Staying Connected during COVID-19

19 March 2020

We are in unchartered waters.  Like so many others we find ourselves navigating a set of unprecedented circumstances that even the most imaginative of our scriptwriters couldn’t have written.  This is a story none of us could have predicted – and for a company driven by behavioural change and focused on people – it’s a time of great learning.

What a difference a week makes.  Last week 26 of us were in the London office – having meetings, seeing clients, brainstorming projects, eating lunch together – and a few weeks before that, enjoying a pancake day marathon fundraiser for our colleague Claire.  Fast forward 7 days and the same 26 dialled in to a Company Meeting from their homes to talk about the impact of COVID-19 on our clients, on our work, on us.  (And sadly Claire will now not be running in April as the marathon has been postponed ☹ – though maybe this means we get pancakes again in October!)

It is an unsettling time though, with (rightly) most live deliveries globally being cancelled or postponed – and our colleagues, clients and associates facing a great challenge that currently has no answer – and no end date.  It’s hard to know how to help – and easy some days to want to bury our heads – but from this uncertainty has already emerged a fighting spirit and an entrepreneurial energy within our team that’s been extraordinary. Of course, we had plans to continue developing our virtual and digital capability over time, as well as building on our experience of live delivery to engage groups in new and creative ways.  We’re now accelerating that development through conversations with our clients, our associates and each other – with some exciting results.  We’re genuinely ‘in it together’ as we try to work our way through these challenging times.

The response from our global team has been amazing.  Simon Sinek said in a recent post – ‘rather a few of us suffer a little, than one of us suffer a lot’ and that’s our vision too.  We’re a team with one beating heart and a head full of ideas!

Our main priority right now though? – Just being human.  Helping each other out while we get to grips with remote working, supporting our colleagues in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands who are on lockdown, working with our colleagues in India and the US to ensure safe travel where needed and their wellbeing and keeping connected – not just for meetings but for the ad-hoc social interactions that happen so readily when you’re in the office, but are harder to make happen virtually.  We’re now having ‘virtual tea-breaks’ every morning and afternoon via video call – so that any member of the team can drop in if they’d like to.  We’ve diarised virtual lunchtimes each day for those that want some company and conversation while they refuel. We’ve even done a virtual Zumba class already and have a virtual quiz night coming up soon too! And, as I write this – we will be making plans to support our colleagues with young children next week, now that schools are closing their doors.

We hope that you’re getting, and giving, the help and support you and others around you need to manage during this time.  If there’s ever a day when a virtual cuppa or lunch might suit you – our ‘remote’ door is always open and we’d love to talk to you.   We’re in it together!

I’ll leave you with a thought from my colleague Smita, who said – “This crisis will help the world come together to see that we may not need more successful people, but more kind and connected people. I am sure with getting back to the basics of humanity, we’ll find a different success we never knew.”  What an ending that would be to this strange story!

Stay well everyone, and keep in touch.

Jennie & the Steps Team

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