Fredy Laiton who has gone above and beyond to implement a multitude of measures to ensure the safety of our 10,000 employees that work on the farms in Colombia. Above is a photo of Fredy taking a brief break to donate flowers to the local hospitals.
As the floral industry comes to an understanding of what is happening across the world and how it will affect our floral sector, it is the day-by-day responsibilities to our employees and customers that is most concerning. Flower companies worldwide have been impacted as their workers’ health and wellbeing are balanced with the need to maintain viable commerce – commerce that supports the families that rely on the flower trade for their livelihood. This whole conundrum has impacted small and large floral businesses that have flourished for years, many of which have been driven to make difficult decisions to pause their operations or close down entirely.
During challenging times, Sunshine Bouquet Company (SSBC) is adamant about acting proactively to find creative solutions, and most importantly, acknowledging that this is a novel human experience we are figuring out together. Leading this charge, outstanding colleagues like Fredy Laiton, our Director of Organizational Development, has been able to sustain employment for our dedicated team of workers at our farms in Colombia.
Under Laiton’s guide, SSBC’s farm workers have been educated on proper hygiene to help protect against contracting and spreading COVID-19. Additionally, increased sanitation and social distancing among workers is now mandatory with the aid of provided protective gear as well as medical and psychological support for those in need. Within hours of realizing the gravity of the situation, Laiton instituted these precautions:
- Temperature screening for employees reporting for work.
- Paid time off for employees with preexisting or high-risk health conditions
- Pregnant women and those over the age of 60 receive paid time off
- Large group training events cancelled
- Personnel transportation disinfected between each trip
- Transport fleet increased to expand personal distances on trips
- 30,000 masks, 2,000 liters of hand sanitizer and 17,000 protective goggles purchased for associates
- Continuous disinfection of offices, floors, cafeterias, walls, post harvests and locker rooms
- Work-from-home allowances for positions that can function off site
All levels of the SSBC operation are focused on the safety and wellbeing for all. Adhering to strict protocols has resulted in a healthy level of stability and allowed our workflow to continue from Colombia into the U.S. without major disruption. SSBC’s owner, John Simko, comments; “Flowers have always been a symbol of joy and hope during difficult times. They make people happy. We are humbled to be able to continue filling orders for our customers, providing income for our invaluable employees, and sharing flowers to brighten homes during this time of uncertainty.”