Revija za socijalnu politiku, Svezak 30, Br. 3 (2023)

Veličine fonta:  Mali  Srednji  Veliki

Improving Working Conditions in Retail During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Goran Vukmirović, Radenko Milos Marić, Dražen Marić, Sonja Vučenović, Ksenija Leković, Daniela Nuševa


The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the patterns of employees' behaviour, especially in the retail sector, which requires continuous contact with consumers. The anti-pandemic measures based on physical distance, wearing medical and protective equipment, application of barriers, frequent disinfection of work surfaces and space, use of strict protocols, and safety standards significantly complicate working conditions. This paper aims to analyse and define incentives for upgrading work and working conditions in retail during the COVID-19 pandemic. The scientific importance of the paper is reflected in the fact that analytically and systematically, it defines incentives that will support the behaviour of employees during crises affecting the retail sector. Unlike existing research in trade and retail, which indicated the importance of individual incentives for improving working conditions in periods of crisis, the contribution of this paper is in the comprehensive analysis, systematization, and definition of the importance of all incentives for improving the working conditions of employees in the retail sector. In this context, empirical research was conducted on a sample of 255 employees and it tested the importance of incentives to improve working conditions such as: maintaining a safe and healthy working environment, how to treat infected workers and workers in contact, the existence of detailed instructions for employees and consumers, organizing transportation for workers, financial incentives for employees, reduction of the scope of business activities, shortening of working hours of facilities, security protocols and digitalization of work processes. The survey was conducted among employees in SMEs and large retail chains. The set hypotheses were tested using the Path Analysis or Structural Modeling (SEM) method. The correlation between the retailer size and the differences in the incentives' impact was assessed by employing Multiple Regression Analysis. The research results showed significant deviations in the mentioned incentives depending on the size of the retailer. Based on the obtained results, a set of measures was proposed that social policymakers and retail facility management should implement to improve working conditions in retail and establish a social safety net that will support employees in times of crisis. Guidelines for future research are provided in the paper.

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Revija za socijalnu politiku (Online). ISSN: 1845-6014