A necessary step in fixing a problem is identifying that it exists in the first place. For example, most Americans say that safe working conditions are important to them, and they believe in fair pay. But, simply identifying these values isn’t going to effect change. So, if you want worker-friendly businesses to thrive and expand, if you believe that workers deserve fair pay and treatment, now is a great time to consider taking action. It won’t take a lot of time or money. It won’t change your life or become a burden. And, you’ll feel good about taking action to improve a situation you care about. Here’s what you can do:
Keep track of what you know.
We’ve all heard that we need to “do our homework” when it comes to choosing which businesses to support. Could a phrase possibly be less appealing that this one? If bellying up to your laptop on a daily basis for a bit of research before deciding which businesses to patronize doesn’t sound appealing to you, consider a simpler alternative. Maybe, instead, we can just keep better track of what we already know.
One way to do this is to create a folder on your computer (or a bookmark in your browser) where you can easily stash and access information you come across about issues that matter to you. If you read an article about a new mom-and-pop store opening up in your area, save it to the folder. If you read another about how workers at a large chain retail store are striking for better pay, save that too. You’ll be able to easily access the information later for your reference if you start to forget. And, just participating in the act of saving the information could help you retain it.
This is a work-smarter-not-harder strategy. You’re not doing any extra legwork here, just making better use of the efforts you’re already investing.
Know that you’re not alone.
According to Pew Research Center, around half of Americans (53 percent) say that it’s important to support businesses that treat workers well. There is some division among party lines. Sixty-two percent of Democrats and Independents who lean toward the Democratic Party say that worker pay and working conditions are important to their purchasing choices. Forty-two percent of Republican and Republican-leaning Independents agree.
If you care about supporting workers, it’s helpful to know that you’re not alone. Many feel the way that you do. However, it’s also important to recognize how many Americans aren’t concerned with these matters. Your contribution matters.
Support businesses that are worker-friendly.
Despite expressing concern for issues that affect workers, only 35 percent of democrats and 22 percent of republicans surveyed said that they often pay extra to support businesses that offer good working conditions and pay to their employees. If we really believe in these values, we should work toward acting like it more consistently. Although it can be difficult to resolve to pay more, these differences in cost are often marginal. And, the support could make a world of difference in the grand scheme of things.
Tell people what you’re doing.
Share what you’ve learned, and what you’re choosing to do about it, with others. Spread the word to friends, family, and/or your social networks in a way that feels comfortable to you. This could mean just a casual mention of a new business you visited recently and enjoyed when out to dinner with friends. Or, you could share an article via social media about a company near you that’s doing it right. You’re not being insistent, dictatorial, or pushy here — you’re simply sharing information on something that you care about. Perhaps, someone else will follow your lead, and then you’ve multiplied your impact.
Make it a habit.
Changing habits takes time. But, once you’re used to the process of supporting worker-friendly businesses more consistently, it will become second nature. And, it won’t feel as though it’s costing you more money, effort, or time. It won’t seem difficult to continue – it’ll just be seem normal.
Too often it can feel as though our actions alone aren’t enough to make much of a difference. However, there is another, better, way to look at things. Instead, perhaps we should try to act the way we’d like everyone to act. If everyone was willing to invest just a little more attention, time, and yes — sometimes even money, to help improve working conditions and pay, we’d make progress on these matters very quickly.
Tell Us What You Think
How do you support worker-friendly businesses? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.