The business conundrum: care vs capital?

The current climate created by the coronavirus pandemic, is one that has only been predicted in mysterious Netflix series and conspiracy theory videos on the internet. As a result, it is understandable that there is no rulebook on how the world is to handle it. This is particularly relevant when looking at how businesses are coping during these uncertain times, especially whilst aiming to protect and look after both their business and employees simultaneously.

Many companies have responded positively to the coronavirus restrictions and made sure measures have been put in place to help their employees in a time of economic hardship. For example, many businesses have added sick pay policies, as well as paying hourly employees even when closed and CEO’s themselves have been taking salary cuts.

This is mainly happening within companies that are faring better as a result of Coronavirus and those that can afford to offer this extra support to their staff. British supermarkets especially have been affected more positively most obviously because, no matter what the situation, people will always need food. Since the pandemic has spread globally, Tesco have hired 20,000 new temporary staff, Aldi have hired 9,000 new workers and Asda have hired 5,000 workers who have lost their jobs elsewhere due to coronavirus. Tesco also increased the salary of their workers by 10% an hour as a bonus for putting themselves at risk in order to serve the country.

This shows how, even though many of these supermarket chains do still feel the negative effects of coronavirus due to the pressure of having to ‘feed the nation’, employees in these businesses are seeing benefits in the workplace and certainly faring better than employees of other companies in Britain.

Due to the severity and far-reaching impact created by the current pandemic, many “non-essential” businesses have found themselves in times of hardship which has led to fewer positive measures being put in place. Many companies have had to introduce furloughs as well as laying people off completely in extreme circumstances and other measures have been put in place which have negatively affected employees further.

Virgin Atlantic have asked their staff to take eight weeks unpaid leave

For example, companies such as Virgin Atlantic have asked their staff to take eight  weeks unpaid leave due to the tourism industry being hit hard by coronavirus. Similarly other aviation companies have suffered tremendously due to the decline in global tourism with FlyBe going into administration in early March, putting the jobs of around 2,000 workers at risk.

Not only has the aviation industry taken a hit, leading to negative consequences for their employees, but high street shops have also felt the brunt of social distancing measures as people are restricted from being able to populate high street stores. Companies such as Debenhams and Laura Ashley have both gone into administration since the pandemic hit Britain and again, many workers in other high street stores have either been furloughed or made to take unpaid leave in order for businesses to survive.

The measures that have been put in place due to COVID-19, both positive and negative, have aimed to protect both employees and company capital, however, the harshness of some of these measures shows the severity that the coronavirus pandemic has had on Britain both socially and economically.

People all over Britain are now not only facing risk of infection but also risk of unemployment

People all over Britain are now not only facing risk of infection but also risk of unemployment which, in my opinion, is a risk that is often overlooked in a situation in which people are understandably focusing on the medical impacts of the virus. Unfortunately, due to the uncertainty of the situation, it is hard to predict whether this situation will improve or worsen- all we can do is hope that our country can bounce back from a situation like this which is like no other we have faced.

Isabelle Raikes

Featured image courtesy of Kevin Smith via Flickr. No changes were made to this image. Image license found here

In article image courtesy of @AldiCareersUK via Twitter. No changes were made to this image. 

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