Best Buy sets up its associates to test themselves for COVID-19

Discussion
Photo: Best Buy
Apr 01, 2021
Matthew Stern

A retail outlet like Best Buy requires at least some staff to work in-store and those associates invariably face the threat of COVID-19 infection. Best Buy is now offering at-home COVID-19 tests for those workers who may have been exposed to the virus in the chain’s stores and warehouses.

The offer of home COVID-19 tests is an addition to a screening smartphone app for the disease that Best Buy put in place early in the pandemic, reports the Star Tribune. When an employee’s answers to the app’s questions indicate a high risk of exposure, they will now be furnished with a home COVID-19 test and will receive their usual pay while awaiting the results.

Best Buy’s performance throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic has been notably strong. Early on, the retailer was able to capitalize on an influx of customers suddenly needing technology and gadgets to facilitate working from home and teaching from home. It also established itself as a leader with its operations, drawing accolades for its curbside and appointment-only shopping experiences.

Best Buy’s employee relations have, however, been less clear cut throughout the pandemic.

Best Buy was early to offer hazard pay as the dangers of the novel coronavirus became known, and it raised its minimum pay rate to $15. The retailer has also promised to give out quarterly bonuses and paid time off for employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations.

In recent weeks, however, employees have claimed that Best Buy has been quietly laying off and cutting the hours of some staff, despite ongoing gains in brick-and-mortar and online sales throughout the third quarter of 2020.

The retailer’s fourth quarter results, reported in late February 2021, beat Wall Street expectations, according to CNBC. The chain is experiencing slowing sales growth, however, which it attributes to people spending less on stay-at-home needs. It expects relatively modest gains or losses in same-store sales throughout 2021.

Best Buy is not the only business to start facilitating home COVID-19 testing. DoorDash recently announced that it would begin delivering two different types of home COVID-19 tests in some markets, according to BBC News.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should every chain retailer have a similar testing policy as the one Best Buy has established to prevent the spread of COVID-19? How much goodwill do you think this move will generate among employees and the customers they serve?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Making it easier to get tested and being able to confidently report to your customer that your stores are safe is a win."
"Anything we can do to support the front lines is great with me. Pay $100 if they bring proof of vaccination and give them take-home COVID-19 test kits, I’m good with it all."
"People on the retail front-line deserve to have this level of comfort available to them."

Join the Discussion!

13 Comments on "Best Buy sets up its associates to test themselves for COVID-19"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

I like this testing policy by Best Buy, and other retailers should consider adopting similar plans. Keeping employees safe and healthy is critical, and this is a meaningful step in doing that. While COVID-19 testing is a good move, Best Buy still has some work to do to build back trust with their employees after the surprising layoffs in the face of strong financial results.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

Anything we can do to support the front lines is great with me. Pay $100 if they bring proof of vaccination and give them take-home COVID-19 test kits, I’m good with it all.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

This is a case of an employer wanting to do the right thing by its employees while improving its chances of staying well staffed and enhancing its sales opportunities. This initiative proves that many things can be done to stay safe and avert infection even if local government doesn’t impose necessary safety measures. Good for Best Buy!

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Sounds like a great idea and good for Best Buy for stepping forward. But why stop at retail chain front-line workers? How about any densely populated office environment? Maybe more importantly, how about schools, teachers and students? Getting schools up and running again is critical to getting parents up and running again. Sounds like we don’t yet know what the “new normal” looks and acts like.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

Testing has been critical in the fight against COVID-19. Making it easier to get tested and being able to confidently report to your customer that your stores are safe is a win, both for team members and the brand.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

It seems that technology is providing more and more ways to simply test for COVID-19. Bravo to Best Buy for taking the steps they are taking. Why should not every retailer do this or use other technologies that are convenient and efficient?

This effort will pay dividends for Best Buy in employee attitude which will translate to efficiency, productivity and most of all positive interactions with shoppers.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

People on the retail front-line deserve to have this level of comfort available to them. The pressure of wondering if you have been exposed and could pass it on to your friends and family is heavy. I love this idea. I’m for anything retailers can do to make store associates feel safer on the job.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

From the beginning Best Buy was an organization to watch and emulate. They created processes and protocols that were focused on safety and health first. That created trust with both customers and employees. Polls have shown that consumer trust is very important during the pandemic. Best Buy continues to push for the highest level of safety and health. Good for them in setting the example for others.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

This is definitely a good thing for those working at the front lines. I hope more retailers adopt this testing for their employees.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Anything large organizations like Best Buy can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and encourage vaccinations is to be welcomed and applauded. Hopefully more retailers will act similarly to support their frontline workers. Now if we can get other industries, offices, schools, governments, etc. to do the same we should be able to end this pandemic more quickly. I am sure customers will be nothing short of fully supportive of such efforts and reward Best Buy with their purchase power.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

Best Buy gets an A for its COVID-19 testing program but a C- for its overall public relations. Not a complete failure but while actions early on during the pandemic were great it is difficult to reconcile the laying off and cutting hours while reporting high earnings. While still not a great move, Best Buy could have positioned the move as being done in the face of anticipated declining sales. It would not be popular but might be understood.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Ah, yes, let’s spoil any moment of altruism by suggesting there’s a sales increase in store for those who practice it.

Bindu Gupta
BrainTrust

This is a great initiative to stop the spread of the virus and keep employees safe! Others should follow for sure.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Making it easier to get tested and being able to confidently report to your customer that your stores are safe is a win."
"Anything we can do to support the front lines is great with me. Pay $100 if they bring proof of vaccination and give them take-home COVID-19 test kits, I’m good with it all."
"People on the retail front-line deserve to have this level of comfort available to them."

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