Week Of May 25, 2020

“Don’t let what you cannot do get in the way of what you can do.”

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WEEK OF JUNE 1, 2020

 

By the time a man is wise enough to watch

his step, he’s too old to go anywhere.

Billy Crystal

 

If God had intended man to fly he would

have made it easier to get to the airport.

Jonathan Winters

 

Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?

Robin Williams

 

THIS WEEK’S STUFF

  • Sending half your team home
  • Funding Hardship
  • Living Forever (Almost)
  • Beach (or Lockdown) Reading
  • Econ Recon: Size Doesn’t Matter, Yet; Not a Sugar High

 

SENDING HALF YOUR TEAM HOME

Almost every company has had to engage in some level of work from home (WFH) to some degree in the past two months. Many if not most CEOs were skeptical of the benefits and or necessity of WFH pre-Corona. A forced diet of it for a few weeks has many rethinking this position, especially as companies reopen.

This past week, Facebook CEO Mark Zucker held an hour-long town hall with his 48,000 employees worldwide to announce that he expects that half of them will be working from home over the next 5-to-10 years. Here’s a one minute video summarizing his announcement.

You may have to hold your own town hall on this topic sooner or later. You might want to see how Zuckerberg told his own shop before you try it in yours. Many of the issues are the same regardless of industry or size.  Check out the full one hour town hall he just held (accessible on Facebook).

 

FUNDING HARDSHIP

Before Corona hit, the Federal Reserve estimated that 40% of American families could not cover a $400 emergency expense. The pandemic has certainly added to that percentage. The US government has provided a remarkable level of resources to help employers maintain payrolls and to those who have lost their jobs. These resources, however, may not be enough for the rest of the pandemic, and perhaps even when Corona is a memory.

That’s where an Employee Hardship Fund (EHF) may be appropriate. Also known as employee benevolent funds, these are funds earmarked to help individual employees and their families get through emergencies. You may not be able to establish an EFH now but this short posting from HBR offers an overview of EFHs and how to set one up, as well as a link to Levi Strauss & Company’ EFH Playbook.

 

LIVING FOREVER (ALMOST)

The big problems we had pre-Corona may be just as big, or bigger, when we’re past it. One challenge that many of us will have will be to fund a retirement that, due to medical advances or forced layoff, is far longer than they had been planned.

This article from Knowledge at Wharton explores some of the public/private strategies and partnerships which may help fill the gap between what many have, and what many will need. Will you need help from options like these? Check out “Living to 100: How Will We Afford Longer Lives?”

 

BEACH (OR LOCKDOWN) READING

As the world re-opens, many of us want to get back outdoors. Yet the news is full of crowded beaches. And let’s hope we don’t have to go back indoors. If you are into some sun and sand this summer, please stay six feet apart; and, consider some of Wharton Business School Professor Adam Grant’s summer reading picks.

A distinguished author in his own right, this Wharton Business School professor is well known for his own books, podcasts and TED Talks. Great writers should be able to recommend great books, so check out  Professor Grant’s list of 15 Great Leadership Books. As he says, “Leaders who don’t have time to read are leaders who don’t make time to learn.” Be sure to check out Dr. Grant’s website.

 

ECON RECON  

Size Doesn’t Matter, Yet:  The concern about the size of the US debt and deficit has long been an important issue. The Covid pandemic has driven the issue from important to urgent, and even alarming in some minds due to the unprecedented fiscal and monetary initiatives put in place by the US Government to cope with the economic impact of the national quarantine.

ITR Economics CEO Brian Beaulieu would agree that our nation’s finances are a matter of concern, but some clear thinking can help bring it into perspective. Spend a few minutes to learn why he thinks that when it comes to the size of our debt, Size Doesn’t Matter-Yet.

[NOTE: Vistage members periodically enjoy in-depth webinars from the brothers Beaulieu as part of their membership. If you’re not a member, you can reserve a spot on ITR’s upcoming public webinars in June and July].

 

Not a Sugar High:  Last week economist Brian Wesbury wrote about the suffering economy and the surging stock market and why the dichotomy exists. He follows up with a six-minute Wesbury 101 video in which he expands on his earlier article and suggests that despite all the “hot” government money, the stock market is not experiencing a “sugar high.

 

Have a good week!