Quiet Quitting: The New Workplace Trend

People seen on a desk at their office

It’s viral, it’s the latest work trend, and it’s called Quiet Quitting. It is the idea of refusing to work overtime and not taking calls after work. Quiet Quitting has many workers rethinking the value of their jobs and the time and attention they assign to them. This trending topic is generating a lot of debate and here is what you need to know about it – if you want to stay connected to workplace culture.


WHAT IS QUIET QUITTING?


Quiet Quitting may sound like you are bowing out officially from your job, but instead it means quitting the overworking culture but staying  on the company payroll. Viewed in its most positive light, the concept encourages employees to maintain an appropriate separation between work and personal life and break away from hustle culture.

Whether it’s the phenomenon of Quiet Quitting or not, a lot of people are feeling disconnected from the purpose of their jobs. According to a 2022 Gallup survey, 60% of employees report being emotionally detached from work; 19% report being miserable. Only 33% say that they’re engaged at work. “So if we think that the other 60% are emotionally detached — maybe the emotional detachment is the quiet quitting”, says Rebbeca Knight, Senior Correspondent of Careers and the Workplace at Insider.


WHERE DID QUIET QUITTING COME FROM?


The phrase Quiet Quitting  has been generating millions of views on the social networking platform, TikTok. TikToker Zaid Khan made “Quiet Quitting” a huge hit on the internet. Zaid has been quoted saying that Quiet Quitting is “quitting the idea of above and beyond for your job”. They are doing only what they are paid to do. In a nutshell, it is a shift to focus on life beyond work and its commitments, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant mental health problems and burnout.


WHO QUIET QUITS?


According to a Resume Builder survey,  ‘1 in 4 of workers are ‘quiet quitting,’ saying no to hustle culture.  Maggie Perkins is a teacher who began quiet quitting in 2018 when her daughter was born. In a discussion with CNBC, Perkins said she chose to work only her minimum contracted hours so she could make it to her daycare pickup on time and avoid late fines. Some news coverage have suggested that Quiet Quitting is primarily done by Gen Z or people in their early 20s. But Fast Company pointed out recently that Gen X-ers, now in their 50s, were also called out for deciding there were more important things than work.


IS IT GOOD OR BAD? 


Well, it depends on who you ask. It’s either a healthy boundary or an example of the worst sort of passive-aggressive behavior you can bring to work. Asley Lutz’s Fortune article explores how Americans have normalized this trend and the passive-aggression that comes with it. Plenty of backlash to the trend exists, and the argument is that silent, quiet, withdrawal is one way to burn bridges and leave your boss and coworkers demoralized and dissatisfied.

WHY SHOULD MANAGERS BE PREPARED FOR IT?


Since the trend is spreading like wildfire, managers who want to deal with staff shortages and meet their organization’s goals should be ready for Quiet Quitting. While work life balance is a priority for Gen Z and Millennials, finances are also a cause of worry. Burdened by inflation and rising cost of rents, many Quiet Quitters are simply not willing to work without pay.


WHY IS IT A CONCERN? 


Since the occurrence of COVID, there has been a significant transformation in the workplace. From the rising popularity of shared workspaces to the talk of a four-day workweek, the rules for the new workplace are still being written.

Managers can maximize retention and meet deadlines more effectively by giving employees the work they enjoy and letting them decide how to spend their time on it. Simone Ahuja, a Fortune 500 strategic consultant who focuses on fostering innovation, suggests managers ask employees about their progress. She recommends managers understand how employees feel about their workload, and ask how they will balance it with everything else on their plate. A collaborative approach among employees to achieve team and individual objectives with breathing room for their personal life can be fruitful for employee retention.

To break out of the Quiet Quitting mindset, Allison Peck, a career coach suggests that people find a job, manager, team, or company that better aligns with them in order to stay motivated.


HOW CAN WE HELP?


Corporate space planners, managers, and executives need to work together to keep employees driven at their workplace. Space Planners can bring utilization metrics to the table to build better spaces that can improve employee satisfaction and help employees feel better about their work environment.

To learn more about how Armored Things is helping CRE leaders make the most of their spaces and reopen offices and corporate campuses, with one our Sales Reps today at Sales@armoredthings.com

​​Nupur Patra contributes to the Blog and Social Media channels for Armored Things. She is currently a graduate student at Northeastern University in the Digital Media program.

