DealBook: The Activist Investor Done With Finance

Processes that managers took for granted seem less essential now, from long meetings to regular status updates. And that — along with the disappearance of commutes and office-based distractions — means workers can get more done, a host of companies told David. (Home-based distractions are another matter, of course.)

But there is a downside. Managers are worried about the effects of isolation, decaying social capital and lack of camaraderie. Mental health is a particular concern, David tells us, and he dug into his notebook for some extra material about it, based on his reporting:

To combat the risk of burnout, many employers are offering virtual mental health offerings to remote workers.

“Everyone is so focused on the protection of the virus,” said Douglas Merritt, the C.E.O. of the software company Splunk. “But health includes mental health, emotional health, physical health, financial health.” Splunk is among the companies that have started offering daily meditation and mindfulness sessions to remote workers.

Early in the crisis, Salesforce also started a daily mental health call, and was encouraging employees to develop a daily meditation, mindfulness or prayer practice. “We’re in a much more stressful environment than ever before,” Salesforce’s C.E.O., Marc Benioff, said in late March. “We have to take care of that.”

Deals

• Dell is reportedly exploring options for its $50 billion holding in the software company VMware, including spinning off the stake to shareholders. (WSJ)

• Amazon will create a $2 billion fund to invest in clean-energy start-ups that could help it become net carbon zero by 2040. (TechCrunch)

• The mall operators Simon and Brookfield Property Partners are reportedly exploring a bid for J.C. Penney, to help out their shopping centers. (WSJ)

Politics and policy

• The Trump administration is considering tariffs on Canadian aluminum, risking a trade war before the new North American free-trade pact goes into effect. (NYT)

• The E.U. may block American travelers as a coronavirus risk. (NYT)

Tech

• Amazon employees are pressing the company to address what they say is systemic racial inequality. (NYT)

• Stacy Brown-Philpot of TaskRabbit, one of Silicon Valley’s few black C.E.O.s, is stepping down. (NYT)