How times of struggle and a countrywide lockdown has caused people to re-assess personal priorities and re-consider the businesses they choose to support.
A time of reflection and isolation
As we faced a global pandemic, everything we once considered normality was stripped away. Businesses were closed, friends were isolated and many of the public were put onto the furlough scheme. We clapped for our heroes and watched as the true colours of businesses across the UK shone through. At a time of reflection and isolation people began to consider their true values, who they worked for, who they purchased from, were they helping enough people who needed it, were they truly happy and was now more than ever, the time for change.
Before now, job satisfaction and future goals were something that could be worked towards and the theoretical idea that we had a lifetime to achieve this slowed us down to a plod. The global pandemic was a systematic shock and shove into the realisation that we have been wasting our oh-so-precious time plodding along and all of a sudden our lifetime goals seemed less than achievable in the new world we were facing.
Big businesses showed their true colours
Big businesses chose to show that they cared for their employees or prove that they never did. Co-op took on 5,000 extra workers in stores to help them deal with the increased demand, offering temporary employment to hospitality workers who had lost their jobs due to COVID-19. On top of this the 6,500 pupils at the Co-op Academy schools who were receiving free school meals were given continued support in the form of a £20 weekly voucher while schools remained shut.
On the flip side of this the Bransons and Martins of the world stood out as the villains. Virgin Atlantic suggested workers take 8 weeks of unpaid leave at the beginning of lockdown. While paying workers for this time would have cost the company around £6.4 million, Branson himself has a net worth of $3.8 billion and chose to look on while his employees suffered. Tim Martin, the millionaire boss of Weatherspoon pubs suggested that his 40,000 staff should go to work at Tesco amid uncertainty over their futures due to the coronavirus pandemic. The public were hurt and outraged and I think now more than ever is the time to assess the businesses you choose to support. How they responded to this crisis and supported their staff is a huge giveaway to the type of people we are dealing with. If they don’t care, why should we?
Independent business support
Stepping away from big businesses, I think we can all feel absolutely inspired by the web of independent businesses across the country and how they have come together and responded to the pandemic in the most loving and creative ways. Our local eateries kept us fed from a distance and many stepped into action turning to online presence and inspirational, creative solutions to keep their business going. The likes of Soul Kitchen in Chester worked tirelessly to maintain their support for people in need during the crisis and local businesses completely transformed overnight to make sure customers were kept safe. Now that doors are re-opening we should remember the independents who continued to care for us and maintain our support for them in the same way.
Has the pandemic had you reassessing your personal ideologies?