We wanted to see what businesses around the globe were doing in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, mainly how it affected their operations, and what they were doing to give back to the community.
The responses were overwhelming. Our thoughts go to everyone who has been affected by this in any way - families, teams, friends, all of you. Feel free to reach out to Insightful for any questions you might have about remote work by using this form.
“We went from the INC 500 list of the fastest-growing companies in the country to losing 95% of revenue in 1 week due to shutdowns related to COVID-19,” said Claude Burns, founder and CEO of Office Libations. “We repurposed staff for the first week for training while we figured out various scenarios financially. We pivoted to launch two different websites www.officesnackboxes.com for our corporate clients with staff at home and www.snacksfordoctors.com a site where individuals can donate snacks and nominate hospitals and other medical facilities to receive snack care packages. We worked to find a way to save some jobs (and hopefully bring them back sooner) and do some good for our front line medical staff. However, it still resulted in a loss of over 75% of my awesome team. Luckily we are in a decent enough position where we could furlough those employees so they still have their health benefits.”
Tom Anderson, the CEO of 360 Training, a company that sells regulatory approved online courses for various industries. Their business has been affected dramatically, especially the courses they’re offering in the food service industry. “We're seeing only about 30 percent of our projected revenue so far for this week, and we suspect it will get worse before it gets better. Effective as of 3/18, we've told all employees to work from home. We have an office in Manila, which is currently under a state of Quarantine, making it extremely difficult if not impossible to get to the office for the foreseeable future. Despite this, we are continuing to pay these employees their full pay whether they are able to work or not. We have also had to put an end to our work with both our PPC and SEO agencies we're been working with, as we can no longer budget for their digital marketing work,” Tom shared. However, they are still keeping it positive, and “expect to survive through this virus-caused recession and maybe even hold a larger market share on the other side of it.”
Special Needs Group is a company that caters to people with special needs who need something extra to make their trip possible. They offer mobility scooters, oxygen equipment, and similar accessibility services in 68 countries. “While we do make deliveries to hotels and convention centers, the majority of our customers are requesting our services for a cruise. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has basically put all leisure cruising on pause. This has a double whammy effect on our company. First, customers who had already placed an order are now calling to cancel and look for a refund. Next, due to the uncertainty as to when things will get back to normal, new orders for future trips are slowly trickling in. Unfortunately, with both scenarios happening at the same time, we have had to lay off several of our employees. Additionally, we have made several cuts such as putting some contractors on hold and shortening our operating hours to save money,” shared Andrew Garnett, the president and CEO of the company. He also understands that these tough decisions are necessary to hold their company through this turbulent time. “Hopefully the tough times don’t last too long and we will be able to bring back all of our staff on a full time basis sooner than later,” Andrew concluded.
Jeff Moriarty, Marketing Director of Moriarty's Gem Art, a custom jewelry store in Indiana, usually organizes a 2-week closure in June so the whole team can go on vacation. “This year we have moved this forced-vacation/closure to the next two weeks,” he said. “We will be paying for our employees during this time, but the vacation time in June will be canceled. We still have an online website, which has been very slow as well, and I personally will continue to run that business from home. When we re-open, we plan on bringing back all employees, so hopefully this situation doesn't last as long as some speculate.”
The COO at GrabResults and partner at Falcon Marketing Reuben Kats shared that him and his employees have been working from home in order to stay protected, but he also shed some light on how these two companies currently operate: “We are even reducing prices in order to keep our doors open. Both companies went through years of growth before they saw the virus affect the globe and businesses we provide our services to. My partner made the decision of making everyone work from home because employees had children and elderly parents living with them. There was too much of a risk at stake and didn't want to take any chances. The plan is to wait after 30 days and to see how everyone is feeling.” Work from home has brought challenges for their team, and the things are slowing down a bit, but the business is still open and he is working harder than ever since he moved into a home office.
SocketLabs from Delaware County, PA, saw that remote work had not affected their business in any way, and they’re even thinking of transferring to a partial or complete remote work once this is over. In the meantime, their CEO Keith Hontz says that decision to close the main office was not taken lightly. “We wanted to maintain a safe workplace and adopt practices which protected the health of our employees, customers, visitors or others. As email continues to be the most critical communication channel globally, it was also imperative that we ensure the continuity of business operations for our customers during this pandemic. The team did a trial run on Friday, March 13 to test our capabilities and let us see how everyone working remotely would affect operations. Friday, March 13th ended up being the highest volume email day in our 12-year history. Through the use of Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other products which we already heavily leverage, we have successfully transferred all communications to online meetings. To keep the team social, twice-weekly, optional, all-staff meetings are held via Teams just as a way to stay in touch and share ideas. We hosted a Virtual Happy Hour last week where staff are encouraged to raise a glass to our success this week, and their spouses, significant others, kids, and even pets are invited to join us in the celebration.”
James S. Bostwick the CEO of a law firm Bostwick & Peterson in San Francisco set up their entire team to work from home, making sure everyone has double monitors, scanners and printers. They’re keeping in touch through cell phones and email, and they have regular conference meetings two times a week. Their firm specializes in representing catastrophically injured people, so their business was affected dramatically. “They depend on us to complete their case and get them the funds they need to care for themselves in the future. We only get paid when the case concludes successfully. We can’t meet in person with clients. All depositions and medical examinations have been cancelled. Two mediations that were set this week were cancelled and have not been reset. All trials have been continued by the courts and this may become indefinite. You can’t bring a case to its conclusion if you can’t complete the preparation and get the case near enough to trial to encourage the defendant’s insurance company to settle. If the cases can’t go to trial the insurance companies will not pay money. If this continues, we will be unable to continue functioning and accomplish anything for our clients – even from home, over the phone and from a distance.”
Rogers and Hollands, a jewelry store, started to tackle COVID-19 by working from home, however, they needed to lay off store staff since the stores closed. “The home office will also have a large reduction in staffing while the physical locations remain closed throughout this crisis. When things return to normal, we hope that consumers start buying again so we can bring back as many associates as possible. For now though, we are solely relying on our website sales for consumers to purchase from through this crisis.”
Caveni, a web design and SEO agency from Philadelphia has taken two extreme steps in the wake of pandemic. The Co-Founder and Operations Director Alexander M. Kehoe shared those steps with us: “The first step we have taken is to send our entire staff home to work remotely until a later date. We are lucky that our industry allows for a lot of leeway with hours and location of where work can be done and the infrastructure was already in place to let our staff work from home. Our second decision was to give additional paid sick leave. We gave an additional two weeks to employees that may have been concerned about using all of their time if they were infected during this period. It is incredibly important to allow for the recovery and isolation needed among your own team. Getting over this pandemic as a country is the smartest possible move we can take as businesses, since during this crisis everything has slowed down significantly.”
What Can You Do?
Ensure your employees are staying safe and healthy. Don't make them come back into the office too soon, and follow your country's guidelines and best practices when it comes to COVID-19. If you're worried about productivity levels and want to make sure your employees are staying on the right track, you can always get one of the work from home monitoring tools and track attendance, productivity and even time spent on tasks.