Over the weekend, Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Guild Education CEO Rachel Carlson launched a pledge to stop the spread of Covid-19. So far the pledge has been signed by 1,300 CEOs, executives, and civil leaders around the country.
By signing the pledge you agree as a leader to:
- Enable your team to work from home whenever possible.
- Support essential workers like first responders and healthcare workers.
- Stop hosting or attending events of any size.
- Support small businesses and their employees.
- Free up time on your calendar to support our state and local communities.
The goal is to get more leaders to join the commitment than there are cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. To facilitate speedy signups, there are no explicit asks of leaders outside of the guidelines listed above. So what specific actions should you take?
As the CEO of Winnie, I signed this pledge, but the hard work starts now. Here are the first steps my team is taking to reprioritize our work to backup our pledge with real action. I encourage you to take similar bold steps.
Close the office .
As of last week, we officially closed our office. We did this before San Francisco ordered everyone to shelter in place. We are all working remotely, with no exceptions. If your company is not providing food, supplies, medical care, child care, or similarly critical categories, your business is not essential and you do not need to keep your physical office open.
Stop worrying about maximizing productivity.
You may be tempted to allow exceptions for people who are having trouble working from home, but I would urge that you don't. Despite initial hesitation, we found that when we closed the office entirely, our employees figured out faster how to work remotely, even under challenging circumstances.
We have also added flexibility for employees who are now balancing other responsibilities with work and may only be able to work minimal hours. As a mom with kids who are now home full-time, I know firsthand that it is not reasonable to expect a nine to five day from parents or even close to it under these circumstances. Communicate these reduced expectations to employees to relieve stress during this trying time.
If you can afford it, reprioritize to support the crisis.
Many essential workers like first responders and healthcare professionals rely on child care to do their jobs. As schools close across the country, nurses and doctors cannot continue to go into work if they don't have access to safe, quality care for their children.
My company Winnie is a platform for child care so we are working on a number of initiatives to support childcare providers during this difficult time as well as help parents, especially those providing essential services, find care.
This comes at a cost to our business. Instead of working on revenue-generating projects, we are spending our limited resources on what can be most helpful right now for parents and providers. If you are in a position to help others, even at a cost to your future revenue or growth, I implore you that now is the time.
As a business leader, this is the time to think big and bold. This is not the time to think about shiny press releases or marketing stunts, but to roll up our sleeves and creatively help keep essential services operating. And we'll do it while about to give birth, with our kids in the background of our video calls, because their future depends on it.