Queens, NY National manufacturer Crystal Window & Door Systems was one of a select few fenestration and façade companies to be featured by leading national trade publication US Glass as one of the media platform’s 2020 Best Companies to Work For. Normally focused on compensation, benefits, and other cultural aspects a company offers its employees, US Glass decided this year to concentrate its 2020 Best Companies to Work For survey on what companies have done for employees and customers during the prolonged pandemic. Five leading companies including Crystal Windows were selected as winners and featured in the October 2020 issue of US Glass Magazine.
“It is rewarding that the tireless hard work, dedication, and creativity of my management team in serving our employees has been recognized on a national level by this prestigious industry publication,” said Crystal president Steve Chen.
“It is so hard to describe what New York City went through at the peak of this pandemic, and Crystal executives worked fearlessly to keep employees safe, engaged, and informed so they could be as productive as possible for our trade customers and the construction industry.”
Crystal’s New York facility was deemed essential to supply critical construction projects and continued limited production for these projects using minimal staff during the height of the mandated shutdown in New York City, which was hit the hardest by the pandemic of any city in the nation. A crisis management team of Crystal’s top executives met daily to address changing circumstances, communicate with those working remotely, plan for reopening when permitted, and coordinate with Crystal’s other production plants around the country.
“We used all forms of communication to reach our employees regularly to keep them updated on operating status, when they could expect to return to the plant, and what safety measures we were implementing,” said Chen. “All employees that could work remotely did so, using our comprehensive computer platform to handle quotations, orders, and other projects. We also reached out to customers frequently to let them know when to expect production and deliveries, and coordinate with their own changing conditions.”
During the peak of the shutdown in New York, Crystal offered a wage bonus, a meal allowance, and mileage reimbursement for employees to use their own vehicles to avoid commuting by public transportation, considered a high risk factor for spreading the coronavirus. Crystal revamped production and administrative areas with extensive cleaning and disinfecting, enhanced and separated workstations, installed partitions where necessary for physical distancing, and repainted walls and floors of several areas of the factory. Employees returning in person to the facility were provided with face masks and other protective equipment as appropriate and temperature checks were performed daily. In later months, Crystal’s HR department coordinated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital of Queens to provide employees during work hours a series of virtual workshops, led by doctors and other medical professionals, on various physical and mental health topics related to the pandemic.
“The Crystal team really went the extra mile for our construction trade customers while keeping our employees’ well-being top priority during the peak of the pandemic,” said Chen. “Thankfully, we avoided layoffs, and as time progressed, we were able to ramp up production to normal levels and resume our regular operating hours. Our sales across the country are doing well, we are introducing new products, and the company is emerging from the crisis stronger than before.”
US Glass editors reviewed not only how companies managed their operations, but also how they communicated with employees, maintained a sense of community despite remote working, what policies were instituted to promote safety, health, and well-being of employees, and how companies connected with the community.