One might argue that the following of instructions to hunker down and do nothing in the face of a global health crisis goes against human nature. As humans, we are hard-wired to act, to care, to intervene and to preserve life.
Science has shown there is a positive impact of socially distancing during this pandemic. It is absolutely the RIGHT thing to do. Social isolation, however, is optional.
Learning about the many ways that businesses are reaching out to help others, from behind quarantined doors, is encouraging and inspiring.
Here are several excellent examples of doing something while keeping others (and yourself) safe.
1. Whipper Snapper Distillery
At this stage, we all have realised not only the lack toilet paper on the shelves, but also the lack of hand sanitiser. Furthermore, the crafty ones that tried to DIY their own hand sanitiser (guilty) know that trying to get ethanol is like asking for liquid gold.
With extraordinary circumstances comes extraordinary measures.
Whipper Snapper Distillery has teamed up with two companies to turn their whisky distillery into a 24 hour ethanol factory committed to produce as much and as cheap as possible. Ferngrove Wines will be supplying the wine for distillation and Labwest will turn the product into sanitiser and manage the distribution.
The final products will be designated to people on the frontline – healthcare, nursing homes, emergency services and critical services. They will not be selling directly to the public.
This is a great example of businesses adapting not only for personal reasons, but to help the community when they need it the most.
2. Click Frenzy Travel
On the surface, hearing about a travel-oriented business moving forward at a time when so many travel restrictions and travel bans are in place seems bizarre at best, and heartless at worst.
However, Click Frenzy Travel proceeded with its annual travel sale to help serve a greater good. Grant Arnott, managing director, agrees that a travel sale at this time sounds “ludicrous”, but the sale event had a different focus and a higher purpose.
The company deviated from its typical Click Frenzy format to become “Click Frenzy Places in Need.”
The change helped to focus on assisting smaller businesses within the travel industry that are struggling to stay afloat between the bushfires and the travel restrictions. The general idea was to give a boost to companies in lesser-known areas with the classification “little known secrets and stunning treasures.”
How Did Click Frenzy Places in Need Work?
In excess of 500 business took part in the event, and customers purchased holiday trip packages, flights, accommodations, car hire, excursions, and shopping while on vacation.
Each purchase has flexible dates and cancellation terms so customers were able to buy with confidence. An event like this offered a bit of hope and something good to look forward to in the future.
3. Digital Hitmen
Combining the necessary with a touch of fun, Digital Hitmen ran a contest via our Instagram and Facebook accounts.
- The Contest – This fun and easy contest simply asked participants to follow the Digital Hitmen Instagram account and tag a friend.
- The Prize – One lucky winner would get ten rolls of emergency toilet paper delivered to their door (within the Perth metropolitan area). As we all know, these are worth more than their weight in gold at the moment.
- The Outcome – A bit of fun, some new friends, and the sharing of a valuable resource.
A United States-based company that works with its clients to implement automation of routine and redundant tasks, ServiceNow partnered with Washington State to build an app that connects the state’s health department services efficiently.
ServiceNow’s CEO, Bill McDermott, and the app developers in Washington State, are providing the new app free of charge to any government entity. The app reduces time-consuming tasks, such as manually entering data, that slow response times. It can efficiently deliver important email messages as well as rally workers for jobs.
The app is free to any government agency indefinitely, and other useful pandemic apps are in development as well.
5. Who Gives a Crap
An eco-conscious company that is revolutionising the toilet paper industry one roll at a time, Who Gives A Crap began with a mission to help provide toilets to some of the estimated 2.3 billion people across the globe who lack simple toileting facilities.
During this global crisis, Who Gives A Crap, saw their stock totally depleted. In response to the continued need, the company launched an Instagram campaign to help those without toilet paper. They are asking people to send their spare toilet paper so it can go to those who have none.
6. Woolworths and Coles
A side-effect of the pandemic is running out of staple food items, toilet paper, and cleaning products. Shoppers are literally fighting for products. Behaviour like this makes shopping a frustrating and frightening experience for the elderly and those with disabilities.
Two retailers, Woolworths and Coles, have created special rules for shoppers. In many cases, there are strict limits on the number of essential products. In addition to a limit of one pack of toilet paper per customer, there are now limits on items such as hand sanitiser, paper towels, pasta, rice, and flour.
In addition to adjusting store hours to give employees time to properly clean and stock, extra casual workers are coming in to help keep things running as smoothly as possible.
One particularly brilliant plan both companies have in place is special shopping hours for the elderly, disabled and those that work in essential health services. During the specified hours, qualifying customers can gather their groceries in relative peace and without fear of combat. Reports suggest that IGA supermarkets are also testing the separate time slot.
7. The Top Global Social Media Platforms
Social media received its fair share of blowback for failing to protect users from extensive misinformation campaigns in recent years.
Perhaps it is a case of learning from mistakes, or maybe it is the severity of the consequences, but social media enlisted itself in the fight against Coronavirus misinformation.
Social media giants Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Reddit, along with Google and Microsoft, banded together to make a joint statement on Facebook. The collective agreed to take numerous measures to help keep people safe from disinformation as well as misinformation during the pandemic.
All groups signed the statement and wisely took a united front on maintaining the facts and integrity of information posted on various avenues of social media.
The move comes as the pressure to sift out twisted facts, half-truths, and bold lies increases. Because so many people make social media a significant part of their news and information, a coordinated effort to protect users is in progress.
As the Coronavirus spread, a glut of articles and videos touting fake Coronavirus curse, bogus testing methods, and misleading claims that are harmful to the public followed it.
In the middle of what the World Health Organization is calling an “infodemic” faith in social media’s ability to police false claims, a number of panic-inducing announcements are highly suspect. According to a report from website trustworthiness watchdog, Newsguard, by the beginning of March, fraudulent health websites had 142 times more social media traffic than the World Health Organization or the United States’ Centres for Disease Control.
In an effort to protect the public from deceptive sites, Newsguard launched a website dedicated to calling out fake information sites. The Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center is where the general public can visit if they see COVID-19 related information that seems to suspect.
Google seems to speak for all of the group when it calls this a ‘pivotal moment’ for these companies. The world will be watching to learn the degree of success these heavy hitters garner in this crucial endeavour.
Small Businesses With Big Hearts
Throughout Australia and around the world, small businesses are pitching in to try and help members of their communities as we struggle through the Coronavirus outbreak. Here are a couple of Perth-based businesses that are assisting others in making it through the pandemic.
- The Naked Butcher in Mundaring. Butcher shop owner, Gary Hine, is making his business 100% online to protect his staff and customers from the threat of the coronavirus. Customers may order online and will receive a notification when they can drive to the shop for their order. Gary’s staff members will load the order, and the customer doesn’t need to get out of their car.
- Coogee Beach Bakery in Coogee. Bakery owner, Jackie Mayoss, is offering free delivery of bread, as well as staples like milk to the bakery’s customers in the area. Jackie is happy to provide the service as her way to help people who may have no access to essentials.
It is encouraging to see kindness, even during these uncertain times when the coronavirus is rampant throughout every corner of the world.
It is reassuring to know that the good people who own and operate these businesses are finding ways to help those who are experiencing difficulties. It is natural to be concerned about this pandemic. However, there is a large amount of comfort to be taken from these known acts of selflessness.