Hybrid, Shybrid – And Now It’s Summer

Everyone’s heard of remote and hybrid work models, but what about the “shybrid” approach? The term “shybrid” was first coined by Paul McKinlay, vice president of communications and remote working at printing company Cimpress, in a Bloomberg article in December. McKinlay described it as “the failure of companies to accept that they have, in many cases, lost the right to demand in-person attendance at a piece of real estate on any kind of regular basis. It’s about continually pushing back return dates without declaring on a future model and leaving people in this limbo.” 

This shybrid approach is the result of a big gap between what employers want and what their employees want. An August survey from accounting and advisory organization, Grant Thorton, showed that 89% of executives plan to return to the office full time while 17% of non-executive workers want to fully return to the office

This reluctance to commit to a single return to office date or strategy causes valuable talent to walk out the door–every departure costing companies money, resources, and time to rehire. 


WHY DON’T EMPLOYEES WANT TO RETURN TO THE OFFICE?


Employees enjoy the flexibility that hybrid work offers them. They can decide when and where they work instead of being confined to a cubicle from 9 to 5. Hybrid work settings also allow employees to have a better work-life balance. Flexibility makes it easier in some cases to work around strict childcare hours and have more opportunities to participate in hobbies outside of work. Remote work also eliminates expenses for employees whether it’s wardrobe or commuting costs.  

The pandemic has introduced the benefits of working from home, and many people aren’t willing to give up the freedom that a hybrid or remote work model provides them. A January poll from Bloomberg Morning Consult showed that 55 percent of remote workers would consider leaving their job if they were asked back to the office. 


WHY IS SHYBRID STILL HAPPENING A YEAR LATER?


Some suspect that this stubbornness from employers comes from their refusal to relinquish a sense of control. Others believe it may be due to fear of losing the company culture and difficulty collaborating and communicating virtually

Despite employers’ efforts to get people back in the office, many employees are reluctant to comply. Since many companies adhere to a hybrid or remote approach, organizations that continue to push in-person attendance suffer to retain talent, costing them money. 


Since many companies adhere to a hybrid or remote approach, organizations that continue to push in-person attendance suffer to retain talent, costing them money.


Robert Teed, an Armored Things advisor, and Founder and Chief Coaching Officer at Integri Group, acknowledged the battle between executives’ desire for a full office and employees’ preference for remote work at a recent fireside chat. Workers have said, ‘Hey, we want more flexibility,’ Teed remarked. “I tend to sort of wrap that [together] as being choice and flexibility, but the concept is exactly the same: it’s that they want to control that part of their lives.” 


SO, WHAT’S NEXT FOR RETURN TO OFFICE? 


Well, the summer months and typical vacation schedules might not help. The Pew Institute conducted a survey that showed that 64 percent of workers felt that it was easier to balance work and personal life after switching to telework. This includes the ability to vacation and spend time with family. 

Not being constrained to the office, remote employees are able to work from wherever they choose which allows them to travel during the summer months. 


WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS DO?


If employers are going to continue to pressure workers to come back into the office, then they need to redesign their spaces to enhance the in-person experience. Consequently, space planning teams have been tasked to plan the smartest spaces possible. For example, Space and Occupancy Planners at Wells Fargo, Inc. in Minneapolis are expected to understand shared and flexible seating and workplace strategies as well as concepts such as desk sharing. 

Space planning teams are also reducing costs with better space management. Corporations need to reduce or restructure their office space in order to accommodate a workforce that will not return to a 5-day office presence. 

Space planners need data they can easily visualize and the ability to predict future utilization patterns. They can get some information from badging but it lacks sophistication and the ability to predict future trends. Powerful AI software like Armored Things has helped major employers bring workers back to the office safely

To learn more about how Armored Things is helping CRE leaders make the most of their spaces, check out our CRE Guide or reach out directly to sales@armoredthings.com for a quick demo.

Alex Trotto contributes to the Blog and Social Media channels for Armored Things. She is currently a Northeastern University student in her sophomore year.

