• Lech Guzowski

WGT: Work life balance at Doist with Chase Warrington [transcript]

Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Chase Warrington, Head of Business Development at Doist.


Description


Mental health and work life balance are topics which get nowhere near enough air time. Chase Warrington gives us a little peek behind the curtain of how things are done are Doist when it comes to supporting their employees' mental health and helping them strike the balance between work and life. He tells us about some of the initiatives that they run, some of the tools that they use, but also some of the team rituals that they create for social interaction in a remote first organisation.


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Transcript


Lech: Chase, fantastic to have you with me. My usual first question for all my guests is when you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Chase Warrington: [00:01:41] So really funny. I w we were just talking off stage a little bit about how my podcast came to be. And I had mentioned that I started re started it as a blog, but. Found out that writing was not my thing. So oddly enough, when I was little, I really wanted to be an author and maybe I figured it out at a young age.

This wasn't the path for me, but I think what happened was I wrote, I want a little writing contest that we had in like first grade, which is, I don't know, maybe when you're like seven or eight or so I'm not really even sure. And and I latched onto that, Oh, I'm, I'm good at this. That's what I'm going to be.

I'm going to be an author. And I specifically remember my mom saying, you know, what do you, what do you think you'll want to be when you're older? Like maybe we should log this every year because it'll probably change. I said, no, you can just go ahead and write it down. I'll I'll be an author. And so that was, that turned out to not be true.

Yeah.

Lech: [00:02:30] That's interesting that you say that cause I'm I think it was Luke Kyte that I had on the, on the podcast a couple of weeks ago. He said the exact same thing, but he wanted to be a writer and author when he was little, which is quite interesting. I always like to ask this question because after I've asked 20, 30, 50 people, I will want to try and pick out whether there are any commonalities.

I wasn't having a semblance of something because a lot of people wanted to be the teachers veterinarians or something like that, where there was always an element of helping people. And these people were always kind of ended up working in kind of HR, people in culture and those types of positions where you've got that.

Area of service that, that kind of attitude of service to help others. So I thought there was, I was kind of getting a pattern there, but now you and a couple of other guests kind of are throwing that pattern as a spanner in the works, in that pattern. So I'll continue to ask him, I'll continue finding, finding out.

But I, I do like that question because it's, it's quite fun to find out what people wanted to be when they were little, but, okay. So how did you arrive at what you're doing now? Cause obviously you're the head of business development for, for Doist. How did you get from being an offer to being in a biz

Chase Warrington: [00:03:35] Yeah, pretty, pretty long journey. I kind of break up my, my post university career into, into two different chapters. But, but you know, starting back, I guess it, at the introduction, if it was in, if we're talking about chapters, like in. In my university years, I really, I studied division of finance called risk management and, and plans for, you know, to save a long story, had kind of like a long term connection with some people then the in the insurance industry and thought that, you know, those seemed like a good path.

There was a university by that had one of the top programs in the in the country for, for this particular kind of science of division of finance. And so I decided, Oh, okay, I'm going to do that. But when I got into university, I started, I studied abroad. I did an internship in China. And and they just spent a lot of time traveling, spent my summers traveling and kind of started to fall out of love with that concept and really fell more in love with international business and working across different cultures and things like that.

But I wasn't really sure what to do with that. When I, when I graduated, I knew I wanted remote work and I knew I wanted flexibility and I didn't want to go into a cubicle every day. So I, I went with sort of the path of least resistance went with an awesome company in the insurance field that gave me the opportunity to travel a lot.

I traveled three or four days a week, 12 to 15 days a month. And was always in a new place meeting lots of people and just really enjoyed that. We worked a lot with partners in London. And so I got my, it was, it was a form of business development and marketing, and that's really where I got the baseline of my the business development background going.

But I, that, that it's to travel more internationally, that, that desire to be surrounded by people from different cultures and really to have full location. Independence was always kind of knowing at me. And so I decided to, after six years to take a break, take a year off, travel with my wife. We, we traveled all around the world and With our 50 pound Husky in tow with us.

And and eventually during that time, I came across Doist and they were looking for somebody to manage their international marketing team. We had 17 people spread out around the world and our major international markets. We, we localize our apps into 17 different languages. And so the idea was to manage that marketing team.

I happened to have international experience marketing experience in a tech company. I didn't have the technical skills, but they needed somebody on the marketing team. And so that, that fit my needs. And then I just got, got my foot in the door with the company and took it from there. And now I'm in the position that I'm in today.

