Doing nothing is a decision. It’s the same as actively choosing to stay on the same path. And most founders don't realize that. If the winds are changing, a smart sailor will adjust their sails. - Josh Kopelman
The past two months has brought on an increasingly unfamiliar and challenging landscape for all of us to navigate. COVID-19 has radically changed our worlds and we’ve seen the importance for companies like ours to pivot and make crucial decisions that allow us to adapt to the situation at hand.
With all the unknowns happening in our world, one silver lining I’ve found is how intentional and empathetic Remix leadership has been when making critical decisions that affect the company as a whole. In turn, all Remixers, regardless of their role, have also stepped up to support one another more than ever.
Transparency from the executive team is necessary in inspiring trust and confidence, especially during such uncertain times. Our CEO, Tiffany, has embodied this philosophy, by sharing her vision of the future based on what she knows and, importantly, what she doesn’t know - all while maintaining a sense of humanity during these troubling times. She has taught me that it’s okay, in fact it’s encouraging, for a leader to share emotions and personal experience, even if it’s as small as personal hacks for staying sane during quarantine.
I’ve appreciated the many tactics to inform and keep the company up to date. On Slack, there’s a weekly update on company status and she makes it a priority to connect with everyone on the team and sends out and holds “CEO Office Hours” several times a week for people to chat on a 1:1 basis
It’s important not only to provide a safe space for folks to share their true feelings and experiences, but it is also necessary, as a leader, to demonstrate the honesty and vulnerability first and set an example. I’ve had a lot of feelings to process during this COVID era, but the safe space at work has been an incredibly grounding experience.
The economic impact of COVID is staggering. The Department of Labor reported that between April 23-May 7th, an additional 10 million additional Americans filed for unemployment, rapidly bringing up the unemployment rate to 14.7%. Personally, I’ve had many friends and family lose their jobs over the past two months as well.
Almost immediately, our executive team began to revise our financial plans and decided to be more aggressive in reducing our operating expenses. And instead of reducing the size of our workforce, we decided on tiered wage concessions. This meant change, but also meant that we would not be laying off anyone at Remix for the immediate future.
Like many of you, we at Remix have been settling into the rhythm of remote work, with Zoom 1:1s, virtual lunches, and live-streamed “All Hands” (we have a wonderful music intro done by one of our amazingly talented software engineers). While the heart of Remix’s company culture is not solely dependent on in-person face time, it often manifests in ways that bring people together in the same space.
Our incredibly thoughtful Employee Experience Manager, Gories (note: rhymes with “Doris”), saw this as an opportunity to double down on building workplace relationships and community. As Slack and Zoom tethers Remixers together, Gories organizes a myriad of digital culture challenges with a dedicated slack channel and happy hours to keep all of us virtually connected.
Whether it’s posting #TBT photos or participating in an intricate cooking challenge, these digital challenges delightfully creates social connection that we can fondly look forward to each day.
Change, or more likely the anxiety change triggers, is a leading cause of stress, insomnia, and a host of other related mental and health disorders catalyzed by sudden events that cause uncertainty.
Although Remix has an unlimited PTO policy, it felt odd to take the time off because where would we go on “vacation”? Instead, as we are all adjusting to the new normal, we reserved every other Friday for mental health days for all Remixers to take off together for the remainder of May. Making mental health days a designated day for the whole company provides the freedom to truly disconnect from work without feeling pressure check things like Slack and email throughout the day.
All these initiatives, whether small or large, have helped our team remain connected and engaged while we work remotely and weather this difficult time together. Now, more than ever, I am grateful to be a Remixer.
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On July 16, 2020, Remix hosted a panel of three experts from Smart Growth America, Street Plans, and City of Oakland to speak to the role of Quick Build projects on COVID-19 planning.