Corporate responsibilities in the face of COVID19
The Covid-19 outbreak is truly a human tragedy, affecting people around the globe. It has dealt a severe blow to the global economy. Most of the countries are under the lockdown now to prevent the spread of this pandemic. There is tremendous loss in the form of human lives and economic resources. Nevertheless the world is showing unity which is appreciable. In order to defeat this pandemic, not just few sections in the society have responsibilities rather everyone has to contribute in a positive manner.
Like people, the businesses and organizations around the world are also at the receiving end of continued losses. But it’s also true that they have to sense and play a key role in this hour of crisis. The private sector in particular must join the fight against Covid-19 on the frontlines.
Businesses must understand there is an opportunity to earn the best image and reputation and emerge as true brands. They need to identify their unique capabilities to meet society’s immediate needs. For instance, the contributions of organizations as would produce or donate sanitizers, masks, and other protective gear or offer other facilities for quarantine etc. will be remembered for long.
There is a dire need to keep essentials ready and affordable. The businesses must shun away from earning huge profits and hoarding practices. These kind acts in this hour of crisis will not be forgotten by the society. In fact it will build goodwill among the wider public for a long period of time to come.
Employers have a good role and must take care of the health of the employees who are active and working for the welfare of the society. They must put good protections in place for their employees as well as their customers. The employers should provide facilities for hygiene with clean water, soap, sanitizers, and paper towels. All work surfaces and the surrounding areas should be regularly cleaned.
The need of time is that employers should remain calm and boost the spirit of their employees. The employees must not be pressurized and given threatening calls for being unproductive and costly to the organizations by falling short of their targets. The situation has become uncontrollable and no one may like to sit idle deliberately. Everyone is in trauma and we never know the situation with the employees and their families who are locked inside. Most recent research studies have found that employees and consumers increasingly reward those businesses that use their powers for good. The companies which uphold high values to advance a large societal benefit, regularly exhibit stronger financial performance.
Working from home is an idea whose time has finally come. In order to save the environment and the resources the work from home model is a viable one. The work from home has already been tested by some businesses but now it is catching much hype. Some of the researches are aimed in this direction wherein some companies have revealed that the employees who worked from home had a great increase in productivity than those working in offices – almost equivalent to an additional workday – primarily because of fewer distractions and fewer pointless conversations. There is so much of pollution nowadays and time may demand us to focus on work from home model in future as well.
In this hour of crisis allowing employees to work from home is the best way to prevent coronavirus contamination. Thanks to the technological advancements that support this work from home model, life and work can and must go on. It is truly encouraging to see everyone going online, be it teachers, doctors, consultants, researchers, engineers, businesses, students, etc. to promote stay safe and stay inside.
But organizations must also take a note that work from home model is not free from limitations. It requires extra focus and determination on part of the employees. The families too have to be highly cooperative and understand this responsibility to work from home. They have to support their working members in ways as much as possible. But then there are employees who are still not comfortable with this work from home. The challenges posed to such employees will be due to lack of proper trainings, facilities as well as the inefficient environment. Employers must also take note of such cases and try to involve them in some more meaningful works rather than pressurizing them for work from home. Human resource departments must be engaged at best to understand the cases one by one rather than releasing a general policy and put some honest employees under increased crisis. Employees must be encouraged to speak their heart out and learn their challenges.
There are also students who belong to far flung areas of the country with many problems in terms of network etc. They must also be given good treatment as they may have issues to attend online classes and submit assignments, etc.
It must be noted that good gestures by the employers towards their employees will be highly praised for a longer period of time. They must stay close to their employees and truly care for them. It can potentially win their loyalty and develop sense of ownership in them. Everything will return to normalcy soon and employees will work harder and try to be more productive. They will perform their duties with utmost sincerity.
- The writer is Assistant Professor, School of Management, ITM University Gwalior, Youth Ambassador, International Youth Society and a Regular Columnist. He can be reached at- [email protected]