5 Questions Employees Are Asking Around Office Reopening Policies

As the effects of the COVID19 pandemic continue to be felt deep into 2021, companies are still wrestling with the problems of reopening. Thousands of companies abandoned their physical offices in the first couple of months of the pandemic, despite many thinking about their office reopening in a few weeks or a few months. People were shocked to think we’d be out past the first September. With buildings empty, many companies even considered selling or leasing out their space but there was no one to rent the space to. That space, however, is ready to be put back to use. As employees plan their return to their respective physical offices, they should be considering a set of questions regarding the safety of their workplace.


DO I HAVE TO COME TO THE OFFICE, AND HOW WILL I GET THERE?


For employees, the fear around returning to the workplace safely may have less to do with the office itself, and more with their means of getting there. In major cities like San Francisco, New York, and Boston, commuters rely heavily on mass transit. During the peak of the pandemic, Time described public transport like buses and trains for COVID19 as ‘apocalyptic’. Some passengers don’t use masks, and bus drivers can sometimes ignore capacity limits, leading to potentially dangerous overcrowding. Even if masks are worn and drivers are mindful of occupancy limits, it’s very understandable to still feel uneasy about using public transportation. In response to this concern, companies like Freemark Financial are given employees stipends for Ubers and Lyfts to ensure their employees are comfortable with their means of transportation. The question of whether ‘I have to come to the office’ is more often than not situational, and dependent on policies already in place at your company. 


IS MY COMPANY ADOPTING A HYBRID OR FLEXIBLE MODEL, OR BOTH?


Naturally, companies have begun to adopt a hybrid or flexible work model for their employees. These models are only gaining popularity, and according to GoodHire, 85% of Americans said they would prefer to apply for a job that guaranteed remote or hybrid working arrangements.

Understanding the difference between these two models is very important. A hybrid office allows employees to choose which days of the week they want to be in person, and which they want to remain at home. The hybrid model is particularly useful for limiting the total number of employees in the office at a given time. This number can be based on previously established occupancy thresholds determined by space occupancy data. Hybrid is still 9:00 to 5:00, whereas a flexible model has more lenient, less concrete hours. The flexible model allows an employee to step away from the office to tend to other manners. Leaving work at 3:00 to pick up your kids from school, for example, would be part of a flexible schedule.


HOW WILL MY COMPANY KEEP ME SAFE? 


If your company is allowing employees in person, there should be multiple measures in place to ensure their health and security. Your office can guarantee this is done safely and efficiently using AI and crowd management solutions. People counting software and occupancy heatmaps can be used to track overall capacity in different rooms. Real-time alerting can highlight whether a space is getting too crowded, or an entire floor is at capacity. Knowing that a hotspot is forming is extremely powerful for facilities staff, and making sure your employees are comfortable when they are in person. Sanitation schedules become smarter after seeing typical flow throughout a building, and security schedules can be more efficient after reviewing space use for events on the calendar. Employees don’t only fear their workspace, but equally their colleagues. A Deloitte survey confirmed that 91% of employees are concerned about masks, 89% social distancing, and 56% daily health confirmation. In order to maintain safety, 84% of employees surveyed would prefer some combination of the following protocols: 

  • Masks for all employees in the office.
  • Only being allowed back in the office with proof of a vaccine.
  • Capacity limits on the number of people allowed in the office.
  • Daily sanitizing of all workplace surfaces.

It’s only natural that employees will be hesitant about returning in person after so long, so having sound safety precautions in place is a must. 


WILL I HAVE MY OWN DEDICATED SPACE AND DESK?


It is very likely that your office space, and your own personal space, will look far different than it did before the pandemic. Facility managers should be prepared to repurpose and adapt space in order to maintain social distancing and safety for employees. In the new flexible workplace, companies are starting to use hot-desking– a system that limits the number of desks in the office space. This means multiple employees will use the same physical workstations at different points in the day in order to limit contact and maximize space. For more on hot-desking and maximizing your space, check out our space utilization blog.


WHAT DO LEADERS THINK ABOUT REMOTE WORK?


