Schools districts across California are taking individual approaches to educating students and potentially reopening during the coronavirus pandemic. Some Los Angeles County schools are particularly unique in their approaches. The Torrance school district is allowing 200 elementary school students to take remote classes from the actual physical location of the school, according to the LA Times. The program is run by the YMCA and provides parents that cannot stay home from work options for their kids to be in school all day. These programs are officially called "day camps" and are thus exempt from COVID-19 mandates related to schools.
You could have easily blinked and missed the Major League baseball regular season. The truncated 60-game season is in its final week. The season was never supposed to happen to begin with, and had several close calls that could have ended it before it started. Yet here we are, on the cusp of the Wild Card round of the playoff starting next week, September 29. There are many great storylines and much to be decided in this final leg of a sprint season.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed the way brands build cultures, but also changed the idea of what company culture in general represents. An unprecedented number of Americans, 42%, are now working from home full-time as a result of coronavirus lockdowns, according to Stanford researchers. Only 26% of Americans are working on their actual business premises full-time. The latter are mostly essential workers in retail, medicine, and transportation. The most ominous number is the 33% of Americans not working at all due to recession layoffs and closures.
Research paints a positive picture for telecommuting and companies that fully embrace it. A 2014 study by Stanford University found that call center workers were 13% more productive when they worked from home. Researchers at the University of Texas found that remote workers stayed on the clock upwards of seven hours longer than their in-office counterparts at call centers. Software firm PGi found in a 2014 survey that 82% of telecommuters reported less stress. The survey also found that 80% reported improved morale and 70% were more productive.
There are currently 34 states with mask mandates, according to data compiled by AARP. Washington DC and Puerto Rico also have mask mandates. All of said mandates have commonalities related to exemptions. Children as young as 2 and old as 12 are not required to wear masks depending on the state. People with certain medical conditions and those participating in various activities (e.g. swimming, exercising, etc.) are also not required to wear masks.
It's difficult to keep track of updates related to coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic in the Bay Area and California at-large. The state shut down completely in April and remained that way for the entire month. The curve was flattening in May so Governor Gavin Newsom began moving the state into Stage 2 of his reopening plan. Guidelines were released by the state for individual industries to follow for reopening. Counties were given authority to determine that businesses could reopen and not.
Buses and trains are the lifeblood of most major cities across the globe, except for Los Angeles. And nobody can quite figure out why Los Angelenos shun public transit. A 2014 University of Minnesota study on public transportation ranked Los Angeles as the third-most accessible city in the country because of its rail and bus systems. But only about 1.1 million daily riders, or 8% of greater Los Angeles, used the system in January 2020, according to L.A. County Metro Transit Authority. Compare that to New York City, which is ranked #1 for accessibility. There are five million daily riders, or about 25% of the metro population.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. The U.S. Small Business Association estimated that there were 30.7 million business with under 500 employees in the country in 2019. But businesses with fewer than 100 employees account for over 98% of all U.S. companies. Small businesses account for 64% of all new jobs created annually in the U.S. The coronavirus pandemic has unfortunately forced dramatic change on many of the foregoing statistics.
Non-contact thermometers were virtually unknown commodities outside of the medical industry prior to March 2020. The first attempts at patenting the technology came in 2008 by the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation. The process was eventually abandoned, as perhaps the technology was not original. Tympanic thermometers are the ones that are stuck in your ear. They have been around for a while. These thermometers get a temperature reading from the tympanic membrane in the ear canal. Most people have likely had their temperatures taken like this at some point.
The coronavirus pandemic and anxiety among the populace have made competition for top talent more fierce than ever. Many companies vehemently resisted work-from-home models for years. "It won't work" and "it can't work" were the most common excuses despite research pointing to myriad benefits to both companies and workers.
Salesforce is one of the world's leading companies when it comes to enterprise, cloud-based applications. The company specialize in customer relationship management (CRM) and analytics. It's also one of the most sought-after workplaces for techies. Fortune magazine ranked the company sixth in its employment satisfaction survey of the top 100 places to work. The downtown San Francisco-based firm is a trendsetter that other companies emulate. Salesforce's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and employees returning to the Salesforce Tower is no exception.
California residents felt the state moving forward from the coronavirus pandemic when movie theaters, bars and gyms were allowed to reopen on June 12. People were once again going to beaches and life seemed to be returning to normal. But Governor Gavin Newsom reported over 7,000 new COVID-19 cases across the state on July 9, with a 7-day average of 8,031 new cases per day.
