• Isobel Lawlor

Corporate Social Responsibility during the global pandemic

Over the past few months companies across the world have stepped up to show how they are operating during these challenging times. Many businesses efforts have been publicised in the media, from brands switching their production to make PPE or other goods for wider social benefit, to others sending food to the NHS front line workers. In a different light, companies who’ve taken advantage of the situation have come under fire for price gouging and putting pressure on their staff to work in unsuitable conditions. This public health crisis has shone a brighter spotlight on the importance of ethical business practices.

At Velox, the whole team has been working from home since the start of the lockdown. The disruption to our day-to-day work has been minimal as, prior to the virus, we had implemented a programme to allow our employees to work remotely, in addition to utilising market leading technology for team communication and task management. Having these processes in place already has made a big difference to how efficiently we have been able to function as a fully remote team during this time.

Recognising that this is a challenging time for everyone, supporting our employees’ well-being through the global pandemic has been our priority. Communication and transparency are even more important, and knowing that many of the team are now juggling the responsibilities of home-schooling as well as work, we offer flexibility and understanding so that work-life balance can still be achieved. At the start of 2019 we began our employee well-being project, which included exploring progressive office styles to allow for more flexible working. More recently we have expanded on this further by considering how our work life may continue to change post-COVID-19. We have involved each member of the team in idea sessions to consider their thoughts on these matters.

We continue to partner with some fantastic charities, and back at the start of the lockdown we made a significant donation to the Marylebone Project, the UK’s largest women’s homeless shelter, which also delivers education, employment and training opportunities to its service users. Our donation was put towards increasing online accessibility for the women, buying hardware and increasing WiFi across the project so that they are able to access keep fit sessions, yoga, dance and films whilst maintaining social distancing. The Velox team have also recently begun 1:1 mentoring of Year 12 students with the Social Mobility Foundation, a brilliant programme for aspiring professionals which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds. In addition to this, we have made donations to The Trussell Trust, Age UK, Mind UK, and NHS charities together.

A picture of the Velox team cooking lunch for the women at the Marylebone Project in September 2019. A charitable activity not currently possible under COVID-19 restrictions.

The lockdown has clearly been a time of introspection for individuals and businesses alike, and although COVID-19 has brought a hugely unwelcome amount of strain and untimely death to the world, it has also caused an acceleration in work and employee well-being initiatives that will greatly benefit people in times to come. Some more traditional businesses and their owners may have been forced to consider their views on more outdated working methods, such as presenteeism, and address factors that are intrinsically related to employee well-being, without impeding productivity. It looks as though we will see a drastic and much needed move towards more task orientated working, which is something that we at Velox will continue to fully embrace as we have been for some time.



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