Does your company participate in any kind of CSR program at the moment? Today I had the privilege of going on a tour with Feeding Spain, an amazing organization here in Barcelona, that donates one meal for every meal purchased from their restaurant and online delivery kitchen. I went today with one of my co-workers on behalf of Akommo, and got to learn not only about the logistics behind running a restaurant, an online delivery system, and a donations system to the local homeless shelter, and about how to balance a business under a budget, with very few workers to help. Apart from the business side, I also had the fortune of witnessing how compassion can drive people to reach new heights. So much so, that compassion even drove the owner, Daniel, to hire one of the men he met at one of the homeless shelters they support, with a full contract, and saved this man from the streets.
I was overwhelmed with emotions after the visit, and I went to work full of inspiration, motivation, and even a new appreciation for my company that not only lets me get out of the office to get involved, but actually encourages the participation in a Corporate Social Responsibility project. On top of feeling great the whole rest of the day, let’s state the obvious benefit to be reaped from CSR: free, positive, and organic PR, for both your own company and the organization you are supporting. Here are some of the perks that CSR can bring to the office, both for the employees and the employers:
- Change. How often do you find yourself getting that bored, listless look in your eye while staring at the computer screen? Probably more often than you care to admit, and unfortunately, that is a daily reality for many people. A benefit to having an outlet, such as a homeless shelter, working with an NGO, whatever it might be, is the change of pace it permits. Being able to look forward to a new experience of any kind is stimulating, and it gives us a new boost of motivation, and a blast out of the rut. It is crucial for workers to have this type of outlet associated with the company, because it lets them feel proud of where they work, at least that’s what I felt.
- Employers: Workers who experience the occasional change of pace at the workplace tend to feel more satisfied.
- Perspective. Along the lines of change of pace, being in a new work environment gives you insight into how the rest of your community lives outside of your office. It is so easy to get sucked into this bubble which consists of your commute, your office, and the occasional lunch outing, and you start to forget that there is an entire world happening outside. Having an environment where your bubble can be figuratively burst is a great way to give yourself a healthy reality check and a whole lot of perspective. My job became exponentially more important yesterday, and I realized that because of Akommo, I am able to give back to my beloved community.
- Employers: Take advantage of the new perspective your workers gain, and use that towards making something collaborative and creative for your company.
- Inspiration. Any time that I leave any sort of routine, I feel inspired, but when participating in something that requires stepping quite far out of the usual comfort zone, this is where profound inspiration is derived from. I felt so inspired by the work ethic of every person we met, and how incredibly big their hearts were, just to better their community. The concept behind Feeding Spain made me feel excited to do more, work harder, and one day create something that can help those around me. The owner has an incredible inclination for the homeless, and his passion gives him the energy to manage almost everything alone.
- Employers: I can’t think of a better way to get your employees to be more productive than to find ways for them to be inspired!
There is something truly unique about working with your hands, and typing on the computer definitely does not count. Yesterday when I was in the kitchen preparing the food for the homeless shelter, I felt a different sense of purpose. Jobs where you can instantly see the fruit of your labour are incredibly satisfying, and you can even learn a few new skills at the same time (i.e. I now know how to make a kick-ass lentil stew to feed 40 people). On top of that, I was able to learn how the owner manages everything, runs his business efficiently, and directs the logistics. I was blown away by it, honestly.
Take the newly acquired skills learned by your employees and see how they can be transferred and applied to your company!
- Gratitude. I felt so many different emotions yesterday, most of which I am still trying to process, but one of the most prominent was most definitely gratitude. How could you not feel grateful when you get to see how the other half of the world lives? I felt grateful for my life, my circumstances, my health, and for the opportunity that wouldn’t have been presented to me had I not been working for Akommo.
- Employers: Have your employees write a bit about their experiences regarding your CSR projects and the values that CSR adds to the company!