We are in uncharted territory. Living in the middle of a global crisis – perhaps the largest in a generation – with a 24-hour news cycle always within earshot, it can be easy to get consumed by stress, grief, or a feeling of helplessness.
And it’s true that we don’t yet know how far-reaching the impact of the coronavirus will be, but we do know that people and companies are stepping up, shining a light on the best of humanity during these dark and scary times.
As historian, professor, and best-selling author Yuval Harari wrote:
“The decisions people and governments take in the next few weeks will probably shape the world for years to come. They will shape not just our healthcare systems but also our economy, politics and culture … Yes, the storm will pass, humankind will survive, most of us will still be alive — but we will inhabit a different world.”
What does our world look like once the pandemic has passed?
Unusual times require unusual actions
We are all part of an experiment we never would have entered into on our own volition. (I mean, who would have chosen to suddenly shift to a global home office and homeschooling environment?)
We are affected at every level. As individuals (friends, caregivers, and leaders with responsibilities to our families, communities and organizations), and as companies (hundreds of thousands of which are experiencing massive slow-downs, if not shut-downs).
Necessity is the mother of invention
Even with a daunting economic situation, there are examples of tremendous beauty popping up every day, in the form of human generosity, resilience, and compassion.
And I don’t just mean videos of stranded neighbors singing from their balconies. Enterprises with access to tremendous resources are repurposing equipment, materials, knowledge and skills to produce needed supplies.
When times are tough, it helps to find the people doing good in the world. It can be a light on our path forward.
How companies are choosing compassion in crisis
By bringing people together:
- Deutsche Telekom is gifting 10 GB of additional data to its mobile customers for the next month to support collaboration and communication from home, and help stave off loneliness.
- In Germany, ALDI and McDonald’s entered into a staff-sharing partnership, giving out-of-work McDonald’s employees the opportunity to work at the supermarket chain while additional help is needed.
- Zoom, having recognized that students need to connect virtually for longer, has temporarily lifted the 40-minute time limit on free Basic accounts for schools affected by COVID-19.
By sharing resources:
- Companies like BASF and LVMH have pivoted to start producing hand sanitizer to donate to hospitals and healthcare authorities.
- H&M announced that it would arrange for its supply chain to manufacture personal protective equipment for hospitals and health care workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
- ZARA has leveraged its vast logistics and supplier network, especially in China, to “meet Spain’s emergency needs for both medical and textile materials,” such as protective masks, gloves, goggles and caps.
By providing help:
- German home improvement retailer OBI is offering free expert advice for at-home projects via video chat.
- And Hyundai recently expanded their Hyundai Assurance program to offer payment relief and payment deferral options for owners impacted by COVID-19.
These examples of companies big and small stepping up to provide support where they can is both uplifting and reassuring. As we start to plan our post-pandemic world, let’s look to these examples to guide us.
“At the end of the day, my friends, even if it is a long day, love wins, always, & it will win again through this virus.”
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York