SCHENECTADY – Jahnel Group employees barely had time to enjoy their new spacious downtown office before being forced out by the coronavirus outbreak.
They were perched on the fifth-floor of the 17,000 square-foot building on Mill Lane for about a month and a half, according to Tony Mercadante, who works in business development and quality assurance.
But despite being relegated to working at home, it’s full speed ahead for this Schenectady-based custom software development and consulting company founded by brothers Jason and Darrin Jahnel in 2009.
The Jahnels started the business years ago with a specific goal of having fun and making money, COO Jason Jahnel has previously stated.
"Even though we're having fun and trying to do all this extra stuff, we don't compromise our quality and professionalism around here," said Jason Jahnel told the Times Union last year. "We try to go out of our way to create those environments where people can experience something extraordinary together."
Being out of the new office has put a crimp on the camaraderie and fun-filled environment that the Jahnel Group has become known for, like a one million push up challenge or some employees logging 100 plus hours in six days as part of another team building activity.
“We’re doing video lunches and video calls just for fun to check in on each other and see how everybody’s doing because we really do have tight-knit bonds in our company so we miss not seeing each other and having fun every day,” said Mercadante. “On the business side of things, we’re not stopping, we’re continuing to do what we have to do, and we’re lucky enough that our industry allows us to work from home and get things done.”
In early March, the company finished up its annual War Week, one of those activities where employees strive to have the best work week of their life.
“It’s a great way to change the way you work and really grow as a person,” he said. “It really pushes your limits to see what you’re capable of.”
Mercadante said the Jahnel Group “hires for culture,” which is to say “good people that are going to be good to work with” and “fun to hang out with.”
“We have a lot of senior level developers and IT experts that can train people up and make them superstars,” he said.
All told, the firm has a total of roughly 85 employees, about 60 of them in their Schenectady headquarters as well as smaller offices in New York City and Texas plus a few staffers who work remotely from other states, including California and Florida, Mercadante said.
Before relocating, the company had offices on Union Street and the Biz Lab on Lower State Street.
“I think our reputation is growing enough that we are fortunate enough to be in a lot of conversations where we could be adding value to a lot of different companies,” Mercadante said.
The Jahnel family has deep roots in Schenectady and stayed put because they want to be part of the boom downtown and in the Electric City, said Mercadante.
“They’re very interested in making it a better place and a desirable place to both work and play,” he said.