Remote workers first to lose jobs in hard economic times, FAA orders longer breaks for flight attendants

Plus, how an impending recession could impact HR and comms plans.

If layoffs are on the horizon, will remote workers be in danger?

Greetings, comms pros! Let’s explore some stories from the past week and see what we can learn from them.

1. Bosses admit they’d start with remote workers during a layoff.

With all the talk of incoming tough economic times, the prospect of layoffs has reared its ugly head yet again. With the way that work has changed since the outset of the pandemic, some remote workers are concerned they might be the first ones on a potential chopping block. They might be on to something.

Fortune reports:

Six in 10 managers say it’s more likely that remote workers will be cut first, according to a new report published Tuesday by presentation software company Beautiful.AI. The report was based on a recent survey of 3,000 managers across a wide spectrum of sectors, including health care, finance, retail, software, and construction. Another 20% of managers are on the fence as to whether remote workers are more at risk for layoffs.

While remote work has integrally changed the way companies operate, you can do your part to hold employees to the same standard, and cadence of communication, no matter where they work. Sure, it’s only human to have a degree of proximity bias. But it’s key to be sure to treat each employee as an individual, and communications with them should follow the same lead. No matter the circumstances, lines of communication between managers, human resources and employees should be open, honest and consistent whatever the work configuration.

2. Flight attendants guaranteed 10 hours of rest under new FAA rule

According to a new ruling by the Federal Aviation Administration flight attendants now must take at least 10-hour breaks between work days of 14 hours or less.

Politico reports:

“I’m a pilot, and as any pilot can tell you, we cannot fly the plane without the safety expertise and support of flight attendants,” said acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolan at a press conference Tuesday at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. “Flight attendants are trained to take action during emergencies. administer first aid, conduct evacuations, manage medical emergencies.”

Until now, the rule required nine hours of rest between flight attendant shifts, and even that could be reduced to eight in some circumstances. Pilots are already guaranteed 10 hours’ rest.

“Proper rest is critical for flight attendants to do our work as aviation’s first responders,” Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson said in a statement following Tuesday’s announcement. “Flight attendants need this rest to do our jobs.”

While there’s no doubt that providing proper rest for flight attendants is a positive news story, this can be seen as a missed opportunity for the airlines themselves to lead with compassionate policy changes and employee communications. The lesson here is that organizations, no matter how large or small, need to listen to the needs of their employees and take action to improve worker conditions. When you’re doing this without pressure being applied by employees, unions or regulators, you’re going to come out looking much better in the public eye.

3. High inflation has many Americans tweaking their holiday travel plans

With the holidays quickly approaching, people across the country are looking into how they will travel to spend time with friends and family. However, high levels of inflation have had an influence on how these plans are being made.

CNBC reports:

Forty-three percent of U.S. adults are planning to take overnight leisure trips between Thanksgiving and New Year’s; of them, 79% are adapting to rising prices for travel in various ways, according to the survey.

For example, 26% are shortening their trips, 25% are selecting cheaper accommodations or destinations, 24% are taking fewer trips, 23% are traveling shorter distances and 23% are driving instead of flying, according to the survey.

Although this data set refers to people looking to take personal holiday trips for their own purposes, it may inform your organization’s new policies on business travel, too.  Consider how inflated prices make it harder for employees to justify fronting their own money for workplace travel expenses as they wait for reimbursements and be ready to adjust your team gathering or holiday party plans should leadership put a stop on business travel.

These numbers are also a reminder that it’s worth having a conversation with employees about the current economic conditions and how it might impact company travel, particularly if there are major client meetings or conferences looming on the horizon.

4. How about some good news?

Have a great weekend, communications all-stars!

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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