By Linda Pouliot, Founder and CEO of Dishcraft
At Dishcraft, we are proud of having a culture that focuses on communication and participation for everyone on the team. From engineers and technicians to delivery drivers and dishroom operators, every employee is considered an integral member of the Dishcraft “family”. That’s why the current shelter-at-home measures at first seemed like a big obstacle; we’re all used to a strong sense of camaraderie at Dishcraft headquarters. But crisis builds conviction and resilience so, although a challenge, we remain committed to keeping our culture strong and our employees connected. Here are some ways the Dishcraft team continues to work and play together during these unprecedented times.
Stay relevant and focused. COVID-19 is top of mind for everyone--there is no more “business as usual” so we have made a conscious decision to lean in as a team and address the situation head-on. We know that when the pandemic subsides and the bans are lifted, the industries we serve will be changed forever. That’s why we continually ask each other, what’s next? How can we help foodservice operators get back on their feet and thrive in the “new normal” when restrictions are lifted?
- We believe sanitation and hygiene will be increasingly important in all dining facilities. For Dishcraft, that means a renewed focus on the higher level of hygiene our robotic dishwashing provides. The consistent clean we achieve is not possible in traditional dishrooms.
- We also see the challenges dining operations face. Most traditional dishrooms are tiny, cramped and overcrowded. Employees work shoulder-to-shoulder creating a risky environment. By taking on some or all of the dishwashing, our team is working to enable adequate social distancing in the dishroom, making it safer for dishwashers to do their job.
Send the office home. We can only expect productivity from our employees if their work environment is comfortable and functional. That’s why Dishcraft is doing what it takes to upgrade and facilitate home offices. From upgrading the internet and providing suitable office chairs to sending 3D printers and other tools home to our engineers, we are making an effort to support our employees remote working environments to ensure both productivity and well-being.
Morning "State-of-the-Company". I believe in kicking off the day with a brief company meeting to greet the team and help everyone feel connected. Every day at 10am, we all hop on Zoom and one department shares an update. It can be something they are working on, a goal, an objective met, or a bold new idea. This meeting keeps everyone engaged and enthusiastic about building success for the company.
Weekly “Ask-Me-Anything”.In these unsettled times, employees are filled with questions and concerns about the future of the company and their roles. That’s why, once each week, I make myself available to address their inquiries--no question is off-limits. I may not have the answer but it’s important that my team knows that I am listening to them and we are all in this together.
Virtual lunch. I believe food brings people together, so we made a conscious decision to continue our daily ritual of lunch as a team. Every day, many of us meet up on Zoom for our mid-day meal and moment of relaxation. We often share our favorite recipes and photos of our culinary creations. Co-founder and CTO Paul Birkmeyer is a cappuccino artist, inspiring us with photos of his daily foamed milk creations, while foodies on staff have shared images and recipes for yummy soups, salads, baked goods, and more.
Afternoon Workouts. Just because we’re stuck inside doesn’t mean we can’t take time out for a stimulating but challenging workout. Every afternoon, we have a personal trainer lead an optional virtual workout, combining aerobics, strength training, and stretching. This daily routine has been a much-needed healthy break for myself and others who join on a regular basis.
Friday Happy Hour/Gametime. One of our traditions at Dishcraft HQ has been a weekly happy hour with snacks and beverages, which we now continue virtually over Zoom. Surprisingly, happy hour attendance is higher than ever with many of our employees bringing their kids and pets to the event. We play games such as Pictionary and Guess Whose Fridge This Is and are working on conducting a virtual scavenger hunt for next week. Mostly, these Friday evening happy hours give us time to unwind and enjoy socializing together.
No one is sure how long we’ll be working from home, but at Dishcraft, physical distance doesn’t stop us from working and playing as a team. We are continually looking for more community-building activities to bring everyone together. Email us with your own suggestions. In the meantime, stay safe and be well.