As we struggle to care for our families during this global pandemic, remote employers are stepping up to the plate. By finding impactful ways to support their employees, customers, and communities, they are helping us all through this crisis. Here are just a few examples of the leadership and generosity being shown by remote employer heroes.
Remote Employer Heroes in the Fight Against COVID-19
The challenges we face due to this pandemic require a coordinated global response to protect the wellbeing of Earth’s inhabitants. Governments, universities, nonprofits, corporations, and manufacturing companies have come together to provide services, distribute resources, and share research on how to respond quickly to this unprecedented threat.
Remote-friendly employers have been at the forefront of these efforts because of their familiarity with work-from-home models. Many have reached out to offer help, support, and expertise to companies forced to rapidly transition to a remote workforce. In addition, many remote employer heroes have gone above and beyond in their efforts to help. They protect their employees, contribute to their community, and provide a variety of free and discounted products and services.
Global Education Initiatives
To slow the spread of COVID-19, governments announced school closures in mid-March, transforming education delivery in the United States overnight. But we are not alone. Worldwide, over 1.57 billion students have been affected by school closures in over 190 countries. In response, remote employer hero, Microsoft, expanded its global learning platform with UNICEF to support students around the world. Called the Learning Passport, the online platform was originally designed to help displaced and refugee children. The portal has undergone expansion to include country-level curriculum and deliver education at home for kids whose schools have closed.
Help for U.S. Students & Educators
Heavy-hitter Amazon also stepped up as a remote employer hero to help with free educational resources. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Educate created the Educator Mobilization Initiative to create and deliver webinars on a variety of remote learning topics. Amazon is also offering free access to lesson plans and coding resources through the Amazon Future Engineer application. This application teaches students the fundamentals of software coding. To accompany this free access, Amazon also donated 4,000 laptops to high school students around the country. And they also donated 8,200 laptops to Seattle Public School students.
In addition, small companies are contributing in some unique and fun ways. Featured on Virtual Vocations list of Top 25 Employer Partners for 2020, Osmosis is a fully remote, e-learning company specializing in medical education for clinicians. This remote employer hero offers free courseware for healthcare workers on COVID-19, as well as a marketing campaign to support public health efforts. Osmosis encourages participants to download and share a catchy tune with critical hygiene and social-distancing tips. Then, the participant signs the Osmosis #RaiseTheLine and #FlattenTheCurve Pledge to receive three weeks of Osmosis Prime free.
Another remote employer hero featured in the Top 25 is K12, an education company that hosts online schools around the country. Perfectly positioned to help students stay on track academically, the company is offering teachers and students a variety of free online learning resources.
A third remote-friendly company on our Top 25 List is Study.com. Study.com is a small education company dedicated to making a college degree more attainable. Services include online courses that help high school students earn transferable college credits. Study.com is doing its part by donating 100,000 licenses for schools to enable remote learning using the company’s mobile-first platform.
Addressing the Critical Shortage of Medical Supplies
Many pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers have also donned superhero capes. Medtronic is one notable remote employer hero that ramped up production of critically needed ventilators, quickly doubling production from 5,000 to 10,000 per month. They are also using remote monitoring capabilities to track people with coronavirus in their homes.
Microsoft is using its size and influence to leverage a vast global supply chain and purchase hard-to-find medical products. By the end of March, the company had already spent $4 million acquiring supplies, including N-95 masks, eye protection goggles, medical caps, protective suits, and infrared thermometers. While committed to supplying the hard-hit local community of Seattle first, Microsoft plans to send unused supplies to other states.
Another example is LanguageLine—a Top 25 Employer Partner. LanguageLine provides document translation, language interpretation, localization, and bilingual testing services. This remote employer hero is contributing up to $1 million to Direct Relief, a non-profit that coordinates the distribution of personal protective equipment and medical items to healthcare workers battling COVID-19 on the front lines.
Medical Services for Homebound Patients
The rise of telemedicine makes it possible to receive quality medical care without leaving the comfort and safety of home. Several of these healthcare providers have become remote employer heroes by offering free or deeply discounted services, including Galileo Health and One Medical. Not just for individuals with symptoms of COVID-19, these providers also help with other medical issues and prescription refills.
Technical Support for Companies and Researchers
New technologies have been instrumental throughout the pandemic to keep us connected and productive. Microsoft has been leading the charge in this area by offering a variety of deals and freebies on their products. One product is Microsoft Teams, which Microsoft currently offers for free use to suddenly remote companies looking for communication solutions. In addition, they are providing free support for Windows 10 and a free enterprise license for Office 365.
San Francisco based tech firm Salesforce is offering small businesses free access to their Salesforce Essentials and Tableau software to support them in engaging with their customers remotely. In addition, they have gathered a variety of resources and information as part of their Salesforce Care for Small Business program that was developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
On a different front of the battle, Amazon has launched the AWS Diagnostic Initiative with an initial investment of $20 million. Amazon designed the program to support customers that are working on COVID-19 diagnostics solutions. The goals are to bring new diagnostics to market quickly and improve collaboration across organizations. In addition, AWS is offering research institutions and companies technical support and promotional credits for use in advancing COVID-19 research as part of the White House’s High-Performance Computing Consortium.
Financial Assistance for Individuals and Small Businesses
Many remote employer heroes are also digging deep in their pockets to support their customers and communities around the globe. Amazon has donated a staggering amount of money to support people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Europe, they have donated $23 million to relief organizations and in the United States, Jeff Bezos donated $100 million to Feeding America. In addition to helping people in need around the globe, Amazon set up a $5 million grant fund to support small business neighbors in Seattle.
Salesforce is another company providing financial assistance to small businesses by offering Salesforce Care Small Business Grants of $10,000. Companies can use these grants to purchase supplies, pay salaries, or adapt business models to overcome operational challenges caused by COVID-19.
One remote employer hero is helping out their customers by giving cash back. Allstate Insurance announced that due to Americans driving less and having fewer accidents, the company is going to credit $600 million back to auto customers as part of the Allstate Shelter-in-Place Payback. Allstate is also providing customers with free identity protection, payment relief, and extended coverage.
Employee Assistance Efforts
One crucial way remote employer heroes are helping during the COVID-19 pandemic is by taking care of their own employees. Many of the big remote-friendly tech companies—including Microsoft and Salesforce—have continued to pay hourly workers that support campus facilities whether they can work or not. Amazon is one of several large companies that have bumped up pay by $2 per hour and offered extended time off with full pay if diagnosed with COVID-19. They have also established a $25 million relief fund for contract and seasonal employees.
Another way that remote employers are supporting employees is through employee assistance programs and emergency assistance funds. One example is the Medtronic Employee Emergency Assistance Fund that provides need-based grants to employees experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. The grants are funded by employee donations matched by Medtronic. In addition, the company has added $1M to the Emergency Assistance Fund specifically for COVID-19 assistance.
Uniting Against the COVID-19 Pandemic
Around the globe, there are dramatic examples of remote employer heroes making a difference in the fight against COVID-19. Some are adjusting their business models to continue providing essential services. Others are supporting their employees with flexible schedules and work-at-home options to keep them employed while accommodating added responsibilities such as childcare or eldercare. Still, others are awarding grants and donating funds to businesses and families in need.
These companies are bringing people together, sharing resources, and lending a hand to those suffering because of the pandemic. In many cases, they are also working together to pool resources, share data, and find solutions. By doing this, they are modeling a business approach that balances profits with compassion. Ultimately, these companies have come to the realization that only together can we succeed in this fight. Perhaps there’s no better cure than unity.
iStock Image: Juanmonino
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