Business guide to Coronavirus

Business for business: brands stepping up to support their community

As the COVID-19 crisis develops businesses in Australia face untold challenges, but the business community is rallying to support each other.

Organisations nationwide and beyond are stepping up to provide business support to meet the changing needs of their customers and the community at large. For some, this means working together to provide support and continuity that will help to reduce the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on businesses, employees and customers.

Remote working: the new normal

Growing numbers of employers are needing to rapidly shift their workforce to remote working. But with varying degrees of preparedness, how are they adapting to the challenge? 

To help support business continuity, several tech companies are providing access to free services. Microsoft has made their product Microsoft Teams available for free for six months, helping organisations with document collaboration, chat and video conferencing while working from home or offsite. 

Cloud-based remote connectivity services provider LogMeIn has developed dedicated Emergency Remote Work Kits to help healthcare, educational and non-profit organisations stay connected. The kits enable businesses to host webinars and virtual events for up to 3,000 attendees, as well as video conferencing. 

The world’s leading online professional network LinkedIn is offering its remote working e-learning course for free, to support employees who might be navigating the world of remote work for the first time. The course comprises 16 modules with tips on how to stay productive, build relationships when working from home, using virtual meeting tools and maintaining family balance. 

A helping hand for those in need 

Supermarket giant Woolworths has launched a solution to help those in need overcome the toilet paper shortage. Partnering with Meals on Wheels, Woolies is working with the charity to hand-deliver toilet paper – along with meals – to the elderly and vulnerable. 

The initiative distributed through the charity’s network of volunteers in the community across New South Wales last week, with plans to roll out to other states in the pipeline. 

Woolworths is also supporting the hard-hit aviation industry, creating a streamlined expression of interest process for the 20,000 Qantas and Jetstar employees stood down following travel restrictions and airline cuts. Many of these airline staff will be redeployed on flexible contracts and casual roles within the supermarket chain to accommodate increased demand.

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Delivering solidarity and support

Food delivery services such as UberEats are experiencing an increase in demand, with many people isolating at home and reduced numbers of people going out to eat. 

UberEats have adjusted their partner policies and charges for the 22,000+ restaurants across Australia and New Zealand, implementing relief measures to assist small businesses maintain cashflow and pay their staff. Restaurant partners have the option to receive daily payments rather than weekly, and service fees on pick up orders will be waived until 30 June 2020.

The brand has also implemented a $5 million fund available for independent restaurants, enabling small business operators facing economic uncertainty to deploy timed and targeted promotions to attract customers through the platform in line with their business needs.

Funds for a brighter future

Amazon has created a USD$5 million Neighbourhood Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants to help small businesses local to their Seattle offices. The funds will help businesses retain and pay employees and cover rent and operational costs. 

US-based small business lender Kabbage has initiated an online platform for small business retailers, who can sign up and sell gift certificates to consumers ranging from $15-$500. Technology-enabled platforms such as this are allowing consumers to support local businesses for a more promising future, with revenue received within one business day of purchase.

With many organisations in crisis mode, there are many within the business community working to provide support avenues to enable business continuity, efficiency or financial support to help others weather the storm.

My Business is on hand with a range of resources to help employers, sole traders and non-employing businesses navigate this difficult time, with practical advice and information to help businesses develop strategies to maintain and sustain. Visit our resource hub to find out more.

Lauren Batchelor

Assistant Brand Manager, My Business

Lauren is a communications specialist with over 6 years’ experience driving awareness for brands in both Australia and the UK.