Just say thanks: PaperCut Wellness Day
At the start of July, I took a moment to pause and reflect. It’s been more than four months since all of PaperCut entered a distributed working model due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PaperCut, like the rest of the world, has learned a new way of living in these times.
We’ve had to get really good at video calls, from making sure headphones are closeby for large calls or hitting that mute button when the doggos hear the mailman.
We’ve had to say a temporary goodbye to our offices, from the PaperCut coffee machine to our various social and professional activities.
We’ve gotten really familiar with the four walls of our homes, especially if we don’t have a lot of space.
For our PaperCutters with families, they’ve had to juggle parenting and PaperCutting, from navigating the intrepid waters of homeschooling to keeping up with the kids’ latest TikTok dances.
We’ve all needed to accept some temporary sacrifices for the greater good. We’ve all had to learn to sit with uncertainty.
Despite all of that, we’ve achieved a lot as a business and a community. However, we know it hasn’t been easy. Adjusting to remote working is difficult. Some people have thrived, but others have struggled to find balance.
It’s tough being physically disconnected from colleagues for a long time. It’s also easy to fall into working longer hours where the threat of burnout is forever looming.
The mental wellbeing of our PaperCutters is vital to us. So we wanted to just say thanks. To that end, we offered everyone across the company a “Wellness Day” throughout July and August.
What’s a “Wellness Day?”
A day for PaperCutters to take out of the business and focus on what’s important to them. No need to use annual leave or personal leave, this honorary wellbeing day was on us. It was a day for PaperCutters to spend doing whatever they desired for their mental health.
Our only ask was, if they were comfortable, to share with us how they used the day in our Slack. We made that request because we love stories at PaperCut, and we were curious to see how all our PaperCutters would utilize their Wellness Day.
Wow, they did not disappoint.
Here’s a selection of some PaperCutters and their Wellness Day activities
“Thanks for a great Wellness Day, PaperCut! So nice to get outdoors when it was so unpopulated.” – David O’Hara, Lead Solutions Architect
“Thank you PaperCut for my wellness day! I spent Friday doing heaps of little things for myself.
“And because if you give me an inch, I make it a mile. I extended my wellness day into a little time off. I booked a house in the woods, near our favorite spot on the Oregon Coast.
“We walked miles on the beach, read a ton, and canoed across the beautiful Salmon River to a secret and magical beach where seals swim and eagles fly. This wellness will carry me forward for a while!” – Julie Gefroh, Customer Care Team Lead
“I made the most of my Wellness Day by turning off Slack and spending time with the kids, and helping out with their schooling.
“I got my hands dirty with painting, cooking, and then burnt a little helping William reduce fractions (I remembered how but he caught out a few of my mistakes!).
“Anna learned all about paying for things with coins and working out how to give change with the least coins (not sure if that will be a useful skill post-COVID-19, but we needed to learn it at school so we may as well inflict that on the younger generation too!)
“The day was ended with some tech building! William, Anna, and I built an R2D2 robot and learn about programming it with sensors. Who knew you could have so much fun right in the middle of Lockdown 2.0!” – Chris Dance, CEO
“Thanks, heap-loads for the Wellness Day!!! I spent it hiking and paddle boarding at Lake Tahoe!” – Brenda Beenken, Channel Marketing Specialist
“Thanks for my wellness day on Monday; I got in a walk to the beach (Hampton, looking towards the city), family lunch in the sunny courtyard – photo-bombed by Bonkers, rebuilt my iMac (those are RAM, CPU & SSD upgrades), and made birthday cards for Linda’s birthday (on Tuesday)!” – Dug Holmes, Support Manager
“Thank you PaperCut for my wellbeing day (which was three weeks ago now, but still present in my mind). My fiance Liam and I had the best time in Cornwall – we spent the day walking in the rain and just talking to each other without distraction (other than the epic views seen above). I even took some time to meditate on a rock overlooking the sea which was a definite highlight.” – Dawn Chisholm, People Experience Advocate
“Huge thanks to PaperCut for my Wellness Day, Friday 31 July. I have had to move house during our (Melbourne) Lockdown 2.0. In the new place, I got the main things up and running, esp the home office, wifi, presentable background for calls, etc. But had no motivation to do much more than that. So the house was in a semi-permanent state of ‘non-linear chaos’.
“I am very organized, and clean in general, so it was rapidly becoming a bit of a Catch-22 for me – it was messy, so I didn’t feel like doing anything ‘creative’ outside of work, like music, cooking, reading, painting, sewing, and other home hobbies in these cold, hard times; but I was also doing NOTHING about changing that, because I was so demotivated, lonely and missing my social life and planning housewarming parties etcetera, that I would normally have done, which would have forced me into getting things in order.
“Anyway, I used this Wellness Day to get on top of this, with a vengeance! It was my way of expressing my gratitude I think, instead of wasting this lovely gesture by just lying around in my ‘rudderless’, frozen state. I had cleaners in the next day and now the house is about 90% ready for creative pursuits, which is great for my mental health and finally calling a ‘ceasefire’ on my endless Catch-22 loop, especially as we are in this great slumber-curfew now! Thanks again.” – Shilpa Shankar, Product Designer
“I’m joining the thank you’s this morning. Thank you PaperCut for our Wellness Day on Friday. Did some shopping, cleaned my car (finally), then went for a lovely walk in the woods nearby and finished the day off with Reservoir Dogs at the Drive-in Cinema.” – Bettina Lippmann, Customer Care Team Lead
“I also wanted to say thank you to the company for the wellness day.
“I spent the day in my yard, by the fire, drinking beers and dismantling an old bike I’ve been meaning to do fix up since last year.
“The bicycle is now successfully in clean rust free pieces and my mental state is not( in pieces that it …. it’s still a bit rusty), thank you.
“I now need to spend some time putting it together again. I made a terribly edited time-lapse video of this too.” – Andrew McCrae, Product Engineer
More than just one day
Wellbeing is of course influenced by more than just a day off.
We’ve been focusing on championing more wellbeing initiatives since our Wellness Day initiative.
We have regular updates about virtual social and professional activities to benefit our PaperCutters’ health and wellbeing.
We’ve also hosted specific wellbeing group Google sessions with guest speakers for our PaperCutters to learn some practical approaches to navigating these difficult times.
More recently, we held a variety of mental health activities for R U OK? Day. Our resident yogi PaperCutter Jess led guided meditations throughout the day promoting self-care and emotional intelligence, as well as holding her regular Thursday asana practice Yoga sessions. Our Employee Assistance Program also ran awareness sessions, a service available to all our staff all year round.
But this is about more than taking out one day. While we’re grateful for initiatives like Wellness Day and R U OK? Day, it’s vital that taking care of our mental health is celebrated every day. Especially now.
We will continue to support each other as a community and a family until we are through this pandemic.