This blog has been in development for almost a week but every day it seems like the world changes even more and, here at Fíonta, our first priority is the health and safety of our employees. Following closely thereafter were plans for continuity of service, the delivery of exceptional (and unchanged) consultative and technical support, and personal outreach to every current client. Hence, publishing this blog kept getting pushed back. However tough they may have seemed, the past several days have, in this author’s estimation, proven again and again that Fíonta is a family. Below, we share ways that we have transitioned to a 100% remote organization for the time being, resources that we have found helpful (and others that may be useful for your org or family), and, to round out the alliteration, recipes that our employees have used during this time of social distancing.
Immediate and Continuing Response
The week of March 9th…in like a lamb and out like a lion which is pretty much the reverse of the old adage for the month of March. Our executive team was discussing COVID-19 frequently, but it was not yet the sole topic of conversation. The Washington DC office had just undergone a thorough cleaning by an outside service and Fíonta planned a test 100% remote day for March 16th so that all office workers could set up a home working space and test out what it felt like for 44 employees to work together, virtually. COVID-19 had other ideas though and by March 12th, we realized that the “test day” would become Day 1 of mandatory work from home until it is safe to return to a shared space.
Luckily, Fíonta was already about 50% remote with a strong Slack and video Zoom culture so the infrastructure for remote work was in place and heavily utilized. We leaned into both tools by creating a #COVID19 Slack channel where all staff and contractors can share resources, memes, hacks, and worries, along with adding an additional “always on” Zoom channel for spontaneous meetups and weekly happy hours.
Another Fíonta initiative is the random partnering of employees – what we’re calling CO-Buddies. Derived from the idea of a “battle buddy“, our CO-Buddies check in with each other regularly via Slack or Zoom and simply act as a connection during an uncertain time.
And starting Thursday, March 26th at 4pm PT / 7pm ET, we’ll be sharing our Zoom link with a musician for 30 minutes of escapism. It’s a win-win deal—attendees get to experience a unique concert while supporting the arts. The suggested donation for the performer is $5 payable by Venmo or PayPal. Our plan is to do this weekly with different musicians for the duration of the “shelter at home” movement.
In short, very little has changed. While we have a concentration of clients in the metropolitan Washington DC area, we also work with organizations across the country so much of our services were already being provided via email, Zoom, Slack, and other tools. We have been conducting video meetings over Zoom for a few years so, if anything, this is just another opportunity to lean into technology and embrace the fact that we can have a “face-to-face” conversation from our home offices to our clients’ homes at this time.
We are reaching out personally to every client to check in with them as people first, and to understand how COVID-19 is affecting their nonprofit or association. If a current or future project needs reconsideration, please reach out so that we can help you make plans. Our staff is our most important corporate resource, and we want to help ensure everyone is able to continue to work on current and future projects for as long and as much as possible.
- Slack: As Covid-19 affects workforces across the globe, nonprofits can access free Standard and Plus upgrades for the next three months.
- Zoom: TechSoup offers discounted rates for eligible nonprofits. K-12 schools are also eligible for free subscriptions through the end of the school year.
- Quip: Salesforce is offering Quip, its project collaboration tool, free to any Salesforce customer or nonprofit organization through 9/30/2020.
- Salesforce Care Response Solution: For healthcare systems experiencing an influx of requests due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The solution can be deployed quickly and at no charge for six months to immediately aid healthcare systems responding to the crisis. After the six months, customers have the option to continue at their contracted price or discontinue the service. The solution includes Salesforce Health Cloud, Salesforce Shield, Salesforce Community Cloud, and Salesforce myTrailhead.
- Tableau: Access to a free COVID-19 Data Resource Hub to help your organization make data-driven decisions with confidence.
- Google Hangouts: Free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.
Many of our employees are parents and have found themselves tasked with their regular work responsibilities along with some level of homeschooling / entertaining bored children. Our #COVID19 Slack channel has been a wonderful space for ideas and support for our Fíonta parents.
- Created by Salesforce.org employee Alexandra Iyer and her family and friends, this Google doc has evolved and is chockful of resources for managing and even thriving – Quarantainment!
- Comprehensive list of education companies offering free subscriptions
- ABCMouse – targeted to kids 2-8, free for first 30 days. Full online curriculum that covers reading, math, science, etc.
- Other Goose – Charter school-approved curriculum for ages 2-7. Three weeks free.
- Fluency & Fitness – K-2 reading and math with a movement break. Three weeks free.
