DEAR COLLEAGUES and fellow humans, It has been a difficult first half of the year at Multinational United Subsidiary Holdings (MUSH). The pandemic has locked down some of our operations but not locked down our hearts. It has been great to keep in touch with you via our weekly Zoom meetings. I hope that many of you have appreciated the scenery in the background as I have dialled in from the company yacht.
By the way, apologies to those who weren’t aware of my decision to start last week’s session with ten minutes of silent meditation. Lots of you assumed that the sound system wasn’t working and this led to a record level of complaints to our technology help desk. It also led to some unfortunate interjections by those who didn’t realise they weren’t muted; the head of the press office has been spoken to about his use of obscene language.
This crisis has emphasised the need to constantly readjust our collective mindset. In March the executive team showed our commitment to the company’s future by taking a 20% cut in our base pay. My Buddhist guru says that the stockmarket rebound since then, which means that our share options are worth a lot more than they were in February, is simply karma in action. So, he says, is my ability to afford mindfulness sessions with him three times a week.
But there is no I in company, or indeed in MUSH. Our business success is not just down to me and the board. Thanks especially to those of you who are working at home while the offices are closed. You have been remarkably productive, as we know thanks to the keylogging software we downloaded onto your laptops in week one of the lockdown. If the company is a happy family, then think of me as your big brother.
Happily, flexible working creates more time for you to interact with the company. As CEO (which at MUSH has always stood for Cheerleader Extra-Ordinaire), I like to set an example by emailing my thoughts at 4am every morning and I can only imagine how grateful you must be to get some management guidance as soon as you wake up. While I can’t be with you in the office, the pandemic has effectively allowed me to move into your spare room.
Thanks also to those of you who have devoted time to our cross-disciplinary task force, set up to define our corporate mission statement. Members of the task force have already agreed on several nouns that might fit the bill—“community” and “purpose” are strong candidates—and hope to start work on some verbs in the second half of the year, with adjectives being phased in during the early part of 2021. Once we have a draft, we will put it out to the wider community of stakeholders for consultation.
There is also good news on the environmental front. As the office lights, photocopiers and printers are no longer running, the company has reduced the measure of carbon footprint it will record in its annual report. Of course, some of you will be using more power at home than before because you are now working there. But there are ways of offsetting this; I hear that, with enough scrubbing, it is possible to wash your clothes in the bath. We are all doing our bit; you will be thrilled to learn that the corporate yacht harnesses wind power.
For those of you without yachts, we are also changing our business travel policies when the lockdown ends. Seats in business class and premium economy have a bigger carbon footprint, so travel will be restricted to coach, or economy, class (except for board meetings and Davos, of course). Think of it as a chance to get even closer to some potential customers. And with so many big cities having bike-sharing schemes, trips by taxi will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.
Sadly, some workers have exited our employment space in 2020. We are always sad to lose members of the MUSH community, but every crisis is an opportunity. One reason for the downsizing is that our new artificial-intelligence (AI) department is coming up with new ways to automate jobs. The great news is that our head of AI, D.R. Strangelove, thinks there is a lot more room for his department to expand over the next 12 months.
Finally, please disregard those newspaper stories that suggest MUSH might be vulnerable to a takeover by a rival group. The board is confident that, once investors get a detailed look at our accounts, a takeover will be the last thing on their minds.
Hugging you all from a socially acceptable distance,
Buck Passer, CEO
This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Mid-year motivational magic”