27 Oct Evolving through Tough Times at Secret 6
Fifteen years is a long time, and we’d be remiss if we told you it’s always been on the up and up.
Along the way, the resilience and willingness to change—both as individuals and as a company—have become the cornerstone for our business, as well as our most important attribute for facing new challenges.
There’s a saying that goes: “Not all change is an improvement, but every improvement is a change.”
We worked hard to create a culture where creative people can experiment and innovate on different things. Over the years, this helped us create new ways of working towards sustainable results, benefiting both our employees and our clients.
The challenges of the 2020 pandemic made us mindful of both the welfare of our teammates and the needs of our clients. During this time, we have sought new solutions and improvements to maintain our productivity, ensure people’s well-being, and further strengthen our relationships.
Taking Care of our Biggest Assets
At Secret 6, we pride ourselves on being able to harness the collective genius of our teams. We actively put time and effort in improving team efficiency, ensuring sustained creativity, and last but not least, making sure that team members have a great time working together.
Shifting to a full work-from-home setup, necessitated by the pandemic of 2020, presented a lot of challenges in terms of communication and workflow. Like many, we had to confront issues regarding poor online connections, security concerns, gaps in equipment, and lack of immediate support. The work of our IT and Admin teams have been crucial during the transition. We wouldn’t have been able to continue without their invaluable support.
But it’s not always just about the logistics.
Our biggest assets—and our primary concern—are our colleagues.
“What changed the most is the constant interaction with our employees,” shares Chayne Morales, regarding the new normal situation. “As HR, we always prioritize checking in on everyone. And with the current crisis we’re facing, it’s become much more challenging. We can only reach out to them via chat.”
While our team members in Madrid are used to being connected online, they are keenly aware of the challenges and priorities during this period. They’ve adjusted their daily routines and process to better accommodate the new remote working circumstances.
“The Secret 6 Madrid team has made a hard effort to retain our production rate despite the challenges. We had to take care of our relationship with our partners and transmit a sense of stability, even though it was difficult to achieve with the situation that the whole world was facing. We did our best to keep our clients up to date on our movements and work. It was also equally important for us to make sure that our team has all the necessary resources to be able to work and stay calm,” Joaquin Otazu, head of S6 Madrid Studios, explains.
In Manila, we also made sure that our clients and partners transitioned as seamlessly as possible into the circumstances of the new normal.
“Processes were established properly and employees adapted well to make sure production is running smoothly—it’s as if we didn’t change our work setup,” says Justin Tec, Senior Producer and our Head of Game Development, of the priorities during the changeover phase.
More than just checking up on work progress, managers and team leaders continued to be in frequent communication with their teams to check on their individual well-being.
When asked about the most important adjustments she’s made for the work-from-home situation, our Business Director Alexis Lewington shared that it was the “double and triple checking if everyone is handling and adapting to these adjustments.” She further explains: “When sharing the same space, there is a certain assumption, if people need to talk to you then they will come and approach you. COVID-19 has made me more pre-emptive to such needs. Keeping in regular contact with all team members is now vital.”
In the meantime, our colleagues also learned new things and different ways to spend their time during the pandemic. Some learned new hobbies, while others have developed new ways to express their personality.
One of our Technical Developers, Red Quito, muses on how he has adapted his new habits to his natural extroversion: “As an extrovert, I usually get energy from being around my officemates. Since that isn’t possible, I’ve started taking naps during lunch and break time to replenish my energy. Also, we got a new puppy a few months after the quarantine began, so playing and taking care of him has definitely become a welcome part of my daily routine!”
The More Things Change…
Whether work-at-home or still going to our office, internal processes adapted to make sure our teammates were safe. Juno Dela Cruz, our Administrative Assistant in our Manila studio, ensures strict implementation of precautionary measures in the office:
“Even if we are working from home, we are still maintaining our office spaces in Tektite, regularly cleaning and checking office conditions. We sanitize the office twice a day. Admin has been planning in advance too, but also being flexible, learning how to adjust and adapt as we keep abreast of the news and making sure ALL employees get to do their work.”
Highlighting the people-centric attitudes of Secret 6 employees, Juno continued to share about how staff gathered resources to support two utility personnel during the early ECQ days. The company eventually found a way to support them and make sure they get to keep their jobs while continuing to help the company.
Looking out for each other keeps us grounded and centered as we take on the changes we need to embody to be a better organization to our employees and partners.
Thankfully, our usual ways of working set us up with a lot of the structures that would support us during the pandemic.
In HR, for example, online transactions have been the norm. This helped them transition seamlessly to the work-from-home setup. Online interviews and onboarding sessions for new hires were something necessitated by the pandemic. Our previously established digital infrastructure, combined with careful pre-planning, meant we had the logistics and processes to take it on.
Keeping in touch with all employees and making sure they are well-supported became HR’s new focus.
Kreuzz Arceo, our Employee Relations Administrator, shares: “First priority would always be maintaining stability and safety in these uncertain times. We want to ensure our employees are always safe and taken care of as we look forward to seeing everyone’s faces when we finally return to the office.”
For the Long Haul
Fifteen years of being in the industry has taught us that at the end of the day, valuing the welfare of your employees and taking care of your relationships with your clients and partners are paramount to sustained success and growth.
Throughout all these changes, we found the willingness to try new things so that the quality of our work did not degrade. Doing things differently provided opportunities to improve our processes to better fit the challenges we face today.
In retrospect of our long journey, we recognize the importance of being open to change. Our willingness to change, fueled by our passion to innovate, was key to preserving the quality of our work throughout all these changes and the hurdles that came along with it.
The ability of not just the company as a whole, but also the individuals who comprise it, to adapt and evolve during pivotal moments helped ensure that we survive and thrive even as challenges come our way.
Long journeys are not always easy, and we remain thankful to our clients and partners for their continued understanding, trust, and support.
Just as important are the efforts of our team members to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing world of game development, compounded by the new way that world works now in 2020.
Being open to change keeps us agile, reliable, and always ready to take on our next challenge.
We mean to always make it so.