BIMBeing: The Journey #39
#39 – People remember…
Photograph by Marc Mueller from Pexels.
The current global situation is entirely unprecedented, something that none of us will have ever experienced before. As I discussed in the previous post (#38), this will certainly be putting enormous strain on individuals the world over: financially, physically and mentally. In these uncertain times, businesses too will inevitably suffer from the widespread disruption as companies of all sizes are being forced to make incredibly difficult decisions, in quick succession, as they respond to the rapidly changing global landscape. How companies react to this crisis is crucial to their survival; this is not just about short-term finances, cleaning supplies and the general balancing of books – it’s about public relations too. As businesses all over the UK empty their offices, they will be remembered, by their employees, customers and the general public alike, for how they have responded to this crisis. Quite understandably, amidst all of the panic to be decisive, this important aspect may have been overlooked by some.
We’ve probably all seen in the news, and particularly on social media, the public shaming of certain companies; from those that are forcing staff to work ‘unnecessarily’ to certain pub chains that instantaneously made tens of thousands of people redundant, abandoning them in the midst of this unprecedented crisis. Many smaller companies too appeared to shed staff at the very first mention of a pandemic, pre-empting the Governments call for mass isolation and racing ahead of the incredibly supportive measures announced to prop-up businesses and aid staff retention. Companies like this will not be remembered fondly, particularly by those that were laid off so suddenly, left without an income in such uncertain times. It would seem that some are using it as an incredibly thin veil to simply ‘trim the fat’, whilst others may simply have panicked in the face of difficulty. All of these companies, in my opinion, have entirely failed their staff; some of these acts have been morally appalling.
Fortunately, other companies have been going to great lengths in order to retain and protect staff, continue supporting customers and keep businesses afloat. From staff working remotely to retail outlets implementing ‘contactless’ collection and delivery procedures, many companies across the nation are doing all that they can to adapt to an infinitely challenging situation. I’m almost proud to say that the digital sector of the construction industry has been, overall, fantastic at responding to this situation. If anything, digital construction has been at the forefront of innovation and support during this crisis.
One of the stand-out acts has been the digital solution providers that have really stepped up to the mark, not only supporting existing customers but offering services to the wider industry as well; we’re actually seeing people > profit. This has included some providers offering free additional licences to existing customers, short term licencing deals, free additional ‘add-ons’ to some packages and others offering entirely free services to the industry. This kind of ‘community spirit’ is not something that I often associate with the construction industry, it’s quite typically an ‘every man for himself’ situation, but it has shown that companies and individuals are able to pull together in a time of crisis. Now, I admit that whilst many companies may be overlooking their public relations during these times, some of those offering free services may well have a commercial agenda in mind. I’m certainly not naive enough to think that all of those offering support are simply doing it out of the kindness of their business-focussed hearts, but who are we to deny businesses of some good PR when they’re supporting all of us in these challenging times?
I won’t be listing the companies that are offering this support, in the same way that I won’t be naming and shaming any companies that I think are doing wrong. What I would say is that if you have a digital need right now, do some light research and make some phone calls. You’ll find that many companies are offering their assistance, whether that be for video networking, cloud services or software licencing, there is for once a lot on offer. Hopefully, as people will certainly remember those companies that have wronged people in a time of need, we will all also remember those that have supported us; not only by retaining their own staff and customers, but by voluntarily helping the wider industry as well.
Stay safe everyone, continue to support those around you and enjoy the first weekend of official isolation.