Reflecting on Our COVID Year
Hello to our Relay Team, customers, business partners, and all-around supporters –
Like many of us, I’ve been thinking back to a year ago and what it felt like when we learned that COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.
For me, it was a confusing and scary time, with so many unknowns, and no way of anticipating what would unfold over the next 12 months. I think I was in shock.
I don’t want this anniversary to go by without acknowledging some of what we’ve experienced as a community over the last year. Both the personal pain, heartache, and loss that comes with not being able to connect physically with those we love, and also the ways we have come together and responded—our personal and collective resilience.
We can look back and see a lot of “wins” at Relay Resources that were inspired by crisis but came to life by Working. Together. We not only survived, but we thrived in many ways. We learned, adapted, learned, and adapted again and again.
And we stayed safe. Because most Relay employees are on the front lines at a variety of work sites, we considered how to keep people safe in many different environments. With support from across Relay, we kept our COVID-19 infection rate very low at just 2%, well below the national average for workplaces in which the majority of employees work in front-line roles.
When I reflect back, I think about how our culture of love has guided us to take the actions and make the decisions necessary to keep people at the heart of everything we do. The culture of love is each one of our Relay employees and partners, and all of us together. Thank you all.
Over the course of a very difficult year, we accomplished amazing things:
We kept working. All five social enterprises safely kept people employed on our campus and throughout our community in the Portland and Seattle areas. Through COVID-19, through demonstrations that directly impacted our sites and our employees, through wildfires, and through a severe winter storm.
Our approach to the health and safety of our team members was a model that helped set a high safety standard for all Union janitors in Portland.
Our janitorial training team expanded to provide additional site visits, identifying safety and accommodation needs of our janitors in the field.
Our housing team partnered with our janitorial team to ensure that we had an ample supply of cleaning materials to keep our residents safe.
We supported each other by offering more resources including the introduction of our Employee Assistance Program and Cultivating Resilience weekly video conference series.
We committed to becoming an anti-racist organization and have enlisted the help of consultants at Future Work Design to provide training for our leadership team, and listening sessions for employees who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). These are first steps toward breaking down systems of oppression at Relay as we strive to create sustainable change and support upward mobility of marginalized employees.
And while we look back, I also want to look forward and ensure that we carry our learnings with us. I hope that knowing as a Relay community are capable of dealing with so much will continue to inspire us to tackle ongoing challenges and opportunities to cultivate meaningful work for everyone.
With so much gratitude,