Giant Insights

Staying Connected in a Time of Social Distancing

In the “early” days of the US response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Giant Machines drafted response and continuity plans. As part of these efforts, we planned an all-hands remote “test day” for Wednesday, March 11. That turned out to be a fateful day. The second half of that week saw a bit of a reckoning, a collective recognition that we need to act decisively to mitigate the effects of this outbreak. Since then, we have stayed remote to do our part to prevent community spread.

For much of March, our leadership team has been focused on two big initiatives: Continuity and Community. Today, we’re sharing some updates on how the last two weeks in particular have unfolded at Giant Machines.

As a professional services organization, ensuring that we’re able to continue delivering value to our clients is paramount—right behind ensuring the health & well being of our team. As such, all of us are working remotely, and Giant Machines has worked to upgrade every employee’s hardware and software to ensure we’re able to remain productive and comfortable. We’ve got monitors, keyboards, mice (mouses? Has that debate been settled?), and licenses for things like WebEx flying off the shelves.

Staying connected in a time of social distancing.
Giant Machinists staying connected in a time of social distancing.

Leadership is holding regular virtual 1:1 and mentor group meetings with everyone via Google Hangouts, and we’re even scheduling virtual coffee and happy hours with clients and partners. In parallel, our project teams are reporting no measurable impacts on productivity. The shared experience of dealing with this outbreak, with most of our clients going fully virtual as well, has fostered heightened levels of communication and collaboration. We’re all in this together.

And we’re also ramping up our support of the Community.

Over the holidays, Giant Machines held a volunteer event with Citymeals. We met at the WEME Nutrition Center on the Upper West Side, where members of our team received an orientation, routes, and hot meals to deliver to our homebound elderly neighbors.

Giant Machinists getting ready to deliver warm food and holiday cheer to homebound seniors in NYC.
Giant Machinists getting ready to deliver warm food and holiday cheer to homebound seniors in NYC.

“It can be easy sometimes to get caught up in the hustle of the holidays—balancing work and family time, buying presents, planning where to go and when. But dedicating time to service, to bringing hot meals to fellow New Yorkers with such rich life stories but who are now homebound… What an experience,” reflected Roy Yang, Co-Founder and Managing Partner. “Honestly, I think we may have gotten more out of the experience than the folks who we visited and brought food.”

This experience really stayed with us, and as the heightened effects of COVID-19 on the senior population grew clear, we decided to renew our commitment to the Citymeals mission. We are proud to announce that every single Giant Machines employee has made a donation to Citymeals to help bring vital nourishment to those who need it most. With our Giant Match, we’ve made a total donation of $3,800 to this important organization—a donation which will be further doubled by FJC, a Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, who is matching all gifts to Citymeals at this time.

Thanks to this grassroots effort and the power of compounding, we are proud of the more than $7,500 that will go towards feeding senior citizens in New York City in this time of heightened need. Read more about emergency efforts under way at Citymeals here, and please consider making a donation as well.

We have some more efforts under way, and will be sharing them with our network as soon as we can. In times like these, it’s important to come together. While we can’t do so in person, there is still so much we can do to help members of our community who need it most, and we’re proud to play our part in the COVID-19 response—whether it’s helping our clients maintain a sense of normalcy in their operations, or helping our homebound neighbors deal with the ramifications of a global pandemic.

We hope you, your families, and your teams are doing well. Stay safe and healthy!

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