Start University keeping its employees safe amidst COVID-19 pandemic crisis

    Start University’s operations continue unhindered by the current global public health crisis.

    Like a lit match dropped into a gasoline tank, the COVID-19 pandemic has set the world on fire and continues to make its mark as one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. The global public health crisis has called on all levels of society across the globe to act quickly and urgently in using preventative measures to slow the spread of the killer virus.

    National and local governments have taken drastic actions to promote social distancing and self-isolation. The response to such a crisis requires the cooperation from as many as possible, from international and national state actors to non-governmental organizations and even individuals. Now more than ever, our decisions affect not only our own health and safety but also the health and safety of those around us. Companies, whose decisions directly affect the lives of their employees, are being called upon to do what they can in order to help fight COVID-19. Companies across the world, including nearly all of the United States’ top colleges and universities, are trying to figure out how to run their businesses while engaging in social distancing methods.

    As of March 16, all Start University LLC employees have been working remotely from home. The company’s decision to actively contribute in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic does not, in any way whatsoever, diminish the quality of service that Start University offers its numerous university and Operational Performance Management clients.

    Working remotely is nothing new for Start University. The company, with partners based in the state of Texas and the city of Córdoba in Argentina, began its operations in 2010 with all of its employees working remotely from their own home offices. 

    Martin Vazquez, Start University’s managing partner from Dallas, Texas, has been key in pushing for the decision to have all S-U employees work remotely from home. Vazquez, who spends his time working almost 50/50 from the U.S. or from Argentina, was at the company’s Dallas office when the novel coronavirus took the U.S. by storm.  

    3,603 deaths and 186,101 cases in the United States.  These are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recently published statistics for the United States’ COVID-19 outbreak. The U.S. has officially surpassed all other nations with regards to the number of coronavirus cases.

    State and local leaders, such as New York State governor Andrew Cuomo and California State governor Gavin Newsom, have been quick to take action and implement shelter-in-place guidelines in the last few weeks. As of the end of the second week of March, Argentina’s national government has encouraged auto-quarantine and as of March 19 the country has implemented a full quarantine. 

    Seeing first-hand how these leaders in the U.S. have taken action in response to the country’s critical state and taking into account how Argentina’s national government has implemented drastic measures in order to avoid reaching a level of criticality such as the U.S., The board  did not hesitate to act on the behalf of his company’s employees. “All it took for us to make this decision was a quick phone conference between me and the other partners. I don’t even think it lasted more than 5 minutes. There was no doubt in our minds that our role was to prioritize the health and safety of our employees.”, said Leaandro Simonetti, Founder and CIO.

    The board’s decision to transition all company operations to remote working was made even before U.S. President Trump fully acknowledged the gravity of the situation in the U.S. and in the world. Only as recently as this week has Trump accepted that the U.S. will not be able to restart its economy by Easter Holy Week, and only recently has he encouraged social distancing measures to be employed until at least the end of April.

    Working from home has always been a part of S-U’s DNA. Since 2010, Start University has settled into a groove in which its employees from its development, quality, content, and marketing sectors work remotely on Mondays after having completed their first three months with the company.

    Thanks to familiarity with remote work and cooperation between partners, supervisors, and employees, Start University has successfully facilitated the transition to working full-time from home. The company has been able to seamlessly continue providing services to its clients from all over the world including the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, South Africa, among others.

    In Start University’s Córdoba offices, there are no fixed desktop computers. If you walk in on a normal day, you will be stunned by the amount of natural light that enters the office and you will find all 20 employees working from laptops and using devices that have been provided to them by the company. At S-U, nobody—not even the company’s partners or department chiefs—has an assigned office. The space is used flexibly and openly—allowing all employees to engage with one another collaboratively when completing their tasks.

    Working from home full-time has not prevented employees from engaging with one another. S-U’s regular use of multimedia communication outlets, such as Skype and Zoom, has allowed for its partners, department chiefs, and employees to continue operations in a cooperative manner despite the physical distance.

    When asked about his main concerns in general, Marcelo Ponce Project Manager shares, “I worry for the safety of my family and loved ones. I hope that our clients and employees are staying safe during this critical time in history.” 

    When asked about how the company is doing, he shares, “Do I think that Start University’s operations will be affected? Nah, not even a little bit. We are all naturals when it comes to working remotely and under pressure. I, like many others, keep waiting for the day that this global crisis mode will pass. But, in the meantime, Start University can and will weather the storm.” 

    The COVID-19 crisis has caught the partners with each one in their respective home base in Dallas, Texas and in General Baldisserra in Córdoba, Argentina.

    Start University’s employees from the Systems Development, Content, and Marketing teams are working from their homes in Córdoba and Buenos Aires in Argentina as well as Uruguay. 

    The Development Chief was in London when the crisis boiled over, and he continues to work without issue.