How We Can All Do Our Part to Help in a Crisis
As we’ve monitored and responded to COVID-19 developments, one thing has become clear from the beginning: We are all in this together.
As a company that partners hand-in-hand with local entrepreneurs and employs hundreds of hourly workers, we are acutely aware of the existential risks that small businesses face in times of crisis. And yet, as a company with a national presence, experiencing an event powerful and widespread enough to simultaneously impact every one of our 20 cities is indeed rare.
In our country, the sad truth is that many members of our workforce are more frightened of losing their jobs than they are of contracting this virus. If Wall Street itself is faltering, imagine what the millions of people who count on each and every paycheck must feel.
Weeks ago, as news of the coronavirus picked up, we made two key decisions: First, in a time when many companies are laying people off, we would take a different approach and do our utmost to keep our staff employed for the duration of the outbreak. And second, we would commit to supporting our community and providing the public with uninterrupted help. So far, thanks to you, we’ve been able to deliver on both of these promises.
We believed then — as we do now — that our service is more necessary than ever during this time. As essential supplies run low and many choose to self-quarantine, the help we provide takes on even more meaning; to ensure we’re reaching as many people as possible, we quickly opened up our service to anyone locally-based who wants it and launched Alfred Delivers — an errand-based version of our model through which we source and supply any groceries or household goods our members request. In fact, I’ve been making deliveries right alongside our Alfred Home Managers, to support them as well as continuously investigate with my own eyes what more we could possibly be doing.
We’ve also leaned in as a resource to our building partners, who are equally concerned and committed to keeping their residents healthy. By having our team active in buildings at this time, property managers are able to avoid the unnecessary risk associated with extra foot traffic as delivery and courier demand hits an all-time high. We’ve also worked quickly to build new features into our Alfred OS platform specifically designed to aid with internal communication, package delivery management, and visitor logging, and we’ve extended complimentary access to any building team in need through the end of 2020.
Not only have we made these efforts to help our members, but the truth is that our ability to provide them with utility, and our workers with employment, is one and the same: With every grocery run or prescription pickup, we’re able to continue fulfilling our promise to the community, and keep providing our team with the hours they depend on.
Meanwhile, we’ve also put worker protections in place on our side: We’re offering paid leave to any team member who becomes sick or is exposed as well as the option to take a leave of absence — complete with healthcare coverage and confirmed job security — for any employee who feels uncomfortable working during this time.
Additionally, we are offering our members the option to tip through our app for the first time, in recognition of the above-and-beyond measures our Alfreds are taking to ensure they have everything they need to stay safe and healthy.
And lastly, we’ve set up the Alfred Local Workers Assistance Fund to not only benefit our own team members who struggle with reduced hours, but also our local service partners whose businesses are suffering as a result of COVID-19.
In closing, we want to thank the many members of our Hello Alfred community — our residents, our team, and our partners — as we work to support one another through this challenging period. We’ve always believed in the power of human help, and times like this are precisely when we can all appreciate it most.