According to Merriam Webster, The purpose of a strike is to get a group of people to ban together to protest for a specific cause, typically by refusing to work. Strikes and protests have been happening all throughout history and have continued on to today. Just in the past month we have experienced strikes on a much larger scale than usual with “A Day without Immigrants,” and, “A Day Without a Woman.” These two groups make up a huge majority of the nation’s workforce, so a day without them had a huge impact on the economy. Strikes have a direct effect on businesses of all types-big or small-and in many different ways. With that being said, it is crucial for every business owner to anticipate a reduced workforce due to strikes and protests going forward, as we are sure to be able to expect more over the course of the next few months.
The organizers behind the January Women’s March on Washington requested that on March 8th women around the world ban together and stay home from work in order to display, “how much power and significance women have on the economic world.” The strike was successful as many businesses were forced to close their doors on Wednesday due to such a reduction in workforce. Schools seemed to take one of the largest hits as many teachers requested off, the schools were unable to accommodate the students with a lack of faculty, resulting in closure of many schools for the day.
In February, a similar strike: A Day Without Immigrants had a similar result to our most recent strike. Many restaurants voluntarily closed their doors, while others were forced to close due to a reduction of employees.
How Strikes Disrupt Businesses
Businesses are affected by strikes in many different ways. In cases of major strikes such as, “A Day without A Woman,” it tends to create a ripple effect over the entire workday.
Here are a few ways that businesses are affected by strikes:
- Reduced workforce
- Lost sales opportunities
- Customer service issues
- Backlogged work
No matter how high up an employee is, when a mass strike occurs, it causes a disruption of the work flow in almost every department.
Let’s use a restaurant as an example. Say that all employees to the restaurant showed up the day of a huge organized strike and everything is scheduled to run as planned, however the delivery truck with the produce does not show up that morning, because that person is on strike. This means that the restaurant will have to either alter what they had planned for that day’s menu or possibly close down for that day depending on what the truck was delivering.
We can also use “A Day Without A Woman,” as an example of how a strike can affect businesses that might not be affected. Earlier I mentioned that many schools were forced to close their doors due to a lack of faculty. With all of those children unexpectedly out of school, it has left the parents (many of who work) having to scramble to find childcare. This resulted in many working parents who had not intended on taking off for “Women’s Day,” to be forced to stay at home.
How to Prepare
Businesses should have a plan in place so that employees and employers are able to successfully navigate circumstances where strikes and protests cause a disruption in the day-to-day functionality of the company.
You might find it helpful to download the Preparis Reduced Workforce Tabletop Exercise to help your company’s leadership plan around maintaining a productive workflow during times where the company is experiencing a reduced workforce.