A semblance of normalcy came back to California in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It came through one of our greatest pastimes. The Pac-12 announced this week that it will start football season in November. There is a seven-game schedule for each team, culminating in the Pac-12 Championship on December 18. The schedule has yet to be released. It's fairly certain, however, that Cal and Stanford will face one another for the 123rd time, continuing the long-time Bay Area tradition. The Big Game will be notably different though. Memorial Stadium and Stanford Stadium are not allowing fans at all in 2020. Cal-Berkeley is going even further with coronavirus restrictions.
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.
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.
Coronavirus is ubiquitous in 2020. Plexiglass is too as a result. It's an integral health and safety measure adopted by corporations, schools and government. A CBS News report from June estimated that plexiglass sales were up 30-fold as businesses install cough guards, sneeze guards and cubicle extenders in record numbers. Individual face shields are also in high demand, further placing heavy burdens on plexiglass manufacturers and retailers.
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.
The Bay Area is once again showing positive signs of emerging from a weeks-long pattern of COVID-19 abyss. Hospitalizations in the nine-county metro area dropped from 963 on July 31 to 706 on August 30, according to state data. That's a 27% decrease in a month.
Cities and states have shut down their respective jurisdictions to varying degrees since the novel coronavirus struck the United States in March. There are no domestic travel restrictions implemented by federal government as of publishing. There are several countries, including China, Iran, most of Europe, and Brazil, that citizens are not allowed to travel to the USA barring strict exceptions. Individual states have implemented air travel restrictions based on local assessments.
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.
An interesting post on Reddit summed up the experience of many workers just starting at a new company in the last two months. The first day was the most awkward eight hours of their lifetime. They would naturally reach out to shake someone's hand they were being introduced to, only to stop themselves in mid-motion. May is typically allergy season for everyone. They made sure to take two Claritin tablets before leaving for work, knowing that a sneeze or cough would draw unwanted attention. But when this new worker finished their day, they had a weird realization. They would not recognize any of their new coworkers outside of work because they've never been any of their faces behind the masks.
The U.S. job market is full of uncertainty due to COVID-19. Bureau of Labor Statistics data says that more than 20 million Americans were either laid off or let go from their jobs since March. A silver lining came in the form of a record 4.8 million jobs being added to the economy in June. Many of those jobs were people being called back from lay offs. July job numbers are expected to drop due to cities and states shutting down as coronavirus cases surge in the Bay Area, California, and across the country.
California would have the fifth-largest economy in the world if it was a sovereign nation. The Golden State has a larger gross domestic product than the United Kingdom and India. Unfortunately California gained a dubious distinction this week among the world's "countries" as well. The state has at least 473,785 confirmed coronavirus cases as of July 29, according to Johns Hopkins University data. That places California fifth among countries for COVID-19 cases. Only the whole USA, Brazil, India and Russia have more cases than California.
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.
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.
The longer COVID-19 and the pandemic persist, the more we're going to see normal, long-time U.S. traditions greatly altered or cancelled altogether. The Cal-State University system announced in May that all of its 23 campuses will not hold in-person classes in the Fall 2020 semester. That announcement effectively wiped out the football season for all of said schools, unless they planned on playing games without fans. Governor Gavin Newsom shut the entire state down again yesterday, causing even more concern for the forthcoming fall sports season.
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.
The 51st annual World Series of Poker is normally held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas this time of year. The $10,000 buy-in Main Event was scheduled for July 1 - 3, with several other events on the venue from May 26 to July 11. But organizers announced on April 20 that the event would be postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are hoping the event can still take place this fall. Nevada, however, is one of several states with a mandatory mask mandate right now. Unless something changes quickly, it does not appear the event will take place at all this year. Poker players in Nevada and New Jersey have the opportunity to play online events this month at WSOP.com. They can win championship bracelets and large purses in these events, but nothing close to the $10 million first prize in last year's Main Event.
The subject of face masks is a hot-button issues in the United States. California Governor Gavin Newsom added fuel to the fire when he issued a statewide mandate on June 18, requiring nearly everyone to wear masks outside the home. The mandate came one day before California recorded its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began - 4,084 new cases on June 19. Health officials said that increased positive tests were expected due to more available testing across the state. California is one of 15 states plus the District of Columbia to require masks in public as of late June.
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.
California is once again making headlines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide mandate, requiring all Californians to wear masks outside their home. The only exceptions are people engaged in outdoor recreation, children younger than 2 years old, and those sitting down to eat in restaurants. The mandate comes one week after Orange County lifted its mask mandate. Newsom cited rising numbers in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state.
Many Bay Area businesses are open, but with various restrictions. Governor Gavin Newsom spoke at a veterans home in Yountville on May 22. He hinted that professional sports and hair salons were the next businesses to be given the green light to resume operations. But Contra Costa County saw its one-day biggest spike in COVID-19 cases (65) on June 9. Despite the surge, hair salons and indoor dining are expected to recommence throughout most of the Bay Area next week.
California is the trendsetter state of the U.S. The state would be the sixth-ranked economy in the world (ahead of the United Kingdom) if it was a sovereign state. California is the birthplace of 1960s counterculture. It is the birthplace of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. It was also California voters who propelled President Woodrow Wilson to the White House. Los Angeles/Hollywood is far and away the movie and television capital of the world. The Bay Area is the tech capital of the world. But one trend the entire country is keeping it's eye on has also emerged in the Golden State.
