COVID-19 : A message from Louis T. Lemay

April 7, 2020

United in our new reality

The COVID-19 coronavirus has forced every one of us into a mode of constant adaptation, and Lemay is no exception. It’s been, and continues to be, a rollercoaster ride and quite a humbling experience. And yet, there is inspiration…

Connected and aware

Having put the necessary hygiene and distancing measures in place, we managed to get the entire team – close to 500 of us – set up to work remotely in no time. Thanks to our technological tools, we have succeeded in creating a virtual office that is as efficient as ever, across our offices in Canada and New York. That was a very proud and motivating moment for the entire team. A big congrats to our IT team, who made it all happen incredibly fast and efficiently, and to all of us who had to adjust, despite less-than-ideal conditions.

And so, we all found ourselves at home, away from the office space so many of us love. We quickly learned and shared best practices for working remotely: how to set up a healthy workspace and establish a productive routine. That was easy enough.

But what we found to be most crucial was of another nature: the need to make ourselves available to each other, despite the additional workload and complexities of the situation. We realized how essential it was to stay connected, and to actively listen to our teammates, in order to support each other through this difficult time.

Mostly, it’s been all about breaking up the isolation and recreating the informal social moments that naturally happen in a work setting.

Humility and leadership

Crisis management brings a never-ending stream of high-stakes decisions to be taken rapidly, knowing there is no ideal solution. Now, as in any crisis, leadership is essential, as are humility and responsiveness. And we can confirm that the transparent communications we’ve put in place have never been more appreciated.

Our most difficult decision had to be taken early, in a proactive attempt to weather the storm: we had to let many colleagues go, temporarily, while others took reductions in salary or in their number of hours. We also made a point of sharing the financial impact across all levels of the company, in a concrete show of solidarity. Still, we learned not to underestimate what people are going through, not only financially speaking but emotionally as well.

And yet the response from many of our people was surprisingly positive. In some cases, arrangements were spontaneously made to redistribute workloads and help keep teammates on board.

Truly inspiring moments like these are what keep us confident for the future, despite the craziness of what’s happening.

Unity and support

It’s not all rosy, of course: far from it, as we are reminded every day. We are all too aware that many are losing or being separated from their loved ones due to COVID-19, and our hearts go out to them. 

This pandemic has tested our creativity in adapting beyond what we ever thought possible. Let’s take strength from that and remember to be attentive, kind and supportive of one another.

And to all of you we consider part of the Lemay community, we ask: do let us know how we can help.

We will get through this, together.

Louis T. Lemay