Wetu joined the global Work From Home labour force in March 2020.
Spread across the world with offices in Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Cape Town and Perth, we knew something about working together, apart. Along came COVID-19 and locked us down. We took our hardware home, put our spiffy software to work, and carved out a WFH niche where our families wouldn’t trip over us. The rest is… the new normal.
Asked what they missed most about the office, one response was, “If I could just have 1 more smoke break with the team, I’d be happy.” Sorry for you, the sale of cigarettes in SA was outlawed during lockdown. “My Friday McFlurry!” says Support Manager Jason of his Friday post-lunch routine with the boys. Another response: “I miss everyone’s good mornings, seeing everyone’s faces, the quick catch-ups in the kitchen…” Now all our hello’s, shared coffee and ice cream breaks happen online.
It's Friday beer o'clock time with Product & Tech Team doing a virtual social
Onboarding Team catch-up between Africa & South America
Stress-busting like a boss
I asked Oz-based WFH veteran, CMO Donyale, how she copes with isolation from workmates. She doesn’t know what she’d do without Slack, her favourite communication tool. “Sometimes, you just need to talk through a challenge on a call, or share a GIF that made you laugh!”
If you miss your office rituals and the commute home to clear your head, she recommends creating little rituals to break up your day. “Make your bed, get some exercise, change out of your pj’s, take breaks and do something specific to change from work to home mode.” She makes lunch her main meal of the day and eats at her dining room table. Working through a few Neil Gaiman novels is her perfect mental break.
Struggling to get in your 10,000 steps? Try a standing desk. “Because standing perfectly still isn’t comfortable, I shuffle around, put on some music and boogie a bit – it adds up.” Cute co-workers, Lexi and Poppet, are always game to split a biscuit or walk around the garden. Her fave WFH outfit? Business top and yoga pants! “I try on my pants once a week to check they still fit!” With her signature stress-busting vegan banana smoothie in hand, she’s got no problems.
Show us your home office, we’ll show you ours
Project & Systems Coordinator Simone’s art deco desk
Content Specialist Mike is assssisted by Noodle, who sadly misunderstood, just wants to make friends
Content Loader Colin pays homage to Homer with his Simpsons WHF set-up
A messy desk is a sign of genius
So says our CEO. For Paul, the biggest WFH change is the lack of separation between work and home. “It all becomes one and every day feels the same. The bad thing is that you can work from when you wake up until you go to bed; so routine is important!” His WFH co-workers include 2 sons, a dog and a cat.
Paul feels the lockdown forces us to slow down and simplify our lives.
“It’s been a blessing to spend more time with my boys without all the normal distractions. I have no doubt that in time to come we’ll have fond memories of this time.”
He spends his lunch breaks playing soccer with his boys or doing daily exercises. “I’m running boot camp, doing press ups, sit ups, pull ups, planking… We’re going to get fit.”
“With the right attitude, you can make the most of it. With everything in life, there’s good and bad – the virus and lockdown are a disaster that also provides opportunities. Take advantage of them!”
Although he claims to work better in his gown, his go-to WFH outfit is a respectable top half and whatever bottom half – uniform of a great virtual colleague.
Keeping the mojo flowing
With a medley of negative emotions preying on us at this time, we have ways of keeping ourselves and each other motivated and encouraged. Some of us trust in apps like Calm App to help us sleep better or meditate; and Down Dog for yoga and exercise. Apart from Russia-based BDM Nazeem training the Sochi police for free, just how physically active is Team Wetu in lockdown? Internal investigations revealed our top 3 lockdown exercises:
Some are using this time to connect with language: Software Tester Megan is learning German on Duolingo and Support Specialist Julia chats to people around the world and even teaches English on HelloTalk. We’ve unearthed some serious hobbies and hidden talents. Copywriter Marie-Claire is putting her musical talents to good use in her spare time, offering singing and music theory lessons on Skype. Graphic Designer Robin has taken up gardening. Software Engineer Andrew built his child a jungle gym from ladders, poles and ropes. Predictable Netflixers aside, here’s how we keep busy:
Working in latin lockdown
Regional Manager for Latin America, Portugal and Spain, Fran traded Buenos Aires for rural San José de Feliciano to spend lockdown on the farm. He says yoga and daily exercise help clear his mind.
“I also drink wine or beer every single night.”
He’s been snapped during down time mowing lawns and rounding up cattle like a real-life gaucho.
Not twiddling his freshly farm-calloused thumbs, he’s determined to keep conversations going with members of the global travel trade.
You can meet him and the rest of his team at the upcoming Virtual Travel Show (12-14 May), hosted by Beyond Experience, where they’ll be focusing on resilience and recovery, at a safe distance.
Co-workers, family, pets…
Finally our families can see that we actually do work for a living! You think you know someone until you get a glimpse of their home life, meet their WFH co-workers, and learn what makes them TikTok.
Support Team Leader Ray has a house-full of human and animal co-workers. Thanks to the Coronavirus, she’s now a 6th grade teacher too. She misses the chats in the office kitchen, but is having fun preparing meals with her family and catching up on the latest memes with her twin sons. Her WFH sanity tip: “Have a quiet, dedicated work space and communicate the times that you’ll be busy – your family will understand.” She recommends always smiling and positivity. “Smiles are contagious! We’ll get through this together.”
Julie's co-workers Padmay & Leia share her fave work spot
Rene's WFH HR sleeping on the job...
Brent fostering Chiko during lockdown
Anna's twin co-workers not so interested in social distancing
Peter’s cat Sushi wondering how to keep the damned dog from snorting her litter
Marley, the only one of Megan's 3 co-workers to sit still for a pic
One of Neethling's co-workers practising graffiti in his braai room office
Fran horsing around with his co-workers in rural Argentina
Werner's chilled co-workers clearly love the camera
Kate's tiny co-worker runs around without pants, pressing random buttons
Ray's WFH HR Nimbus not coping in lockdown 2 other cats, Marco & Polo
Fooding around in lockdown
The situation now in kitchens worldwide: gastronomic experimenting and/or eating everything in sight. Some of us are succeeding with the healthy body, healthy mind approach. Others enjoy showing off their culinary skills, using this time to learn new recipes. Marketing Assistant Michaela conjured up this healthy chickpea snack for your WFH munchies. Although IT strongly advises against it, I say lick your screen if nobody’s watching.
Hello from the other side
This moment in history is our opportunity to reflect and take a fresh perspective on familiar surroundings. We’re seeing the same old views from our windows and doorways, of the backyard and the street outside through new, maybe more appreciative eyes. Follow our lockdown #ViewFromMyWindow #StayAtHomeChallenge and remember: When this too passes, we’ll see you on the other side. Stay safe💚
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