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Coronavirus: The team is our strength — and our main priority

By Aingaran Pillai - 24th March 2020

You know how the past fortnight’s been like. Any words I come up with won't be better than the ones you have thought or uttered. We know Covid-19 (Coronavirus) will affect us in many ways.

At Zaizi, we've been tracking the situation for a good few weeks. As a modern digital company, we're used to moving fast and changing when required. So we moved early; to ease the concern of our staff, everyone started working from home (WFH) in the second week of March. 

WFH isn't complex. Last year, we did a discovery exercise on ourselves to find out what we needed to consider as a growing company. One of the things that came out of the exercise was that we wanted to work more flexibly and we started working from home a couple of days a week. And that work put us in a good position to make that switch completely.

We communicated our intention to clients and they were reassured we had a plan. They're pleased we're providing the same level of service without a hiccup. 

The biggest concern and responsibility hasn't been the business or clients though - it's been the Zaizi team. The team is our strength. While everyone is clearly thinking about health, our financial and mental wellbeing matters too.

At Zaizi, we're in a healthy position and so we moved to reassure the team about our future.

We're still figuring out how we do the softer things. How do we share those "water cooler" moments (or in our case pool playing moments!)? How do we ensure people's mental health is OK in this difficult time? How do we keep that working culture we're so proud of?

We're trying to find interesting ways to keep the team's morale up — from playing interactive games and having virtual lunches/coffee breaks, to impromptu exercise sessions on slack to get everyone off their seats/couches.

When our children suddenly 'videobomb' an important meeting, it's OK. It's not a problem for us, or our clients. It actually provides some levity. With kids and work being at home, we need to embrace and accept this work-life merge. We all work. And we all have families. The pretence of separating the two isn't important at this moment in time. And it's probably a good thing that pretence is being shattered.

There'll be many other challenges ahead that need innovative solutions. For example, we're still hiring; how do you onboard staff without actually meeting them in the flesh? But we feel, as a company, we're in a good position to take on those challenges and progress.

The coronavirus will fundamentally change how we as individuals and companies work. After this is over, could we go back to the old ways of working?

It is a testing time. But out of this hardship, we will get ease. And hopefully, a better, more compassionate and caring outlook both in and out of work. 

About the author: Aingaran Pillai
Aingaran Pillai is the Founder and CEO of Zaizi. Having worked on an Alfresco project in Government back in 2006, he liked the technology so much he started Zaizi to work on many more Alfresco implementations. Since then he has built Zaizi to be a leader in providing end-to-end digital solutions, specialising in business automation, open source technologies and cloud platforms. He provides thought leadership in the field of digital transformation in both the Public and Private Sector.