It seems like each morning I open up the Wall Street Journal with my morning coffee, I read a new article about a large corporation laying off employees. From retail giants to tech companies, no industry or sector is immune to the trend of downsizing and job cuts. In the last year, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and many other tech companies have laid off more than 70,000 employees. Alphabet cut 12,000 jobs. Microsoft cut 10,000. Amazon cut 18,000. Salesforce cut 7,000. Meta cut 10,000. Tesla cut 6,000.
In recent years, we have seen a range of economic conditions, from periods of growth and prosperity to recessions and downturns as the result of unforeseen and unpredictable events. The equation is straightforward – when the economy is doing well, companies tend to hire more workers to keep up with demand. However, when economic conditions become more challenging, companies may begin to lay off workers to cut costs and remain competitive.
So what does the current state of the economy mean for workers with regards to layoffs today? While the economy is showing signs of recovery from the pandemic, it still faces some challenges. Many companies are strategizing on how to combat these challenges, and quite a few have resorted to layoffs. Another interesting variable to consider with these layoffs is the transformation of the workforce over the last 2-3 years. At no other time in history has 1/4th of the workforce worked entirely from home. The same can be said about the 75%of workers who work from home at least 1-2 days per week. It begs the question – who are the workers that are being laid off? Are remote workers the first to go?
According to one large-scale survey by Beautiful.ai, 60% of managers said that remote workers would probably be laid off first. “Prejudice against remote workers is obviously not a manager’s intention but sometimes it’s difficult to imagine fair treatment and trust when a batch of employees are working next to you in an office and another group of employees are working at home,” said Jason Lapp, CEO of Beautfil.ai. When a company is looking to cut costs, it’s much easier for them to lay off employees they haven’t seen in person or who they feel have not been as productive as those who work in the office. Also, when you come into the office each day, you have more opportunities to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. This can help you to become a more valuable employee and increase your job security. When you work from home, it’s much harder to take on new responsibilities or learn new skills, which can make it more difficult to demonstrate your value to the company.
Regardless if you are a remote worker or you go into the office everyday, the biggest thing to consider in a volatile and uncertain economy where layoffs may be impending is simple, but requires some self reflection: are you providing value to your company? If you are providing value to your company, you should be clear. If you aren’t, you have a target on your back. Stay tuned next week as we discuss more.