The year 2020 has been incredibly stressful for people on a general level, causing internal strife and stress over everyday living. Many individuals have been unable to make ends meet to the same extent that they once did, in part because their places of work have had to scale back production. Another issue that has inevitably occurred has to do with maintaining a job in the midst of the pandemic. Essential workers had to keep working throughout the pandemic, which was not only incredibly stressful in many conditions but also potentially dangerous. People needed to maintain their jobs during economic crisis, but doing so in some conditions may mean exposing themselves to the virus.
It is important for employers to understand the significant risks and sacrifices that employees are undertaking in order to continue working. This is not only good for the employees but ultimately beneficial to employers as well. This is one of many reasons why Home Depot has chosen to offer wage increases for employees, which will likely only increase with time.
The reality is that Home Depot wage increases were in part possible because of the pandemic itself, at least theoretically. Everyone has been staying inside now more than ever, and therefore they are able to not only identify but address home repairs that need to be handled as they sit in their houses. While it may have been easy for people to put off lawn care, for example, while working full time in an office, this is not as easy to overlook when the office is at home. As Home Depot is one of the main suppliers of home improvement equipment, it’s not surprising that the company experienced an uptick in sales as the pandemic set in and shelter in place orders were issued. In fact, its earnings rose by 23% over the earnings for the same quarter in the year 2019.
These profits were significant for the company, and will ideally be profits that it can maintain after the pandemic subsides. With that goal in mind (among other things), Home Depot announced that it would be investing its profits in its employees on a permanent basis. The Home Depot wage increases will actually be permanent for frontline employees, whether they are full time employees or part time employees. Ultimately, this will total $1 billion in raises across all employees annually. This recognizes the strength that Home Depot employees have shown in facing the pandemic, as well as their commitment to the company in general.
Prior to the Home Depot wage increases, employees were already being recognized by the company in other ways. Hourly associates were given expanded time off in recognition of the fact that they might need to visit or care for sick relatives, quarantine due to exposure to the coronavirus, and take care of their children. As the pandemic forced many schools to shut down and transition to virtual learning, some parents chose to send their children to day care during hours that would typically be devoted to school. For many Home Depot employees, however, this was not an option. Day care can be extremely expensive, even for people working full time. Paying a babysitter isn’t always affordable either, and Home Depot recognized that some parents needed to spend more time with their children to ensure that they were taken care of. Additionally, limited the exposure of these children to people outside their household helped curtail the spread of COVID-19.
Home Depot also offered temporary weekly bonuses for employees. Although these were not equal to the permanent Home Depot wage increase mentioned above, they still were valued by employees and made a significant difference for some. Temporary weekly bonuses were not only beneficial to employees, however. During the initial days of the virus, many people who were classified as essential workers debating whether or not to remain on with their current jobs. The temporary weekly bonuses acted as incentives for employees, ensuring that they felt motivated to continue working for Home Depot. It was also a way of recognizing their sacrifice. When working for a company that sells decor and building material supplies, employees can generally expect to work all year round. But this can be more difficult to tackle when a pandemic is raging on across the world, which Home Depot recognized.
The Impact of the Home Depot Raises
This kind of raise can make a big difference for employees of Home Depot across the country. It should be noted that not all people that work in retail earn above the minimum wage. Even those that do earn above the minimum wage may not necessarily earn much more than the minimum wage. This is why it’s generally considered significant when retail chains offer broad wage increases like the Home Depot wage increases. Where employees have previously been relying on money management tactics dependent on wages that are often fairly low, they may now be able to afford their cost of living more easily, and perhaps even buy more products for fun.
Part of the reason why these types of wage increases are so significant is that the United States has something of a poverty issue. There is a major wealth gap between those that have copious amounts of expendable income and those that can barely afford to pay rent. Many individuals that begin considering bankruptcy services do not do so because they have failed to manage their money well. Rather, they do so because they have no choice, and because the work that they have done can not possibly cover rent, utilities, and other expenses. Covering these expenses can be particularly difficult for people with children, which includes quite a bit of Home Depot employees. Therefore, even a small wage increase can make a major difference in the long term.
