Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Work Transformed newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.
Food is a big part of office life.
Whether it’s free breakfasts every day or special lunches to make a long meeting more tolerable or to celebrate the success of a project – those treats help create a sense of community and workplace culture.
But the office food situation is going to look a lot different during the pandemic.
Crowded cafeterias, communal snacks and buffet-style lunches are off the table. Instead, you are likely to see more individually-packaged meals, delivery options and maybe even a robot making a salad.
Job reviews site Glassdoor used to have daily buffet-style lunch for employees at its headquarters. But when they return to the office, that could be replaced with individually boxed food, said the company’s senior director of global real estate and workplace experience.
The communal coffee pot will probably be sent to storage at many offices, too. To make up for it, some companies are giving out discounts or gift cards to local coffee shops to help workers get their caffeine fix.
Some employers are also hiring catering companies to order food in. This can help reduce crowding on elevators come lunch time and cut down on the number of delivery people coming in and out of the building.
Click here to read more about what the future of food in the office might look like.
$600 makes a big difference
The clock is ticking on the extra $600 a week some Americans have been collecting in unemployment insurance.
Congress added the weekly supplement to jobless benefits as part of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed in March.
For many workers, that extra money was keeping a roof over their head and food on the table. But the enhanced federal benefit is set to expire at the end of July – and it’s not clear if Congress will extend it.
That’s leaving a lot of jobless Americans worried.
While some businesses are rehiring workers as states open up, more than 18 million people are still receiving unemployment insurance.
State payments alone replace about 40% of wages, on average, reports CNN’s Tami Luhby.
“It’s allowed me to get by, to survive from day-to-day,” a laid-off hotel concierge in Chicago told her about the added benefit. “I don’t know what I would do if I was only making $1,200 a month. I couldn’t survive here for very long.”
Read more about the benefit and what it means for workers here.
Going on strike for Black Lives
A coalition of Black advocacy groups and unions are organizing a nationwide strike set for July 20 to pressure companies to pay higher wages, to allow workers to form unions and to tackle systemic racism.
Thousands of workers are expected to walk off the job in more than 25 cities.
The strike focuses on industries in which Black workers are disproportionately represented, including fast food, airports, gig economy jobs, nursing and home health care, writes CNN Business’ Chauncey Alcorn.
Black Americans make up around 13% of the US population, but comprise about 20% of the nation’s food preparation and serving sector, according to Alcorn’s analysis of Labor Department data. And more than 37% of nurses, psychiatric workers, and home health aides are Black.
Click here to read more about the strike and the call for higher wages for Black workers.
Ready, set, Slack!
Want to up your Slack game?
Many remote workers are relying heavily on the messaging platform to communicate with their coworkers.
And whether you love Slack or hate it – it’s always helpful to know a few tips and tricks to help make life easier (which we can all use right now).
My colleague Kaya Yurieff found seven lesser-known Slack tools to help improve your workflow.
For instance, did you know you can set reminders for yourself and even a co-worker about an event or a task? You can have the Slack bot send notifications at a set time and you can even have it send you reminders for that daily meeting that you always seem to remember five minutes too late.
And if you need a quick consensus of what time works best for a meeting or what font to use on the latest project, you can create a poll.
Check out five more tips to help you become a Slack power user.
If the day after Thanksgiving was your day to burn off all those extra calories and snag some hefty discounts with some mega shopping while you were at it, I have some bad news for you.
Black Friday might not happen this year. Or at least not the way we’re used to.
Long lines and crowded stores don’t exactly scream pandemic safety. But that doesn’t mean you can’t snag deals for the holiday season.
Online shopping will continue to play a big role and curbside pickup could also add some convenience to your shopping…it just won’t help with burning off that extra slice of pumpkin pie.