As Covid-19 infection levels shatter records nationwide due to the surge of the Omicron variant, numerous companies, school systems and organizations face pushback from workers mandated to return to work in person. Top-10 national mortgage lender Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, however, continues to allow its employees to choose whether to return to the office or not.
“Fairway implemented a work-from-home policy immediately after Covid hit in March of 2020,” said Julie Fry, Fairway’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “We’ve continued to assure our teammates that the decision to return to the office is theirs and theirs alone.” More than 80 percent of Fairway employees continue to work from home.
Fairway’s dedication to prioritizing its employees’ safety and health also encompasses several innovative wellness initiatives. Fairway made pro-grade exercise machines available to employees with more than a year of service, enabling them to work out at home, and the company distributed 5,828 machines at a cost of $19.6 million. Fairway also offers virtual fitness classes for employees and their families, as well as parenting webinars and extensive mental health resources.
“The flexibility that Fairway has shown in allowing employees to return to the office or remain at home has greatly reduced stress,” said Amy Slotnik, SVP at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. “Knowing that going back to the office was my choice and not a forced mandate gave me the freedom to decide what was best for me and my family. From the start of the pandemic, Fairway has supported its employees’ health, both physical and mental, above all else.”
Throughout the pandemic, Fairway has granted its teammates extra personal time off to deal with Covid-related challenges – time off that didn’t reduce an employee’s standard PTO.
Anticipating its employees would want additional information about Covid and the company’s response, throughout the pandemic Fairway’s CEO Steve Jacobson has sent out daily messages of encouragement to all employees, and Fairway holds regular Covid update calls, including special guest experts, during which teammates can ask questions and receive answers. Fairway also maintains a dedicated email address employees can use to ask Covid-specific questions any time of day.
Fairway’s non-profit charitable arm Fairway Cares continued its distribution of financial assistance and care packages delivered to individuals and families dealing with critical illness, physical trauma, or the loss of a loved one. Following the outbreak of Covid, Fairway Cares delivered more than 200 nutrition bundles to frontline workers, and over the past two years, the non-profit distributed 728 financial grants and 3,773 care packages to those in need.
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