Gratitude. That was the theme of this week's team meeting. Gratitude for being healthy. Gratitude for being able to work remotely. And gratitude for the kindness, support, and compassion humans all around the world are showing to one another. In a time of chaos and uncertainty, it's these small things that make everything seem ok.
In among the toilet paper memes and the jokes about self-isolation, COVID-19 is causing very real problems all around the world. Sometimes all you need to do is take a step back to realize how incredibly fortunate you are. Here at Pixellu, we're lucky enough that remote work is our normal lifestyle, with team members living in 10 different countries.
On a Monday morning, our usual team meeting would consist of discussing statuses — work completed the previous week and who's working on what this week — standard "business-as-usual" talk. This week was different. For an hour and a half, we shared a small snippet of what was happening in our countries, the problems we're facing, and the worries we had. In amongst it all, the theme that shone the brightest was gratitude.
For an hour and a half, our morning meeting became like an international news report, only this time it involved people you knew, people you cared about, and people you've worked with for years.
Isolation, financial worry, and the doom and gloom of the media can make your corner of the world feel like a lonely place. It's in times like these where we need to know that we are not alone. We need to know that there are others out there going through the same thing.
So this week, just like our team meeting, instead of sharing business, social media, or photography advice, we are here to tell you our experiences so far in the hopes that they might help others feel just a little bit less alone and a little bit less overwhelmed. We want to help people feel more connected in an isolating time, and we hope that you'll share your stories with us.
Daniel U, CEO and Co-Founder
🇪🇸 Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
“Right now, we’re on lockdown — authorities are enforcing the lockdown, and handing out fines for those breaking the rules. For me, the mental side of things is half the battle. I feel very grateful for the position I am in, and I want to contribute not to the fear and anxiety, but to hope and encouragement.”
Lera N, Customer Success Specialist
🇺🇸 Tacoma, WA, USA
"We're grateful for our current situation — my husband and I aren't heavily impacted. We're actively remaining as optimistic and positive as possible. You never know what others around you are going through, so being kind and respectful is at the forefront of our minds."
Anna Z, Quality Assurance
🇹🇭 Koh Samui, Thailand
“On the surface, life here looks almost normal, but a lot of people are deeply concerned that they won’t be able to get home. I hope things will remain calm here — I am doing whatever I can to help others stay calm and not panic.”
Anton Z, Executive Administrator
🇺🇸 Seattle, WA, USA
“I’m focused on isolating myself and asking family and friends to do the same. Not out of fear but because we’re in a discovery stage regarding knowing how many people are infected. Collectively, isolating ourselves is the best thing we can do to help fight the spread at the moment.
When I do go out, I’m doing my best to shop locally and support small businesses (epically my favorite coffee shop). I’m also making a conscious effort to shop during quiet times to help reduce pressure on the shops, as well as to help me avoid the long lines.”
Sergey L, CFO
🇦🇪 Currently Ajman, UAE. Usually Seattle, WA, USA
“Right now, we are on a family holiday. We’ve been living in Russia, and are now in the UAE. There are presently no cases in Ajman, and very few in the whole UAE, but precautionary steps have been taken, with some places shut down temporarily. We are hoping to return to Russia soon and have our fingers crossed that our plans don’t need to change. In the meantime, I’m thankful to be staying in a warm climate with my family.”
Diana R, Business Development & Product Owner
🇲🇽 Currently in Mexico. Usually in Seattle, WA, USA
"I'm supposed to fly to Seattle to help my family with doctor's appointments that were scheduled a long time ago, but I may not be able to be with them right now. So many people are either scared or frustrated or annoyed, discussions are turning into arguments with people trying to justify why they're feeling a certain way. Everyone needs the opportunity to feel heard — working together towards consensus and peace can be very bonding in this isolating time."
Karina G, Digital Media Marketing
🇺🇸 Seattle, WA, USA
“Seattle is in full crisis mode — closures on just about everything, kids at home, empty stores, canceled events. We’re holding each other pretty tight over here. It’s important to open your eyes and see the people around you. Yes, take the necessary precautions, wash your hands, but be open to help, to serve, to share, to listen. We’ve decided to make our home available for anyone who wants a cup of coffee-to-go, or perhaps to just swing by for a roll of toilet paper. We’ve got plenty to go around.”
Dmitriy V, Quality Assurance
“We’re lucky that COVID-19 isn’t an extreme situation here. For now. We are focused on planning ahead and trying to prepare for all possible scenarios. Above all, we are trying not to panic and to remain in good spirits.”
