Under normal circumstances, most people spend very little time reviewing their workplace health-care benefits during the open enrollment period. However, the circumstances of this year with the persistence of the coronavirus pandemic this trend will most likely shift as more employees scrutinize their health-care benefits more heavily. The areas where employees will be place most focus are health insurance, health savings accounts, life insurance, and disability insurance.
See Jessica Dickler, "Open enrollment is coming up — here’s what to watch out for", CNBC News, September 22, 2020
Hollywood unions have reached an agreement with the major studios on protocols to allow the industry to safely restart production amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement was announced yesterday. The announcement marked a three and a half month negotiation period after the unions issued their “Safe Way Forward” guidelines on June 12 following a June 1 “white paper” by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Forces comprised of the unions and studios.
See Dave McNary, "Hollywood Unions Reach Deal With Studios on Safety Protocols for Restarting Production", Variety, September 22, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken millions of workers out of their typical office spaces and confined them to their home office. This has dramatically changed the outlook of many workplace structures. In an attempt to make home offices more similar to the traditional office experience, Facebook is currently promoting the use of virtual reality technology to simulate the office experience.
See Hirsh Chitkara, "Facebook's Infinite Office is a VR solution in search of a problem", Business Insider, September 21, 2020
Ellen DeGeneres on Monday opened the new season of her popular television talk show by apologizing to staff after reports of a toxic work environment on her set and saying changes had been made to start “a new chapter.” Over the summer three top producers on the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” exited the show. As a result of their abrupt exit, Warner Brothers launched an internal investigation into complaints of bullying, racism and sexual misconduct against them.
See Lisa Richwine, "Ellen DeGeneres issues apology, vows 'new chapter' after on-set turmoil", Reuters, September 21, 2020
The University of Michigan's Graduate Employee's Organization (GEO) had recently engaged in a strike over the University's COVID-19 response. However, due to the fact that state employees are not allowed to strike, the GEO faced an injunction and the potential for retaliation from the University of Michigan for their action. Following a virtual meeting Wednesday night, the GEO voted to accept an off from administration. GEO members will return to work immediately under the agreement, ending the work stoppage that began last week. At the meeting, 1,074 GEO members voted to accept the offer, 239 members voted to reject and 66 abstained.
See Emma Ruberg, "Facing legal pressure, graduate students accept University’s proposal to end strike", The Michigan Daily, September 18, 2020
Weta Digital, the special effects company behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has launched an independent investigation into allegations of a toxic work culture including sexism, bullying and pornography being shared on its intranet. The investigation was ordered by the company’s majority owners. Some of which include the director Peter Jackson, his wife, Fran Welsh, and screenwriter Phillipa Boyens. Allegations from former staffers include sexism, bullying, and harassment, as well as pornographic mailing lists hosted on Weta Digital’s intranet, in addition to staff openly viewing pornography in the studio.
See Eleanor Ainge Roy , "Lord of the Rings special effects company Weta Digital launches inquiry into toxic workplace claims", The Guardian , September 18, 2020
Following a summer filed with reports about the toxic work cultures in both The Ellen Show and the TMZ news room, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and WarnerMedia Studios and Network Head Ann Sarnoff have issues internal statements to WarnerMedia employees about the issues. In the internal memo Kilar referred to the issues as unacceptable. As a result of previous allegations, 3 top producers at The Ellen Show have been dismissed.
See Chris Murphy, "Warner Bros. Execs Address Toxic Workplace Environment at Ellen and TMZ in Internal Memo", Vulture, September 18, 2020
The Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) announced today the publication of the 2020 Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) Annual Reports. The results identified work presenteeism as the number one employee issue, both in terms of its negative impact on the workforce, and the extent of improvement after EAP counseling. This issue also translated into the greatest source of cost savings and ROI. Studies revealed that EAP counseling significantly improved employee wellbeing, ability to concentrate and productivity.
See "EAP counseling significantly improves employee wellbeing, ability to concentrate and productivity", Yahoo Finance, September 17, 2020
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday outlined to employees a new set of principles to guide debates and conversations within Workplace, the company’s internal social network.The new principles follow a set of similar changes at Google, which is increasing the moderation of its internal message boards. Zuckerberg stated that the changes were meant to address “a lot of very tense conversations happening out in the world,”.
See Salvador Rodriguez , "Facebook issues new rules on internal employee communication", CNBC News, September 17, 2020
Citigroup has recently announced that its new CEO will be Jane Fraser. Fraser will be making history as the first woman to lead a major US bank. The announcement is critical as it points to a trend of more diverse executive officers.
See Sara Todd , "Citigroup’s new CEO is a reminder not to keep high-achieving women waiting in the wings", Quartz at Work , September 16, 2020