How 9/11 Changed the Workplace: Part 1
Though it has been eleven years since the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, most of us can clearly remember where we were when tragedy struck. As workers evacuated, went on lock down, or huddled around a television set in the conference room trying to make sense of what was happening, we all realized life as we knew it had changed.
In the weeks following, workplaces from coast to coast made adjustments – upping security measures, creating emergency evacuation plans, even relocating. Today and tomorrow, we’re sharing some real life stories of how that single event redefined “business as usual” for so many Americans. Please feel free to add your experience in the comments section below.
- For publishing consultant Carol Hoenig, 9/11 meant switching from working in a building on Park Avenue to becoming a home-based employee. A National Event Specialist for Borders Group, Inc., at the time, her location needed to make room for managers from the Borders at the World Trade Center that was destroyed on that day. She was asked to work from home until further notice. Though another store in the Wall Street area was built in 2005, Hoenig remained a telecommuter until Borders went out of business.
- Consumer bankruptcy lawyer Jay S. Fleischman says that 9/11 forced him to reassess how he did business, especially in the face of events outside his control. With an office located just a few blocks from Ground Zero, his entire staff was shut out for two weeks following the events of the day. Even after reopening, many clients were unable or unwilling to come to lower Manhattan. To combat the problem, Fleischman’s organization began relying more heavily on virtual technologies. Though a merger in 2010 brought the firm (now Shaev & Fleischman, LLP) to the Empire State Building, a large chunk of business remained virtual – using Skype, email, IM, and the like to give clients the ability to work with them without an office visit and, as Fleischman points out, making the company “leaner, more efficient, and more effective.”