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Did someone say free food? Companies are getting creative with WFH perks

Did someone say free food? Companies are getting creative with WFH perks

Free food at the office used to make a stressful day better.

But with so many employees still working remotely, how can bosses show their appreciation?

I asked companies what they are doing to keep the office culture alive in a virtual world.

E-commerce checkout company Fast said it’s sending gift cards to employees for a weekly team meal, along with a weekly snack box.

Another company, UKG, which offered its working parents a virtual summer camp for their kids, is now offering after-school help this fall. It’s a win-win situation: kids are entertained, while parents get a break so they can be more productive at work.

And San Francisco-based Splunk is offering an extra 30 “pandemic days,” to give workers extra time to care for themselves and their family.

Click here to read about more creative perks companies are offering.

Dropbox is going remote …. kinda

Dropbox says it’s becoming a “virtual first” company.

So what does that mean?

Employees will work remotely the majority of the time to focus on their individual work, but they’ll go into the office for more collaborative events, like strategy sessions, team building and training.

To do that, the company is going to revamp its current office space: no more individual desks. Instead there will be more collaborative and meeting spaces.

Teams will agree on dates for when they will be in the office together.

I asked Melanie Collins, vice president of people, why the company isn’t taking a hybrid approach where workers choose when — or if — they come into the office. She explained that the hybrid model could create an unlevel playing field that favors in-person workers.

“We had reservations on this model because it perpetuates two very different employee experiences that could result in issues with things like inclusion

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Canadian Airline WestJet Now Offering Free COVID-19 Insurance For International Travel

Canadian Airline WestJet Now Offering Free COVID-19 Insurance For International Travel

WestJet, Canada’s second largest airline, is now offering complimentary COVID-19 insurance for eligible passengers for travel to and from the US, Europe, the UK, Mexico and the Caribbean until August 31, 2021. The carrier joins Air Canada in offering free Covid-19 insurance in an effort to boost sales as more Canadians elect to stay home or travel domestically to avoid Canada’s 14-day quarantine for international travelers.

Originally WestJet’s insurance did not include US coverage but will now cover travel to the United States. On September 25, 2020 WestJet announced that “guests travelling to, through or from the United States are now eligible for the airline’s enhanced $200,000 CAD COVID-19 travel insurance coverage for air-only and vacation reservations. The enhanced coverage will retroactively include all bookings made as of September 18, 2020 and will increase by $100,000 CAD to include up to a maximum of $200,000 CAD at no additional charge to eligible guests.”

Eligible bookings include any WestJet air-only reservation, including WestJet Vacations bookings for travel to and from the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe (including U.K.) and inbound to Canada. These trips will be eligible for coverage for up to 21 days for travel into and including August 31, 2021. For one-way travel reservations, coverage is available for up to seven days.

Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer, said that “Our research shows that a lack of COVID insurance is a considerable barrier to travel and our guests were seeking the inclusion of U.S. destinations to our travel insurance offering. Eligible guests travelling to and from the destinations we serve can now have an added layer of confidence

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Creative Lab Hawaii is now accepting applications for free workshops

Creative Lab Hawaii is now accepting applications for free workshops

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Here in Hawaii, people are full of great ideas and unique talent. But many move away, thinking the opportunities for a career are impossible at home.  

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The state will be providing free mentorship programs for creatives to prove otherwise.  

DBEDT’s Creative Lab Hawaii is now accepting applications for five upcoming Weekend Ideation Programs, which will provide entrepreneurs training and mentorship in taking creative ideas and turning it into career possibilities.

“What we’re seeking to do with Creative Lab is have those indigenous storytellers be able to make their connections that they need once they’ve really honed their craft and know exactly the business side of how to navigate this industry so that they won’t be taken advantage of,” said Creative Lab Hawaii founder Georja Skinner. “That’s so critical because we’ve seen it happen so much.”

