AN UPDATE FROM OUR CEO: SEISWARE’S SAFE RETURN TO THE OFFICE

Our office has been officially closed for six months, and our SeisWare team has been working from home (WFH). I wrote an article when we first moved to working remotely – Working Remotely – A Skeptic’s View, and I thought it would be good to follow that up with what we are doing to return to the office safely, how we have done over the last six months, and what I have learned.

I’ll start with a recap of the last six months, because I can’t believe it’s already been six months.  Thanks to our company technology leaders and a very adaptable team, working remotely for SeisWare went very smoothly, all things considered.  My original concerns of distractions at home, maintaining company culture, and staying connected were quickly alleviated.

DISTRACTIONS AT HOME

For anyone with children at home, this time has been both a blessing and a major source of distraction.  Suddenly, parents were asked to take on other roles at home that most of us were not prepared for.  We were asked to be teachers and IT staff, all while remaining a caring parent.  I am fortunate to have a very supportive partner who took on the majority of those duties, so I was able to work with few distractions.  I can only imagine the stress and time commitment needed as a single parent.  An extra thank you to all our team members that juggled work and children.

COMPANY CULTURE AND STAYING CONNECTED

As a company, we measure our engagement metrics using pulse surveys in Officevibe.  It tracks 10 metrics and an overall eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score).  Our scores have remained stable across the 10 metrics, and we saw a noticeable increase in our eNPS rating.  Of note, relationship with peers initially increased steadily in the first three months, but it has started to decline.  The score is still high, and I feel the decline could reflect the loss of face to face interactions.

Mental health is very important topic to consider, especially when we have distributed teams.  People may be feeling loss of connection due to fewer in-person interactions or isolation, especially for those that live on their own.  SeisWare team members have been active in setting up online movie/game nights, virtual coffee meetings, online workouts during the lunch hour, softball and volunteer outings.  Staying connected is top of mind, and I know I can do much more in staying connected to our team.  Over the next few weeks, I am reaching out to everyone individually to check in and reconnect.

A few people have commented on remote meeting burnout.  As the pandemic has dragged on, burnout has become more of an issue.  Not just with online meetings but with maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks in public spaces and being generally considerate of others. While we keep hearing “we are all in this together”, it really is different for everyone, and we have to stay conscious of that.

GETTING THINGS DONE

Our team has been working very hard, and the pandemic only enhanced the accomplishments and achievements.  I am very proud of the team for working through so many issues and still providing me many reasons to humbly boast about SeisWare.  Our new Geology product was released, and the tech team continues to round out the functionality.  It is innovative, uses the latest technology and aligns with what G&G teams require.  Our support team continues to impress clients with their knowledge and desire to solve their issues.  The whole team is supporting our collective goals and crushing it.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to be part of such a great team of people that are so creative, hard-working, passionate, and most of all, fun.

WHAT NOW?

We set August  31st as the date to reopen our office space.

Our team worked hard to prepare the office space for a safe return.  We had to ensure we could physically distance in our work spaces and common areas. Sanitizing stations were installed throughout the office, prevention signage was posted in all common areas, and a daily check-in app was developed to ask wellness questions to each staff member to ensure provincial health guidelines were being followed for a safe return.

Every staff member was surveyed, asking if they wanted return to the office full time, split between home and office, or just remain working remotely.  A handful of folks wanted to work in the office full time and a handful wanted to remain WFH.  Most of our team prefers to split their time between home and office.

I am looking forward to returning to the office toward the end of September, specifically getting back into a routine and seeing people every day.  Moving forward, we remain ready to move remote again if necessary, and we will continue to stay in touch with our WFH colleagues.  Moving forward also means looking at what we are doing and asking why, what can we/should we be doing differently.  Being open to new ideas, new structures and creating a better tomorrow.

I would love to hear what others are doing to establish a safe return to their office.  What are some key takeaways or lessons you and your team have learned?  What is your new opportunity?

It’s been a really difficult year for a lot of people. There are so many significant things going on in the world right now. Let’s move forward together with kindness, compassion and equality.

Murray Brack
CEO


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