What We’re Made Of is a Q&A series that looks at how companies in the aviation industry are tackling challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve had to adapt to changes in where, when and how we work, but we are resilient. If you would like to share your experience, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, Business Development & Partnerships, Toca Boca
Location: San Francisco
Day 25 of working from home
Date of writing: April 3
Are you in lockdown right now?
Yes, since the beginning of March.
Where are you writing from?
Mainly my dining table, and sometimes my living room couch.
How are you maintaining “business as usual” or communicating with your team?
My team is utilizing video conferencing to stay as connected as possible while self-isolating. We’ve also established 30-minute calls three days a week to openly discuss things other than work – anything to help bond us during this challenging time. We also started playing online games like Codenames and will start virtual dinner parties next week.
“We’re getting more creative and starting to think about novel ways to help our customers during this time.”
What’s your new office attire or go-to comforts at home during this time?
Comfortable sweatpants paired with a fun sweatshirt. So far, I’ve cycled through sweatshirts with messages like “Bonjour,” “For Fox Sake,” and “Holy Moly Guacamole.” It makes my colleagues laugh.
Have you or anyone you know been directly affected by COVID-19?
Fortunately, none so far, but it is getting closer to home but I remain optimistic that we are all going to make it out stronger together.
What news outlets are you following?
The Daily podcast (New York Times), CNN, Reuters and Fox News.
How are you passing time?
I recently started an Introduction to Psychology course from Yale University on Coursera. I have also been tending to my AeroGarden and making my way through Netflix food documentaries. I’m also actively checking local charities, food banks and animal shelters for opportunities to help and contribute.
Can you share some specific challenges your business has faced as a result of the outbreak?
As Toca Boca and Sago Mini focus predominantly on digital apps for kids, we are proactively adapting our plans because many partners that we were planning to collaborate with to bring digital “edutainment” experiences to kids have been impacted by COVID-19, such as the airline and travel industries. These collaborations are still active, but we’re getting more creative and starting to think about novel ways to help our customers during this time.
What’s one thing you would do to better prepare your business to weather a similar storm in the future?
One thing has become apparent: our company’s productivity is on par or, in some cases, higher. If we can continue to build out these processes and tools that support a more flexible work style, we will be more than prepared for similar circumstances in the future.
Can you give an example of generosity or kindness displayed by your company or one of your colleagues during this crisis?
We’re working with airline partners around the world in hopes of providing value to their customers, even while their aircraft are grounded. This could be by providing access to Toca Boca and Sago Mini digital content through a special channel or link.
Some companies may have been inspired to create new product lines, or redesign existing product or services as a result of the pandemic. How is it driving innovation at your company?
We are doubling down on bringing our content to families, because calm and happy kids allow parents to focus on the million other things they need to tend to. Last week, we started collaborating with Apple, Google and Amazon to offer our apps at a discount. We’re also exploring ways to offer our products completely free. And Toca Boca’s parent company, Spin Master, the creator of amazing physical toys, is collaborating with facilities in Mexico to produce up to 10,000 units per month of face shields that will be donated to hospitals and frontline health care workers.