If your team is curious, don’t leave them asking; talk about how your organization will help them navigate a new type of work. This question has divided many CEO’s, and is again dependent on your company’s policies. Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO of the New York commercial-real-estate company SquareFoot, told The Atlantic, “I believe that work is better when most of the people are in the office most of the time together”. Wasserstrum would go on to say, “if somebody didn’t believe in the value of an office at least one day a week, they probably shouldn’t be at the company anyway”. Studying the efficiency of work from home is not a new concept. In 2010, Kimberly Elsbach, a management professor at UC Davis, interviewed 39 managers concerning their views on in-person and remote. The study found that there was a strong belief amongst managers that if you really wanted to move up in the company, you had to be in the office, and be seen in the office. This included coming in early and staying late in order to be noticed by management. If you are concerned about job security because of your work-from-home status, voicing these concerns to an advisor could be the best course of action. 

These are just five frequently asked reopening questions your employees may be wondering about. They certainly have others. The best thing that you as a leader in your organization can do is proactively communicate policies, implement safeguards around the spread of diseases, and ease their fears with as much guidance and assistance as possible.

CIO Q&A: Michael Gabriel on COVID-19 Reopen Plans

Michael Gabriel is a former EVP & CIO at HBO—you can thank him for creating and executing HBO GO—and  a partner at Fortium Partners LP, a provider of technology leadership services.

Gabriel is also on the Society for Information Management (SIM) National management team and is a Board member for SIM Metro New York. In recent weeks, Gabriel has been on calls with senior business professionals as well as with SIM members across the nation who are discussing how and when to reopen businesses. In large companies, Gabriel expects health monitoring and change management to be top priorities.

Gabriel spoke recently with Armored Things about CIOs, COVID-19 and reopen strategies. The CIO & Executive series is being showcased by Armored Things as we explore our role in helping campuses and venues reopen.

On CIO Pressures: “They’re getting more inundated with all the virtual meetings and emails they normally wouldn’t need—because people would be around them. They’re getting clobbered with a lot of virtual meetings and they’re extending the work day. And we all know that most companies and most people are not good at having effective meetings, where people keep to an agenda point without going off on tangents. So, time is actually a bigger problem now. I haven’t heard of one person yet say ‘My job is easier now.’ They actually have more to do than they did when they went to the office.

It’s tough. If I were a CIO now, one of the two biggest issues I would be facing is the impact on major projects, ones that you know you need to do—they’re stacking up, and the need for those projects isn’t going away. But what’s happening now is they’re getting pushed out. So, when we do reopen, you’re going to have intense pressure to get these delayed projects done as fast as possible. The other pressure I would be concerned about is my vendor relationships, where the account executives would often come [to my office.] My assistant would be curating all that; they might come in for a 15-minute or 30-minute update, and it was one after the other.  While I could do that virtually, it’s not the same.  When someone’s in the room, you could sense a certain energy. You could just sense things differently. If you have a project that is sliding, you can feel it.  You can’t necessarily see it. You can just feel it.  For now, that extra sense is gone.”

On Workplace Health: “Do you have it [COVID-19] or did you have it—and do you have the antibodies? Those things are crucial.  My personal feeling is that in large companies, the human resources department, which almost always has some medical assistance-will be bulked up.

Whether that is taking the temperature of people before they come in, whether it’s to assess [prior to reopening] who in their companies had it, or is showing symptoms. I think there’s going to be a lot of that surveillance, whether it’s with cameras, or whether it’s with people just reporting.

Are we going to have to wear masks? Probably advisable. Should the company provide those masks? Absolutely. They should have those available so that everyone coming in [to the building] has one.But social distancing with mass transit and office buildings is a definite concern. How are you going to distance anyone working in a large multi-floor building?  Is one person allowed on the staircase or an elevator at once? It doesn’t work. There’s no reasonable way I could think of social distancing working at any scale in those scenarios.

I would probably start by staggering it—some people work at home, and some people work at the office – in some rotation that makes sense based on the work they do. Everyone’s going to try some things and see what works and share some best practices. And if you end up with a breakout in your company, you’re probably going to retreat very quickly to everyone again working from home.”

On Trust: “It’s really tough. We know almost everywhere we go, some technology company or the government knows where we are— and what we’re doing. But for some reason, we feel less comfortable with our own company doing that. I think it would probably need to have some level of communication with the staff and possibly some polling of them to say that if we were going to use a particular application, we won’t know who you are. What we know is 10 people got on the elevator and that’s a bad thing. And if we use it purely for that purpose and had some vetting, maybe our external audit firm would be able to validate that privacy—and verify there’s no way we can see who it is or use that information for another purpose.”

