Corporate social responsibility is a broad concept that can take many forms depending on the company and industry. Through CSR programmes, philanthropy and volunteer efforts, businesses can benefit society while boosting their brands. As important as CSR is for the community, it is equally valuable for a company because it can help employees and employers feel and become more connected with the communities associated with their business.
It is fair to say that CSR has mostly been associated with the larger multi-national organisations because they are more likely to be able to allocate funds to support such initiatives, but as you will see, there is no reason why smaller enterprises should not become involved with initiatives which support local communities at a lower level. CSR should in fact be given a higher profile and encouraged more than it is.
Monica Machado Translation Services (MMTS) works very closely with many Blue-Chip organisations in developing African countries where, in some instances, building such things as roads, hospitals and schools are often included as CSR projects by the major organisations. It was in 2012 when translating CSR documents and reading about the numerous CSR projects that the idea of contributing at a lower level evolved.
In 2013 it was protection of the Angolan giant sable antelope. This project was later awarded the 2017 Tusk Conservation Award by Sir David Attenborough, in the category of Wildlife Ranger Award. The annual Tusk Conservation Awards were established in 2013 in partnership with Ninety One and in conjunction with The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), to celebrate the achievements of extraordinary people whose work protecting Africa’s irreplaceable natural heritage might otherwise go unnoticed. In 2014 it was a turtle conservation project in Angola; in 2015 and 2016 protection and conservation of wildlife in the UK and Portugal, and in 2016 MMTS provided discounted rates for an NGO operating in Angola and pro-bono work for a United Nations project in Guinea-Bissau.
In exchange for the contribution to UN projects, MMTS is permitted to proudly display the UN Volunteers logo on its website. Full details of all MMTS CSR policy and contributions to date can be found on the MMTS Website.
In addition, MMTS has to date translated numerous educational books for African children on turtles, elephants, antelopes, sawfishes and malaria, and taken on pro-bono work for a number of International Charitable Organisations as their own contribution to CSR.
Whilst the larger organisations may have more money and resources to contribute to CSR projects, they should not be viewed as sole contributors. CSR projects, however large or small, are always well received by local communities wherever they may be, and need only be in line with a companies’ profitability (for example, look at the 2019 CSR). Furthermore, CSR contributions can be offset against tax – so what are you waiting for?
As the old adage goes ‘It’s the thought that counts.’
MMTS’ new premises
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The Algarve residential market will gradually recover from the Covid-19 crisis with the region expected to remain as popular as ever. However, technology and client-centric products and services will be the rule rather than the exception in the post-Covid world, according to sector pundits who took part in a webinar titled ‘The Algarve Property Market – Overcoming C-19’, organised by the Algarve Resident in association with the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce.
How the current Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the Portuguese economy, the tourism sector and businesses has been thoroughly debated in recent weeks. What has been less discussed is its impact on the Algarve’s residential, resorts and second-home markets, begging the question, what factors will motivate buyers in this sector post-pandemic?
Miguel Palmeiro, Commercial Director of Vilamoura World, is reassuring when he states what has become a reliable mantra of truisms for many in Portugal for years: that the Algarve region has the best to offer when it comes to relocation – good weather, excellent infrastructure including a refurbished airport, state-of-the-art health facilities, fine food and wine, and wonderful beaches, all of which mean it scores top of the list when it comes to that well-worn cliché ‘location, location, location’.
The Algarve also has the second highest GDP in Portugal and the second highest property values per square metre after Lisbon.
The holiday region, he says, is a consolidated destination in terms of real estate, where you can find a wide range of investment opportunities, from apartments and homes in resorts to guaranteed income-generating investment properties.
“Buyers will discover that being in the south of Portugal, away from concentrated conurbations, will no longer be a competitive disadvantage in a post-Covid world, but rather an advantage as social distancing becomes a premium and the Algarve has one of the lowest population densities in Portugal. It also has the country’s largest foreign community, which brings a dynamic of its own in terms of the real estate sector with a balanced, quality stock and no over-supply,” says Miguel Palmeiro.
But if the Algarve has it all, UK buyers should not be blind to the potential threats arising from Brexit and should use the current lockdown period and the Brexit transition period to December wisely.
Gavin Scott, Senior Partner of financial advisers Blevins Franks, flags up a number of threats which need to be planned for in the transition period. Top of the list is the impact on sterling pensions.
Pensioners used to get €1.50 per £1 but are now very close to Euro parity, with relative net worth falling 35%. There could also be a 25% overseas transfer charge on pensions once the transition period ends, so he stresses that people have a short window of opportunity now to move.
Scott says there are also other tax incentives like the Portuguese government’s non-habitual resident (NHR) scheme, which is “unlikely to change”. He advises potential movers to use the furlough time to “make those plans now rather than later” and adds that, so far, the response from potential buyers has been encouraging.
On April 1, there was a change in Portugal’s pensions tax whereby pensions from overseas which had been subject to zero tax will now face a 10% tax from the UK. However, tax-free dividends from overseas, with no capital gains tax to pay, remain unchanged in Portugal on property sales in the UK. “Brexit will not affect any of these benefits since agreements were already in place before,” he says.
