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Most tech companies have adapted to remote work in 2020. Here’s what is bringing into 2021

The Fulton-based cloud services firm shares lessons from a disruptive year and plans for growth in the new year.

A recent Zoom team meeting. (Courtesy photo)

This is a guest post by Ashley Conway, operations specialist at is a Talent Pro client.

2020 has been anything but tame. How often have you heard the phrase “unprecedented times” in the last 10 months? Being in the tech industry,’s transition into remote work was likely more seamless than most, but this year has presented challenges and obstacles we could never have seen coming. The way our young company has continued to respond to this crisis will set the tone not only for 2021, but also for years to come. We’ve always strived to build an exceptional team and when you focus on your people, it makes getting through the tough times that much easier.

Where the pandemic has pushed us to new limits, it has created room for growth in how we communicate and engage with our team. We’ve responded to this global crisis with quick and frequent updates to our team. When everything in the world becomes uncertain, it is critical to establish a cadence of regular team communication to keep everyone on the same page. While most of us have not returned to the office since March, companywide connection has been amplified.

Tools like Slack and Zoom have been the backbone of our communication strategies. We have focused on communicating general company information and ensuring staff can connect with each other to build those work relationships we all need. Some of these methods have been as simple as our CEO’s weekly emails on the latest news. On the technology side, we’ve implemented Donut’s Slack integration to help employees make deeper engagement with coworkers and meet coworkers they may have never interacted with. We’re adding new Slack channels as fast as we are hiring new team members, from #fellow-pelotonians to #nobody-cares-about-your-pets.

Like most companies, we have shifted our team meetings to purely virtual. It can be challenging to keep virtual meetings engaging and interesting. Something we look forward to at every monthly meeting is “Human Time,” which has been with us since the birth of At each monthly team meeting, our Human Time randomizer wheel picks someone to share a recent story or life event. We have celebrated new babies, engagements, LOTS of puppies, and a few house moves over the last year. Human Time allows us to step away from work and appreciate the lives behind the scenes of This time last year we were expanding our company and our office space, and while we could not have predicted what 2020 was going to throw our way, we have a lot to show for it.

We turn feedback into action, and we will continue this trajectory into the new year. While 2020 has been an unpredictable year, it has taught us to have a plan B.

The “new normal” may be the only phrase you have heard as frequently as “unprecedented times” lately, but its importance is not lost on us. The adjustments we have made for the new remote world have shaped our brand and company. 2020 has forced a lot of companies to be more creative in how they execute business, and we are no exception. Keeping employees engaged through remote work has been at the forefront of our response strategy.

Finding substitutes for our typical in-person events, like our annual day of volunteering or our quarterly happy hours, has presented many obstacles. Luckily, we have a team of incredibly smart and creative employees. During our Q3 Innovation Day, we brainstormed as a team and formulated some ingenious ways to be interactive from our computer screens. Some of the most memorable events of 2020 have included a virtual cooking class, trivia, a pumpkin-carving contest, and a bring-your-pet-to-Zoom happy hour. Every employee got an ENTIRE Smith Island cake for’s second birthday in September. And our monthly lunch and learns, often catered, turned into virtual events with GrubHub credits. Despite the obstacles along the way, fostering a great company culture remains a key goal.

This new normal, as we are all calling it, has also forced us to be more open when it comes to hiring full-time remote, out-of-state employees. Circling back to fostering our culture, collectively we’ve enjoyed the ability of having everyone work together from the office pre-pandemic. However, once we all transitioned to working from home, considering out-of-state applicants was more welcomed across all departments. This time last year we had just hired our 29th employee, and as we flash forward to the fall of 2020, we have nearly doubled in size. From what started as a full team of Marylanders, now has roots all across the country from Georgia to Minnesota to Texas. As we look to 2021, we will continue to embrace remote positions and hire outside of the Maryland area.

The pandemic was not the only crisis our nation has faced in the last year. The social injustices that have unfolded recently encouraged our team to take a deeper look at what we could improve upon to foster a safe space where our employees feel celebrated and valued for their differences.

We sprung into action by hosting our first Diversity and Inclusion Town Hall to lay the ground work for what would become our Diversity and Inclusion Council. Similar to our brainstorming session on engagement, a lot of powerful ideas have come out of these town halls. For our Q4 all hands meeting, we will bring in a speaker that specializes in diversity, equity, and inclusion to cover topics like implicit bias, targeting underrepresented communities in hiring, and creating employee resource groups. In the new year, we hope to implement monthly cultural exchanges, partner with STEM groups that support underrepresented communities, and attend more career fairs at HBCUs.

As we continue to navigate the shifts of the world, looks to 2021 as an opportunity for continued growth and engagement. We’ve always taken pride in our tight-knit culture, even more so when tough times arise. We have built an “all in this together” frame of mind, which ultimately has helped us tackle these difficult times. We heavily rely on constant feedback from our employees, whether it’s via surveys, town halls, quarterly meetings, or a simple Slack message. We turn feedback into action, and we will continue this trajectory into the new year.

While 2020 has been an unpredictable year, it has taught us to have a plan B. It has also shown us that with a team like ours, a plan B is never difficult to come up with.

Learn more and explore jobs at
Companies: Kion
Series: How to Work Remotely

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