The reality is that many Americans are dealing with a significant amount of debt. While some of this debt can be attributed to reckless spending with credit cards, it can also be difficult for Americans to get ahead at all without taking on federal or private loans. For example, many Americans are encouraged to attend college in order to obtain higher paying jobs. However, they often must take on student loans in order to pay for college tuition if tuition is not covered through grants and scholarships. Some of these loans may be federal, in which case they’re often subsidized. But some might be private, in which case they come with high interest rates and can take decades to pay off. Additionally, people should consider the fact that other debts, like medical debt, can make it difficult for individuals to pay their regular bills.
Some of the jobs that people may attempt to gain college degrees to obtain may not pay enough for them to pay off their student loans. Or they may simply not be very available. For these reasons, many individuals end up working at locations like hardware stores and grocery stores in order to pay off their bills. But this is not inherently a bad thing, especially when those stores pay enough for their employees to not only get by but thrive. There is a great deal of opportunity in the Home Depot wage increases. These wage increases are essentially opportunities that the company is able to provide when many other businesses, including big businesses, are unable to do so.
Home Depot’s Resilience During the Pandemic
Many businesses have struggled throughout the pandemic, downsizing or even shutting down permanently. This is why the Home Depot wage increases may be surprising to some. It may seem difficult to believe at first that any company would be able to not only survive in the midst of the pandemic but thrive. But although Home Depot is not profiteering off of the pandemic, it does have several components of its business functionality that work within the pandemic.
Additionally, while Home Depot is often associated with products that people want for their homes as opposed to products that they need for their homes, there are many necessities sold within these stories. For example, people that need to clean out their gutters can look to Home Depot for necessary tools, as well as cleaning solutions and ladders. Now is actually a good time for Home Depot to work with this audience. Typically, people would be able to call upon handymen and other contractors in order to help them with practical tasks that they may not feel equipped to handle. But since the pandemic, it has been more difficult for handymen and contractors to make house calls safely. When they do, they may work off of a more limited calendar in order to ensure that they don’t spread the coronavirus.
While this is practical and valuable, it still leaves plenty of Americans without help as they work to make improvements on their homes. Therefore, these people can attempt to do so themselves, ordering kits and products from Home Depot in order to help themselves. Home Depot has a wide range of products, ranging from those that appeal to experts to those that are more beginner friendly. While the pandemic rages on, it’s important that individuals are able to access what they need, and Home Depot allows for that.
Another advantage of Home Depot is that it allows people to order items online or shop in stores. Generally speaking, Home Depot stores were able to stay open even as other stores shut down during the early days of the pandemic. This is one major reason why the Home Depot wages were even initially possible. Home Depot, as a home improvement store, was classified as an essential business and was, therefore, able to stay open despite the fact that many areas including these stores required other businesses to close their doors. Home improvements and repairs were classified, in other words, as essential.
For some businesses, attracting customers remained difficult even if they were deemed essential. This is because lots of people were frightened of entering Home Depot’s doors and potentially exposing themselves to the virus. This is why it is fortunate that Home Depot also had products that were available online. These online stores had long been useful. Roughly 95% of online shoppers will read reviews before buying a product; and even if the product is available in store, they will often simply order online. This created a significant amount of revenue for Home Depot.
Furthermore, Home Depot could offer shoppers the ability to pick up products outside of the store itself, whether they were ordering products online or calling to pick them up from the store. This was especially beneficial for larger products that could be difficult to ship online, like stone slabs for sale.
Another benefit that made Home Depot wage increases possible is the fact that many people were looking for alternate sources of income after the pandemic struck. Many individuals lost their jobs or earned less money, and sought ways for their incomes to be supplemented. For some, the opportunity with the most appeal was flipping houses. Flipping houses involves individuals investing in properties, often those with significant damage or other issues causing the property to lose value, and investing in repairs. These home investors will then put the house back on the market and sell it for a profit.
In order to attempt this kind of investment, stores like Home Depot are often required. Employees helped people find the products for these types of investments, ultimately contributing towards a revenue stream that would make Home Depot wage increases possible.
The year, again, has been very difficult. But this company clearly intends to invest in its employees, not only through offering Home Depot wage increases, but by making it more possible for employees to take care of their families throughout the pandemic. Employees are not only employees, after all, but also family members and caregivers. With wage increases and recognition, Home Depot is attempting to honor that.