21 May BACKFLIP ON LIFTS; SICK LEAVE TO GO DOWN; MORE BAD NEWS FOR THE RETAIL SECTOR
Welcome to today’s business and media intelligence, with insights collected over the past 24-hours.
TROUBLE AHEAD FOR BUSINESS SCHOOLS
- Already facing a host of problems, business schools now face permanent closure given lower demand due to the coronavirus. A shift to online learning and new courses such as “The Economics of a Pandemic” may not be enough to keep the doors open. After all, why pay big bucks to attend business schools if you cannot network? Read observations from seven business schools in The Economist. (Subscriber access)
- Just as Georgian terraces were a consequence of London’s Great Fire of 1666 (with fireproof brick buildings replacing wooden ones), some architects believe the pandemic has brought forward trends already in the making. These include ultraviolet light that kills virus particles, especially on handrails, summoning lifts using smartphones, and natural ventilations in office buildings. There is also a rise in “micromobility” with bike hire schemes becoming more common – and 650 kilometres of new bike lanes installed in Paris over the last few weeks. Read more in The Times. (Subscriber access)
STILL ON BIKES… THERE IS A SHORTAGE!
- Speaking of bikes, as people shun public transport and congested roads, there is a resurgence in popularity for the humble bike as the latest must-have, according to the New York Times. In the US, nation-wide sales of bicycles, equipment and repair services nearly doubled in March compared with March 2019 leading to a severe bicycle shortage. (Subscriber access)
BACKFLIP ON LIFTS
- SafeWork Australia has cut hours off your commute to the office, backing down from previous rules that required four metres of space per person in lifts. The original rules would have meant city workers waiting up to three hours in some high-rise buildings for a lift. SafeWork now will require physical distance as far as you reasonably can. This highlights just one of the many evolving rules of a return to work. Read more in the AFR here. (Subscriber access)
SPACE PER PERSON TO GO UP, SICK LEAVE TO GO DOWN
- Once you have ridden to work and breezed up the lifts, you will also have more space in your office. Since the 1980s, the average workspace ratio per person reduced from 20.8 sqm to 15.2 sqm in 2019. However, COVID-19 is expected to change that trend as companies rethink their office space. Architecture firm DKO also said working from home has reduced sick leave for some companies from 90 sick days a month to zero over the last five weeks. Read the full AFR article here. (Subscriber access)
QUEENSLAND – PERFECT ONE DAY, NO HOLIDAYS THE NEXT
- QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says her State’s borders could be shut until September, angering tourism operators and lobby groups. In fact, some QLD based businesses say they are considering moving to NSW where regional tourism is scheduled to reopen on June 1. Also overnight, the Federal Government has knocked back the QLD Government’s pleas to prop up Virgin Australia. Read more in The AFR here. (Subscriber access)
MORE BAD NEWS FOR THE RETAIL SECTOR
- We may be buying lots of bikes, but not much else. While panic hoarding in March supported an 8.5% lift in retail sales, it is a very different story for April, which experienced the worst ever monthly decline – close to 18 per cent, says the ABS. Read the Reuters article here.
MORE JOB LOSSES
- Fletcher Building is sacking 1,500 people, representing one tenth of the company’s workforce, due to a sharp drop in demand in the construction sector. Read the ASX announcement here.
- Rolls-Royce has also announced job cuts of almost 9,000, nearly a fifth of its workforce, with reductions in its civil aerospace division as airlines cut capacity and Airbus and Boeing slash production over the next few years. The BBC has more.
- Deloitte has released a report this morning which shows COVID-19 will hit blue collar workers twice as hard as their white-collar peers with a longer road to recovery for manual labourers. Jobs in hospitality and the arts could take years to recover, according to the research. See the sectors most impacted in The Australian here. (Subscriber access)
Cannings’ CEO Renée Bertuch will reflect on what we have seen from Australian corporate and political leaders through the crisis and discuss lessons to be learned and applied as we move into recovery mode, in a WPP webcast next Monday 25 May. She will be joined by Lynas CEO, Amanda Lacaze, in what is sure to be a lively Q&A session. The event is free to join – register now.
Our daily briefing is not meant to be a summary of media coverage but rather, insights that may be helpful in understanding how organisations are communicating with stakeholders in a time of crisis – and what comes next. Sign up via email.