MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Terms such as “remote work” or “work from home” have suddenly (and quite literally) become household names. With the emergence of a global pandemic that forced a number of employees to shelter in place, companies have resorted to using tech tools to communicate and remain productive amidst the dawn of a new normal. One of these companies is the country’s fastest-growing social media and tech app KUMU who relies on its very product to continue making a difference for its employees and audience.
As many of us have grown accustomed to video conferencing and WFH set-ups, KUMU has long established its remote team capabilities with elements such as livestreaming, e-commerce, and chat messaging already integrated within the app. However, this doesn’t mean that adjustments aren’t necessary to address employees’ and audiences’ needs while COVID-19 is still out there.
By regular brainstorming in a time when people are being told to practice social distancing, limitations are in place, and huge disruptions are inevitable, KUMU has found a number of solutions that enables it to continue building Kumunities and offering even more worthwhile content and campaigns both off and online.
Daily check-in meetings
When was the last time anyone asked you: “how are you holding up”? For the KUMU team, that happens 30 minutes a day during its leadership meetings, where the team checks up on the wellbeing of their members and teams, ensuring that they have everything they need to function while on remote work.
“Creating and maintaining an environment fit for high performance teams means constant observation of what works and what doesn’t,” according to Kumu’s lead of operations Deanne Dalisay. “We’re trying to create a group of trusting teams who can decide for themselves their priorities, based on the company goals. And this includes how they prefer to communicate, their work hours and tools they will use” she adds.
While it’s perfectly understandable how many can be affected by the current crisis, KUMU team leaders take the time to share one-on-one dialogues with the employees and encourage them to stay healthy, remain productive, and be positive thanks to the many employee programs which were put in place for their benefit.
Every week, Team KUMU assembles for its online company town hall (or tambay meeting) via livestream group chat. Various departments take turns in hosting these e-events so that employees can get relevant updates, share stories, and take timeout for some online videoke and games. Having established a tight-knit team of professionals prior to all the implemented ECQs and GCQs, KUMU places great importance to how employees share camaraderie and information among themselves to continue being the well-oiled machine they are even with all the distance.
While KUMU features special time slots focusing on wellness for its audience in its newly created SPOTLIGHT, the team also offers the same benefits for members internally. One of these is the Thursday Women’s Group discussions where female members of KUMU bond, offer support, and share stories that empower them during these crazy times.
KUMU understands that work can be affected by all the uncertainties evolving around us which could lead to burnout. By establishing proper time boundaries for the sake of its employees, the team is able to develop various work systems that aim to maintain life-work balance while staying productive. “We open up regular discussions about burnout, anxiety and internal pressure, to normalize these conversations and lessen the stigma that it’s just a fancy term for complaints,” shared Dalisay.
Aside from all the employee assistance programs in place, these work systems can ensure that no one is too exhausted from working which can prevent them from sharing quality time with their families, and having some ‘me’ time as well for stress reduction.
KUMUNITY guidance counsellors
For the users of the app, Kumunity teams have begun adding guidance counsellors in place as key roles that give out helpful advice and insights to members. The safe space is where they can share their interests, concerns, opinions, and updates so that everyone is in the loop and knows that someone cares to listen to whatever they have to say.
Life coaching livestreams
Another time slot within the SPOTLIGHT lineup focuses on life coaching sessions with experts who can help make life a bit easier for its audience. The KUMU team introduces livestreamers who can share their valuable insights on how to lead productive and more meaningful lives no matter what difficulties they face. Right now, when 2020 seems hell bent on becoming one of the most challenging years of modern times, it seems that everyone is in need of life coaches. Fortunately for all the Kumunizens out there, having access to not one, but many experts who are willing to help is just one stream away.
KUMU care packages
The KUMU HR team also doesn’t fall short in ensuring that employees get what they need by sending out care packages with inclusions of face masks, vitamins, tea, and other health essentials via deliveries.
“I know in my heart that my primary role is to support our “people’ and I always thought of them especially during this difficult time,” says KUMU HR Head Ella Cualbar. “I was glad to get the full support of the KUMU Management to provide the KUMU Cares Kit for all of our staff and make sure they are delivered personally to their homes. It was such a happy time for me to pay them a quick HR visit. Now I can sleep well knowing they’re all okay and still happy to work with us even during these difficult times of COVID-19,” she adds.
By promoting a new company culture that’s appropriate for today’s new normal, the KUMU team continues to send a clear message to its employees that being a Kumunity not only means being productive, resourceful, and functional despite the challenges, but that looking out for each other and giving a premium to camaraderie by creating solutions is equally important to keep afloat.