Getting through COVID-19 as a Team: Supporting that it’s OK Not to Feel OK

by Darcy Boles April 7, 2020

Working during the COVID-19 pandemic has become something of a respite for many of us at TaxJar. There’s a small sense of normalcy, the promise of friendly faces on Zoom, and a connection to the work we do for our customers that helps us feel grounded. Still, we acknowledge that our stakeholders, our customers, and indeed many of us have felt less-than-OK at times as things beyond our control unfold. 
Even though we’ve been 100% remote since 2013, we’re all facing changes to our routines. Normally, you’d find our team traveling the world or bopping about town, taking sales calls from an RV or setting up shop in a favorite cafe. Now, favorite coffee haunts and co-working spaces are closed. Some homes are busier, louder, more demanding than ever. Others are quieter and lonelier than we’d ever prefer. So what are we doing for our team when things feel anything but normal?

We’re reiterating the permission to simply be human in the workplace. Something we don’t see often enough, and something that is deeply coded into our company DNA.

In all-hands company calls and in 1:1s, our leadership team and coaches have made it crystal clear that we’re totally OK with team members putting themselves, their families and their loved ones above all else. We’ve re-assured our team that it’s OK if this month’s 100% doesn’t look the same as last month’s 100%, and we’ve re-iterated that we actually *love* when kids interrupt meetings (and even host them). Amidst a potential background of tantrums, roommate interruptions, and perhaps choppier than normal wifi (because let’s be real, everyone is on it),  there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or worried about when it comes to extra distractions at home. 

OK Not to Feel OK

Matteo hosting one of our calls with the KiwiCo robot he built

We miss our friends, relatives, workouts, and in-person social connections, too. We’ve scheduled additional happy hours, teammate-led skillshares (this month two of our engineers are teaching the team how to knit), spontaneous lunch breaks, kid talent shows,  workout challenges and more.

OK Not to Feel OK

Photos taken during our team’s steps challenge outings over the last month in Oregon, California and Florida

We don’t expect everyone to attend, but for those who do, it’s a welcomed break and a way to connect. We’re reminding one another that  it’s OK to cry, to log off to call our parents, FaceTime our friends, cuddle our dogs, sing to our plants…you get the point. Whatever it takes for us to support one another, we’re doing it, inclusive of sending TP to those in shortage (back when it was safe to go to the post office, of course).

It’s OK Not to Feel OK-toilet paper rescue

Bisquit discovering his human is covered on the TP front

Our culture has always been one that fosters connection and over-permission, and now is an opportunity to lean even deeper into our strengths and bonds we’ve created. In trying times, the most important thing to remember is that we’re all human, and we all have our own way of processing a pandemic, that in truth, has no playbook. The more grace and permission we give one another, the better we can take care of ourselves,  the business and our customers; and come out on the other side, a team stronger than ever.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be here on the blog and our social channels sharing content we hope you will find helpful. We’d love to connect with you, or feel free to leave your questions and comments below. Find us here: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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