On the New Normal: “I think anyone who’s saying this is the new company scenario—where there are no main physical locations, and everyone can be more productive at homes—is somewhat delusional. I really do. I know someone at [unnamed company] who needed to do network segmentation to improve security. Now they can’t continue with that because they can’t physically be in the building to address physical equipment. That can’t be done remotely.  Some projects are stopping, and people have things they need to do. I think we’re going to see more flexibility with work at home, but we already have seen a lot of it before COVID-19. I think we may just see more of this flexibility going forward–unless COVID-19 has strong medical mitigation, and even then we have to be prepared for the next outbreak.

People do want to go back, though. They miss the socializing. They miss  going out to lunches and dinners, breaking bread, and talking to people and sharing experiences. They miss the physical contact. Even if it’s a pat on the back, they miss that. You don’t get that through video. Most people I’ve spoken to are saying ‘I like some of the home time, but I really miss being in the office.’ I think if this continues it will also affect retention, because when you’re just working from home you don’t have the same level of attachment that you do in an office environment.”

On Implementing Change: “The success rate of any major change initiative, or any major project, unfortunately, has been about one-third successful—fully successful—for four decades.  Major change initiatives and projects, more likely than not, do not succeed. That’s with everyone being available, being able to go down to their office, being able to pull people into a meeting quickly, knowing where they are. We don’t know what that’s going to be like in this virtual world. We know that some people, like software engineers, actually can become more productive if they’re not bothered by everyone around them.  Some workers could be more productive working remotely, but if you’re part of a team, very few large teams could perform as well if they’re separated remotely. Communication usually starts to break down at some point, and I don’t think we’ve been doing it long enough to see the impact of that yet.”

Armored Things is helping campuses and venues reopen with confidence by relying on AI-driven data to help company executives and employees make informed decisions about space utilization and workplace social distancing.

Security Challenges of Reopening Offices, Campuses, and Venues

Part 1: Understanding and accounting for the psychological security of reopening

In late April, Armored Things CEO Julie Johnson Roberts, and board member Tom Axbey had the opportunity to join a Clubhouse discussion hosted by investor Glasswing Ventures about some of the security challenges involved with reopening post-COVID for businesses, schools and venues.

The participants represented a 360-degree view of the topic covering everything from security and technology to business and operations. The speakers include:

  • Rick Grinnell — Founder and Managing Partner, Glasswing Ventures
  • Julie Johnson Roberts — Co-Founder & CEO, Armored Things
  • Tom Axbey — Operator, Investor, Advisor, and Armored Things Board Member
  • David McLeod — VP, Chief Information Security Officer, Cox Enterprises
  • Charlie Bonomo — Senior Vice President & CIO, MSC Industrial Supply
  • Brendan Welter — Chief Security & Technology Officer, Sterling National Bank
  • Chris Lord — Co-founder and CTO, Armored Things

This is the first in a series of four blogs sharing some of the insights from what was a really interesting and informative discussion. In this segment, David McLeod, Charlie Bonomo and Brendan Welter have just been talking about what reopening looks like in their enterprise organizations.

Rick Grinnell
Julie, I want to think about a few other vertical use cases because your company is going after venues and sports teams and other things beyond the enterprise. So, what’s your perspective on some of the concerns that your customers are facing right now and the challenges that you’re helping them deal with?

Julie Johnson Roberts
What I think is most consistent is that everyone’s experience is so different right now. There are some places [no matter the vertical] that are leapfrogging in terms of technical projects being accelerated in the downtime while others are slowing. There are folks bringing people back quickly, and then folks who are consolidating offices and taking a much more measured approach. The theme that I heard through all of this is that there is no consistent new normal, right? We’re not all universally going back to the office 9-5, Monday through Friday, at least in corporate environments. And therefore, I think the data that will be collected as people come back is going to be paramount. How do we understand our new policies and their impact on our environment? Everyone is taking a slightly different approach, but the data is really important as we reopen. From a capacity perspective and our ability to enforce these policies, but importantly, in the comfort and the trust that they engender with people that they’re following government restrictions, but that we also have good control over our environment.

