Coping With Covid-19 At Agentis
How are you managing pandemic induced cabin fever? With most non-essential businesses either completely shut down or closing offices and inviting employees to work remotely it’s been a trying few weeks. Looking forward, it's more important than ever for businesses to lead by example to find ways we can support those most impacted by the virus, and to keep our own employees happy.
Helping Other Businesses
Agentis has developed energy analytics software for the past 10 years, working with investor owned utilities around the country. Currently, over 2M businesses across the country can access our energy management technology.
Agentis software helps businesses lower their electricity bills, that’s the core of what we do. In fact, if you’re a Chicago based company you already have access to our energy analytics tools for free via ComEd's (Business Energy Analyzer). Agentis technology helps businesses visualize their energy usage, and it serves up personalized suggestions for reducing energy consumption. Those suggestions vary depending on the type of business you operate. For example, a small restaurant would receive suggestions about refrigeration and cooking equipment, while an office would likely see info related to computers and printers. There are a few things all businesses can do to make sure they are lowering overhead during the shutdown. Our top five tips for lowering your electricity bill while non-essential businesses are closed are:
- Lower your thermostat setting - Set your thermostat between 60 and 65 degrees in the colder months when your building or office is unoccupied and save up to 3% for every degree you lower the heat.
- Unplug and turn off computers - Only 36% of desktops are turned off at night and 95% of laptop computers remain plugged in at night. Save up to 3% off your office equipment energy costs by turning off and unplugging computers.
- Use advanced power strips - Regular power strips are always on, drawing “phantom” power even when no devices are in use. Use advanced power strips to eliminate energy use when your devices are idle.
- Clean the office refrigerator - Clean refrigerator coils twice a year and replace door gaskets to prevent cool air from leaking out. Regular cleanings keep your refrigerator running efficiently and save almost half of your refrigeration costs.
- Turn off TVs and monitors - TV screens and monitors are often left on after everyone has left the office. Enable your monitors’ energy-saving settings or turn them off when the office is closed to reduce energy use and save around $4 per monitor per year.
Helping Our Employees
At Agentis, we’ve embraced remote productivity for a few years now, and currently have people working from Colorado and California. The Chicago office also has the option to work from home every Friday, which most people take advantage of. However, the near nationwide shutdown and social distancing directives have forced us to get creative when trying to keep everyone engaged, connected, and happy while at work (from home). To stay ahead for the inevitable cabin fever we started hosting virtual team building events every week. These events are optional to respect our employees who are juggling school closures, sickness, or other obligations, but so far we’ve had almost full participation at each one.
Virtual Happy Hour - Every Thursday the entire Agentis team joins a Zoom call at 4:30 to share a drink and unwind a bit. To keep things from getting stale we’ve started doing a virtual trivia game during the happy hour with a new theme each week. Guest appearances from dogs, cats, spouses and children are a huge hit so far.
Video Walks Outside - On Wednesdays at noon we stretch our legs during a lunchtime walk and call into a Zoom video chat. It's been really fun to see everyone’s neighborhood, even if the weather in California does make us midwesterners jealous.
Lunch and Learn - Educational meetings are something we’ll likely continue past the quarantine. These have been a huge hit for our growing team since we do have a comparatively advanced stack of technologies that we use internally. The first lunch and learn we did just covered the company wiki and that was eye opening for a lot of the newer employees who haven’t used internal documentation sites in the past. We also plan on doing some fun sessions as well (cupcake baking, home brewing, and board games have all been discussed).
Team Yoga - Keeping calm in the midst of a global pandemic won't be easy, and stress levels are bound to be higher for the foreseeable future. We’re doing our best to try and offer outlets and keep everyone positive and centered, though. On friday morning we have a yoga instructor join a video call to lead basic yoga sessions for our employees.