In a time of social distancing and remote work, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon raised a surprising topic during his latest earnings call with Wall Street analysts: togetherness. “Our firm has always had a team-oriented apprenticeship culture, and we benefit from being and working together,” he explained. While many CEOs seem in no hurry to refill their office buildings, and several have told employees they need never return to the office, Solomon made it clear that he wants his colleagues back in the office as soon as is safely possible. He himself has never stopped going to the office through the pandemic.

Solomon’s desire to bring his employees back together physically even as the coronavirus continues to rage around the globe, particularly in the U.S., isn’t rooted in any simple calculation of efficiency. Facebook, Fujitsu, Nationwide, Otis, Siemens, Twitter, and other major companies have announced that large portions of their workforces may or must work remotely from now on. It saves money and may increase productivity, managers say. Many employees prefer it. A recent survey by Korn Ferry found that 64% of workers feel that they’re more productive at home.  

But a group of …

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Good morning.

Is the COVID crisis busting business bureaucracy? That’s the question I asked business guru Gary Hamel, who has a new book coming out next week entitled Humanocracywhich is his alternative to bureaucracy. I’ve been hearing stories from executives about how work from home has flattened hierarchies, democratized information, impaired micromanagement, focused on outcomes over inputs, and encouraged digitization and innovation.  In the process, has it also weakened corporate inertia andto use Hamel’s subtitle–moved us closer to Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them?

Not so fast, says Hamel. “In any crisis, power moves to the periphery,” he says. “By definition, a crisis pushes power out. No hierarchical organization can handle the information processing demands and the decision-making requirements that a crisis presents.” But will the changes last? “We’ve gone through other crises, and typically bureaucracy reasserts itself rather quickly.”

Bureaucracy has been the bane of business leaders for decades. The conversation with Hamel reminded me of this piece I wrote for The Wall Street Journal in 2010, entitled “The End of Management”…

Target is hitting the bullseye when it comes to creating a millennial-friendly workplace culture.

The giant retailer ranked 10th on this year’s ranking of the Fortune Best Workplaces for Millennials, large company category. The ranking is based on research and employee surveys by Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture.

The list was produced based on employee survey data from before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. But Target and other Best Workplaces for Millennials have demonstrated their people-first, caring cultures amid the health crisis and during the racial justice uprising that followed the killing of George Floyd—protests that erupted first in Minneapolis, where Target is headquartered.

Great Place to Work asked Target’s Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Kremer about the company’s appeal to the millennial generation, as well as about its responses to COVID-19 and the racial justice movement.

Great Place to Work: In your view, why has Target succeeded in creating a great workplace experience for millennials?

Melissa Kremer: We know millennials are focused on purpose-driven companies, and that’s one of their top considerations as they think about the organizations they choose to engage with. Their values closely align with how we’ve invested in …

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Good morning.

Did you buy furniture online during the pandemic?  If so, you are in good company. Wayfair, the online home furnishing store yesterday reported an 84% increase in revenues, to $4.3 billion. And it reported a profit, after a long string of losses. Read Phil Wahba’s report here.

It’s also a good time to be a bankruptcy lawyer. Fortune is keeping a list of companies that have filed for bankruptcy. It includes the two companies that have provided most of my work wardrobe in recent decades–Tailored Brands and Brooks Brothers. That makes sense, since all the suits I bought from them have hung unused in my closet since March 12.

And finally, Facebook debuted its new product Instagram Reels, a clear knock-off of controversial app TikTok, which President Trump has threatened to ban over its alleged ties to Beijing. The social media giant apparently hopes the move will help it win back Gen-Zers and Washington at the same time.

More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

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The British government has pushed back against lawmakers who, in a damning cross-party report, accused it of dithering over border controls as the COVID-19 pandemic gathered steam in March—dooming thousands of people to infection as a result.

The U.K. only instituted strict entry controls in early June, when it started requiring everyone arriving in the country to self-isolate for two weeks or face fines. This was nearly three months after many other countries introduced controls requiring quarantine or at least health screening on arrival.

The country had imposed some controls on people arriving from China, Iran and Italy quite early in the crisis, in February and early March, but then it abruptly lifted them on March 13. The U.K. went on to be hit harder than any other European country, with a death toll that currently stands above 46,000, and a confirmed infection count of 306,000.

Why did Boris Johnson’s government make that fateful mid-March decision? That’s what Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee wanted to know, and on Wednesday it delivered its verdict.

“The Committee was unable …

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Good morning. David Meyer here in Berlin, filling in for Alan.

Like many people, I spent much of yesterday evening and this morning slack-jawed at footage of the devastation in Beirut, caused by a monumental explosion at the Lebanese capital’s port.

Early indications are that 2,750 metric tons of poorly-secured ammonium nitrate, which had been sitting in a warehouse for six years, somehow ignited.

At the time of writing, the death toll is at least 100–given how the blast flattened a wide area around the port (and carved a sizeable chunk out of the port’s landscape) it is hard to imagine the final count not being many times that. At least three hospitals were destroyed as the shockwave tore through neighborhoods; over 200,000 people are now homeless. Lebanon’s primary wheat stores and the country’s main entry point for imports are gone.

“For someone like me, who lived through 15 years of war, it’s incredible to see that yesterday’s explosion destroyed the city worse than the war. The effect of the explosion can be only compared to that of …