What we’re watching this week: 4/26/21

Responses to the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd continue to flood in and spur the introduction of legislation that would end certain police techniques. Here’s what else is top of mind for us as the week begins.

A twist in pandemic psychology

With more than 40 percent of Americans at least partially vaccinated, a curious dichotomy is emerging: some individuals are experiencing a newfound freedom, prompting them to rethink their priorities and bucket lists. Others still feel trepidation about contracting COVID-19. We expect these contrasting appetites for risk to continue through the summer as people find their footing in a postpandemic era—and those appetites will affect consumer spending, organizational work models, and mental health.

The New York Times columnist Kevin Roose looks at the emergence of a YOLO economy, where some workers are ditching jobs for a complete career switch—or a pause altogether.

• Korn Ferry examines how employers can help employees navigate mental health challenges after a year of isolation, in what some experts are calling a second wave of a “psychological pandemic.”

Harvard Business Review explores why many efforts to pull employees out of burnout fail and how companies can pursue more effective strategies to help them recover.

Supply-chain snafus for small businesses

The ripple effect of pandemic-induced supply-chain issues continues with small businesses, which don’t have access to backup vendors or the ability to negotiate as hard on pricing. It’s yet another challenge that small-business owners are facing as they attempt to keep themselves afloat and claw back gains that have been lost over the past year.

• Forty-four percent of small businesses reported supply-chain problems earlier this year, leaving some of them scrambling to limit damage to their bottom line and reputation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

• The supply-chain woes are one reason large consumer-packaged-goods companies have seen market share momentum since the pandemic began, according to McKinsey’s top takeaways of recent shifts in demand in CPG.

• Aon’s global risk and resilience report looks at how a robust risk plan can help companies stave off challenges from the shortening of supply chains.

A long-term climate plan for companies

The Biden administration’s climate summit last week, which coincided with Earth Day, charged the United States with the ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030. And while that goal, along with growing public fervor, has led many companies to prioritize their environmental and sustainability efforts, finding a climate path that works long term—regardless of who is in the White House—will be critical to a company’s ultimate success in fighting climate change.

The Hill looks at how Biden’s emissions target drew criticism from both sides of the aisle.

• McKinsey explores how the transformation to a low-carbon economy can evolve through government and private-sector cooperation and rapid technological innovation.

• BCG offers a how-to guide for companies on flipping the script on climate change.

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