As a company with most of our staff based in Auckland, the pandemic saw many interludes coloured by the limitations of living in lockdown.
We saw our colleagues and clients solely through the interface of Teams meetings. The work continued as we juggled homeschooling and ventured out for short bouts of exercise. As the weather improved, we enjoyed the new freedom of the traffic light system.
Through it all, we continued our commitment as an organisation to pursue a collective ambition to live well. Jason Poyner, our founder, and CEO, previously outlined what this means.
It’s an acceptance of the fact that work can’t and shouldn’t always come first, that we all need to make time outside of Deptive for friends, family and ourselves. Life is too short to be serious all the time.
As Deptive employees and individuals, we each have a slightly different definition of what it means to live well. But we are all in agreement on one thing – that living well rests on three pillars – family, work and self. All three need to get the attention they deserve for us to live well.
I chair the Live Well committee at Deptive, where I’ve worked for over eight years. We are a small group of employees from across the organisation tasked with making sure we are supporting each other to keep those three pillars rock solid.
Here are five things we are doing at Deptive to support our collective desire to live well…
The Living Well allowance
Every Deptive employee receives a payment of $300 each year to put towards something that will improve their wellbeing.
As an avid mountain biker, for me that usually involves purchasing a new piece of kit that will keep me safe when I hit the trails – knee pads or protective glasses, for instance. When I’m on my mountain bike, I’m totally in the zone. It’s intense and exhilarating. It’s also great exercise!
A colleague of mine recently used the $300 to buy a few sessions in a float tank, where he floated on his back in the dark, shut off from the bustle of the outside world. He says the experience was incredibly relaxing and he felt rejuvenated after the sessions.
It’s a relatively small amount of money in the scheme of things, but the Living Well allowance nudges each of us to think about what we can do to improve our own wellbeing.
Monthly learning day
Deptive grants each employee the opportunity to spend the equivalent of one day a month pursuing learning opportunities. This is separate to the time we need to spend upskilling and gaining certification to maintain our partnership status with software vendors.
It can indeed be professional development but can equally be a day devoted to improving your personal skills. It can be individual or group-based learning. Before lockdown, several of us attended a course to improve our communication skills, which was highly valuable, but also fun.
Our job revolves around technology, but it is easy to overlook tools and techniques that you aren’t currently using to get the job done. So, I’m starting to use my monthly learning day to explore technology from a different perspective, to come up with ideas to use technology more effectively and help Deptive’s clients in the process.
Dialling down the noise
We don’t have a strict curfew on messaging and alerts after work hours at Deptive. Many of us support customers that run their systems 24-7 so we will often be on call to respond to helpdesk queries or network outages.
But too often, we are distracted at home by incoming messages, low-level alerts related to network updates or security status. If you are awoken at 2 am because of an irrelevant alert and can’t get back to sleep for an hour afterwards, that’s not helping you live well.
So, we are actively working to minimise and fine-tune email and messaging alerts so the right people receive only the alerts and messages that need their attention and at the right time.
The Live Well channel
Within Microsoft Teams, we have a dedicated place where all our Live Well information is kept. It is part company intranet, part social network. We can post and comment on each other’s photos of what we got up to at the weekend.
We are working in Teams every day, so it makes it convenient to click on the Live Well channel to see what is going on. At the same time, we are also streamlining files and folders that are commonly used across Deptive and making them available via Teams. This will remove the frustration we’ve sometimes felt in the past when needing to search through folders scattered across drives.
As with most Auckland-based organisations, our regular programme of social events went out the window during the lockdown. But we still took the time each week to come together in our virtual happy hour to catch up and chat. It wasn’t compulsory, but there was usually a good turnout. Everyone prepares their beverage of choice, the vibe was relaxed.
Like many organisations, we embraced Kahoot!, the popular user-generated multiple-choice quizzes that can be accessed via a web browser or the Kahoot app. We’d fire up a Teams meeting and run a fun quiz that one of us has put together. It was a lot of fun and gave us the opportunity to get together once a week when the work we are doing together wasn’t the focus.
Covid-19 put pressure on our ability to juggle work, family and our own personal needs. But the tools above will help us cope if we once again find ourselves in a pandemic lockdown or similarly disruptive emergency.
We are still learning and figuring out how to best live our values. But as a long-term Deptive employee, I believe we are stronger for the work we’ve done together, in and outside of the workplace.
Alistair Pin is a Solutions Consultant at Deptive
Deptive - Commercial Bay
11-19 Customs Street West St
Commercial Bay Tower, Level 17, Room 1715
We also have a virtual office in Wellington.
0800 000 141
PO Box 34797,
Birkenhead, Auckland 0746