The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new template for public interaction and community involvement.

With social distancing and limited contact the norm, businesses must begin to shift away from their usual methods of support and find new and creative ways to connect with their local communities.

Although social distancing requires a 6-foot physical distance to be maintained around individuals and group interactions are limited to very small groups for public safety due to COVID-19, there are still many ways an active business can help nurture and support their community, particularly during this stressful time.

Helping Your Community Thrive in a COVID-19 Environment

Community-minded businesses don’t have to power down their volunteerism or support efforts because of COVID-19.

In fact, communities need more support than ever during this time of anxiety and pressure. Instead, savvy organizations are discovering new ways to safely make a difference in their local areas.

Let’s look at some great ways your company can lend a hand locally during this time of crisis.

  1. Start with Your Staff

If you’re going to practice community outreach, you want to be sure you’re practicing safety at work — and ensuring that your team members have all the resources they need to work comfortably and safely.

To aid in these efforts, your business may want to consider allowing remote work, staggering shifts, or closing public spaces to ensure your staff has the best chance of staying healthy.

Once they’re protected in their workspace, think about ways your company can support staff needs — and those of their families — during this trying time.

Initiatives can include giving them access to mental health professionals via an Employee Assistance Program, providing financial planning assistance, or even designing well-being challenges and learning modules to help them stay positive.

Asking staff members through an email or online survey what their greatest concerns or needs are may help you fine-tune ways you can help.

  1. Focus Community Initiatives on Vulnerable Populations

Your next focus should be serving individuals in the community who are at higher risk for the virus.

For example, having special store hours for higher-risk customers or providing curbside delivery is an excellent start. If you can, you may consider upgrading air filters inside your office or retail space to prevent the viral spread and assist customers with pre-existing respiratory conditions.

Clear messaging and posted policies are critical to keeping customers safe and ensuring everyone is following safety protocols.

Once you’ve done what you can to help individuals with whom you have contact, the next step is to reach out and support community organizations that work with these populations. For example, you can coordinate with local nursing homes or retirement communities to host special shopping hours for their residents or even sponsor an educational video, brochure, or flyer that can help these individuals stay safer.

  1. Plan a Virtual Fundraiser

If you’re already involved with community organizations, you don’t have to let COVID-19 interfere with your efforts to fundraise on their behalf. Instead of a live event, coordinate a virtual fundraiser with your favorite local nonprofit.

While some nonprofits may be seeking monetary support, others may need volunteers to assist in digital or phone outreach to the people they serve. Organize a phone bank with your staff or get a group together who is willing to send positive emails to people who are quarantined.

A food or equipment drive at your office would be a low- to no-contact way to collect needed supplies for nonprofits who are working on the front lines of the community.

DSI — A Community-Focused Company

At DSI, we have a heart for our community. We’re a local provider of office technology, so we foster real and ongoing partnerships with organizations, businesses, and people in our community.

Supporting our local community — and our state — is an important part of who we are as a company. We take active steps to ensure all of our dollars are spent right here in New Mexico, where they can support the needs of current — and future — local generations.

Our support extends from the support of programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, SAFE House, and various Chambers of Commerce to rotary clubs, Las Cruces Young Professionals, Las Cruces Public Schools, Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools, and other public and faith-based entities.

For a complete list of our partners and sponsorships and to discover the many ways we support our local communities, check out our Community Involvement page.