Diversity, Community and Teamwork Will Beat Crises

Diversity, Community and Teamwork Will Beat Crises

The ongoing global pandemic has created challenges for companies forced to adopt new styles to survive, such as working from home and rapidly digitizing operations. Business leaders are rethinking traditional practices—often best suited for in-person contact—to remotely manage, mentor and motivate teams

COVID-19 is stressing employees who are worried about the health and safety of them and their loved ones and struggling to cope with the new work-from-home conditions. Some also fear losing their jobs as businesses struggle to survive. It is critical for business leaders to always maintain open communications with teams and to transparently address their concerns. Leaders should encourage useful feedback and inspire staff to offer collaborative solutions. Dedication to volunteerism, charity and community will create pride in the team and inspire others to support each other.

At Custom Media, we are a truly unique team of enthusiastic creatives from 15 diverse cultures. We value respect, teamwork, individuality, learning, sharing, helping, innovation, experimenting, mutual trust, honesty, curiosity, and fun in everything we do. Although Japan is only the second home for many of us, we have embraced the incredible local spirit of resilience, respect for rules, and community. While some nations debate or doubt the benefits of face masks and resist compliance, Japan has willingly obliged after hearing advice – not pressure – from doctors and politicians. They genuinely care about other people’s safety as much as – if not more than – their own.


Compared to most countries, Japan has endured the first wave of this crisis without too much disruption. Even businesses – which traditionally resist flexible work styles – quickly heeded the government’s plea to work from home. They have gradually reopened after a brief semi-voluntary lockdown, and have introduced procedures and security measures that comply with the new normal. While the number of cases continues to rise, and no one is certain how long this crisis will last, Japanese resilience and selfless community keeps the nation strong, functional and united.

As an agile team, we quickly introduced work-from-home procedures and continued to function seamlessly and normally. Each department leader started conducting daily check-ins over video with their team members to ensure they were adjusting to working from home and receiving all the support they needed. 

But we weren’t satisfied with just making sure our own team was doing well. A sense of community is deeply connected to everything we do at Custom Media. As COVID-19 began to drastically affect people and organizations in March, we quickly sprang into action to help those around us. As we brainstormed ways to help, we decided to focus on advertising and marketingbecause that is what we do best. We came up with Connect, a dedicated digital marketing platform that offers SMEs, entrepreneurs, independent businesses, NPOs, and other local organizations free visibility and promotion to potential new audiences—helping them get through this uncharted crisis. 


In less than a week, Connect was live and accepting offers. The platform quickly grew through word of mouth and we have so far helped promote nearly 100 businesses and supported a number of NPOs and charities to find volunteers. Our editorial and video teams have established a voice and content for Partners to share their stories of hope and resilience—from sharing messages of gratitude during the lockdown to tips on handling stress and safely returning to the office. Connect is far from finished—our teams are continuing to donate time and effort to keep improving the platform to meet the needs of Partners, Members and the Community.

[ This article was written by Robert Heldt, CEO & Co-founder at Custom Media. ] 

About Custom Media

We are a dynamic, award-winning, multicultural, integrated media and marketing agency based in Tokyo. We have inspired and authentic leadership of empowered and engaged teams that specialize in creative text, stunning design, eye-catching images, and digital innovation to help companies enter or expand in Japan.