Lockdown Life is a new one on us all and it’s certainly taking some adjusting to, on a work and personal level. Here some of the VUALTO team explain in their own words about the lockdown experience at VUALTO, the effect on mental health and why it’s so important, now more than ever, to get to know your team mates!
LOCKDOWN LIFE-KEEPING CONNECTED
By Corrie & Pete
Modern life has suddenly drastically changed; people’s daily routines have shifted to adapt to home living and although the concept of working from the comfort and security of home every now and then can seem a luxury, over time it can have its challenges. It now more than ever occurs to us all perhaps that humans, people thrive with a more personal connection.
As a modern tech company, VUALTO are lucky to be able to work from any location however, permanent working from the comfort of our own homes does lead to the same challenges everyone else is facing today. The lack of physical contact and the ability to talk to different colleagues face to face could eventually take its toll on people's mental well-being over time, especially for those who live alone. Work could also be affected by those living at home with family and loved ones.
Myself (Corrie) and Peter had recently attended a Mental Health and Wellbeing training course and have been thinking of different ways to keep a happy and positive morale, focus and personal well-being up throughout the company. We have also been assisting in providing materials to support everyone, including “Looking after wellbeing during COVID-19” and recommendations such as using the “Medicash Mindfulness App” which all VUALTO team members are lucky to have.
VUALTO currently has a Discord server which is used on a daily basis to host conversations and music throughout the workday so people do not feel lonely. The server is also used to host gaming sessions throughout the week, on Friday it is used by many people to have gaming tournaments and sessions in the evenings to keep everyone connected as a VUALTO family. We play games such as “Jackbox” or “Golf with Friends”. We even host movie nights through discord where we watch videos together on YouTube or movies through a distributor such as Netflix using our own accounts, we then turn into movie buff critiques to compare our enjoyment and thoughts of the movie.
We also use Zoom to host conference calls where we catch up as a department and also as a whole company. The Client Services team is currently hosting a weekly catch-up where everyone checks in on each other and tasks are set to keep people active and engaged The tasks are also set for the whole company and can vary from things such as doing some gardening or watching a specific TV show..
Peter, Victoria and I have also been actively contacting people within the company to see what they have been up to in their spare time and to make sure they are ok, and we also encourage people to message two other people to do the same. We want everyone to stay connected.
Staying physically active can be a challenge in the current environment but during lunch breaks, most colleagues will often go for a walk, bike ride or exercise from home.
Mental health is a wide spectrum and people handle challenges differently; letting people know that you’re there to listen and support if needed, is very valuable during these lockdown times. On a positive note, and to conclude, it is a time to become very creative with ideas, perhaps even get to know each other on a deeper level than before.
By Matt Thorne
VUALTO’s 24/7 in house NOC team have been working from home for the last month and having previously always worked in the office, we have all had to adjust somewhat! Working from home has its upsides; nothing like turning a 30-minute walk at 05:15 in the rain into a 30-second stroll with a hot coffee from the kitchen, as well as some downsides; I have spent an inordinately long time in a small office!
All of the members of the NOC have been using the extra time at home to self-study with a couple of active Slack rooms where we can chat and test each other. This is working really well as we all know that being stuck inside means your motivation waxes and wanes. Nothing like seeing the rest of the team learning to make you pick up your notes again.
Keeping on learning is all well and good, but you’ve gotta have some mental downtime. When on a shift during the normal working hours when everyone else is about, we’re able to join in with the office remote fun with a weekly ‘pub’ session on Zoom - it’s nice to see different people other than my partner (if my girlfriend reads this... I do love you!). Recently we had a company online quiz with a fair few rounds to keep everyone going. I do love a good quiz so it was worth the effort of waking up early from a night shift to take part! Zoom meetings have the option of a custom background and they were some interesting ones last week. I can’t wait to see what people have found for next week!
Fancy dress hat challenges was also a hit; it’s surprising the number of hats some people have!
Some of us are making use of the daily exercise to get outside and have a run or bike ride. Fresh air and exercise are vital to good mental health and making your worries seem less significant; you can’t worry about too much when you’re sprinting up a hill!
Personally I’ve tried to look forward to when we can escape, so have planned an adventurous route to camp in North Devon by bike, if I can’t go yet I might as well plan and dream for when I can. We will make it happen!