Operating Nordis as an essential business during the COVID-19 crisis has been a management eye-opener.
I mean that in a good way. Because within this tumultuous environment that we’re all struggling through, I’ve found inspiration and heart. And it’s channeled directly from clients, partners and employees.
Before the pandemic, I spent a lot of time on planes, traveling to meet with customers, prospects, and industry partners. I really enjoyed the in-person interactions and found them an effective way to build relationships and business. Given this experience, I set an expectation that Nordis executives and staff work on our premises, to encourage collaboration and productivity, while keeping telecommuting to a minimum.
Well, I am a convert to the virtues of remote work and collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and nobody is more surprised than me. With nearly all business travel halted for months, I feel like we’ve actually been able to meet more with our clients. And that we’re connecting not only on a business level, but a personal one.
With my plane-hopping days suspended for now, I have slowed down and am a better listener–rather than dashing to the next topic. I’ve been able to spend more time with the Nordis executive team, which has been critical for pivoting our operations, reprioritizing projects, and pursuing new opportunities and innovations. It’s been a challenging time, but a rewarding time, too.
Adapting to new business norms
Like you, we scrambled to accommodate shelter-at-home and other government orders, sending as many employees home to work remotely as possible. We rely on cloud applications for many operations, so we switched to remote work using secure VPN access. For our production staff, whose jobs require them to be onsite in our Coral Springs and Las Vegas plants, we split shifts, changed workflows for social distancing, supplied N95 masks and gloves, and instituted a new cleaning regimen.
Through it all, we’ve had no business interruptions and have been operating at full capacity at both the Las Vegas and Coral Springs plants.
Caring for each other
Thankfully, no Nordis employees to date have developed COVID-19, but some have had relatives with the virus—requiring these staff to quarantine for 14 days. We’ve also taken steps to accommodate employees with health concerns.
During the pandemic, I’ve been communicating more frequently with all of our employees, replacing my employee email updates with a more personal approach of pre-recorded videos to reach out, reassure and keep everyone up-to-date. We still celebrate milestones and maintain a virtual Brag Board to celebrate individuals and departments and share customers’ good news with the team.
The biggest way we’ve been able to care for our employees is to avoid layoffs. That’s been very important to me. I feel so strongly that we are all in this together, not just during these uncertain times due to COVID-19, but because our employees have been instrumental in Nordis’ strong growth.
Not all remote or nothing
While I’m now a huge fan of digital collaboration, I remain a firm believer in the value of face-to-face work, too. There’s nothing like gathering a team together in one room or meeting one-on-one to plan, hammer out problems, brainstorm and reach consensus.
I think we are all missing personal interactions. I’m hearing from more employees that they miss coming into the office, and we are preparing plans to begin transitioning staff back to onsite work.
Planning for the future
It’s been so gratifying to see how Nordis has risen to the challenge with work from home and new production protocols. I couldn’t be more proud of my team. We’ve been collaborating with you and each other on these new ways of working and to meet changing requirements as your businesses necessarily responded to the pandemic.
I am looking forward to the day when more of us can safely return to on-premise work. However, whether it’s onsite or remote, this more flexible company leader is planning to continue taking advantage of different ways to communicate, work and stay connected to you.