- ScienceBob – Encourages parents and teachers to undertake random acts of science!
- Math Coloring Sheets – My kids love these. Just make sure you cut off the title before you give it to them…to keep them in suspense.
- Art for Kids Hub – Videos to teach art to kids. This is a very family-friendly channel that teaches kids to draw characters step-by-step. Give your kids a drawing pad and have them follow along.
- Teachers Pay Teachers – Website that provides access to teaching materials (teaching plans, worksheets, etc). There’s a robust search functionality to narrow resources to free options and age-appropriate resources
- Virtual Field Trips!!
- TIME for Kids Digital Library free for the rest of the school year
- Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
- Anne Arundel County Public Schools E-Learning Experiences – Math and ELA classes organized by grade level for K-12 (includes ESOL resources)
- Scholastic Learn-at-Home – Book-based lesson plans with activities and videos. Best for preschool and elementary-age learners.
- PBS Kids Daily Newsletter – PBS Kids is sending a, well, daily newsletter full of learning activity ideas, some of which are focused on their educational programming
- Storyline Online – actors read children’s books!
- Little Bins for Little Hands – lots of STEM activities for the younger crowd.
- Cleveland Inner City Ballet – free online ballet classes!
- Free Resources: Ed Tech Companies Step Up During Coronavirus Outbreak
- Khan Academy: Free online supplemental courses for K-12 Math and High School + studies for other STEM and advanced courses, including college/career test prep.
- Khan Academy Kids: Self-guided learning app for ages 2-7 that includes guided reading, fundamental concepts and social-emotional skills.
- CK-12: Free online courses for grades K-12
- Xtra Math: Self-advancing math games.
- Dance Mat Typing: Typing practice for elementary kids in basic computer science courses.
- Song Maker: Electronic music lab activity for many age/development levels.
- ABCya: preschool and elementary learning games.
- Code.org: Computer science and coding for all ages
- Scratch: Fun coding and media development games for kids
- Wonderopolis: A fun research & inquiry resource for intellectual exploration
- Math Playground: K-12 Math games
- NinaFocus: An adorable meditation and yoga app for kids
- GoZen: Great mindfulness and anxiety reduction videos for kids through teens. Some videos available for free on YouTube, others with a membership subscription.
- At-home student schedules (from Khan Academy): templated schedules for various ages based on teaching best-practices, so that you can continue to provide meaningful structure at home.
- National Geographic Kids – Videos, games, and brain teasers for kids and LOTS of animal stuff. Best for K-3 probably.
- National Geographic Education – lesson plans, articles, and encyclopedic entries. You can easily search and filter by grades. Many lesson plans are for classroom-type instruction, but can definitely be adapted. Also a mapping section with printable/downloadable maps and a “mapmaker interactive” that you can add layers to.
- Giant list of things to do with kids
Resources for Adults
No matter one’s age, this new way of living takes some getting used to! See earlier suggestion of Zoom happy hours and peruse the resources listed below. It’s a great time to learn a new skill or dust off that yoga mat at home.
- List of exercise classes offering live streaming
- Public Trailhead (Salesforce’s free learning platform) called Creating Peace While in Pieces
- How to Clean Your Smartphone
- Headspace meditations for managing the unknown
- Live guided meditation from 10% Happier every weekday at 3pm ET
- 21-day meditation with Oprah and Deepak Chopra
- Curated selection of meditations and sleep stories for grownups and children.
- 2 months free of Kindle Unlimited
- Handy with a sewing machine? Masks are desperately needed by hospital and medical workers.
- Learn how to knit or crochet
- Free knitting patterns from We Are Knitters
- Learn a new language with Duolingo
- Free art lessons for adults and kids (videos)
- Peleton app: free for 90 days
- Live-streamed dance classes
- Free workouts – search by level, focus area, and length
- Easy recipes to cook while you’re self-quarantined by the New York Times
- Extra spicy crispy fried cauliflower
- Chicken spaghetti
- Chicken wonton soup
- Gluten-free Instant pad thai
- Caramelized shallot pasta
- Vegan chocolate chip cookies
- Shockingly easy no-knead focaccia
- Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce
- Copycat Reese’s Eggs
- Perfect vegetable lasagna
- White bean soup with crispy kale
If you made it this far down, know that we are here for you – whether you’re an employee, a client, a nonprofit or association employee, in the Salesforce Ohana, or maybe more than one of those or none at all. We are #StrongerTogether.