What Employee Care Looks Like Amid a Global Pandemic


How can companies show employees that they care, ensuring safety during a pandemic? Paid sick leave, remote work, and safety precautions are essential – in addition to new-age measures like indoor intelligence. Read how Walgreens, Swiggy, Starbucks, Tesco, and Ally Financial are reimagining employee care, and how indoor intelligence could change the game in the long run.

It’s one thing to provide timely compensation and industry-standard benefit amid a crisis, but how much do organizations care about employees?

Research suggests that employee care is closely related to your turnover rates, holding back your company’s long-term success. In a recent surveyOpens a new window of 1,000+ employees, 1 of 3 said they had left a job because they didn’t feel that their employer cared about them as a person.

And in the context of the global pandemic, employee care is essential now more than ever. It prevents turnover in a volatile labor market. It keeps employees safe. Appropriate employee care can help your workforce to stay productive in these difficult times, tiding through what experts believe could be a recession-scale economic crisis.

We bring you examples from five companies that are doing their bit to demonstrate care toward their employees.

Learn More: How HyperloopTT Improved Collaboration with Workplace by Facebook: Case StudyOpens a new window

How 5 Companies Are Demonstrating Employee Care Amid COVID-19

With so many people contracting the novel coronavirus, the onus is on employers to provide a safe workplace. Here’s how five companies struck a balance between safety and productivity through employee care, ensuring that their employees don’t risk job loss or pay cuts.

1. Walgreens enforces strict precautions for employees and customers

In America, Walgreens has stepped upOpens a new window to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Its new employee care policy includes face covers for store team members, plex-glass shields at points of sale, health screenings at the company’s distribution centers, and adjusted store hours to make room for employee rest (among other activities).

2. Swiggy establishes a “hunger savior COVID relief fund”

To fund employee care and provide robust relief, India’s food delivery giant has set up a dedicated fundOpens a new window . Customers are invited to donate, but the bulk of the fund comes from its investors, leadership, and employees. Notably, the company’s CEO has committed 50% of his annual wage to the fund – demonstrating the role that your leadership could play in providing employee care during crises.

3. Starbucks extends “catastrophe pay” to its employees

Starbucks introduced catastrophe payOpens a new window for COVID-19-affected employees, which gives any employee who has been in close contact with someone with the virus (either personally or through a family member) a 14-day relief period, whether they show symptoms or not. And those who are vulnerable – the elderly, pregnant women, etc. – can self-quarantine under catastrophe pay. Paid sick leave is a big part of employee careOpens a new window in a pandemic, and the concept of catastrophe pay forms an essential part of employee benefits in times of, well, catastrophes.

4. Tesco sends vulnerable employees home with pay

FMCG retail outlets are at high risk – it is a labor-intensive sector, where employees work close to each other, and demand will be high as it provides essential goods. To protect employees from this risk, the U.K.’s retail giant Tesco started giving its elderly staff and pregnant employees a 12-week leaveOpens a new window with full pay. In addition to social distancing in the workplace, steps like this demonstrate employee care at this time.

5. Ally Financial moves thousands of workers to WFH in a few days

Ally Financial has an 8,700-strong workforce, but this didn’t stop the company from embracing WFH virtually overnight. Apart from this, it offered employee care benefitsOpens a new window , such as 100% coverage for COVID-19 testing, expanded childcare support, 100% coverage for telemedicine, and more.

Learn More: 6 Ways HR Needs to Evolve Post the COVID-19 CrisisOpens a new window

How Can Organizations Demonstrate Care Toward Their Front-line Workers?

While WFH and paid sick leave might be a preferable form of employee care, it is often impossible for a company to operate on a 100% remote basis.

How can organizations in the healthcare sector, or those working in warehouses transporting essential goods, ensure that they provide adequate employee care? This is where indoor intelligence comes in.

According to Nadir AliOpens a new window , CEO of InpixonOpens a new window , indoor intelligence is an emerging technology that should belong in every company’s employee care toolkit for COVID-19. Indoor intelligence equips companies with the analytics data they need to map office and operational layouts as per business and safety requirements. Using a combination of hardware and software, it integrates sensor data with digital maps to correctly position employees.

In other words, indoor intelligence-led employee care means that a worker can avoid getting closer than six feet to a possibly affected individual, dramatically reducing the risk of disease spread.

Ali explains how Inpixon – an indoor intelligence tracking technology – works: “Inpixon can position employees and visitors with accuracy, which allows the technology to be used as a tool against cross-contamination in the workplace. Should an employee or visitor test positive for the novel coronavirus, security officials can determine their specific journey throughout the office, and even what assets they handled.”

The data you collect can help in several ways. It can prevent crowding in one spot, trace contacts to identify at-risk individuals, and perform targeted sanitization. This is critical to employee care during a pandemic, especially if human contact is unavoidable in your workplace. And this technology can be used when employees return to work, enabling containment as early as possible, should the need arise.

Learn More: How Human Capital and Change Management Will Drive Transformation of the 2020sOpens a new window

In It for the Long Game: Employee Care in a Post-COVID-19 World

Ensuring safe movement in a physical space is critical if organizations are to return to business as usual post-COVID-19.

The Singapore government has launched Opens a new window a Bluetooth-based app that speeds up contact tracing. South Korea has a similar app that alerts users of any diagnosed COVID-19 patient within a 100-meter radius – an initiative lauded by the Harvard Business ReviewOpens a new window .

Ali recommends data collection as mandatory to contain disease spread in the workplace: “Companies should consider data collection and asset tracking as solutions that can mitigate new safety risks, such as infectious outbreaks. Contact tracing technologies can be deployed in times of high alert to help identify who has come into contact with whom, to protect at-risk employees and, as a result, contain the virus. Location-awareness technology solutions can help in many ways, including navigation, crowd density metrics, asset tracking, touch-free services, and contact tracking in times of high alert.”

Once the impact of COVID-19 plateaus and the world steps out of their homes again, this technology will be central to employee care at work. Indoor intelligence can help employers keep employee movements within the bounds of safety, complementing initiatives like paid leave and remote working.

Over time, it will help organizations return to their original productivity levels while staying confident about the safety and health of their workforce.

What steps have you taken to reimagine employee care in the last few weeks? Tell us on FacebookOpens a new window , LinkedInOpens a new window , or TwitterOpens a new window !