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How we’re responding to COVID-19

As a remote company with employees, clients, partners, and friends all over the world, we’ve been monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 as it has evolved. We’ve been watching and learning as governments and businesses have begun responding, and have been talking both internally as a team, and externally with our HR, legal, and safety and risk advisors.

Two things have been at the core of our decision making so far:

  1. The safety of people is main priority. This includes Human Made, our clients, partners, friends, and the wider communities that we are in.
  2. We’re fortunate that our fully distributed structure and culture means we’re starting from a place of resilience. We’re confident that we can continue to support our clients and assist them through this period of uncertainty even whilst we adjust our plans ourselves.

Here’s what we’re doing as a company:

We are postponing our company all-hand retreat.

We had planned to spend time together in late April at our 2020 company retreat near Athens, Greece. We are now postponing this until October 2020. Our hope is that by then, the situation will have improved. However, we’re aware that we may find ourselves having to postpone a second time.

We are going to avoid work travel.

As a remote company we travel quite a bit as part of the work we do. We meet up with each other and with our clients, for conferences, meet-ups, onsites, workshops, pitches, and launches.

For the foreseeable future we are going to switch to doing all of those things remotely instead. There may be instances where we still need to travel, but we’ll default to not doing so where possible, and we’ll start assessing the risk versus need on a case-by-case basis.

We won’t be attending any larger conferences.

We had already decided that we wouldn’t be attending any larger industry events for the foreseeable future. With WordCamp Europe having been postponed to 2021, we will re-assess if the situation improves significantly between now and then.

? We have documented all of this, and more, in a new COVID-19 section in our open company handbook. If it’s useful to you, then please feel free to use it as a resource for your own company.

More than just restrictions

In addition to the above policy changes, we are also all talking and sharing our plans and worries with each other.

  • We’re planning now to ensure we will each be able to work from home for a period of time, should we need to. (Lots of us usually work from co-working spaces, coffee shops etc.)
  • We’re thinking about how we can do more remotely to promote social connection, support our mental health and wellbeing.
  • We’re thinking about how things like school closures, or quarantines might affect us all and sharing our plans for how we’ll manage.
  • We’re updating our business continuity planning, thinking about how we can best prepare across a range of scenarios – for example if a large number of us become sick, or if key roles and/or leadership become incapacitated.
  • We’re planning now for the possible commercial and financial impact that COVID-19 could have on us and the wider market.

A remote-work opportunity

As a remote company, meeting up with each other is crucially important. Our company retreat, and the opportunities to spend time together at conferences and client workshops are what re-fill our batteries, culturally and often socially too; meeting up enables us to better understand each other and has lasting benefits long after we’re back home and are working remotely again. We will sorely miss the opportunities to do this over the coming weeks and/or months.

We also recognise that our decade of experience working together as a fully distributed global team means we have a lot that we may be able to share with others – including our clients, who may now be transitioning to work remotely for the first time. We’re exploring ways we can share what we’ve learned, and what support we can give to our clients and partners. And how we might be able to work together with other remote companies to share best practices and support those who are now making this transition.

Stay safe out there, friends. ♥️

The Human Made Team at our annual company retreat in Sri Lanka, 2019