“Essential workers” is a term that many of us were unfamiliar with before the spread of COVID-19. However, our country has grown to learn the importance of this special group of employees. From cashiers to medical staff, and all of the public service roles that fall in between, those who’ve stood strong on the front lines deserve our immeasurable gratitude. As leaders and employers, we are able to show our appreciation in tangible ways, and there’s no better time than the present. Here are three perks to provide essential employees during a pandemic.
- Provide PPE
By now, we’ve all learned the importance of virus prevention through the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Infectious disease experts agree that adhering to the advice of the “3 w’s” mnemonic: wearing a mask, washing your hands, and watching your distance, is the most effective way to avoid COVID. Of the three, proper masking is the most beneficial. So, if you have employees who must work in-office, it’s only right that you do your best to keep them as safe as possible. Instead of expecting your staff to provide their own PPE, you can help by supplying surgical masks, or reusable 3-layer fabric coverings, for their protection. If their required tasks prevent social distancing or put them at risk of being in contact with those who are infected, take it a step further and provide splash guards, disposable gloves, eye protection, and N-95 masks. Lastly, make sure that your employees have access to surface disinfectants and hand sanitizer that contains (at least) 60% alcohol.
2. Wage Increase
Another welcomed perk is a wage increase. Due to the highly contagious nature of coronavirus, many businesses have converted to remote operations to keep employees safe. However, some companies don’t have the same ability to meet their customer’s needs from home. In such cases, essential workers must return back to work and brave the front line while risking exposure to COVID-19. Work conditions that were safe pre-pandemic, have suddenly become hazardous. Therefore, a growing number of employers have decided to offer hazard pay. Hazard pay is a wage increase granted to those working in tough conditions in an effort to show appreciation or increase employee retention. Take a look at your company budget and decide whether you can offer a temporary wage increase to your essential employees to thank them for their hard work during such a difficult time.
3. Offer Breakfast/Lunch
Although many Americans received a stimulus check in the early months of the coronavirus outbreak, statistics show that household expenses have increased in recent months. To help offset some of the financial burdens that families are shouldering, you can support your employees by providing a free meal during the workday. If your company has a cafeteria, consider offering meal vouchers for those who eat on-site. If you don’t have a campus cafe, there are plenty of restaurants that offer corporate meal plans with a delivery service. Even though a daily meal may seem like a small contribution, small gifts can make a big difference.
Essential employees have held the country together during our time of need. Let’s offer a small token of our appreciation by giving back to those who have given so much to us. Start by offering these three perks, and expressing a sincere thank you to the workforce who has kept us strong during the toughest moments of the pandemic.