It was just another Monday morning. I came into our Home Office ready to start my week. I was excited to meet a new team member on her first day, and with a large coffee in hand, I set my eyes on some major productivity. At that point, only four weeks ago, what was forming and churning in the Atlantic was just a fleeting thought in the back of my mind.
And yet, once I settled at my desk, whispers made their way to my ears.
“Are you leaving?”
“Where will you go?”
“I guess we need to bring whatever is most important to us and take the photographs off the walls.”
By the end of what seemed to be the shortest (but most tense) workday ever, my mind was completely focused on Hurricane Florence – her path of choice led straight to our coast, just a few miles from the N2 Home Office in Wilmington. Most team members made the decision to evacuate to other parts of the state and beyond. Some, however, decided to ride out the storm locally, including me and my dog. Though I felt overwhelmed and unsure of what was to come, I knew without question that, for N2, the safety of its people came first and work came second.
I felt supported by my work family at the start, through the eye, and in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. Now as we recover, I feel fortunate to witness the assistance every N2 team member has offered and is still offering one another. So it’s fitting that, right after the storm, it was announced N2 earned a spot in the top five on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2018 Top Company Cultures List. The timing was serendipitous because, to me, our culture has never shined brighter.
Much like a gratitude journal where I regularly jot down things I’m most thankful for, I’ve compiled a list – which will no doubt continue to grow – of things I’ve witnessed that reflect N2’s strong culture during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
Things I Saw
- Messages from N2 Area Directors all around the nation offering to open their doors to evacuees
- Countless thoughts, prayers, and well wishes sent to our team members and for the Wilmington area
- Slack channels and direct messages filled with helpful links, news updates, and offers of support and resources
- Team members meeting to work together at coffee shops and sharing selfies to show our resilience and high spirits despite the storm-related chaos
- Many hours of overtime graciously worked by team members with power to ensure projects still progressed on time
- Team members with power offering air-conditioned spaces for those needing a break from the heat
- Hours of physical labor volunteered by team members, from clearing debris to tarping roofs, at the houses of teammates
- A Home Office social at Carolina Ale House after the storm to bring us all back together
Florence was a tough hurricane. In fact, our team still isn’t able to work from our Home Office due to storm damage, a situation that will continue for the foreseeable future. But our culture has roots that run so deep, no storm can shake it. It’s a culture that’s not just about the fun we have within the four walls of our office building, but about the attitudes of caring for one another, believing we can be better tomorrow than we are today, and behaving like an owner. These principles stay with us no matter where we set up shop or how long we’re away from our beloved Wilmington.
It’s one of the reasons why we continue to be recognized as a great place to work. Entrepreneur’s Top Company Cultures award just reinforces what we already knew: Our culture is stronger than a building with a leaky roof, stronger than downed power lines, and stronger than uprooted trees. Even in the face of a natural disaster, we are #N2Strong.
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