Lech: [00:06:12] That's a, a very interesting journey. And I think one that a lot of people kind of aligned with is the fact that as a university, we tend to do degrees, but we're not always sure what we want to do afterwards. And that's, I know I found myself in that situation, but unlike you I escaped into doing.

Another degree, because if you don't know what to do, you'd decide to do the degree. Luckily for me, the things kind of connected over the years, I've been in a lucky position. I am in that lucky position, that kind of one course facility to another. And now I'm actually kind of circled back to my original course, which is English studies becoming a teacher, basically with all the workshops and the stuff that I do that primed me really, really well.

And I've actually when, when, when I think about it, that element of training and teaching has always been parts of my, my career in one way or another. So it's nice when things connect like that. But I've even had this conversation with some other guests is how the educational system potentially needs to play a little fair bit of catch up to get the people ready for what the companies expect from the workers, because that divided between what, what type of skills and experiences are coming out of the educational system and what is actually needed to help people need to be bad, I think is getting wider and wider.

And I wonder when. When it's going to tip and w and also, which way is it going to tip

Chase Warrington: [00:07:29] Yeah. So it's a really good point. And I think like something that I, I, I think is worth mentioning that I think there's a mindset. I, I certainly had this mindset. I don't know if you did as well, but I, I was always kind of scared of making a, like coming out of university, going down one path because I thought, well, once I go down that path, I can't go back.

I don't want to waste time. You know, I don't want to re I don't want to take two steps backwards later. And I think what I've learned over my. You know, 12 year career or whatever is that you, you pick up stuff along the way. All the things that I learned in university, maybe I did, maybe I didn't ultimately end up doing exactly what I studied, but I learned a lot during those days.

And I didn't just complete, not all that. Didn't just completely go out the window. It, it stuck with me. It, it put to use the same with the first chapter of my career, the things I learned there were, are put to use even today in a totally different industry and a totally different type of role. So, you know, it's not, you don't lose it when you, when you make a change, you, you, you retain quite a bit and it's put to use.

Lech: [00:08:33] I think it's also down to figuring out who learns in what ways, because we all do we take information through different means. Even the simplest fact that I can talk about is when somebody shows me how to use a piece of software, I want to be in the driver's seat. I want to be the one that's doing the clicking.

And somebody's looking over my shoulder saying, do this, do that. Because if I am supposed to just listen to how things are done, I switch off my, I lose my focus. And I don't remember was if I go through the steps, I'll remember, it will just kind of embed itself in my brain. So even the, the learning styles, that's where a lot of the educational system doesn't I think take into consideration.

Well, enough, that being said, I would say that university is not for everybody. In the sense of what they're going to learn is is their progress development and growth will be quicker if they go and do stuff hands-on into the industry, if you will. And that can be for whatever, in whatever industry that somebody chooses to go into.

And I think I was reading this the other day. I'm pretty certain it was in America actually. So. You wanna kind of neck of the woods uh, where a school there's there's good schools, high schools tend to celebrate people going into universities, kind of waving their acceptance letters and things like that.

And there's also always a bit of a kind of a celebration party kind of thing. I don't, I'm not sure how, how it's called and that's, what's the most common thing that happens. And this school did something different. They did do that for the people going to the university, but they also had a special meeting gathering for, of, of similar sorts for people who, who weren't going to colleges and universities, they were going directly into the industry to celebrate them their choice, because everybody has their way of contributing to the workforce to the world.

And I think that was kind of a very, very cool thing to do.

Chase Warrington: [00:10:16] Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's just not for everybody. And it's crazy to think that like as an 18 year old, you know, you're supposed to have it figured out and pick your path and, and go from there. I mean the whole gap year concept is not really a thing in the U S is as well. And like, that's something, you know, spending, I've spent a lot of time in Europe.

I've been living, living here the last three years and traveled here quite a bit. And hadn't lived here in different places throughout the last decade. And I picked that up like very early on, like, wow, that's an amazing concept. I wish that we had that because it would give people some time to kind of disassociate from what the path is, quote unquote, supposed to be and, and kind of figure out what it is that you want to do to contribute to to society.

And so, yeah, this, this kind of preset path that we're all supposed to follow is a little bit like robotic and I, I embraced like kicking the, bucking the trend a little bit and trying something new.

