The hidden power dynamics in “distanced” work parties

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Illustration by Steph Little

September is on the horizon, and COVID fatigue is a thing. We miss our friends, our lives, and maybe even our colleagues. While most of the office-based businesses in our network are still WFH, many teams are planning to break the monotony by reuniting for an outdoor hangout of some kind. Photos of picnics, pool parties and park days are creeping back onto Instagram.

As we baby-step our way out of full quarantine and start to make more plans, there can be a big gap between what different people are comfortable doing. While some colleagues might be patio hopping and…


Working from home with kids all day every day is uncharted territory for parents affected by COVID-19.

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Illustration by Ella Byworth

Note: This is a guest post from our friends and clients at Wagepoint. Occasionally, Bright + Early will post or republish partner content. This content will never be an advertisement or paid for, and will always meet our values of supporting employee-friendly companies.

The spread of COVID-19 was sudden and unexpected. So was the instant status of becoming a remote employee and full-time parent with children who are home from school and childcare for an indefinite period of time.

Depending on the age…


A Step-by-Step Guide to Preventing and Dealing with Sexual Harassment at Startups

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Last week, an anonymous Medium post alleging Toronto startup Planswell covered up sexual harassment sent shockwaves through the startup community.

Accusations of sexual harassment in the technology community are nothing new. Scandals have rocked tech giants like Google and Uber, sparking conversation on how tech companies prevent and deal with misconduct. In almost every case, the companies attempted to cover up the accusations, for fear of blowback. However, their lack of action, arguably, ended up contributing to a drop in public opinion and in some cases, even share prices. Sexual harassment can happen at any company. …


Hint: I didn’t take the job.

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Illustration by Bodil Jane

I still remember my first job interview after leaving college. I was in the second round of meetings for a role at a government agency helping disadvantaged folks find work. I was starry-eyed, bushy tailed, and ready to do good in the world. And then, I met the agency’s director: a small but intimidating woman who quizzed me not only on whether I was single, but how much my partner earned, and whether I planned to quit and start a family. Freshly schooled on the legal dangers of questions like this, I was shocked…


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Illustration by Laura Callaghan

I manage a business that helps startups figure out HR for the first time. Companies think they hire Bright + Early to build out policies, recruiting and culture, but, like most HR pros, we end up spending a lot of time playing coach instead. Though every startup is unique, founders often bring us the same concerns. Here’s what the Bright + Early team want you to know:

Your employees actually WANT structure

A lot of founders tell me they’re sure their team will resist things like career paths or performance reviews. They know it will help the company level up, but they fear everyone will…


The first (and easiest) step to scaling your startup’s culture

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Illustration by Laura Callaghan

When I meet founders, almost all of them say the same thing: “we have a really unique culture, and we’re worried about losing it as we grow”. When it comes to communicating that unique culture, things are usually pretty casual- no handbook required. They’ve got open vacation. They’ll pay for that conference if you bring it up. They’re ~cool~ about things. Just ask.

Early stage companies can sometimes resist putting perks and policies in writing, thinking that it will send those “we’re corporate now” alarms ringing. Or, there’s simply not time, or, so they think, demand.

Here’s the truth they’re…


Tips, Tricks, and Tough Lessons Learned. 👇

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As a founder, you’re naturally scrappy. You’ve probably done everything (from the financials to the hiring and product decisions) yourself. But lately, something feels different. Maybe you’re months behind on hiring the key people that you need, or your current team members are asking for career plans.You know you want to be a great place to work, but you don’t think you’re big enough to hire HR. What next? In this guide, I’ll walk you through some of my favourite tools and tricks to build a solid HR foundation on your own —…


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With Susan Fowler’s recent outing of Uber’s toxic culture, the topic of Human Resources in tech seems to be on everyone’s mind. Fowler reported filing multiple harassment complaints with the company’s HR department, only to be repeatedly rebuffed in a series of increasingly bizarre denials of responsibility. Many readers noted similarly poor experiences with company HR departments, trotting out the tired advice that HR is “only there to protect the company” and that it was against any employee’s best interests to ever speak to us. …


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When reviewing a job offer, there are certain questions every person who wants to do quality work will ask themselves. Do the company’s goals align with my own? Will I be doing really great work? What long term impact can I have? It’s a major life decision; where you work is where you learn, hone your craft and spend a huge amount of your time and energy.

After years of career conversations with women in tech, I’ve confirmed that almost all of us do extra investigating. We want to know: will we be championed, or interrupted? …

Nora Jenkins Townson

Founder @ Bright+ Early, former head of people ops @wealthsimple, startup HR veteran. Into food, books, weirdness and creating the future of work.

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