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At Google, CEO Sundar Pichai in May unveiled plans for a "hybrid" work environment that would require most employees to work from their offices at least three days a week beginning in September.

5 things: Return to office plans roil Apple and Google

This and a Texas school district planning $1,000 bonuses to cafeteria workers are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Return to office plans roil Apple and Google

In-office versus remote work requirements have been roiling the workforces at two major Bay Area high-tech firms, Google and Apple, an issue that also affects the future of two prominent in-house corporate dining programs. At Google, CEO Sundar Pichai in May unveiled plans for a "hybrid" work environment that would require most employees to work from their offices at least three days a week beginning in September, resulting in 20% of the company working remotely, another 20% working from new locations with salary adjustments based on the local market and the rest working from the office. The result, reportedly, is tension over office transfers, compensation adjustments and remote work, with competition for transfers and the prospect of pay cuts provoking growing anger.

Meanwhile, Apple had announced a hybrid work schedule in June that will see employees return to the office for three days a week starting in September. A request by a group of employees for more flexibility was flatly denied, with Deirdre O'Brien, the company's SVP of retail and people, declaring in a video to employees that "We believe that in-person collaboration is essential to our culture and our future. If we take a moment to reflect on our unbelievable product launches this past year, the products and the launch execution were built upon the base of years of work that we did when we were all together in-person."

Read more: Google employees angered by search giant's 'hypocritical' remote work policies and Apple employees threaten to quit as company takes hard line stance on remote work

  1. Waco ISD to give $1,000 bonuses to cafeteria workers

The Waco Independent School District in Texas will spend $8.6 million in pandemic aid over the next few years to give bonuses of up to $10,000 to teachers and up to $1,000 to custodians and cafeteria workers. The district’s projected turnover rate this year is 21%, down from 26% two years ago but higher than the 17% experienced last year, says Josie Gutierrez, assistant superintendent for human resources. A typical year also finds the district filling 12 to 15 custodian positions and 35 to 40 cafeteria positions.

Read more: Waco ISD teachers to get bonuses up to $10K; custodians, cafeteria workers to get up to $1K

  1. Hospital to provide seven days of meals to high-risk former patients

Bridgeport Hospital in Connecticut has launched a pilot of its medically tailored meals program aimed at meeting the dietary needs of patients at risk for frequent hospitalizations. The two-month trial provides lunch and dinner seven days a week to a select group of patients in the hospital’s Primary Care Center Complex Care Program, which manages the needs of patients with multiple medical and social challenges.

Read more: Bridgeport Hospital creates special meal program for those at risk of frequent hospitalizations

  1. COVID spike threatens return of in-person classes in Hawaii schools

With two weeks until fall classes begin for Hawaii Dept. of Education K-12 schools, one of the largest districts in the country, there’s still a lot of uncertainty due to the effect of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases on plans to bring public school students in all grade levels back to the classroom. One particular area of concern is school cafeterias, notes Glen Iwamoto, principal of Waimalu Elementary School. “Right now, we’re working on getting barriers installed between students to at least protect them that way, because that is the one time that they will be unmasked,” he said.

Read more: As new school year approaches, plans to bring students back remains unclear

  1. College cuts back meal plan's off-campus usage

Like many other higher education institutions, Emerson College in Massachusetts is curtailing some of the extensions it offered in its meal plans in the past year to accommodate pandemic-forced necessities, including extending meal plan usage to off-campus restuarants. For the 2021 fall semester, Emerson residential meal plans are rolling back the use of the Board Bucks retail component at off-campus dining locations. The default residential plan, which formerly consisted of 12 meal swipes per week and $800 in Board Bucks per semester, now provides 23 meal swipes per week but only $150 in Board Bucks per semester.

Read more: College shifts meal plan options, curtails Board Buck usage

Bonus: Here’s a look at FM’s 2021 Best Concepts Best of Show winner Texas Tech’s dining operations

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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