“Movers need to match their Euro liabilities, take adequate tax planning steps, think about when to capitalise on ISAs, offset UK allowances against tax so that these remain the same regardless of Covid-19 and Brexit, and focus on pensions and maximising the opportunities to come,” Scott advises.
Tiago Chaves, Senior Property Consultant at Fine & Country Algarve, said they had used the lockdown to maximise digital technology with online marketing, creating new ways of increasing exposure of their properties through videos, slideshows, virtual tours and improving property listings.
“An increase in home working will likely have an impact on the residential market, with higher demand for combined home-offices with good Wi-Fi a priority,” he says.
“We were very busy up until the Covid crisis, but enquiries tailed off slightly giving us more time to concentrate on existing clients. In the past few weeks, however, enquiries have been increasing again.”
Prices remain stable
Regarding prices and whether the Covid-19 crisis and ensuing recession were likely to drive prices down, Miguel Palmeiro says that, since the last crisis, prices have risen by 20% on average and are back at 2007 prices.
“I think we have to establish a differentiation on pricing depending on second-hand or new-build properties. Regarding second-hand, it depends on the need for individuals to sell. The demand is there and yet there is not an oversupply,” he says adding that the timeframe to sale may be longer. These will come into the market fast and sell at lower prices.
However, he says in the case of new build, there is a totally different market structure regarding developers.
“Today we don’t have an over-financed market and, at the same time, we don’t have an oversupply of stock. In our case in Vilamoura, which is still under construction, we have over 50% sold. We don’t have any reason to lower prices. We have to look at the market over time and calmly see how it will react,” he adds.
In Portugal, he says there was a 1.2% increase in January and 1.4% in February while in March there was an increase of 0.4%, meaning that for now there are no conditions to warrant cutting prices for new build.
Tiago Chaves agrees with the forecast and states there is still demand backed up by supply. “The interest is still there, and I don’t see prices dropping unless private individuals find the need to sell.
“Yes, we are seeing some vultures circling around looking for opportunities, but I don’t see such opportunities happening in the short term, if ever,” he said.
Miguel Palmeiro says that Vilamoura World has had to adapt very quickly, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital technology coming into the business fast as a result of Covid-19, with online viewings, webinars and virtual launches, while construction has continued as normal.
“Our clients are the most important aspect for us, and we’ve been giving them updates and news about the new online tools that we have developed.”
Palmeiro does not think prices will drop dramatically, if at all, because there is no market oversurplus. “Real estate has a long-term cycle and we don’t make snap decisions over an event like Covid-19. We have to see how this evolves over time, but we have made a leap with technology which will make us more efficient with clients and partners.”
Bounce back in demand?
While it is difficult to predict what will happen post Covid-19, Fine & Country’s Tiago Chaves sees the recovery being more of a U-shape rather than a sharp V-shape with “clients gaining confidence gradually”.
The estate agent believes Portugal will be able to take advantage of all the good press and international awards it has won over the past few years, and more recently the international praise it has garnered for the way it has handled the crisis, particularly the latest accolade from Forbes magazine which trumpeted Portugal as the ‘Best place to live and retire post Covid-19’.
Moderator Andrew Coutts of the ILM Group, a sustainable property and resorts development consultant, says it is important to remember that the Algarve residential property market is now “very balanced in terms of supply and demand”, which is a positive post-financial crisis legacy as investors are careful not to overdevelop.
Tiago Chaves thinks that for those looking for a holiday property, there would not be significant changes in their requirements for a low-maintenance, easy lock-up-and-go property, with pool and beach proximity and amenities, as well as investment-return potential.
There may be, he says, a change in demand in the residential market with ‘relocators’ who will be more specific and selective in their requirements for good-quality homes with more space, high specification standards, including insulation and energy efficiency, and good internet connection. And these will not necessarily be looking for properties in resorts, but increasingly in the community.
Miguel Palmeiro says that the biggest shift for resorts will be for more human-centric developments where people will become the protagonists when buying property. There will be more remote working and meetings and, therefore, an adaptation to a hybridisation of home space, with properties serving multiple functions as home, office and holiday retreat.
“We will see more cost-effective, technology-driven construction, the industrialisation of the manufacture of concrete and other materials with prefabricated modules and units being put into place,” he says.
“We will also be using 3-D technology and, in terms of customer relationships, we will also see the importance of ‘gamification’ where screen-by-screen with the client we can decorate the entire home so that when they arrive, they will be able to immediately close the deal,” Miguel Palmeiro concludes.
By Chris Graeme
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The oil industry has been particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as a result of falling demand provoking a record low in international crude prices, huge market volatility and a glut in stocks. The CEO of BP Portugal Pedro Oliveira discusses ‘Oil Price Volatility and its Impact on the Energy Market’ with the British Portuguese Chamber of Commerce (BPCC) in a webcast moderated by António Comprido, General Secretary of APETRO, the association which represents energy, oil and gas companies operating in Portugal.
British Petroleum (BP), like all oil producers worldwide, has suffered from effects of the international economic shutdown caused by the current Covid-19 pandemic as demand has fallen across the board from all sectors at a time when there was already a surplus on the market.
