Article

Show big support for small businesses

By Sinéad Mitchell, SMB Campaign Manager, EMEA, Zendesk

Published April 8, 2020
Last modified April 8, 2020

‘Uncertain’, ‘unprecedented’ and ‘challenging’ are words we are getting used to hearing in today’s new reality. The world waits for daily updates on the global pandemic that is COVID-19. Travel is suspended, non-essential shops are closed, people are practicing social distancing by staying home, and our healthcare staff have never been more overwhelmed.

Since the enforcement of social distancing and shop closures, turnover in small business stores such as retailers, coffee shops, pubs and barbers has plummeted to record low levels. Small businesses across the world are feeling the financial crunch from coronavirus restrictions with millions of people staying at home and avoiding unnecessary shopping trips.

Every day that passes, we are learning to adapt to new changes and restrictions. As Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives but the most adaptable.” This is particularly true for small businesses at this time, some of which have become the definition of adaptable by reimagining their business models to match the current ‘social distancing’ reality.

Small businesses are getting creative: restaurants and pubs are offering online orders and delivery, and food stores and pharmacies have set hours for the elderly and most vulnerable so they can shop safely. Some are finding innovative ways to continue offering their goods and services safely while others are launching initiatives to support relief efforts and front-line workers. Bloom & Wild, for example, are offering 40% off all flowers for front-line workers, while travel tech startup Impala are giving its smaller hotel customers a payment break.

Now more than ever is a time to show your support for small businesses who are the lifeblood of our economy. Shop local where possible, or think about buying a gift voucher from your local restaurant or cafe to use in the future. To show our support, we are sharing some examples of our small business heroes offering unique products and services in this changing environment. And it might just give some ideas for adjusting in today’s reality...

Make working from home easier

It goes without saying that one of the biggest changes a lot of us have had to adjust to is working from home. For many, this means making space in that spare room or garage or sharing a workspace with family members or roommates. At Zendesk, we implemented our WFH policy in mid-March to minimise contact and protect employees and are still adjusting to the change. So whether you’re new to this reality or a work from home (WFH) veteran, we have listed some cool customers who have everything you need to make your WFH set-up as comfortable and convenient as possible.

  • Never go hungry (while also practicing sustainability) with this eco-friendly food delivery service Pieter Pot
  • Eyes getting sore from too much screen time? Maybe it’s time to invest in some anti-glare eyewear with Ambr Eyewear
  • Take regular breaks and stay hydrated with chilled water bottles from Chilly’s
  • Or maybe you’re more of a milk drinker? Go old school and try out this milk delivery service The Modern Milkman
  • For the techies among us, you’ll find all things Apple Electronics at eplehuset
  • Contracts still need to be signed and forms still need to be filled-in so try out this electronic signature solutions Signicat
  • Package delivery, collections, returns… these guys have you covered: Pocket Mobile
  • Conference and video calls are becoming a necessity when working from home. Stay connected with colleagues with software from Easy Meeting and Synergy Sky

For those with children

We all remember that BBC news video that went viral… in today's world, our kids are becoming a regular feature on our conference and video calls. With creche and school closures, many of us with children have had to juggle full-time work with kids at home. Some of us have had to wear that second hat as teachers, giving us new levels of appreciation for how hard teachers work. So to keep you sane and your kids busy while at home, here are some handy services.

  • It may be hard to get to a shop if you’re working from home with a young baby, so try buying your baby essentials, such as nappies, at Lilly Doo
  • Step by step lessons for learning to read at home with Reading Wise
  • Make learning fun and interactive with some online learning games at Kahoot
  • Try remote learning for kids with Skooler
  • Kit out your kids with all types of activity wear from Mini Rodini

No time like the present for exercise

“There’s no point starting tomorrow, what you can start today,” so dust off the cobwebs and kick yourself into gear by getting active. Whether that’s a walk around the block, an online yoga session or just looking the part, there are plenty of virtual options to help get you started.

Practice mindfulness and self-care

Social distancing and self-isolation comes with its challenges and none more challenging than staying on top of your mental health. While we are looking out for each other such as the elderly in our communities, we also need to look out for ourselves. Stay on top of your mental health. Listen to health professionals with health tips and resources. Practice mindfulness and self-care and don’t forget to treat yourself to the things you enjoy.

  • Check out Therapology for instant online access to mind and emotional health help.
  • Stay up to date and on top of your health with online health services such as Synergi Helse and health news and information sharing site NHI.no
  • Practice self-care with some pampering products from 111skin or Banger Head
  • Give sustainability a go with We are Wild or Respire natural deodorants and products
  • Treat yourself to a new outfit from Silkfred or swap out the old with new by clothing renting and service company FJong
  • The Foodvisor makes it easy to adopt healthier food habits and track your calories

Start a new hobby or just get creative

Gardening, cooking, painting, knitting.. The hobby list is endless - you just need to pick one! Here are some creative ideas from our customers to get you and yours inspired.

  • We may not be able to go to the cinema but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the cinema to you, so think about starting a film club with friends or colleagues: all made easy with this ‘Movies on your TV’ service from Pathe Thuis
  • Maybe healthy cooking is for you. If so, Diet Doctor offers a list of healthy recipes to keep you on track while working from home.
  • Take up a new course or go back and study for the one you didn’t get around to completing with 360learning
  • Be inspired to write with this e-paper tablet from Remarkable
  • Create some creative photo books or collages with Cheerz or Lalalab

Show someone you care

Social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t show our loved ones or colleagues we care.

  • Bloom & Wild, Bergamotte and Colvin deliver beautiful flower arrangements direct to the door. Flowers are also a great way of brightening up your WFH space
  • Give someone special an unlimited subscription to their favourite magazine with Readly
  • Support the relief efforts of COVID-19 by creating some solidarity crowdfunding with Leetchi or Ulele
  • How about a food and drink package for a loved one from Hamper?
  • Give the gift that grows from Patch Plants
  • Delight a foodie friend or family member with these Pasta Making Kits from Pasta Evangelists

Small businesses and startups are the lifeblood of our economy and keep it moving every day. They create jobs and drive economic growth. They are agile, innovative and always accessible. We have a responsibility to support them during this challenging time so when possible, shop small and shop local.