The COVID-19 pandemic caused tremendous challenges for businesses in numerous industries. Despite such hardships, many company leaders and whole sectors explored ways to help the greater good by combating the virus.
Here are seven fascinating and inspiring examples.
1. Offering Air Filtration Expertise
Scientists quickly learned that COVID-19 primarily spreads as a respiratory virus. That fact led to health officials recommending mask usage and social distancing. As research continued, researchers realized that improving air filtration and letting more fresh air into rooms were also crucial steps.
Filtered air’s value came as no surprise to people in the art museum industry. Those facilities already feature tightly controlled environments to limit the damaging effects on precious, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Many art museums upgraded their already advanced air filtration systems before reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. A museum organization also published a best-practices guide for interested people during the health crisis.
One California art museum often doubles as a “breathing center” during wildfires and other events causing air pollution. That’s due to the facility having cleaner-than-average air all the time.
As more businesses explore how to open safely, they can refer to what art museums have done to improve airflow and quality.
2. Providing Free Accommodations for Health Care Workers
Medical workers regularly put their lives at risk to help others. However, as many worked in COVID-19 wards, they took care to prevent transferring possible threats to loved ones. Doing that often meant spending weeks at a time away from their families.
That’s a difficult choice to make, but many hotel providers at least ensured health care workers would not need to pay out-of-pocket to stay away from home. They offered complimentary accommodations to people who could prove they worked in the medical field. Many Airbnb hosts did the same.
These examples highlight how the tourism industry stayed relevant during these unprecedented times. Many government restrictions halted non-essential travel, making formerly bustling hotels nearly empty. The accommodation industry used those available spaces to give health care workers peace of mind during an otherwise exceptionally stressful period.
3. Aiding Biopharmaceutical Companies With Water Filtration Needs
Many people don’t realize that water is one of the main ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines and the medicines used to treat it. However, it’s not sufficient for biopharmaceutical companies to use tap water. Their strict production requirements call for ultra-pure liquid.
COVID-19 made water filtration companies especially relevant during the race to stop people from becoming ill and suffering complications. Ongoing access to filtered water helped companies engage in research and production during the pandemic, often ramping up significantly to meet demand.
It also helped that pharmaceutical clients could rely on filtration providers with decades of expertise. For example, MECO supplied the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. They rose to the challenge of water filtration during COVID-19 more recently.
Pharmaceutical companies need reliable equipment to meet deadlines and satisfy stakeholders. That’s true at any time, but especially during a life-threatening global pandemic. Water filtration specialists help them maintain trouble-free operations.
4. Serving Food to Essential Workers
While many industries shut down during COVID-19, other sectors found themselves busier than ever. People flocked to grocery stores, trying to stock up before they hunkered down at home. Other businesses, ranging from data centers to veterinary offices, could not close because they provided vital services.
Even in the busiest weeks, workers must remember to eat. Many people in the restaurant sector made it easier to do that. For example, McKinsey & Company supported an effort called Feed the Frontlines that purchases meals from local restaurants for workers fighting to stop COVID-19.
In other cases, food truck operators that usually found their schedules full of festival bookings dealt with the pandemic-caused downtime by setting up in parts of communities where essential businesses still operated. Then, employees could find hot food fast and not have to deal with the hassles of packing meals before coming to work.
5. Helping Remote Workers Stay Productive
Many company leaders decided that having people work from home where possible was a proactive way to curb the virus. Unfortunately, some people’s living situations don’t make it easy to do that. Some have toddlers, disrespectful housemates, or cramped conditions that don’t facilitate setting up a home office.
Friyey is an Indian startup aiming to tackle that issue while supporting companies. The brand began offering co-working spaces before the pandemic developed. Now, it has a revenue-sharing model for nightclubs, bars, and other businesses that typically stay empty during the day.
Such facilities now stay approximately 70% full most days. They provide Wi-Fi, power outlets, and complimentary bottles of water. This scenario creates a mutually beneficial situation for people who find it challenging to work from home during the pandemic and business owners who want additional income to help them through a tough economic period.
6. Changing Production Capability and Distribution to Meet New Needs
Many parts of the world have suffered the ramifications of product shortages during the pandemic, and some areas still experience them. For example, some health care workers donned garbage bags when medical gowns ran out. Schools faced issues with hand sanitizer and disinfectant shortages.
Business leaders frequently wondered what they could do to help and often realized that pivoting to make new products was a viable possibility. Whisky distilleries began making alcohol-based cleaners, while apparel brands tasked teams with making face masks instead of fancy frocks.
The outdoor goods industry, in particular, rose to the new challenges by changing the items it produced. A snowboard maker started creating face shields, while sunglasses providers became sources of medical goggles.
In other cases, outdoors brands recognized that their merchandise had a broader reach. Some sent socks to hospitals or provided health care workers with waterproof pouches that people could sanitize between uses. An energy bar brand supplied essential personnel with its products, too.
7. Offering Freebies and Discounts to Vaccinated Customers
Most health experts agree that vaccinating people against COVID-19 is one of the most effective ways to fight the virus. Despite several vaccines now being available and eligibility opening in many U.S. states, some people remain hesitant about these injections.
Doubts may arise because these are all-new vaccines, although all met established safety requirements during trials. Other individuals — especially those who are younger or low-risk — may believe there’s no need for them to get vaccinated. Businesses are doing their part to reward people for getting their shots.
Krispie Kreme launched a year-long program that gives vaccinated individuals a free donut. Office supply brand Staples offered complementary lamination for people’s vaccination cards. There’s even a Michigan marijuana dispensary giving a free joint to every vaccinated adult.
You’ll also find restaurants offering discounts to people who prove they’re vaccinated. That could be a crucial move for getting consumers in the mood to eat out again after such a prolonged period of restaurant closures.
How Can You Assist in the Public Health Battle?
The world has made extraordinary progress in fighting COVID-19. However, many health experts say it may not disappear any time soon, especially as new variants emerge.
There’s still time to think about what your business might do to make a positive impact in these challenging circumstances. The goodwill you generate will outlast the pandemic.
Let these examples kickstart your thoughts about using your resources to help others. A great starting point is to think about your company’s strengths. Then, evaluate the most practical and beneficial ways to lend a hand.