This has been greatly aggravated by a falloff in China’s industrial production levels and, as a consequence, its oil importing requirements, not to mention the grounding of airline fleets around the world.
The actual and expected collapse in demand from China and the rest of the world as the economic impacts of Covid-19 hit home has sent crude prices to their lowest levels in more than a year.
But to what extent is the collapse in prices circumstantial and structural and what will be the recovery rates for a product which is still of prime importance for both economies and society?
BP Portugal boss says that “there is not a single oil producing company in the world with a balanced cash-flow since the price of crude fell to below US$35 per barrel. All of these companies, without exception, are in difficulties, particularly when they have to meet their shareholder commitments. Both BP and Shell are responsible for 30% of the dividends distributed on the FTSE 100.
Price volatility was the least volatile in the period between 1900 and 1970 and until the first oil crisis in the early 1970s.
Before the beginning of March 2020 the price of crude had been stable at between US$45 and $US65 or “within the comfort price zone” known as a ‘fair price’ for crude. This is a price band within which oil companies can distribute promised dividends to shareholders, in which they don’t strangle demand, make enough profit to invest in and explore renewable energy alternatives, and can maintain some semblance of balance in an overall unstable and volatile panorama.
“If prices go over $US75 demand is stifled and the economy is impacted, and if it falls below US$45 the financial viability of these companies is put at serious risk in terms of making enough money to invest and pay out dividends to shareholders” explains the BP Portugal CEO.
“From March demand fell 30% below the expected price, while there was a lot more offer in the market than demand warranted. But what is subjacent to this volatility? We have a relatively simple model, but we have never been able to predict or influence the price, and those factors we thought could condition the price is now no longer valid” he says.
Investors and traders, he says, who bought long (i.e., on future projected expectations) now find that if they try to sell the oil they purchased they will face huge losses.
But even before that, the model for market behaviour and the factors which conditioned prices which had been relatively stable until the late 1990s, had no longer held true for 20 years, so this phenomena didn’t just happen with the pandemic from March.
In February OPEC producers tried to negotiate a production cut amid concerns that Covid-19 could impact demand — which is exactly what transpired from March. Russia walked out on the negotiations and Saudi Arabia responded by undercutting oil prices by US$6-8 per barrel before, on 8 April, Russia and Saudi finally arrived at an agreement to slash oil production by 10%.
But by then it was too late. Prices had already fallen by up to 60% from February highs and prices sank to below zero with May futures for WTI oil closing at -US$37.63 on 20 April. For the first time in history producers were willing to pay traders to take oil off their hands.
In the past oil reserves had been relatively scarce. Over the past 20 years, not so much through exploration but rather improved technology, we have discovered two barrels of petroleum for every barrel consumed. We have gone from talking about peak of production to peak of consumption by 2040.
Automation has taken centre stage in recent years, which for the oil industry was a matter of necessity. When oil prices fell 75% over 20 months in 2014, the industry was forced to modernise.
By 2018 prices had recovered, hitting record levels in the United States as technology has reduced operating and maintenance costs and increased efficiency in marketing and distribution.
The second point is that 20 years ago OPEC was responsible for two-thirds of oil production worldwide. Today it is only worth one-third and no longer has the capacity to influence the price of oil in a structural manner, although it can still substantially act as an arbitrator over the oil price.
Also, the past decade has seen a significant impact from shale oil (10% of world production) particularly in the United States. The International Energy Agency had suggested the US could well overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s biggest oil producer this year and energy self-sufficient by 2030.
However, while US shale oil production will probably have a positive impact on US domestic oil production and reduce its level of oil imports, most analysts suggest it will not affect the global oil supply and in reality the US will never be able to become self-sufficient or overtake Saudi and Russia, let alone have the power to deny OPEC the power to set international oil prices.
“Shale oil production, because its output can be activated and deactivated relatively easily, unlike conventional crude oil extraction, has softened the volatility curve in times when there have not been the sharp external shocks that we are seeing now” says the BP Portugal CEO.
“The oil market is very good at reacting in terms of operations to an increase in demand, but is not so effective in dealing with falls in demand and the very aggressive falls in price when demand slacks” he adds.
Under normal circumstances, the high level of efficiency in the industry means output production is exploited to the maximum. However, the unstable imbalance currently being seen, with an intensity in volatility, the production of shale oil because its production can be activated and deactivated relatively easily has softened the curve when there have not been such sharp external shocks as we are seeing now.
“These exceptional circumstances have ‘only’ led to an aggravation of a volatility that had already been in the market for some time” says Pedro Oliveira.
Stuck with a glut
Oliveira says that before the pandemic the world consumed around 100 million barrels of oil per day, but with the fall in consumption now, which implies a fall in consumption of 25-30%, “we are currently consuming around 70-75 million barrels per day”.
All those who bought under the positions three or four months ago in the futures markets, means they are stuck with 25 million currently unwanted barrels of oil which are costing a fortune to sit around in storage, hence the current desire to offload it despite making a loss.
The rising stockpiles of crude is now overwhelming storage facilities and has forced producers to actually pay buyers to take the barrels they cannot store — that’s 65 million barrels of oil in storage for each two days of consumption.
