Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. During this extremely challenging and unprecedented pandemic, it’s particularly poignant pause to consider the value that our workplaces have in our lives, and how we are using this pivotal time to transform workplaces together.
COVID-10 has hit each of our workplaces hard, and in unique ways. For those businesses (like The Corporate Source) that have provided essential services for our country, our greatest concern is in keeping staff members safe and protected as they perform urgent functions to keep others safe in the community. For businesses continuing to fulfill their work from remote locations, concerns revolve around keeping staff members productive, supported and connected.
And for those whose businesses have been put on furlough temporarily, top concerns for us on recouping lost revenue, re-engaging their workforces and developing careful reopening strategies. In every situation we are all looking at the new workplace, carefully balancing health and safety measures with business efficiency and profitability. Our workplaces will become emblematic of the best practices that exist.
It sounds a bit cliché to say that every cloud has a silver lining, however, it is important to never lose sight of the glimmers good that have arisen from this adversity. As a society and as individuals our lives have been upended. The silver lining that I see is the thousands of working individuals with disabilities across the country whose ions have been deemed essential throughout this crisis.
Relatively ordinary jobs that have needed to be maintained to keep our communities stocked. cleaned and connected. Jobs and functions that we have overlooked before and now are ever so important and in plain sight. I passed a hotel other day that had a sign that stated The best cleaning before it became cool. One of our employees told us that he was saluted by a court officer while cleaning a courthouse floor and thanked for all that he has contributed. In over 10 years of employment that had never happened to him, and he was ever so thrilled to be noticed.
So the question before all of us is what happens in the future when things return to normal?” For people with disabilities, the old normal consisted of a life of imposed social distancing with limited access to work, housing and social engagement. I always believed that work is the great equalizer, providing for all of us economic independence, friendship recognition and self-esteem. Do we go back to seeing people through an invisible lens or do we continue to recognise and acknowledge the contributions that all people make in keeping our communities functioning in ways we have all counted on throughout this crisis?
The word “reimagine” means reinterpreting imaginatively and rethinking old pattern. Governor Andrew Cuomo has encouraged the “reimagining” of the workplace as businesses re-emerge post pandemic. He recently stated at a press conference. The private sector now has to think about what they do and how they do it and how they can do it differently in this new normal. Reimagine your workplace. this is going to be a moment of transformation for society.
So this Labor Day, how will each of us heed those words and reimagine our own business? How can this time of lunge to transform into more flexible, more accessible, more inclusive workplaces of the future, ready to see a wide range of opportunities for you in our workplace?
Michael Kramer ie 2018 Lang Island Business Diversity Business Award recipient and Chief Executive Officer of The Corporate Source, a nonprofit organization based in Ganden City dedicated to promoting the employment of individuals with disabilities through outsourcing service collaboration.