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.
Working from home, there are certain things I miss about the office: the unplanned hallway run-ins, the random free food, the CNN swag that was periodically left on our desks and celebrating company and personal milestones.
Most of this just doesn’t translate well to virtual work. But some companies are getting creative when it comes to recreating office culture.
Online retailer Zappos is known as a lively place to work. I remember interviewing an employee there a few years ago who mentioned that if someone doesn’t like parades, the company wasn’t going to be a great fit because – believe it or not – they happen.
And now the company is providing employees with a kit to throw their own parade at home. To celebrate Pride, the company sent team members confetti, streamers and other supplies to make a banner. They then got on a virtual call to celebrate together. And for the company’s 21st birthday, employees were sent a box that included snacks, a festive head piece and beverages.
But it’s not just about the fun and games.
The company’s leaders noticed employees needed a break earlier this summer and offered one day off each week in June.
“We kind of reached the point in June when we realized our employees need this right now,” said Angie Smith, head of human resources at Zappos.
“Employees were able to just sign off, no questions asked. Just a day to take and do what you need.”
Click here to read the full interview with Zappos’ head of human resources.
Being a working mom was tough before the pandemic hit. Now, for many mothers, it’s impossible.
One in five working-age adults reported that they are unemployed because Covid-19 upended their child care arrangements, reports CNN Business’ Anneken Tappe, citing new research from the Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve.
Of those not working, women were nearly three times more likely than men to remain home with the kids.
The decision to leave the labor market isn’t an easy one.
“I fully expect to have to choose between my family and my job of almost 10 years very soon, which really isn’t a choice,” one mom told CNN Business. “It will mean being unemployed for the first time in my adult life, but my family has to come first.”
But not everyone can go without a paycheck. So then what happens?
Some employers are offering flexible schedules and allowing employees to remain remote. And some businesses are even starting to offer their own child care.
Click here to read more about the long-term impact the pandemic could have on women’s careers.
Returning to work? There’s an app for that
Bringing tens of thousands of employees back into the office during a pandemic is no small task.
There’s a lot to manage: keeping track of who is in the office, reserving properly-distanced desk space and meeting rooms and limiting the number of touch points within the space.
Luckily, there are apps that can help with all that.
Siemens, which employs 385,000 people, raced to give its workplace app, Comfy, a makeover for the coronavirus era, reports CNN Business’ Julia Horowitz. The app now allows workers to locate coworkers, book an open desk or find a conference room with enough social distancing space to accommodate everyone.
Siemens isn’t alone. Other companies are also using return-to-work apps.
But they do raise some privacy concerns with experts, which is why companies should be clear about their intended use and what data will be collected.
Read more about these apps here.
Amazon’s office space expansion continues
While many companies are thinking about reducing their office space or telling employees they can work remotely permanently, Amazon is expanding its office space.
The tech giant announced earlier this week that it plans to create 3,500 tech and corporate jobs across six cities: Dallas, Detroit, Denver, New York, Phoenix and San Diego.
New York City will see the most new jobs with the creation of 2,000 positions, according to Amazon.
Read more about Amazon’s decision here.
If you are looking for some good Zzz’s, pay attention to what you eat.
Your food choices play a role in maintaining or improving your sleep quality.
For instance, nuts and kiwis are good sources of melatonin and serotonin, which are important hormones that regulate sleep, according to Dr. Matthew Schmitt, a specialist in sleep medicine at Piedmont Healthcare.
And if you are fighting insomnia, Schmitt said tart cherry juice may help.
Click here to watch the video on other foods that can help improve your sleep quality.