Business having a positive social impact through this global pandemic

The COVID-19 global pandemic has posed significant challenges for business owners and employees worldwide. Many companies, including Microsoft and Google, have transitioned to a work from home set up to do their part in mitigating the spread of the virus. However, adjusting to this abrupt change is not easy. Many people are experiencing COVID-19 related anxiety as employees adapt to unusual working environments and the challenges that come from working from home, especially while daycare centers, preschools, and many recreational facilities are closed. We are experiencing the birth of a new version of work-life balance. 

Still, as we navigate this ‘new normal’ together, it is worth recognizing the good things that are happening around the world amidst this highly stressful situation. To help inspire us as employers, employees, and communications professionals finding new ways to guide our clients, we have found four businesses that are creating solutions for the newly found set of everyday problems the public is now facing. 

1) Audible launches Audible Stories, making a wide selection of kids’ stories free to download.

The global audio-storytelling company has made a selection of children’s educational and general-interest titles available to download onto any desktop, laptop, phone or tablet to help keep children dreaming, learning, and “just being kids”. The titles include classics such as Moby Dick and Hamlet and are available in six languages; English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Japanese.

2) Facebook creates a $100 million grant program for small businesses dealing with the impacts of COVID-19

The grant program has been created to help ease the burden for 30,000 small businesses in 30 nations. As Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, puts it; “Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and many of the people who run these businesses are heavily affected by the crisis”. While it’s not yet clear how the funds will be distributed, Facebook says that it will reveal more information and begin taking applications in the coming weeks. In the meantime, interested businesses can sign-up to get more information here

3) Car sharing company, Evo, available for essential trips only. 

On March 25, Evo announced its efforts in flattening the COVID-19 curve. The service-based company wants to be available for front line workers who may rely on them to get to work, pick up emergency groceries or medicine and as a result, it has asked all Evo users to only rent cars for essential trips.  

4) Revolution Foods and closed American schools work together to find ways to provide food for students in need

Understanding that 30.4 million of American children rely on school-provided meals as a main source of food intake, Revolution Foods, a company that provides meals to schools regularly, is now working with schools in San Francisco and Boston to get free meals to children staying at home due to COVID-19 school closures. As part of the initiative, families can go to specific locations to pick up breakfast and lunch for their kids.

The time is now for businesses to get creative in their approaches to supporting their customers and the wider community. As impact communicators and consultants, it’s our job to think beyond communicating client news and to encourage a new approach where impact continues to be at the core of our decision making, and that of our brands or clients