How Tribal Powers through COVID-19 in 6 Steps
As a remote startup, with teams in the US, UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Greece, the work-from-home scene is already familiar to us here at Tribal. But if there’s ever a time we need to feel supported and connected to one another, it’s now. Here are some of the practices we have put into place since the pandemic began to help our team feel connected, energized, and empowered.
1- Safety comes first: Before making any business decisions, one of the first priorities at the onset of the pandemic was ensuring the safety of the team. Teammates around the world were armed with knowledge and resources, like a work-from-home announcement for our office-based teams, and circulation of the World Health Organization’s coronavirus advisory that listed measures to protect against the virus. Business travel was also quickly banned.
2- Transparency goes a long way: A pandemic can cause a great deal of panic and anxiety. Knowing where our company stands as we sail through rough waters was important for all of us. Tribal execs not only acted fast when the outbreak began, but they were quick to communicate changes, explain business decisions, and candidly share thoughts about the situation and its impact on our business.
3- Overcommunicate: In the midst of a health and safety threat and a global lockdown, there’s no such thing as overcommunication. As a remote team wanting to share more than just our screens, we leveraged a variety of communication channels to connect with each other on both a professional and personal level. Our strictly no-work WhatsApp group helped us stay in touch across time zones and swap tips and recommendations, like mindfulness practices, books and podcasts to help each other power through. Slack’s sister app, Donut Coffee, also provided a fun way for team members to connect one-on-one by virtually "catching up" over coffee, lunch, or donuts. "Ask the CEO"—a bi-weekly company-wide meeting for sharing company news and team updates— provided a platform for us to openly ask questions, share ideas, suggestions, frustrations or concerns, and brainstorm possible solutions. These meetings also began with fun energizers and ice-breaking activities. Finally, a virtual co-working space was set up for team members to keep each other company as we would in a regular office space.
4- Create your own spin on team activities: One of our learnings during this pandemic was the power of keeping the team spirits up. But what can you do for a team that’s based in different parts of the globe? Tribe Times—a team-only email newsletter—was created to get to know our tribe better, share what we’re doing during quarantine, and sometimes, even showcase hidden talents. From breaking news, a spotlight on one of our Tribers, fun global updates, sharing a roundup of best reads and weekend watch lists, Tribe Times has become our go-to digest to know that in spite of the global panic, there’s still some good news and great things happening in the world.
5- Lead with compassion and care During a crisis – let alone a pandemic, it’s fundamental to provide an environment where people felt safe and cared for, where both their personal and professional struggles are heard. For everyone to process and cope with COVID-19, we schedule regular manager-team check-ins, dedicate more time to listen to our team’s needs, practice group meditation, and share best practices and helpful handbooks on how to maintain our wellbeing and mental health in times of distress.
6- Customers are part of the Tribe: While many of the actions taken in response to COVID-19 centered around keeping the team safe and positive, looking out for our customers was equally important. As a startup whose mission is to serve other startups, we needed to know what we could do to help. We scheduled calls with our customers to understand their problems, identify common challenges, and learn about the services and financial tools that could help them the most.
Looking ahead The practices we put into place at Tribal helped us endure these unprecedented times as a connected and united team—and will hopefully continue to as we navigate whatever lies ahead. We hope you and your team can power through adversities that come your way, as well.
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