As Brexit pulled us apart, will Coronavirus bring us together?

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When there is tragedy, disaster or misfortune, you will always find people who are helping. And that can be no truer than now.

We don’t know whether this is an event like 9/11 or the 2008 global downturn—where life will mostly go back to the way it was—or whether the organisations and living habits of the future will transform in ways that we can’t yet imagine.

Most people’s lives have been affected by the Corona Virus currently sweeping the world. That said, today we’re sharing some positive news of how UK businesses and people are pulling together for the greater good.

  • Amidst a 70% loss, the independent brewer BrewDog has begun making hand sanitiser at its distillery in Aberdeenshire. The firm said it would be giving away the “punk sanitiser” for free to those that need it.
  • Likewise, Gin distilleries such as Bristol’s Psychopomp and 58 Gin have also switched to hand sanitiser production after spotting their facilities were perfect for producing the alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • We’ve seen famous musicians like John Legend and Pink play free concerts for people stuck in their homes.
  • Burberry transforms its Yorkshire trench coat factory to make surgical gowns and masks.
  • Starbucks has extended its mental health benefits, offering personalised, confidential mental health care and 20 free in-person or video sessions every year for partners.
  • Hilton hotels group is waiving cancellation fees to their hotels for people in coronavirus infected countries.
  • Retailer Lululemonis closing all of their stores across Europe for the next two weeks. Generously, their employees will be paid for all of the hours they were scheduled to work.
  • Luxury goods group LVMH has switched to producing hand sanitiser at three of its perfume factories and twelve tonnes will be produced this week, instead of the usual Christian Dior and Givenchy scents usually made at these sites.
  • LinkedIn is opening up a number of its learning courses for free. Courses that provide tips on how to stay motivated and productive, establishing relationships when you’re not face-to-face, how to use virtual meetups and balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way.
  • Branson’s Virgin Orbit is turning its vast expertise to medical supplies designed to help treat people afflicted with the coronavirus and solve an ongoing ventilator shortage.
  • Astonishingly, Dyson has vowed to produce 15,000 medical ventilators completely from scratch! It comes after a call from Boris Johnson for manufacturers to chip in with a national effort to stock up the NHS. Sir James Dyson – the firm’s billionaire founder – has also offered to pay for a further 5,000 ventilators.
  • Similarly, General Motors and Ford say they are prepared to help manufacture ventilators if there are continued shortages.
  • Vauxhall answered the PMs call and offered to assemble ventilators using 3-D printers after it stopped production due to falling demand.
  • Chelsea FC have opened up the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge to be available for all NHS staff, free of charge for at least the next two months.
  • Manchester City at the Etihad stadium have opened up the use of the stadiums executive boxes and conference rooms to help with the training of doctors and nurses.
  • EDF Energy said it would consider delayed payments from anyone who is affected by the coronavirus outbreak, as have many other UK energy providers.

These are only a few examples of where businesses are making a concerted effort to rally together. Actions like these boost morale by encouraging a sense of community at local level while, at national level, reinforcing patriotism.

Let these examples of giving back inspire you. Are there ways that you can help people in your community, or in your business? Helping and being of service to others is a great way to counter the anxiety and negativity seizing our TV screens and social media feeds. Take stock and consider how even in some small way, you might help someone during this challenging time for the world.

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