Lech: [00:11:09] That's what we're trying to undo. I think that those decades of that's right, because the way the educational system the kind of the workforce what's required been set up is that the times when it was set up, we're talking 30, 40, 50, or 60 years factory setting. Taylorism we're in different times, we need to adapt to that.

So. That was what we used to do was good, but now we're in different times, we need to change that. We can't just be doing the same thing, how we've done it, because it's just, it's just going to break. It's going to fall over sooner or later. And the falling over can be in terms of our businesses. But most of on worst of all, I think is potentially the people, how it's going to impact the people and how they're prepared and how they are capable of coping with everything that's going on.

And it will take a little bit of time to do all of that. So the kind of cookie cutter approach is, as we said, not having that gap year. People not knowing exactly what they want to do. They need to, they didn't need to know that for 30, 40 years ago, they might want to, to have that. But the work was that we're going into, it was a job for life.

There was a pension for life.

I'm we're, we're now we're in a different boat and I'm in my, and that's probably one of the biggest misunderstanding and misconceptions. Actually. They actually have to have it, figure it out. I'm in my mid thirties and I still don't know exactly what I want to do. Yeah.

That's part of my work that I need to do, but also I know this is going to change every five or 10 years. I wouldn't I've, I've got a bit of a North star and they'll where I want to head, but how, and which path I'm going to say, that's going to change. And I think that's one of the biggest even I would say lies is, is that we don't have to have that all figured out.

It just takes a little bit of time to work out the details of how we want to do that and do it bit by bit the kind of few steps ahead.

Chase Warrington: [00:12:51] Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more. Have you ever read sapiens by any chance

Lech: [00:12:55] No, I haven't. I've heard about it, but I haven't tell me more.

Chase Warrington: [00:12:58] w it's one of my favorite books, maybe my favorite book, at least that I've read in the last couple of years. And it covers a lot. I mean, it's literally covering the you know, all of humanity, so there's a lot in there, but one of the things that I love that the author talks about is how the word career is like a 19th, 20th century.

Fabrication like this, this word didn't exist until the last hundred and 50 years or so. And until then people were doing all kinds of odd jobs throughout life and really living like amazing live. Like he talks about how the Neanderthals lived in and the average day of the early hominids. And so anyway, it's just really interesting to kind of reflect on that.

Like we have this word career kind of like baked into our brains from the time where, I mean, I was thinking about being an author at seven, you know, and. That's what I said. I was going to do the rest of my life. Cause that's kind of what we're told you're going to do. And that's what we saw often our parents do and to see where we are today, that just, it just doesn't fit.

You can, you can zigzag a little bit more and find your happiness at different chapters of life and things change and education is at our fingertips. Now, like you can, you could get the equivalent of a college degree online and YouTube probably in a couple months, you know? So it's it's, it's wild.

Yeah. It's a different world.

Lech: [00:14:16] I'm always interested in what the world will look like in five or 10 years, because the progress that we've made in the last 20 years will probably go in forwards as all sorts of different rules exist on, on how that kind of computing, computing and changes is that what is taken us 20 years?

In five years, time will take us 10 years. And I wonder what at that rate of progress at the rate of change is where we're going to be. And this is part of the reason behind me starting this podcast was to help, facilitate that change that I've mentioned earlier, that we need to go away from the approaches and how we build our business, how we treat our people, how we support people through their growth and to kind of more align it with what's required of the business and the, of, of the people kind of how we put those structures in place.

And that's kind of the purpose behind his podcast to talk to people like yourself who have been through that journey are on that journey with that team and organizations and, and kind of showcase that. And actually, this is one of the main reasons I really wanted to talk to you about it because One of the first episodes of this podcast was with, a friend of mine who with whom I talked about the balancing of life and work in 2020.

And when we were recording that podcast, that particular episode, we're both going through a bit of a tougher time actually doing that juggling act. So we did share quite a bit a bit of ranting about how to strike that balance. And most of all, what is the role of organizations of our companies in supporting.

Individuals through that change in kind of, especially with the pandemic and people working from home. Most of the time the mental health aspect is so, so important. What is the role of organizations to do that? And you and I got chatting about it on LinkedIn, where that's, what Doist does well, and I actually wanted to know a little bit more from you.

Can you give us a little bit of a background.

Chase Warrington: [00:16:10] Yeah, sure. So I mentioned like one of the reasons I wanted to come to Doist was was because of the location independence and the, the match with the job description and my background. But what I was really taken back by was the emphasis that the, that this company puts on work-life balance and really ensuring that our teammates have a life outside of work.

