Business people don’t always get a positive press, especially when the chips are down. When a crisis like Coronavirus erupts, we see who the real essential workers are – they don’t include stockbrokers or hedge fund managers.
In a situation like this, it doesn’t help when high profile business leaders appear to be either taking advantage of the situation or showing a total lack of compassion for their employees.
Richard Branson surely doesn’t need the government to pay for furloughed staff?
Mike Ashley should have thought twice before upping the price of his home gym equipment.
And Weatherspoon’s boss Tim Martin did not exactly come across as being helpful when he suggested his laid-off staff could apply for jobs at Tesco.
The big boys make the headlines for the wrong reasons, but thankfully they do not represent the business community. Far from it. In fact, UK businesses have stepped up to the mark in so many ways to do their bit to help out.
The list of generous businesses, large and small, is truly remarkable. Here are some of the companies that have caught our eye.
10 companies giving back during the coronavirus crisis
1. Feed NHS
A group of restaurant chains have joined together to deliver free daily hot meals to NHS critical care staff. Feed NHS, backed by chains including Leon, Wasabi, Abokado and Franco Manca, delivers 5,600 meals a day to five major hospitals belonging to two London healthcare trusts.
Nike have made big donations to Covid-19 relief efforts and are now producing face masks and protective equipment for health workers.
Another famous sports brand, Adidas, has teamed up with digital manufacturing company, Carbon, to produce 3D-printed face shields using the same material that the two companies used in making high-performance 3D printed footwear.
With pubs closed and beer going to waste, it is a tough time for publicans. Fullers, the pub and hotel chain has said it will not seek rent payments from its tenanted pubs, many of which are independently run. And, unlike the banking industry’s mortgage breaks for homeowners – the money will not have to be paid back.
5. National Grid
The UK electricity provider, National Grid, has donated £500,000 to the National Emergency Trust (NET) and the Russell Trust, which provide aid during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and are encouraging their staff to volunteer for up to half a day – paid – per week.
BP has donated $2m to the WHO fund so far. In addition, Air BP is providing free fuel to fly the helicopters of four air ambulance charities that collectively cover vast areas of England and Wales and BP is supporting NHS staff by providing £26,000 worth of Brompton bikes for frontline staff at key NHS hospitals. There are many other amazing initiatives all part of their #InThisTogether campaign being posted daily.
Parking company NCP has extended its offer of free parking to NHS workers to include anyone who needs or has to travel and park during the lockdown period.
Unilever is contributing €100m (£89m) globally to fight the pandemic, including €50m (£47m) worth of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food.
Waitrose is protecting hard-to-find and essential stock for NHS workers, as well as offering them priority checkout treatment. Together with partners, John Lewis, they have launched a £1m community fund and are also donating comfort items to local hospitals and support workers. The supermarket store also recently made a u-turn on a pay policy where workers self-isolating because of their family would have had to make up their hours owed at a later date. Instead they will be on authorised paid absence from day one.
10. Premier League #PlayersTogether
The 20 Premier League captains have reached agreement on the formation of a charitable fund called #PlayersTogether to help those most closely involved in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. They hope to raise in excess of £4m.
Whilst on the subject of football..
With reports of wealthy football clubs using taxpayers’ money to furlough staff and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock demanding wealthy footballers “play their part”, the reputation of the Premier League has taken a hit.
But this is not the whole story. Most clubs play a considerable role in the local communities and have active Charitable Foundations such as Brighton’s ‘Albion in the Community’.
Examples of positive action have included:
Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs have offered health workers free access to their hotels.
The Arsenal Foundation has joined with the HIS Church charity and Islington Council to provide 30,000 free meals as well as essential items such as sanitary and personal hygiene products to those in need.
Manchester United and Manchester City have donated a combined £100,000 to help food banks in Greater Manchester.
Help with Innovation
This is just a small sample of businesses showing their support. They are not just helping with money and community schemes. They are also offering their innovation and technological resources.
Gin distilleries, such as Brighton Gin, have switched their production to make hand sanitisers.
And leading innovators such as Dyson, Mercedes-Benz and Rolls Royce have utilised their finest engineers and scientists to help with vital medical equipment such as ventilators.
Helping home workers to thrive
Here at We Thrive we are determined to play our part.
It has been a real challenge for businesses and employees to adjust to the new reality of home working.
Knowing how your people are coping working from home is essential and we want to do our bit to help.
We will run our standard survey with a set of Working From Home questions to help you get a clear picture of how everyone is doing and give you full access to the reports, actions and learning content – all completely free.
We are running this on a first come, first served basis and have the capacity to do this for approximately 20 organisations. If you want to take advantage of this please contact the WeThrive team.
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