Uncle Sam, apple pie and rush hour traffic - those three things epitomize America like social distancing, masks and lockdowns epitomize COVID-19. Cars are both status symbols and necessities. A leather interior means you make north of $200,000 per year in the Bay Area. But it's best to ensure your car is comfortable considering how much time we spend in them.
Several case studies are happening all around the Bay Area as it relates to offices reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Bishop Ranch in San Ramon is home to 600 companies, including AT&T, General Electric and Chevron headquarters. Many have reopened and are conducting daily temperature checks for all employees, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. About two-thirds of City Center Mall tenets have also reopened, with masks required for all employees and customers.
The Bay Area is slowly returning to some semblance of normalcy as the novel coronavirus still looms in the background. Several California counties gave the green light for numerous businesses to reopen with certain restrictions on Friday, June 12. The Stage 3 plans allow bars, gyms, movie theaters and a few other industries to operate across the state. But all of them will look different from pre-lockdown days.
Los Angeles County is now the epicenter for coronavirus in California. L.A. County has over 43,000 confirmed cases, according to state officials. Recent mass protests in the city have officials speculating about a major surge in COVID-19 cases. San Francisco County has only 2,613 confirmed cases. Alameda County is the only Bay Area County with more cases (3,517). Los Angeles County has nearly six times as many deaths from COVID-19 as the entire Bay Area. Health officials blame L.A.'s delayed response in combating the outbreak. All nine Bay Area counties issued shelter-in-place orders on March 16. Crowded neighborhoods, high homeless rates, pollution, along with no stay-at-home orders, are also noted as causes of the situation in L.A.
Quick service restaurants, or fast food, started popping in the United States after World War II. White Castle is typically credited as the first fast-food restaurant. It opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1921. The company struggled early on due to the 1904 publication of Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle. The book talked about disgusting, inhumane conditions at meat packing plants in Chicago. It sold over 100,000 copies in it's first year, according to the Encyclopedia of Chicago.
The Bay Area had zero COVID-19 related deaths for two connective days (May 16 and 17), according to health officials in the nine-county area. It was the first time since March 10-12 that the Bay Area reported consecutive days with no coronavirus deaths. Bay Area COVID-19 mortality rates are four-times lower than Los Angeles and five-times lower than the national average among major U.S. metropolitan areas.
Bay Area check cashing companies have always utilized tempered glass barriers as a means of separating customers from the employees. Most banks utilize ballistic glass barriers. Both of these setups had security in mind when first developed. The idea was to deter would-be robbers and give employees a few extra seconds to take the necessary actions. But now these barriers are serving a new purpose in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Most of the Bay Area is still several weeks away from reopening. Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and San Clara counties extended stay-at-home orders through at least May 31. The City of Berkeley issued a similar directive. But many businesses were allowed to reopen on May 4. Governor Gavin Newsom launched Stage 2 of the state's reopening plan Friday, May 8. Florist, sporting goods stores, music stores, apparel stores and more opened for curbside. The governor acknowledged that the Bay Area extended it stay-at-home order through the end of the month, adding "that is their right." San Francisco Mayor London Breed indicated the city and county would move into Phase 2 next week.
The Golden State Warriors announced on March 11 that they would play their next home game against the Brooklyn Nets without fans. That same day, San Francisco Mayor London Breed banned all public gatherings of more than 1,000 people. The NBA suspended the 2019-20 season indefinitely later that evening. The NCAA announced it was cancelling the March Madness championship tournament the following day. It was a huge blow to Stanford, which was playing its way into the "big dance" from the tournament bubble. These events were reality checks for Americans, the triggers that let us all know COVID-19 was a disaster-level event.
Bay Area authorities said the nine-county lockdown has been extended from May 3 to May 31. That means all nonessential businesses remain closed and most workers remain furloughed or working from home through April. There will be a point when normalcy once again prevails and you're fighting rush-hour traffic to get to work. Many companies are likely to reassess their office designs and protocols when the smoke clears.
Yoga is fast becoming the norm in office settings due to government incentives and the direct benefits of more mindful, relaxed employees.
The San Francisco Bay Area always ranks in the top ten for commute times. Commuters spend approximately three work weeks, or about 116 hours, per year in traffic, according to a 2019 Money Crashers analysis. Some workers have the luxury of on-site parking garages or lots with security. But others use park-and-ride facilities or public, unattended parking lots. The latter are breeding grounds for an growing problem in the Bay Area.
