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Inside TORO: Office life in the midst of a pandemic

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TORO Cloud reception

Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, TORO Cloud continues its operations.

At 4.30 pm on 16th March, we were given half an hour’s notice by the local authorities to prepare for a 100% remote workforce. The area was going into a COVID-19 related lockdown, and employees would not be able to return to the workplace the next day.

About a third of our team have company-issued laptops. Getting those employees set up to work remotely was relatively painless.

For the rest, we had to pack up computers, monitors, and keyboards; create an inventory of everything, and then arrange for employees to take them home.

TORO employee working from home

Our employees were equipped with company-issued laptops, helping them work better from home during the lockdown.

Incredibly, the next day, we had a 100% remote workforce. This was made easier by the fact that most employees had stable internet connections. A quick survey of the team revealed why, as 40% of our workforce had a fiber optic internet connection at home.

Internet connection survey results of TORO employees

Most TORO employees had stable internet connection at home, with 40% of them using fiber optic connection.

Being a company that promotes digital transformation, we may have had some advantages when it came to working remotely. Our systems, processes, and workplace management systems are integrated and almost entirely online.

TORO employee working from home with their pet

One of the perks of working from home.

The major change we made to our processes, which are based on an agile development approach, was to change from a fortnightly sprint cycle to a weekly sprint cycle.

To make everyone productive and accountable for what they were doing, we timeboxed a week. Monday morning kicked off with a sprint plan and ended Friday afternoon with a sprint review.

David Brown greeting employees via chat

A "wake-up call" from TORO CEO David Brown

Communication was maintained with a morning “wake up call” from the CEO and requests for regular updates by the team leads.

The only issue we experienced was that some non-critical systems were on a server at the office. Shortly after the lockdown, there was a power outage at the office. We needed remote hands to bring the office network back online and the lockdown prevented us from going into the office.

Coping and growing

Understandably, many companies around us were laying off staff to save money in an effort to simply keep their businesses afloat. This presented an opportunity for us at TORO Cloud to recruit some new talent as we continued to grow despite the economic turmoil going on around us.

"Anything that was going to make remote working more productive and efficient was being given top priority in most companies. Being a company that facilitates digital transformation via process automation and unified digital ecosystems, TORO Cloud was still growing despite the global health crisis. We were able to bring on a number of new staff who had recently been displaced or made redundant by their former employers due to the virus," said David Brown, CEO, and Founder of TORO Cloud.

Our manpower expanded notwithstanding the pandemic. Our recruitment processes for new employees were all done virtually – from the sending of resumes and doing background checks to performing final interviews. This ensured that everyone was safe and complied with the quarantine restrictions.

The new normal

Now that quarantine restrictions have been eased, a number of us are now back at the office and it is (kind of) business as usual.

Sanitation measures have been implemented and everyone is doing their part in making sure that we comply with local regulations.

Employee disinfecting upon entrance at the TORO office

We make sure our employees are well-sanitized before they even enter the office.

Daily, before entering the office, employees get their temperature checked, fill out a contact tracing form, sanitize their hands, and step on a disinfecting foot bath.

Employees at TORO wearing masks while working

A look at the “new normal” at our office, where employees are required to wear masks and observe physical distancing while they work.

Physical distancing is being observed by employees, with workstations set two meters apart from each other.

Social distancing at the TORO office pantry

Social distancing is also observed in the pantry.

Sanitation reminder at the TORO Cloud office

Guidelines and reminders on proper hygiene are also strategically placed around the office, such as in elevators, comfort rooms, and in the pantry.

Sink with guidelines on how to properly wash hands

Moving forward, as restrictions ease, there is no doubt that we will continue with some of the improvements we have made to our systems and processes that were learned through remote working.

The experience has reinforced to us the value of having integrated cloud-based systems and procedures, and makes us even more passionate about enabling digital transformation for our customers.

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