Social distancing due to the Coronavirus outbreak has created many obstacles. While most of us navigate the challenge of working from home for the foreseeable future, we're also collectively attempting to figure out how to live our normal lives solely from home. The rapid spread of Coronavirus largely prohibits access to social norms. Schools, fitness classes, therapy offices, and many other routine necessities that vastly enhance our quality of life are no longer available in their traditional form. In response to this global pandemic, many businesses are shifting the access point to their services. Some of your favorite companies are offering free resources online to ensure that everyone can enjoy their services, and so anyone affected financially by COVID-19 can maintain their quality of life. We've compiled a list of some of the best free resources to use while you're home during social distancing:
Educational Free Resources:
Skillshare - ideal for students, artists, freelancers, and those trying to pick up a new profession, Skillshare has unlocked thousands of classes free of charge.
Duolingo - Please don't pressure yourself to learn a new language during this time, but if you'd like to dabble in foreign arts, Duolingo is offering free lessons. They have 94 courses studying 23 languages.
Scribd - Offering millions of e-books, magazines, and audiobooks, Scribd is giving out a 30-day free trial with no credit card required.
Class Central - All eight Ivy League schools Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale are offering free courses. There are 450 to choose from!
TED Talks - TED always offers tons of free online courses featuring a range of speakers and topics.
Adobe Creative Cloud - Adobe is offering two free months for existing subscribers. To access this deal, click to cancel your membership and the two-month free offer will present itself.
Zoom - The video conferencing app is offering its resources free for teachers and students.
Government Free Resources:
Centers for Disease Control - Detailed Coronavirus resource page detailing how to protect yourself and measures to take should you feel sick.
World Health Organization - Daily updates on Coronavirus news and safety precautions.
Department of Homeland Security - An end-to-end pandemic guide from Homeland Security.
Fitness Free Resources:
YMCA - Featuring over 60 free online classes, the YMCA offers a range of fitness options including boot camp, barre, yoga, weightlifting, boxing, and even Tai Chi.
Peloton - On-demand workouts are free on the Peloton app for 90 days.
Planet Fitness - One of the world's largest fitness chains, Planet Fitness, is offering free online classes via Facebook Live.
Gold's Gym - Through the end of May, Gold's Gym is offering a slew of free video and audio workouts on its app.
Fit Body App - Anna Victoria's Fit Body is offering a one-month free membership.
Tone it Up - This all-encompassing fitness app is free for the first 30-days for new users.
Barry's Bootcamp - Barry's is streaming three full-body workouts each day for free.
Don Saladino - Trainer to the stars Don Saladino is offering a free four-week bodyweight program.
Parent's Free Resources:
Khan Academy - A full library of lessons featuring subjects for grades K through early college. Browse a range of exercises, quizzes, and tests.
Other Goose - Homeschooling program for children ages 2-7 is free for the next three weeks.
Discovery K12 - Another homeschooling platform that offers free online courses for pre-K through grade 12 language arts, reading/literature, math, science, history and social studies, visual and performing arts, and physical education.
Rags Free Coloring Pages – A free download and printable for anyone who has already run out of pages in their coloring books.
Little Cheese Photo – A collection of free downloadable activities to spark creativity and imagination.
Mental Wellness Free Resources:
Headspace - We're all looking to reduce stress and anxiety. Among the best digital meditation resources on the market, Headspace has made several of its meditative collections free.
Talkspace - A service that takes an assessment of your mental profile in order to pair you with a therapist, Talkspace has created a free resources hub during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CorePower Yoga - While their brick and mortar studios are closed through the end of March, CorePower Yoga is offering free virtual classes.
Down Dog - Yoga and fitness company Down Dog is making all its app services free through April 1. This includes Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7-Minute Workout.
Lululemon - Lulu is hosting free wellness and yoga classes via Instagram Live. Check their feed for more.
Orange Theory - Everyday Orange Theory is offering free 30-minute workouts from instructors around the world.
Crisis Comms Dos and Don'ts
In the next six weeks or more, everyone from well established Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, to solopreneurs will be grappling with the most authentic and sincere ways to communicate with their audiences. While every brand is different and requires special thought, we thought we'd share a few Dos and Don'ts to help brands stay on track during this difficult time.
DON'T: Stop posting on your blog and social media channels. Now more than ever is the time to be there for your online community.
DO: Unschedule any pre-planned posts and take it day-by-day with content. The news cycle is changing rapidly and as marketers, we need to be on the pulse of what is happening to ensure we aren't posting insensitive content.
DON'T: Share medical advice or unsubstantiated news stories.Instead, leave it up to experts and direct any questions or comments within your community to resources available from public health officials at the CDC or WHO.
DO: Share meaningful, encouraging and uplifting content that stays true to your brand. To visually accomplish this on social media, that could mean adding images or videos into your grid that has a calming effect like nature shots or soothing artwork videos.
DON'T: Use this pandemic as a marketing opportunity. Avoid strong CTAs, "salesy" language and seriously consider moving planned announcements or promotions.
DO: Think outside the box and consider shifting your offering. Restaurants have been a great example of how to quickly shift your offering by mobilizing delivery and to-go orders in the wake of closures. If you're on the fence, ask yourself if your offer meets the demand of the current market.
DON'T: Send unnecessary emails or messages about Coronavirus. Unless the information you're sharing is vital to your customer's safety or offers a new resource that's aligned to your company's core values, don't hit send. Ask yourself if this is a message youwould want to hear.
DO: Share employer stories. Consumers want to know if you are taking care of your employees and they are willing to go out of their way to support those that do. So, don't be shy about sharing the measures you're taking to help employees (even if it feels embarrassing) because it's moments like this that can build a truly strong brand reputation.
During this time, where many of us are both working from home and staying home after hours, it's easy to think we have all the time in the world. Why can't we learn a language, teach ourselves a new skill, or write that screenplay we've been talking about for years? While challenging yourself creatively is never a bad thing, it's also important to use this time to pause. You're not required to get in the best shape of your life over the next month. Nor are you supposed to learn a new language before you return to work. Sure, start that screenplay if you'd like but don't pressure yourself to finish it. It's ok to allow your mind time to rest. We're not machines. We don't always need a task. Everything shouldn't have a goal attached. You can use this space and time to heal or find peace. There's no shame in being still.