IBM cancels its biggest event of the year over coronavirus fears, as it makes a new rule that employees can’t go to a conference with over 1,000 attendees
IBM has canceled its biggest developer conference of the year over coronavirus concerns. IBM Think was set to be held in San Francisco in May, but it will instead it will hold a digital event. IBM also placed restrictions on employee travel, including limits on domestic work travel and a ban on attending events with more than 1,000 people. In a statement, IBM said: "The health of IBM's clients, employees and partners is our primary concern. In light of global precautions for the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and building upon recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), IBM is taking a new approach to its signature events and adopting new travel policies." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
As the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, IBM is canceling its biggest developer conference, limiting employee travel, and restricting employees from participating in events with more than 1,000 attendees. IBM's client and developer conference IBM Think, which brought 30,000 attendees last year, was supposed to take place May 5-7 in San Francisco. Instead, IBM announced Wednesday that it will now hold a digital event with "live streamed content, interactive sessions and certifications and locally hosted events, which will highlight IBM's technology and industry expertise for developers and clients without the risk of travel." IBM is also placing new travel restrictions on employees through the end of March. IBM plans to suspend all domestic travel for internal meetings, and it plans to cut back on international travel to only "business-critical situations when virtual methods are insufficient." IBM is still allowing domestic travel for work with clients, although employees are encouraged to hold meetings virtually. In addition, if IBM employees have traveled recently to any restricted locations, they must inform their manager and self-quarantine for 14 days after their trip. "The health of IBM's clients, employees and partners is our primary concern," IBM said in a blog post. "In light of global precautions for the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and building upon recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), IBM is taking a new approach to its signature events and adopting new travel policies." IBM is also withdrawing its attendance in the HIMSS health care conference in Orlando next week. Recently, there has been a false rumor spreading around about an IBM employee in Austin who has coronavirus, and IBM has been working to assure employees that it's not true. IBM's cancellation and new rules highlights how COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has been causing widespread disruption and uncertainty for major tech companies. The outbreak has infected more than 95,000 people and killed more than 3,250, mostly in China. Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon have taken measures in response to the spread of coronavirus, such as canceling conferences, encouraging employees to work remotely, and conducting interviews virtually. Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Signal at 646.376.6106, Telegram at @rosaliechan, or Twitter DM at @rosaliechan17. (PR pitches by email only, please.) Other types of secure messaging available upon request. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.SEE ALSO: Google Cloud cancels its biggest conference of the year over coronavirus fears Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How to find water when you're stuck in the desert
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An internal Microsoft memo tells employees to talk to managers about coronavirus travel concerns — and some employees say it's not enough
Microsoft Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene sent an email to employees on Monday instructing them to...Microsoft Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene sent an email to employees on Monday instructing them to discuss with their manager any concerns they might have with work travel amid the spread of coronavirus. Some Microsoft employees expressed concerns to Business Insider that the company's response is insufficient. Salesforce, for example, has paused nonessential travel for its 50,000 employees. DelBene in his email said "global health authorities have communicated to us that the risk to the general public outside of Mainland China and those specific affected regions is presently low." Each of the six deaths from COVID-19 – the illness caused by coronavirus – in the US at the time of this writing have occurred in Washington state, five of them in King County, home to Microsoft's headquarters. Click here to read more BI Prime stories. Microsoft's internal response to managing the coronavirus outbreak has included asking employees to discuss with their managers any travel concerns, according to an email reviewed by Business Insider. "Any employee who feels uncomfortable travelling or attending any event (whether it be 1st or 3rd party, external or internal) should feel empowered to work with their manager to make the decision that is best for them and their family," Microsoft Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene said in an email to employees on Monday. Each of the six deaths from COVID-19 – the illness caused by coronavirus – in the US at the time of this writing have occurred in Washington state, five of them in King County, home to Microsoft's headquarters. "While there has been an increase in cases in specific regions of some countries like South Korea and Italy, global health authorities have communicated to us that the risk to the general public outside of Mainland China and those specific affected regions is presently low," DelBene wrote. "The health and safety of our employees is our top priority at Microsoft. We are providing real-time guidance to employees in all affected regions," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "We will continue to monitor the situation and take action as necessary to help protect employees." Some employees have expressed concerns that Microsoft's response is insufficient. Two employees who spoke to Business Insider and wished to remain anonymous said the company's response is "disappointing" and doesn't measure up to the steps taken by other companies. Salesforce, for example, has paused nonessential travel for its 50,000 employees. Meanwhile, other employees discussed on Twitter whether it's appropriate to leave the decision about whether or not it's appropriate to travel up to managers rather than employees. DelBene in the email also discussed Microsoft's decision to cancel events. Microsoft on Monday also announced it would make the company's Most Valuable Professional Summit online-only. "Global health authorities have not issued guidance to cancel events," DelBene wrote in the email. "At Microsoft, we are looking very thoughtfully at our event calendar, and in some cases shifting to digital-only experiences. Ultimately, the final decision to cancel, remain, or reduce our presence at events rests with the business owner of each event. Guidance has been prepared to inform these decision makers."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A 45-year-long study discovered trends in successful hyper-intelligent children
