Anxiety turns to joy during firm's unexpected Covid meeting

When Jenny Beck called all of her staff into a meeting after the Covid-19 lockdown, the mood was anxious.

None of them expected the law firm owner to give each of her 14 employees $1000 to spend.

She said there were tears of joy when she told them. Some staff members were already planning trips to Akaroa, Omarama, Queenstown and Clyde.

The only caveat on ‘‘the bonus’’ was that it had to be spent on accommodation, food at local restaurants and cafes, and at tourist attractions during a holiday over a long weekend.

Inspiration for the initiative came from recent news stories about tourist town businesses suffering following the lockdown, and how they were calling on New Zealanders to visit and spend money there.

Show me the money ... Jenny Beck Law solicitor Ashleigh Mitchell (right) and her colleagues show...
Show me the money ... Jenny Beck Law solicitor Ashleigh Mitchell (right) and her colleagues show their excitement after their boss, Jenny Beck (left), gave each of them $1000 to spend at small businesses. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
‘‘The idea is that it would benefit small business owners and help get the local economy rolling again.

‘‘I also thought it would be fun, in that my staff would be able to report back on their breaks, and give everyone a boost after a pretty weird time.’’

‘‘I’m really pleased that they’ve picked it up and run with it.’’

Jenny Beck Law solicitor Ashleigh Mitchell said she planned to book a bach in Kaiteriteri, and would eat out at local food outlets.

‘‘There’s a lot to do in Abel Tasman National Park. We’ll be hiring kayaks and exploring the national park ... and seeing what other sorts of attractions and activities we can get amongst.’’

She said it felt good to support New Zealand’s small businesses which were struggling in the present financial climate.

‘‘It’s given a real boost to team morale over this time.’’

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