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The website home screen for Asana


Gabby Jones/Bloomberg


Asana

shares opened at $27, above the $21 “reference price” announced by the New York Stock Exchange last night for the company’s direct listing, and has since ticked above the $29 level.

With about 154 million shares outstanding, San Francisco-based Asana (ticker: ASAN) at the first trade had a market capitalization of about $4.2 billion. Asana provides cloud-based project management software. The company’s founder and CEO is Dustin Moskovitz, who also was a co-founder of Facebook.

Asana recently reported revenue for its fiscal second quarter ended July 31 of $52 million, up 57% year over year, with a non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) loss of $13.7 million, or 34 cents a share.

For the third quarter, the company sees revenue of $53.5 million to $54.5 million, with a non-GAAP loss of 36 to 38 cents a share. For the January 2021 fiscal year, Asana projects revenue of $210 million to $213 million, implying growth of 47% to 49%, and a non-GAAP loss of $1.30 to $1.33 a share.

At $27, trades at a valuation of about 20 times current year sales, far below the current valuation for other cloud software companies like

Snowflake

(SNOW) at more than 100 times, and

Zoom

(ZM) at about 60 times.

The fact that the stock started trading above the reference price is consistent with other direct listings. The most recent major direct listing was

Slack

(WORK) in June 2019, which had a reference price of $26, opened for trading at $38.50. For

Spotify

(SPOT), which listed in April 2018, the reference price was $132 and the stock opened at $167.

A reference price is not the same as the IPO price in a conventional offering. In an IPO, the shares to be sold in

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Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said cutting jobs was “the right thing to do for the future of the company.”


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Royal Dutch Shell

unveiled plans on Wednesday to cut up to 9,000 jobs by the end of 2022, as part of a major restructuring plan as it shifts to low-carbon energy.

The oil giant said it expected to make annual savings of $2 billion to $2.5 billion through a “simpler, streamlined and lower-cost organization.”

In a trading update, the company said it expected to take another impairment charge of $1 billion to $1.5 billion in the third quarter, and that production was set to drop due to the hurricanes in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The stock edged lower into afternoon London trading.

The back story. The oil-and-gas industry has been one of the worst affected throughout the coronavirus crisis, as the pandemic caused demand to collapse. In April, Shell cut its dividend for the first time since World War II. The company reported a record $18.1 billion second-quarter loss, following a $16.8 billion write-down as it lowered long-term oil price forecasts. Its peers have faced similar problems, with

BP

plunging to a $16.8 billion net loss in the second quarter, having also cut its dividend for the first time in a decade.

However, the Covid-19 crisis has also accelerated the industry’s shift toward green energy. BP has ramped up its strategy—to become net zero on carbon by 2050—by pledging a tenfold increase in low-carbon investment to $5 billion a year by 2030. Shell also launched a review of its business, with a view to transitioning toward low-carbon energy.

What’s new. Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said cutting jobs was “the right thing to do for the future of the company,” as he laid out


While major corporations furloughing workers and declaring bankruptcy tends to get the biggest headlines, our culture’s dramatic shift to working from home is the true breakout business story from this pandemic. The transition has certainly had its share of ups and downs, but rapidly growing acceptance indicates this is a trend that is almost certainly going to shape the future of work.


The transition began before 2020

While Covid-19 restrictions caused an abrupt shift, working from home was already accelerating. Research from FlexJobs found that the number of people in the United States who worked from home grew by an astounding 159 percent between 2005 and 2017.

Much of this growth can be attributed to freelancing. Upwork’s Freelancing in America 2019 survey found that the number of Americans who did freelance work grew from 53 million to 57 million between 2014 and 2019. Younger generations were especially likely to participate, with 40 percent of millennials and 53 percent of Generation Z contributing to the gig economy.



Technology that enabled remote work certainly played a major role, but so did attitudes toward the workplace in general. Flexibility in hours and location, in particular, are viewed as a major benefit that was already driving this transition.


Related: How to Work From Home Successfully

The pandemic’s impact

Still, the pandemic brought about a transformation that had never been seen before. A survey by Global Workplace Analytics found that 97 percent of North American office employees worked from home for more than one day per week, even though 67 percent had not participated in remote work previously.


While news stories have had a tendency to focus on parents struggling while sharing

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