Why are we bringing our shower caps to work?

Posted: 27th August 2014

Why are we bringing our shower caps to work?

Much like the smiling people, gripping keys and boxes on the front of a social housing provider’s website, here at Altair we have a new home! Well a new office, but it does have a shower, so I think some of the staff may be contemplating moving in…

While in a consumer society the very fact of newness does make these offices pretty exciting, that is not the only cause for celebrating. The office’s natty features mean that Altair can now boast its very own, values focused, bells and whistles, all singing all dancing CSR policy – Wahey! (I should probably admit at this point to being the author of said policy).

Part of the spec that was missing from our old home / office, was a shower (for cyclists) and recycling facilities (for the generations to come), and with these rectified we can now walk (or pedal) into a greener future. Which all sounds very nice, but also seems like I want to arrange a team social tree hugging. In fact, you might think that CSR has no organisational significance, beyond rubber (sustainably sourced of course) stamping actions that were going to be taken anyway.

But if that is all a CSR policy is, then it is broken, so you’ll be pleased to read, that as it should, our CSR policy has come from Altair’s values, and ensures that Altair embeds these principles throughout its practice. As you may have seen Chris write in the last e-bulletin, we wanted to make sure we were contributing to the communities in which we work, so we now have a charity partner, which got Chris thinking (and delegating to me) about CSR.

In social housing even as we become more commercially minded, we remain socially hearted and our organisational objectives are aligned with what are often some already pretty corporately responsible values. The role of CSR policy then is about making sure we don’t forget the edges. Because if my customers live in diverse communities served by a customer focused landlord, but their children live to see the extinction of dolphins because of all the cheap tuna sandwiches I laid out in meetings, then it is hard to see that as a victory. The creation and review of policy gives organisations a chance to think about what they want, and what compromises they are willing to make. They create consistency, and safeguard the areas that matter, as well as ensuring clarity for staff and customers.

Overall, a well written CSR policy gives those who work for and with you the security to behave ethically, to defend what is in line with policy and to ensure that the dolphins / trees / atmosphere / children in sweatshops get the deal your organisation wants to give them, rather than the deal that happens to occur when they are an afterthought (or not a thought at all!).

So if you think your CSR policy needs a refresh, or any other policy for that matter, why not get in touch? Or if you want a hand with an office move we do have a qualified interior designer on staff (prizes for guessing who)…

For more information contact Sarah-Joy Lewis: sarah-joy.lewis@altairltd.co.uk

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