The Secret to Business Success Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic, According to Resource 1’s Anastasia C. Valentine
As we step into the new year, the team at Resource 1 does so with optimism. With eyes toward scaling the business, continuing to identify and implement best practices, and enhancing digital transformation, Resource 1 is poised for a productive year, and one of growth.
In 2020, one would be hard-pressed to find an individual or organization whose plans or goals were not in some way impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations with no previous remote work policy had to adapt quickly as many states and cities implemented shelter-in-place orders in mid-March. By summer, many companies had paused their previously vigorous hiring efforts. Some companies were forced to furlough workers, cut pay, back-burner projects, or even permanently reduce their staff.
We interviewed Resource 1’s President, Anastasia C. Valentine, to share the lessons she and Resource 1 learned during the pandemic, and what companies could be doing to prepare and adapt for the year ahead.
“Of course, some industries are more pandemic-proof than others,” said Anastasia. “The restaurant industry, for example, has been hit hard. But even within those in-person focused industries, most need some amount of technical assistance, for example, to support the increase in takeout and delivery orders due to the largely remote world we are currently living in. For that reason, IT has been somewhat safe from the worst of the pandemic’s repercussions.”
Upskill in Your Downtime
Anastasia is proud of how Resource 1 responded to and continues to adapt to the ongoing pandemic. “We didn’t need to cut pay, we didn’t furlough or do any layoffs. This is largely because we were in a good financial position before the pandemic hit, which has been a top priority for us since stepping into my role as President of Resource 1 in the spring of 2019. When the slowdown hit, we took advantage of the extra time and focused on bettering ourselves.”
During downtime, the team at Resource 1 took advantage of the mass amount of free trainings made available by generous organizations. They cross-educated. HR team members took trainings to learn about finance, and finance team members learned about technology. They used their time to focus and refine as a company, and to continue undergoing their digital transformation.
Partnership Is Key
Perhaps the most extraordinary way they used that time was in deploying the Avengers Initiative. When the slowdown hit, one of Resource 1’s largest partners was forced to lay off a percentage of their staff. Resource 1 hired two of those displaced staff members, and took advantage of their expertise to examine and enhance their marketplace integrations while business was slower. Resource 1 engaged a user functionality specialist, a systems expert, and a project manager. Together, they collaborated to improve the way Resource 1 was using the system and perfected the way it integrated with the rest of their tech stack.
“While we were able to achieve some great things together, this example of partnership isn’t unique. I’ve found that the companies who have been able to best adapt – and maybe even continue to thrive – during this pandemic are the ones who’ve focused on their partnerships,” said Anastasia.
From Anastasia’s experience, an appreciation for partnership is the strongest forecaster of success during times of hardship. Organizations that were willing to work with their partners and give a little bit, whether extending payables, offering short-term discounts, or hiring displaced talent were much more likely to receive something valuable in return, which helped them through the toughest moments of the pandemic.
Goodwill was established between these partners. In building trust, they formed a sort of “trial-by-fire” bond, which has a way of strengthening relationships. As Anastasia said, “When COVID-19 hit, you found out very quickly who were your friends, and who were not.”
Remote Work Has Merits
If the pandemic has proven anything, it is that remote work is possible. Most companies are finding their employees are just as productive outside of the office. When asked if she thought remote work would continue after the pandemic ends, Anastasia said, “I think you’ll continue to see IT departments operating mostly remotely for the foreseeable future. Remote policies have always been an edge, an extra selling point for our clients to win that top talent. Now that it has been proven to work and work well, I expect in many cases, it will become the new standard. For companies committed to requiring worksite attendance again, they’ll have to produce some other truly creative and enticing perks to win that talent.”
Throughout the course of the pandemic so far, companies that have returned to their offices in some capacity have needed to do so with reduced headcounts. For some, that has meant alternating days between remote and in-person shifts. For others, it has looked like keeping some departments home while allowing others back into the office. “For companies looking to reduce their worksite headcount, IT departments tend to be a natural choice to keep home, as generally 100% of what they do has always been able to be done remotely,” said Anastasia.
Many companies are also finding that the cost savings of not having employees come to an office every day is astronomical. The savings on office supplies alone can be shocking. Companies that have decided that the remote experiment was a success and plan to keep their employees home, at least on a part-time schedule, may be deciding they need less office space than they did before, and that can be a huge cost-saving benefit to them as well.
Adapting to the New Normal
For companies that are looking to bring their employees back into the office, Anastasia shared a word of advice: “Have a detailed plan. Communicate early, communicate often.”
While Resource 1 has not returned to the office in their full capacity, they started communicating their plans to bring the team back in a reduced capacity over the summer. “People need time to process, time to prepare. They need to know what to expect, and what precautions are being taken for their safety and the safety of others.”
The Resource 1 team conducted training around PPE for both their internal team and their consulting team, despite knowing both teams would continue to operate remotely for the foreseeable future. They also provided PPE for all of their employees in a COVID-19 care package.
Anastasia looks forward to being able to celebrate Resource 1’s hard work and perseverance throughout this pandemic in person and without needing PPE.
Looking to learn more about Resource 1’s partnership successes? Reach out today!