Maryna U, Product Owner
🇪🇸 Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
“Things have changed overnight — from waterfront walkway, cafes, and restaurants being filled with locals and tourists to barely anyone outside.
There seems to be a new tradition emerging here — for the last two days, at 7 pm, everyone opens their windows and starts to clap for the healthcare workers. As silly as it might look like from the outside, I have a feeling this will become something I look forward to. Although isolated physically, these small moments allow us to feel a sense of community. Some people choose to sing (like in Italy), some choose to clap, whatever it is, it’s a moment that brings a little light and joy into people's lives.
Tamara B, Customer Support
🇯🇲 Kingston, Jamaica
"Our Prime Minister declared the country a disaster area in an emergency press conference last Friday. Since then, a lot of people have started to panic. The craziest part is that people have become afraid to travel with nurses and other public health workers. They are left unable to get to work when bus and taxi drivers refuse to take them. These are the people we need the most right now, and they can't get to work.
Although my family and I have been trying to self isolate, I've also been taking friends to and from work when I can to make sure that they can get there safely.
Kip B, UX/UI Design
🇺🇸 Bainbridge Island, WA, USA
“The governor of our state has closed all public and private schools. There is grave potential for over 30 million kids relying on our nation’s National School Lunch program to go hungry due to the school closures. It has been great to see several local restaurants step up to offer free lunches for kids.
My wife has created a curriculum for our daughter to stay engaged in academics during the closures. We are now spending more quality time together as a family than ever before (or previously imagined). We are waiting to see if our school district can pull together a virtual classroom solution to avoid a negative impact on the students' school year."
Anastasia K, Quality Assurance
🇺🇦 Odessa, Ukraine
"Mostly, the atmosphere here is pretty relaxed, but the virus is on everyone's mind. The medical system in our country is unprepared for such a hit. I'm focusing on keeping a positive attitude and keeping in touch with friends and family to help spread the positive vibes."
🇵🇱 Krakow Poland
“I’m currently hosting three friends who came to stay a couple of weeks ago but didn’t manage to get home before the Ukraine borders closed. I’m grateful to be working in the IT-sphere and for Pixellu. The remote culture has allowed me to stay stable and to be able to offer support and a helping hand to friends in an uncertain time.”
🇺🇦 Kharkiv, Ukraine
"Here, the Government is acting to prevent the virus from spreading. I'm focusing on helping my family, parents, and wife's parents to stay calm, not panic, and follow the quarantine rules."
Tatiana G, Human Resources
🇷🇺 Samara, Russia
“Everything has been quiet and panic-free, until this week when the Government announced the quarantine. In just one day, people panicked, and shelves have emptied. I’m doing my best to be positive for myself, my friends, and my relatives.”
Greg B, Print Lab Relations & PR
🇱🇹 Visaginas, Lithuania
"The government has closed everything except for grocery and drug stores. I'm grateful to have a remote job as I believe lay-offs will soon ensue here."
Anna M, Product Owner
🇵🇱 Krakow, Poland
"Our day to day activities have changed. My daughter no longer goes to the playground and isn't allowed to touch anything when we go outside. We miss spending time with our friends, and I've canceled any unnecessary appointments.
On a positive note, there have been flashmobs here to support the doctors. Meanwhile, one restaurant is sending 100 lunches each day to the hospital to help the staff there."
Ilona J, Creative Director
🇺🇸 Seattle, WA, USA
“There are so many tragedies arising from Coronavirus: extra family time with my kids at home is not one of them. My focus has been managing my stress so that I can set a positive tone in our home. Our kids absorb our energy, and they need us to balance the heavy atmosphere they sense all around them with lightness and joy. I am choosing to stay off my phone more and instead spend time outdoors — social distancing doesn't mean we can't go outside!
We're being intentional to notice those who are lonely or struggling, and to help with shopping, childcare or a chat. It's been great to see kindness spread so fast, and so far; I am impressed and inspired by humanity.”
Kelly C, Copywriter
🇳🇿 Auckland, New Zealand
"As the New Zealand economy takes a massive hit, I’m doing my best to shop locally. Small businesses need all the help they can get right now. It also means that rather than clogging up the supermarkets, I’m shopping from the local butchery or produce store.
I’ve recently started doing the weekly shop for my grandparents so that they can avoid crowded places — it’s also a great chance for me to catch up with them on a more regular basis."