“We’re all in this together.”

Against the backdrop of the Coronavirus, those words have become so common they’ve almost lost their meaning. Apart from the slew of marketers, news stations, and community partners that repeat them ad nauseum, there remains—from a business standpoint—the very real interpretation that everything and everyone is interconnected in ways that are unprecedented across the country and around the world.

Together, yes.

And yet, in this era of social distancing, remarkably alone.

Think of the example of the airline industry. For decades, fueled to record profits by pushing higher concentrations of people into smaller seats with fewer amenities. The business model itself was overcrowded with fees and add-ons that appear unsustainable given dramatic reductions in capacity. Now, it’s a common for the majority of domestic and international flights to carry only a handful of passengers.

That’s peanuts.

Not even the good kind, if you can get them at all—free or not—and usually, not.

Booking a Return to Respectable Business Ethics

One silver lining for consumers who fly may be that, given social distancing guidelines, the airlines will be forced to stop cramming people into pressurized cabins like sardines. But we see others in the form of opportunities to right what’s wrong in the often unfriendly skies. In theory, many of which apply in broader ways to the larger business community on the ground.

Here a few principles that should fly with all regulations:

  • Everybody goes first class. There’s no better example of placing profits before people than in the vanishing legroom on most commercial aircraft. While it’s an understandable starting point for improving the look of a balance sheet, the trade-off no longer trades favorably. If airlines are to bring back travelers in a substantial way, they will need to offer them a far better value in return. Reconfigure the cabins. Perhaps one class of travel—front to back—equal comfort and amenities complimentary for all.

    Before the Coronavirus, not a chance. Now, it just might be a pre-boarding obligation.

  • What goes up, must come down. Prices, baggage and handling fees, etc. Complicated financial structures have been a lynchpin in P&L strategies for years. And, although they’ve been effective in helping the industry post lofty revenue numbers, they’ve undercut the customer experience in the process. As a result, getting passengers back in planes will take some rethinking on the part of leadership. Inventive financial incentives will likely be necessary, as well as redesigning loyalty programs from the ground up.

    The biggest travel restriction isn’t in public policy, it’s in the public choosing to stay put.

  • Elevating the need to lower expectations. If you are not increasing profits by 10 percent year-after-year, there must be something wrong with your business model. So goes traditional thinking, anyway. Truth is, a departure from that kind of limited, simplistic strategy was long overdue—even before the outbreak. An honest appraisal of where things stand can no longer be replaced by overly optimistic forecasts of where things could be. The false sense of security is one thing. Believing it would always last is quite another.

    Planes flying again at full capacity is a long way off. The need to realize that fact is at the gate.

At Temp Experts, we believe there’s great value in aiming for a first-class recovery. The concept applies in a broader way to business in general, but it also represents an instructive way forward for employees and employers currently stalled by the impact of COVID-19.

In that regard, it’s fair to say that everyone needs to get better at what they do and who they are. When you resolve to make the next thing you do the best thing you’ve done, you give energy to the molecules of change around you; and, in turn, spark positive momentum in the process.

That kind of thing can take you a long way.

Even if it is, just a little bit cliché, at the start.

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