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Why Corporate Social Responsibility is Important to a Business

Friday April 10, 2015 by Alex Wood

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

Corporate social responsibility has become a byword for good business in recent years and rightly so.  And although it should clearly be pursued for altruistic reasons, there are also business benefits to running CSR programs.  

A "Forbes" article published way back in April 2011 cites Edelman's 2010 Good Purpose Study which found that two thirds of consumers are inclined to buy products and services from an organization they know to be supportive of good causes!  http://purpose.edelman.com/ 

Added to that is the fact that some 84% of consumers are willing to pay more for goods or services from a company that they feel is socially responsible. This is according to a recent survey by Lab42.  In fact, "buying from a socially conscious brand" ranks in the top 5 drivers (after price, quality, customer service and variety) that influence purchase decisions.

Surely however, the CSR not only has to focus on external society but also the company’s internal society to be truly effective?  It’s not enough any more to track staff around the world ensuring that their health and safety is in line with corporate guidelines.  That’s only half the story and internal CSR has to be about how the staff feel and connect as part of that community - but how to achieve this? 

An editorial in The Economist recently stated that The idea that having a good job means being an employee of a particular company is a legacy…from about 1880 to 1980”.  So there’s a very definite shift away from long term company loyalty to more flexible, transitional working lives.  This new ‘Millennial Generation’ consists of highly motivated, socially responsible people for whom the environment in which they work, both externally and internally, is a key factor.

For companies it’s become more and more important to make sure that their staff not only feel safe, but also feel comfortable and feel valued allowing them to perform more effectively all round. 

All this may sound very touchy-feely and out of synch with big corporations, and indeed can lead to seemingly unnecessary additional workloads for smaller companies, but CSR has become undeniably integral to successful businesses both large and small. 

Working in the travel industry, we’ve seen that one of the effects of this move to a more transitional workforce is an increase in business travel and relocations.  Companies realise that part of their internal CSR must include providing support packages for staff and their families in transit, but is there enough support?

The mental fatigue a relocation or business trip can cause needs to be given as high a priority as financial support, thus enabling employees to adapt and become part of the community much more quickly, making them in turn, more productive for the company.

How can this be achieved? Well, for a start, by offering services that encourage feelings of well being and that reduce the high stress levels that the process of travel and relocation can induce. For an employee the whole process can be made far less challenging when companies go that little bit further and take CSR to a new level. 

 

Here are some suggestions on these types of additional services:  

Mindfulness training and meditation have become business bywords in recent years and are no longer the exclusive preserve of hippies! 

Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, discussed mindfulness in her book Thrive, and other business leaders who meditate include Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. 

Indeed, in a blog post, Huffington wrote that "there's nothing touchy-feely about increased profits. This is a tough economy...stress reduction and mindfulness don't just make us happier and healthier, they're a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one."  

Luckily there are are many mindfulness training and meditation options available now in London and around the UK.   A great place to find out more is BeMindful.co.uk - a campaign raising awareness of mindfulness meditation by the Mental Health Foundation.

 

Exercise has been recognized for many years now as a vital resource to reduce stress and so it’s essential to make sure that travelling employees have access to exercise/gym/swim facilities. However it can feel intimidating to run outside in an unknown city, especially for female employees, and it’s not always easy to find a short contract gym. 

One new initiative in the UK is PayasUgym set up by Jamie Ward and Neil Harmsworth.  They thought of the idea in late 2009 when attempting to visit a gym and finding it impossible to track one down where they could simply buy a pass and turn up.   

 

Massage can be a useful tool in the battle on stress and so for travelling employees it’s something to consider. It's an extremely effective form of stress reduction and management and a 2005 study conducted by the University of South Florida found that participants who received 10 massages over the course of three weeks experienced significant drops in blood pressure. 

It’s not always easy to fit in a massage around a busy business travel schedule but a new London based company, Urban Massage, has come up with an novel solution – on-demand massages delivered at your home or office within 60 minutes of ordering. 

 

Healthy eating is a key element in maintaining a sense of well being and while we all know that vegetables are good for us, did you know that eating just one portion of leafy greens a day could stave off dementia?  However, to maintain a healthy, balanced diet is notoriously difficult when on business trips and can be a real challenge when faced with relocation to a new city.  Employees have to cope with meeting the demands of a new job as well as settling in to their new city’s lifestyle, so there’s little time for planning their meals.  Yet the combination of poor nutrition and high stress due to a busy working life can make for a tired and unhealthy person, so it’s essential that companies help their staff to eat well.

Booking serviced apartments instead of hotels allows employees to cater for themselves and this in itself is shown to lead to healthier eating habits.  Having a kitchen in a serviced apartment means that time poor employees can also take advantage of the many food delivery options which bring the ingredients for healthy dinners direct to your door – just follow the simple instructions and you’ve got a balanced, nutritious dinner with very little hassle. 

Gousto prides itself on providing local ingredients from the UK and offers home delivery recipe ingredients for healthy, hassle free home cooked meals.

 

So to sum up, at Prestige Apartments one of our CSR aims is to add value through our role as the accommodation supplier, where we can play an important part in this well-being process.   If we provide a stress free experience for employees away from home, they'll be more productive for their corporations and companies. 

To that end we’ve put together some great services which we believe will help employees deal with the stress of their trips and enable them to settle into their new life more quickly.   Find out more on our Additional Services page.

In the words of Maya Angelou “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Great Apartments. Even Better Service.  

Follow me uk.linkedin.com/in/alexprestigeapartments@alexwpas or +alexwood 

Prestige Apartments has a wide range of serviced apartments on offer throughout the UK with options to suit all budgets.  Please get in touch with the sales team who will be happy to discuss how they can help you with your serviced apartment needs. 

Tel: 020 7704 6514 or email: sales@prestigeapartments.co.uk


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Posted by Alex Wood

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