We just really practice what we preach when we say work is not everything. We, we, and we, and we do this, we, we display this in a variety of ways. Some are very subtle, some are very obvious and out loud. But it's, it's really in the DNA of the company to say, you know, We re we want you to show up to work and we want you to put in your time.

But we don't really care about how much time that is as long as it's not too much. We're not really worried about tracking hours. We're not really worried about clocking in and clocking out. What we're worried about is, is getting good high quality work and ensuring that you live a balanced life.

So when you need to take time off, you take time off. We, we provide 40 days of, of vacation every year and we insist that people take it. We insist that when you're off, you're actually off, you get no bonus points. And in fact, you might get you, you'd be more likely to get fired for for working on a vacation or working over the weekend when you're not supposed to be.

So really like when you're, when you're off, you're off, we don't, we don't give, we're not really big at big on like, you know, the person that comes in early comes into the office early or stays late that doesn't really get you bonus points either. Like you're, you're. Graded really on your work. And and then everything else, the, the sort of inputs are not even considered.

So, I mean, we always say like, we'd rather have somebody that can get the whole project done in two hours, as opposed to the person who says, Oh, I'll come in early and stay late and get it done in 10 hours. And I think that kind of speaks to the way we view work. We, we try to get people to share a lot about their lives outside of work.

Embrace having family and friend time and social time outside of work. We don't push people to stay up, to be on meetings. We're very asynchronous focus. So people are, if we have a meeting, we have teammates spread across all time zones in 30 something countries. We never try to have a meeting where somebody would have to be on that call at 9:00 PM or 5:00 AM, but just the meeting just won't happen.

So yeah, we just, we really just put the people first and trust that the work will get done and the rest really takes care of itself.

Lech: [00:18:33] Am I right in thinking that Doist is remote first

Chase Warrington: [00:18:36] Correct. Yeah. We're, we're like a hundred people about in 30 something different countries and we don't have any offices or we don't even have like like presence indicators on our, on the tools we use. So we like, literally, we don't know when people are working. We just know that at the end of the month, our goals are hit or they're not

Lech: [00:18:54] And in terms of supporting that, cause these, some of the things that you've mentioned in terms of sort of forcing people to, to, to take time off and make sure that they're not at work and when they are supposed to be on holiday and things like that, are there any specific initiatives at Doist that, that help people achieve that balance or that they encouraged, encouraged to do that?

For, for themselves.

Chase Warrington: [00:19:16] Yeah, we have, we have a variety of things. So first of all, we're, we're very. Vocal about encouraging people to take time off throughout the pandemic, for instance you know, I mentioned the 40 days, but we all on top of that, you have sick days and, and maternity leave, paternity leave sick just just days where you just say, I just, I need to take a day off.

I'm not feeling up to it. I'm stressed out and I just need to log out for the day. And we were actively encouraging people on a regular basis from the CEO down to. The heads of different departments too, and encourage your team to take time as you need. It I'd have direct reports that would come to me and say, Oh, I'm just feeling kind of stressed out.

You know, I don't know if I, but I don't want to take a vacation day, you know, for this, just to just take the day off, just, you know, clock out. And and we also have some, we have some mental health initiatives like an internal mental health committee. That's kind of monitoring things like imposter syndrome and burnout and anxiety and stress.

And, and these are things, you know, remote work is great. But we, we do a lot of advocacy work for, for remote work and we're involved in some studies and almost always the downsides of remote work, come back with overwhelming data, showing a high level of burnout, stress, anxiety, loneliness. So I kind of see that as like, as leaders and at Doist, I see it as one of our key.

Initiatives is to prevent that because I think we're so much more productive than an office worker is that the work actually takes care of itself very, very easily. People want to hold onto their remote first jobs. And they're willing to put in the time the key is really to make sure they don't put in too much time and work too hard.

So I see it as a big part of my job to prevent my team from overworking rather than worse than underworking. And and so I think like I'm not alone in that at the, at the company, we're very vocal about it. We've had people that have gone out on, on leave before, like one person that was out on paternity maternity leave and they kept checking in at work throughout it.

And, and they got a pretty firm slap on the wrist for this publicly, like, you know, your, that you're not allowed to do that. You're ruining our culture. So I think it's just like about, you know, again, like practicing what you preach. Yeah.

