I don’t believe in “the new normal”. There, I’ve said it. Normal implies stagnation. And if the last 10 years have taught me anything, it’s that business – and life for that matter – are anything but stagnant.
We’ve been agile throughout. When we started, scaled our company, developed our solution, looked for people, investors. Each one of the past 3650 days brought about a new challenge, a new element that disrupted the previous day. And that’s a good thing. It brought about a can-do mindset and hands-on work/life balance that works for us. Because agility is in our DNA.
On March 14th, Belgium had to stay indoors. We were all working from home on the 12th already. Homeworking has always been a part of our company culture. We just had to find a new balance for the sheer scale of it.
— Bram VerniestTweet this quote
We took a stand early on. Whatever business risks we may have taken in the past, we never venture the safety and health of our people. Homeworking was the way to go until advisory boards and regulations recommended otherwise.
But like it or not, we're in the business of selling. Products, solutions, relationships, but also trust, credibility, and reliability. And with nonverbal, tactile communication making up for about 60-80% of all business communication, how can you establish closeness when it's intangible?
First things first, we get practical.
IT. Information Technology - providing our team with the technological means to an information end. Operating worldwide, navigating through different time zones, serving clients all hours of the day, we're no strangers to homeworking. But having all of them working remotely at the same time? We had to up our ante. (major props to our IT engineer!)
E-commerce is booming. That calls for good web shops that are preferably set up by someone who knows what (s)he's doing. (Not doubting your relatives here, but you catch our drift)
As far as we know, our team and customers are working as comfortably as we as an employer/provider can secure for them.
Meanwhile, in Belgium, measures are relaxing to facilitate the office return.
For those in dire need of a change of scenery, our office manager (aka miracle worker) prepped the office:
We all know magic happens outside the comfort zone, but for people to work comfortably from home, they need to have balance within their home.
Never ever before has work so coercively penetrated our homes. Exceptions aside, most people only work from home one day per week. They may or may not have a dedicated workspace. And the lucky ones who do, still have to make arrangements with kids and life partners to have some quiet worktime without interruptions.
Truth be told, I think we can now all relate to this professor’s ordeal some years back
So, whether you are single, living together with a partner and or child(ren), you must safeguard your own sanity for your work-life balance to be sanitary.
We asked our team how they find balance. Here’s what they say.
No worries, we’re not suggesting holistic yoga or anything, unless that is your thing. But the abrupt silencing of life outdoors has gotten people to factor in some much-needed me-time to deal with the loud musings in their own mind.
We may be team players, but we’re individuals first. So, do what it takes to have some time to yourself and find some peace of mind. Here’s how we quiet down and keep our thoughts from bouncing off the walls:
Some people take great pleasure in intense workouts. We get it - while suffering, the mind forgets about the other daily aggravations. But not everyone had a routine before Corona, and they’re not sure how to get started. Here’s what our people are doing to make sure their body remains a temple. (Hey - even ruins were temples once)
Soul-searching is not our field of expertise, but we are seeing that people are holding onto our core values for dear life. Now even more so than before. OTF.
Not a font, but short for:
What we hold dear in life, reflects on the work we put out there. As COO and as a person, I am proud to see how every one of our people stepped up in his/her own way. To make the most of the worst possible scenario.
What I have experienced lately, brings me to my closing thought of this blog.
As I contemplate the last seven weeks, responsibility pops up most in my mind. And the realization that we are all both the cause and the solution of the matter.
Our team dealt with the challenge and opportunity of doing things differently. We rolled out a fully operational SaaS solution at record speed, from the work-invaded privacy of our homes.
We manage to make each other laugh daily, outdoing one another with Zoom costume parties (check our Instagram) and background quirkiness. And we look out for one another, supporting those when and where they need it.
The same goes for our partners and customers - deploying their knowledge and expertise to help take care of those taking care of us.
It’s one thing to preach community, but another one to feel it.
This one goes out to everyone - keep taking good care of one another.
Bear in mind - even The Force gets disturbed every now and then. That doesn't make it any less forceful.