2nd: ITSS during the Pandemic
When you are hyped you can be even more!
…or so we think here, at IT Smart Systems
As with all people and companies, we were no exception when Covid-19 reality stroke.
At least we had one last office party before going home for good at the end of February 2020, with our colleagues and alumni celebrating the company’s 18th birthday. Going home with a blast, one can say.
Not long after that, we’ve decided it’s time to work from home for at least 2 weeks, as the news about the new pandemic intensified. And that’s how it all started, on the 12th of March 2020, with us being among the first companies that decided to work from home completely. We all had in mind that 2 weeks of working remotely, but here we are now -> after more than a year of full remote working still.
Funny story is that one colleague really thought we were joking, so he came by the office the second day, only to find that the entire organisation is at home. Luckily, we were already used to the setup, because it was one of our benefits even before the pandemic, so it was pretty easy at the beginning for us.
ITSS was #amongthefirst companies that decided to work from home.
High speed from all of us
We knew we wanted to make it work. All of us! So we
kinda did it. We supported each other in how to organise our work, how to exercise, to have coffee breaks or during our birthdays and so on. Even with a #HaveABreak meeting in our calendar, set by one of our shareholders and with the kick to celebrate together online with every occasion we find.
All processes are online now, with video recruiting (we use Teams), 3 online internships (called the Academies) that gathered around 40 new people (and some of our most committed interns so far), production deployments, releases, product development, trainings, webinars and so on.
As we did for all the projects, we had to bring creativity to the table internally as well. We organised ourselves in event teams and came up with the following virtual projects:
- Food Sharing
- Christmas festival
- Quiz Wars
- Carved pumpkin challenge
- Lots of photo contests
- Girls online gym sessions
- Lunch together
Check out some of the photos, just as a hint of what this meant for us:
We are not perfect. Our remote time is not at all about perfection and flawlessness. We’ve learnt and became more conscious of what call-fatigue or burnout meant, so we started our collaboration with ‘Oana Nicolau’ Therapy clinic, to make sure everyone who needs support in dealing with these unexpected times will get it. Moreover, we organised mental health webinars along the year, with the help of the clinic, again to make sure we all have the mechanisms to understand and deal with what we are feeling. That being said, we highly recommend in engaging with specialists to help you through the pandemic and all its effects, and we are more than happy with our collaboration with the Psychology and Psychotherapy Clinic ‘Oana Nicolau’, linked here.
The mood checks helped as well: these are thought as periodic 1:1s with our HR team for a nice talk and support. And we know for sure the managers were really close to their teams, in heartfelt discussions and fun gatherings.
Boardgames, online games, team meet-ups during or after work, work at your own pace – everyone was free to organise their schedule according to their needs and the whole community understood and applied that principle.
Also, because it
feels good seems inevitable to break the rules from time to time, there were sporadic team meetings organised, either for a country trip & a ‘ciubăr’ escape, a mountain retreat, or sports/climbing events at Edenland and small meetings at the terraces. All within the legal restrictions imposed by the authorities, of course.
We felt more productive, more focused and more autonomous during the last year, yet more distant, despite the online connection. We all had our stormy days, but tried to keep in mind we should just make the most of it, though at times some of us needed a kind reminder.
It’s certain we all had our moments, and that was ok.
As an organisation, HR and management team, we made sure we are all equipped with what we needed to handle whatever comes. We tried to imagine and anticipate the needs, and our colleagues appreciated it. When you have the right base (as in culture and values), it’s a lot easier. Even if we were alone in our chosen location, we were together in spirit.HR Tip of the day
We feel very lucky to be part of such a community and a group of people who supported each other during these times. The trust is a valuable asset nowadays. No one needed to micromanage, everyone was sympathetic to each other and enthusiastic to self-manage, in most cases.
We hope you felt inspired by our online-only approach and found some useful insights from our HR team. Since we’ve mentioned values and company culture, next we are ready to get you through our principles, the foundation of the #ITSSCommunity. So, stay tuned for more.