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What SME corporate social responsibility looks like

For a young and growing business it may not be high up on the agenda, but Office Space in Town explains why SME corporate social responsibility makes sense.
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This month, I have been thinking about Office Space in Town’s continued growth and expansion – the increasing numbers of employees we hire, the wide array of tenants in our offices and the support of a strengthening cohort of investors.

Naturally, our growth has prompted celebration, but this month it has also prompted us to think more closely about our responsibility as a business to these groups and to the wider community.

For Office Space in Town, corporate social responsibility is our approach to ensuring our employees, clients and partners understand we are a responsible business, which recognises that our business activities impact the environment, society and economy and that we must hold ourselves accountable for the footprint of our operations.

My diary entry this month comes from my sister Niki, with whom I established and now run Office Space in Town, and who is the brains behind our corporate social responsibility efforts and the driving force behind integrating corporate social responsibility principles into our business strategy.

I’m a firm believer that being good at business means doing good as a business. It’s widely recognised that a business can leave a footprint on its surroundings – it’s up to that business to decide whether that footprint is for better or for worse. As Office Space in Town continues to grow, so too will its footprint and in turn, the company’s responsibility to ensure that it has a positive impact on the wider community and the environment.

This is why I am committed to managing SME corporate social responsibility as an employer, prospective employer and serviced office provider to our clients. I feel strongly that we endeavour to invest in our staff and provide them with the opportunity for them to develop and engage with corporate social responsibility.

A considered SME corporate social responsibility policy is key for any ambitious business hoping to grow and can no longer be an afterthought. A business’ commitment to corporate social responsibility is now a benchmark by which to measure its appeal – younger workers have ranked corporate social responsibility as a key criterion of an employer, clients increasingly consider it as of equal value as cost and investors more and more want assurances that their investments are socially responsible.

For a number of years now, Office Space in Town’s team has chosen to support a charity or a good cause, which has personal resonance with our employees and is selected by a collective vote – an initiative that we encourage and support and one that has engendered a strengthening bond between our team members.

However, a strong SME corporate social responsibility policy must go further than this, integrating key principles into the way the business operates day to day. Our principles centre around five key values – following the spirit of the law, supporting charities, investing in staff development, giving back to the environment and committing to being green. Our staff are encouraged to do community work and our business model and employee agreements allow staff to take time off to engage with community work of their choice. We have also made basic changes in our offices such as ensuring our offices stock Fairtrade products, encouraging sustainable and environmentally friendly operations – small changes that have far greater positive consequences.

As Office Space in Town continues to grow, I am confident that with these principles in place, the business will make a positive impact on its surroundings – for clients, partners and staff.

This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.

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About Author

Giles Fuchs

Giles Fuchs established Office Space in Town with his sister Niki in 2009, and today is the CEO of one of the most successful property companies in the UK, with boutique serviced offices across the Capital, Northampton, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

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