In fact, by the 20 April a record 160 million barrels of oil was being stored in supergiant oil tankers outside the world’s largest shipping ports, including the US Gulf. The last time floating storage reached levels even close to this was in 2009 when traders stored more than 100 million barrels at sea until it was able to offload stocks when the economy began to recover.
The effects on BP
So where does this leave BP which as seen its profits plummet 66% as the coronavirus hit oil demand?
BP says that underlying replacement cost profit, its definition of net income, was US$800M in the first quarter of 2020 – down from US$2.4Bn like-for-like in 2019.
However, its chief executive Bernard Looney says the company will continue to pay shareholders a dividend. “Our industry has been hit by supply and demand shocks never seen before, but that is no excuse to turn inward,” he said.
But low oil prices can leave BP with a problem. If it wants to fulfil its target of going green and being carbon neutral by 2050 it needs higher oil prices to make the investment needed to do so.
“We are trying to protect our financial derivates as far as possible to get through this very complicated period, we are looking at this crisis as a company with over 100 years of experience that has suffered losses and faced crises before” says Oliveira.
BP is going through the largest reorganisation in its history with an ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner through a five-target plan which includes a 50% cut in the carbon intensity of products it sells by 2050 and installation of methane measurement at all BP’s major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 and slash methane intensity of operations by 50%.
It also aims to increase the proportion of investment into oil and non-oil and gas businesses over time.
“This crisis has taught us a series of lessons and we want to accelerate our reorganisation and strategy going forward because in 10 years we want to be a different company”. And he concludes that yes, the world will continue to need oil for some decades. When demand begins to pick up, and we are going to continue to need oil-driven energy for the foreseeable future, prices will rise again aggressively,” he concludes, even though analysts say the price of a barrel of oil will remain below US$50 for the foreseeable near future.
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A Pinto Ribeiro Advogados, enquanto assessora jurídica do Grupo Maiar e da sua sociedade veículo Caravel Devotion, S.A., foi responsável pelo acompanhamento jurídico da operação de financiamento do projeto de construção da primeira residência universitária na Covilhã levado a cabo com o Banco BPI, num investimento de cerca de 7 milhões de euros ao abrigo da linha BPI/IFRRU 2020.
Este projeto, desenvolvido pelo Grupo Maiar, parte da reabilitação de uma antiga fábrica de lanifícios localizada no centro da Covilhã e dotará a cidade de cerca de novos 250 quartos para estudantes em regime de residência universitária com diversos serviços de apoio, permitindo colmatar a escassez de oferta que se tem verificado naquela geografia. É importante relembrar que a cidade da Covilhã alberga atualmente perto de 10.000 alunos que frequentam os vários polos da Universidade da Beira Interior.
O trabalho realizado pela Pinto Ribeiro Advogados foi coordenado pelo sócio João André Antunes e envolveu uma equipa multidisciplinar envolvendo advogados de várias equipas, entre os quais Marcos Sousa Guedes (advogado coordenador do Departamento de Direito Bancário e Financeiro) e Vivian Silva (advogada associada do Departamento de Direito Comercial e Societário).
Chamber Member Mazars have launched their Global Resource Centre, where you can find advice on protecting teams, ensuring business continuity, supporting organisations during difficult times, and more to help you and your organisation overcome these obstacles.
Venture capitalist Tim Vieira, CEO of Special Edition (Africa) and Bravegeneration (Europe) is a well-known TV personality who appeared on the first series of Shark Tank Portugal tells members of the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce that in a post-Covid-19 world “everything has changed and everything is new”.
Before the advent of coronavirus, successful international businessman Tim Vieira felt pretty good about life. His venture capital business was going well and he was finally in a position to really enjoy life and too his family on his dream holiday; a trip around the world.
“My life before the coronavirus wasn’t bad at all, it was starting to master my work-life balance, travelling extensively for work and pleasure. We were consolidating our mature operations with exits in sight with startups on the up and close to becoming real businesses and some major businesses that were looking very interesting,” says Tim Vieira.
Then came Covid-19. The world went into lockdown and he realised that many of the businesses he had invested in might not survive, or at least not be as successful as he had thought. It was time to take stock and have a rethink about business and what is important in life.
“Focus on your dreams because the nightmare scenarios are beyond your control” he says adding that the pre-Corona world was made up of “running around”. “We’ve been forced to stop and take a break to understand that the future is not within our control” he says.
Life will be different
“The good news is that we are all in the same boat” says Tim Vieira. The one constant upon which most business associates he knows agree, is that life post-Corona will be different.
The positive, he says, is that scientists find a working vaccine quickly. The negative is that they don’t and the virus bounces back again in the winter because governments around the world simply will not be able to afford shutting down the economy and society a second time. In his opinion, leaders have not done well in handling this disastrous crisis. The USA, China, EU and WHO have proved disappointing and have offered little in the way of effective leadership.
Vieira points to the projections that every week in lockdown represents a loss of between 0.5% to 1% in GDP with forecasts of GDP down anywhere between 7-15% by the end.
