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How to Do Good AND Make a Profit

How to Do Good AND Make a Profit

How to do Good AND Make a Profit

    With the world economic and business outlook still so uncertain, a key question is just how the businesses world can continue to do good as well as maintain their bottom line.

    Over the last few years, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become such a buzz word for business people with companies sprouting all sorts of CSR initiatives, but are companies really embracing CSR because they believe in it or are they in it for entirely selfish reasons?

    Are they really acting out of some kind of moral duty or is the reality still that they only care about the bottom line?

    In simpler terms, CSR means “doing the right thing”. A company’s commitment to CSR therefore implies ethical conduct and a moral sense of what is right and what is wrong, and it should aim to eliminate or minimise any negative impact of its business activities.

    savetheworld1

      With the unscrupulous behaviour of the major banks over the last few years which has led to the current worldwide economic downturn, never before has it  been so pertinent that business people are seen to be doing the right thing.

      Even President Obama has been urging businesses to do the right thing and become socially responsible. His approach and vision is refreshing from all that has gone before us for so long.

      So the business person today faces a major dilemma. Whereas on the one hand, his or her company has to minimise the negative impact of its business activities on the environment, employees, suppliers, customers and the wider community, on the other hand it is only by maximising the company’s return can all these stakeholder groups be served adequately.

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      What is Personal Social Responsibility?

      The pre-requisite for understanding and accepting the need for CSR and subsequently implementing it successfully is the concept of Personal Social Responsibility (PSR).

      PSR is all about doing to others what you would like others do to you. It is about recognising how your behaviour affects others, and holding yourself accountable for your actions. It is about being in integrity and doing the right thing for the right moral reasons.
      The key question to ask is how can we as individuals and businesses improve the world?

      Ideally a PSR aware person will:-

      1. Always endeavour to have a positive effect on others.
      2. Have a mind set to contribute.
      3. Refrain from causing negativity in his environment e.g. by throwing litter on the ground, or by gossiping.
      4. His social and economic activities will have a positive or neutral impact on the environment.

      However the real challenge the world faces today is for people at the top of the business world to do the “right” thing for themselves, their children and the world.

      Increasingly more and more companies must wake up to their responsibilities to the environment, the larger community and the global implications of their activities.

      Create your own PSR vision and journey

      Clearly the business debate is no longer about whether a company should make a substantial commitment to CSR but just how? Business people really do have to get their CSR act together and actually start doing stuff.

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      So where do you begin? Start by firstly becoming aware of the concept of PSR. By coming from a place of being socially responsible for all your actions, you will immediately begin to think differently. And that will form a solid foundation for understanding and developing CSR in your business.

      Remember that PSR is more than just merely recycling paper or giving out money to your chosen charity. It is all about taking a firm stand and making a commitment towards giving back to society and at the same time ensuring the long term viability and profitability of your business.

      To get you started, my PSR vision is that as individuals we always do the best for us and the people in our lives, and at the same time our businesses endeavour to do the best for the world at large.

      Reach your own PSR vision by spending some time and answering the following questions. These questions will help you to develop your own understanding of PSR and CSR and ultimately create a plan of action that suits you and your business:-

      1. How will the world be a better place because you have lived?

      2. How will the world and future generations benefit from your company’s activities?

      3. What legacy are you leaving behind through your work?

      4. What would you like to be said about you after you die? And about your work?

      5. If you only had six months to live, how would you spend some of that time making a difference in the world? In which area would you create the most urgency and why?

      6. What does Corporate Social Responsibility mean to you? What does it mean to your company / business?

      7. Do you believe that you and your business have a moral duty to respond to world problems? Why? What’s the ideal response to the various problems?

      8. Can companies be socially responsible and be profitable at the same time? What level of profits is acceptable to you and why?

      9. What do you think about this statement – “Responsible business should be about profit making, not profiteering?” Why?

      10. What positive lessons can you learn from businesses that you think have a social conscience? What do you really like about the ethics of those businesses whose ethics you admire? What can you learn from them to apply in your own business?

      11. If your children asked you if your business was ethical in all its activities, would you be able to look them in the eye and honestly say YES?! If NOT, what will it take for you to answer YES?

      12. What legacy is your business creating for the children of tomorrow? Socially? Ethically? Environmentally?

      13. What do you NOT want your business to continue doing?

      14. If there was one thing you could change about your business and its ethics policy, what would it be? When will you make this change?

      15. What is really stopping you and your business from being more socially responsible? What will you do next?

      16. Having been on this short journey of discovering Personal Social Responsibility, how will you now live your life differently?

      17. In what ways will you apply Personal Social Responsibility in your life from now on?

      So begin today on your journey through this exciting, challenging and ultimately fulfilling world of business ethics, social responsibility and sustainability.

      Make your life and your actions count from today.

      Make it happen! Good luck and enjoy your journey.

      Come from a place of being socially responsible – you owe it to our future generations. ~ Arvind Devalia

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      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

      At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

      Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

      One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

      When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

      So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

      Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

      This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

      Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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      When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

      Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

      One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

      Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

      An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

      When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

      Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

      Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

      We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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      By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

      Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

      While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

      I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

      You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

      Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

      When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

      Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

      Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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      Con #2: Less Human Interaction

      One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

      Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

      Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

      This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

      While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

      Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

      Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

      This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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      For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

      Con #4: Unique Distractions

      Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

      For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

      To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

      Final Thoughts

      Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

      We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

      More About Working From Home

      Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

      Reference

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