2020 Pandemic’s Silver Lining
For most of us, year 2020 would be remembered well into the future just as we all can never forget year 2001 for 9/11 attacks or year 2008 for global financial crisis. There are lot of bad news around these events which are mostly true and should be taken into account. But there are also some heart warming and good news (silver lining) around these event as well, that do not get as much attention as their bad news counterparts.
I am focusing my post on the current, COVID-19 Pandemic situation. Here I have put together a short list of businesses that are doing good by their governments and towards their employees during this life altering year on Earth. I know there will be many more stories like that out there and I hope you share them when you get a chance. These types of positive stories provide hope which is much needed. In all of the animal kingdom, humans are the only one who need hope as a survival tool among many other tools.
Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, sent a very open and honest letter on May 20th, 2020. While he was giving the sad news of letting go of 25% of employees due to current Pandemic and also insecurity about the future business, yet he was able to be transparent and empathetic at the same time. Read the letter and tell me if your eyes did not get wet.
Some business in UK, such as IKEA and Primark, have voluntarily repaid more than 215 million pounds to the Government for its help with furloughed employees. So far more than 80,000 businesses have repaid the money back. The total CJRS package is 3.5 billion pounds and repaid money is a tiny fraction of it. But it is still encouraging that some companies are honest and not thinking about filling their pockets in times of this human tragedy.
Comcast CEO, Brian Roberts, and other top executive announced on April 1st, 2020, that they will donate 100% of their salaries to charities who are helping COVID-19 relief effort. Furthermore, company earmarked $500 millions to support its employees continued wellbeing. This is certainly a very inspiring news.
Microsoft, my employer, has shut down all its physical stores early on. But all the hourly employees were kept on payroll and within a month most of them were retrained. These employees now offered the same valuable support to our customers from home, virtually. This became a great opportunity for many employees to become part of the tech teams which they may have never dreamed of before. Based on the success of this model, Microsoft decided in June 2020 to close all its stores permanently, except the 4. Microsoft has also worked with schools and other not for profit organizations by donating software such as Teams and technical talents resources. These organizations otherwise would not have survived this Pandemic on their own.
What is the one common thing among these companies that I mentioned here (and other similar companies)?
They all are businesses to make profit but when situation affects human beings at this level of suffering, they don’t sit quite, they come forward and do the right thing.