Like many of our clients, Roobix is a small business. We might be the largest digital services provider in the state, but the story of Roobix is probably pretty similar to yours. We offer services and support – and like you, we rely on one another to keep ourselves going. We all grow – and fall – together.
It took three days for the commercial reality of COVID-19 to hit home for Roobix. On Sunday the 8th of March I flew into Perth, returning from a two-week business trip to South Africa. By Wednesday the 11th of March we had prepared our work-from-home response, built three forecasts to model our best and worst-case financial scenarios, and prepared a statement to 60+ staff that we would need to “sacrifice to survive”.
Our efforts turned to what we could control in order to collectively emerge from the crisis with our staff, integrity, and reputation intact. Because small businesses in WA rely on each other for a majority of our work, it became clear to me that this was not a time to pitch, and it was not a time to sell. To move forward as a state – as a business community – we needed to have compassion.
So on the 16th of March, we established a free COVID Communications Centre offering any WA small business advice and services whether they were a client or not. To date, we have assisted more than 100 WA businesses with their response to COVID-19. Not every business has a dapper hand at design, and certainly not an experienced wordsmith or digital swiss army knife.
For weeks, our designers, copywriters, and digital specialists have been pumping out strategies, ads, notices, and messages of ‘business as usual’ or ‘business – very unusual’ as needed.
Some of those we assisted managed to transform their business into something which would survive in the new economy – almost overnight.
I’m proud of my staff and the help we’ve been able to provide so far. In spite of their concerns about their personal health, their job security and their individual financial security, they are showing up every day, at their home office with positivity and energy which speaks profoundly of the culture we’ve built.
Working from home, without face to face contact, can create some frustrations. Practical initiatives seem to have assisted Team Roobix through this transition. An online yoga class is being delivered two times a week for all team members, digital Friday drinks are encouraged, and where possible we’re asking our managers to spice up their daily huddles with a dress-up or an ice-breaker.
On the 16th of March, we volunteered for a local not for profit to conduct ‘welfare calls’ to the elderly and vulnerable of Western Australia. We’re 250 calls into the program and hope to continue well into 2020, as the response we have received from the community has been truly humbling. It’s so easy to forget how to pick up the phone and have a conversation with no other intention than to connect.
So, as I afford myself this opportunity to reflect on the past few weeks, I can’t help but think WA’s response is exceptional.
If this crisis has taught me anything, it’s that West Australians are a resilient lot. We’re a lucky lot. We’ve done all the right things at all the right times, and it’s shown me that the spirit of WA is a creative one. Under pressure, team WA rose to the challenge. And we will continue to do so.
#forwardforWA’ is our way of sharing this story. There is opportunity in this crisis – not to just promote business as usual, but to recognise our collective experiences and share them. It’s good to help one another, to dust each other off, to have a laugh, and prepare for what’s next.
Roobix is going to continue doing our part to make sure WA small businesses emerge from this well-prepared and confident. For the next several weeks, we are going to share these stories to prove how powerful the results can be when we all work together. We hope to see yours too.