The COVID-19 pandemic has paused life across most of the world. As governments put into place strict measures around the movement to slow the rate of infection and contain the virus, most of the businesses across the world are working from home. It will take us time - perhaps a few months before we can be confident that the virus has been contained.
Worldwide the impact of this pandemic was underestimated. Every day comes with the terrible news of suffering and death to be consumed as a statistic and % change from the previous day. As we move forward in this lockdown our priority is to ensure the well being of our people and communities that we participate in. We are putting in honest efforts to help each other and stay close digitally, keeping in mind that this is a phase which will bring us closer and make us stronger than ever.
Last 3-4 weeks have been busier than usual at QED42, trying to proactively deal with the impact it might have on the safety and mental wellbeing of our team members.
QED42 has always been remote for its customers, though we have had three physical offices our team members have had the choice from where they work from with 10% of our team fully remote (pre-COVID), unmetered work from homes and infrastructure setup that allows for mobility. The only guideline has been to be available, keep your clients/team informed and give your 100%, therefore It's not the project deliveries that we were concerned about but ensuring support for our members who rely on the office for the project and social interactions.
We shut down our offices (across 3 locations) one week before the official 21-day lockdown in India on 24th March. One week before the office shut down we had started surveying for any issues that we might face to be safe and productive.
Since the beginning of the month, we shared information about physical safety and necessary precautions about COVID-19. We ensured that all our people have stable internet connectivity and are well equipped to work at home. People living alone were suggested to be where they feel most safe and keep everything indispensable close to avoid stepping out at all.
A change like this is not easy to adapt, but thanks to the incredible collective empathy and camaraderie between people the tea breaks turned into zoom chitchats, we celebrated birthdays on video calls, had a new member join the team and sadly also bid farewell to one of our colleagues in an emotional zoom call. The most amazing part about all of this is that these are mostly people led initiatives.
To Wellbeing and Mindfulness
As the home becomes the main site for professional and personal fulfilment, it has also created a space for moments of connection and compassion in our daily virtual activities to encourage the creation of achievable goals and create a sense of purpose. The emphasis has been on reducing mental stress and being accessible to each other during the lockdown and ahead. Our people practices team is also working on organising mental health sessions over zoom and safe one-on-one counsel to go with it. As isolation forcibly shifts us from physical to digital, our tech talks and training have gone fully remote and core practice musing sessions are seeing more attendance.
Healthy food is the basis of our functionality and not all of us could cook so, to engage through play we created “Cafe zero” to solemnise cooking over the outcome and inspire our people to share their results, even when they don't come out 'Instagram perfect'.
And came the pictures
We are also seeking ways to make kids participate through Zoom calls as they are often left wondering with the sudden urge to "stay at home" with schools shut down and parents working from home all the time. Through the virtual "Time Travel" challenge we re-lived our memories together. Since memories have taken a deeper meaning in our lives our efforts are to help people make the best of present circumstances while respecting the broader global situation.
QED42 and the Drupal Association have had a very long relationship of contribution and support. Drupal Association is the fulcrum for our amazing and diverse community and does an incredible job of promoting Drupal. Amid COVID-19 the Drupal Association had to put DrupalCon North America, May 2020 on hold considering everyone's health and welfare, due to which they are facing negative financial effects.
We have offered to keep our support in place and have pledged our sponsorship no matter the outcome of the event.
We are deeply grateful to the selfless sacrifices made by the healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other ward staff at the front lines for risking their lives to treat COVID-19 patients, keeping their duty above their fear and attachments can't be articulated into words. We would like to extend our gratitude to Cleaning Staffs, Delivery executives, Grocers, Police, Journalists and all essential workers who are risking their lives for public safety.
Be Safe! Empathy will take us through this crisis.