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.
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.
One of the most common New Year's resolutions is to lose weight. Gyms always see upticks in new members at the beginning of January. But the fresh faces don't stick around long.
Yoga is fast becoming the norm in office settings due to government incentives and the direct benefits of more mindful, relaxed employees.
Bay Area basketball fans have been spoiled by the Steph Curry-led Golden State Warriors of the last six years. The team represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals every year from 2015 to 2019. They won three championships in that span (2015, 2017, 2018) and finished the 2016 regular season with an NBA-record 73 wins. The team moved into the brand new Chase Center for the 2019-2020 season. But things have been ugly for the Warriors this season.
E-cigarettes took the United States by storm around the same time Facebook and smartphones were becoming ubiquitous. The first generation of "ECIGS" hit the European market in 2006, and came to America the following year, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Respiratory Research. The handheld, battery-operated devices were marketed as healthier alternatives to smoking that help people ween off cigarettes. But a 2016 report by the U.S. Surgeon General indicated that vaping is a gateway product to cigarettes.
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 Toronto-based World Federation of Chiropractic aimed to raise awareness about spinal health and related disorders. It joined forced with over 200 organizations, including Financial District Chiropractic in San Francisco, and started World Spine Day in 2012. This year marks the eighth World Spine Day, which takes place every October 16.
Frank Lee Morris was sent to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in the San Francisco Bay on January 20, 1960. He had escaped from another prison and was recaptured. John Anglin was sent to Alcatraz on October 24, 1960. He had attempted escaping several federal prisons. His brother Clarence Anglin arrived at Alcatraz on January 10, 1961. All three men were serving 10-15 year sentences for robbery and burglary. But all of them served their last night in Alcatraz on June 12, 1962. They swam, with the help of a makeshift raft, 1.5 miles from Alcatraz to Angel Island. The story from there is anybody's guess.
California is the nationwide trendsetter in the ongoing saga of flame retardants in office furniture. It began in the early 1970s when state regulators pressured tobacco companies to manufacturer self-extinguishing cigarettes. The goal was to reduce the risk of fires in homes, offices and elsewhere caused by negligent smokers. Tobacco companies did not want to change their products, so they changed the narrative instead.
The scientific theory known as social proof posits that people in general follow the lead of others. Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated this phenomenon.
The Eco Office team works hard refurbishing office furniture, devising office layouts and meeting with Bay Area clients throughout the week. But everyone needs time off to rest, relax and replenish. Living in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area means you are within three hours of virtually every ecosystem and climate the planet has to offer.
Statistics can say anything the author wants them too say, and that definitely holds true with a 2016 study by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics. Data compiled by the agency that year found that the average U.S. worker spent 39% of their days sitting and 61% standing. But when you take a closer look at the numbers, you'll find that in most occupations, workers either sit or stand a vast majority of their days. Waiters and welders, for instance, are on their feet more than 90% of the time. Accountants and software developers sit 80% or more of the time.
Research continues pointing to the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time, increased risk of including diabetes, heart disease and muscle atrophy. Many companies are addressing this issue by offering standing desks to their employees. Others have wellness programs that offer discounts at gyms and incentives for employees who ride their bikes to the office.
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.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Thirty-six percent (36%) of American adults reported sitting for eight or more hours per day. Nearly half of those individuals said they did little to no exercise on a weekly basis either.
The global market office furniture market was valued at $117.1 billion in 2017, according to the latest figures by the Business Research Company. China is the country with the largest market share, accounting for 26.3% of the entire industry. The Asia-Pacific region accounted for 44.5% of the global market.
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.
July 12, 2019
People who love their work tend to be happier overall in life. Unfortunately most Americans do not fit this mold.
A cup of joe in the morning is about as American as apple pie and the statistics back that up. A 2018 study by the National Coffee Association found that 64% of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee everyday. Most, however, do not indulge in those expensive cafes that seem to be on every street corner in 2019. Most of the 3,000 people surveyed (79%) said they brewed their coffee at home before work.
Government incentives and lower insurance payments are the primary reasons workplace wellness programs are the norm in 2019. Company culture is also separating the haves from the have-nots when it comes to recruiting and retaining the best talent.
The average full-time adult worker sits for about 10.5 hours per day, including the drives to and from work, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Construction workers, movers and others who work on their feet all day may feel envious of their sedentary counterparts. But once the science is considered, the physical laborers will appreciate their jobs more.
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.
Many credit Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple, for being the pioneer of workplace meditation rooms. His wedding was a Zen ceremony and he also befriended several monks. The company used to make employees take 30-minute meditation breaks in the early years. The results were so positive that Jobs ordered meditation rooms to be built in the company's offices across the globe.
The American Institute of Stress found that 65% of American workers experience stress that causes difficulties not only at the workplace, but at home as well when the workday is over. Many U.S. firms have embraced 21st century trends like extending work-from-home opportunities, paid time off, and flexible scheduling to combat the realities of stress. But smaller companies may not have the resources to grant these types of benefits.
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.