“Working capital is the most vital aspect for any company now, preserve it by negotiating payments with creditors, reducing costs as much as possible, renegotiating contracts with suppliers and employees and finding securement in order to survive during and grow after the crisis. The longer you can survive this crisis the better shape you will be in as competitors fall out of the marketplace” the investor says. “Don’t survive at any cost, because if you do get into debt that will be another problem to deal with” he advises.
The Shark Tank celebrity does not believe there will be a V shaped recovery, rather more of a U shape one to the economy. Public debt, he says, will be huge and taxes are on the way. Countries will become more nationalistic and less China focused.
There will he says, be more demands from citizens from their governments in terms of security and health. Governments will be forced to introduce higher taxes for the rich while technological companies working remotely will do well.
The forecast economic depression could provoke higher inflation or even deflation. The only way to get out of the crisis will be to grow economies, build infrastructure and invest in promising future businesses, and attract investors and residents which is particularly important for Portugal with its low population rate and reliance on tourism.
Tim Vieira says people will suffer more from depression due to uncertainty. There will be more requirements on being allowed to travel and less planes to travel on as airlines go bankrupt.
“If the virus returns I believe we won’t be able to lockdown for a second time, we’ll have to live with it and work around it, because a second lockdown could cause more economic problems and social unrest” he warns.
What are the options?
So what are the options? Can we snap back to how it was before the pandemic? Vieira believes it will be difficult as the world is now a different place. “I am confident and optimistic in looking forward to a better post-Corona-world, but we must be realistic because it will get worse before it gets better. It will probably take longer than we expect,” he warns.
“Some will close their businesses, others will lose their jobs. We will have to ask ourselves, does this business need to exist and does my job make me happy? The businesses that are going to close are the ones that weren’t profitable before Corona or won’t be relevant in a post-Corona world. Life is too short and precious to simply get by. We need to do more than get by, we need to flourish. We need to provide services that people need and want. To be the best at what we do, you have to love what you do and more emphasis will be on that,” he believes.
“Priorities will change. Some may want to spend more time with families, scale down and accept living with less to enjoy life more, others may want to work from home. Only after helping yourself will you be able to help others,” he muses.
Where are the opportunities?
The entrepreneur thinks that food businesses must now have online and delivery options. “Now you know how to, you do it. Make videos of your chefs coking, publicise your restaurant hygiene and product selection, interact with your clients and build on client relationships and grow your reach,” he advises.
“You’ve got to adapt to people not being able to sit close to each other for a while. If you’re having to work from home, this might change and increase your delivery demands. Work both offline and online,” he suggests.
Tourism holidays might be less frequent but longer. Business travel will be under pressure with more meetings online as travel becomes more difficult. Experience travel with beautiful locations will become more sought after. Friendly countries will attract more tourism and longer stays and travel will become the ultimate luxury as people have to think carefully about where they want to visit.
Working while travelling will become an option so hotels will have to incorporate this option in their stays. Smaller and boutique hotels will charge premium rates as people choose to stay at a distance from each other, so adapting to new social norms and health requirements will be an advantage to attract more tourists. “The good news is that we’ve still got our beaches and mountains, we’ll still have wonderful people and great wines,” he says.
Education online, online courses with the benefits of reduced costs, medical services, doctors, coaches, fitness in all areas that can move online to expand the reach they had before should now do so. “You can adapt your business by improving your online presence,” he says.
“If you are a professional and have know-how to share, you could build a successful business online. It will probably become a big part of your business,” says the entrepreneur. Tim Vieira says small businesses can prosper by providing unique products and local business may be better for many going forward.
“Countries will start looking inward in terms of manufacturing and jobs as they prepare for the next crisis. Already companies are returning from Japan and China. China will be seen in negative terms because it was the origin of the crisis, is not environmentally friendly, and is perceived in its own right as anti-foreign,” he opines.
However, although China will not be the flavour of the month, retailers and consumers still look for the best deals and China can’t easily be substituted. “We are still consumers so there will continue to be space for China”.
Robots and Surveillance
The Shark Tank investor says that many mundane jobs will be automated in Europe so that companies can compete with China and robots take over more vital jobs generally and will be needed in crisis periods.
“The robot tax could and should become a reality. Companies will have to pay a social security on robots to help pay for retraining and job losses. It’s a win-win all around because robots when they get old don’t go into retirement”.
Surveillance, he says, will become more widespread, in the name of security and future crisis prevention. Events will be subject to new entry conditions aimed at reducing exposure.
The Job Market
Vieira believes that more value will be given to jobs that kept us going during the crisis. Both society and governments will value workers involved in primary needs and the better and more qualified the people in these jobs are, the better we’ll be able to cope with the next pandemic.
Tech companies will be in the best position to offer the highest salaries, less prone to the downturn and will aggressively expand and keep employing people and paying the best salaries.
Job sharing might become a new way of working.
“Make sure you embrace the new reality and go on to the offensive rather than the defensive sooner than later, and above all, if you are worried about your assets, even though the banks are in a better position than they were, make sure you diversify your asset portfolio,” he advises.
“The world is more unpredictable, so all the future plans you had, forget them and make new ones. Now is the perfect time to change your life. Don’t be anxious about the new world, just get involved, learn fast and you will be fine,” concludes Tim Vieira.
