“Quarantine, huh?” I remember saying to my coworker back in March as I shoved a keyboard into my backpack. “Well, enjoy working in your PJs. See you in two weeks, I guess!”
Oh god, how foolish I was.
We’ll be working from home until 2021. The office is completely empty. Office dogs haven’t been pet in months. (Think of the dogs!)
The pandemic and the work from home “new normal” has been felt by companies around the world and ProntoForms is no exception. What’s a bit different though is that our response to the “new normal” has been pretty exceptional.
At ProntoForms, one of our three core pillars is “care” and over the years we’ve flexed our caring muscles in many ways. From running competitive charity events to working pro bono with non-profits, we’ve found ways to care about our customers, our community, and our employees. Although we haven’t slowed down on any cylinder since the beginning of the pandemic, and as ProntoForms shifted to remote work, we’ve been on a mission to provide the extra care and love that our colleagues and friends deserve.
Afterall, when you can’t see your amazing co-workers for months or hoard snacks from the snack bar…most Prontonians could use a little pick me up.
We’ve been busy
So how have we been sending good vibes to all our employees despite the distance?
For “Prontokids”, we hosted virtual summer camps, storytime with our executive team, and sent graduation gift baskets to celebrate the class of 2020. We wanted to entertain the kiddos and support parents with some extra heads down time. Scavenger hunts, animals virtual meet-and-greets with Ottawa’s Zoo Crew, and Minecraft parties with Code Ninjas—we had it all.
For our employees, the People & Culture team hosted a slew of awesome weekly health and wellness webinars, offered office furniture stipends so employees weren’t working from their couches (unless that’s their favourite meeting spot, of course), had a month-long health and fitness challenge through Healthy Trails, and transitioned our live yoga to virtual yoga to keep everyone limber and zen.
Between the health and wellness sessions, virtual summer camp for kiddos, and the pride week speaker in June, it’s hard to believe there was anything missing. But the beloved annual summer event was fast approaching and it was becoming evidently clear that gathering together with 150+ employees like last year was going to be pretty much impossible.
But wait! We had to do the summer event! We hadn’t seen each other in any meaningful capacity since the pandemic began and were itching to reconnect. Thankfully, our People & Culture team swooped in to save the day.
Gone virtual—and loving it!
We decided that come hell or high water we were going to have an amazing summer event. If anything, Prontonians needed it now more than ever! So, on August 13th, ProntoForms hosted a hugely successful version of our massive annual summer event.
Local employees were told to select a (safe, of course) pick-up slot the day before the event. What greeted them outside the office was an insta-worthy ice cream truck, Pronto swag, and all the supplies they needed for the virtual events the next day. Finally, we could all check out the quarantine beards in person and hear about the new office dogs who had joined the pack. (Including the CEO’s new quarantine puppy, Paco!)
Our lovely geographically distanced employees had their event goodies and swag delivered to them—Uber Eats style—without missing a beat.
A virtual summer event like no other
When the big day arrived, Prontonians rolled out of bed knowing that a fully customized and exciting day was waiting for them. There were five virtual events that Prontonians picked from:
Ottawa’s Best Golf Pro
For our sports-loving employees, Dave Kalil, a local golf legend and teaching veteran of 18 years, hosted a virtual session that taught viewers the basics of golf and provided tips for managing your game on the green, swings, and executing different shots.
Since golf is the unofficial socially distance sport, it’s safe to say that ProntoForms’ employees will be owning the greens for the rest of the season.
Sushi Making For The Soul
ProntoForms’ summer event was on a roll with award-winning writer and chef Sang Kim who conducted a hands-on sushi workshop. Prontonians made three different types of rolls utilizing the three classic Japanese rolling methods.
Not only was it a blast to see the mix of wonky and beautiful rolls that everyone created, but once the office is open again we might have to launch an official follow-up sushi roll-off challenge!
Lockdown Beat the Hacker Escape Room
For those who felt like escaping their four walls during quarantine, we had a virtual escape room just for them.
A group of hackers managed to break into ProntoForms’ servers and locked down all the corporate files! They threatened to erase it all in 45 minutes unless Prontonians cracked tricky missions using fun digital clues. This session was a big hit with our remote workers.
Out of the Woods Design
Move over Martha Stewart! For our crafty coworkers, Out of the Woods allowed Prontonians to add a touch of charm to their home by hand-painting their very own rustic reclaimed wood sign or pillowcase cover. All the supplies were gathered by the People & Culture team ahead of time, including the stencils that made the crafts a breeze.
Poured with Purpose
Of course, the beer-drinking session was a smash hit!
Guided by a Head Brewer from Mill St. Brewery, Prontonians were introduced to four cans of beer from their main production brewery in Toronto, two locally crafted seasonal bottles, along with cheeses to pair.
This session was a great way to do a virtual happy hour together and catch up together no matter where in the world we are over a beer…or four.
The virtual summer event was the perfect crescendo of the efforts of the People & Culture team to keep everyone at ProntoForms connected. And it worked. Over and over again, employees expressed how the event allowed them to feel the missing connection they’d been craving with their coworkers.
Our values: perform, solve, and care
At ProntoForms, we believe in caring for our employees and it’s not just something we pay lip service to. It’s a core, fundamental part of what makes ProntoForms, ProntoForms. It’s perhaps even more important during the pandemic to support employees, provide ways for them to de-stress, and to find innovative ways to keep team spirit up. We’re happy the summer event could be a part of what keeps our teams tight-knit. Afterall, we’re all in this together.
If you want to be a part of that together and be involved in our next awesome virtual event, head on over to our careers page to see the #CareersthatkickSaaS at ProntoForms.