Supporting Those Supporting Us
We're living through a uniquely challenging time in history. There is no blueprint for what to do for our families, our communities or our organizations. At Nordstrom, we've had to make incredibly difficult decisions to fulfill our responsibility to protect the health of our people, while also preserving our long-term ability to offer jobs and benefits for our employees. However, the most impactful way to help keep thousands of jobs and our company moving forward is by maintaining our ability to sell to customers. We're in the business of selling, and our stores, which are nearly 70% of our business, are a critical part of that. With stores closed, our online business has become our only method of serving customers.
This means making it possible for our people across our supply chain to continue their normal roles in an environment that is anything but normal. The work being done by these individuals is essential to us weathering this crisis — and we don't take that for granted.
We're doing the best we can to support them while they support us, and we'd like to show you how.
It all starts with flexibility and understanding
Our goal is to keep these employees safe and healthy in their roles — and we're taking every step we can to ensure that. In addition to the safety processes we have in place, we've added an hourly premium of $2 per hour for time worked from March 29 until May 9.
While we hope our people are comfortable in the steps we're taking to keep them safe, each person must make the choice that is right for them — there is no right or wrong answer. We're pleased to hear from so many employees that they're happy to stay active, engaged in the business and prolong their working hours for as long as possible, but we recognize that not everyone feels this way. We respect everyone's right to decide not to work at this time — those who would prefer to stay home are welcome to do that without any absenteeism penalties. In fact, we've eliminated all attendance policies since early March. All managers are actively having conversations with individuals and their teams, and our HR department is actively problem solving and identifying solutions that are right for each person and their situation.
We're keeping strict adherence to all guidelines and regulations
We're paying close attention and actively reviewing all the various government orders to stay home and shelter in place. In most cases, each order allows for certain industries not connected to food or health to continue operating — specifically those that contribute positively to the economy such as e-commerce. We are fortunate that we can continue to operate our fulfillment services in many locations while we work to comply with the safety guidelines listed in each order. Our legal teams are constantly reevaluating both the orders and our practices to ensure we are in alignment and to cease operations if we need to.
The best defense is a good offense
We're proactively telling everyone who feels sick to stay home. This simply cannot be overstated as it is the single most important piece to keeping everyone safe. To help incentivize this, we're giving five additional days of paid time off to our supply chain teams and up to 10 days of COVID-19 pay should any of our facilities need to close. We also require anyone who has been exposed to quarantine for 14 days, but we will continue to pay normal wages during this quarantine for those who have potentially been exposed at work. Additionally, for everyone with Nordstrom health insurance, we're providing free telemedicine, no copay for COVID-19 testing and 100% pay for any short-term disability with a COVID-19 diagnosis. There is no reason any of our people should feel obligated to come to work when sick, and we have resources and processes in place to help make everyone feel comfortable in taking the time to care for themselves and their loved ones.
Safety starts outside
To ensure our work environments continue to be safe and healthy, we've designated Wellness Ambassadors at each location. This includes supporting each employee during this challenging time, ensuring everyone follows guidance on cleaning requirements and social distancing and helping to implement a new process for COVID-19 health checks before each shift. This COVID-19 health check is for all scheduled employees to complete and submit before each shift. The health check asks each employee to confirm they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been directly exposed to anyone with COVID-19 by answering four questions. The questions are aimed at encouraging employees to monitor and assess their health and identifying behaviors that are currently associated with a higher level of risk for exposure to the virus.
Keep it together by staying apart
One of the greatest preventative measures in the fight against this disease is social distancing. It's possible to operate our centers while maintaining social distancing. We've physically rearranged cafeterias and conference rooms to create more space between tables. We've also removed chairs in breakrooms so fewer people can gather at a time and placed as many signs as possible reminding employees to practice social distancing, as well as promoting other important guidelines to help keep themselves and their coworkers safe.
We've also adjusted staffing and shift needs, changed how people come in and out of facilities to reduce congestion, eliminated in-person meetings and taken a data-driven approach to managing the fulfillment of customer orders. If it takes a little longer to receive your order, it's probably because we are spacing out work to create the distance our teams need to operate safely. Effective social distancing takes everyone's participation. We take this seriously and have been pleased by the response and support from our teams to operate in new ways to ensure the safety of everyone.
While social distancing is the priority, we are in the process of making face coverings and gloves available to all our employees who are working in our spaces.
Enhanced cleaning is the new standard
You might have heard the phrase "enhanced cleaning" recently. For Nordstrom, it means using the recommended and most effective cleaning products to sanitize and wipe down common areas and surfaces multiple times a shift, which often translates to more than 20 cleanings a day. We've established expectations for everyone to take responsibility for cleaning their workstations and equipment before and after use. We provided hand sanitizer and other cleaning wipes and tools throughout our facility to help accomplish this and use as needed.
In the case when someone does come into work sick, diagnosed or exposed, we have a task force dedicated to immediately responding with the necessary notifications, cleanings and precautions.
We closely monitor guidelines from expert health organizations to inform the steps we take to clean in response to situations when an employee tests positive for or who has been exposed to COVID-19 and when to hire a professional sanitizer company to conduct a thorough deep clean. They have specialized equipment that releases a disinfecting mist that can reach and disinfect all exposed surfaces, including the nooks and crannies we cannot reach through a traditional wipe down or cleaning done by hand.
Gratitude runs deep
We can't thank enough those still working for all they do to care for our customers and themselves. Our company has survived wars, a depression, several recessions and natural disasters. The strength of our culture and the loyalty of our customers are what have sustained us through tough times. Everyone in our supply chain and all those still working are truly the backbone of the company, making it possible to weather this crisis and come out stronger.