With the recent pandemic, the power of staying connected and remote working has shown its promise, with many companies being able to operate at full capacity even during the lockdowns.
Some of the biggest tech giants are leading this charge, with many of them not only giving their own employees time off and benefits if needed but also providing assistance worldwide with the battle against the virus.
Even better, many of them are joining forces to help provide valuable data to researchers in an effort to beat the virus.
Here is a summary of what some of the tech giants are doing to help with the pandemic.
Google has been doing a few things proactively during the coronavirus.
The company initially helped set up a COVID-19 fund that focused on assisting temporary staff and vendors globally to be able to take paid sick leave if they showed any signs of infection.
Google additionally made its video conferencing service “Hangouts Meet” available for all G-suite customers, usually only for enterprise customers.
The company also released last week a COVID-19 Community Mobility Report. This is a way to help the community provide insights on different locations and mobility of people within these areas.
This summary is helping the spread of COVID-19 and provides valuable information to public health officials.
Amazon has had a mixed reaction from its workers and the public.
So far, they have announced that they will be doubling employee’s overtime pay for those working in warehouses. Additionally, Bezos has ordered millions of face masks to help protect his staff, but with short supply, most of these are going to more critical facilities.
“My own time and thinking [are] now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role,” Jeff Bezos said in an online announcement.
However, many have criticized Bezos, primarily Amazon’s own warehouse workers, as they have cited that facilities with coronavirus cases were not cleaned properly. Additionally, problems have been raised where workers have stated that not enough protective gear has been given out.
“We have no more wipes and hand sanitizer. We aren’t provided masks, don’t have the proper gloves, and not everything is being sanitized and cleaned before it comes to use,” said one Amazon warehouse associate in Phoenix, Arizona.
Note: I have since been asked to include this statement from Amazon
Our employees are heroes fighting for their communities and helping
people get critical items they need in this crisis-we have nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. alone supporting customers and we are taking measures to support each one. We’ve implemented a broad suite of new benefits changes for employees in our operations and logistics network including an additional $2 per hour, 2x base pay for overtime, and paid time off benefits for regular part-time and seasonal employees. We are encouraging those who are unwell to stay home and taking extreme measures to keep people safe in our buildings. Like all businesses grappling with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we are evaluating and making changes in real-time and encourage anyone to compare our overall pay, benefits, and speed in which we’re managing this crisis to other retailers and major employers across the country.
Microsoft has been one of the companies that have not been as heavily impacted through its conferencing and collaboration tools within its Microsoft Team’s suite of software. They have recently offered a free trial of one of their base Office 365 tiers, which contain Microsoft Teams as a 6-month trial.
They have also made it clear that they will keep paying hourly workers who support their campus. This means continuing to help service providers with their regular pay during the coronavirus situation.
Microsoft has also announced recently that it will be moving all its events online till July 2021. This is a massive announcement considering Microsoft runs many major tech events across the world.
Lastly, Microsoft has built a live COVID-19 tracker with the ability to filter by country and regions.
We all know Apple has helped drive a lot of innovation within the tech world.
During the coronavirus situation, Apple has helped introduce health screenings and temperature checks for all its offices. The company has also moved to help accommodate employees who need to take a leave of absence
Apple also has an online test to help screen for COVID-19. You can access it here.
On the theme of design, Apple has recently worked on creating a face shield designed to flat pack like IKEA furniture for shipping and assembling in less than two minutes. With clever designs like this, Apple is looking to ship millions out throughout the US and overseas as well.
“The number of masks we’ve been able to source through our supply chain has risen to over 20 million around the world,” Tim Cook said. “We’re working continuously and closely with governments at all levels to ensure they’re donated to places of greatest need.”
Facebook, like Google, has also led the front of assisting with the coronavirus situation by putting to use its location data to help track the virus.
By sharing aggregated and anonymized smartphone data with researchers working in different public health institutions (Like the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health), Facebook is helping these organizations study people’s movements as well as social behavior. By asking users about coronavirus symptoms, they are helping then provide this data to the researchers.
On top of this, Facebook is also donating 720,000 face masks to health works, which were initially meant to be stockpiled for wildfires in Calfornia.
Adobe is known for its creative suite that many design professionals use around the world. They are yet another tech giant trying to help make differences during the coronavirus.
They are currently giving away to higher education, and K-12 organizations (teachers and students) access to their Creative Cloud apps. These are all applications that are easily located at home.
Although this is free until late May, if the state of the pandemic continues, this might indefinitely be extended out.
As Zoom is getting exposure across the world, many have forgotten about one of the other leading video conference software in the world.
In an official statement, Cisco has committed to donating $225 million to global and local initiatives that are currently on the frontlines to help beat coronavirus.
Additionally, they have helped provide free licenses for their video conference tool to those affected worldwide.
Effective immediately, we’ve expanded the capabilities on our free Webex offer in all countries where it is available, not only those impacted by COVID-19. Full details on the offer and eligible countries are available here