Earlier this month we informed our team that the company adventure scheduled for that Friday was canceled due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Subsequently, we asked them to work from home in an attempt to prevent infection.
As a "People First" company, this was a painful decision to make; on the one hand, everyone was looking forward to our quarterly company adventure where we spend quality time together and do fun stuff. On the other hand, everyone supported the decision and showed a very pragmatic attitude towards this new reality.
As working from home (or wherever you want for that matter) is considered nothing special within Baseflow, this decision was relatively non-invasive and almost 'business as usual.' However, generally speaking. Still, most work hours are spent at the office with an occasional "I'll work from home today." Right now, it's the other way around: everyone is working from home unless there's something that requires someone to be in the office.
And although this doesn't change that much from an operational point of view (except physical meetings at customers), it does require special attention to the people's well being and keeping the team spirits up. What helps is having a modern collaboration tool (we use Slack) that makes it very easy to reach out to each other. But that's not enough: our team coach Odette has created these small and fun interventions that we do daily. From making a photo of your coffee machine to an "MTV Cribs" style video our people share of their homes. You might be thinking that these are not work-related, but that's the whole point: laughing together in these times helps, you should try it out ;-)
We're working with our customers to ensure that we can still work together to deliver our projects, but also, more importantly, checking in on how they are going. How are they being impacted, and what can we offer to try and help them overcome their troubles. And to be clear, I don't mean we're offering a product that is going to fix things magically. I mean that we have an honest conversation, and we are looking at how to effectively manage change, review processes and use technology to do this. The most straightforward and most practical advice we have given was to have virtual standups with teams for 15 minutes for questions from their teams. It allowed people to voice their concerns, and then management had the opportunity to discuss and answer questions. It's a small, simple, and cost-effective activity that has a significant impact on your team. I recommend it to every business.
Every day, our team surprises me with their creativity, positivity, and dedication to keep work going. I'm incredibly proud of our team in the way they are handling this: reaching out, taking care of each other, and our families and meanwhile helping out customers with our usual quality and commitment.
I wish everyone to be safe during these challenging times. Let's take care of each other!