Community, Connectivity, Continuity: Discovering the Silver Linings at Zencos during COVID-19
04/14/2020 by David Septoff
Today, we are seeing a global change in behavior as the impact of the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve. There’s no denying that there’s uncertainty, fear, and anxiety all around, but at the same time we are seeing a “new normal” starting to take shape.
Did you know that the Chinese word for crisis, and I’m not trying to be ironic here, is made of the words “danger” and “opportunity.” We are constantly hearing about the danger while we are also seeing opportunity. I don’t mean business opportunity. I’m talking about the opportunity to find the silver linings that we see in our everyday lives. The silver linings are out there, and while they are a result of adjusting to these difficult times, some of them may be around long after the COVID-19 pandemic goes away, and that’s probably a good thing.
I am so impressed with the spirit and community I’m seeing every day in this country. That positive, can-do attitude is alive and well at Zencos. While we aren’t able to high five, shake hands, give a pat on the back, or hold the beautiful “Zen” baby girl born two weeks ago, we have come together and are showing our friendship and steadfastness.
Saying that employees and coworkers are like family can be an overused phrase but in challenging times I’m not so sure it isn’t very important. Some of our employees have a perfect work-from-home situation. Others have two working adults and children in the house, which is at least three full-time jobs for two people. We understand that family comes first and that it may be impossible for them to handle their full workload. Those who have the ability to do more work are volunteering to take some of the load off those who need the help.
While we may not be able to physically hold hands together, we are holding hands in solidarity. We are showing that we are in this together, and it’s amazing what people will do to help the “family.”
Offices are closed, schools and daycares are closed, so we are connecting to each other by phone, video, live stream, and everything is now virtual instead of “real.” At Zencos, our in-office yoga class, lunch and learns, and happy hours have all gone virtual, but they continue to happen in order to keep our community alive and well. This week we are having a talent contest, which is something we may not have done a month or two ago. Who knows what talent we have on our staff that we didn’t know about? Our events are certainly different, but I’m certain they are not any less real.
It’s very possible we will come out of this with deeper understanding of each other, better relationships and possibly even a better ability to communicate with each other that will be long lasting.
It’s important for all of us to have the right information at the right time, and in this day and age it’s coming at us from every direction. It’s sometimes hard to know what is true or what’s being exaggerated for the sake of ratings. At Zencos, it’s of utmost importance that we have a high level of confidence in the information we give to our staff. And now we can’t just walk down the hall and get on the whiteboard, look someone in the eye, and work through a problem. Or can’t we? As it turns out, Zencos was in the midst of transitioning to a new collaboration tool when COVID-19 hit. Most of us were not close to being “experts” and some had never used it at all, but out of necessity, it has become the main way we are communicating with our staff, sharing our work, and seeing each other through our virtual meetings.
The silver lining here is that we adjusted, quickly, out of necessity to a tool that otherwise might have taken many months to learn. And it has been stress tested to an extent we hope to never experience again, and it’s passed with flying colors. The availability of information has always been the lifeblood of our businesses and is now, more than ever, life-determining.
There was a time when it was unthinkable that we would close our office, yet we did, and life went on. We knew we needed a good continuity-of-business plan and now we have the start of one because of necessity. We’ve discovered a couple of weaknesses, perceived and real, and overcame them. Our business will come out of this stronger.
Each and everyone one of our team members is at the helm of the business trying to help our customers determine the best actions and support that analytics can bring to these uncertain times. Life for all of us is changing, but as you can see there are many silver linings. We see creativity in our friends and our work colleagues. Today was a virtual yoga class for all employees. Tomorrow is our “Fun @ Work” photo contest and happy hour. We are all doing our part to weather through this moment in time.
I hope that all of you are finding opportunities for health and peace in your new normal.