4 Up-Front Ways to Support Frontline Workers

We’ve been hearing a lot about frontline workers lately. They’re the nurses, grocery clerks, senior living assistants, and gas station attendants. They’re the postal workers, teachers, delivery drivers, first responders, and doctors. They’re the people we’ve always counted on. And for the past year, we’ve appreciated how much they matter.

Appreciation, as you know, is part of our business. Spoonful of Comfort sends a lot of thank you gifts. And boy, the goodness of people this past year did not disappoint.

We have seen companies send soup to their now-at-home employees just to check in. We’ve helped managers mail meals to their teams as a morale boost. A non-profit organization sends care packages to at-risk veterans who can’t safely go out to accomplish basic daily tasks.

We are so humbled to see good works and genuine kindness in action. And it got us thinking. The workplace environment has shifted dramatically—in some ways for the better—thanks to your ability and willingness to be flexible, supportive, and creative. If you’re in a business that employs frontline workers, you’ve already taught us a lot. But what can the rest of us learn and do?

How can we (companies, communities, customers, you and I) support frontline workers as we all push forward, simultaneously reaching for “back to normal” while embracing “the new normal?”

We’ve categorized four ways you (and everyone) can support frontline workers in your organization, in your network, and in your daily life. It seemed the perfect topic this week as we celebrate Nurse’s Day on May 6 and Teacher Appreciation Week May 3 through May 9. We hope it inspires you to say thanks in simple and supportive ways. We know we will.

4 Easy Ways You Can Support Frontline Workers Today

1. Take steps to reduce the risk

Yes, it’s the same song that’s been playing from the start. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Stay six feet apart. Get vaccinated. By this time, you can recite them all too. They make a difference. Other little things do, too.

Use phone and video communications when you can. Admit it, we’re all getting pretty conference-call savvy. And you can use that technology to reduce face-to-face (and potentially riskier) interactions like non-emergency medical consultations or teacher conferences. Be proactive and help sanitize high-touch surfaces around you like your mailbox (we see you, postal workers), doorbells (thanks, at-home delivery), even public door handles and gas pumps. When you’ve got disinfectant wipes, put ‘em to use for the good of all.

2. Reduce unnecessary strain

All of us have also heard about bundling errands or avoiding unnecessary outings. (Those at-home toilet paper stashes prove our point.) But often we’re looking at these recommendations from our own points of view. Consider the perspective of frontline workers.

Many of these people are working harder than ever in response to more shipping and home deliveries, more hospital visits, more classroom demands, more emergencies. Much of this can’t be helped. But some of it can.

Do your part to reduce the strain on frontline jobs. Instead of looking at how they help you, consider ways you can help them by taking a little off their plate. It might be a simple as rescheduling a non-essential appointment, coming back when someone is not as busy, or just saving a question that’s not critical for another time. A little space on a high-pressure job never hurt anybody.

3. Go the extra mile

We shared that we’ve seen the best of people’s generosity (and they’ve brought us to tears more than once). You can get that same feeling and sense of inspiration, too.

Check out the creative, common-sense acts people do for frontline workers—and join the cause. Some of our favorites? Signs in front windows. Boxes of lotion for hyper-sanitized hands. Social media stories of appreciation. Snacks, sanitizer, and notes left for delivery workers. Neighborhood daily salutes.

Yes, these good acts are still happening, and they’re still needed. Find inspiration by searching hashtags like #frontline #BacktheFrontLine #FrontlineWorkers #RealHeroes

If you get stuck, surveys of frontline workers say the most pressing needs include help with childcare, meals, lodging, pet care, and mental health. Gift cards are always appreciated. As are donations to organizations that can identify and deliver on local needs. Examples among the many are United Way, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, and Project Parachute –a non-profit organization that matches frontline workers and their families to licensed therapists for pro-bono mental health support.

4. Be kind

Sometimes the most powerful force can be the simplest. In the middle of the long hours, the hard days, the extended shifts, frontliners can use a little kindness for buoyance. Share a smile. Tell a joke. Make deliberate eye contact. Frontline workers need to know they are seen and they are appreciated.

Reach out to the frontline people you know and make efforts to get to know those you don’t. Learn about what they’re up against every day. Find empathy in their challenges. Let them laugh and allow them to vent. Respect their boundaries. And most importantly, express your gratitude. Say thanks.

We know we will.

Wishing a happy Nurse’s Day to frontliners in the healthcare field. Sending gratitude to all our educators during Teacher Appreciation Week. Saying thank you times a million to all the frontliners out there. We think you’re soup-er.

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