May 2020 News Briefs

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Texas Border Business

Leaders must adapt to virtual workplace to effectively support employees

The workplace has transformed into a new, online landscape, thanks to the coronavirus. It can be difficult to adjust to this new workplace, but leaders must rework their initiatives to set the tone for their employees, says Cynthia Maupin, associate professor at Binghamton University’s School of Management. “As many organizations have transitioned to virtual work environments to promote employee safety in today’s world, it is important for leaders to reevaluate how they are leading others,” says Maupin. “Leading in virtual environments requires shifting your leadership styles to accommodate the “new normal” rather than relying on what used to work in face-to-face interactions. Since a leader’s emotions can greatly influence those of their employees, leader’s in today’s virtual environment have to remain aware of their facial expressions and the meaning they are indirectly communicating to others. It is important to take the time to clearly communicate what you’re thinking instead of hoping your employees infer the correct meaning based on your facial cues. Source: Newswise

In new normal, hotels to compete on ‘sanitized cleanliness’ 

As businesses countrywide start to reopen, industries are struggling to come up with safety standards to reassure consumers. Within the hospitality sector, the American Hotel & Lodging Association recently released their recommendations, the Safe Stay initiative, for how hotels can enhance their safety protocols in COVID-19 times. Kate Walsh, dean of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, says that sanitized cleanliness will be the new differentiator within the industry. The hospitality industry is facing an unprecedented time, as it redefines what service means going forward. The key to bringing guests back will be to convey that the hotel is safe and secure and that guests’ health and well-being are paramount. This means that, as they plan to re-open, hotels must be laser-focused on building consumer-confidence that it is safe to stay at their property. This will become the new brand promise. Source: Newswise

3M wins injunction against mask seller accused of price gouging

3M Co won an injunction from a federal judge against a New Jersey company it accused of illegally using its trademarks to sell 3M-branded N95 respirator masks at inflated prices to exploit the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan on Monday blocked Performance Supply LLC of Englishtown, New Jersey from using 3M’s name and logo, or posing as an authorized 3M distributor, to help sell masks. 3M, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is the world’s largest maker of N95 masks, which are designed to filter 95% of airborne particles. It said it sued after learning that Performance Supply tried to sell 7 million masks to New York City’s Office of Citywide Procurement for $43.85 million, or an average $6.26 each, according to its invoice. 3M said the markup was roughly five times its list prices of $1.02 to $1.31 per mask, depending on the model, and amounted to “extreme” price gouging. Source: Reuters

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Disney says it now has 54.5 million Disney+ subscribers

Disney announced Tuesday it had 54.5 million Disney+ subscribers as of May 4, showing a slight slowdown in growth over the past month. Disney surpassed 50 million subscribers on April 8, up from its 33.5 million reported as of March 28. At the end of Q1 in December, Disney+ had 26.5 million subscribers. As part of its second-quarter results, Disney said it saw growth across all of its streaming service platforms in the past quarter. Disney reported that Hulu has 32.1 million total subscribers, up from 30.4 million from last quarter and 25.2 million a year ago. ESPN+ had 7.9 million subscribers, up from 6.6 million at the end of Q1 and 2.2 million a year ago. Source: CNBC

The company behind ‘Call of Duty’ says it’s funding COVID-19 treatment research while it figures out how to produce video games remotely

Every holiday season, you can expect a new “Call of Duty” game. It’s become an annual tradition in gaming: Like “Madden” in August, so can you expect a new “Call of Duty” come October or November. And every year, also like “Madden,” the new “Call of Duty” game sells a ton of copies. But the latest game, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare,” has broken records — even for a franchise that regularly outsells the competition. The game, which came out last year, “sold through more units and has more players than any prior ‘Call of Duty’ title at this point after its release,” according to its publisher, Activision Blizzard, which reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Tuesday. The games industry has been one of a few to see success during a pandemic that has seen more than 30 million people in the US file for unemployment. It had its best March in over 10 years, as the COVID-19 crisis has forced most of the country indoors. Source: Business Insider

Airbnb cuts 1,900 jobs as coronavirus hits home rentals

Airbnb Inc is laying off 25% of its workforce, or nearly 1,900 employees, the home rental startup said on Tuesday, as the COVID-19 pandemic brings global travel to a near standstill. “Airbnb’s business has been hit hard, with revenue this year forecasted to be less than half of what we earned in 2019,” founder Brian Chesky said in a memo to employees. The laid-off employees in the United States will get 14 weeks of base pay plus one additional week for every year at Airbnb, the company said. With millions of tourists canceling plans for vacations, work trips, and family visits, Airbnb earlier this year said it was allocating $250 million to help offset losses incurred by hosts. Source: Reuters

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