It is far from business as usual for many organizations and employees across the country today. The spread of the coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented restrictions including the closure of shops, hotels, restaurants, offices and countless other venues worldwide. Most people don’t know their options on easy ways their organization can give back to their employees and community. Whatever the size of your business, from start-up to major airline, small business to global blue-chip, you’ll almost certainly have experienced disruption to your daily operations.
There is stress, anxiety and uncertainty but, we’re also seeing many individuals and industry leaders coming together and finding ways to do good. If you’re keen to give back to your employees, customers and wider community, there has never been a better time to get creative and deploy your resources in new ways. Even small gestures can have a big impact. Here are ways your organization can give back to your employees and community:
Offer useful tools at no cost
Depending on the type of business you run, it could be appropriate to offer some of your tools or resources at no cost during the pandemic. We have seen examples of this across corporate America, with Google making its premium Hangouts subscription free through September to help teachers and students connect while schools are closed. Adobe too has granted educational organizations free access to Cloud apps for teachers and students.
Many apps have also waived subscription fees, with things like personal trainer services and language courses all offering free access to help those sheltering in place to workout, work, learn and relax while isolating at home.
If you have an app, a software package, or a useful tool or resource that could benefit your community at this time, could you waive subscription fees on a temporary basis to make it accessible to all?
Support local businesses on social media
If you have a social media presence, why not use your profile to support local businesses close to your usual business location? If there is a coffee shop your employees love next to the office offering take out for example, they will almost certainly be suffering as many customers remain at home. Give them a shout out if they are offering take out or delivery to help them stay in business and serve your team when you return.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has taken it a step further, promising to reimburse any of his employees who buy coffee or lunch from an independent small business. This is obviously something that will be outside of the budget of many firms but, retweeting or sharing a post from a local business costs nothing, and is sure to be appreciated at this time.
Include them in your Stories, comment on a post, tag local business owners in your own status updates or ask your followers to tag a local business they would like to support. This simple action could be a lifeline for a small business struggling to stay afloat.
Volunteer if you can
Volunteering or donating your expertise to a non-profit or community organization may be something you already do but if it isn‘t, now is a wonderful time to roll your sleeves up and get involved.
From cooking meals at your local church to help feed more vulnerable members of your neighborhood, to getting groceries and medicines for neighbors who can’t get out themselves, there are lots of ways you and your team could make a difference.
Some animal shelters are running out of funds and room – could you volunteer to foster an animal through the pandemic? Could your skills be used to help raise awareness for a particular fundraising initiative? Perhaps you could help a local non-profit or community group by donating your social media marketing expertise or pitching in to answer phone calls?
If you’re looking for something more grass roots, why not dedicate an hour of each work day to speaking to those in the community who may be feeling isolated or lonely? Put a post up on your official social media channels saying anyone missing social contact can call you for a friendly chat.
Paid sick leave
Several larger firms such as Starbucks, Uber, Amazon and Google have announced unlimited or extended paid sick leave allowances for team members affected by coronavirus. With many households feeling the pinch, this is a practical way to alleviate a major source of stress for any of your team struggling with illness right now.
Donate food and care packages
Food and care package donations are an immediate way to help someone affected by the pandemic. Pulling staple grocery boxes, care packages or fruit and vegetable boxes together to donate to your community, customers or team members can be done quickly – and if you team up with local suppliers such as a local bakery, deli or farmer, you could also help those businesses stay afloat.
Rally your customers and social media audience to do good too by pledging to match donations to a specific nonprofit or charity on a specific day. The goal here is to encourage your followers to donate, and whatever they give, you match. Be mindful that many people have lost their income – a $1 challenge, where each follower or customer gives $1 and you match that dollar for dollar demonstrates empathy and awareness.
Offer free online content
Amidst the darkness of the coronavirus epidemic, there have also been countless examples of content creators stepping up to share their work at no cost. From TV chefs creating store cupboard recipes and hosting live cook-alongs to fitness personalities creating live workouts to keep the nation moving, there’s a lot of great content being produced right now. Could you be a part of that movement?
Creating an e-book, hosting a workshop on Instagram Live or sharing your know-how with blog content, quizzes, question and answer sessions or similar is a practical way to serve your community and help them navigate the strange times we’re living in.
Offer access to wellness resources for your team
Your traditional employee wellness program may include gym access or perhaps the occasional massage for your team – things which are currently off limits. Consider how you can replace those regular perks with digital services, such as paying for access to a digital fitness app to keep your team fit and moving at home, subscribing team members to a service such as Headspace to help combat any feelings of anxiety, or offering remote sessions with a therapist or coach to anyone struggling. Lastly, sharing blog posts about fitness or mindfulness could be helpful too. For example, here’s an article about relaxing yoga poses that you could share with your team.
What are you doing to give back? Let me know in the comments!