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Nelson,
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New Zealand is a month into a Level 4 Lockdown, with almost the entire population staying at home to prevent the spread of (and hopefully eliminate) Covid-19.

I thought I’d write about our experiences of operating UpShift during the lockdown, both from a business and personal perspective.

From the business side of things we noticed an immediate impact on our work, with many client projects put on hold. There was noticeable disruption as people and businesses scrambled to prepare for a very strange “new normal”.

We are fortunate to run UpShift on cloud based services like GSuite, Harvest and Github, so it was relatively straightforward for our team to work from home.

Maintaining our culture and workflow has been slightly more challenging. We have daily video calls with the UpShift team to check in on everyone and some of our developers run permanent video links to continue with their pair programming. We also use Slack for text messaging and occasionally just pick up our phones and call each other.

After the initial week of disruption our workload swung the other way with an influx of new work requests. We had so many queries about e-commerce I was prompted to write this blog post as an introduction to selling online during lockdown.

We are now in the enviable position of having an abundance of work, which means some careful planning around timeframes and resources. Please don’t take this as an invitation to send me LinkedIn messages about outsourcing our work - our clients value that we do our work in-house and we’re not planning to change.

From a personal point of view the lockdown has been a challenge. I hadn’t realised how much I used my bike rides too and from work as a brain airlock between work and home life. It’s taken some effort, but I’ve got a routine setup where I’m either at work in my home office or spending time with my family or on my own. Routine has been really important as early on it seemed like I was permanently at work - fielding calls, emails and messages at all hours.

But mostly I miss the camaraderie of the UpShift office. Even if I had my headphones on and my head down for a couple of hours it was fantastic to be able to come up for air surrounded by excellent people doing interesting work.

At this moment in time it looks like New Zealand may be able to eliminate Covid-19 from our country. If we achieve this it will mean a swifter return to Covid-19 free life than the rest of the world. 

I’m hopeful that the disruption has given us time to think about how we can do things differently and not return to “business as usual”. Especially around travel and fossil fuel usage. The digital transformation that’s been talked about for years has just become a sink-or-swim necessity for many businesses.

Finally I’d like to say I hope you and your bubble are well. We will get through this, together.

Noho ora mai