How PaperKite does Culture during Lockdown

PaperKite chooses to invest in culture because it’s central to who we are and what we want people to feel at PaperKite. So being a guardian of our community, making moments that matter, championing our culture – these make up the joy and challenge of being PaperKite’s Community Manager.

In these testing and unsure times; reinforcing and encouraging our community’s culture is more important than ever. PaperKite does this with treasured traditions that began with our inception in 2010 which continue to evolve and adapt no matter where we work.

Monday Morning Team Breakfasts

Our founder and CEO, Nic Gibbens always felt the best way to start the working week was together with breakfast, so back in the office, the PK team have breakfast together every Monday.

We didn’t want that to change while we work from home, so we randomise small groups of PaperKiter’s who jump on a Meet Hangout with their cereal and coffee to catch up every Monday morning. Food has a way of bringing people together, and we didn’t want to lose that PaperKite ‘togetherness’ of food during lockdown. 

“I love these, I really do. It’s nice to have that time just reconnecting with the team

Jacob Roberts, PaperKite’s Lead W&P Developer

Culture at PaperKite is about playful people-first experiences that delight.

#FridaySessions

Every Friday, the whole PaperKite team stops at 4.30pm for #fridaysession which is a time to kick-back, come together and learn something new – and eat cheese! We’ve found that expressing gratitude is a wonderful way we can close out the week, so we begin our #fridaysessions by saying who or what we’ve been grateful for at PaperKite that week.

“The people are really the best part about PK. That’s something that always gets said but with the whole lockdown thing that can’t be more true in my opinion

Zak Hewson, PaperKite’s Business Analyst 

As we work remotely we’ve continued this tradition via Hangout Meet. We’ve been able to continue to share what we’ve been grateful for and had some great team sessions: we’ve held a Remote PaperKite Talent Show, a make-believe Cooking Mystery Box Competition, a 360° Trivia Quiz, a Krav Maga tutorial and had to figure out which Instagram Influencers were human beings or not!

Some of PaperKite’s Talent Show Performers
Culture at PaperKite is about how we communicate with each other.

PaperKite has a strong culture of communicating with each other, we do this by creating heaps of opportunities to learn and collaborate together. We still kick-off the week on Monday with notices in ‘Bulletin’ together. Our Dev Team run fortnightly #techtuesday where someone shares a technical learning or some research with the whole-team. And we’ve maintained a space every Thursday to deliver any team-wide messages. 

“Our culture of openness and communication. I’ve been in many companies, experienced many cultures, but none had this level of honesty, openness, communication, and trust”

Lockdown Company-wide Daily Stand-ups

During lockdown I’m proud to say we’ve been able to maintain all of these important sessions and added a few simple things to bring us together as a team. We’ve added a company-wide stand-up Hangout Meet first thing every morning for 15 minutes.  The Senior Leadership Team will speak to the day’s key focus, update us on opportunities and I finish up with some lighthearted quirky way to end the call. 

I’ve been scouring the Internet and been able to bounce around a bunch of ideas with like-minded people; so if you’re looking for inspiration to lively up your team’s work day, here’s a bunch of things we’ve done:

  • Made a custom PaperKite Bingo Card to play during our daily company-wide stand-ups
  • Who doesn’t love a fact? We’ve covered facts about: Good Friday, the Cookie Monster, odd animal facts and Prince
  • Offered suggestions for home-workstation hacks using things you can find around your house
  • I read from a book called ‘How To Survive Anything: A Visual Guide to Laughing in the Face of Adversity’ by Lonely Planet with topics such as: ‘How To Survive A Prison Sentence’.
  • Guess The Movie from images from the book, ‘Silhouettes from Popular Culture’ by Olly Moss
  • Played a game called ‘Does this weigh more than a kitten?’
  • Guess The TV Theme song 
  • The team guessed from two truths and a lie from our Senior Leadership Team
  • The game where the person says the name of something edible, then the next person has to quickly name a food using the last letter of the previous item said. 
  • Shared a three-ingredient recipe for Jalapeno Poppers
  • Played Lockdown Charades
  • Guess The Movie from Twitter’s one-sentence #ExplainAFilmPlotBadly