Lech: [00:21:27] And has this always been this approach at Doist? Is that something that evolved over, over time? As a result that I don't know, the, the, the, the, the people, the head of departments of the CEO realized that this is something something's off, we need to change things and kind of it got to that point, or was that always the, on the agenda of one of the values

Chase Warrington: [00:21:49] I would lean it's. So it's, I think it's ever evolving and we're, we're always refining and improving because we want to be, we want to do this, everything we do. We want to, we say, we want to do it at a world-class level. And this is at the core of that. We want to get, provide this work-life balance at a world-class level.

So we're always evolving. But it's, it's been baked into the, to the company since the beginning, the, the CEO and the COO are Bosnian and Danish, but the, the Amir, the CEO is grew up in Denmark. And I think there's a lot, you know, Denmark consistently rated as one of the happiest countries in the world.

They have it's a very egalitarian country, and there's, there's just a lot of equality. And so they, and a heavy emphasis on work-life balance. And so I think that's just like been at the core of the company. There was never another way to do it. And I, and I have to say as an American, you know, coming from.

The, the idea of, you know, maybe having one to two weeks, a year of vacation, fewer holidays you know, not like the opposite of what I was saying, where you do get a lot of bonus points for showing up early and staying late and working on the weekends and clocking in on your vacations. Having the opposite of that has been just that much more shocking and amazing for me.

Lech: [00:23:05] First of all you mentioned that the CEO and the kind of founders of, of do is, are from Denmark explained so much just because of what you said, their approach to work-life balance is is completely different to most of the world. And it's in a, in a, in a very, very good way. So it's all the pieces of the puzzle start starting to fall into place for me here, for sure.

And in terms of the comparing that, and the experience you've had of being from, from America, where kind of the employment law is structured in a slightly different way in the amount of holiday you get compared to most European countries, I'm surprised they didn't give you a whiplash changing from one to head to the other, because I was, I was shocked.

I think it was the last year that I found out that majority of organizations by law only in the U S give 10 days holiday a year. Is that, is that right?

Chase Warrington: [00:23:53] Yeah, I don't know what the I've actually, I would venture to say, I could totally be wrong about this, but I would, my, my understanding is there actually isn't a law and it's probably state to state. But like there there's employment at will is sort of the default. And basically it's left to the companies to decide, and the employees that choose to, or to not work for a company to decide if they want to go there.

I can, I can tell you that when I was graduating from university, I got a very lucrative job offer that. Promise me five days of vacation per year and zero could be taken during the month of December. And because that was the busiest month of the year. And I just remember sitting there thinking like, there's no amount of money.

You could pay me to work here where, where I've got to get five days a year off. And and I, and I will say regarding the whiplash, I went to work that, that chapter one that I mentioned, I went to work for a company from an American standpoint. That was very much so on the Danish side of the spectrum, as far as you could get probably in the U S in terms of like, they actually did really value work-life balance and, and provided a decent number of days off.

Not, not so much compared to the European standards, but still from American standpoint, I, I took a baby step in that direction, I guess you could say.

Lech: [00:25:09] Okay, so you, you had some training wheels, let's put it

Chase Warrington: [00:25:11] Yeah, it was always important for me. I mean, that, that was a key, like, I like. We all want to make money. We all want to live comfortably. But I really, I, it was always important to me to have like the, the life outside of work. I just, just couldn't fathom, you know, working, working my life away.

Lech: [00:25:29] No, I think that's a very, very healthy approach. And I'm pretty certain the pandemic and kind of the work from home because majority of people are working from home. They're not working remotely that let's, let's make a plain and clear what we're experiencing in 2020 and 2021 majority of the time, majority of organizations is working from home.

That's partially because of the organizations still haven't moved to full remote working, but we also, because we can't freely move around because the pandemic is still happening. So we don't get the benefits that, you know, today I'm deciding I'm going to go for a month to Italy and I'm going to work from that.

Not just yet, hopefully we're going to do that, but it will be interesting to see when all of this settles down a little bit more where, how the organizations are going to adapt and how that kind of, how many organizations will move to hybrid work and how many organizations will move to actual remote working for their employees, not just working from home, but that's in the future.

We can talk about it when it actually happens. I'm really curious about some of the mental health initiatives that you've mentioned do is that you get, you have a panel that kind of looks at people in sort of burnout, stress levels and things like that. What does that have, because you also mentioned some sort of data element data points that, because a lot of people often ask me, it's like, we've got all this data.

What do we do with it? How do we utilize that? Can you tell us a little bit more in terms of what, what mental health initiatives do happen and potentially what data is being used and how it's being used?