David McLeod
You know, Julie, I really like hearing that, because when I think about my corporate campus environments, that could get me in trouble, in terms of public perception and trust. Because I have to admit, I didn’t really understand the psychological safety thing near as much as when I made 60 trips last year. And I was standing in the Minneapolis airport, social distancing, everybody cautious [in the] middle of COVID last year, and suddenly, one person just freaked out and said, ‘You’re standing too close to me’ and everybody scattered. And I realized, you know what? All our little compliance things, she wasn’t safe, right? It was too much for that person in that environment.

Julie Johnson Roberts
Well, the question is, how is that going to change over time? Day one of each place’s new normal might look very different. Rick said he’s going to a Celtics game, right.  And I think Massachusetts venues, in general, are hoping to go to 25% in May and then steadily 50%, 75% and more. (Editor’s Note: Massachusetts will permit 100% capacity as of May 29th). What happens to comfort? Are there people who opt in at 12%, who might opt out at 80%? We don’t know that yet. The data will be very interesting. There are so many different factors that play into everyone’s mental calculus. What’s my risk? What’s my family’s risk? Have I been vaccinated? Do I feel confident in the practices that have been put in place? But communication is going to be a huge piece of this. How am I being communicated to and because of that, what’s my confidence level?

Charlie Bonomo
I also think about enforcing consistency once people are back in the office. It’s just human nature that over time, if I’m going back in, I’m around the same people. Let’s have a meeting. And before you know it, you have conference rooms that are crammed with a dozen people, and they present what’s either an unsafe environment, and you just don’t know who is going to react negatively to that. I think that going to be a big challenge — how do we manage those shared spaces to make sure that we are constantly reminding people that just because we’re back in the office, it doesn’t mean we should cram 100 people in a meeting room.

Julie Johnson Roberts
How do we get ahead of that? Maybe we’re sometimes talking about 100 people- or a 1,000. But sometimes we are talking about 12 people.  So, we talk a lot about preparedness or early alerting. How do we let you know at 80% of [capacity]? We can potentially give you advanced warning—because what do you do after the fact, when you already have those 12 people filling up a room?

This is part one of a four-post series. To continue on to part two, click here.

Q&A: What Can Police Learn From Covid-19 Crisis

In late March, New York City reported the first active-duty police officer death related to COVID-19. And last week the New York Times reported on the changing role of law enforcement now, with a focus on the hundreds of NYPD officers pulled from their prior duties and tasked with making sure the rules around social distancing are followed—things like crowds in grocery stores.

And in cities where police departments already struggle to maintain appropriate staffing levels, the COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call to understanding a new reality, said Jason Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF), in a recent Baltimore Sun editorial. Johnson, who served as Deputy Police Commissioner during my 2015-2018 tenure as Baltimore Police Commissioner, sat down with Armored Things recently to discuss how law enforcement agencies across the nation are coping with the pandemic.

