As COVID-19 spreads across the world and—as of last week—San Francisco, tech companies have been quick to take leadership on addressing the coronavirus. Tech companies, including many sf.citi members, have proven themselves to be incredibly proactive in enacting measures to protect their employees and customers, as well as inform the public about COVID-19. As the world continues to deal with this ongoing outbreak, we wanted to provide an overview of how some of our members are responding to the coronavirus both here in San Francisco and elsewhere.
PROTECTING EMPLOYEES—FULL TIME AND HOURLY—FROM THE CORONAVIRUS
sf.citi members Dropbox, LinkedIn, Lyft, Okta, Salesforce, and Twitter have all advised employees that can work from home to do so. Twitter’s head of human resources, Jennifer Christie, acknowledged that “we’ll never probably be the same” following the company’s coronavirus-inspired work-from-home policy. Employing thousands of workers here San Francisco and elsewhere, many tech companies feel work-from-home policies are necessary to protect their employees from the spread of COVID-19.
sf.citi member Microsoft too has encouraged employees in both its Puget Sound and northern California offices to work from home. The company realized, however, that these new work-from-home policies would adversely affect many of the hourly workers who support Microsoft’s daily operations. In another showcase of leadership, Microsoft announced that it would continue to pay hourly service providers, regardless of whether their full services are needed at this time. Twitter has similarly committed to paying its facilities and cafeteria workers while its office remains closed.
Looking out for its hourly workers, sf.citi member Postmates created an emergency relief fund to cover the costs of doctors appointments and medical expenses for its fleet of delivery couriers—regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
What other tech companies have implemented work-from-home policies to limit the spread of the coronavirus? Find a more comprehensive list here.
RAISING AWARENESS AND FIGHTING MISINFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19
sf.citi members Facebook and Pinterest are using their social media platforms to arm people with reliable information about the coronavirus.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg explained how Facebook is actively working with the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and UNICEF to “help them get out timely, accurate information on the coronavirus.” Facebook is offering unlimited ad credits to the World Health Organization as it responds to COVID-19 concerns and outbreaks around the world. The social media giant is also removing “false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations,” said Zuckerburg.
When people search “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” on Pinterest, meanwhile, the platform will surface pins from reputable sources like the World Health Organization, as well as resources and infographics with tips to help people protect themselves.
PRIORITIZING CUSTOMER SAFETY OVER BUSINESS
Closely tied to the travel industry, sf.citi member Airbnb has been a subject of intrigue for reporters exploring the economic impact of COVID-19. The company is less focused on “helping hosts, guests and employees deal with the global health challenge,” reports Axios. In direct response to the coronavirus, Airbnb developed an extenuating circumstances policy allowing guests and hosts traveling to or from areas heavily impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak to cancel their Airbnb reservations without penalty.
Similarly, sf.citi member Alaska Airlines is waiving change and cancellation fees for travelers concerned about the coronavirus. The policy underscores Alaska’s commitment to keeping guests safe, even as airlines suffer from a worldwide drop in travel.
HELPING OTHER BUSINESSES RESPOND TO CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS
While many sf.citi members have managed to quickly and seamlessly transition to a largely work-from-home workforce, they recognize that other businesses do not have the infrastructure to go remote quite so easily. That is why sf.citi members Google and Microsoft are granting complimentary access to some of their team collaboration tools. Google, for example, is allowing G Suite and G Suite for Education users to access the enterprise version of Hangouts for free. Microsoft, meanwhile, is offering a six-month, free trial of its Teams chat app.
sf.citi member Dropbox has focused its support on the many nonprofits and NGOs dedicated to fighting COVID-19. The company invites organizations working to stop the spread of COVID-19 or provide coronavirus relief to apply for a free, three-month subscription to Dropbox Business.
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In a time of global crisis, we are proud to see the tech community demonstrating nimble leadership in its response to the coronavirus. We hope ongoing collaboration between tech companies, governments, health authorities, and other businesses will help all of us navigate this time of uncertainty.
This blog was updated on March 10, 2020 to include further coronavirus efforts by sf.citi member companies. Have another story of how tech is helping address the impact of COVID19? Send us a line by emailing email@example.com.