CSR during the coronavirus pandemic

In the past few weeks, we have seen the world changing with the impacts of coronavirus. The main one, of course, is related to health: thousands of people have been infected and hospitalised. In this context, the routine of individuals, families, communities and organisations – both public and private – has been changing immensely. The pandemic forces corporations to demonstrate their commitment to society in addition to shareholders. In this new reality, the role of CSR professionals is more important now than ever.
The recommendation to avoid crowds and reduce the chances of contagion has led many companies to practice home-office. All of this is only possible thanks to the evolution of technology. Nowadays, it is possible to transmit and receive data quickly and safely, and such dynamic is the key to everything. The Internet is a great technological agent that allows information to travel and be exchanged in real-time, enabling new business models to exist.
Although more and more people have been getting acquainted with home-office in the past years, this might be the first time for a big part of the professionals in the CSR industry. So here are some tips on how to approach home-office as a CSR professional. 

1.You have to be patient. 

Any process of change at work requires time to adapt and will have unexpected challenges. You might have to re-do some strategies and create new processes. Some people might adapt to the digital way of working very well, but some might struggle in the beginning. It is essential to be patient and understand that everyone has a different learning curve.

2. Use new tools. 

Many professionals have been using tools such as Excel for years, but moments like this one prove that such an old process might break when collaborating with colleagues you can no longer meet face-to-face every day. Our tip is to use a combination of tools available to help in your process. Align with your team the best communication strategy, and think of channels that meet all work needs. Many use Skype, Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts or even WhatsApp to keep in touch. Some other tools, such as Optimy, can also help you virtually manage sponsorship or grant requests and projects. This tool is a big ally to centralise documentation and digitally track projects. This technology reduces your administrative workload which can increase productivity, especially when working from home.

3. Enjoy this moment to develop self-awareness. 

Working from home allows you to choose the best moment to do your tasks. Some people are more productive in the morning and when interacting with colleagues. Others prefer doing tasks in the afternoon, listening to music and without talking to anyone. The flexibility of the home-office allows each professional to understand what their ideal work is like.

4. Rethink your CSR strategies and adapt your message. 

Many events were cancelled in the past days. But even in times of anxiety and uncertainty, it is crucial to communicate with your stakeholders and keep as many projects rolling as possible. This is a moment in which many people and corporations finally understand the importance of collaborating and helping others. You can use this opportunity to readjust your communication strategy to reach more people. Just because people cannot meet, doesn’t mean that people will stop engaging and events should be cancelled. You can organise CSR events to an online version and explain to your community what measures your corporation is taking to fight the coronavirus crisis.  

5. There is still a place for volunteering. 

Nowadays, many NGOs have been receiving the help of many people working from the comfort of their own couch. United Nations and the Red Cross are just a few of the non-profit organisations that offer online volunteering positions. And we might argue that the trend of online volunteering might be here to stay. Many professionals with busy schedules might prefer online volunteering, even when they are allowed to be out. 
From working from home to creating a new CSR strategy, adaptability is key. And when it comes to CSR projects, there are still plenty of options. Many people have been organically organising themselves to help others, and corporations can and should do the same. Those who feel healthy can donate blood, for example, and many charities have been accepting food donations for kids that rely on school meals as their main source of food. We never needed corporate giving this much, so this is the moment to get creative and keep giving back to society.