How to run a business without a coffee machine

by Natascha Former / 29 Oct, 2020

For many of us, working remote isn’t unusual, but not having a choice has made us take a close look at what it means for collaboration, for people, and for the work we do for our clients. It turns out; the coffee machine is loved and currently missed by many! Xpirit’s COO, Immanuel Kranendonk, shares the lessons he has learned, running a business of Cloud and DevOps fanatics in challenging times.

The most important question to ask (always)
Being responsible for a team’s well-being, asking this question wasn’t new to Immanuel. In hindsight, it has been the most critical one to ask both Xpirit’s clients and employees: “How can I help you?” Starting this conversation has kept Xpirit’s business going strong and its employees connected to the company, even from their home offices.

“We were on specific journeys with clients, but COVID didn’t just affect us. It affected them too. Asking where we could add value in the current situation was important. With most of our clients, we created a new goal or sharpened our focus and continued to work with them. The road might be different, but our levels of enthusiasm and commitment remain unchanged.” – Immanuel Kranendonk, COO at Xpirit.

Coffee machine
After a few months of working from home, one of the things missed most by Xpirit’s team is catching up over a coffee with colleagues and clients. Working remote offers fewer moments to engage in a conversation spontaneously. And it’s often these ‘coffee machine conversations’ that lead to new insights or assignments. Online meetings provide a great way to talk about business, but the human aspect isn’t shared easily. To still focus on that part of working together, Immanuel states it’s vital to regularly check in with your team and take time to talk about more than just work.

Trust
Xpirit experienced the importance of consistently delivering exceptional results and investing in partnerships with clients firsthand. “The trust we earned over the years has pulled us through,” Immanuel shares. “It has been more challenging to onboard new clients or attract new talent. Luckily our network is built on trust, which helps us have trust in the future.”

Innovation
Xpirit is part of Xebia, a company organized around digital transformation and innovation. “During a crisis, companies can become hesitant to change,” Immanuel explains, “however, it’s times like these that reveal the value of working with a scalable Cloud platform, DevOps teams that respond to change quickly, or remote engineering.” When engaging in conversations with clients, Immanuel’s team focused on innovations that would help them overcome current challenges and prepare for the future. By looking at alternative ways to move forward, Xpirit has managed to keep operating at full speed.

Short-term and long-term
COVID-19 came as quite a surprise, and measures taken by companies worldwide were harsh. Xpirit quickly discovered that letting go of the old and focusing on the new was the only way to embrace change. In the long-term, the current situation has sparked a desire for ongoing improvement, as Immanuel calls it: never stopping to reinvent ourselves. He adds: “Just because we are where we are now doesn’t mean we’ll be here tomorrow. To remain the top in the market, we need to keep working on the value we deliver. We need to know our capabilities and strive for the best results. And, we need to keep surprising! Just recently, we sent masks and breakfast to all our team members’ home offices. It’s the little things that make the difference.”

Growing awareness
In retrospect, Xpirit’s COO wished he had realized sooner that COVID was an entirely new phase. The pandemic has had a significant impact on many aspects of life, and it will continue to affect us for a long time. Kranendonk hopes we can soon get back to normal while acknowledging that what used to be normal has changed. He adds: “Let’s find a new balance between the different places we work from. We are creatures of habit, and I hope this pandemic has shown us that it’s unnecessary, and also not beneficial for the environment, to spend hours on the road.” He emphasizes the call for more awareness in his closing quote: “The need for social distance in your office can be solved by placing stickers on furniture. We thought of doing that. But what if you rearrange the furniture, so the rules are followed, without anyone even noticing? Something as small as this has a huge impact on the employee experience, which is crucial to take care of, especially in these times.”

 

About Xpirit
Xpirit’s DevOps transformation and Cloud implementation know-how help companies on their Digital Transformation journey. If you want to do DevOps, you need Cloud’s flexibility, and to keep up with the Cloud, you need the speed of DevOps. Both offer businesses a more enjoyable, and most of all, more efficient way of working.

Over the past six years, Xpirit has become a trustworthy brand surrounded by dedicated companies and skilled professionals. The group of over 40 Cloud and DevOps specialists has helped more than 75 companies accelerate and innovate worldwide. Like creating a customer Cloud portal for BNG, opening up a new market for Kongsberg by bringing its simulator to the Cloud, thinking along as a trusted advisor, or offering a growth mindset based on years of experience.

Xpirit is proudly part of Xebia, a pioneering IT consultancy company, delivering high-quality services that cover all aspects of digital transformation. From Software Development to Data & AI, Cloud, DevOps, Business Agility, Security, Training & Learning, Product Management, and Quality Improvement.