Just over a year ago I wrote an article for our digital audience on the importance of purpose at PG Paper, the company I lead with my wife Poonam Gupta OBE. I wrote it at a time when the firm was looking forward to the year ahead, planning our strategic goals, and Covid was not on our horizon.
Covid redefines our work and personal lives
The next 12 months saw the world pivot on its axis. Across our planet, people have lost their livelihoods, their health, and over 3 million have lost their lives to Covid.
In common with so many businesses, PG Paper worked hard to deal with the enormous and ongoing impact of Covid as customer needs changed and staff worked remotely across the world.
PG Paper went into survival mode. More than ever before, our values and purpose were what pulled us through. We built on our resilience, our entrepreneurship, and our kindness to each other.
PG Paper is a truly international company. We have staff, suppliers, and customers throughout the world, we speak many different languages and are culturally diverse. As the Covid wave moved across our planet, we dealt with the impact of that on our business, staff, clients, and suppliers.
We’ve worked hard over the past few months to learn from this experience and make PG Paper’s purpose as meaningful, relevant and impactful as possible during these difficult times.
Focusing on Good Mental Health
Social distancing and Working from Home have created significant stress and anxiety over the past year. We’ve partnered with a mental health charity to provide resources, training, and professional, one-to-one support to our staff.
Supporting Good Causes Globally and Locally
PG Paper has a long history of supporting a number of local, national and international charities including those working with vulnerable children and young adults, those working to extend access to education and healthcare, and we are proud to support a number of environmental initiatives too.
In December last year we supported a number of smaller local charities, nominated by our staff. The charities had all been adversely impacted by Covid with fundraising opportunities greatly diminished and we hope our Christmas toys and gifts, sanitizer units, clothes, and financial contributions helped charities close to our hearts.
Staying Connected with each other
We’ve stayed connected and supportive with more virtual staff catch-ups and last month, although there wasn’t a black-tie or evening gown in sight, we all got together (virtually) to attend Action for Children’s Virtual Sports Dinner.
India’s Oxygen Crisis
Never has our purpose been stronger and clearer than in the past couple of weeks when India announced that it was running out of oxygen in the midst of a huge surge in Covid19 cases.
The PG Paper team has spent the last fortnight working tirelessly to source, buy and deliver thousands of oxygen concentrators and oxygen generator machines. Poonam, myself and our international team have worked closely and collaboratively with NGOs, hospitals, and both the UK and Indian administrations to distribute these as effectively and efficiently as possible.
We are one of many organisations in the UK and across the world who are working to help ease the time critical situation in India.
The past week has made our purpose completely personal both for myself and for so many of the PG Team. We have lost close family members friends and colleagues.
The past year may have been challenging but it is our unwavering focus on PG’s purpose that leads our daily actions and our way forward. We feel privileged to be in a position of being able to help India during this crisis. Our efforts, like so many other organisations and individuals, will continue over the next week and our thoughts and prayers remain with our colleagues, customers, family, and friends in India.
A Call to CEOs
Before Covid, I attended numerous business leader events focused on the growing importance of purpose in business. Organisations that are driven by purpose benefit from better-engaged employees, increased customer loyalty, are more innovative and financially successful. Although so many businesses have been badly hit by the lockdown in the past year, with CEOs, managing directors and company owners managing their businesses in “survival mode”, it will be the refining and refocusing of their purpose that makes organisations stand out and succeed during this critical time. Are you focused on your purpose?