Arachnys’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak

The swathe of information being presented to each and every one of us during this pandemic is, at times, extremely difficult to keep pace with considering constant change. What is for certain is that the COVID-19 virus is currently affecting the way that we live and work; our regular habits from just a few months or weeks ago are being reassessed daily to create sensible measures for us to beat the infection. As news has shown, businesses not able to fully work online and provide instant communication between their employees will unfortunately suffer a huge backlash as events progress. 

All measures taken to ensure the wellbeing of employers, employees, and extended families and friends can start with contingency plans by businesses. For the past few weeks, and still ongoing, Arachnys is trying its utmost to remain ahead of the curve, looking to reduce instances of panic and provide timely assistance to employees before government guidance is effected. 

We’d like to share how some of our practices are looking to support and empower employees and customers, and ultimately see how these changes can persist in the future as the idea of remote working remains commonplace, indefinitely:

  • Two weeks before the government measure announcements, Arachnys underwent a Pandemic Plan Test. The whole team was required to ensure that laptops were with them at all times, and taken home each night. The plan was invoked via a management call tree and conducted out of hours to make it suitable for a realistic situation.
  • A documented Emergency Communication Process Policy has been made accessible to all via our cloud infrastructure.
  • Following our regular Agile process, daily standups are conducted every morning for each team, via our instant messaging service Slack, to coordinate team wellness, progress and goals.
  • Regular emails, Slack updates and videos from CEO David Buxton are sent out to update the whole team on the current situation, new procedures and guidelines to follow, and plans that the company is looking to undertake.
  • Feedback surveys are available for employees to submit improvement suggestions for how we communicate and work together at this time.
  • Amazon Business accounts have been trusted to all, allowing the freedom to update remote working environments with items needed to work more comfortably and effectively.
  • A virtual buddy system and ‘remote clubs’ have been established to connect ourselves through hobbies and interests, looking to maintain physical and mental health through activities such as coffee and tea breaks, or exercise and wellness sessions.
  • These also include (on a weekly basis):
    • A morning-time Arachnys Pilates class
    • Yoga sessions, also open to family members at home so that children can join 
    • Arachnys Talks – a series of ‘lectures’ from our team based around career stories, interests or personal experiences
    • Social events, including the Arachnys Quiz
    • A Gaming Hub 

Previous activities that Arachnys already has in place, but remain just as (if not more) important during this outbreak, are as follows:

  • Weekly “all hands” video calls are planned for the whole office to convene and discuss work practices and the current situation together. Changed from monthly to weekly indefinitely. 
  • A micro-rewards system is in place for colleagues to highlight individual or team achievements and to boost morale.
  • Drop-ins with our HR Manager remain for employees to voice concerns weekly. 
remote town hall

Arachnys remote-first town hall

Whilst there may be an ‘ease’ of working remotely, that does not however mean that it is supported as best as it can be, which is what we’re aiming to do here at Arachnys. Considering the numbers of employees (prospectively) having to work in isolation without face-to-face contact with their colleagues, mental health remains the top priority. As VP of Operations Phil Wrigglesworth explains, that preparedness is a key factor, asserting that “it is far better to over-communicate”. 

“Myself, David and Daniel (HR Manager) meet every morning to discuss the day’s communications,” says Phil, “I’m always impressed by the amount of work that goes on the ground. The results of what eventually amounts to hours from each morning’s sessions may not always be perfect, but everything is a thoroughly conscious decision to work in everyone’s best interests. We have to make sure that communications are clear, worthwhile, and speak to the staff.”

We consider ourselves very lucky to be a technology company that has implemented remote culture for some time, allowing for employees to work without the need to come into the office and supplying the materials needed to work effectively. This is of course a luxury, and we hope many companies will also have this advantage of being better adapted to support remote working. 

In time, these procedures may become more of a norm. For those that can work remotely using cloud-based software right now, we must use this period of uncertainty to adapt these practices to suit as many individuals and teams industry-wide as possible, and become more certain that we are ready for the future. 

If you would like to contact us, please call on +44 (0)20 7193 0987.