For most people, 2020 sucker-punched us and bumped us around like some traumatic roller coaster ride. For a select few (Zoom stakeholders, Amazon investors, introverts), this insane calendar year had much better outcomes. Albeit that we had different results this year, there is one thing we can all agree on…
With 2020 just about over, it’s time to catch a breath and reflect on our wins and, for us in tourism, prepare for a much-welcome recovery.
We rebooted our team wellness programme, ResFit, with a fun emoji theme. We added elements for Family (including those with fur, fin, and feathers), Earth, Interests, Tech, Sport, and Give Back. We’ve included some favourites for you from our ResFit gallery.
Changing to working from home came with challenges but our team consciously continued to participate and connect with each other by meeting virtually and sending regular personal messages and stunning selfie posts through our internal chats.
We prepared our office according to Covid guidelines but we have not yet been able to head back. Each time we’re about to reintroduce office working, we hear of another spike in Covid cases. So instead we converted our office into temporary digs for a few staff. We are looking forward to introducing some safe in-person collaboration – especially since our superheroes desperately need access to ResCafe!
At the beginning of the year we learned the importance of filling our Superheroes with coffee. Of course our heroes need more than ordinary coffee, we organised a special brew of vibranium-based espresso.
DEFN: Vibranium (/vaɪˈbreɪniəm/) A Marvel Comics metal, noted for its extraordinary abilities to absorb, store, and release large amounts of kinetic energy.
Our secret is that our coffee machine is made of vibranium so when you get the chance to drop by the ResCafe, we look forward to filling your cup with a vibranium-boosted espresso.
Community Give Back
We continued to Give Back to communities around us, by donating furniture to a local residential home, The Horizon Farm Trust.
With budgets being under strain we looked for Give Back projects that could help communities, using resources we already had at our disposal. With everyone spread far and wide we had to put some interesting collection plans in action. Our team rose to the logistics challenges and managed to collect outfits for the Princess Project, odd socks for the Odd Sock Project and unused reading glasses for the Bright Sight Project.
We supported an anti-poaching initiative by purchasing Great Plains anti-poaching Covid-19 masks, which we used as staff prizes in our virtual team building socials held during Covid lock down.
We financed food bins through the locally based Neema Foundation as they rallied to provide food parcels for families struggling during Covid.
We added extra Christmas cheer by putting together 12 Santa Shoeboxes, filled with all the necessary supplies and lots of love.
Our Social Bees were buzzing as usual and we kicked off the year with a braai at the ResPlex, where in true ResRequest fashion, we shared in laughter, fun, and food.
We celebrated Valentine’s Day dressed in red, and coordinated our annual Easter egg hunt event pre-lockdown. Little did we know that we would never get to run around the ResPlex looking for the loot, as lockdown effectively put an end to our plan. But anyway, we still look good in red!
Once lockdown and working from home became the norm our Social Bees made sure that our team stayed connected, arranging virtual team-builds with loads of quizzes, keyboard-pictionary, and the odd virtual workout. As lockdown levels lifted we headed to the beachfront for a community walk. This was perfect for our team to reconnect with one another, and adhere to social distancing norms.
Taking care of ourselves
We preempted the first phase of lockdown with an option to start working from home before the official announcement was made. The balance of our team moved off-site the week of lockdown and we transitioned to a fully work from home-based setup. Lockdown came with its own challenges. Many of us were negatively impacted by personal losses, moving home and becoming ill, we recognised we were under unprecedented pressure.
Through our team’s Discovery Medical Aid, we implemented an Employee Assistance Programme. The EAP programme helped our team individually with legal advice, counselling for those in need and financial planning. It also equips our HR team with a health-check. This helps our team direct the right training and conversations to keep our team-health as high as possible, especially during such a challenging time.
Our Social Bees and HR teams also stepped in to keep our team connected with “Grab a sundowner and chill” virtual socials.
Recognising our health and well being were taking strain, our HR team made an important call, announcing our first “ResRequest Public Holiday” on 25 September. This gave our team a 4 day weekend, which was much needed after many months of stress and worry.
In addition to keeping our minds healthy, we put in some effort with some gym sessions arranged virtually by our awesome PhysEd trainer, Rudolf Krige.
We welcomed new Superheros with new superpowers
There is always a high level of excitement when a new superhero joins the team. We can’t wait to find out what superpowers they will add to the mix. It was with much excitement that we welcomed Tracey as our first-ever HR superhero, Sheldon joined our first line of defense against the dreaded bugs as a Tester, and Rory and Justin (our own Batman and Robin father-son team) joined our Strategic Development and Product Maintenance Team.
We wrapped up our year in Wonderland
For the first time ever we held our year end Christmas wrap-up virtually (sniff!). We reflected over the year and peeked into 2021, in ‘Alice-Through-The-Looking-Glass’ fancy dress. What we saw is a future of hope and possibilities.
Similar to when Alice said: “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then,” we realised that we might not be able to eradicate the world’s Covid problems, but what we promise to do, is to be the best version of our new selves.
This has been a challenging year for those of us in tourism and so our wish for you is that you and your family celebrate a very Merry Christmas together, and that your 2021 is bright!