The lessons we’ve learned over the past few months have brought us to a unique juncture from where we can encourage reflection between the private and public sectors, and society itself, says María José González.
(Expansión) – Mexico and the world are experiencing an unprecedented change in our so-called “normal” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the one hand, confinement is presenting considerable challenges to home, family, and societal dynamics, while on the other, we are witnessing a profound disruption to all sectors of the economy, the result of one of the worst crises that we have seen in recent years.
In terms of the way we’re living, consuming, and working, the new normal has reordered our needs and forced us to change our habits. Sanitary measures, such as social distancing, are now part of our daily routine. Similarly, we have changed our consumption patterns, replacing some of our needs and increasingly migrating to digital services.
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, commented that a digital transformation of all aspects of our lives and work has occurred in just two months, whereas it could have taken more than two years. It’s what we could call a “leap forward”. Many people who are lucky enough to have a job now work remotely. Children attend school from home and parents are expected to help and supervise their studies. College students and young adults have returned home, seeking refuge.
There is no doubt that these transformative moments will have distinct repercussions throughout society.
Some of these inequalities are made apparent in how we are adapting to our new reality, for example, the opportunity to work from home is not an option for everyone in our country since thousands of people have to leave their homes to continue earning an income. In regards to education, continuing with the school year has been very challenging for families, not only because of the need to have a computer and a good internet connection to access courses, but also having parents that are able to be present and supportive of learning .
Therefore, corporate social responsibility is now more relevant than ever as an instrument of positive impact. In crisis situations like this, more collaboration between the private sector and the government is needed to work towards a more just and inclusive society and economy. In particular, we must work together with the most affected communities to understand their new needs, develop new programs that adapt to the new reality, and grant them opportunities to avoid falling further behind.
Digitization programs in marginalized areas, better connectivity, increased development of school infrastructure, flexibility to work remotely, and child care in the workplace are some of the new trends that companies must consider and prioritize in their new social responsibility programs.
Companies should take advantage of this crisis to reflect on how they can face the new reality and be better leaders from the trenches. The lessons we’ve learned over the past few months have brought us to a unique juncture from where we can encourage reflection between the private and public sectors, and society itself.
This is our opportunity to take advantage of newly developed practices, digital tools, and new leadership roles that could become permanent solutions, resulting in more committed, resilient, productive, and innovative organizations.
Editor’s Note: María José González de Cossío is a partner at Miranda Media, where she directs the PR, Media, and Corporate Social Responsibility area. She has experience working in the private and public sector, as well as with NGOs on issues related to the energy sector, infrastructure, risk management, education, communication strategy, economic analysis, and public relations. María José is an economist from ITAM and a member of the Advisory Council of the Women’s Forum, Women in Energy. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column belong exclusively to the author.