We've written extensively about the ongoing open office furniture versus individual cubicles debate. The narrative for most of the last decade was that young Millennials and Generation Z prefer open office for collaboration and communication purposes. Baby Boomers prefer cubicles, while there is no consensus among Generation X. All of those positions have been dissected in survey after survey.
There is no longer a consensus-like tone when it comes to open office layouts. Workers often complain about a lack of privacy and inability to concentrate on the task at hand. The open office layout is here to stay, however, due to some of the largest technology companies in the world (i.e. Facebook) using it. But Human Resources personnel now understand that office layout is company and culture-specific.
The Bay Area is a trendsetter for many things technology, especially office furniture and design. Multinational tech firms and startups are always competing for talent. Your office furniture and layout are the first impressions of the company to potential employees. That's why it's imperative to present your company culture in a way that exudes success. Here are four trends taking hold in 2020.
There is a growing trend of building office spaces that incorporate nature. This mostly entails a lot of plant life, large windows for natural light, and even artificial waterfalls. But nothing screams nature like wood.
The southern Bay Area was referred to as the "Valley of Heart's Delight" in the early 20th century. The name was in reference to acres of orchards that sprouted myriad fruits throughout the years. It was after World War II when innovators and silicon chip manufacturers began moving into the area. Virtually every computerized device needed silicon chips, and that remains the reality in 2020.
Workers do not necessarily appreciate all those little office distractions. A 2019 white paper by office design firm Hana found that only 44% of workers had time during their days to partake in air hockey, foosball and other time-killing activities provided by their employers. The survey also found that 61% of workers are skeptical of firms that prioritize fun over work.
Uber and Lyft employ over 525,000 drivers in California, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Office furniture to full-time Bay Area Uber and Lyft drivers consists of their driver seat, passenger seat and backseat. Most drivers do it as a side gig. But Uber reported that 8% of their drivers work 40 hours or more per week. Well-intentioned California lawmakers believed that Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Grubhub, etc. were taking advantage of workers by not compensating them fairly. Their solution, however, may have done more harm than good.
We did it! The San Francisco 49ers are in Miami for Super Bowl LIV. The NFC Championship against Green Bay was supposed to be quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's biggest test of the year. He was going against future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a red-hot Packers team that had won six straight games. The last time the Packers lost was in Week 12 - a 37-8 shellacking by the 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The NFC title was essentially a rerun.
All those articles and studies about recruiting and retaining Millennial talent still have relevance in 2020. People born from 1980 to 1996 comprised 35% of the U.S. workforce in 2018, according to Pew data. Millennials surpassed Generation X as the majority in the U.S. workforce in 2016 and will hold that distinction for the foreseeable future. Generation Z, sometimes called Post-Millennials or the iGen, are those born roughly between 1998-2015. They started entering the workforce in 2016.
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was once considered the holy grail for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the business world. Demand for the prestigious credential has waned in recent years.
It's no secret that the Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Whether the data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Zillow or some other real estate firm, the results are always the same.
The average American slept 6.8 hours per day in 2019, according to StartSleeping.org. That's down from eight hours of sleep per day in 1942. Meanwhile only 1 in 5 jobs today require physical activity, according to Johns Hopkins University. That down from nearly half of jobs being physical in 1960. The morals of the story - statistics are fun, and your beds and office chairs better be comfortable.
The Bay Area is well represented in the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2020) this week in Las Vegas. Artificial intelligence, 5G and marketing technology are some of the hottest topics related to office culture and streamlining work flows. Some advancements in the workplace, however, have been more detrimental than helpful.
The 1920s are often referred to as "the Twenties" or the "Roaring 20s." There is no real consensus as to what this coming decade is called since the generic Twenties is already taken. There's not even consensus for the name of this past decade. Some call 2010-2019 the "Tweenies." Others call it the Twenty-Tens. Regardless of nomenclature, it was a banner decade for office furniture and trends within the workplace.
National Ugly Sweater Day was last Friday, December 20. It falls on the third Friday of every December since 2011. But many workers are at the office today before getting both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off to spend with the family. Substantial productivity is not expected on this day and everyone is likely to leave a few hours early. But egg nog and ugly sweaters are everywhere in my shared office space today and likely are prevalent in yours as well.
There’s a lot going on in the office every December. Most companies decorate their offices with lights, reefs and colorful ornaments during the holidays because of the known positive psychological effects it has on workers.
Most of the Eco Office team are die-hard 49ers fans. Let's just say between space planning jobs and desking and benching installs, there's a lot of football talk in the office.
The "as a service" phenomenon has quickly become standard operating procedure in the 21st century workplace.