The five programs include:

  • Indigenous Storytellers
  • Acting
  • Theater
  • Virtual or Augmented Reality
  • Directing

Amy Bircher of Hawaii island went through the Creative Lab program in 2017. Since then, her screenplay was turned into a movie and it will air on television in the coming months.

“You’re always told in this industry that you need to move to L.A. to be successful, or to get a job, or to do anything, or do well in this industry and that’s not true,” says Bircher. “I think its really important that the children of Hawaii don’t grow up thinking that they have to move away from home to follow their dreams and pursue their passions.”

All of the programs are virtual, and each consists of all-day Saturday and Sunday Zoom sessions, followed by three months of coaching.  

“I believe that we’re in an unprecedented shift where our world is going to need to look

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NHL free agency 2020 – Signings, analysis, grades and buzz

NHL free agency 2020 – Signings, analysis, grades and buzz

Due to the altered schedule whereby the 2019-20 NHL season was completed quite a bit later than usual — with the Stanley Cup playoffs lasting until Sept. 29 — free agency began on Oct. 9 this year, as opposed to the traditional July 1 starting point.

But while the key dates have shifted, the goal of free agency has not: GMs around the NHL hope to land the game-changing veteran who can boost their contention status, or bolster their core with the glue that builds championships.

Here’s our continuously updated tracker, featuring a list of every player signed from Sept. 1 onward, along with analysis on the biggest deals, and buzz on what could happen next. Note that the newest deals are at the top.

Grades on big signings | Team previews | Top 60 FAs

Draft recap: Every pick | Grades | Takeaways

Oct. 10

Veteran defenseman Zach Bogosian (one year, $1 million) and forward Travis Boyd (one year, $700,000) have signed with Toronto.

Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk lands with the Capitals on one-year, $800,000 deal.

RFA defenseman Brandon Montour is back with the Sabres on a one-year, $3.85 million pact.

A two-year, $4.5 million contract has brought veteran forward Cody Eakin to the Sabres.

Former Ranger Jesper Fast has landed with the Hurricanes on a three-year, $6 million contract.

RFA forward Sam Anas agrees to a two-year, $1.45 million deal with the Blues.

Netminder Louis Domingue lands with the Flames on a one-year, $700,000 contract.

Forward Kevin Labanc sticks with the Sharks, agreeing to a four-year, $18.9 million deal.

Former Wild captain Mikko Koivu has made his next move, signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Blue Jackets. Grade for the deal.

Dallas bolsters its blue-line depth, signing former Panthers defenseman Mark

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Devils still have big need after signing Corey Crawford, trading for Ryan Murray | What’s next? Who’s left in free agent market?

Devils still have big need after signing Corey Crawford, trading for Ryan Murray | What’s next? Who’s left in free agent market?

Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald vowed to tackle his first free agent market with patience, and that’s exactly what he did Friday after the market opened at noon in the East.

All day.

Almost all night.

With lots of cap space to spend and pressing needs to address, the rebuilding Devils made a big move about an hour before the clock struck 12 midnight by signing veteran goalie Corey Crawford to a two-year, $7.8-million pact.

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What an intriguing addition this was.

Crawford, 35, will go down in Blackhawks history as a franchise great because the Montreal native was in the net for two Stanley Cup wins during his 13 mostly good seasons with Chicago, and this move filled a Devils hole because Cory Schneider, their No. 2 goalie last season when he wasn’t demoted to the AHL, was bought out on Thursday.

Now Crawford will be asked to play a lesser role both as an often-used No. 2 and mentor to starter Mackenzie Blackwood, who was pretty good as a rookie last season.

The Crawford signing was announced 24 hours after the Devils took advantage of a division rival being up against the cap when they acquired defenseman Ryan Murray from the Columbus Blue Jackets for just a fifth-round pick. With Murray, the second pick of the 2012 draft, seemingly over chronic back problems and expected to be a first- or second-pair defenseman next season, he could be a steal for the Devils even though he has just one season remaining on his contract.

That deal also filled a need, which leaves one pressing one for Fitzgerald, who would love to bring in a goal-scorer to play left wing on

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