COVID-19’s Economic Strain Forcing Start-Ups To Lay Off Employees Via Videoconference Calls
In what underlines the economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, start-ups are laying off employees via videoconference calls.
About 100 TripActions customer support and customer success team members joined a Zoom call. Many joined the call with no idea of what was about to come, some expecting another team meeting amid the work from home culture. Instead, according to Protocol, their boss launched into an elaborate glib about the economy and coronavirus. The employees were then left in shock when she told them the company was laying them off.
“People were crying and people were panicking. It was like 100 different videos of just chaos,” according to an employee who was also laid off in the videoconference call.
The company confirmed it laid off nearly 300 workers. Staff in customer support, recruiting and sales were affected the most.
The company issued a statement addressing the layoffs. The statement read:
“While we were fortunate to have recently raised funding and secured debt financing, we are taking appropriate steps in our business to ensure we are here for our customers and their travelers long into the future. We’ve cut back on all nonessential [spending] and made the very difficult decision to reduce our global workforce in line with the current climate.”
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Electric scooter-maker, Bird also laid off about 30% of its staff and 400 positions. The Californian start-up also used a Zoom videoconference call to relay the information.
Its chief executive, Travis VanderZanden, said:
“Video was turned off, which we thought was more humane. In retrospect, we should’ve made one-on-one calls to the hundreds impacted, over the course of a few days.”
Although Zoom can connect up to 1,000 users on a single call, many of the workers found out via messages from colleagues online because they were unable to log on.
Corporate travel company, Lola laid off 34 employees while apartment rental company Sonder laid off over 400 workers.
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