Layoffs change with the times

Job cuts can be tricky in the modern work world, with more teleworkers and innovative programs to save jobs, but old-fashioned dignity, respect still in style
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/21/2010

Layoffs are an unfortunate part of the boom and bust nature of the economy. But they’re not as cut and dried as they used to be: Sometimes, they can be postponed, thanks to initiatives such as work-sharing programs and voluntary reduced workweeks. Sometimes, the logistics can be a challenge, with employees working at home or spread across the country and around the world.

But the one thing that hasn’t gone out of style is treating employees with respect and dignity, say experts. With the last economic downturn, generally viewed as the worst since the Great Depression, some firms and industries that never had to deal with downsizing were faced with difficult situations.

For Anderson Water Systems, 2009 started off as a busy year. The company had a backlog of multimillion-dollar projects and had even hired engineers to cope with the demand. But when the market crash caught up with the industrial water treatment system company, it was struggling like everybody else.