By Chris Graeme
De um dia para o outro, este “rapaz” chegou e virou, quase instantaneamente, as nossas vidas do avesso. Quarentena, isolamento, pandemia e estado de emergência, entre outras, passaram a ser palavras comuns no nosso léxico diário e todos fomos atirados para uma vida quase exclusivamente online.
Muitos negócios foram obrigados a fechar e nem todos se conseguiram adaptar rapidamente à nova realidade, especialmente os mais pequenos e locais.
Felizmente, o espírito inventivo e o supremo domínio da técnica milenar que conhecemos como “desenrasca” que os portugueses têm (e aqui falo de todos aqueles que cá estão e chamam a este país “seu”, independentemente do seu local de nascimento) ajudou a que, de uma maneira ou de outra, nos levantássemos e nos atirássemos para a frente (como aliás costumamos fazer!): os pequenos restaurantes começaram a fazer take-away, os talhos e mercearias, entregas ao domicílio, as pequenas empresas a prestarem os seus serviços online.
Mas o facto de o terem conseguido fazer, não quer dizer que não tenha sido difícil. Na verdade, continua a ser. Enquanto numa média ou grande empresa (seguindo os tamanhos standards das ditas neste nosso Algarve, entenda-se!) normalmente existe um departamento de marketing (nem que seja de uma só pessoa bem intencionada) que sabe, pelo menos mais ou menos, o que fazer para promover os seus produtos ou serviços específicos junto do seu público-alvo, usando os meios digitais ao seu dispor; um pequeno negócio local nunca antes precisou de compilar esta informação, de a testar e, verdade, verdadinha, se calhar só o seu proprietário é que usava as redes sociais, e em nome próprio, para ver o que os amigos partilhavam.
Na minha rua, o meu vizinho do talho (que corta carne como ninguém e sabe sempre aquilo que a miúda gosta!) dizia-me que tinha feito uma página no Facebook para “ajudar o negócio”, mas que agora não conseguia lá pôr os horários de funcionamento, nem o n.º de telefone para as pessoas poderem fazer as suas encomendas… E explicar que o que ele criou foi uma página de perfil pessoal e não uma página de negócio local (por exemplo), nem sempre é fácil. Dou comigo a pensar que muitas vezes falo chinês, porque a verdade é que entre todos os anglicanismos, abreviaturas, “maneirismos” e especificidades (algumas quase milimétricas!), o marketing digital não é a coisa mais intuitiva do mundo e nem todos têm que o saber fazer (muito menos de ontem para hoje, com domínio perfeito da técnica e ao mesmo tempo que aviam ½ kilo de maçãs!).
Acresce a isto que, de repente, uma concorrência, que já era feroz, se tornou ainda mais competitiva, porque agora todos precisam dos canais digitais para chegar ao seu público.
Há truques simples, sugestões fáceis de implementar e que todos lhe darão gratuitamente: “se tem um restaurante, partilhe todos os dias o menu que tem (mesmo que sejam só 2 pratos, por exemplo) e receba encomendas pelo Messenger ou Instagram Direct”; “promova a sua página de Facebook para aumentar os seguidores e aparecer no feed de notícias de mais gente”; “faça um “direto” no Instagram para mostrar os produtos fresquinhos que acabou de receber e que pode enviar ao domicílio a os quem quiser”. Mas nada disto invalida que a minha vizinha da frutaria, cujo filho agora entrega as encomendas ao domicílio, a minha amiga que passou a dar as suas aulas de Pilates online a grávidas e a recém-mamãs, ou o meu vizinho do talho (que corta mesmo bem a carne, não sei se já vos tinha dito!) continuem, ainda que agradecidos pelos conselhos, perdidos num mar de “onde, como e quando”. Pois é, é que todos eles, são só eles, sem o tal departamento de marketing a ajudar e sem 8 braços, qual polvo, para chegarem a todo o lado ao mesmo tempo.
Então, como dar “a volta ao cágado”? Como deixar de estar perdido no marketing digital do COVID-19? Não é simples, mas consegue-se! O mais importante é perceber que não vai conseguir fazer tudo sozinho e que, talvez o tempo que pensa investir naqueles cursos online gratuitos seja um desperdício (lembre-se que a maioria das vezes se é gratuito, a quantidade de informação relevante oferecida será pequena e seguramente generalista, em vez de adequada ao seu caso específico, como precisa). Não se vai tornar num “digital marketeer” de repente e talvez ganhe mais se falar com alguém que perceba do assunto, e que até o pode tomar em mão, mas que tenha também a sensibilidade de perceber que nunca poderá suportar os valores cobrados pelas típicas agências de marketing.
Felizmente, alguns destes profissionais, já criaram serviços ou pacotes de serviços, com medidas rápidas, eficazes e de baixo custo, especificamente pensadas para ajudar os negócios locais a promoverem os seus produtos e serviços, e a sobreviver agora e no futuro (sim, esse que ninguém sabe muito bem como vai ser nos próximos dias, nos próximos meses, eu diria até nos próximos anos).
