How to Spend That PPP Loan!

 In 2020

As businesses decide how to spend their Payroll Protection Loans, or in anticipation of receiving a Paycheck Protection Program loan (PPP), they have been actively looking at ways to keep their employees engaged during a business slow-down.

In order to be fully forgiven, businesses need to maintain both pay rates and employee count for the eight weeks following the loan origination, or need to restore employees and pay-rates to pre-COVID levels. But with business down for many companies, they don’t want their employees to sit idly by while collecting a paycheck. Instead, many companies are coming up with creative ways to keep employees fully employed and fully engaged. Here are some inspiring approaches:

Hardship Pay – In the face of a global and deadly pandemic, going to work can be a very scary task, particularly for those who are at a greater risk of exposure given either the nature of their work, their environment, or their inability to properly socially distance. Consider offering a “hardship” stipend for all or some of your employees who face added risk because of their “essential employee” status.

Workplace Upgrades and Maintenance – With some paint, supplies, and elbow grease, many clients are sprucing up their workplaces, cleaning equipment, painting walls, refinishing floors, organizing files, clearing clutter, and deep-cleaning places that haven’t been cleaned in years. Again, for those who can work from home, we encourage those employees to stay home. But for your production staff that needs to be onsite, at least part-time, using some spare hours to improve the workplace is a good use of time.

Community Service – Many of our clients are giving back to their communities in the ways that they can. Janitorial sector companies are offering to clean, free of charge, their client and community member businesses, such as restaurants, daycare facilities, gyms, and community centers that are closed down or are struggling. Our print and promotions clients are offering free printed fliers and giveaways to support their local restaurants, hairdressers, and shuttered businesses so they will be ready when they can open up. Our manufacturing material distributorships are donating building materials for community projects, and our insurance agency employees are sewing face masks. One carwash in Texas is buying gift certificates for local restaurants that have closed down and are using them as giveaways to customers and employees.

Employee Engagement – Looking for ways to improve the workplace or give back to the community? Ask your employees for ideas. One client is encouraging their employees to come up with weekly community service and workplace improvement ideas. This gives employees the gift of giving back, which study after study show is a better incentive than money. You don’t need all the ideas –let your employees lead the charge!

Safety First – For all employers who are deemed essential and have employees coming to work, be sure to provide personal protective equipment (face masks, gloves, goggles) and enforce strict social distancing. Ensure your employees are keeping the workplace sanitary with regular cleaning, and make sure they know the symptoms of COVID-19 and know to stay home if they feel unwell.

We’ve all seen the acts of malice and grace around us during these trying times. Treating employees, customers, and those in the community with care, consideration, and empathy is the light that shines during cloudy times. If you have the resources (through the PPP or other means) and the time, we hope you will look for ways to give back so that your employees can enjoy the gift of helping others prepare for the sunny days that lay ahead. And if you have a creative idea for keeping employees engaged, email us at [email protected]

If you need additional support during this time, Affinity HR Group is now offering a prepaid HR solution to help you address your company’s unique challenges. This service provides businesses with access to one of our consultants to address the nuances of your situation in time increments tailored to your needs. Learn more about our COVID HR Support Plan HERE!

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