Working through COVID-19: where there’s a will, there’s a way.
We humans are a resourceful lot. This is never more true than when faced with adversity. And the tougher the adversity, the more we seem to be able to find motivation in each other and bring to bear nearly superhuman stores of spirit, innovation, cooperation and true selflessness. Ford and GM are not only working together to make respirators in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, but reports out of Detroit are that they’re making them better, using automotive fans and long life automotive batteries to improve the performance of the units for the near-battlefield conditions they’ll be facing.
We’ve all been tasked to help stem the virus tide through social distancing and, most recently, sheltering in place. We humans are also a social lot, so needless to say, this has posed its own set of difficulties. Couple that with the impact such drastic measures can have on our homes, our careers, our relationships – our lives – and you have challenges set upon challenges that can task even the stoutest of hearts. And yet, we find a way to prevail.
Home Sweet Home.
The Basement started working from home more than a week in advance of Indiana’s shelter in place order. Like many of our clients, resource partners and other Indiana agencies and employers with whom we stand as brothers in arms, we felt it prudent to get ahead of the situation and get started adapting to what many are calling “the new normal.”
We wanted to share with you a brief overview of how we’re coping in the hopes that it may provide some insight into your own efforts.
“There’s nothing new here; no magic bullet,” says Conrad Edwards, The Basement COO. “But in the off chance this can be of help to someone managing the trials and travails of working remotely, we wanted to at least provide a look into how one fellow traveler is managing this particularly arduous journey.”
It has helped our cause that we’ve created a collaborative culture at The Basement from the outset, along with totally open communications. Times like these require it more than ever. Just as importantly, we already had policies, processes and procedures in place to facilitate this, along with systems and technologies to support it. That made it relatively easy to flip the switch from working on premise to working remotely.
We’ve recently upgraded our servers and upgraded our remote connectivity to optimize our VPN connection. We’ve been able to accommodate quicker access for our team, a more intuitive working interface and have been able to substantially improve our document sharing and real-time collaboration. In addition, we added a feature to our Google calendars that allows for scheduling of office visits to maintain social distancing while integrating a gchat feature to be used exclusively for non-work related, social interactions.
Again, this was all put in place before this crisis presented itself, along with a written work-from-home policy that clearly establishes procedures and expectations that allow us to work The Basement way and continue to deliver for ourselves and for our client partners, regardless of venue. We have also created The Cellar, an agency portal that is a storehouse of resources for our team, from HR to tips on working from home.
Work From Home Tips:
- Set a regular schedule and establish a routine just as you would going to the office.
- Arrange for a dedicated workspace (not the living room couch).
- Take frequent breaks, get some exercise, brew a pot of coffee or tea.
- Set work time as work time and unplug from distractions like social media.
- Make daily commitments and objectives and work to meet them.
- Work efficiently during hours – early or late – that best fit your workstyle.
- Establish set hours for working, returning emails, making calls and meetings.
- Plan out your days/weeks just as you would at the office.
- Take advantage of the tech at hand to connect when appropriate.
- Stay in touch with colleagues and don’t forget – this is a collaborative business.
Meet by Google allows us to conduct our weekly staff and status meetings remotely, as well as client meetings by both video and phone conference. To our regular weekly meetings, we’ve also added an all-hands-on-deck Friday touch base, which the more industrious amongst us have turned into a virtual happy hour. You know what they say: “all work and no play….”
Again, there isn’t anything particularly new to any of this, nor to platforms like Google Hangouts that allow us to interact in real time with one another during the course of the work day (and beyond).
Of course, we’d be remiss in not acknowledging the partners and platforms that help facilitate the day-to-day workings of our Business Intelligence/Media, Creative and Account teams. Partners like Centro and their Basis workflow management and technology platform. Or Nextdoor, with whom we’ve been able to partner on a number of innovative, first-to-market strategies tailored to their platform. Or Adobe. Or Facebook. Or Amazon. Or YouTube. You get the idea. One nice thing about always-on platforms…is that they’re always on. Even when we aren’t. And one nice thing about partners? They have your back through times like these.
During our Friday virtual happy hour, we’ve taken to sharing photos of our respective home workspaces. We’d like to close by sharing some more of those with you now and welcome you to The Basement, new-normal style.
Concludes Lisa Eckerle, The Basement Director of Process, in an entreaty she shared with our team: “Be smart. Be safe. Be happy. We’ll work through this. Afterall, we’re all in this together.”