McDonald’s is briefly closing its U.S. offices this week, according to a Wall Street Journal report published on Sunday (April 2). As part of a larger business restructuring, it is getting ready to issue layoff notices to some corporate staff members, according to the report. McDonald’s asked some U.S. and foreign workers to work remotely Monday through Wednesday in an internal email last week.
The Chicago-based fast food company instructed some domestic workers and some foreign workers last week to work from home on Monday through Wednesday so it could conduct staffing decisions virtually. The business requested that all in-person meetings at its offices with vendors and other outside parties be cancelled in the message. As part of a larger strategic plan for the hamburger chain, McDonald’s stated in January that it intended to make “difficult” choices about adjustments to its corporate staffing levels by April.
McDonald’s did not specify what the reason is for laying off office staff. Could this huge conglomerate of production industry, corporate offices and restaurants be in trouble?
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McDonald’s reported in February that it employees more than 150,000 people worldwide in corporate positions and its own restaurants, 70% of which are outside of the United States.
Slowing economy or the rise of AI
In response to worries about a slowing economy, businesses across all sectors are cutting back on staff. Last year’s tech industry layoffs extended to the retail and manufacturing industries. Following previously announced layoffs, Amazon.com Inc. revealed last month that it was eliminating 9,000 more jobs.
But is it really just the slowing of the economy the real reason in al the cases? Many processes in the administration world have become automated tor months and years. Call centres, package tracking, chat bots and other services have been automated for more that couple of years now, very few of those are still live person jobs! Have you tried to call your post office or package delivery company?
Now, that technology has spread in every large corporation out there. Banking institutions have already made many of their operations fully automated, many account calculations are done by AI or other IT software. Even in manufacturing industry like automotive and food industry, fully automated machines, monitoring devices and even repair solutions are fully automated without any human intervention.
New Industrial Revolution
To many readers might sound as Science Fiction, but industrial revolution or better known as Industry 4.0 is actually an older term. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, is the next stage in the digitization of the industrial sector. It is fuelled by disruptive trends such as the growth of data and connectivity, analytics, human-machine interaction, and advancements in robotics. While the first Industrial Revolution was driven by steam, the second by electricity, the third by early automation and machinery, the fourth driven by cyberphysical systems, or intelligent computers.
Prior to 2014, “Industry 4.0” was hardly ever used in Google searches, but by 2019, 68 percent of respondents to a global survey considered Industry 4.0 to be a top strategic goal. 70% of respondents claimed that their businesses were already testing out or implementing new technology.
If we take this new trend in account, new McDonnald’s decision to lay off corporate office staff could be the outcome of both, economy downturn and future of automation.
There are no information so far if McDonald’s is planing to lay off staff in Canada.