The U.S. Postal Service’s unofficial motto — “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” — was called into question during the polar vortex when the agency halted mail service in some areas because of extreme temperatures.

You know who didn’t stop? Field service technicians. They were still out there, fixing furnaces, power lines, oil pipelines and other critical equipment.

When fires destroy and hurricanes dump water over entire cities, who is still working? Yep, field service techs.

They can’t call it quits when it’s too cold or their area is flooded — and they deserve our thanks.

While you can’t get your clients to always be nice to these men and women, you can show your gratitude day in and day out. And what better day to start than today, Employee Appreciation Day in the U.S.

Here are some suggestions on how to show your field techs a little love and appreciation.

Pay Overtime Gladly

If a non-exempt tech works more than 40 hours in a single week (or eight hours in a single day in California and some other areas), he must be paid time-and-a-half for the extra hours. This is the law, and it’s straightforward, yet managers often balk about shelling out the extra money. Remember, these employees might have braved terrible conditions to help your clients, so pay the overtime gladly. No complaints!

Be Flexible

When the weather is nice and the problems are somewhat predictable, relax a bit and allow your techs the same privilege. While you can’t give comp time in lieu of overtime, you can give people extra days off to reward them for hard work. People are more willing to sacrifice in the moment when they know there will be a reward later on.

Say Thanks — Privately and Publicly

Not only does the world shut down without field service techs, your company goes out of business without their talent and hard work. So, say thank you. Repeatedly. If the local media comes knocking at your door to ask about how your company deals with the latest inclement weather, give credit to the field service techs. They’ve earned it. Of course, you also need to say thank you to people’s face. When in doubt, say thanks!

Encourage Customers to Say Thanks, Too

When bad weather strikes, people can be cranky. It’s understandable. But subtly remind customers that the professional who’s coming to fix the problem must deal with the same bad weather — and driving a van or truck to get there, while her family may be at home. If you call to confirm the appointment, put in a good word for the techs. “Your tech will be there between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Please remember to be kind! She’s put in 60 hours already this week because of the nasty weather.”

Of course, all of these tips can (and should) be used year round — even in places where the sun always shines and the streets don’t flood. But remember, this is a hard job all year, and it’s twice as difficult when Mother Nature gets in a bad mood.

Techs have earned our thanks, so remember to give it.

About Suzanne Lucas

Suzanne LucasSuzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers. She now writes about Human Resources and Business for a number of different publications.

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