The most ubiquitous Software as a Service (SaaS) apps were born right here in the Bay Area. Slack, Salesforce and G Suite allow companies to rely on cloud-based services that streamline myriad processes for a low monthly fee. Platform as a Service (PaaS) assists developers with building applications and coding. PaaS, in a figurative sense, is like a chef renting a commercial kitchen instead of buying the space. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) allows companies to outsource IT on pay-as-you-go plans versus buying expensive on-site equipment.
Workers and employers have wide ranging opinions and plans related to office Christmas parties.
The fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving) has been a federal holiday since 1863. That means many Americans get the day off from work. A 2016 Bloomberg BNA survey found that 99% of employers gave workers paid time off on Turkey Day. Another 80% said workers also get paid time off the Friday after Thanksgiving. The respondents were mostly froimn the white collar sector. This article is being written on Thanksgiving, at a Starbucks in San Jose. Thus at least myself and three baristas behind the counter are working.
The Monday preceding Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. This period spans about five weeks, culminating in Bay Area residents rooting for Stanford, Cal-Berkeley and San Jose State in college bowl games. Unfortunately only Cal is bowl eligible as of publishing. Meanwhile Human Resources and other managers are grappling with the realities that comes with the annual festivities.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hosted the second annual EPA Recycling Summit today to honor America Recycles Day. The organization brought together leaders from green energy and recycling sectors, along with individuals from the highest levels of government, to continue the dialogue it commenced at the first summit last year.
The Golden State unemployment rate has reached record lows, with the Bay Area job outlook providing even more positive news. The California unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in October, according to data released today by the state’s Employment Development Division. The state added 23,600 non-farm jobs, and continued it's record expansion. California has added 3.37 million jobs since 2010, accounting for 15% of the 22.2 million jobs added across the country in that time.
The 21st century Bay Area office worker has a pretty consistent routine across the board. Wake up at 6 a.m., shower, have a bagel and a cup of coffee before getting on your bike and heading to the BART station. Those with cars get up at 6:30 and brave rush hour traffic for 45 minutes to travel 10-15 miles. You arrive at the office, check for any paper memos at your desk, check your email, and yes, check Slack.
Office furniture and design is unique to a company's brand and culture. It's never a good idea to incorporate a specific style for the sake of being trendy. These circumstances played out at one of the world's largest corporations, headquartered right here in the Bay Area.
A 2018 Expedia analysis ranked San Francisco the fifth-most stylish city in the United States. Matador Network ranked San Francisco the fifth-most fashionable city that same year. The 415 is infamous for some of it’s negative issues (that ain’t dog poop you just stepped over). But most people view San Fran as the technology hub and trendsetter of the world.
Humans are animals at the core. That’s why nature is so fascinating to us all. A hot spring in Wyoming, the seasonal migration of bison in Tanzania, a beautiful sunset, the smell of rain…all these things invoke some combination of awe, relaxation and joy in everyone.
The name Chris Gardner is familiar to people because of the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” (yes, that's how it's spelled). Gardner drudged through an unpaid internship at Dean Witter Reynolds while he and his son survived homelessness in San Francisco. The internship resulted in a full-time job and a new life for his family. The movie is based on a true story that is actually quite common (minus the drama for cinematic effect).
The scientific theory known as social proof posits that people in general follow the lead of others. Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated this phenomenon.
The Bay Area is known for its disruptive technology and trend-setting inventions. Tech startups set up shop in Silicon Valley and beyond due to the networking opportunities, favorable intellectual property laws, and the large pools of investors eager to bet on opportunistic ideas. San Francisco was ground zero for electric scooter rentals, and even produced the Twitter hashtag #Scootergate after city officials seized dozens of them last year for blocking sidewalks. Smart glasses, subscription car services and virtual reality were all born, or at least nurtured, here in the Bay Area.
I was babysitting my friend's son Jake for a week while she attended Burning Man in 2013. He got in trouble at school for pouring laxatives in his teacher’s coffee cup. Long story short, I told him stories of some of my junior high exploits and tried to mold them into life lessons so he didn’t do any of those thing again.
The saying is oft-repeated: time is a human construct. And depending which surveys you choose to believe, most U.S. workers are counting the minutes until 5 0'clock on Friday.
Silicon Valley and San Francisco are still the technology meccas of the United States. But data released by commercial real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield earlier this year indicates that Salt Lake City and Boston are vying for that title. Salt Lake City has a combination of a large Millennial population and cheap rent, while Boston has easy access to venture capital and of course Harvard and MIT. But the Bay Area is not in imminent danger of losing its status, at least not as of today.
