In Support of Social Distancing

Wait-and-see is no longer an option for the COVID19 pandemic. Our work and collaboration can move completely online, so we’re putting the health of friends, families, and colleagues first. Our Toronto office is temporarily closed and we have adopted a remote work policy.

As of today, we have decided to temporarily close our Toronto office and adopt a full-time remote work policy. It is clear that wait-and-see is no longer an option. The World Health Organization declared COVID19 a pandemic yesterday, Tom Hanks has tested positive in Australia. The NBA and NHL have both shut down. Companies like Apple, Google and Shopify are closing or have closed their offices. Flights between the US and Europe have been suspended.

Many of our employees take public transit to work - this morning 100% of our commuters had a 20min delay in crowded and confined streetcars, busses and subways.

Social distancing means we choose to avoid human contact when it’s not necessary. The earlier the better in this case.

We all have families and loved ones who are more or less at risk if they were to contract the virus. More importantly, everyone can contribute to slowing the spread and reducing the impact of COVID19 for all.

Digital companies have a lot more flexible operating model. At our office, we’re already working remotely with our global partners so the change will be less of a shock. We have a daily standup that includes people from 4 different countries in three different time zones. The business impacts and repercussions will be limited.

Still, at the Toronto office, we’re used to seeing each other every day. Bringing our laptops from desks to conference tables so we can collaborate on a whiteboard and take notes in Confluence. The recent taste of spring weather meant we were days away from eating lunch together on the rooftop patio.

Daily standup calls with the local team will replace being in the same room first thing in the morning. Google meets will replace sitting around a table together. We’ll miss our sit-stand desks. It’s unlikely that anyone has a whiteboard at home. We won’t have a shared space to welcome our partners, advisors, and friends for a conversation.

In terms of maintaining office productivity while collaborating remotely, we are using tools like Confluence, Jira and Slack which offer data analytics around usage and lots of customization options. Atlassian products have been overwhelmingly adopted by software development teams, and have robust task management and reporting.

We encourage our friends, families, and colleagues to give up similar luxuries and adopt a base level of social distancing. Contribute to the health of our nation.

We also hope that being open about our approach is helpful. We know many companies are wrestling with what to do, or when to do it. Contrary to popular opinion, luxury isn’t working from home. It’s a shared office space where you can collaborate with great people.

Navigating the culture and tech requirements for remote work can be challenging. You may question how you will be able to stay productive. As a starting point, remind yourself how much of your work is already being done by email. :)

We are happy to answer any questions you may have and share our experience with anyone facing similar challenges.