“It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Covid-19 changes everything. It is both a virus and a social fact with multivarious, massive and far-reaching effects on nearly every human life on the planet. From our readings, observations, and conversations, it is clear that no one knows what the world will look like in three months, six months or a year.
Nevertheless, at Manoverboard, our job is to remain focused on the present. Our pledge is to stay open, for as long as we can and then even longer. We will do our very best to meet the numerous difficulties that lie ahead. To our clients, partners, friends and their families — we know that there will be substantial physical, emotional, social and financial challenges in the coming months.
We also know that the pandemic will have large, and sometimes tragic, consequences for many outside our small circle. As always, we are concerned about those who are most vulnerable to these hardships. The families and individuals who have the least are also the most exposed to the health and financial challenges that will come with this epidemic.
Our job, as a team of individuals that focuses mostly on design and development for the web, is to try to support as many people and organizations as we can. The web is an essential vehicle of communications for most of us and, at Manoverboard, we will continue to build vibrant, usable and accessible websites for nonprofits, socially responsible businesses and educational institutions. While we don’t know what the future holds for any of us, our hope is to remain open in (at least) five different ways.
- Open for business. We remain dedicated to our clients — to those who choose us to provide communications strategy, design and web development. Many of our clients, such as HSC Foundation, the fundraising organization for the largest hospital in Manitoba, are providing mission-critical support services. It is a privilege to help every one of our clients at Manoverboard. In a time when so many businesses and nonprofits cannot employ staff, we recognize that we are simply fortunate to be able to work as a distributed team. As well, we are and will be delivering work pro bono and at reduced fees, based upon client need, during the crisis.
- Open for employees. On March 12, the Manoverboard team put into place our pandemic contingency plan. All employees are working from home. Project files are stored securely and we communicate through a number of equally secure business tools, including telephone, email, Slack, Uberconference and Google Hangouts. We are closely following the Government of Canada’s guidance for both business and employees. (At the time of this writing, we do not expect to be back in the studio together until at least May 1, 2020.)
- Open to ideas. We will do our best to update our clients and partners with new ideas via our blog, social media (Twitter and Instagram) and our monthly email newsletter. We are also listening to our clients and our networks for best practices during this emergency and for stories of hope, resilience and compassion. If there is a silver lining in this crisis, it is that there are lessons to be learned in the crisis today that will help us prepare for the climate crises of tomorrow. If you are interested in becoming a newsletter subscriber, sign up here.
- Use of open technologies. We will continue to work with open source technologies (e.g. WordPress, our CMS of choice) which are key to building and sustaining the critical and durable communications infrastructures we will need in the future. The internet itself is built largely on open source platforms and protocols. Without a robust, uncensored, transparent and open internet, all of us would be in a much more difficult place during this crisis. We continue to believe that communications tools that run on open technologies have a far greater chance of supporting a world with emergent challenges.
- Open to what lies ahead. Buddhism teaches us that we are in a constant state of flux — and the concept of impermanence is central to its project. We do not know what is next for us as an organization, or as individuals. However, Manoverboard is well-prepared to weather the storm. We will do our very best to provide the necessary, important and exacting services our clients need and deserve and we will be open to the paths that unfold before us.
If you read this far, thank you for your time. If you are a client, thank you for your support. And if you are a partner or a friend, thank you for being there for us and for others.
We will get through this, together. If you have any questions or if you just want to chat, please do not hesitate to contact us.