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Employers are waging a war over work from home. WFH is winning.

Hello!

Welcome to this weekly roundup of stories from Insider. I’m Matt Turner. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday. Plus, download Insider’s app for news on the go – click here for iOS and here for Android.

What we’re going over today:

six business people pulling down a tall office building with rope

Many companies want to return to an office-only world. But work from home is spreading faster than anyone predicted.

Marianne Ayala/Insider


What’s trending this morning:


The battle over work-from-home has only just begun. 

After over a year of remote work, many staffers aren’t looking for a return to pre-pandemic business-as-usual. When companies like Uber and Google announced mandated in-person work days, a wave of employee turnover forced them to create more flexible schedules.

Emboldened by the red-hot job market, Americans felt free to shop for flexible work arrangements that better suited their needs. Threatened by a full-blown exodus, executives suddenly realized they could no longer afford to ignore the uproar over working from home.

Amazon backtracked on its “office-centric” plan, agreeing to give employees two optional days a week to work from home. Google and Uber, which initially said they would mandate at least three days a week in the office, scrambled to offer more flexibility. 

It was a remarkable sight: some of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations being forced to bow to their employees’ work preferences.

Get the full scoop here:

Also read:


The fall of Grubhub — as told by employees.

A Grubhub delivery driver rides along partially cleared streets near piles of snow in Greenwich Village on February 03, 2021 in New York City. New York City and much of the Northeast was hit by a major winter storm

A Grubhub delivery driver rides through the snow.

Alexi Rosenfeld / Getty Images


Grubhub led the food delivery industry for years, but employees say it was slow to adopt new technologies and adapt to the changing delivery space. This allowed UberEats and DoorDash to overtake them.

To some employees, the company’s focus on profitability was part of Grubhub’s downfall. DoorDash and Uber Eats didn’t have shareholders to worry about. What they had was venture capital.

“They were burning money,” a former Grubhub manager who worked at the company until 2020 told Insider, describing Grubhub’s rivals. “They were just spending — all these crazy ads, these crazy billboards everywhere. They were giving restaurants crazy good deals. And we just couldn’t compete with that venture-capital money.”

To keep up with these tech-savvy startups without profitability restraints, the company tried to buy its way to growth and tech upgrades

Read the full story here:

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Google hired DeepMind’s cofounder as a VP, even though former employees complained he was a bully

deepmind cofounder mustafa suleyman bullying employees 4x3

DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman.

DeepMind; Google; John Phillips/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider


In January, it was reported that Google had investigated the alleged bullying behavior of Mustafa Suleyman, the cofounder of DeepMind, an important Google subsidiary. After conversations with more than a dozen current and former employees, Insider learned that this investigation came after years of internal complaints to human resources and executives about Suleyman’s behavior.

Insider found that during his tenure at DeepMind, Suleyman was an executive who drove his team to great heights and, sometimes, great despair. 

“He had a habit of just flying off the handle out of nowhere,” one former employee said. “It felt like he wanted to humiliate you, like he was trying to catch you off your guard. He would just start laying into you, in front of your colleagues, without any warning.”

“He used to say, ‘I crush people,'” one said.

Read what else former staffers said:

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The biotech startups that are set to surge, according to top VCs

Venture capitalists Abbie Celniker of Third Rock Ventures, Vineeta Agarwala of Andreessen Horowitz, Robert Nelson of Arch Venture Capital, and Roderick Wong of RTW Investments.

From left: Venture capitalists Abbie Celniker, Vineeta Agarwala, Robert Nelson, and Roderick Wong.

Third Rock Ventures; Andreessen Horowitz; Arch Venture Capital; RTW Investments; Skye Gould/Insider


Insider asked 12 top VCs to name their picks for biotech startups they believe will surge in the next 12 months. Among them are upstart companies ArsenalBio and Flare Therapeutics. Here’s one of the picks: 

Generate Biomedicines
Picked by: Robert Nelsen, managing director of Arch Venture Partners

What it does: Generate is using machine learning to program proteins at the DNA level.

Funding raised: $50 million in initial funding from Flagship Pioneering

Why it’s poised to take off in the next year: The idea that artificial intelligence and machine learning can help drug companies move faster and design better medications has gained significant investor attention. Venture capitalists invested more than $5 billion in healthcare-focused AI startups last year, according to PitchBook. 

See the full list of biotech companies here:

Also read:


Finally, here are some headlines you might have missed last week.

— Matt 

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