In the avalanche of emails about virtually every corporation’s response to COVID-19, we’ve all heard the standard messages – “We’re all in this together”, “We’re here for you”, and “Your health and safety is our top priority”. These standard lines don’t mean much after the 10th time you’ve seen it from every company you have given your email address at one time or another.
In times of crisis, we need more than generic statements of support. We need facts, we need hope, and we need reassurance. When our CEO, Giancarlo Di Vece, sat down in early March to compose what would become weekly updates to the employees of Unosquare, the real gravity of COVID-19 was unclear. Still, it was apparent that this virus was going to have a substantial global impact. Since then, Gian’s Friday emails have conveyed precisely the kind of messages that our employees need – one of encouragement, guidance, and reassurance that we will continue to follow our mission as we always have. Unosquare will continue to be inward-facing – putting our employees first and focus on their well-being and that of their communities.
On March 13, we had to ask all of our 600+ Unosquare employees to start working from home. As an international software development outsourcing company, we are deeply familiar with the dynamics of distributed teams and remote work.
We already had the technology in place from Asset Management through Pulseway for VPN to secure connections with our clients and to our offices.
Our software development professionals were already well-versed in working with team members virtually.
The only difference would be they’d be working from home rather than in one of our delivery centers.
In less than 48 hours, we were able to effectively implement our stay at home strategy for over 600 delivery professionals and corporate support staff across the United States, Mexico, and Northern Ireland. Our clients experienced little change from their Unosquare teams aside from the backgrounds of their video conferencing calls.
Our Executive Committee immediately went to work on a plan to ensure that the job of each Unosquare employee would be protected and the company would weather this crisis. Unosquare has always taken a disciplined approach to economic policy, so we knew the changes we needed to make would not be drastic but rather an overall tightening to keep non-essential expenses to a minimum. Company-wide events were canceled for the remainder of the year, recruiting events and non-essential travel were suspended, and the Executive Committee elected to reduce their own salaries.
At the same time, our employees were assured they would not see a reduction in their salaries or layoffs even though some clients were already being forced to reduce their team size due to their own economic situations. It was of the utmost importance to Giancarlo and the Executive Committee to stay true to Unosquare’s commitment to supporting the communities where we operate and facilitating the growth of every member of our Unosquare family. We were in the fortunate position of being able to continue to provide value to society remotely and without constant worry about losing our livelihood.
There is a lot of uncertainty around what the next months will bring. We can be sure of Unosquare’s commitment to working in the shared interest of our employees. We must protect the people who built our organization and leave a legacy of how business should be done: people first.
Did you or your company have to implement a work from home strategy in reaction to COVID-19? If so, were there challenges to the changes? Successes? We’d love to hear your stories, so please leave a comment below.