This month marks one year since several countries across the world entered into a lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 17, 2020 we closed our office locations in the United States, Canada, and India, and all ProcessMAP employees began working from home. Like many other companies, our leadership team believed that working from home for a short period would keep all our employees safe from COVID-19 exposure, and at the same time, continue normal business operations.
We quickly learned that asking employees to work from home with little notice meant that our staff were working at their kitchen counter, on the sofa, or for some, on their bed. At the same time, employees who are parents of school-aged children quickly became schoolteachers, Zoom facilitators and physical education coaches, and they also were managing pet care and elder care.
After about three weeks, we had a better understanding of the extent of the coronavirus outbreak and how it affected the safety operations of our customers, as well as our own employees. It also became evident that the remote working arrangement was going to continue for the foreseeable future in a rapidly evolving environment of a global health and safety crisis.
The first thing we needed to address was helping our employees in creating a proper workspace within their homes. Our Human Resources department surveyed the physical needs of employees, and ordered desks, lamps, headsets, monitors and even ergonomically designed office chairs to ensure that our team members were sufficiently equipped to be able to perform their work tasks from home. The long-term health and well-being of our employees was of paramount importance.
We also understood that with all employees working from their homes, we were missing out on the camaraderie and team spirit that helps to motivate and inspire our staff. While conference calls were on the rise, face-to-face interactions were no longer happening. To keep teams connected, we scheduled company-wide town hall meetings, department meetings and other virtual team gatherings to help everyone to feel virtually closer together. These included coffee breaks, virtual team lunches, and virtual “Art of Living” classes, which guided participating employees through exercises related to deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness, for relaxation and stress management.
While our team was demonstrating their passion for supporting our customers in their “home office” environments, we realized that schedule flexibility was an important consideration as employees were also juggling other priorities, including helping their children attend school remotely, caring for aging family members and managing a host of other household responsibilities.
We felt it was important to express our appreciation to our employees’ family members for sharing their loved one and their home with ProcessMAP, and for adapting, along with our employees, to this new “working from home” situation. To thank our employees’ families, we organized Family Dinner Night, where we had meals delivered to our employees and their families at home, and we all ate together virtually.
Image: A screenshot of select employees participating in a virtual "Family Dinner Night"
The ProcessMAP team continued to quickly respond to customer needs and even found new ways of supporting our customers throughout this pandemic, hosting a weekly COVID-19 Roundtable where customers could collaborate on building playbooks to manage the impact of the pandemic, share actionable ideas and best practices, and help each other through the numerous challenges brought on by COVID-19.
While our team was just getting used to their new normal at home, we realized our customers needed us to rapidly innovate solutions to help enable them to keep their operations safe and healthy. Our schedule for planned product development was put on hold and the entire team focused on creating a suite of solutions to give customers the ability to monitor their employees’ wellbeing through an employee screening and health management app; to perform health risk assessments; to identify organizational risks and evaluate the impact they could have on an organization; to strengthen their COVID-19 preparedness and response by properly auditing facility readiness; to conduct and manage daily sanitation and other inspections; and to manage all types of incidents, including COVID-19-related illnesses.
Frequently over the past year, I have marveled at the ProcessMAP team’s spirit. Like other companies, we quickly pivoted to an entirely virtual workforce and pushed even harder to support our customers. Our team has learned to brainstorm and collaborate long distance, instead of sitting around one conference room table and writing ideas on a white board. I am so proud of our team’s creativity, ingenuity, flexibility as a group, and I truly admire our team’s commitment and dedication to our customers.
The year 2020 was eventful from a global perspective because of COVID-19, but it was also important to ProcessMAP in that it marked our twentieth year in business. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of our team along with our customers' support, I cannot wait to see how our team rises to the occasion for the next 20 years.