Institutions of the Past
Breadcrumbing and Cuffing | Business Travel Is Back | Remote Work Hyprocrisy
Quote of the Moment
We live with institutions that were created in the past, using the technology of the past.
| James Burke
Terms of the Times: Breadcrumbing and Cuffing
Some terms from dating have found their way into the workplace, it seems. I was aware of the now ubiquitous ghosting, but there are others.
Bethan King tells us that breadcrumbing — ‘where one party shows just enough attention towards the other to keep them keen, is a watchword in romantic relationships’ and is now being used in a work context. She tells an (overly long) tale about a relationship with a boss based on breadcrumbing, but the bottom line is pretty straightforward:
At work we’re hardwired to respect the imbalance of power between boss and employee. Yet if your superior regularly hints at promotions, opportunities or pay rises without ever delivering, just like in dating, this non-committal behaviour can be a red flag.
And Amy Beacham writes that cuffing has made it into the office, at least in the UK.
In the dating world, the cold chill and start of autumn signals the beginning of the ‘cuffing season’, a time to handcuff yourself to a potential partner to see you through the hard winter months ahead. Then, come spring, it’s time to decide whether to commit or to leave the relationship for a summer of single fun.
“Job hunters across the UK also look to cuff for the winter and settle down quickly into a new role before looking for different opportunities in the spring,” explains Jill Cotton, career trends expert at Glassdoor.
As Cotton suggests, frantic job searching activity will sharply decline as we move into the deep winter, dropping 28.6% between October and December once the majority find themselves ‘cuffed’.
Then, following the new year, Glassdoor has predicted another frenzy of activity that is likely to peak around February, with job searches predicted to increase by 37.4%.
Business Travel Is Back
Airline executives are happy that business travel is booming, but cutting thousands of pilots last year is costing them, Hiraj Chokski reports:
“Many of the demand trends we saw emerge during the pandemic are becoming more consistent and shaping our commercial focus for 2023 and beyond,” Robert Isom, the chief executive of American Airlines, told reporters and analysts on a call on Thursday to discuss the carrier’s quarterly financial results.
The airline is feeling “very bullish about overall demand, even in an uncertain economic environment,” he added. Executives at United Airlines and Delta Air Lines share that optimism.
But the new paradigm of hybrid work is changing the shape of travel. It’s becoming hybrid, too, as more people blend business and leisure travel:
“There’s been a permanent structural change in leisure demand because of the flexibility that hybrid work allows,” United’s chief executive, Scott Kirby, said Wednesday on a call with reporters and analysts. “This is not pent-up demand. It’s the new normal.”
What is that change?
The benefits to the industry of travelers’ newfound flexibility extend beyond revenue. Passengers have started to spread out travel, reducing swings in demand between busy weekends and slower days midweek. Holiday travel is spreading out, too, the executives said.
And the changes are shifting the relationship between travelers and airlines:
Customers who combine leisure and business travel also tend to have a closer relationship with the airline, Vasu Raja, American’s chief commercial officer, said on the Thursday call. Those customers are twice as likely as a typical business customer to enroll in American’s loyalty program and three times as likely to sign up for an American-branded credit card if they don’t already have one.
If they are paying personally, they want the bennies to travel even more, as opposed to business travel.
And why the return to business travel? It’s more of an international travel trend:
At United, corporate travel is recovering faster on flights across the Atlantic Ocean than within the United States, the airline’s chief commercial officer, Andrew Nocella, said on Wednesday’s call.
“A Zoom meeting is simply less practical in a global setting,” he said.
I wonder though, did he means less practical, or less effective? Early on in business relationships, face to face meetings can make a real difference in trust building.
Remote Work Hyprocrisy
A bunch of new evidence makes something very clear. Executives are very likely to be able to work remotely, while at the same time seeking to get rank-and-file employees back in the office: the newest wrinkle in the seemingly eternal power imbalance at work.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Work Futures to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.