Taking care of employees and our communities during the COVID-19 crisis

When the COVID-19 crisis began to take shape in early 2020, we all had to quickly come to terms with a new reality—at work, at home, and even at the grocery store. Adapting to quarantine, social distancing, and a new way to communicate with each other brought about new complexities for individuals, companies and governments alike.


As an organization with an international reach, GrandVision plays an important role not only in the lives of our employees, but also in the welfare of the communities where we are present. We therefore fully embraced this new challenge of operating during COVID-19 and worked even harder, as one global team, to ensure we continued to be the eye care provider our customers know and trust.


Keeping our employees safe and healthy
As soon as we learned of the locations where our employees and stores were affected by government measures to prevent the spread of the virus, we adapted our business model and our way of working.


Employees in our offices and stores were asked to work from or stay at home to reduce their exposure to the virus and help, “flatten the curve.” Our HR and IT teams around the world went above and beyond to make sure our employees received the resources they needed during this period.


At the same time, stores that were considered essential in certain countries were provided with protective gear for employees and customers alike so they could safely remain open.


As reinfection rates fell over the course of April and early May, we took calculated measures to cautiously open our stores again, country by country, with extra support from our regional offices and headquarters. Thousands of protective masks, gloves and other gear were shipped to our stores around the world to prepare to welcome customers back safely.


Fostering creativity and entrepreneurial spirit
We are proud of our employees—when the global COVID-19 crisis hit, they not only showed a strong team spirit, but also a high level of creativity and entrepreneurship. For example, a French colleague invented glasses fitted with protective PVC sheets for store staff and customers. The model and its production method will be available for all opticians within the GrandVision Group.


Giving back to our communities
Global philanthropy is an important pillar of GrandVision’s Corporate Responsibility strategy. While we could not offer a solution to fight the COVID-19 virus, we can offer support to those who are most affected. During this time, we harnessed our energy and eye care expertise to run several initiatives around the world with the tireless support of our global CSR Ambassadors.


Special care for medical staff
Even during a global lock down, many of our retail brands such as Apollo in Germany, Vision Express in U.K., Fototica in Brazil, MultiOpticas in Portugal and GrandVision in Benelux, to name a few, offered special service to local health care professionals. From offering replacement glasses to contact lenses for free to donating protective gear such as goggles and visors, or even performing emergency eye checks, our vision experts didn’t shy away from delivering eye care to those who were serving on the pandemic’s front line.


Supporting the vulnerable
We cannot deny that some members of society were hit more significantly than others during this global health crisis, such as the elderly and young people. Our colleagues in Spain participated in a program to keep isolated elderly company through phone calls, and our colleagues in Portugal donated office laptops to students who weren’t able to access their online classes. In Russia, our retail brand Lensmaster offered free eye checks for one month for adults—especially those spending many hours in front of computers, and free eye checks and a product discount for children.


During these tough moments, we are proud to stick together and to support each other, and especially to support our customers and the communities where we are present. As we know, every small act of kindness adds up and makes a positive impact in people’s lives.


Together, we can make a difference!