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SERA’s Working From Home!

by | March 18, 2020 0 SERA General

We live in interesting times.

COVID-19 has changed the world. The simple rule (or recommendation, depending on your location) to stay home and stop socializing throws many of our deepest held assumptions and habits into turmoil, especially around how we approach work.

At SERA, we’ve taken steps similar to many of our peer organizations: we’re making sure everybody on staff has the ability to work from home, and we’re adjusting our schedules and expectations to accommodate the fact that many of us have relatives to care for or children to entertain; we’ve canceled travel between our two locations, and had already canceled attendance at conferences through April.

We’ve closed our offices to non-essential staff, and as of next week everyone will be required to work from home. And for some days now, we’ve been strictly limiting visitors, and switching all meetings to be virtual.

“Remote meetings, instant messaging, and close partnership with [distant] coworkers in another state are just normal life.”

The good news is, virtual collaboration is something we’re good at. With many teams split between our Portland and Oakland offices, and clients in both regions, we have a lot of people for whom remote meetings, instant messaging, and close partnership with coworkers in another state are just normal life. Over the past several years, we’ve built the infrastructure, the tools and systems, and the training to make this work—and to bring new people up to speed quickly. So we’re well-positioned to deal with our current weird and constantly shifting situation.

We’ve also been focused on staying connected to each other, making sure that happens in meaningful ways. We’ve used Teams as our platform for chat and announcements for a while. Now we’re adding video team check-ins, remote lunch & learns, virtual all staff meetings, and new shared resource pages, among other kinds of connections. This is all a very valuable chance to learn—we’re keeping our workplace culture strong and our teams closely linked so that we continue to facilitate outstanding work that is both valuable and rewarding.

By the time this crisis passes, we may have established some entirely new norms for doing business. Or we may have mapped pitfalls which we’ve never suspected before—or both, most likely! But as our Managing Principal, Joe Pinzone, told us today, “With everyone working together, caring for each other, and following prudent safety measures, we will get through this in the best way possible.”

May you stay safe, healthy, and productive. For now, we’ll see you online!

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