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How we operate during covid-19 blog post featured image

How We Work and Ensure Smooth Operations During the Covid-19 Outbreak

In the extraordinary time of Coronavirus disease outbreak, both our personal lives and business get affected. Not every sector can keep their business-as-usual operations, and this is true even in the tech world.

The good news is, we are in a perfect position to adapt quickly. Here, at Monterail, we are putting extra effort to provide security to our employees and clients’ projects, as recommended by McKinsey

 

"All our team members are safe working from home. Operations have been uninterrupted thanks to quick reaction from a designated response team."

szymon-boniecki Szymon Boniecki Co-CEO
at Monterail

To keep our employees safe, we’ve decided to lock our office down until the situation clears out. To take care of our clients’ projects, we’ve made sure that everyone from Monterail has everything necessary for efficient work. The remote-first paradigm, which we’ve been working to adopt for some time, is especially helpful in current circumstances.

There are a number of steps a company can take to apply the remote-first approach, and there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe. Nevertheless, we’d like to share good practices that allowed us to keep business continuity even during such an unforeseen situation as we experience today.

Leveraging technology

Without the tech, it would be virtually impossible for us to keep delivering value to our customers.

Here are the tools and practices that enable us to keep working with unchanged efficiency:

  • We encouraged our employees to take any office equipment they need to keep their work relatively unchanged. This means any laptops, mouses, keyboards, chargers, plugs, and cables. Also, 99.9% of the computers we use are portable.
  • We don’t keep any server infrastructure in our office. Everything we create and use is available in the cloud (AWS, GCP).
  • To store and work on documents, we’re using the Google Suite, and we’re keeping the project-related documentation safely stored in the cloud. There’s very little physical paperwork on our desks (contracts mostly).
  • We’re backing up the project-related documentation in case some of the storage services we use became unavailable.

Taking care of finances

"Making sure your cash flow and overall finances are stable is one of the top priorities for every business now. Because we are self-funded and we want to keep growing organically, we’ve been rather prudent about our finances. We’ve put equal emphasis on building a backup capital as well as investing in growth."

bartosz-rega Bartosz Rega Co-CEO
at Monterail

There are also a couple of other things we’re doing to keep our finances stable:

  • We’re creating various scenarios for the future and use them to model cash flow and P&L. Some of our KPIs will tell us which modes of operation we should launch.
  • We’re carefully monitoring the state of the global economy.
  • The currency market is something we also watch very closely. Based on the events that occur there, we’re taking appropriate safety measures

Tending to HR

Because remote-first was our strategic pillar before the outbreak of Covid-19, we had some time to plan and prepare for such a transition. Here’s what we did to make it quick and efficient:

  • Our People Team prepared a Remote Work Handbook with guidelines and best practices that help us all adjust to working remotely as a whole organization. It covers topics like: helpful tools, tips for time management and communication guidelines.
  • In order to keep our social spirits up, we created a Slack channel #remote-kitchen - virtual social space where everyone can connect with others when they feel like working arm in arm with someone. It can be accessed via a zoom.us link and is available during our core working hours.
  • Remote recruitment processes - despite working remotely, all of our recruitment processes proceed as planned. We conduct video chats, calls and keep everyone in the loop.
  • Remote onboarding - thanks to our experience in working remotely, we now rely on our proven practices in the process of onboarding new employees using video chat, online documents, and presentations.
  • Remote leadership - we strongly encourage our leaders and mentors to regularly check-in with their mentees and ask about how they feel working in a new, remote environment.
  • We stay informed about the government’s updates e.g. about the additional childcare sick leave and react quickly to any changes that arise.

Managing our office and operations

On Thursday 12th, we made a decision to close our office for the following 2 weeks or longer if the epidemiological risk doesn’t pass until then. Soon after, the government decided to close the boarder, and we were fully prepared to do our work remotely.

Here’s how we managed the change efficiently:

  • The office shutdown was announced on Wednesday and our team had two days to adjust to the change, collect all the necessary equipment and set up their workstations at home.
  • Our office team is responsible for solving potential problems with equipment or responding to any additional needs if they arise.
  • All of the events happening at our office were put on hold and we canceled all of the clients’ visits on-site and our visits to the clients’ offices. We also canceled all of our conference appearances.
  • We try to plan beforehand for any potential rotations in teams and projects to ensure full operational capacity.
  • All of our client workshops will be held remotely, without disruptions.
  • Dedicated Covid response team including Senior Management are meeting daily (including weekends) to monitor the situation and discuss urgent issues.

Ensuring an efficient delivery

These days, like always, we put great effort into ensuring that we deliver meaningful software to our clients. We are prepared to keep the usual development velocity and work efficiently as a remote team and we’re ready to go the extra mile to help their businesses operate in this tough time.

This is how we ensure that:

  • We’re experienced in working in the Scrum methodology - now more than ever, it helps us prioritize tasks and coordinate the team’s work
  • We take advantage of progress monitoring tools like the sprint health gadget feature in Jira or a task’s average time in status.
  • Every 2 days, the PM team meets to keep one another updated on important matters and to solve potential issues related to remote work.
  • We keep our clients informed about the current situation in Poland and in our company and we will continue to send them all of the important, official updates.
  • The PM team gets regular updates about the healthcare guidelines and regulations as well as information about changes in allowances, income support, and sick leaves in order to prepare for potential changes in team compositions.
  • We use tried and tested tools that let all of our team members work collaboratively and we distribute guidelines with best practices to use those tools.

These guidelines and actions help us ensure that both our team members and our clients’ projects are healthy and taken care of. We constantly keep ourselves informed and ready to adjust our ways of operating if need be.

However, as for now, it’s business as usual.

 

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