Salaries and benefits go a long way in determining employee satisfaction. But companies that allow pets in the office are two steps ahead of the competition.
The Emmy Award-winning AMC period drama Mad Men spanned seven seasons and 92 episodes. The show is set in the 1960s at the fictional Manhattan-based advertising agency Sterling Cooper. Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, was the main character and the company’s creative director and junior partner. He was a stereotypical drunk and chain-smoker who frequently cheated on his wife. Peggy Olson, played by Elisabeth Moss, was the woman trying to break through the glass ceiling, as she was promoted from secretary to copywriter during the show’s run.
Money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness and that cliche played itself out in the annual Best Company Culture survey by Comparably.
Costco earned the top spot on the list of large companies (over 500 employees) despite workers reporting that pay is “not spectacular,” but still above average. The company received 86% positive reviews, with employees citing several perks, including paid company picnics, stock options and free memberships for themselves and all immediate family. Work-life balance is also a contributing factor, with 70% of workers saying they are not overwhelmed and/or overworked.
Bay Area office space has always been pricey. But premiums today have reached levels not seen since the dot-com boom at the turn of the millennium. Renting office space in San Francisco’s central business district will set you back $81.25 per square foot as of Q3 2018, according to data compiled by brokerage house Cushman & Wakefield. That number surpassed the previous record high of $80.16 per square foot in Q4 2000.
Glassdoor has ridden a wave of success since its founding in 2007. The company, headquartered in the Bay Area, operates a website that allows users to post reviews about their current and former employers.
Two decades ago, working from home was considered a privilege that only a few high-ranking company officers and those who owned their own businesses experienced. Telecommuting in the ages of the internet and gig economy has become the norm for many companies and their employees. But remote workers still want their fill of office life.
People who love their work tend to be happier overall in life. Unfortunately most Americans do not fit this mold.
Cisco Systems conducted a study in 2017 that observed and analyzed the movements of its workers in various facilities. The company concluded that employees worked much differently than they did just a few years prior. The traditional 9-5 shifts were no longer the norm due to the company’s global and telecommuting workforce. Individual cubicles were empty 65% of the time observed, while meeting rooms and other common areas were the preferred choices for workers to complete their duties.
Data compiled by MIT at the turn of the 21st century found that the typical tasks in a 1950s 40-hour work week could be completed in 11 hours or less in 2000. Most of this, of course, is due to advances in technology. But its also due to increased worker morale and perks.
It’s likely you’re one of those office managers or business owners who have clicked through hundreds of Pinterest photos showing some really cool office spaces. Granted most of these photos are doing to exceed the budgets of most companies. But there are numerous used office furniture options that can greatly mitigate costs, while helping you create the office perfect for your brand and culture.
Sleeping on the job has long been consider a taboo, fireable offense. But as workforce demographics and technology have changed in the 21st century, so have attitudes about napping at the office.
The digital age has made content marketing a necessity for companies in virtually all sectors. The 2018 Clutch Small Business Survey found that 64% of companies have a website and/or blog. That 36% still living in the Stone Age not only look illegitimate (would you do business with a company without a website?), but are essentially at the mercy of social media to give themselves some kind of online presence.
The 1980s and 1990s were the last decades when work and love were two of the most common subject matters in both songs and movies. Sheena Easton scored a number-1 hit in 1980 with "Morning Train," a song about a woman who waits all day for her man to get home from work. Donna Summer scored a top-5 hit in 1983 with "She Works Hard For The Money." Other work anthems like "Bang the Drum All Day" by Todd Rundren and "Working For The Weekend" by Loverboy didn't chart as high, but remain popular in 2019.
The term "go green" is typically associated with renewable energy and environmental activism. But it also describes an office model that savvy business owners and managers are incorporating to gain an edge over the competition.
A recent termination case in Germany provides an interesting look into employer-mandated telecommuting versus employee-chosen telecommuting. The State Labor Court decided on a case in accordance with Section 106 Industrial Code.
Super Bowl Squares is the newest trend that straddles the fine line between team building activities and workplace ethics. The American Gaming Association estimated that 1 in 10 Americans placed some kind of wager on Super Bowl LIII between the Rams and Patriots. Most of those bets were placed through office pools.
Every office has that one person who makes everyone else look bad at the office potluck. They spend hours in the kitchens preparing homemade lasagna, shrimp scampi, or some other dish that require multiple steps and a little culinary skill to complete. Of course there is also the guy that stops at the gas station right before work and picks up a few different varieties of Doritos to say he contributed.