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  • Intelligent Shift

Coffee Shop Questions - Virtual Edition

It’s amazing how much can change in such a short amount of time. We’re all learning to adapt. While we couldn’t meet at a local coffee shop because of social distancing guidelines, we decided a virtual coffee break was in order to discuss these relevant questions from our peers.

Mike DeFede, how are you balancing working full time at site, three kids at home who are distance learning, and the company back office needs?

It's been a lot. Honestly though, it’s not close to what Amanda (my wife) is living though. Our nanny works at a nursing home part-time so she can't come help us. It's too dangerous for the folks there. I'm gone 40+ hours a week so Amanda is balancing running her own business (a Law Firm), the kids lessons plans, activities for them, cleaning up after them, making meals and the list goes on.

I saw something posted last week that she and I talked about. “Relax,” it said, “it's ok not to have it all together right now. No one really expects to be a parent, teacher, professional, maid, pediatrician, event planner, barber, and personal chef.” I've been thinking about it a lot, especially Easter weekend when I wanted a big celebration. We just couldn't do everything and that turned out fine.

On the business side, you just focus on the important stuff. Making sure the employees are taken care of and the mission is served. Thankfully, Mike and Alissa have a bit more flexibility right now to ensure we are staying in front of things because it's changing super-fast all day long. We are meeting every night to sync up and holding town halls every week. Finally, it feels like we are nearing a calmer time and we all could certainly use it.

Alissa, how have you kept employees informed? And positive?

When things began to change rapidly the week of March 16th, we took quick action. We could have waited to see what other companies decided to do or we could take the lead. We went with the latter and it was not the easy choice but one we know our team counts on us for. Our focus was pretty clear – keep employees safe, provide the security of a paycheck, and find ways to keep the team motivated and positive. In a few days we put together a plan we could deliver to employees. On Saturday, March 21st, we had to deliver some hard news to employees and communicated our plan to take care of the team. But we had a plan and we over delivered on this plan!

Every evening the three of us meet to discuss the day and plan the next day. We have a meeting with all managers once a week and a weekly town hall with all employees. On top of this our managers are talking with employees regularly throughout the week. We are using all forms of media to stay in touch.

We are now a month into this and Mike, Mike, and I are so impressed by this team. Employees have stepped up and contributed ideas and talents. We kicked off a #TakeOutThursday event to support our local communities, weekly #quarantine communications to the team with recipes and resources, and some of our team has stepped up to offer their services to other employees. Our anniversary party and yearly awards celebration was planned for this week. We decided to move it to a virtual celebration. We did not want to hold off celebrating the employees who received the top three yearly awards. What was truly amazing was the video that the entire IS team pulled together for Mike, Mike, and me. For those that know me well, I am not one to get choked up at work, but this really got me. It was unbelievable the things employees said, the pride the team has working for IS, and it gave me pause to reflect on how truly great this team is. Thank you to our employees for doing this. It meant so much!

It is easy to summarize things – Intelligent Shift is STRONG and we will come out of this STRONGER!

Mike Matthews, what do you think is important for businesses and employees once we start to come out of this? Just like we’re reading in regards to the response by Federal and State governments, firms need to have a reconstitution plan. At Intelligent Shift we have a DRAFT Reconstitution Plan that is starting to take shape. This plan is a time phased approach that focuses on employee safety and compliance with federal/state/local laws and direction from our customers. It is backed not only by an IS corporate commitment, but also IS corporate funding. As we reopen as a society, it will look different - more masks, more sneeze guards, more automatic doors. Businesses will not only look different but they will operate different; the businesses that are strong and enduring, will be the ones that lean into this change and forge new change - that is what Intelligent Shift is going to do; and we’re preparing now.

As we roll out over the coming months, we will be sharing our successes, and also our lessons learned. There is no playbook for the pandemic; as my dad always says during times of major concern “in 100 years there will be all new people”; it’s been 100 years since the last pandemic, and we are all the new people. So, we will learn from each other; Intelligent Shift will leverage ideas and best practices from its workforce, peers, customers and even competitors. We will roll out of this with strength and leadership, setting a new standard for our culture moving forward.

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