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June of 2021 will mark my second year at Softtek, but I may never understand how the largest provider of IT services from Latin America and employer of 15,000+ people worldwide so perfectly straddles the line between big corporate resiliency and the homey employee experience of a small town ice cream parlor. Here’s what I mean.
The alarming levels of spread and severity of COVID-19 in the early months of 2020 led the WHO Director-General to declare it a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Just 3 days later, Softtek had already published a Global COVID-19 Action Plan on The Softtek Blog, complete with content in 3 languages, a 5-level action plan, contact information of the Global Action Committee and local/regional committees, top priorities as new developments occur, and frequent updates.
By March 20th, 90% of Softtek’s entire workforce (13,500 employees) was already working from home, and by March 23rd, that number rose to 95% (14,250 employees). At the time, I was reporting to our Monterrey, Mexico offices, and my roommates, who also worked for large corporations, weren’t required to work from home until late April. To put that into perspective, by the time my roommates were sent home, Softtek had already hosted 2 webinars to help other businesses lead in these uncertain times, implemented over 800 Business Contingency Plans with all our clients and projects, and sanitized our offices around the world multiple times.
On March 23rd, we also received a video message from our President and CEO Blanca Treviño reassuring us that despite not being immune to the crisis, we were in a solid financial position and there have been no disruptions to our services. The 10-minute message was both motivating and reminded us of something that Blanca has reinforced for a long time: Softtek was created to do more than just survive; it was created to thrive.
Imagine working at a mom-and-pop ice cream shoppe; the smell of butter pecan ice cream hits your nose as you walk in, and your coworker and boss greet you by name. The shoppe can get busy at times, but you know you’re in good hands.
Softtek is a big company that made the transition to home office feel seamless, connected, and homey—never losing those ice cream parlor vibes.
The first day of home office was a breeze. Although I couldn’t enjoy the complimentary coffee served at the office, my day went pretty much the same: open my laptop, attend a few meetings through Microsoft Teams, get my work done, then go home. Oh wait, I am already home. That’s when the concern set in that I will now be working indefinitely in the same building where I sleep, cook, and quarantine. This may not be so easy after all.
On March 24th, the day after our CEO's message, the first episode of the internal broadcast “Wellnos Días” was aired. Employees from around the world could tune in to watch interviews with other Softtekians, participate in the live chat, practice mindfulness and wellness, and get fun quarantine recommendations for family game night or a healthy new recipe. These episodes would go on for a couple months, and it began to sink in that despite working from a distance, we really are “together while a p a r t.”
Not long after the first broadcast of Wellnos Días, other areas of the company began to notice how effective these broadcasts were. Before I knew it, my Teams calendar was filled with optional sessions to join, both during and after work, including Zumba classes, guided meditations, talent shows, cooking classes, webinars and much more—all led by other fellow Softtekians.
I miss going to movies, restaurants, and work events, and being at home for so long sometimes drains my motivation and zest for life. That said, the caring leadership, unique corporate culture of Softtek, and team dynamics have left us with no shortage of activities, and certainly no shortage of work to be done! Amidst all this uncertainty, Softtek has been a beacon of consistency for its employees around the world and has even upped corporate social responsibility efforts to ease some of the economic burdens seen all around us. The pandemic has taught us a lot, and while we are in it for far longer than we expected or hoped to be, we will emerge stronger and closer.