365 Days of Lockdown
One year and who knows how many Zoom calls later, we're still here---working from home and making it work. There are a lot of moments in the past 365 days that we can look back on, but only a few that we feel truly matter. So let's take a look at what a year of lockdown has looked like for TextNow:
Pretty quickly, we launched our Helping Hands campaign, a series focused on providing helpful information, tips & tricks, resources, and even a first-hand look at how crucial free communication is to areas such as remote learning. We gave away free resources, including phones and SIM activation kits, to those who were in need---either through job loss or reduced hours, or forced cross-border distance between loved ones. We saw customers send more than a BILLION text messages in March alone, and an increased time spent in calls. It was made clear early on that staying in touch was more important than ever. And we were proud to be providing that service, for free.
Second Phone Number:
While having a primary number to be able to text and call friends and family was---and still is--a priority for a lot of people, so became the need for a second phone number. Reasons ranged from wanting to buy and sell various items online (such as on Facebook Marketplace), to online dating, to starting a side business. In fact, we found out in December that 28% of Americans (between the ages of 18-44) have started their own side business since last March. And while those all most likely have their own primary phone numbers for all their personal needs, we figured what they needed next was their very own second phone number, with personalized voicemail greeting and text signature, to give their new side business a more professional look, and help keep their personal and business contacts separate.[embed]https://youtu.be/2zZ-OI-2hVE[/embed]
Internally, like everyone else, we were faced with our own challenges. We went from having an office full of people working in an open-concept space that was hugely conducive to collaboration, to everyone trying to keep the collaborations going over Slack and Zoom. I mean just look at our office! We really, really miss it.
But, sadly, pandemics don't care about fancy tech office space. As a tech company, we were already used to a certain amount of flexibility in our working arrangements. Our people would often take a work-from home day whenever they wanted or needed to.
But with Covid we decided to expand and supercharge that flexibility into a concrete policy: the Work Best Policy. Conceptually it's very simple --- it's based on the idea that we, as employers, don't need to tell employees how to be productive. Because everyone is different and everyone's lifestyle is different. So do you work better at home, or do you need the buzz and energy (and the free coffee) of an office environment? Would you rather work from a warmer climate than Southwestern Ontario, or more rural than downtown San Francisco? Whatever the situation, our employees get to tell us how they can be the most productive.
Now obviously with Covid, working from the office was a no-go. And as the past year has shown us, there are some people who really need that office structure. We have people who even miss commuting, because they would use that time to process the day or unwind before getting home. (Full disclosure, I am that person.)
Meanwhile, there are others who have discovered they're much more productive at home, or have discovered that by working at home they're able to be more present for their families. Or their dogs as the case may be.
It's really about trust. We trust our employees to understand the how and where, they can create their best work. That's too wordy, though, so we call it: Work Best.
If you want to find out more about TextNow and more about our workplace culture, you can check out our incredibly well-named About Us page on TextNow.com, over on LinkedIn, or over on our TextNowLife Instagram page.
So there went a whole year. And to celebrate it, we partnered up with The Curator Shop to send out swag bags of wellness essentials to all our remote employees (so, all of our employees) to thank them for the work they've done this year, for the incredible patience, and to hopefully help with whatever wellness area they felt needed the most attention. Check them out below (and head over to their Instagram page for more inspo!):