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Priorities During the COVID-19 Crisis

Priorities During the COVID-19 Crisis

A personal message from Annex President and CEO, Stacey Cerniuk.

Inboxes are being overloaded with COVID-19 communication updates from companies that, for the most part, all look the same. The last thing you need is another one. Instead, this update is about how I am feeling during the global pandemic crisis.

I have been working from home, along with the entire Annex Consulting Group team, since our last day in the office on Friday, March 13th. Eliminating two hours of commuting each day has given me extra time to reflect on life priorities.

My #1 priority is the same as yours: taking care of my inner circle, including my wife and kids, parents, extended family and friends. Let’s obey the strict isolation and social distancing rules to reduce the spread of infection and prevent overcrowded hospitals. The silver lining to staying at home has been the increase in meaningful conversations with people I care about. Despite the chaos, there is still much to be grateful for. Anyone suffering from human contact isolation can reach out to me to connect.

Priority #2 is taking care of my business because hundreds of staff, client contacts, billing consultants and people looking for work depend on us for their personal or organizational livelihood. I am not asking for business in this message; I have received many of those emails recently and, frankly, some are borderline distasteful when our focus is on the health and safety of our loved ones. Annex is fully operating during this unusual time and we really want to make a difference. We are proud to be working with many essential services organizations across the country. Annex specializes in IT roles but we are ready to help anywhere needed – e.g., grocery pickers to fulfill online orders, delivery people, warehouse staff, etc.  Our purpose is to make connections that change lives, and I am hopeful that we can also save lives.

Priority #3 is that we must take care of each other. I started Annex 22 years ago to help people, with an initial focus on building a community of independent IT consultants and finding them work so they could feed their families. This resulted in a communal network of colleagues before business social platforms like LinkedIn were invented. During the current global pandemic, help your network and community. For us, this means assisting essential services customers and IT professionals looking for work. But it could also be as simple as checking in with someone you know to see how they are coping. Speaking of helping, I deeply respect the people who are putting their health on the line for others like front-line health care workers, pharmacists, grocery store staff, drivers transporting goods, food manufacturers, and companies retooling to make masks and ventilators. 

Annex is assembling an army of volunteers to assist essential services organizations, not-for-profits and local charities. If anyone has spare time and wishes to volunteer remotely to help fight COVID-19, we are looking for project managers and coordinators, analysts, developers, security specialists, change agents, etc. If you know an organization that needs volunteers, let me know. More on this coming soon in a separate post.

This global pandemic will forever change all of us. But my fundamental purpose to serve others will remain the same. Stay healthy and positive.

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