For Wristband Resources, which is based outside Milwaukee, the second Friday in March 2020 was “D-Day.” There were no more concerts, nor festivals or school retreats. Mike Gengler, the chief information officer, was shuttling between his home and the office, but he didn’t know what to instruct his employees to do. The company employs 140 people and sales dropped to almost zero.
Two weeks later, orders started to trickle again. Mr. Gengler looked at the addresses to find out where his wristbands were being shipped and found an unlikely culprit: commercial building. These Wristband Resources clients were opening their construction sites for the first time and needed an easy way to identify the employees who had completed their temperature screenings.
It was a turning point for Mr. Gengler’s team. They realized that the pandemic could have unexpected uses for multicolored wristbands. His company began shipping wristbands in the summer to hundreds of offices, as soon as they reopened. Wristband Resources ended 2020 with no losses in online retailing. Covid-related wristbands represented about 60% of the company’s revenue. The company ended 2021 with higher online sales than in 2019.
“We’re going out for a laser tag event to celebrate,” Mr. Gengler said. “I’m proud we stayed true to who we were while a lot of our competitors chased P.P.E. products.”
Gengler stated that Omicron’s effects on sales were likely to be due to holiday slowdowns. However, he said that some companies may use wristbands as a way to identify themselves when the mandates for vaccines become effective in the coming weeks.
At Clyde & Co, an international law firm, the wristband strategy provided a measure of relief for team members who were apprehensive about the interpersonal complexities of in-person work. The firm required that its more than 2,000 employees in Britain return to the office at least two days per week beginning in September. However, staff members are now able to work from home after recent government guidance.
Emma Thorne, an assistant to the firm, has been receiving anxious questions from her parents about the impending return. One of her parents is currently undergoing a medical procedure that compromises immunity. Ms. Thorne also has a baby, which is another reason she wants to keep her distance from colleagues. She was able to move around the office with her red wristband without having to repeatedly state her safety preferences.
Source: NY Times