Change has come and it’s here to stay with us for a while. The rapid spread of the coronavirus has forced global establishments and small shops like Itch to adapt to a work-from-home scheme to sustain operations.
Remote work, however, is not new for Itch. We’ve already been giving everyone the privilege to work from home once every month on a day of their choice. People avail of this for a variety of reasons—recovery from a heavy weekend, need to focus on a specific task, or even just the necessary time off from the usual hustle and bustle of the office. With support from technology, we are able to communicate efficiently and manage workloads without the need to be physically present. We are equipped with different tools to address the varied needs of everyone in the company—monitoring everyone’s attendance is easier with Sprout, managing projects, disseminating daily tasks, and timekeeping is made effortless by Basecamp and Everhour, but most importantly, we can easily communicate with each other through the messaging app Telegram.
When the global situation called for change, we were able to respond promptly by implementing an indefinite work-from-home scheme for our team. This quick response is our way of caring for the health and well-being of every team member. But more so, it is us doing our part as a company in preventing the further spread of the virus.
Our team has always been ready for remote work and we knew this drastic change would not affect our workflow. Digital announcements via Telegram help us know when someone is already done for the day. Google calendar allows us to see who’s in a meeting and who’s available for quick consultations. Online polls let us get a consensus on difficult decisions. Regardless of the tools we use, what made this setup more productive and seamless is how we embody the values of CAPIE—Collaboration, Adaptability, Perseverance, Integrity, and Excellence—in everything we do, sometimes even subconsciously.
Collaboration taught us to work efficiently despite the distance. This enabled us to find a way to simulate the rapport of brainstorming sessions virtually. Adaptability also shone through in the way we worked at the speed of change during these tough times. On the day we announced the new system, we allowed those without personal gear to bring home the laptops and iMacs at the office. Everyone also found a way to create their own “workspace” in their homes to help them stay focused and productive. Perseverance allows us to continue to deliver despite the many challenges we face. Not even technical difficulties—Everhour server issues, corrupted files, poor internet connection—can hinder us from completing our daily tasks. Because of perseverance, we learned to not settle—to constantly revisit and evaluate systems and processes in order to make things work better for everyone. Integrity taught us to be trustworthy when it comes to deliverables, for the benefit of our team. This also made us put more thought in our timekeeping: we notify everyone when we go on our lunch break and report back when we’re done. We tell the rest of the team when we would take a quick merienda in the afternoon. And we also became more judicious with our overtimes.
We have become more accountable when it comes to our responsibilities because we know our work goes beyond ourselves. Embodying excellence became organic for everyone because it is at the core of our values. In fact, this setup allowed us to take our “good” and make it better. We became more detailed in our JO’s to avoid unnecessary back-and-forths. We refined our ways of communication to ensure that we are conveying our messages precisely. We used more tools that allowed us to work more efficiently. We continued to listen to the demands of the situation in order to address it in the best way possible.
But in all of this, we learned that it’s the people we see everyday that makes work more exciting. “Work from home” also meant working away from the home we have found at the office. Despite being connected with everyone virtually, nothing beats being able to see and interact with officemates face to face. The tender moments we share with everyone are what makes work more meaningful—brief moments of laughter, eating lunch together, coffee runs that turn into heart-to-heart sessions. And the unexpected silly moments really helps make work a lot easier—the lighthearted teasing, the impromptu dance showdowns, and the random fashion shows from our resident comedians. While our seamless systems make us more productive, what completes us are the individuals who surround us daily. They push us to be better versions of ourselves every day, and they also tell us when to stop when we are spreading ourselves too thin. And when everything subsides and things return to normal, we hope to give work a new meaning together.