‘Head of Team Anywhere,’ and Other Job Titles for an Uncertain Time –


With mental health issues heightening, employers are wrestling with how they can provide support, especially given the gaps in actual mental health care. Claude Silver, for example, serves as “chief heart officer” at the agency VaynerMedia, a title she has held for years, though it has grown more necessary during the pandemic.

“Rather than doing bureaucratic work at a desk and being a ‘no’ person, you need many more people in the company who can say ‘yes and,’” she said.

Ms. Silver’s day-to-day endeavors run the gamut. Every afternoon at 1:37 p.m. she helps organize online programs for the staff, whether an interview with Novak Djokovic or a talk with an employee about homemade hot sauce. She sends out a staff newsletter called Heartbeat, and also leads “courageous conversations” where employees talk about challenging events in the news.

“You’ve noticed I’ve said the word connection about 20 times,” she said. “It’s so crucial to the psychological safety that every person — doesn’t matter if you’re young or old — needs right now in a very anxious time.”

Some companies have been rigid about their thinking on workplace flexibility, weighing either a full return to the office or a commitment to being fully remote. Samantha Fisher, head of dynamic work at Okta, a cybersecurity company, wants employees to feel they can pick and choose routines that work best for them. “A less binary approach — you’re either remote or you’re not — is what we’re going to end up with,” Ms. Fisher said. “What people want is flexibility. It’s not necessarily ‘I don’t ever want to come to the office.’”

One of Okta’s projects was to set up a work-from-home store, so employees can order office-grade furniture, like standing desks or ergonomic chairs — an acknowledgment that their hybrid setups are permanent rather than band-aid solutions.

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