People in the UK are starting to return to work, with many having mixed emotions about it. Some love the time off and freedom furlough gives them, and they’re simply not wanting to, or willing to, go back to work. Others are thankful for some semblance of ‘normal’ as they ease back into their daily routine.
Whilst things settle down, some businesses have been reassessing their financial situation. Companies such as Games Workshop and Spectator Magazine have stated that they haven't been hit as bad as they feared during the Covid-19 crisis, and they will be paying back the government’s Furlough Payments (source: BBC News https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53047895).
Swedish furniture giant Ikea didn't take furlough payments from the UK government; the company continued to pay its staff as normal throughout the pandemic. Such generosity and commitment to use money from their own coffers to pay staff wages will likely encourage consumer spending. Appearing less financially driven in the eyes of the general public could prove better than any form of viral marketing campaign.
The exact opposite could happen to the UK pub chain Wetherspoons, whose boss, Tim Martin, is now infamous for his comments about his staff ‘taking jobs at Tesco’ (source BBC News https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52018360). This from a company whose reported revenue for 2019 was 1.82bn (source Financial Times https://markets.ft.com/data/equities/tearsheet/financials?s=JDW:LSE)
Ikea have not taken any furlough payments from the UK goverment.
A quick search for Facebook posts that use the term ‘Wetherspoons’ brings up myriad of posts that contain a lot of hate for Tim and his company, with many consumers vowing not to return, although time will tell to see if this is the case.
In this age of social media your personal brand is so important. Simple, kind gestures can easily make you a Good Guy, but on the flipside, a single sentence – as demonstrated by Tim Martin – can see you vilified in front of your peers.
Stay safe. And, once this is all over, enlist a good social media team.
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