While the COVID-19 crisis has been building momentum for months it was only a few weeks ago that we were all conducting business as usual. Two weeks ago it began to hit home for us in the Bay Area. On Thursday, March 12th, Digital Foundry announced a voluntary work from home program to support the Social Distancing initiative. Up to that point Digital Foundry had performed all development work from its offices in Tiburon since our founding in 1992.
While the initial decision to enable voluntary remote work during this crisis was revolutionary for us, it made sense given the challenges we are facing as a society today. When the voluntary program started, about 75% of our team chose to work from home. Our digital strategists, designers, architects, project managers, software engineers, and operations team moved their iMacs and MacBooks home. We started our morning meetings via RingCentral or Google Hangouts and added several video check-ins throughout the day. Slack became even more important in our daily communication with each other, and our decision to beef up our VPN has paid huge dividends. Just one day after the start of our voluntary program we received Governor Newsome’s Shelter in Place order and temporarily closed the doors to our physical office and went 100% remote.
The transition has been amazingly smooth. In addition to endless video conferencing and focused project team collaboration, we have added a daily check-in at the end of the day for project leads to provide a debrief on all things related to the team. Is everyone healthy?…
They are! How is the team coping with working from home and how are we tracking towards our deliverables? After just a few days we feel cautiously comfortable in our new working environment. Our development velocity is strong and our commutes are incredible. To ease the strain of the rapid “work remote” we moved up our annual year-end PMC program which provides $300 for each employee to select items that increase their productivity. This year, in addition to noise canceling headphones and auxiliary monitors we approved requests for Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer and UV phone cleaners. And of course, on Fridays we are now hosting Digital Foundry’s Social Distancing Video Beer Bash!
So, while we adjust to having our DF Daily video board go virtual and to the fact that we now only see the floating heads of our colleagues, we sincerely hope that all of you will stay well. We look forward to seeing everyone at the other end of this crisis!