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Employer Brands Keeping Us Connected During a Time of Social Distancing

Erik Schmidt
March 24 ․ 7 min read

*Originally published on the SmashFly Blog on March, 20 2020. SmashFly Technologies is a part of Symphony Talent*

This article is not an attempt at finding a silver lining during times of crisis or a way to not-so-subtly sell you our product. We can all agree there’s been enough of that.

What’s currently happening in the world shouldn’t be undercut by disingenuousness or smoke and mirrors. I’m not here to celebrate or motivate, only to connect and console. My heart goes out to you and yours — and I sincerely hope you’re finding ways to stay safe and sane during a time when that is becoming an increasingly daunting task.

And with all the negativity and uncertainty currently swirling around, I think sometimes we all just need (and deserve) a brief distraction.

Some of these stories you’ve probably seen already. Some might be new. I don’t want to oversell them as indication that we’ve beaten this thing, or that this has somehow all been for the best because it’s made us stronger; that’s far too flippant of an approach to such a serious problem. But they are a reminder that even as we work remote and social distance and quarantine, human beings will always, always, find ways to come together and connect.

I hope they make you smile. And I hope you’re doing well.


Louis Vuitton, distilleries convert factories to make hand sanitizer

The ultimate interpretation of the phrase “when life gives you lemons…” As most of the retail and entertainment world has shut its doors in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, some companies have quickly pivoted to put their empty spaces — and idle employees — to good use. LVMH, the parent company of Louis Vuitton, manufactured 12 tons of hand sanitizer in just one week and shipped it to French authorities and hospitals free of charge. Meanwhile, Shine Distillery is using its unused alcohol to create a free hand sanitizer for the Portland community.

“Ultimately, I’m part of the community, I want my friends and neighbors to be happy and healthy,” said Shine Distillery Owner Jon Poteet, per the New York Post.


Major corporations and athletes stepping up to aid hourly workers

Yes, self-quarantining and social distancing are vital right now. But unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The closure, cancellation and postponement of large events and organizations — like the NBA, for instance — have had devastating economic ripple effects for hourly and part time employees. Some companies, like Microsoft, have pledged to continue to pay its hourly workers; Amazon is hiring 100,000 new employees and giving raises to current staff; Apple, Uber, Walmart and McDonald’s are among businesses offering extended paid sick leave; and NBA players are donating millions to aid arena workers currently out of jobs.


Tech companies keep remote workers connected (for free)

Even if you’re someone who enjoys conducting your 9 to 5 in the comfort of sweatpants, you’re probably still feeling the strain of working-from-home mandates — especially if your company wasn’t prepared to go fully digital. To help ease the transition and ensure social distancing doesn’t become social isolation, Wrike is licensing its project management platform for free for the next six months. Other companies, like Meero, Loom, Jamm, and OneDine are also offering free services to make this time a little less complicated.


&Pizza delivers free, unlimited pizza offer to employees and their families

Free pizza. Sometimes it’s really that simple. Many food chains and restaurants have begun stepping up by discounting meals or delivery fees, including &Pizza, who is offering free food to employees and their families, plus hospital workers. In addition, the chain is also raising it’s hourly wages by $1 and giving two weeks paid sick time off.

“People just don’t have the choice in this situation,” said &Pizza CEO Michael Lastoria, per the New York Times. “If people don’t have the choice, let’s do the right thing.”


Universal makes new movies available on-demand

New movies. Sometimes it’s also really that simple. Social distancing means safety. For many, it also means the same four walls and nothing to do. With most movie theaters closing their doors in recent days, NBCUniversal is helping to keep us occupied by making some of its new movies, like The Hunt and The Invisible Man available for rental. Other recent releases like Bloodshot and Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey will also hit on-demand services soon.