It’s been a few weeks since many of us have seen one another in person. Since then, we’ve all been adjusting to working from home; some with the added complexity of caring for family members. Schools are now closed for the remainder of the academic year in places like California, Illinois and New York, so both of my sons (12 and 17 years old) are completing the Spring semester with remote learning. Unfortunately, some schools are not able to offer remote learning and some children are too young for this type of instruction. This has required many parents or caretakers of young kids to also play the role of teacher and psychologist – while trying to continue to work full-time. This is not at all how any of us expected 2020 to play out.
The coronavirus has created a new reality for us, both personally and professionally. My aunt and her daughter, a nurse, both contracted the virus and thankfully, they are on the path to recovery. Sadly, my best friend’s father, a healthcare worker in New York City, just passed away (April 29th) from COVID-19 after spending the last few weeks on a ventilator. And a few of our close friends have unfortunately lost family members to it, too. I’m sure many of you have family, friends or co-workers who have been impacted by it in some way as well. Each of these instances – whether it’s someone we personally know or not – will make returning to a normal life and work challenging in its own right, as nothing is the same anymore.
“Return to work plans will vary widely, and will require employers to grapple with challenges unique to their workforce and geography.”
Despite these challenges, I hope that you and your family members have been able to stay healthy and find ways to cope with #StayatHomeLife. Fortunately, at Fitbit, many of our team members have stepped up to help us keep fit by scheduling or leading virtual meditation, coffee meet-ups, HIIT training, yoga and happy hours. Similarly, our “Parents” Slack channel has been flooded with links to helpful resources, pictures of make-shift activities that have engaged their kids, and is now a global support community. I’ve joined a few of the virtual events, learned more about the importance of workplace connectedness through the parents’ channel (and food threads!) and now feel an even greater bond with so many fellow employees. During this time, our team members also created a COVID-19 resource hub in the Fitbit app to ensure our users have access to information that will help them stay healthy through the pandemic. This experience has taken Fitbit’s culture to a new level.
I’ve been amazed at how our Fitbit family has rallied together to help us all maintain our mental and physical wellbeing and support our customers at a distance during this time. It was only a few months ago that our CEO, James Park, unveiled the Fitbit Commitments (Champion the Customer, Rally Together & Embrace the Challenge), yet it was only a matter of days into the pandemic that they began to take on a whole new meaning. I have heard so many great examples of team members leading with the Commitments. In fact, too many to include just one in this message. At Fitbit, we have a Recognition Wall in Workday to share stories and feedback directly with the entire company and the employee’s manager. If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to recognize your peers using your company’s social channels. In Slack, you can use #kudos and include one or more of the values or behaviors your peers have demonstrated to help you navigate through this uncertain time.
Everywhere I look,
Fitbitters are finding ways to contribute to get us through this time.
We will get through this together
and be stronger for it in the end,
so stay positive and be well.