4 Employee Perks Manufacturers can Offer to Combat COVID-19 Concerns
Essential workers like factory floor personnel face a daunting prospect each day: leave their home and take their chances against the ongoing pandemic. Thankfully, there’s a lot they can do to mitigate their exposure. Wear a mask. Keep their distance. Observe good hygiene. These strides and more are all proven to mitigate transmission risks. But they’re not 100% foolproof, and there are still concerns — especially for immunocompromised employees. It all adds up to feelings of trepidation about an unseen, highly-dangerous illness. It’s up to manufacturers to take additional strides to alleviate this mental anguish.
What can employers do? It may not seem like much, but temporary (or permanent) work perks during this uncertain time can go a long way toward giving employees the mental support they need to weather the workday. The good news is, there are several perks and programs that cost next to nothing to implement, yet offer tremendous incentive and boost employee morale. Here’s a look at four of them.
- Access to testing. One of the best ways to bring peace of mind to employees is to provide access to free testing. While employers cannot mandate testing, they can make it available and even administer on-site testing. For many employees, negative results are enough to clear their conscience. And they’ll feel continued confidence knowing that positive tests will be reported to individuals quickly so they can self-quarantine. Combined with contact tracing, this is a comprehensive approach to quelling employee fears.
- Support for FFCRA and FMLA. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is evolving, which impacts how and when employees can take personal days to deal with the presence of the virus in their household. There’s confusion surrounding paid sick leave due to COVID-19 and FMLA allowances. Manufacturers can and should provide specific, insightful information to employees and make these paid leave options accessible to alleviate confusion.
- More sick and personal days. In addition to FFCRA and FMLA leave, many producers might think about expanding sick leave and personal days for a temporary period. While this ultimately costs employers in man hours and labor, it might be an easier balancing act than you think. Those who need to care for themselves or their families will gladly welcome paid leave, while those who want overtime or extra shifts will find them available. Production balances out in the end.
- Access to education. A busy mind has no time to fret. Use COVID-19 as an opportunity to cross train employees, expand in-house training programs, and provide individuals with new opportunities. If Jim is out sick, train Lisa on his duties to round out your workforce. Likewise, if Lucile wants to pick up extra hours or train for a management position, slot her in where others are out. The more dynamic you make your workforce, the more you’ll benefit. Giving employees opportunities develops strength.
Combined, these solutions cost manufacturers almost nothing, yet bring substantial peace of mind to employees. Knowing they’re supported and have opportunities — even in times of uncertainty and strife — will give your workforce the mental fortitude it needs to get through COVID-19.