Managing a Global Team in a Global Pandemic
Blog Post #2:
Managing a Global Team in a Global Pandemic
Covid-19 has brought challenges for everyone, but team Joos are finding a way to thrive
When Covid-19 struck the UK, everyone was sent home from their offices. Workers couldn’t gather in boardrooms or visit each other’s desks for a catch up — everything suddenly had to operate online. The world of Zoom & managing a remote team wasn’t as much of a challenge for the founders, who knew first-hand the challenges of running a business remotely.
In January 2020 Silcs Solutions, our holding company, established Silcs Technology, a subsidiary dedicated to charging technologies. The plan was to develop a new service ready to sweep the world — say hello to Joos.
We had a team of experts who started the power bank rental industry in China’s tech hub, Hangzhou & effectively scaled the business model across Asia, ready to begin work on our revolutionary new solution. At Joos HQ in London, our commercial team was ready to deliver the new product to Western markets.
But then Covid-19 tipped the world into uncertainty. As China was affected by the virus first, our team saw first hand what was to come. Joos felt a sudden change — our CEO Hannz was in the country at the time of the breakout, and had to rush back to the UK.
Some quick adjustments had to be made. The co-founders’ trip to China was cancelled, and the Chinese team were stuck in Asia, unable to make it to the UK to help develop our new software. “We had to conquer any obstacles through excellent communication and teamwork, because ultimately the goal remained the same throughout, to create a sophisticated charging product and service for the global market,” says Peter, CPO & Co-Founder.
We adapted our working culture & schedule to maximise the working day with each other — the UK team begins work early so we can catch up with our colleagues who are 7/8 hours ahead of us. We don’t want to waste any opportunities to communicate with them, so we’ll schedule any UK-based meetings in the afternoon once our colleagues have logged off. Joos isn’t like other businesses who might only catch up with their international coworkers once a week or less — we maintain daily conversations to make sure our service remains on track to be the best.
We’ve also had to overcome a range of communication software issues in order to keep in touch with each other. Google and Facebook’s platforms are blocked in China, so we migrated our office away from G-Suite and onto Microsoft Office 365, and used WeChat as an alternative to WhatsApp messenger. WeChat’s new video call feature meant we could get on demand visuals from our factory as and when we needed them.
Because of the risks of travelling in 2020, Joos used 3D modelling software to develop our products. This meant we could thoroughly explore each potential design for our power banks, desktop units and large standing units, before creating prototypes. In our usual design process, we make around two to three prototypes. But while developing Joos from afar, we created more to be shipped around the world for everyone to get their hands on and give feedback.
When we faced problems confirming the colouring of our new product, our UK branding team spent several late nights learning about the Pantone colouring system & the challenges turning digitally produced colour codes into a physical product. Many calls later & after discovering someone in our tech team was colour blind… co-founder Peter flew from Beijing to Hangzhou to keep a closer eye on the factory and ensure that the perfect Joosy orange was chosen for our product. As for the software, it had to be designed and produced over Zoom, and the occasional late night by our in-house development team.
Though we look forward to being able to travel again one day, visiting our counterparts in Hangzhou and welcoming them to London, we will continue to use Zoom and other co-working tech to develop our brand and product further. With Joos poised for rapid distribution, unity between our teams is more important than ever.
Thanks to Covid-19, there are slight uncertainties about the immediate future, however we remain focused in our long-term mission: deliver power to those who need it most, enabling them to go further and faster than ever before. Things are looking Joosy…
21 October 2020