Lessons Learned From A Rapid Company-wide Transition to WFH During COVID-19
Eran Zinman is the Co-Founder and CTO of monday.com
In these challenging times, we as a company are committed to making a positive impact as we navigate this new reality together as businesses, communities, institutions, families, and individuals around the world.
As the Co-founder and CTO of monday.com — a platform that powers more than 100,000 organizations to run projects and workflows — it was important for me, together with my co-founder Roy Mann, to make the call to shift our priorities and transition our company of more than 400 employees in both Tel Aviv and New York to working remotely.
Like everyone else, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused us to rapidly shift gears to be in the best position to support our customers, team members, businesses, and communities while still keeping our goals and momentum going.
I want to share what we’ve learned so far in hopes that it might help you during this transition.
In just a matter of weeks, we’ve already adapted our platform to meet our customers’ changing remote work needs; figured out new and innovative ways to keep teams connected and productive; and sought out ways to help communities combat the coronavirus outbreak — all while supporting our own team during this difficult transition to move everyone forward.
Finding new ways to meet changing customer needs
As a customer-centric company, it was crucial for us to quickly pivot to focus on how we could help people, companies, and institutions use our product to work smarter and better remotely as a group, wherever they are.
We understand the challenges teams and organizations around the world now face as we have all started transitioning to working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. No doubt, this unprecedented situation is not only changing the way teams and organizations use our product, it’s also changing their immediate needs.
Even in our own very recent transition to working remotely as a company, we’ve noticed some of our platform’s limitations for remote workers and have fast-tracked our efforts to make improvements.
Enhancing our product for remote work realities
We’ve already made some immediate and necessary improvements, adding new features and capabilities so that we can all work, collaborate, and manage better together, wherever we now find ourselves.
Here’s a recap of what we’ve done so far in the last week:
New Zoom integration: With the new Zoom integration, you can turn meetings into action. Every time you start a Zoom meeting, an item is automatically created in a monday.com board so you stay on top of your work.
Work Status setting: It can be difficult to know who’s working from the office and who’s working from home, who’s OOO, and who’s unavailable. Now, you can set your work status in your monday.com profile to reflect your real-time situation.
Group ‘Done’ recipe: With this new recipe, when all items in a group are complete, you can automatically notify those who need to know when things are done.
Mapping lists in a dropdown: Select any data and information you want to display as a dropdown menu rather than multiple items (i.e., a list of participants on a call).
To our customers: we are working hard to add more features and capabilities for remote work and invite you to add your team’s needs to this list. We welcome your suggestions and input so we can continue to help your teams stay connected and productive while working away from the office.
You can add your remote work ideas and needs here.
We are holding a Remote Work Hackathon this week and plan to release some really cool new capabilities as monday Apps. And we’ll be sharing more in the coming days — stay tuned.
Offering new remote work resources
We also immediately began compiling the best resources we had on remote work — and shared them. You can now find tons of useful resources on our site to help your team stay connected and productive while working from anywhere. These resources include:
Remote Work blog: We’ve put together templates, tips, case studies, and insights from how our teams at monday.com are adapting to remote work to help your teams and organizations transition smoothly. We are adding to the blog every week, so be sure to keep an eye out regularly as there’s plenty more to come. You can read our Remote Work blog here.
Working remotely webinar: We recently held a “Working Remotely with monday.com” webinar where we shared best practices and “must-have” boards, and productivity hacks. We also included a demonstration of how to use our new Zoom integration. In case you missed it, you can watch the full recording here.
Preserving company culture while working apart
Coming together as a company and maintaining a sense of normalcy while working remotely under these trying circumstances is incredibly important to us. We’ve found a few key things that have helped.
Keeping our rituals and routines: We’ve made every effort to maintain our weekly norms despite the new physical distance and separations that now exist between us all. This means keeping our weekly updates meeting with all our Tel Aviv-based team members as well as our company-wide retrospective meeting at the end of each week.
Giving managers the tools they need to support their teams: We’ve also moved our management meetings online to keep everyone aligned so they can continue to meet face-to-face to set and adjust goals for their teams.
Mass video calls might seem challenging, but it is vital to come together virtually to align on our purpose and goals for the week to keep immediate and long-term objectives moving forward. It’s also how we can best address real-time issues and concerns that our team members face.
Reassuring our team members that we are here for them
While we are doing everything we can to maintain normalcy, we understand that things are not the same. Many on our team are also parents, caregivers, or both who now have new added burdens and responsibilities outside of work due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
As a parent to two little girls, I too am faced with the challenge of balancing my priorities as a husband and father, with the demands and responsibilities as a co-founder and CTO. I also know some of the other difficulties that members of our team are facing from sharing cramped workspaces with roommates to caring for elderly relatives.
We understand not everyone is able to work at peak performance in this new environment, but we trust that everyone will do their absolute best. And we know that there are those that will step in for others who will be needing to step back from time-to-time.
Recommending family time to those who need it — no questions asked
Consider letting your teams dictate their own schedules. We asked parents and caregivers in our company to block off time in their work schedule for family responsibilities so they can have the flexibility to maintain the homelife structure and stability they need. We’ve found that this makes a big difference in helping our team members feel grounded.
We also created communication channels for families so they can support each other. Already, many parents within the company have turned to one another for support, exchanging advice and tips on how best to manage this transition. And this is just another reflection of the incredible people who make up monday.com.
Supporting suppliers and small business allies
We work with many vendors, large and small and, as a well-funded startup, we believe it’s our duty to continue to support them because they rely on companies like ours to survive.
Even though we no longer require all their services at this time, we continue to pay everyone, from the person who delivers our breakfast sandwiches to the person who refills our coffee bags.
Just last Thursday, we surprised everyone at the company with a little package filled with treats delivered to each and every one of their front doors. We are doing initiatives like this as small tokens of our gratitude and appreciation for how hard everyone’s working to keep our customers’ needs front and center under difficult and stressful circumstances. And it’s also a way to temporarily break through the barriers of social isolation that many of our team members are experiencing.
We believe we need to do our part as members of our larger communities to help small businesses and suppliers stay afloat. It’s important to us that no one is left behind in this time of need.
Helping those responding to the COVID-19 outbreak
In a recent post on our blog, we shared that we are now offering free and complete use of our platform to any NGO working to fight the coronavirus outbreak. We are trying to do our part in combating the virus, providing the resources that allow these front-line workers to better collaborate and focus on their missions.
I ask that if you are an NGO fighting COVID-19 (or you happen to know one that is), please reach out to us here if our platform can help.
Remember that we are all in this together.
We’re doing our best to learn from our experiences and adapt as we go to keep the momentum going during these challenging times. I believe that we should all, as businesses, communities, and individuals, exchange our knowledge and insights to support each other so we can all get through this together.
Take care and stay safe.