What if one day your country were to go into national lockdown due to a global pandemic, causing your entire life, let alone your job, to switch to 100% stay-inside mode? Not so long ago this question would make a great topic for some science fiction water cooler small talk. Well, now it's a very real experience for all of us at Spartez, and one that we have managed to succesfully adapt to in a matter of just a few days.
At noon March 12th the news broke that the Polish government would be shutting down schools and many other areas of public life due to the increasing threat posed by COVID-19. An hour later our CEOs announced that as of the following Monday, March 16th, our office would be closed and we were all to begin to working remotely until further notice. While this decision did not come out of the blue - the pandemic was all over the news for some time now - it was still nothing short of a small revolution. Under normal circumstances most of us would be working from home one day a week at most. Amidst the growing uncertainty caused by the spreading pandemic, it was reasuring to have the priorities behind this organisational change communicated openly:
"Our common goal during this time is to minimise the virus infection risk for our employees and their families. At the same time we want to ensure as good level of our services (...) as possible and maintain all (...) processes, such as recruitment, onboarding, IT administration, allowing us to thrive and further grow. (...)" Wojciech Seliga, CEO, March 12th announcement
And so it begun. We packed our MacBooks and laptop chargers, washed our coffee mugs, watered the plants and went on to settle into our home offices.
The Spartez mothership office was to be, and to this day is, taken care of by our on-duty staff. They are the brave souls who, with utmost sanitary care, not only facilitated a "pick-up-your-Aeron-chair-and-or-monitor" day for those of us who felt the need, but also continue to run necessary on-site operations, such as equipment setup and shipping to newcomers joining Spartez in these unusual circumstances.
Effective work from home
As for the rest of us, the transition went rather smoothly. After all, having collaborated within the global Atlassian ecosystem for so many years, we were well prepared. Our everyday online tool set already featured Jira, Confluence, Slack, Zoom and the full Google Suite. We also had the tribal wisdom accumulated by our priorly existing remote software development team. Maciej Przepióra, one of our Senior Software Developers, was kind enough to share some tips and tricks on effective work from home, hosting what turned out to be one of the biggest online gatherings in the history of Spartez.
Ultimately, effective work from home is not just about the physical setup. It's equally as much about maintaining all the rituals that make up the team culture. Our Thurdsay morning snacks with CEOs still happen, only now we meet using Zoom.
Our game nights and Social Fridays have also moved online. All the more, we care for each others well being and as part of this send out and participate in an anonymous daily survey featuring the one seemingly banal, but symptomatic question: "How was your day?" We engage in discussions, share food recepies and fun facts, exchange birthday greetings and tips on how to handle the lockdown, as well as make sure that besides just working together, we still manage to have some fun together. And, well yes, we're not teenagers anymore, but boy are those virtual backgrounds and SnapCamera effects entertaining.
Hiring as usual
As for our everyday performance, another record in the history of remote operations at Spartez was broken just last week, with one of our largest onboardings ever (9 people!) facilitated 100% online. It took days to prepare for and engaged a total of 15 of our staff in delivering presentations and workshops dedicated to providing a thorough Spartez introduction to our new team members. With business as usual - however remote - at Spartez, we continue to be on the lookout for new colleagues. Job interviews, onboardings and bootcamps are proceeded with as planned and handled via video calls. What’s important, everyone who joins Spartez these days, starts off working from home for the remainder the COVID-19 lockdown period (we really are hoping for it to be over soon...). Subsequently, all new team members from outside the Gdańsk metropolitan area will be granted a two-month transition term to relocate and join us at the office once we all return. So, if you're in need of a new team, we're waiting for your application, hiring as usual at Spartez.