By 8:45 a.m., we realized things just weren’t going to work. Technology had temporarily bested us, and our choices were few to none.
Raising the white flag, we conceded. The appropriate calls were made. Then we all sat and collectively sighed.
What were we going to do now?
Our team had some work to do – a lot, in fact. We were faced with the same task countless other companies would face soon after:
How would we adapt to the outbreak of COVID-19?
Our company has traditionally been based entirely offline. Our clients come to our center, and we work hard to provide top-notch services to them each and every week. Over our years in operation, we have acquired an excellent set of techniques and materials that help our clients succeed. Our employees had developed great working relationships, and our relationships with the clients have become ones of trust and respect.
We had never worked online before. In fact, internet connectivity was a problem that had long-plagued our center, and so we ensured we had back-ups for back-ups on everything, just in case.
Yet in January 2020, there was a situation rising in Wuhan, a city not terribly far from Beijing. We all watched as what was then simply called the Coronavirus began spreading. The timing was, in some ways, fortuitous. We had already taken a break, celebrating Spring Festival. For some of us, this meant traveling abroad. For others, it meant taking a few weeks to relax at home.
For all of us, though, it soon became a time of self-quarantine.
Beijing closed itself off, and we realized then the situation would be one we as a company would need to tackle head-on.
By the time our Winter Camps approached, our management team had worked quickly to create a plan:
We would take the leap and go online.
It was the best thing we could do for everyone, our clients included.
And yet, that first day didn’t turn out as well as we had hoped.
After our calls were complete, our sighs let out, we sat together and got creative. We spent the entire day brainstorming ways to make this work. Our team pooled their thoughts, questioned each others’ ideas, and ultimately came up with a plan.
One we put into motion soon after.
Tirelessly, our managers set up every machine we had, testing for audio and connectivity issues. Others contacted clients and ensured they felt supported and informed as to what our next plans were. Materials were boxed up and shipped out. We began crafting plans for online consulting – something none of us had done before.
By the next day, we were off.
And happily, we came out of those two frantic weeks exhausted but smiling.
Maybe we could do this after all.
Almost two months later, our team has hit its stride in their new online reality. Clients are happy, and our team is, too. With each new government regulation or restriction, our managers have been quick to respond. With each new fear, our team has supported itself. Together, we pooled our resources and made sure our company never lost a step.
We truly made the most out of a situation we had never expected to have to adapt to.
In these uncertain times, a lot of companies are being forced to do the same. It’s a time when managers have to make tough calls, and employees may have to adapt to new requirements.
This has been true for us at USA English, too.
But what got us through was unwavering support and understanding on all sides. We’ve all been flexible, accomplishing quickly what others took far longer to transition to do.
And in the end, it’s something we can all be proud of.