In March 2020, Boston-based clothing company Ministry of Supply responded to the pandemic by temporarily shuttering its six retail stores across the U.S., which president and co-founder Gihan Amarasiriwardena says depended heavily on tourists and generated one-third of revenue.
Like a lot of clothing companies, Ministry of Supply then started making masks and tweaked its line of products for the work-from-home environment, turning dress pants into joggers. The company ended the year with $12 million in revenue in 2020, down from $14 million in 2019.
Now, more than a year into the pandemic, Amarasiriwardena says the 16-person team at Ministry of Supply has a highly effective workflow that has, among other things, helped his team stay motivated and avoid burnout, reports Inc. Here are three hacks Amarasiriwardena plans to keep to ensure that his team stays productive:
Change up the pace. To stay on the same page during the pandemic, the company adopted Scrum–the workflow framework that emerged in 1995 and became popular in the tech industry over the past decade. The company rotates between “sprint” weeks, which involve focused, asynchronous work on projects, and “operate” weeks when the team handles most of its logistics communication.
Motivate and celebrate. Every Monday morning, during a 15-minute all-staff Zoom call, the team kicks off the week by watching a prerecorded customer interview put together by the company’s customer experience manager. Amarasiriwardena says it helps remind the team of its purpose while also inspiring new ideas. On Fridays, the team closes out the week with a creative session, during which members can pitch new ideas.
Embrace the best of both worlds. During the pandemic, operate weeks, which are more social, have been important for maintaining a human element to work, Amarasiriwardena says. Now the company is planning for a partial return to in-person work, with workers in the office for operate weeks, but remote for sprint weeks. Read the full story.