what you would define as aggressive cost saving,” Pichai said. “I think it’s important we don’t get disconnected. You need to take a long-term view through conditions like this.”
Pichai, who dodged a question about executive pay at Google, said that the firm was “still investing in long-term projects like quantum computing.”
Pichai earned $6.3 million in salary last year.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that Google informed some employees that they needed to apply for new jobs within the company if they hoped to remain employed.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported that its payroll had 174,014 employees as of the end of the second quarter.
In July, Alphabet reported weaker-than-expected earnings and revenue. The company anticipates that its third-quarter sales growth will fall into the single digits — a far cry from the more than 40% figure from a year prior.
Shares of Alphabet were down by 1.66% as of 10:09 a.m. Eastern time on Friday.
The Post has sought comment from the company.
An Alphabet spokesperson told CNBC: “Sundar has been speaking to the company consistently over the last few months about ways we can be more focused.”
According to the spokesperson, Pichai communicated to his employees that company “leaders are working to be responsible and efficient in all that their teams do.”
Pichai told his employees that managers are “ensuring that our people are working on the highest impact / highest priority work,” according to the company rep.
Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg and a growing number of other Silicon Valley executives are taking their minds off the current tech sector slump by hitting the gym for mixed martial arts training, according to a report.
Tech workers like Zuckerberg are now a regular sight at MMA gyms, according to Khai Wu, a professional mixed martial artist and jiujitsu black belt who Zuckerberg described as one of his training partners.
According to Wu, Zuckerberg’s status as one of the world’s most scrutinized business leaders hasn’t kept him from mixing it up in training.
“He’s never like, ‘Don’t do that,’” Wu told The Information. “He’s actually asked, ‘Can you give me a little more resistance, a little more force? I want to feel it.’”
Zuckerberg, 39, has participated in private training sessions with Wu and others for the last several months, according to the outlet. The Meta CEO joins the likes of PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, who trains in krav maga, and Palantir CEO Alex Karp, who dabbles in jiujitsu and aikido, among other executives.
Wu said he faces off against Zuckerberg and other “jiujitsu nerds” at the Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu Academy in San Jose, Calif.
“You’d never expect these guys to be able to take you down. Next thing you know, they’re attacking you with these extremely technical moves,” Wu added. “You don’t know this nerd is a silent killer.”
Zuckerberg called attention to his hobby on Sept. 3 when he shared a sizzle reel of his training sessions with Wu on his Instagram account – with UFC commentator Joe Rogan and fighter Gilbert Burns among those who took notice.
“This is great! I’m so happy to see this. Training looks solid too!” Rogan commented.
The video shows an intense-looking Zuckerberg trading blows and takedowns with Wu ahead of his debut on UFC Fight Pass.
“One of my training partners, @khaiwu, is making his @ufcfightpass debut tonight. Go get it Khai and looking forward to a great fight!” Zuckerberg captioned the video.
Zuckerberg also discussed his newfound affinity for mixed martial arts during his recent appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast – describing the pastime as a key boost of his work routine.
“After an hour or two of working out or rolling or wrestling with friends or training with different folks, now I’m ready to go solve whatever problem at work for the day,” Zuckerberg said.
The tech billionaire gave a shoutout to his training gym on the podcast and described jiujitsu as “the best sport.”
“The question isn’t how did I get into it, it’s how did I not know about it until just now?” he said. “From the very first session that I did, like five minutes in, I was like ‘where has this been my whole life?”
Zuckerberg has plenty of reasons to want to blow off steam. His personal net worth has plummeted more than $70 billion this year alone as Meta attempts to reinvent itself as a metaverse company while dodging Congressional scrutiny and an economic downturn.
Zuckerberg isn’t the only tech boss who incorporates his training into his work routine. PayPal executive Amanda Coffee said Schulman often references his martial arts training lessons during company meetings.
“He’ll often quote krav maga lessons like, ‘If you’re standing still, you’re asking to be hurt,’” Coffee told the outlet.
The iconic Super Bowl Halftime Show is getting a major revamp.
Apple signed on the dotted line to take over as the event’s main sponsor, replacing Pepsi who has sponsored the show for the past ten seasons.
The multi-year sponsorship will begin with this season’s Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Ariz.
“Music and sports hold a special place in our hearts, so we’re very excited Apple Music will be part of music and football’s biggest stage,” Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said in a statement.
“We’re looking forward to even more epic performances next year and beyond with the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show.”
Terms were not announced, but analysts had expected the league to get at least $50 million per year for the rights.
“We are proud to welcome Apple Music to the NFL family as our new partner for the iconic Super Bowl Halftime Show,” Nana-Yaw Asamoah, the NFL’s senior vice president of partner strategy, said in a statement.
