Companies Need to Stop Pretending It’s Business as Usual
Nothing about right now is normal.
Corporate America keeps plowing ahead. With the stock market hitting a new high early in September and businesses trying to resume normal business hours, it’s not hard to think we are in the midst of a rush to return to “business as usual.”
But nothing about this situation is normal. A global pandemic has killed over 200,000 people in the United States. Millions are living in the path of destructive wildfires which have left dozens of people dead and many more missing. Black people are still reeling from ongoing police brutality and exhausted from having to deal with a system that continues to fail us as seen in the miscarriage of justice with Breonna Taylor this past week. Latinx people continue to confront abuse at the hands of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Parents are trying to homeschool children as they juggle their jobs. These same people are expected to show up and be productive at work. An impossible task.
It’s understandable why companies would want to go back to “business as usual”: The SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program couldn’t provide funding relief to every business, and businesses, large and small, are hurting. Some pivoted. Some shut down―permanently. Millions of people lost their jobs.
There seems to be an unflinching corporate desire to carry on, despite this exhausting, highly unusual moment in which we all find ourselves.
People are powering through, though, because their hand has been forced. More people are working from home than ever before. Every calendar invite is a Zoom invite now. Executives remain fixated on deadlines and targets. Layoffs are still happening, even when companies can actually afford to retain employees. Some of them claim they will rehire many of those workers (perhaps into new positions), but they make no promises. There seems to be an unflinching corporate desire to carry on, despite this exhausting, highly unusual moment in which we all find ourselves.
It is jarring to experience, because far too many of us had a conversation with someone this year not knowing it would be our last due…