So many of the conversations happening right now are about business continuity and sustainability, but in amongst it all, we wanted to bring you just a few stories from our clients in the last week, that reminds us all that humanity is alive and well.
The Heart of A Restaurant
A really beautiful group of restaurants, with 80%+ of their patronage wiped out in the last two weeks, were digging deep and trying desperately looking for ways to keep their team intact and look after them. Contrary to the way chefs and restaurateurs are portrayed in the media, the vast majority are passionate creative people, who worked their arses off to build their businesses. Each are a life’s work, next to a handpicked team they love like family.
This week, in the world of social distance and everyone being encouraged to stay at home, their businesses ‘fell off a cliff’ as they say.
Did they reach for lawyers, and insolvency experts? Nope. First call they made was ‘How can we keep our team safe? What are our options?”.
You could feel the hearts breaking, the angst in the voice, but the focus was all on others.
And as quickly as that all happened, the passion and creativity again came to the fore. Examples from our global team of fundraising, campaigns, community support, offsetting cashflow and most importantly, keeping their team whole.
Too many examples to mention – sandwiches for healthcare workers in Philadelphia, takeaway or ‘kerbside takeout’ dinners – it’s all heart and it beats as strong as ever.
Faced with plummeting sales, another business, also in the food industry, met to talk about options. They were looking at having to lay off a big portion of their team, but they were really devastated about it.
Standing in the lunchroom, they started to plan care packs. If they were going to have to send some people home, they would at least send them off with a package of food and essentials to give them peace of mind for the next couple of weeks. It was a small gesture, but it was something.
Hairdressers and Hugs
A small inner-city hairdresser knows that shutdown (whatever that will mean) is coming. They have a week, maybe two or three, but not long.
They’ve implemented all sorts of personal safety practices, and let their customers know that “they can no longer hug anyone”. An elderly customer talks about how much she’ll miss her fortnightly hug, because it’s the only one she gets. Everyone is quiet for a minute while they take this in, and then they exchange ideas on how to do an ‘untouching hug’. Talk about tears.
And alongside that, another customer leaps in to help them plan how to do ‘remote’ hairdressing. They offer to set up the tech and the logistics to do ‘home visits’ to all their best clients.
Lawyers and Home Offices
A big partner in a big law firm is on the phone talking with us about a big legal issue. It’s formal. Serious. And detailed. A dog barks – in a really yappy over and over sort of way. He apologises (the lawyer, not the dog), but the ‘formality of legalese’ is broken and we talk the reality of home offices.
He starts laughing about the total inappropriateness of his chair and home office to meet any sort of Occ Health and Safety Audit, even without dogs and children introduced. He starts laughing about whether he needs to get his dog an NDA (‘Non-Disclosure Agreement’ for those from the real world).
He may be one of the very best legal minds in the country, but he’s also very, very human.
Tech Entrepreneur release life work for free
A tech entrepreneur has created a beautiful app that connects people to relatives and friends in aged care. As our Prime Minister announces sweeping changes that will impact every person in aged care, the entrepreneur announces without fanfare, that she’ll give the App for free until this whole Virus story is over. Keeping family and friends close to the people they love is more important than ‘scaling’ right now.
Turning your hand to hand wash
There are multiple cases of this. Quick thinking distillery and brewery owners shifting their product in hours or days from liquor and spirits to…hand wash. Recognising the shifting market conditions, and the needs of people, they got this organised at record pace. And the community stories of donating containers and bottles are pretty special too.
Humanity is alive and well
Then there’s the stories about people doing super kind things to help others such as; Architects and Tradies continuing with pro-bono work for bush fire victims despite these mad times; Individuals in supermarkets helping others by sharing what they’ve managed to snag from the shelves with others less fortunate in the check-out queue; people sharing recipes for meals made from pantry staples; and people checking on elderly neighbours and offering to do some shopping for them.
We hope you are all doing well and stay safe and healthy out there!
mwah. Team xx