Ambush – one word that could potentially sum up the year 2020. This time last year, you may have had a nice wine session with your family or friends while talking about how good 2019 has been to you. Or perhaps you spent lots of time planning where to go, what to do, what things to accomplish, or who to meet. But then for some weird reason none of those plans came to fruition in 2020.
All of the horrible things that happened this year mostly came as surprise – which is, in fact, the most daunting part of it all. None of us expected that a year could be as action-packed and scary as this year, as if we were characters from an apocalyptic, disaster-themed kind of film. Some of us actually thought that we were in some sort of experiment or simulation, plotted by some unknown extraterrestrial beings, playing altogether the worst possible scenarios at once.
But if there’s one lesson that 2020 has taught us, is what love truly means. Seeing so many people coming together to help other people throughout this year only proves the goodness in all human beings. This year showed the world that despite peoples’ differences in principles, political views, beliefs, and whatnot, when it came to hard times, we were all, at the essence of it all, bounded by true love and kindness.
This article is quite different from the rest of the blogs that we’ve published because this is about us – how iManila thrived, how we managed, and the beautiful things that came out of this experience.
2020 started out a bit shaky, but overall many of us felt hopeful. Everyone celebrated a wonderful holiday season. When we returned to the office, our mancom prepared a nice welcome breakfast or as we like to call it, “First Breakfast”. Everyone enjoyed telling stories about their holidays, the places they went, and all the food they ate, while having a cup of coffee, some pandesal and to each his own palaman. Our “First Breakfast” may have sounded simple – but to us, these small celebrations simply make us feel at home.
The first hurdle of our year came in February, smack in the month of love, when we received news that one of our own – Jet, our amazing and beloved senior website developer had passed away. We mourned as a family and remembered all of our good times with him. We all tried to stay strong despite his quick passing.
We thought that the trials would be over but about a month later, the world suddenly stopped. What we thought would just be a regular flu was suddenly declared into a global pandemic. In fact, things changed too quickly as little did we know that our March socials held last March 13 would be our last face-to-face party as a family for the entire year.
The months went by quickly. Summer came and went, the ber months arrived and now Christmas is over. Through it all, we all worked at the safety of our homes. This was a decision our management stood by from the beginning, not just for our welfare, but for our families and clients’ as well.
Despite the struggles of adjusting from walking to your colleague’s desk every morning, to suddenly just sending them a message, we’re thankful that before the pandemic we had already established our main communication channel, Microsoft Teams. Just the same, even prior to the pandemic we had been used to working across cloud-based collaboration tools such as Google Workspace and Trello. And, being the tech company that we are, thankfully we had all of our files on the cloud!
Even then, in the 24 years we’ve been improving lives through technology, this was still the first time iManila had gone 100% virtual so we weren’t really sure all departments could adapt to the set up. Fortunately as weeks turned into months, everyone learned. We managed all weekly meetings through calls, we taught clients how to use Microsoft Teams or Zoom or Google Meet. We did whatever was necessary to do to survive – and we did!
On top of letting go of our usual face-to-face interactions, the saddest thing we had to let go was our old office of about 20 years on the 7th floor of Hanston Building. For us, it wasn’t just a space for work or a place to accept client calls, but a haven or safe space for many of us. It’s a place where we all looked forward to being in, either to chit chat and laugh about nonsense, celebrate holidays the iManila way, party over our successes, or to just simply catch up and lift everyone up when work was getting a little tough. We shared over two happy decades in that very place and letting it go was just heart-breaking.
Now, we are so close to ending this year and yet we are still here waving our iManila flag high. We fought not just for the business to thrive but to stay together despite the challenges.
It’s weird what a year can do to anyone. But we always like to remember that there’s no other way but up. From the words of our President and CEO, Robert A. Deluria, “We aren’t tested for something that we can’t do. So if we are given huge challenges like this, it’s because we can get through them. We just need a leap of faith and hope that all these will one day come to pass and in the end are the better and braver versions of us.”
From all of us at iManila, we wish you and your family a safer, happier and a more hopeful new year!