2020: A Year to Remember

Posted in Blog on December 23, 2020

2020 has been a year to remember. COVID-19 has changed everything – how we do our jobs, how we interact with our families, friends, and colleagues, and how we view success.

March of this year was a challenge. Like most companies, in a matter of days, we closed our office, got computers and equipment together for our team to work from home, and set up processes to handle our day-to-day work remotely. It sounds simple enough, but it required some creative solutions.

Our rooflite green roof media business requires a lot of hands-on attention. On any one day, we may be assisting customers with choosing the right media for their project and providing detailed specifications to landscape architects. We may also be coordinating media delivery with our blender network and managing delivery day logistics. Communication is essential to keeping our customer’s projects on track and on time.

We pride ourselves on providing the best customer service in the industry, so we moved to a system that let us manage everything remotely. We routed calls to cell phones, we set up daily calls with our internal team to manage current projects, we set up a schedule for members of our team to occasionally be in the office for sample packaging and delivery, and we reached out proactively to customers to make sure they knew we were ready to help.

Our team collaboration had to change too. The previous simple lines of communication became more complex. We rely on each other as we provide advice, make decisions, and share knowledge to make sure we can give our best to our customers. Because of this, we revamped how we communicate with each other. Our daily morning calls set us up to tackle the most pressing issues as a team and stay informed on current and upcoming projects. Text and chat options helped us stay in touch in more immediate ways, and technology platforms helped us collaborate in real-time to manage day-to-day tasks. Since we could no longer just walk over to a teammate’s desk, we also were on the phone with each other a lot throughout the day.

Things were definitely not the same, and we missed working with our customers and colleagues in person, but we set ourselves up to weather this difficult time. Our business was different this year, but we were able to provide and deliver green roof soil across the country. Early in the outbreak, we saw a general slowdown across the board, but by late May and early June, we saw areas of the country opening back up. We even saw some growth in our business in the Central Plains region of the US. Since the summer, we’ve been busy and helping create green roofs in many regions of the country.

As we provided our green roof soil to projects all over the country this year, a new wrinkle was adjusting to COVID conditions on the ground. In some areas, we had restrictions on how and when we could deliver our soil because of local regulations. In other regions, there were rigorous testing requirements on project sites to keep workers as safe as possible, which sometimes resulted in positive tests. When this happened, work would halt while disinfectant teams cleaned the site and crews were retested. We had to be ready at any moment to adjust to changing local situations and keep projects moving.

One thing that seems sure to come out of this year is a more permanent switch to virtual meetings and events. We all miss seeing colleagues and co-workers, but the convenience of getting together virtually regardless of location may be one benefit of this interesting year. At rooflite, we are very focused on expanding and building out more opportunities for virtual gatherings with our internal team and our customers.

As we reflect on this year, we are grateful to still be here and doing what we love. We are humbled by the ways our team and our industry have risen to the many challenges. We are excited for a new year with new opportunities. However the world looks in the coming months, we are ready to continue to adjust, and we look forward to the simple joy of seeing our customers and colleagues in person sometime in the future.