COVID-19 continues to keep millions out of work, reducing productivity, disrupting business operations, and raising costs, according to Gwynn Guilford and Lauren Weber at the Wall Street Journal.
Among the data they cite:
A half million workers havedropped out of the labor force due to lingering effects from previous COVID infections.
In the average month this year, nearly 630,000 workers missed at least a week of work because of illness, compared to the years before the pandemic. And this year the number of absent workers is up from last year.
In the average month, some 2.3 million employees who were normally full-time worked less than 35 hours a week due to their own illness or child-care problems.
While mortality has fallen significantly because of vaccines and less deadly variants (especially among non-elderly populations) COVID still killed more than 3,200 people ages 18 to 64 in August and September.
COVID has forced employers to change the way they manage: Some keep more workers on the payroll to accommodate inevitable absences. Others engage in cross-training staff, a measure that impacts productivity and strains existing staff.
And then there’s the weak productivity related to burnout and the stress workers are feeling after more than two years of pandemic life.
That restriction was lifted in 2012. Today the beer/wine and liquor shops in Needham punch well above their weight.
And now, Town Meeting has unanimously approved a zoning change that will allow both breweries and brew pubs to operate in town too.
We’ve been told there’s already been interest from brewers or would-be brewers in setting up shop here. The new zoning rules can be found in Article 8 here. A map indicating where the businesses would be allowed to operate is here.
Once that first draft is poured, I'll be toasting Amy Haelsen, the town’s economic development manager, who spent two years navigating the lengthy process.
Four ways to make your business greener
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts and the Mass Department of Environmental Protection will share updates and resources to help businesses and institutions comply with waste disposal bans on commercial food waste, textiles, and mattresses tomorrow (Nov. 9) at 10 a.m. Register.
Eversource and National Grid will present programs designed to assist building owners in making their properties more energy efficient -- including increased financial incentives for heat pumps and weatherization -- in a webinar put together by the City of Newton on Nov. 17 at 8:30 a.m. Register.
Green Energy Consumers Alliance hosts a webinar about Installing EV charging at apartments and condos, on Nov.17 at 3 p.m. If you live in or manage a multi-unit residential building, this webinar is for you. Register.
The Village Bank and the City of Newton are partnering on a microgrant program to support local projects designed to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and school groups can apply for grants of $250 to $1,000. Apply.
Questions and answers about bio lab safety
A Watertown resident recently raised some questions in a letter to the Watertown News about lab protocols after watching a Biosafety Committee meeting.
Giant scissors and ribbon-cutting ceremonies are as old as chambers of commerces’ themselves. (And the roots of our chamber date back to 1915.)
Many chambers charge a fee to host a ribbon-cutting event.
But several years ago we introduced a new twist on an old tradition: Rather than asking a new or expanding business to write a check to the chamber, we ask every business celebrating a grand opening, major renovation, or new location to make a small donation to a local nonprofit chamber member.
Not only do our nonprofits get an immediate boost but it helps new businesses connect with the community -- building relationships we hope will last for years.
Participants don’t need big scissors or a red ribbon either. We provide both for use at your event. Learn more here.
Looking back on the Pike (and the harm it caused)
There’s little doubt that the Mass Turnpike has been an economic driver in our west suburban communities. The easy and relatively fast connection to Boston is no doubt part of why many people and companies are located here.
But as the state grapples with climate, gridlock, and transportation challenges, it’s also worth remembering all that was lost in our communities as well.