During the lockdown I started sending out a weekly 'long format' update email and adding these to our blog for all to see. Originally, it was intended to just be an update on stock levels and delivery timings. However, personally, I found it both useful and therapeutic to write about what was happening and to try and give our customers an insight into what was going on behind the scenes. 

It was truly gratifying how many people sent a message of appreciation back and told us how much they enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Kiravans and how we work. It probably should not have been a surprise, but I guess we tend to focus every day on just getting the basic stuff right - decent website, accurate information, stock availability, and shipping orders quickly etc.  Behind the scenes Kiravans is really fairly unusual and we do take it for-granted most of the time, so it was lovely to hear that these insights were of interest to so many people.

So what did we learn?

It's a truism that 'people buy from people' however I think we have tended to avoid putting our personalities out on display to everyone. I think you can expect to see more of 'us' in our future communications. Whether that means more long format essays like this, more videos from other members of the team, more insights into how we do stuff, peeks into how we design products and projects we're working on....just watch this space :)

So what's next?

As a team we are discussing a few long term changes as we move back toward some sort of normality:
  • All of us have discovered that working from home has some big advantages - so we think we might be turning things on their head and starting from the assumption that home is the normal place to work, the office is somewhere you go out of choice and for a change of scenery. For instance, we used to put a note in the team calendar if we were planning to work from home for a day.  Now we'll turn that on its head and start putting a note in when we're actually planning on turning up at the office :)
  • Working hours - quite frankly we've all been doing whatever fits in with our family lives these last few months. Monday to Friday 9 to 5 seems like an old fashioned idea now. I suspect we'll go forward working on the basis that we all trust each other to just do the right thing.  It's not the number of hours worked that matter, rather it's just that the work gets done, sometime, anytime.
  • Communicating internally by writing things down is how we do stuff now. With everyone working at odd hours of the day, and in different places it's no longer possible to just lean over a colleague's desk and have a conversation, or to pull a team into the meeting room for a con-flab. Instead we now have conversation asynchronously, using our Basecamp system with shared documents, message threads and a simple chat system. This means writing things down rather than throwing words out into the air, and, while it took a bit of getting used to, it's now feeling completely normal.  It has made us more efficient, more thoughtful, more considered in our actions. It might be a little slower at times, but we think it's much less wasteful.  Slowing things down is one of the things many of us have found positive about this period of lockdown - its certainly something we intend to take away from this experience.
We've still a long way to go, but wI'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support and you'll be hearing from me again very soon :)

Rob