COVID-19 is a nightmare that businesses did not see coming until a few weeks ago. A few cases were reported in December 2019 in some countries. We did not know it will soon turn into a pandemic, hitting every corner of the world. But today, as much as we dread it, the novel coronavirus has hit planet Earth hard, impacting economies, businesses, and every aspect of our lives. What’s worse is that we don’t know when and how the world will come out of it. From disrupted supply chains to social isolation, from office work to working from home, we have witnessed a massive shift in paradigm, one we could not have imagined.
We haven’t experienced a pandemic before. All we have are stories of previous epidemics, like the Spanish flu. But those were different times and required a different response. Today, the world is globalized, economies are inter-related, and co-existence is the key to survival. These different times need different techniques and ways to come out of it. We are all still struggling to find the best way. Chances are that we make mistakes, learn from them, and find our way through the pandemic.
Countries are responding to coronavirus with social distancing, countrywide lockdowns, curfews, and more. All social gatherings are banned, and businesses have moved to work from home until the situation settles. If you are looking for tools to help enable successful remote working, have a look at our best picks.
Businesses are trying their best to help their employees while sales are declining massively. It’s a one-of-a-kind challenge. Let’s explore some ways companies are responding to COVID-19.
Often the first response to declining revenues is downsizing to cut costs. As we speak, many companies are considered layoffs to survive. Cost-cutting is the need of the hour, but it doesn’t have to come from downsizing. Compassion and empathy can win wars. Businesses must take the pandemic as an opportunity to strengthen their relationships with the workforce and come out stronger.
Most retail brands are implementing salary reductions. Primark is temporarily reducing base salaries by 50%. The company will not pay bonuses to executive directors for the current financial year. H&M has implemented a 20% salary reduction for its senior executive and reduced working hours.
Global giants like Emirates are also reducing salaries. Emirates is reducing base salaries from 25% to 50% for three mounts. The President of Emirates, Tim Cark, will take a 100% basic salary cut for three months.
Cubix has taken the same word. We are not downsizing. In fact, we have promised not to lay off any employee during this time. We are reducing salaries by 15% - 50%. The salary reduction will not apply to junior-level employees. We don’t know how long the crisis will last and want to prepare ourselves to sustain the businesses for at least six to eight months. This will allow us to cut costs effectively.
CEOs are Giving Up their Salaries
It is important that while companies are reducing salaries, the top-tier must give up on their salaries as well. Doing so not only communicates empathy but helps employees understand that salary reduction is inevitable. The practice is witnessed across industries in this tough COVID-19 crisis. CEO OF Delta, Ed Bastain, announced a 100% salary reduction for himself for the next six months. Other companies whose CEOs are forgiving their salaries include Allegiant, Marriott, Hyatt, Life Time, and others.
Cubix believes that the largest salary cuts must come from the top leadership, starting from the CEO. The time requires sacrifice to honor employees who have worked tirelessly to make their companies a success. Businesses owe that to their workforce. And great leaders are stepping forward to help their employees.
At Cubix, the change comes from the top. Our CEO, Salman Lakhani, will take a 100% salary cut to liquidate resources for other employees. He was the first one to suggest salary reductions, starting from himself.
It is time that we look beyond money and business. It is time that we prioritize people over everything else. Yes, work from home has always been skeptical in normal days. Businesses prefer having employees on the premises instead of remote working. It is easier to communicate, carry out teamwork, and more. But now, social distancing is the only way to prevent coronavirus. Therefore, businesses are generously implementing remote working for the safety and well-being of their employees.
Also, companies realize that remote working is not the same as working from the office. For example, everyone in the family is at home, and, naturally, employees may not work in the usual 9-5 timings. Also, problems in internet connection are common in households. Do not expect employees to work like they are working in the office. Understanding and accommodating the difference is the key to successful remote working.
At Cubix, we have informed our employees that no matter what the situation, we have their backs. We encourage our employees to take leaves if they are not feeling well, seek medical help, and take proper rest. We know that most of our employees have parents and children to look after. Our workforce is given 100% flexibility so that they can balance their responsibilities.
It is Time to Give Back to the Community
Things have changed in a matter of just a few days. Businesses are suffering. Employees are facing uncertainty in their jobs. And while profits are declining, now is the time corporations have to prove that they value humans more than money. It is time we donate funds to those affected by the novel coronavirus and its atrocities.
I consider it an opportunity for entrepreneurs to invest in products and services that help people in surviving this challenge. Social isolation will boost on-demand businesses delivering products and services, while consumers are restricted to their homes. Now is the right time to invest in customer-oriented ventures.
Compassion and empathy, I repeat, are integral for us to survive. As much as we miss the energy of our employees that glitters our office, remote working is implemented for as long as need be. Thanks to our wonderful team for giving their best.
May the world heal sooner!