Google, Coinbase, and Twitter are all telling some employees to work from home this week amid the spread of coronavirus
Google has instructed its Dublin office to work from home on Tuesday as a "precautionary measure,"...Google has instructed its Dublin office to work from home on Tuesday as a "precautionary measure," after one of its employees reported flu-like symptoms, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider. The advertising giant isn't the only tech company to test such a policy, as Silicon Valley begins to adapt its practices around the coronavirus outbreak. So far, Twitter has recommended its 5,000 employees all begin working from home, while cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has asked that its employees who consider themselves susceptible to the flu also work from home. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Most of Google's 8,000-strong office in Dublin, Ireland — the tech giant's European headquarters — have been told to work from home on Tuesday after a member of its staff reported flu-like symptoms. Other tech companies like Twitter and Coinbase are also following suit. Google stressed that the day-long measure was precautionary, and in accordance with the advice of medical experts. "We continue to take precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of our workforce, in accordance with the advice of medical experts, and as part of that effort we have asked our Dublin teams to work from home tomorrow," a Google spokesperson told Business Insider. COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, has spread well outside its place of origin in Wuhan, China since its outbreak at the end of last year. The disease, which has infected around 88,000 people around the world, with the vast majority of cases in China, is now also disrupting businesses as multinational businesses reconsider their conferences, travel, and their employees' daily commutes. Google has been tightening up its policies after a Google employee tested positive for the coronavirus in Zurich last week. It has restricted its employee travel and cancelled Google Cloud's biggest event of the year as concerns around the outbreak grow. Other tech companies follow suit Precautionary work-from-home policies are now also being adopted among other tech companies, like Twitter and Coinbase. Twitter is now recommending that all employees around the world, nearly 5,000 in total, work from home. The company announced its recommendation out of an "abundance of caution" in a blog post on Monday, after it suspended all non-critical travel for employees and its CEO Jack Dorsey opted out of attending the SXSW conference in Austin later this month. "We are strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they're able. Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus for us — and the world around us," the post said. Dorsey is already a big proponent of remote work, and hinted that the company would be taking more steps to support a more global, remote workforce earlier this year. Twitter's blog post referred back to that announcement, noting, "while this is a big change for us, we have already been moving towards a more distributed workforce that's increasingly remote." Cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase also announced a similar measure, according to a document that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong linked to Twitter. "We're asking some employees to start working home this week," Armstrong tweeted. "Working from home is not a complete solution but it may help slow the growth of infections." An update on COVID-19. We're asking some employees to start working from home this week.https://t.co/RJo1KfcpCAWorking from home is not a complete solution, but it may help slow the growth of infections. https://t.co/yy3gAwFNsT — Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) March 2, 2020 A linked document elaborates on Coinbase's updated policies. "Employees that are likely to get sick more easily or for whom getting sick would be particularly problematic should now work with their manager to move to 100% Work From Home (WFH)," Coinbase's communications document said. It also says that business travel will be restricted to "essential travel only," and travel to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy and South Korea will be completely restricted. Other Silicon Valley tech companies have yet to ask its employees to work from home, but they have instituted other measures to lessen the likelihood of infection spreading. Facebook is asking its employees to stop bringing guests to work, and a Gizmodo report says Amazon is putting on-site job interviews on hold. Meanwhile, Business Insider reported on Monday that some Microsoft employees don't feel that the company is doing enough to help employees stay safe amid the outbreak.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why it's so hard for planes to land on water
US strengthens travel advice, raising Iran and Italy to a level three, advising people to ‘avoid...US strengthens travel advice, raising Iran and Italy to a level three, advising people to ‘avoid nonessential travel’. Follow live newsUS: two new coronavirus cases unrelated to travelWhich countries have travel restrictions in place?Will the Olympics be cancelled? Sports events under threatBiggest one-day fall on US stock marketShare your experiences 1.11pm GMT Italy’s tourism industry has been dealt its final blow, the head of its hotel federation has lamented, after the US advised its citizens to reconsider travelling to the country.Hotel reservation cancellations have already reached about 90% in Rome, while Venice has seen bookings plummet after regional officials cancelled the final two days of carnival celebrations this week in an unprecedented move in modern times. 1.05pm GMT World stock markets are expected to fall further next week after the first surveys of China’s economic health since the coronavirus outbreak showed factory output plunged and the country’s service sectors contracted.Illustrating how the virus could wreck the economic forecasts of other affected countries, the world’s second largest economy reported that manufacturing production levels dropped to record lows this month. Continue reading...