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A tribute to essential workers, especially our strata heroes

They move silently among us but until quite recently rarely were our essential workers acknowledged for the tasks that they perform.

While most of us took heed of the stay at home messaging from our federal and state leaders, essential workers across the country were bravely continuing their jobs. Selflessly risking their health and safety to serve and support, protect and improve the health and well-being of people in their communities, these same workers were often exposed to erratic and abusive behaviour from the public, for reasons out of their control.

While these workers have traditionally toiled away at their tasks unnoticed, and dare we say unappreciated, their efforts in the fight against coronavirus have at last been recognised and applauded, both in Australia and further abroad.

Worldwide recognition for emergency workers

In Britain, ad agencies launched posters and billboards offering their thanks to all the “croc wearin’, patient carin’, stethoscope slingin’, bin collectin’, letter postin’, prescription fillin’, shelf stackin’, truck drivin’, loo roll deliverin’ heroes”, and taking to their balconies, doorsteps and rooftops to loudly applaud.

In the United States, fighter jets flew over Philadelphia and New York City as a salute to the workers battling this crisis.

In Paris, portraits of nurses, doctors and other essential workers were projected in front of the Eiffel Tower in a tribute to those facing additional risks during the pandemic.

In Australia, the acknowledgements have been a little more subdued. A major telecommunications company turned over its Bourke Street billboard in Melbourne to the nation to share a message of appreciation while independent breweries from across Australia teaming up to gift a four pack to essential workers.

Elsewhere, editors of 14 daily newspapers – covering key population centres across NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT – encouraged their readers to share the story of one local health worker before dedicating their front pages to these workers’ stories.

Yet while it has been those on the front line, such as the police, health workers and ambulance drivers who have been lauded publicly, there are huge numbers of employees who fit into other categories who have also been doing their bit to keep strata residents safe.

 

Praise for strata contractors

While most strata residents headed indoors to lessen our exposure to the coronavirus health pandemic, these selfless individuals ploughed on for the greater good.

The cleaners who sanitise our entrance ways, lifts, stairs and facilities, the building managers, the gardeners and landscapers who continue to maintain our lawns, gardens and rooftop spaces, the garbage collectors, the maintenance crews who repair and take care of our building. To all our strata contractors, we say thank you.

But short of purchasing some pyrotechnics, spending thousands on advertising or taking to the skies, what can we do to protect our shining lights for their efforts during this pandemic?

They say some of the best things in life are for free. So one of the best and easiest ways we can help is to ensure we don’t add to our workers stress loads by taking undue risks or unnecessarily exposing ourselves or others.

This can be as simple as ensuring we are physical distancing when waiting our turn for the lift or making our way through common areas.

We should continue to cover our mouths and nose should we cough or sneeze, dispose contaminated items properly and regularly clean all “high-touch” surfaces. This includes doorknobs and handles, benchtops and tabletops, bathroom fixtures, toilets, our devices, keyboards and bedside tables.

But perhaps the best way we can lighten the load of strata contractors and minimise stress is by being kind.

When we see them hard at work we can stop and introduce ourselves, enquire after their health and that of their family members. Make sure we let them know just how much we appreciate all they are doing to care for us and our property.

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