I like them, it’s a nice substitute for not being physically with the team”

Eddie Kerr, PaperKite’s Lead QA Analyst

While it’s important for me to keep it light and fun – especially when many PaperKiter’s simply aren’t getting the things they usually would to reset and recharge themselves in a pandemic world – I have also used these team-wide sessions to talk about wellbeing. While on lockdown I’ve shared the following with PaperKiters: 

  • Reminded everyone that PaperKite offers free professional confidential counselling via EAP Services who offer eCounselling options during lockdown. 
  • Reminded people that myself and our Development Manager Kate have both been trained on the CoLiberate Mental Health First Aid Course and we are here to listen.
  • We started a list for tips to stay motivated while working from home.
  • Shared a hot tip from our Client Success Director, Antony to remember that the energy we take from work calls and our work-mode can be felt and passed on to whoever is in our bubbles so to be mindful of that.
  • Read out the 17 things it’s okay to be feeling right now from this article.
  • And to remember it’s okay to not be okay, to drink water, stretch, have breaks and get outside as  much as you can within the guidelines.
Watercooler Hang

We’ve also implemented an all day ‘Watercooler’ Meet where anyone can drop in any time to chat, do the Stuff quiz or catch-up. Some of us keep the Watercooler on all day with our microphone off while we work.

While whole team sessions are crucial for togetherness and culture, it’s also really important that we can connect with each other socially. 

“I appreciate that we look out for each other, no matter whether we’re co-located in one office space or not.”

Q Walker, PaperKite’s UX Strategist
How we’ve used Slack to encourage Community and play

Slack continues to be the base for PaperKite’s communications and has proven to be invaluable during lockdown and there are a bunch of channels that have become lifelines. Understandably, #music, #tv-and-movies and #random have been teaming with great suggestions while we work from home.

I’ve also devised Competitions-of-the-Week where PaperKiters find something (of my choosing!) that they post for the rest of the team to vote on. The person with the most votes wins and the great folks at Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery have been delivering ice-creamy prizes to their doors. Here’s the competitions we’ve run so far:

  • Week 1 we ran ‘Object-of-the-Week’ which our witty Lead Producer, Richard took out with a dirty, deflated moon-hopper that was in his front yard. 
  • Week 2 we ran ‘Headwear-of-the-Week where our creative Product Designer, Aimee won for a Fallout 76 helmet she entirely crafted herself!  
  • Week 3 was ‘Homemade-Thang-of-the-Week’ which UX Strategist and talented artist, Q won for an amazing portrait of our beautiful Design & Marketing Coordinator, Hannah. 
  • Week 4 was ‘PK FamBam-Photograph-of-the-Week’ which was very nostalgic and our hilarious Producer, Simon deservedly won for a photograph from his wedding which included his wife and their beautiful kids. 
  • Week 5 was ‘Footwear-of-the-week’ and was awarded to our incredible iOS Developer and social distancing hipster, Dave for a pair of incredible black and silver boots with fiery flames that he wore to his wedding! 
  • Week 6 was ‘Free Swag-of-the-week’ which went to our clever Experience Director, Andrew for a speaker he won from Burger Fuel!

These competitions are a little bit of random silliness but have also been designed to be opt-in and show off the wonderful personalities of our PaperKiters. 

“I appreciate that we still make time for team activities and having a laugh.”

Kate Henderson, PaperKite’s Development Manager

Culture at PK is about helping our team do their most meaningful work.

Championing Culture at PaperKite, regardless of Alert Level

Looking for ways to make PaperKite life better while we’re working apart under lockdown rules has been challenging. As PaperKite’s Community Manager, helping our team do their most meaningful work is always at the forefront for me, and right now that means making sure we’re looking out for each other.

It doesn’t matter if we’re working from our office or from home, I continue to focus on how we want our team to feel. For me, if a PaperKiter cares about who they work with, as well as what they’re working on, I reckon, we’re doing alright.

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