How Kiwi.com employees keep their spirits up in lockdown

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How Kiwi.com employees keep their spirits up in lockdown

By
15 May 2020

By | 15 May 2020

Collecting rocks, recreating famous places from LEGO® bricks, participating in an online chess tournament, or a spot of karaoke — these are just some ways we unwind after a long day

Spending hours on the phone with a customer, applying for a refund from an airline, or developing automation tools to speed up our workflow, even under lockdown we are all committed to helping our customers. After a long day of work in self-isolation, we all need to find a way to relax so we’re ready to go again the next day.

Kiwi.com employees prove they are a spirited and outgoing bunch. If it wasn’t for the months-long lockdown and self-isolation, we would be enjoying ourselves in the presence of other like-minded colleagues from countries all around the world. However, with employees keeping to their respective abodes since March, we now meet online to catch up and update each other on how we manage to relax when work for the day is finally finished.

We organize online group activities with a competitive aspect 

“I believe that keeping people together is now more important than ever. Personally, I felt a little frustrated when the quarantine started. My routine was ruined, I couldn’t do most of my usual activities. It was necessary for me to find new hobbies, try out new things and keep in touch with people,” says Doriska, Event Manager for Kiwi.com.

It’s perhaps safe to assume that most people in self-isolation feel similarly. An occasional chat with a colleague-friend on the phone would not cut it and many of us welcomed the activities Doriska and a couple of enthusiasts from Kiwi.com have been organizing.  

“The option to meet my colleagues during our internal events made me feel more ‘normal’. I am motivated to put on clothes other than my pajamas and I even apply makeup. For a moment, I forget about the whole lockdown. I just feel like I have 20 guys right there in my living room who are having fun.”

And to keep in line with our Kiwi.com spirit: think bigger and make it competitive. 

Sing like there’s no tomorrow!

An online karaoke is an easy way to stay in touch with others Group Created with Sketch. An online karaoke is an easy way to stay in touch with others — Kiwi.com

Our neighbors might not have had the time of their lives but we sure did! Who would have thought that a proper heart-felt karaoke can be just as well held over Zoom in your living room? And afterwards we voted for the performance we enjoyed the most. Quality Specialist Ali and Junior Claims Specialist Kristina won joint first place.

“The online karaoke was great fun, mostly because of the social contact with others. Since the beginning of the quarantine, I keep in touch with others only via the internet or I have video chats with colleagues while working,” says Kristina.

“This was a fun way to utilize the chats for something else than just work. I welcome any interesting online event as it’s something new and unusual, which helps to keep contact with colleagues also in a non-business way.”

Ali adds: “Music is one of those things that help me overcome stress. My mood gets better when I sing. It is cool to realize that there are colleagues who share the same passion for singing and music in general. We had lots of fun!”

“The quarterly Quiz Night was done over Zoom with 20 teams and (we think) no cheating!”

Our quarterly Quiz Night has been the biggest hit so far, with 120 Kiwi.com employees participating Group Created with Sketch. Our quarterly Quiz Night has been the biggest hit so far, with 120 Kiwi.com employees participating — Kiwi.com

An online karaoke is just one of the events we’ve organized. Chess tournaments, gaming and poker nights are people’s favorite, as well. The one event that absolutely topped the number of participants was the quarterly quiz night. Despite having been moved online, it saw a whopping 120 contestants.

“The quarterly Quiz Night was done over Zoom with 20 teams and (we think) no cheating! As for moving it online, we didn’t really need to do anything special, to be honest. It all worked seamlessly. We saw the same inter-team rivalries as if it was done offline, the same jokes were all there. Really competitive, really good fun,” says David, the Quiz Master and Lead Writer of Kiwi.com Stories.

Exercising our brains is just as important as exercising our bodies. With the gyms in the Czech Republic temporarily closed, we’ve been organizing various training sessions both for beginners and advanced.

Our employees have organized various training sessions both for beginners and advanced Group Created with Sketch. Our employees have organized various training sessions both for beginners and advanced — Kiwi.com

“When it comes to yoga, we have a colleague who is passionate about it and he was glad to give us a fun lesson and guide us through his drill. As for the functional training, a few employees applied to prepare a training for other Kiwi.com,” says Doriska.

“The amazing thing about Kiwi.com is that when you need help with something, you can always find internal people with the know-how and the willingness to help. We didn’t have to hire any external people to help with the events!” She adds.

Staying at home might just be the right time to get hands-on with arts and crafts

Despite not being a huge fan of needlework, Saša had no other choice than to try it out Group Created with Sketch. Despite not being a huge fan of needlework, Saša had no other choice than to try it out — Kiwi.com

Online group events are not the only way Kiwi.com employees keep themselves busy while working from home. Our internal communication channels are bustling with their creations and means to spend the long solitary evenings.

Saša from the Ancilleries Team has stumbled upon embroidery: “I don’t remember why I said that I wanted to try embroidery. I meant it as a joke because I’ve always hated needlework. But my boyfriend mentioned it to his mother, and she brought me her old supplies, so I didn’t have another option than actually trying it.”

Sometimes it’s also enough to revisit an old hobby from childhood and expand on it. Our Social Media Campaign Specialist James dug out his 3-generation family stash of LEGO® bricks, borrowed more from colleagues and started recreating famous destinations from around the world. Venice was his first creation and he’s done others, such as Greek Santorini or the blue city of Chefchaouen in Morocco.

Venice was James’s first LEGO® creation under lockdown Group Created with Sketch. Venice was James’s first LEGO® creation under lockdown — Kiwi.com

“There have been a lot of these recreations on social media recently, which inspired me to make some out of LEGO® bricks! Some places, especially Venice, have been very difficult to travel to recently so I thought this would be a fun way to pay tribute to them creatively,” says James about his hobby.

“I’ve never really found anything rare, mostly crystal, jasper, amethyst, or agate… Amethyst is definitely my favorite”

Autobooking Developer Václav found his true passion in collecting rocks, also known as geologging: “As a child I would go on trips to collect rocks and learn more about geology. I really enjoy dissecting things, especially with a hammer.

“Recently I’ve visited several stone quarries and gone to pan for garnets in the streams of Bradlecká Lhota. I’ve never really found anything rare, mostly crystal, jasper, amethyst, or agate… Amethyst is definitely my favorite.”

Václav found his passion for rocks as a child Group Created with Sketch. Václav found his passion for rocks as a child — Kiwi.com

A hammer is not the only tool Kiwi.com employees have picked up! Lately, we have also seen some wacky drawings (this one is from our UX Designer Tales) or old clothes being turned into a whole new look (Doriska has not only been organizing company events, she has also been decorating her clothes with iron-on stickers).

Tales was inspired by other colleagues picking up pens to do some drawing Group Created with Sketch. Tales was inspired by other colleagues picking up pens to do some drawing — Kiwi.com

Besides organizing events, Doriska has also been keeping herself busy with decorating her clothes Group Created with Sketch. Besides organizing events, Doriska has also been keeping herself busy with decorating her clothes — Kiwi.com

The lockdown has not been easy on any of us. Despite the everyday worries about our health and the health of our loved ones, we keep pushing on to process all the customer requests and refunds. In order to do that as efficiently as possible, at times we need to switch off to rest and recuperate. And we hope, perhaps, to have inspired you with our creations.

Enjoyed this article? Read more on Kiwi.com Stories

 

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Jana Brnáková

Jana Brnáková

"days like this. like your day today. maybe the rain on the window trying to get through to you. what do you see today? what is it? where are you?" CB