What it’s like to work at Starbucks during the pandemic
I just got off the phone with my manager who basically asked me if I am willing to put myself at risk to continue working if the business remains open.
I work as a shift supervisor at a Starbucks, a five-minute drive from my house next to a Walmart in Pembroke Pines. The previous week I helped my manager bring in all patio furniture and push all the cafe furniture against the wall after the company decided it was going to allow only a grab-and-go service to encourage social distancing.
We now have a timer set for every 30 minutes to remind us to wash our hands and wipe the door handles. Anyone handling money is encouraged to wear gloves and not participate in any assembling of drinks or food products to prevent the spread of germs.
The Starbucks in mall locations are closed in our area, so all baristas from those stores were relocated to other stores locally. While business is now slower than it has ever been, lots of stores are overstaffed to help keep as many people employed as possible.
After Starbucks completely eliminated all business inside cafes on March 20, we spend our days intensively cleaning the store to fill the time.
The company decided to offer catastrophe pay for the next 30 days if employees decide they don’t feel comfortable working. For those who do decide to work, our hourly wage will be increased by $3; this means baristas will be increased from $10 to $13, and shift supervisors will be increased from $12 to $15.
The company was holding public listening sessions through conference calls open to all baristas to hear what managers had to say and, from the parts I overheard, received lots of backlash for being open during this time.
However, this new effort to show care for the employees by offering pay raises and catastrophe pay was something new I had never seen the company do before in my three years of working there. Lots of locations in lockdown areas were forced to shut down due to employees contracting the virus.
The company has now provided partners with free mental health services such as Headspace, to help cope with this hard time. It also has been working to partner with care.com to provide
babysitting services for parents who have to work but have kids at home. Employees are also now being offered one free food item everyday.
Except for one person, everyone on my team agreed to continue working until there is an issued closure. My team is close and love working there, so it was with no question that we decided to continue helping out at the store and take advantage of this pay raise.
I am grateful that I even still have my job during this time as I have heard of a lot of people being laid off because of business closures. I also appreciate the time outside of my house for a little while and interaction with my friends at work to escape the confinements of being bored at home all day.
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