We’ve started working from home for a while now. Even before our government adopted strict measures and issued recommendations regarding social distancing, the great majority of us have chosen to stay home. It seemed like the right thing to do.
Our industry is a privileged one in that sense: most of our team can work remotely just fine, without major impact to our activity. But that phrase is cold and mathematical, because it describes us merely as resources that you can just pluck from one context and drop into another, as we continue spinning cogs and gears like nothing ever happened. That’s not how we see ourselves in Zitec. This doesn’t impact our activity, true enough. But does it impact us as humans? Does it impact our team? Does it impact our sanity?
I think it’s pretty clear to everyone by now that the answer to that is a resounding yes. We all get a little (stir) crazy sometimes. After all, what’s a workday without a cup of coffee at the cafeteria in between meetings? What’s a company get-together without seeing the faces of your coworkers (most of which are, by now, your friends)? What’s teamwork and pair programming when you can’t pull up a chair and sit next to your colleague while you both stare into the same screen? What joy is there in life when you can’t crack a joke in between tasks? What’s the difference between work and personal time when all time gets blurred into an undistinguishable mess?
So what do we do about all this?
Well, first we acknowledge that we’re in this together. Human connection is a necessity that we’ve all become painfully aware of in the past few days. To that end:
We hold group chats. Some for work, some to just… hang, really. To share in our hobbies, to exchange ideas, to shoot the breeze, to stay in touch with one another and preserve all those little things that make us come together.
We turn the video on. It’s extremely important to see faces right now. Not to mention it also gives us a solid reason to tidy ourselves up a bit. (I’m talking to you, guy with no pants on!)
We share updates, daily positive news and a boatload of memes. (Thank you! You know who you are.)
Now more than ever we refuse to cancel our events, instead we moved them online and even added more to the list! Our game nights were transferred seamlessly to Discord; our Tech Meet took place on Hangouts and was as engaging as ever; and, last but not least, our monthly status check (which we call, in nautical terms, All Hands) reached a historical attendance of 110 people! We’re even planning a party at the end of the week. Yes, a full-blown (virtual) party. I’m serious. We’ll let you know how that went, so be sure to keep an eye out for updates on our Facebook page.
We communicate. And this is where our team and our management have been fantastic and made me feel truly lucky to be a part of Zitec. And I’m not just saying this to toot our own horn, but the level of transparency, comfort, closeness and togetherness that flowed generously from and throughout our entire team was astonishing lately.
And, most importantly, we keep calm and carry on. We deliver releases. We help our clients navigate this rocky period in their businesses – and strive to show them that we’re holding steadfast and that they’re still in good hands. We continue to hire colleagues – we’ve actually had our first remote newcomers join our team these days (yay!) and we’ll keep doing that so we encourage any of you who are interested to still apply, even now.
It’s weird. It’s unprecedented. We’re all forced, in one way or another, to become our better selves. But seeing the way we’re handling it makes me confident that we’ll come out on top, and we’ll be better for it – more aware, more tightly knit, and more appreciative of each other and all the things we normally take for granted.