By Sumeet Alvarez, Sr. Marketing Coordinator
Before this whole COVID-19 situation, my daily routine was flawless. I’m talking: lather, rinse, repeat – knowing what to expect, and being ready for action. Sure, there was the occasional off-day, but looking back, I think I can say (like everyone else) that I took normalcy for granted.
Now I am still adjusting to the new normal (whatever that may be), trying to get back to “business as usual” both at work and at home, all while managing the challenges that unfortunately come with the package.
As an employee of CO-OP, I wasn’t really sure how my company would adapt to the new situation and how that might impact my daily life. After all, it’s not easy to migrate hundreds of employees into a remote working setting and still maintain the collaborative team culture that I love about CO-OP.
I know I am not alone in thinking that it’s really important for every company to recognize the emotional impact that COVID-19 is having on their employees. And while I can’t speak for every company, I am really happy with the way CO-OP has quickly addressed the needs of their employees and proved to be a stabilizing force in a whirlwind of chaos.
Here are some of things I have really appreciated over the last few weeks as an employee to help me cope with the stress of COVID-19:
1. Daily corporate communications.
It’s true that knowledge is power – but it also goes a long way in making us feel safe. We want to know what’s going on! And I know my company cares because they’ve kept me in the loop every step of the way.
Before we could even ask our questions, CO-OP was sending one-off emails about the most important issues, then starting daily newsletter updates, and every Friday afternoon videos from our CEO. Hearing directly from Todd about how he’s coping with COVID-19 (both as a leader and a person) was really powerful; it made me feel like my company is thinking of me daily and that all of us are in this together.
2. Leading with empathy.
No one has been immune to the societal effects of COVID-19, and it’s important to remember that we all deal with circumstances differently; but it really means something when someone goes the extra mile for us during our rough patches.
CO-OP was fast to create a feedback loop that helped bring staff closer together as a community, including a space to share photos of our new work stations, as well campaigns to promote recognition, praise and encouragement.
Together, we’ve all become a necessary forum for sharing everything from binge-watching recommendations, quarantine recipes, fitness app suggestions, and even ways to entertain the kids while working (aka how to avoid one of these moments).
Our leaders within the Marketing team even scheduled some sessions with Jessica Zemple – Business, Leadership and Life Coach – to help us all reflect on our current feelings of uncertainty and address the negative impacts of stress on our overall well-being. Just being given some time and a safe place to reflect on recent changes was super helpful for me, and I know for my colleagues as well.
3. Staying connected.
In addition to feeling safe and secure, CO-OP has gone above and beyond to remind us that connection is crucial.
Every day I’m reminded, whether it’s through managers leading by example, or through communications, that just because we need to be physically distant, it doesn’t mean we have to be socially distant.
Through these reminders, I can come back down to earth and remember that life doesn’t have to be so different after all – I still start my work day with an IM from a colleague in Oregon, can bounce ideas off my boss through the phone, and my usual 10 a.m. coffee date is just a webcam call away.
Watch: How CO-OP Contact Center employees have stayed connected During COVID-19:
4. Living Our Values.
No one wants to be friends with someone who says one thing, but does another – and no one would want to work for a company that doesn’t deliver on what they promise.
I’m proud to work for a company that really lives its values. We recognize that our industry message of “people-helping-people” carries more weight now. It presents a unique opportunity, and more importantly a personal responsibility, to help members navigate the current COVID-19 crisis.
Members demand a seamless banking experience when it matters most, so as a business, “being there” means delivering through continuity. But as an employee on the front lines, it means navigating the trenches and learning to cope to new circumstances daily.
While the medical, economic and social effects of this global pandemic are still unfolding, there is one thing that’s clear: there’s never been a better time for a little extra understanding and patience. Being able to depend on a business that leads with compassion makes it easy to focus on the silver linings and be grateful for the little things – and ultimately focus on delivering for our credit unions and their members.
Because remember: we’re all in this together.
CO-OP is hiring! Join our dynamic team and be part of our mission to propel the credit union movement forward through cutting-edge technology and services. Visit our Careers Page to learn more about what makes CO-OP a great place to work and see available job openings across Product, Sales, Client Support, and more!