Keeping the ‘Spark spirit’ alive during a crisis

Keeping the ‘Spark spirit’ alive during a crisis
SparkOptimus Team
Written by
Roxana Seiler & Vivian Schobben
The SparkOptimus Blog Team
March 20, 2020

Making sure that all Sparkies are healthy and safe is our first priority at the moment. In line with the latest recommendations of the Dutch government, everyone was requested to go home last Thursday and continue their work from there. The office remained open for urgent matters but has been officially closed since this Wednesday. Sparkies who were working abroad have been brought safely back home.

With the prospect of the current situation continuing for at least a couple of weeks, everyone got inventive to make it work. Firstly, proper ‘home offices’ were set up, equipped with screens and other accessories that could be picked up from the office. While people all over the world were hoarding cans of beans, Sparkies were hoarding computer screens; yet again proving how committed we all are to continue helping our clients, even in times of crisis.

Secondly, like many other parents, Sparkies with kids created alternating working schedules to ensure appropriate care and education for their children. Lastly, as the tight-knit work family we are, we implemented several ways to stay up-to-date on how everyone’s doing.

For example, our very first virtual lunch update, usually held every Friday at the office, immediately broke the record of our biggest conference call ever. The fact that almost 60 Sparkies dialed in indicates how much we already missed each other within 24 hours of working from home. Other initiatives ‘to keep the Spark spirit alive’ are virtual coffee breaks and team check-outs (including planking challenges).

As Sparkies are extremely committed to our company and our clients’ businesses, soon many questions emerged. A dedicated was created, which is an app where Sparkies can submit any questions they might have (potentially anonymously) or upvote questions asked by colleagues. Instead of answering these in mass emails to the entire office, the management team chose a more interactive approach: virtual ‘leadership updates’. During these video calls that are organized twice a week, leadership shares recent developments regarding our own, and our clients’ businesses, and addresses any further questions or concerns Sparkies might have.

Finally, to ensure we get the full picture we extended our bi-weekly team barometer, which is a survey that measures a.o. project excitement, learning curve and workload. Since this week, the barometer is sent out every week and includes three new questions to capture any effects the altered work environment might have on Sparkies, and monitor the satisfaction with our new communication efforts.

With all these initiatives in place, and probably more to come, we’re convinced we will make ‘digital first working from home’ work!

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