In recent weeks we have seen different organizations respond in different ways to the coronavirus pandemic.
Many companies, mainly digital technology companies, have done a lot to ease access to their products and services. In doing so, they have helped individuals work from home more easily, parents home school their children, and they have prevented people from getting bored if they are self-isolating or are in lockdown.
However, there are many other large, small, commercial and public organizations out there that are responding in both inspiring and holistic ways to the crisis by…
…helping out with shortages
Not able to continue with the business, as usual, the employees at Zen Nails in Brentwood, Tennessee alongside a bunch of volunteers have been working hard to make face masks, face shields, and gowns for local healthcare workers. So far they have made more than 2,000 and have donated these to local hospitals.
…giving away their intellectual property
Medtronic, the medical device company, is currently running its ventilator production lines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as it tries to ramp up production by 40%. However, they are finding that demand is still outstripping supply and they can’t keep up.
As a result, Medtronic is making the design specifications of its Puritan Bennett 560 (PB 560) ventilator freely available to any manufacturers, inventors, startups, and academic institutions so that they can pitch in and help scale world-wide ventilator production amid a global shortage of the devices.
The company has its PB 560 product and service manuals, design requirement documents, manufacturing documents, software and schematics available at medtronic.com/openventilator.
…looking after the vulnerable
The City of Toronto is in the process of acquiring hotels and rental buildings so that it can look after the homeless and facilitate social distancing. So far, they have acquired five hotels and are in the process of buying another five as well as two rental buildings that are currently vacant. These acquisitions will be added to the nine existing sites that the city has already opened to help the homeless in this time of need.
…helping local communities that are adversely impacted
In the early part of March, Microsoft asked all of their Seattle employees who could work from home to do so. The reduction of personnel on their campuses reduced the need for many of the hourly workers that support their campus operations. These include cafe workers, shuttle drivers and on-site tech and audio-visual support personnel among others. However, Microsoft committed to continue to pay the 4,500 hourly employees who work on their campuses their regular wages even if their work hours were reduced.
But, they also recognized that the move to remote working and the resulting reduction in campus numbers would adversely affect many other local businesses and communities that rely directly or indirectly on a fully staffed campus. As a result and along with other Seattle based organisations, Microsoft has made an initial $1 million anchor donation to help launch a regional COVID-19 Response Fund (CRF) to help address these emerging community needs.
…keeping us mindful of the potential mental health and well-being issues that may arise out of the lockdown.
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, a City of London-based charity, has just launched an awareness campaign around their mental health initiative, This is Me, which encourages individuals to share their story with their colleagues.
Their research shows that being able to talk openly about emotional and mental well-being can make a real difference to individual lives and, and in some cases, can save lives.
Now, this example does not really fit with the other examples but is a timely and relevant reminder, particularly for service and support teams given that many of them have just transitioned to remote working and, at the same time, are facing unprecedented levels of demand.
These examples show in a small way how many organizations are responding in inspiring and holistic ways to help make a difference to the crisis that we currently face.
However, what is clear is that customers are watching too.
Research from Edelman shows that 90% of customers from across the world believe that, “Brands must do everything they can to protect the well-being and financial security of their employees and their suppliers, even if it means suffering big financial losses until the pandemic ends.”
If they don’t, then 71% of global consumers say that brands “will lose my trust forever” and this will have a huge impact on their likelihood to buy from that brand again in the future.