COVID-19: How We Manage to Stay Healthy, Focused and Productive Working From Home

I believe 2020 will always be remembered as the year COVID-19 forced companies to change their corporate culture. The pandemic negatively impacted everyone’s lives but it also brought innovation and positive effects into our routines and work life. 

At Ideaware we like to see this challenge as an opportunity to transform, grow, and make positive changes in our office culture, which it’s now called: work-from-home culture. We decided to make the best of it and a positive mind has been our biggest ally to help us stay focused, productive and happy.

Remote work is not something new for us, even before the quarantine our nearshore/outsourced development teams used to work remotely at least once a week as a perk, but since the pandemic started, our team has fully transitioned to this work model. We have also adopted other important changes that have made this transition easier, keeping our team cheerful, healthy and safe.

Work-from-home updates

During the last months, our family life has merged with our work life. Now we can enjoy all the benefits of working from home with our families close by. In light of this shift, here’s how we’ve kept our team culture and remained connected:

  • Virtual Learning Activities: We host a weekly event called Homespace where any team member can talk and teach about any subject they want. We love to learn and keep ourselves updated!
  • Town Halls: A time to chat, share news/updates and have a drink with the team. Cheers!
  • Coffee Breaks: Every Tuesday we meet with the team to catch up, introduce our pets, talk about our favorite books/movies or share our favorite restaurants & food recipes. Conversations are a great way to foster team building.
  • Weekly Challenges: Our team loves to compete for prizes (who doesn’t?). We organize a weekly contest with activities that allow the whole team to participate, such as: Where is Waldo?, recreate a childhood photo, most creative video and scavengers hunts, to name a few. It is fun and cheers everyone up!
  • Game Tournaments: Last month we hosted our first Mario Kart tournament! Our team would meet at zoom to watch the competitors while they were playing in the mobile app version. It was a great experience and the team loved it!
  • Welcome to the Team Meetings: to introduce new team members, we organize a zoom meeting where we all say hi and talk about who we are and our hobbies. It’s a great way to meet the team & makes the onboarding process easier!
  • Birthday Celebrations: We used to celebrate birthdays with the whole team at the office but now that we are working remotely we send a yummy cake to the birthday boy/girl and wish them a happy birthday first thing in the morning.

Aside from having perks, we also make sure everyone in the team has everything they need to get their best work done from home:

  • Internet Bonus: the dynamic of working remotely revolves around video conferences, emails, slack conversations, sending and receiving large files, among others. To be able to keep up with the flow and provide a fast response to our clients, which is one of our top priorities, our team must have an excellent internet connection. This is why every month we give them an extra bonus to ensure the quality of their service.
  • Office Supplies: some of us were not prepared to move our office space to our homes. Having an appropriate work environment is important to feel productive and focused. For this reason we provided our team with chairs, desks and extra monitors to help them feel as comfortable as possible while working from home.
  • Healthcare Benefits: The well-being of our team is important to us, and with that in mind we have expanded our health benefits. During this time of crisis it is more important than ever to have access to great healthcare.

“It goes way further than just having the right tools in place, it is about creating culture and a feeling of belonging.” Andres Max, CEO at Ideaware.

Messages from the team

Rebeca, Talent Acquisition Manager:
“Being home, 100% of the time, has been a significant change for all of us, but keeping us safe means that we care about our close ones and the community. In this new normality, we have stayed very united as a group; the key has been having fun activities, coffee breaks, and getting the opportunity to know each other in a more personal way by introducing our children, pets, and family. We are delighted to continue welcoming new members to Ideaware, and it has been gratifying to know that even at a distance, they have felt an essential part of the team.”

Andres Max, CEO:
“One moment we were working together at the office, the next we were forced to stay at home and take care of our families and community. Aside from how we do business development, our biggest shift has been how to keep our team culture, remain close and most importantly: take care of our mental health. We have changed many of our policies and perks to our new reality. We now enjoy online get togethers, fun contests, group learning and sharing activities. We aim to keep finding new ways not only to get our best work done but also to stay focused on what matters and happy.”

Gabriella, UX/UI Designer:
“We’re all living through challenging times. Our routines have shifted dramatically in just six months while we stay safe at home. Shout out to our office that has really helped us by giving us all the necessary support and tools in order to feel comfortable working from home. Personally, it has given me the flexibility to spend quality time with my family, while my productivity and work-life balance has improved. A definite win for me has been diminishing eating takeout food and improving my cooking skills. On top of this, I have created a daily workout routine that helps me start each day with great energy. – So there’s that – We need to embrace changes and learn how to adapt by staying positive and most importantly staying safe.”

Filiberto, Backend Developer:
We are living a worldwide phenomenon never before seen in our lifetimes during the 21st century. We must all agree that it has not been an easy task for anybody to adapt to our new lifestyle. Sadly a lot of people lost their jobs as a consequence of the low income in multiple economic sectors. However there were companies that were able to adapt to this crisis and I feel lucky to be a part of one of them. I feel very fortunate to be able to continue doing my job-related tasks from home, knowing that Ideaware has provided me with everything I need to keep my work up to date for my clients. Not only have we been able to keep our projects ongoing but have also come closer to our teammates and the company has done a great job by keeping us in constant communication with fun at-home activities. During these past 6 months I had to adapt to a new set of activities and challenges in order to improve as a person. Even though I have been staying inside of my house I haven’t stopped making progress and the idea of pursuing my goals has pushed me to embrace our situation and make the best of it.”

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