A norma(lidade) mudou (e fê-lo a nível mundial) e o ajuste teve (tem!) que ser feito rapidamente. As respostas que se exigem agora têm que ser dadas à distância, em modo expresso e digital, com a máxima exposição e retorno elevado.
E se é dono de um pequeno negócio local e, por esta altura do texto, já está a hiperventilar porque isto lhe parece extraordinariamente complicado, calma. Respire. O seu instinto está certo, é de facto complexo e requer experiência e conhecimento que não tem, nem vai adquirir com a velocidade que precisa. Mas, há quem o possa fazer por si e garanto-lhe que o tal retorno de que falo antes vai justificar o investimento.
E, se por mais nenhuma razão, só porque, como diz o povo, “perguntar não ofende”, experimente! Fale com um profissional e quem sabe não traz alguma luz ao marketing digital do seu negócio local.
Especialista em Comunicação e Marketing Digital
When you cannot travel to VILA VITA Parc, the luxury resort aims to be closer to you through many suggestions their teams have been now working on to bring some fun and hope to customers in their own homes.
If you are looking to stay active and healthy during lockdown, the fitness coaches at the resort have put together their own videos for simple home workouts that can easily be made by yourself or with your kids as well. Also to keep the children entertained the team created a drawing that can be downloaded from the site to be coloured in, with the best offerings being shared on the Vila Vita Parc Facebook page.
For the ones looking for some distraction in the kitchen and want to learn new recipes, two Michelin star Ocean’s Executive Chef, Han Neuner, shows every step on how to make his special and personal “cataplana” recipe with all the ingredients that automatically transport us to the Algarve’s sunny days. Afterwards, if you are looking for a healthy drink to help boost your immune system instead, head barman Joaquim Veras has shared his recipe and video also in their blog.
On the other hand, to relive anxiety or simply to disconnect for a while, the resort’s yoga instructor Daniela Luz, leads you through some simple breathing exercises and meditations. Still on a relaxation note, Judith Gerls, Spa Manager at the VILA VITA Spa by Sisley Paris, helps you to turn your bathroom into an homemade Spa version with a quick handmade scrub.
Finally, for those who are still in the Algarve, the VILA VITA Metzgerei (Butcher) is still open to the public with master butcher Thomas Weber and his team continuing to produce quality meats and German delicatessen including hand-made sausages and other cuts of organic meat originating from their farm in the Alentejo. Find out more about all of the online activities and butchers opening hours by visiting their website and blog vlifenews.vilavitaparc.com
About VILA VITA Parc Resort & Spa
The VILA VITA Parc is a 5-star luxury hotel and resort with magnificent views, located at the top of a cliff in the centre of the Algarve, the region with the most sunshine hours in Portugal, and one of the most popular destinations for entertainment, golf and leisure travel. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, VILA VITA Parc has 170 rooms, suites and villas, a Michelin-starred restaurant and 11 restaurants, bars, a Spa by Sisley Paris, private yacht, wine cellar and a range diversified activities of sport and leisure. More information and bookings at www.vilavitaparc.com
A consultora lançou o conceito SixFeetOffice um programa desenvolvido para garantir a distância social de segurança nos espaços de trabalho
A Cushman & Wakefield anunciou a criação da Recovery Readiness Task Force (RRTF), um grupo de trabalho dedicado a preparar as empresas para o regresso às suas atividades depois da pandemia de Covid-19. Este grupo está a desenvolver as melhores práticas, produtos e parcerias para apoiar os clientes na sua recuperação e nova forma de ocupação de espaços de trabalho. Adicionalmente, a Cushman & Wakefield lançou o programa Six Feet Office (www.sixfeetoffice.com), que apresenta conceitos e ferramentas para garantir a distância social nos escritórios – projeto desenvolvido pelo escritório da consultora na Holanda.
“O controlo do vírus é que irá ditar o nosso regresso aos escritórios mas a altura para nos prepararmos para esse regresso é agora”, comentou John Forrester, Presidente da Cushman & Wakefield e líder deste grupo de trabalho. “Mobilizámos os nossos profissionais mais experientes e visionários para definir estratégias e soluções nas áreas de ocupação e gestão de espaço, tecnologia e research.”
Muito em breve, a RRTF lançará um kit que inclui um conjunto de medidas para ocupantes e proprietários poderem planear a sua transição de trabalho remoto para os seus espaços de trabalho. O mesmo será desenvolvido a partir da experiência da Cushman & Wakefield na China, em que a consultora já está a ajudar 10.000 empresas e aproximadamente um milhão de trabalhadores a regressarem a mais de 1.000 edifícios de escritórios.
“Estamos a aplicar as lições aprendidas na Ásia para que os nossos clientes no resto do mundo estejam mais preparados e seguros para voltar a trabalhar nos seus locais habituais”, conclui John Forrester.
Um dos principais focos da RRTF está no desenvolvimento de novos produtos para apoiar as empresas a gerir a distância social, incluindo o novo conceito Six Feet Office.
Este projeto consiste em utilizar elementos visuais nos escritórios que ajudem os colaboradores na circulação nos espaços mantendo sempre a distância recomendada de aproximadamente 2 metros (6 feet). Outras soluções passam pelo uso de vidros protetores entre secretárias e um conjunto de regras muito simples para a segurança, saúde e bem-estar de quem ocupa o espaço.
