2020 has been a year (full stop)... of surprises, of adapting, and of changing the way we do things — in life and in business. It’s been a year we never thought possible. While TEN7 has been incredibly fortunate to have already been distributed prior to the pandemic, many of our clients have had to pivot the way their organizations function and how they cater to their clients.

This has been challenging at times, but it’s also forced all of us to reconsider what’s possible within the realm of running a business. It’s shown us that success doesn’t have to be tied to an office space.

Here are some of the ways we’ve helped our clients and their organizations navigate through this year:

We’ve Openly Shared Our “Working from Home” Tips and Tricks

Collectively, the TEN7 team has many years of “working from home” (WFH) experience, so we thought: why do our clients need to learn the hard way when we can share our lessons with them?

Way back in March (yes, that was this year), we sat down to have a conversation with Jeff Robbins, formerly of Yonder, about working from home during a pandemic. Then, we interviewed a few TEN7 employees for their tips and tricks on remote work. Next, we wrote a blog post on “(Almost) Every Tip You Need to Know About Working from Home.” Finally, we made all of our WFH advice available via our newsletter, which most of our clients receive. (If you’re interested and want to get these kinds of updates, you can subscribe to our newsletter here.) We knew that most of our clients had no experience working and collaborating with each other outside of an office, and we wanted to share our knowledge and advice as widely as possible.

We’ve Helped Them Rework Their Service Offerings and Implement New Features on Their Websites

Many of our clients came to us this year with creative and innovative ideas for pivoting their businesses, and we’ve helped them bring those ideas to life.

Animal Humane Society wanted to start offering virtual pet adoptions, so they partnered with TEN7 to create a virtual adoption appointments page on their site. Since May, AHS has received nearly 20 times the normal number of adoption inquiries. We’ve helped them keep up with demand, streamline their processes and create a positive experience to place animals into loving homes.

Another TEN7 client, SageGlass, asked us to help them implement a virtual tour of their facility on their site. This has allowed their potential customers to view their manufacturing facility without having to step foot in it. If you’re curious, you can sign up to check out the tour — it’s totally free!

Macomb County in Michigan wanted to improve their site search and navigation as their county’s residents needed to search for more online services and pandemic-related offerings. So we’ve been working on a new, interim homepage for them in order to improve their site experience through the remainder of the pandemic. In addition, we built them a CARES Dashboard to showcase all of the pandemic-related funding they’ve received and how it’s been spent.

All of these pivots were essential to the success of these organizations during this challenging year, and we’re thrilled we could make them happen. We’ve been able to help our clients change the way they do business without any radical overhauls or major investments.

We’ve Equipped Our Team to Anticipate the Need to Shift and Shift Again... Very Quickly

One of the things this year has brought us is change, change and more change. We’ve had to learn to adapt to new situations and behaviors virtually overnight. While this may have been relatively easy for us to do internally with such a nimble team, it hasn’t been easy for many of our clients who have relied on in-person operations with many departments and large teams.

One such client was Bloomington Public Schools (BPS). We had planned to spend 2020-2021 building them a new version of The Hub — the system they use to house student data, reports, performance information, and more. But when the pandemic hit and distance learning kicked in, we needed to move quickly. So we developed a plan for a minimum viable product to help get their students and staff what they needed as soon as possible — primarily, better navigation and the ability to monitor student attendance.

Fast forward several months, and BPS decided to pivot to a hybrid model (partially online and partially in-person), and we quickly switched gears to account for this. Not long after this, they went back to full distance learning again, and we had to re-strategize how to structure this important piece of software for their school district.

We’ve Transitioned All In-person Meetings to Virtual Ones

In-person workshops and new client meet and greets have long been a productive way to start a new project. We get to meet all of our client’s stakeholders and get to know their personalities and quirks through face-to-face conversation and witnessing how they react to certain things. We thought this process would be difficult to replicate virtually.

On multiple occasions throughout this year, we’ve successfully onboarded new clients and have run virtual client workshops — interviewing stakeholders and strategizing on project goals. It turns out that with the tools available to us today (Zoom for video calls and screen sharing, Miro for whiteboarding), and by asking the right questions, we can facilitate any kind of meeting successfully from afar.

We’re Ready for 2021

While this year has been an interesting one to say the least, we’ve been able to support many of our clients in new business directions.

We are hopeful that 2021 will bring fresh energy and less chaos. Regardless, the lessons we’ve learned this year will carry us through whatever may come next year. And knowing we can continue to help our clients through whatever challenges they’re facing is a great place to be.