COVID-19 — Companies, we’re watching you

Keep in mind this article is not tailored to a specific country. That means a country might have implemented certain rules that impact, in one way or another, the questions presented below. It’s not just about the end result, but about trying to do the right thing, the best it can possibly be done.

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Photo by Lucas Pezeta from Pexels

Is the company reducing (or even cancelling, temporarily or not) their employees’ salary, even though they could survive while they continue to pay them?

Many small business owners have no alternative other than telling their employees that they are no longer employed. A small coffee shop owner who struggles month to month to make ends meet and to pay the salary of their staff doesn’t have too many options, unfortunately. Asking them to continue employing their staff for weeks — or months, by the looks of it— without any income, is asking them to go bankrupt. Which means now we potentially have an extra family, or more than one, without a job. And it’s possible those previously employed have no chance of returning to the small coffee shop once all this is over.

Is the company applying regular policies for both their customers and employees instead of adjusting them for this particular situation?

Every company has processes and rules they have to follow. I get that. Even though there are things that I don’t like or I think are bad for customers, I understand. If you bought a flight and you had agreed to pay a reduced price in exchange for securing a non-refundable ticket, there’s not much you can do if your situation suddenly changes.

Is the company in an industry ‘benefitted’ by the pandemic and using that to take advantage instead of helping?

You’ve probably seen it either on the TV or experienced it yourself. Various firms and shops are profiteering in times of desperation in terms of helping. Don’t make the mistake of confusing “selling” with “profiteering”. These are completely different concepts.

Is the company doing less than what they should be doing to keep people safe and healthy?

Some industries cannot work without people in their workplace. A factory couldn’t produce its wares, a coffee shop wouldn’t be able to prepare coffee and sandwiches, a supermarket would struggle with stock replenishment, and so on. That’s just how it goes. However, there are several companies out there who are in a position to do so that don’t allow their staff— or at least a part of it, those who totally could — to work remotely. Normally, this is seen as an inconvenience for those employees who could be working from home. But, at this particular moment, this is no longer an inconvenience and is now a matter of life and death — not just for the company’s employees but for the rest of the population too.

Conclusion

If, when analysing a firm, either as a customer or an employee, we answered “yes” to any of the questions above, I think it’s fair to say we’re dealing with a company that shouldn’t be “rewarded” with our resources. And, as a result, once it’s safe for us — and not for that company — to do so, we should be parting ways. In most cases, we’ll be able to find another firm willing to provide us with a similar or even better product or service, or an employer that cares much more about our wellbeing as humans.

Software engineering during the day. Sports, music, travelling, books and arts during the night.

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