Business as Usual During the Unusual

How Pace keeps trying during the trying times of COVID-19

Pace is known for creative solutions. So when the unexpected happened in the form of a coronavirus, the company did what it does best: wove its expertise, cooperation, strategic thinking and tireless work ethic together to face this challenge and meet client needs.

Pace works with heart, too. As soon as COVID-19 cases began appearing in the United States, Pace administrators took action to keep the team and their families safe. They instructed employees to work from home if they needed to. The company kept up the flow of communication with updates and tips for staying healthy, culminating in a virtual company meeting headed by Pace founder and CEO Bonnie McElveen-Hunter and President Jason Whiting. Most of Pace would be working from home for the foreseeable future.

So how do you keep up the day to day when the days are unpredictable? You get creative. Every crisis offers the chance to bring people together; the people of Pace found ways to work together even when apart.

Video meetings replaced in-person brainstorming sessions. Instant messages replaced walking over to someone’s desk. But overall it’s been business as usual, even when business is unusual. “I can’t think of anything we’ve had to cancel or interrupt in terms of how we work with one another or our clients,” says Group Creative Director Britta Waller Melton.

When clients needed content relating to the current situation, nimble Pace teams turned it around quickly. Planned work became unforeseen responses to this crisis. Even when some projects were halted, new ones arose. “With one client’s calendar of services readjusted, it’s been a great opportunity to leverage their subject matter expertise for blog posts,” Waller Melton says.

Because all Pace content management systems are cloud-based and also securely connected with VPN, teams have been able to make fast, accurate updates to client content—for example, taking down dated content to keep messaging fresh for their audiences, and updating small legal and compliance adjustments that are routine but important.

“We’ve gotten urgent requests,” says Senior Editor Scott Pierce. “Everyone has stepped up to help complete them promptly.” Pierce says the creative team has been stretching beyond their regular duties to assist wherever they can, helping out on other accounts and creating innovative content.

To keep up morale, Pacers have been meeting for virtual happy hours via Microsoft Teams, sharing laughs, ideas and stories. Some team members have said they revel in the quiet atmosphere of working at home. “Right now all I hear is the kitchen clock ticking and some birds in the backyard,” said one editor. “I’m coming up with amazing new ideas through the stillness.”

Pace CEO Bonnie McElveen-Hunter’s mother used to say, “The darkest night the world ever saw did not put out the stars.” The Pace family knows brighter days are ahead, for us and our clients. These are unprecedented times, and Pace is meeting the challenge with heart, keeping our communities safe while focusing on the fanatical customer service our clients need now more than ever.

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