Remote Overnight due to COVID-19: How We Did It

Remote Overnight due to COVID-19: How We Did It

Ouriel Weisz
Ouriel Weisz

Handling the unique challenges that come with managing a virtual team can be a feat of its own, but as many companies are learning in the past weeks, pivoting a full office- or many offices- to remote work with only a few days notice can be an organizational, cultural, and operational challenge… to put it lightly.

We at monday.com are lucky enough to have our communications centralized on the monday.com platform. Whether it’s communicating with partners in South America, colleagues in New York, or working remotely, we have built our company-wide communication around the platform.

Even though we’re a business that functions at a relatively high “remote-ready” level, unexpectedly shifting nearly all of us to remote work and keeping everyone else safe, has been a test for our operations team— one they passed with flying colors.

We sat down with our Head of Operations, Ouriel Weisz, to understand some of the biggest challenges his team faced, the tools that helped them overcome those challenges, and some words of wisdom to those companies that are continuing to make daily changes to their operations in order to ensure the safety of their employees.

Deciphering trustworthy information

With new updates coming in daily, even hourly, it is crucial to make sure that the information shared by the company to its employees is reliable. To ensure that the information used to inform company decisions was always fact-based, our Ops team consulted exclusively with .gov organizations and websites:

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WHO: World Health Organization

Israel Ministry of Health

In addition to consulting CDC and WHO, it is important to stay updated with your local Ministry of Health’s announcements, as local communities update their specific recommendations frequently.

Communicating updates company-wide

Once you have your trustworthy information, it is important to communicate updates as soon as possible and directly to everyone in the organization. You want to make sure everyone feels that they have access to the same information and there is no room for speculation.

Our Ops team used monday.com and Slack for company-wide and regionally-specific updates to our teams in the TLV and NY offices.

By communicating with the company in one planned announcement, you reduce the risk of spreading inaccurate information. Additionally, over slack and monday.com people have access to ask questions, voice concerns, and support one another in this time.

Planning, preparing and adapting our BCP

Like most companies, we had a BCP, or Business Continuity Plan, detailing a number of prevention and recovery steps to ensure that monday.com can stay up and running in the event of potential threats to the company. That BCP has two components: the technological side (our backup systems and services) and a work from home plan (if we were all unable to come into the office).

But, like any plan, when the real thing happens, there are unforeseen circumstances that require changes to the plan. For instance, we had prepared for an inability to access the office, but not to be restricted from gathering at all. So, changes needed to be made to ensure that business as usual could continue in the case that the entire company had to work remotely without the ability to meet.

To gain perspective into what similar companies were doing to prepare their companies for sudden WFH status, our Ops team was in ongoing communication with other tech companies in the area who used one another as a resource and support.

Shifting to WFH overnight – how we did it

As the probability of switching to a company-wide WFH status grew, we implemented a few procedures to help us be prepared when the time came.

    • Simulate a WFH status with everyone in the office

When we had the opportunity of everyone still in the office, we shut off our company Wi-Fi and Lan, leaving only the guest Wi-Fi live, to ensure that everyone had a running VPN and could conduct their daily workflows as usual when they eventually move remote. This gave us the ability to work out any kinks while still physically together and led to a smoother transition to remote work.

    • Give Zoom accounts to anyone who might need one

Send a link to sign up to Zoom wherever you conduct your company-wide messaging. Equipping everyone with an account will let your first day of remote work start off on the right foot, conducting your morning meeting without missing a beat.

We announced a new integration with Zoom last week that will make keeping track of action items easier than ever. You can read more about it here.

    • Organize shifts for IT and Admin teams

There will still be a lag of a few days where people will need to pick up necessary equipment from the office in order to have the proper work setup. For this, we set up shifts for the IT and Admin team to make sure someone is always in the office when needed, and slowly winding down as employees settle into WFH.

    • Brainstorm with your team

Some of the best ideas of how to make this transition comfortable and seamless to everyone came directly from our team. Open up a dialogue with everyone in the company and invite them to share their ideas on how to make this transition easier. We sent small goodies to those that were in quarantine to make the experience “a bit sweeter”, which was a great internal suggestion.

 

Pivoting to a company-wide remote work set up, especially on such short notice, introduces a number of obvious and unexpected challenges both to the daily functions of the company and to its individual employees. Being prepared and looking to others for help, suggestions, and best practices can help any team maneuver through, and make the most, out of their experience working remotely.