As the world closely monitors and tracks the spread and impact of the new corona virus, business leaders are making decisions about how to mitigate the risk and keep everyone safe and healthy. In the government contracting community, executives are enacting procedures and policies to protect employees, customers and partners while continuing to provide government agencies with the services, solutions and mission-critical support they need.
In this series, WashingtonExec will highlight these leaders and how they are tackling this crisis, in an effort to share best practices in industry and shed light on the virus’ impact on the nation.
Stephen Gillotte, CEO of Reinventing Geospatial, Inc.
Stephen Gillotte oversees overall strategic direction and growth across RGi. Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, the company provides command, control, communications, computers, cyber and intelligence innovation, and geospatial expertise to federal national security and defense agencies. So, WashingtonExec asked Gillotte just how RGi is adapting with innovative remote collaboration tools and a safety-first approach during COVID-19.
What innovative workplace policies/practices has your company embraced to minimize the impact of COVID-19?
In response to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others, we made the decision to implement a 100% remote work policy, and I’m so happy we have done it; it’s the right thing to do for our people and their families.
I’ve been impressed with how easily our team has switched from the open office space filled with close physical collaboration to a 100% virtual environment. Over the past week and a half, we’ve been trying out a number of new approaches to embrace our agile nature, and those that are sticking, we keep doing. Things that were lame, well, it was at least a good idea!
Things that are working for us are using Zoom for videoconferencing — both for business and social connections. Just seeing people’s faces goes a long way. We have also switched our usual Friday morning company-sponsored breakfast event to be a Friday afternoon virtual happy hour, which has been received well. We all hop on Zoom together and enjoy our beverage of choice.
In terms of making sure people are comfortable and productive in their new home office space, we have encouraged people to take home their laptops, monitors, docking stations and even their chairs if they want to. We’ve also told every single employee to expense up to $200 on anything else that will make their new workspace more functional and enjoyable. We see this as a potentially longer-term situation, so for us it’s about adapting, being efficient, and executing for the safety of our nation.
What has your company done to keep morale up internally for employees?
I’m confident that morale will remain high on our team for two reasons:
#1 — We’re delivering Straight Talk: Here is what we are facing and here is what we need you to do to help the entire team. We’re also willing to over communicate if necessary, and have made a point to share things like our strong financial stability off-cycle just to ensure all minds are at ease in terms of job security.
#2 — Our sense of community and culture keeps us together, regardless of geography. So what if we’re not physically together — we’re replicating our culture in cyberspace. We’re still having our social engagements, we’re just reinventing them to fit the situation as it is now. We are Reinventing Geospatial — it’s literally in our name! We’re figuring it out just like everyone else, but I’d like to think our close-knit culture gives us an edge.
How has the policy for travel or attending large conferences changed?
This is simple — we are only supporting essential travel in response to government requests for national and statewide responses to COVID-19. The better question is how do we change future conferences, events and working groups to fit this new normal? All I can say is that innovation is often born out of tragedy and disaster, and I’m confident RGi will help solve these challenges.