I went for a run this weekend (while our area is under a shelter-in-place order, physical activity and outdoor time while maintaining social distancing have been, thankfully, deemed essential) and ran by sign-after-sign on the doors and windows of restaurants and other businesses and one in particular caught my attention:
I think this is where we are today: everyone trying to do the best they can, and trying to be together while apart. At Backblaze, we’ve started having “Brewtiful Mornings”—15 minutes on a video conference in the morning where everyone can jump in with their coffee or tea to just have a few minutes of togetherness.
As the world struggles with the COVID-19 outbreak, I wanted to take a moment to share what Backblaze is doing for our team and community, and for you: our customers.
Protecting Our Team and Community
On March 6th, we stopped all business travel, cancelled in-person events, and moved the majority of our workforce to working from home. Where job functions necessitate being in one of our physical environments, we have taken a number of precautions to reduce work to essential tasks and to ensure the safety of our people.
We’ve always worked in a partially remote/distributed fashion but our ability to move to an almost completely remote model and spending more time in our homes—which in many cases rightfully weren’t set up for productivity—while managing our business has been a real testament to the people we have at Backblaze, and I’m very proud of the whole team working through it.
In an effort to manage the stresses of sheltering in place, we have also implemented two new policies while the majority of the teams work from home:
- 1. We are asking every team to find at least one day each month to take off from work. Some of our departments can organize and take a day off as a group. Others establish rolling days in order to keep day-to-day operations running smoothly.
- 2. Every other Wednesday (the second and fourth Wednesday of the month), we are turning off Customer Chat with our Support team. They will still be responding to emails and tickets per usual during these days, but they will not be responding to Chat. Chat is a great service for our customers, but also requires high touch and high responsiveness by the Support team, which has been harder to maintain during the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased support requests and the complexities of a distributed team. By providing periodic catch-up opportunities for our Support team, we are giving them more flexibility to maintain their level of service as well as a well-deserved break.
With both of these policies, we are monitoring to make sure the impact on our customers is immaterial.
Ensuring the Quality of Our Services to You
We’ve worked with our suppliers to ensure availability of equipment, made large pre-purchases, and reviewed all key aspects of team safety and our business. We built Backblaze as a sustainable business over the last 13 years, and while we’ve never seen anything quite like this, we continue to be ready to serve and scale with your needs, especially now.
Helpful Tips for Using Backblaze During This Time
As many of you are adjusting and working to maintain health and morale, you may have found yourself spending more time at home, and in some cases were asked to leave the office on short (or no) notice. You may no longer have access to your computers or external drives, have servers that are running out of space, or have other storage challenges. To you in that position, and I sincerely hope this comes across in the way intended, we’re here to help if you need it.
If you no longer have access to your backed up equipment: You can use Backblaze to access any files from a web browser or your iOS/Android device. You can download a single file, select multiple files or folders, or recover all your data.
If you need to share files with co-workers or friends and family: You can share files directly without having access to your computer.
If you are running out of space on your server: Managing physical servers on-site is challenging in the best circumstances and may be even more so now. Our solutions engineering team can help explore options with you. Please reach out to them here: email@example.com and they will try to help you find a solution.
Again, we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact our Support team. Also, our team, including myself, will be answering questions in the comment section below.
We want to do everything we can to make this situation just that little bit easier for those affected. We’re in the fortunate position to be able to keep all of our employees and contractors at full salary. We’re also trying to be a good corporate citizen by encouraging our workforce to be socially responsible in their social distancing practices, donating to the World Health Organization, and generally trying to find ways to contribute.
The next few months are going to be hard on most people, but we can get through this, together while apart.