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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities continue to be a major focus area for businesses in the region, especially for those in the UAE. Image Credit:

The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been deeply embedded in the core values of most businesses deemed industry leaders — both regionally and globally.

The practice reflects organisations’ commitment to giving back to the society by making a difference in the lives of those around and contributing to something bigger than day-to-day businesses. If you look around, corporations now have a better understanding regarding how to sustain long-term performances; and that is by showing the society that you care and that it is not always about revenues.

CSR activities continue to be a major focus area for businesses in the region, especially for those in the UAE. Remaining socially relevant is part of most business leaders’ vision, and it is becoming more and more evident, particularly in the face of crises.

GCC economies have long recognised and given importance to lending a hand to the underprivileged and initiatives such as Dubai Chamber’s “CSR Label” are examples for this.

The ongoing pandemic crisis presents a lot of opportunities for organisations looking to take up CSR activities with long-lasting impacts, and these are sure to bring them closer to the communities around them.

Put in that effort

As you all already know, the coronavirus disease has impacted everyone in developed and developing countries alike, with no discrimination. Yes, the growing numbers of infected people belong to various segments of society. Other aspects of its impact are yet to be ascertained.

Therefore, every single one of us has the responsibility to do our bit in mitigating the impact of the crisis, even as scientists, health experts, and governments continue to look for an effective solution to deal with this pandemic.

Taking on responsibility

We are already seeing enterprises rise above the situation and becoming more innovative and creative in caring for their employees, customers, and members of the communities. It is heartening to see many organisations are serving as responsible corporate citizens by going to great lengths to show that they care.

If we were to lay down our priorities during a pandemic crisis situation such as this, there is no doubt employees come first. Therefore, top priority should be ensuring the comfort and safety of employees, as they are the most valuable asset of any organisation.

You can go about this by temporarily modifying work policies wherever possible and giving them flexibility to carry out their work tasks. Eltizam has adapted to a remote working system, which allows our employees a great deal of flexibility and a sense of safety and security.

A need for reassurance

Furthermore, it is important to understand that your employees feel stressed and uncertain while coping with an unprecedented crisis situation, combined with legitimate fears about the spread of the disease. In this context, employee well-being extends to mental health as well.

They might want to hear reassuring words from their employers at this point of time. So, stay in touch with them and keep communicating updates to them.

We are navigating unchartered territories and are adapting to a new way of living and working. Understand that different rules apply right now and a more relaxed approach to certain areas that previously had no flexibility must be considered.

The last thing you want to do right now is to add to the stress levels of your employees.

I strongly believe that companies have a role to play in making CSR a mainstream priority for all leading businesses, in order to ensure sustainable growth. In addition to being commercially successful, remaining socially relevant through balancing your approach by considering the needs of customers, employees, society and finances is necessary to achieve long-term goals.

— Chris Roberts is CEO at Eltizam.