“We couldn’t think of a more appropriate partner for the world’s most-watched musical performance than Apple Music, a service that entertains, inspires, and motivates millions of people around the world through the intersection of music and technology,” Asamoah added.
Last year’s halftime show proved to be a major success after over 120 million viewers watched the show, according to NFL. Performers included Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar.
Pepsi became a sponsor of the halftime show in 2013, taking over from Bridgestone who were sponsors of the show from 2008 until 2012.
Pepsi’s ten seasons as halftime show sponsors saw a star-studded array of performers take to the stage over the years, including Beyonce, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, and The Weeknd.
Scores of women employed at Goldman Sachs more than a decade ago unsealed fresh accusations of how they were subjected for years to discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual assault by male managers at the Wall Street giant.
“For instance, one male manager took his female employee to an abandoned office floor and propositioned her for sex,” court papers allege. The male manager then “separately called her and said he was masturbating to the sound of her voice.”
“He also insisted that she come to his apartment, where he showed her pictures he had taken of other Goldman female employees in lingerie,” the complaint read.
Attorneys released internal complaints that were submitted to Goldman officials between the years 2000 and 2011 describing how one manager is said to have told a female subordinate that “with that feisty nature, you would be good in bed.”
Another Goldman manager told a female subordinate that he loved her, and repeatedly made sexually suggestive comments and overtures during his business trips, the suit claims.
According to court papers, the woman was quoted as saying: “I was talking to this guy who just got promoted to VP…I told him about how it made me uncomfortable how the guys were touching me, and he was really supportive and giving me advice on what to do, and the next thing I know, his hand is on my ass, too!”
A Goldman Sachs spokesperson told The Post: “The Plaintiffs’ presentation of the complaints does not reflect reality at Goldman Sachs. Many are two decades old and have been presented selectively, inaccurately and are incomplete.”
The spokesperson added: “Discrimination, harassment and mistreatment in any form are unacceptable at Goldman Sachs, and when identified, swift action, including termination, is taken.”
“Out of respect for the persons involved, we are not going to comment on the individual complaints.”
The court documents go on to list other instances of unwanted touching. One male employee is said to have showed co-workers a sex tape he made with an unidentified woman and then “perpetuated rumor that the woman was a female co-worker.”
The suit claims there were at least seven criminal complaints filed alleging sexual assault, attempted rape, or rape by male Goldman employees.
One female employee alleged she was drugged and raped by a male employee after a company baseball game.
The suit also alleged that a male manager harassed, groped, and propositioned a female subordinate for sex during an orientation retreat.
After she rejected his advances, he followed her into her room, tried to get into bed with her, and would not leave her alone until she was able to lock the door, according to the suit.
The court documents also allege that Goldman is “aware of these problems” and that it “tolerates managers who engage in gender stereotyping, sexual harassment, and/or gender favoritism.”
One female employee alleges that it is “widely known” that a “participating managing director” was “inappropriate toward young women” and that “other women have inappropriate experiences with [him],” and that she is “terrified of being with him alone.”
The documents go on to list other alleged incidents, including one in which the company offered only a “verbal warning” to a male manager who is said to have groped his assistant.
Another male associated was let off with a “strongly worded written warning” after he spread a rumor of a sex tape.
“In fact, perpetrators of sexual harassment have been promoted to or allowed to remain in senior managerial positions,” according to attorneys representing the plaintiffs.
One of three named plaintiffs who filed the legal action against Goldman, Cristina Chen-Oster, first went public with her allegations in 2005.
The MIT grad who rose to become a vice president at Goldman alleged that a male co-worker pinned her against the wall and shoved his hand down her blouse while trying to force himself on her.
Court papers allege that even after she reported the incident to the company, her assailant was promoted to managing director.
The other named plaintiffs in the case are Allison Gamba and Shanna Orlich.
Gamba alleges that she was passed over for a promotion despite generating a department record of $9.5 million as a trader for Goldman at the New York Stock Exchange while less qualified male colleagues were elevated in rank and pay.
When she pulled her boss aside and asked him if he had nominated her for a managing director role, she said he told her: “I would have been a laughing stock if I had nominated you.”
The investment bank provided a statement to The Post that read: “Had Ms. Higgins raised these allegations with our human resources department at the time we would have investigated them thoroughly and addressed them seriously.”
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination or retaliation against employees reporting misconduct.”
A Goldman spokesperson also pointed out that Higgins writes in the “author’s note” portion of the book that the “Goldman Sachs individuals referenced are composite characters.”