Chelsea Rivera graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Radio-Television-Film & and Advertising. Upon graduation, she moved to Los Angeles for an internship in digital content at Maker Studios. Having been a pet lover all her life, Chelsea combined her love of digital content and pets to co-found Honest Paws with her brother Erik. As Head of Content, Chelsea loves educating pet parents on holistic wellness. She currently lives with her dog, Baby Rose, in Atlanta.
As Co-founder of Honest Paws, what has been the biggest impact that COVID-19 has had on the business?
In addition to being a Co-Founder, I serve as Head of Content for Honest Paws. One of the biggest things that we had to do on the marketing side is pivot in terms of how we were speaking to customers. It is our job to provide the utmost value to our customers and we were not going to accomplish that if we just kept on communicating in the same way.
In response, we produced a lot of helpful, digestible content about how to care for your pet (and yourself) in the time of COVID and it did not go unnoticed.
Additionally, on the management side, while we have always been remote, we had to rethink how we managed the team. So many of our team members have children and a great deal of our team members dealt with (and currently deal with) mandated curfews. This led to implementing flexible work hours to better support the team.
Honest Paws has always embraced technology, which is a huge benefit when it comes to staying connected and working remotely. Would you say the company was better prepared for COVID-19 compared to others who are not as technology advanced like Honest Paws?
Absolutely! Working from home is a skill that takes time to develop. Because our team has years of work from home experience, we did not have as many hurdles to jump over getting acclimated to this new way of life.
How important is it to have the right tools and technology when it comes to working remotely?
Working remotely can either be a dream or a nightmare. That’s why it is essential to have the proper tools at your disposal. We use Slack for messaging, Zoom for meetings, and Asana to track tasks and projects. Additionally, I subscribe to Product Hunt so I can be notified of all the awesome productivity tools coming out.
Many businesses and employees are finding it difficult to work from home and are experiencing high levels of anxiety as well as other mental health issues. What would you say is the most important aspect when it comes to employee productivity and a healthy work-life balance when it comes to remote working?
Mental health issues have skyrocketed this year (understandably so). We noticed it among our team as well. In response, we mandated that everyone take one day off a month for a mental health day. We have an open vacation policy but since travel is at an all time low, team members did not feel like they had a “good enough” reason to take time off. After implementing this policy, we have noticed much better morale (and as a result, much better productivity).
As someone who has worked from home for years, I recommend the following. Set up a dedicated workspace and work there and only there. It will help when it comes time to “leave the office”. Lastly, turn off your notifications after hours. We work in many different time zones so it’s not uncommon to receive a message at 8PM. Turning off your notifications ensures peaceful evenings and weekends.
On a final note, what advice can you give to other entrepreneurs when it comes to implementing a work-from-home policy that can benefit their business and employees?
At Honest Paws, we are 100% driven by KPIs. You will drive yourself mad if you attempt to micromanage your employees or count their hours. Instead, as a manager, I try to clearly define my direct reports’ KPIs so they know how to define success. As long as they are delivering, we are on the right track.