The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world forever and as most of the world’s population opt to stay indoors and amend their day-to-day behaviour, businesses everywhere are taking a hit. Despite daily press briefings from the government making promises made of bailouts, benefits and business bankrolls, many companies are being forced to take a stand and take drastic, immediate action to ensure their survival. This is, unfortunately, often in the form of mass redundancies, forced unpaid leave for employees or temporary closure.
However, through every crisis, there lays opportunity; there are businesses out there shining a light on good practice and really taking care of their employees where they can. When the pandemic’s hold over the world is over, it’s these firms that will be considered good examples and exemplary employers. Of course, not everyone is in the position to take these measures, but where they can happen, and are, they’re fast becoming a guiding light in otherwise global darkness.
Home Bargains: Staff Help Fund
Budget retailer Home Bargains have announced a £30m fund to support the wellbeing of their employees during the coronavirus crisis. The Liverpool-based discounter has over 22,000 employees in the UK and acknowledges that they are ‘working around the clock’ to provide decent stock levels of home essentials. The fund will pay employees their full rate for up to two weeks of self-isolation, give added support to those in high risk groups needing to take an extended period of leave, and pay anyone who doesn’t need to self-isolate in 2020 a fortnight’s extra wages thereafter. Needless to say, this is over and above legal requirements and truly a stand-out employer initiative!
Tesco: Fully Paying At Risk Employees
Tesco issued internal communications to all of its employees aged over 70 to assure them that they will be paid, in full, for the duration of their suggested 12-week quarantine. Two of the twelve weeks taken will count as holiday, but this is still a vast improvement on the SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) most will receive.
Supermarkets: Creating New Jobs, Fast
Supermarket workers have historically been undervalued, but are now at the forefront of the effort to keep life as normal as possible for the public. Aldi, Asda, Co-Op and Lidl have all announced that they are hiring new staff with immediate effect on temporary contracts to keep up with demand: fast-tracking applications and pay-packets. This fills a vital and rapidly rising gap in the employment market as other industries shed their employees.
Aviva: Humanising Senior Employees
This is a busy period for insurance companies, and at Aviva, like many others, most meetings are now happening remotely and over webcams. Senior employees are encouraging colleagues to acknowledge their children and pets about – normalising and humanising the reality of many people’s new working situations. They have also segregated offices, reserved VPN access for vulnerable workers and have installed hand sanitiser stations on every office floor.