Segundo Eric van Leuven, diretor-geral da Cushman & Wakefield em Portugal, “A task force criada para fazer face aos grandes desafios que as empresas terão pela frente nos próximos tempos, define bem de que forma a Cushman & Wakefield prepara e define o futuro do regresso aos espaços de trabalho. Em Portugal, teremos também oportunidade de ajudar vários ocupantes e proprietários nesta transição”.
Pedro Oliveira, CEO da BP Portugal: “Na linha da frente das operações tomámos todas as decisões possíveis”
A BP Portugal encerrou todas as lojas e passou a operar os postos de abastecimento através do ponto de pagamento noturno. Numa rede com quase 1300 postos, cerca de 7500 operadores de caixa e 300 mil transações por dia, as situações complexas sucedem-se de minuto a minuto.
Portugal encontra-se em estado de alerta como resposta à emergência de saúde pública que o país atravessa, resultante da situação epidemiológica do novo Coronavírus. E se é verdade que nas simulações de business continuity plan, a BP Portugal já tinha simulado esta situação, a realidade é sempre diferente.
“Nada se lhe compara, mas as simulações ajudam a enfrentar estes eventos com mais confiança. (…) Estamos a gerir com a confiança de um passado que fala por nós, mas com a humildade de quem nunca viveu algo parecido”, conta Pedro Oliveira, CEO da BP Portugal.
O compromisso da BP Portugal mantém-se: continuar a disponibilizar um bem essencial e de primeira necessidade ao funcionamento da sociedade neste contexto. Embora a prioridade agora seja proteger as pessoas, os clientes e a sociedade em geral.
Em entrevista à Líder, Pedro Oliveira partilha a lógica de consciência social da BP e a nova atuação das operações ao nível da sede e na linha da frente, de forma a minimizar contactos e interações diretas entre clientes finais e pontos de venda avançados.
O que é mais assustador nesta crise de saúde pública mundial?
A aparente inevitabilidade de nos termos que deparar com o dilema ético que implicará escolher quem tem acesso a equipamentos médicos que poderão fazer a diferença entre viver ou morrer.
Quais as medidas implementadas para assegurar a saúde dos vossos colaboradores?
Ao nível da sede, desde a primeira hora e com a antecedência necessária, passámos a trabalhar todos desde casa e temos neste momento as operações bastante estabilizadas a esse nível. Na linha da frente das operações tomámos todas as decisões possíveis para minimizar contactos e interações diretas entre clientes finais e pontos de venda avançados. Por exemplo, encerrámos as lojas e passámos a operar os postos de abastecimento através do ponto de pagamento noturno.
Quais os impactos no negócio?
Será certamente muito material, mas neste momento é a nossa última preocupação. Neste momento a nossa prioridade é proteger as nossas pessoas, os nossos clientes e a sociedade em geral numa lógica de consciência social.
É possível já começar a desenhar algumas medidas a esse nível?
Neste momento, concentramos todas as nossas energias em proteger as pessoas e em certa medida garantir que conseguimos continuar a disponibilizar um bem essencial e de primeira necessidade ao funcionamento possível da nossa sociedade neste contexto.
Situação complexas em concreto que enfrentam e como pensam atuar?
Numa rede com quase 1300 postos, cerca de 7500 operadores de caixa e 300 mil transacções por dia, como deve imaginar, as situações sucedem-se de minuto a minuto. Estamos a gerir com a confiança de um passado que fala por nós, mas com a humildade de quem nunca viveu algo parecido. É verdade que na dinâmica normal que temos de simulações de business continuity plan já tínhamos simulado esta situação, mas a realidade é sempre a realidade… nada se lhe compara, mas as simulações ajudam a enfrentar estes eventos com mais confiança.
Qual o papel que o Estado deve assumir perante as empresas?
Não é o Estado, somos todos nós, o Estado será apenas um elo de transmissão e redistribuição. Este é um custo social que todos teremos de suportar à razão das possibilidades de cada um. No entanto, e para já, a grande prioridade do Estado será fazer chegar rapidamente rendimento a todos os que se estão a ver realmente privados deste (empresas e colaboradores), de modo a manter uma rede mínima a funcionar. Depois, as contas do “deve e haver” deverão ser feitas mais à frente.
Conselhos que deixa aos portugueses que lideram outras empresas ou organizações?
Não sou ninguém para dar conselhos, mas não resisto a pedir que nos concentremos no essencial que é a proteção das pessoas. Para além do mais, este é o momento de ouvir bem, de ler bem a realidade e de antecipar necessidades e atuar.
E aos portugueses em geral?
Aos portugueses aconselho o mesmo que a mim próprio. Com resiliência, respeito pela ordem e pelo próximo, tudo se resolve. Este é o tempo de todos e não de alguns. Nós temos uma grande vantagem sobre este nosso inimigo, nós pensamos, e se pensarmos bem em conjunto somos uma espécie com uma capacidade de superação sem igual. É nessa dimensão que temos de apostar tudo para vencer esta adversidade como tantas outras.
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