  1. NYPD has police officers acting, in essence, like health and safety officers. Good idea? Yes, it’s a good idea. NYPD is fortunate, as a big city police department, to have those resources. It makes sense to have certain officers on these tasks, so the police response is consistent and proportional across the city.
  2. Are American police chiefs doing enough to prepare for this crisis? I think many law enforcement agencies have, in the last couple of weeks, made some pretty big strides. Generally speaking, I think many agencies were very slow to respond. Law enforcement leaders, similar to leaders in other fields, aren’t public health experts, aren’t epidemiologists, and they don’t have them on their staffs. I can tell you that it’s a conversation that probably no big city police chief has had in the past—about how they’re going to respond to a global pandemic. They don’t know what N95 masks are. They don’t know the difference between airborne and a droplet. That’s not part of their lingo, or in their daily reality. They respond to crime, threats and to some extent, terrorism. In parts of the country where natural disasters are more common, like hurricanes and earthquakes, they’re very conversant on how emergency management works. But ‘pandemic’ is not something that’s part of their lexicon.
  3. And what should they be doing now? In Miami, that city’s police department was the first I saw starting to take the temperatures of officers when they reported to work. You couldn’t enter the building until you had your temperature taken. Many other agencies now are doing that. They’re sanitizing their equipment in ways that they had not in the past. I read something just this morning about a police department in the Midwest—they have the luxury of doing this and not everyone does—but they put their officers on a 5-on/15-off rotation. They work five 12- hour shifts and then they get 15 days off, which is ingenious. During those 15 days, if they’ve been exposed, they’ll become symptomatic or otherwise test positive. I’m not an epidemiologist, but that seems like a great way to prevent spread. So, what should they be doing? I think innovating things like that. And this is all putting together the aircraft in mid-air—because this isn’t something that anyone in the police community took seriously or planned for. Hindsight being 20/20, they probably should have, but they didn’t. Priorities are always in competition with one another.
  4. We talked about New York City and nearly 7,000 cops out sick, in quarantine, or with COVID. What else can a police chief do right now to prepare for this worst-case scenario? I’d look to recently retired or otherwise recently separated officers in good standing. They can be brought back with a minimum sort of lift. You can’t bring someone off the street and train them to be a police officer. It takes about a year to do that. And most cities are challenged doing that anyway. But you can get officers that have retired in the last three years or so, give them a sort of a re-indoctrination into the profession and get them re-equipped and sworn in. To get them back in the fold, so to speak, it would be critical. In a place like Baltimore, they’re so short already. It’s impossible to fill the void any other way. The national guard can’t do it; a neighboring jurisdiction can’t do it. You have to stay within your family. And the only way to do that is going to be recently retired or otherwise separated officers. That’s something that they’ve done in the UK, trying to bring back retired law enforcement. The health professions are doing it. So, it just makes sense.
  5. How does this crisis compare to the other challenging moments that you’ve navigated in your career? I think it’s much more difficult. It’s much more challenging and complex. There are two real reasons for that. One, it’s a long-duration challenge. The D.C. sniper situation was a big challenge for law enforcement. And everything that happened in the immediate wake of 9-11. And in Baltimore, the 2015 riots. But most of those challenges were very short lived. They have got to be buckled in for the long haul and this one; they’re already been dealing with it for over a month and it’s, there’s really no end in sight. And the other thing that makes this particularly challenging is that it’s outside of the lexicon of police leaders. Very few police officers, let alone police executives, have any training in providing healthcare or in epidemiology or public health. They don’t know the difference between a virus and bacteria. They don’t understand how the protective equipment works. They’re learning.
  6. Do you foresee changes in the way police officers perform their jobs in the future because of this crisis? And do you think technology can play a role? Not only in policing, but in every field, I think people are starting to learn that there are more efficient ways to get work done, that don’t require a daily commute and sometimes don’t require an in-person meeting. And technology does obviously play a role there. It enables us to have substitutes for in-person meetings and other close personal contact. But I don’t think there’s going be a long-term change fundamentally, to the meat and potatoes of daily policing. I think it’s going to stay the same. We interact in close proximity with people, and often people in crisis. More and better personal protection equipment, however, will be introduced to police.
  7. Which law enforcement think tank do you see taking the lead right now? The National Police Foundation put together a dashboard. It’s basically to keep police leaders up to date—statistics and hotspots, levels of infection, fatalities, levels of police officers infected by state and equipment needs. It’s a real-time dashboard on what is needed for real-time intelligence purposes. And it’s very easy to understand, very visual, and they just go to right to that. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) are also compiling and distributing valuable information daily to police chiefs across the nation.
  8. What do you think will be the single biggest criticism of the way our police departments operated pre-COVID crisis? I think it would be a lack of preparedness for even things that are unlikely to happen. Firefighters are trained to be ready for whatever happens. Cops are more geared toward this [mindset]: ‘I’m going to figure out what I think is most likely to happen and I’ll put all my eggs in that basket.’ It’s the nature of our profession. I think that law enforcement can learn from the fire service. They’re pretty good at being ready no matter what. And cops aren’t wired like that.
  9. Most of America’s police departments are much smaller than the ones that dominate the news headlines. Is coping with COVID-19 harder for them? Yes, in many ways. Because they often lack the resources that give larger departments flexibility to adjust during a crisis. They have to look for new resources. Chief Amal Awad of the Hyattsville Police Department (just outside of Washington, D.C.) is partnering with a military research and development company to decontaminate police cars and equipment in new ways—to protect her officers and their families.

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