At the start of the new year, like any other team, we had goals we set out to achieve during the year, higher revenue, garner international clients, team expansion, brand strategies, making wonderful products…you know, normal stuff. And getting to do a brand refresh project for RG & Co- one of the largest construction companies in Central Africa, set the ball rolling towards achieving those goals.
As days passed, we worked, played, had two team members: lead designer, Charles, and project manager, Chinwe celebrate their birthdays with a pancake fest. Life was good. We had zero inclination that 2020 would be the year of the p̶a̶n̶a̶s̶o̶n̶i̶c̶ ̶ p̶i̶n̶o̶c̶c̶h̶i̶o̶ pandemic.
By February, we made our first hire of the year- Niyi, superstar designer. By the end of the month, Nigeria had its first recorded case of COVID-19. Though panic had started to creep in slowly, we trudged on. Fast forward to the end of March, covid cases were rising and a lockdown was imposed for safety, this posed a new difficulty for us.
What did it mean to live and work in a pandemic? To navigate work briefs with the constant reminder that people all over the world were dying from the virus at the back of your mind?
Transitioning into remote work meant we had to develop new workflow and processes that were remote-friendly. We had tools like Zoom and Slack to maintain communication and productivity, but there were things we couldn’t experience through Zoom like sharing a coworker’s lunch or teasing them for their choice of footwear. Still, we doubled down and kept working.
New Talents and Team Expansion
We were able to expand our team with incredible talent to help us do cool stuff and achieve our goals. We got Daniel Areola, Israel, and Doyin to join us as developers.
When we hired Fiyin as a senior designer, the entire design community on Twitter went into a frenzy. It is safe to say we hired a celebrity.
Nifemi also joined the design team later on. The work we were able to do in 2020 wouldn’t have been possible without these superstars.
Restructuring Work for both Office and Remote
Months later, when the government eased the lockdown, we created a structure to adapt to our new reality.
Mondays to Wednesdays we worked at the office, making sure to adhere to Covid-19 safety precautions.
Thursdays and Fridays we worked from home with all the intricacies this entailed; can everyone see my screen? Person X seems to be having problems with his network, Can you repeat yourself, please? etc.
The physical workdays helped to restore some sense of normalcy to our work experience and felt like a breath of fresh air. Yes, we had to maintain social distance and wear masks, but some of the missing elements with working remotely like, cracking jokes or suffering through a teammate’s terrible playlist because they were connected to the speaker, were restored. The isolation and uncertainty that came with the pandemic was overwhelming and meant some of us had had to take days off to breathe and get our creative juices pumping again.
If there’s one thing we learned during the lockdown, it was developing processes that made remote working easier.
Breakfast in Bed on Workers Day
At Check DC, loving food almost seems to be a requirement for employment. And since we all loved food, we decided that for Workers Day, everyone on the team got the chance to choose whatever they wanted for breakfast.
Against the wish of the cultural members on the team that wanted amala and ewedu for breakfast, we had the Fregz A Porter jambalaya rice, BBQ & Cravings burger, and Smallchops Treatbox as options.
Lagos traffic meant some food items didn’t get delivered to some locations till lunchtime (in fairness, some team members live far from civilization), thankfully, our list had food suitable for any time of the day.
Asides Workers Day, we also sent out gift boxes- more like food boxes to each team member with a special note as a way of saying, ‘thank you’ and a reminder of our goal to keep pushing limits.
Doing what we do best, work!
Panoramic or not, we did some of our best work yet in 2020! Running against the tides, we revamped the Smallchops.ng website, made major updates to the Agropartnerships app for both ios and android, revamped a private equity platform, designed the brand, and built the website for an EU based beer brand.
Cooling Off (Wings and Pizza Wednesdays)
Asides from being superstars and building cool stuff, we also made a tradition of cooling off on Wednesdays after work hours by having team-bonding sessions while eating Chicken wings, Ice- Cream, and Pizza.
The Paintballing Face-Off
As the year came to an end, we had a paintballing face-off between the dev team and the design team. The Design team won (obviously). It’s 2021 and the dev team is yet to recover from the staggering loss; we played three rounds and the design team won all three. After the paintballing, we wined and dined at Farm City, Lekki.
In line with our Christmas tradition, we gathered just before going on Christmas break to celebrate the year. Collectively, 2020 had been a tough year and we were happy we had each other and got through it together.
To a better 2021 (2020, the evil you did was more than enough)
Here we are, almost 1̶0̶0̶ ̶d̶a̶y̶s̶ 35 days into 2021 and while we’re hopeful, we’re constantly checking in with the “man proposes, God disposes vibe” because who knows what’s yet to come? Still, new goals have been set, including plans to dive into new territories. We are currently building that and so far, making progress even with Miss Rona around — hopefully, more pandemics don’t occur.
And that’s a wrap! We wish you a blissful, healthy, and safe 2021.
Just before you head off, remember to Start Something Today!
Till next time,