As of the first quarter of 2021, the COVID-19 global pandemic has infected close to 175 million people worldwide. More than three and half million of them have succumbed to the virus, leaving behind family members, friends, and coworkers.
From a business perspective, this disease has wreaked havoc in all industries and all areas of the corporate environment. Dozens of companies have gone bankrupt or currently stand at the brink, and millions of people have been left unemployed, looking to their savings, loans from banks and other financial institutions, and help from their loved ones to survive.
Yet, this grim reality at long last appears to be changing, and there is a reason for optimism. Many pharmaceutical companies from different nations like Germany, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China have already finalized the development of COVID-19 vaccines, many of which have already been deployed to millions of people.
Still, this doesn’t mean we should cease to be careful and stop taking the necessary measures to avoid the further spread of the virus. Instead, we should learn from the terrible events that have reshaped our world in the last year and a half, improve our behaviors, and become better citizens.
The same is true for companies, whether private or state-owned. Perhaps now more than ever before, it is their duty and obligation to engage in best practices that guarantee the safety of both their employees and customers alike and engage in socially responsible actions that minimize the level of risk to all parties involved.
As we consider this, let us look into different examples of how businesses act with responsibility in the wake of COVID-19.
As far as we know, the COVID-19 virus cannot be directly transmitted through touch. Nevertheless, if you were to place your hands on a surface where someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed and then touch your own eyes, mouth, or nose, chances are you will be sick before the day’s end. The reason is that the virus can live on surfaces like stainless steel and plastic for a period of up to three days.
As a result, it is imperative for all businesses, especially those in the transportation and delivery industries, to engage in proper packaging practices that guarantee the safety of senders and recipients. For instance, instead of utilizing traditional envelopes and boxes, they can buy poly mailers in bulk to handle all their deliveries. Aside from being 100% polyethylene and resistant to water and tear, they are also lined with bubble sheets that protect and stabilize any item and easily remain clean.
It’s a Process
In the past few weeks, millions of people all over the planet have started going back to work. In the weeks to come, many more will continue to do so in areas as varied as entertainment, manufacturing, consulting, services, education, and infrastructure.
As we previously mentioned, the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines has already begun, and soon the majority of the population will have been given a shot. However, businesses need to continue taking precautions to avoid preventable ordeals from taking place. For instance, they shouldn’t force all employees to go back to the office at once. Even if this is arguably the best and fairest route to take, it is neither realistic nor practical.
Rather, they should allow staff members who can work at home to continue to do so. After all, if they can meet the demands of their jobs and hand in assignments on time, why is there a need for them to leave the safety of their houses?
In simple terms, affirmative action is defined as the provision of education and employment opportunities to certain members of society based on race, gender, religion, and many other aspects. It can either be taken by governments or state-owned and private corporations.
As with any tragedy, the people often most affected are those standing in disadvantageous positions, to begin with. According to the United Nations, more than 70% of COVID-19 first responders and health care workers are women. But even if their numbers are more than double that of men, they are still getting paid less while taking the brunt of the risk.
As we move forward with businesses after the pandemic, enterprises in all sectors should place policies that guarantee the fair treatment of women, minorities, and other groups most affected by the virus.
Three examples of social responsibility in business after COVID-19 are the implementation of safe, efficient packaging systems, treading with caution in back-to-work policies, and looking out for those who need the most help.
Disasters are oftentimes unavoidable. Yet, there are always valuable lessons that come with them, lessons to help us develop and become better people in the process.