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The Ping-Pong Table Illusion – 10 Things I Hate About Cybersecurity: A Love Story

Hi! I am Nick Gipson, the Director of Cyber Operations here at Pareto Cyber. This is Part 7 of my 10-Part series on “10 Things I Hate About Cybersecurity: A Love Story” where I dissect the problems within this industry and my personal encounters with them. You can find the other parts of this series here.

The Issue

You’ve probably seen pictures of company offices with crazy facilities before.

Apple’s Cupertino headquarters include custom bikes, a fitness center, and a movie theater. Google also has a fitness center together with massage options, cooking classes, and art programs for its employees. Meta (then Facebook), used to offer on-site laundry and dry cleaning.

All of these perks sound great. So why am I talking about them?

I find that these perks can often be a sign of something sinister.

Fun office perks tend to be shallow. Companies can talk about “improving employee wellbeing” but no amount of meditation and yoga retreats can make up for a lack of vacations and sleep. Adding entertainment and elaborate meals into an office often just pushes employees into working much longer hours.

Do any of these perks actually help anyone do their job better?

I think not.

Why It Matters

A lot of employees across the board are quitting their jobs. 

The news has been filled with stories of first “The Great Resignation” and now “Quiet Quitting”. Executives and managers alike are panicking, clueless on how to address these talent drains within their organizations.

I think that those exorbitant office facilities could point us to the reason why some professionals are quitting.

I was recently touring a new client’s headquarters for a company site survey. 

Their organization has one of the most beautiful offices I have ever seen. The building is modern and sleek, with their facilities rivaling the best resorts. Employees can take advantage of:

  • Full-sized basketball court
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Full performance gym
  • Outdoor track and circuit trainer.

Yet as I walked around these state of the art facilities…. I saw nobody using them.

It was a Wednesday afternoon after the company asked employees to come back into the office for their work. Yet all of these expensive amenities were just empty, gathering dust. The business spent millions of dollars… for something nobody wanted.

Why not just throw money into the ocean at that rate?

What Can We Do?

Shallow and “fun” perks don’t work.

After the pandemic and the rise of remote work, people are increasingly focusing on maintaining work-life balance. Employees want to spend time with their families, minimize commuting, and take care of their children. None of those can be done while eating a three-course dinner in the office cafeteria at 8 pm.

If you feel a ping-pong table can force your employees to spend more time at the office…. You have a problem with your company culture.

At Pareto we make sure to consider mental health at a practical level. Instead of shallow platitudes, we:

  • Check in with each employee every quarter to discuss how they are feeling and what they’ve been struggling with.
  • Provide and fully encourage unlimited PTO.
  • Accommodate time off requests, even with contractors.
  • Interact with employees as people.

If you want people to stay at your company, beanbag chairs are not the answer.

Take that money somewhere else and invest in solving the problems your employees actually have.