Chase Warrington: [00:26:50] Yeah, sure. It's a great question. I love the topic because I think it's something that even just as soon as a year ago, I don't know what you think. Maybe you might have an opinion on this as well, but I feel like. This was not a topic of discussion in the remote world a year, maybe two years ago at all.

And it's fortunately brought up self to the limelight and people are actually dealing with it. And we fall into that category in terms of we were not dealing with it. We, we were not, we thought we were doing things correctly and people were plugging along and work was great companies, achieving goals.

People are generally happy. But especially during the pandemic, just because of exactly what you just mentioned, you know, the, the work conditions that people have right now are not normal. People were working with their kids at home, homeschooling and families are living on top of each other and you can't travel or escape, or really even take a vacation if you're not, if you're not allowed to.

You know, nobody wants to take a vacation and then just sit at home and quarantine. So people are leaning into work and and that's exasperating a underlying problem that was already there. So. That is all to say that the data has been in front of us. But it hasn't been a great topic of conversation.

Something that we took very seriously. And I think when I talk with leaders at other remote companies, they also weren't taking it seriously until recently. And so that's why we've recently formed this mental health initiative. It happened organically. It happened because we had a few people on the team suffering from some mental health issues and through private discussions, realizing that that was not.

You know, they weren't alone, which is great. And, and one of our teammates had a, some background in psychology and in this subject in particular and so organically this sort of committee was formed and they started a monthly mental health update. So we use a platform called twist, which is something, a product that we built sort of like a Slack alternative.

And so we have channels and threads. And so if you're familiar with Slack, you'd kind of understand the, the terminology there. So they started a channel and dedicated threads to different. Mental health topics and ways of coping. There's some automation that's involved now. So there's the other day I woke up and there was a bot had populated in my twists saying like, Hey, just do a quick stress test.

Like if you answer yes to this, to there's 10 questions, if you answer yes, to more than three of these questions, like consider taking a day off today and just relaxing. You know, and, and, and so it's really just, I mean, like the activity that we've done so far is not really that. In depth like it's, but just the fact that we've opened that door and scraped the surface, I think is opening the opportunity, opening up the opportunity for people to express themselves.

Talk about it, connect with others who are, who are feeling the same pain. Recognizing imposter syndrome, I think is a huge thing that has plagued a lot of companies and I've seen people kind of fall out of their positions because of because of imposter syndrome. So giving people these, these platforms to discuss it and just find out that they're not alone and then providing some advice, providing some support is, is as far as we've gone with it.

And it doesn't feel like we, it feels like we can do so much more. But it also feels like a huge first step that's that's been successful.

Lech: [00:30:04] Definitely my mental health has not been a topic. For for, for, for a long time. Definitely not a topic that we cover in depth enough. And we haven't done that for, for a long while. I think the pandemic sped things up a little bit in that focus, that it gave more focus to it as a result of what's been going on.

I would argue still not enough. Because what we did, we just sent people home and there were so many moving parts. Everybody was trying to figure out what's going on with organizations that it got deprioritized. That's what I, I would think. Cause the organizations had to look at after so many other things, basically keeping the businesses going, which I understand.

So I'm not blaming and I'm not vilifying. With what I'm about to say is that I think that mental health should have been higher up the list. I think we took it for granted because people, a lot of the time, especially the startup pandemic, we didn't know what the hell's going on. We didn't know how deadly this thing is.

What's going to happen. So people were fearful that. About themselves, about their families, what is going to be on the, on the mold kind of life-threatening level? I would say as an on top of that, there was also the elements of what's going to happen with our business because we're customer first faced face to face.

And then all of a sudden we shut off, how are we going to generate your money? Am I going to lose my jobs? So the amounts of anxiety going on was absolutely insane. And something that I think that's where the organizations and leaders should have stepped in and said, let's do this. And I know some of them were doing it right.

And again, a lot of people, organizations were finding their way now that the, I don't want to say the dust has settled, but we know what we're dealing with a bit more. And we're hopefully on the way out of all of this there's no, there's not. There's no, without excuse. And people are continuing to work from home and it's even more and more difficult to stay, to work from home as a result of what's going on.

So that's where that support for mental health. Preventing people from burnout because the boundaries between personal life and work life have blurred drastically because we're working from home and as a person who lives alone it's easier, easier for me, I would say to manage that.

I can't imagine what, what people go through if they're live with partners, most of all kids, because then you've got so many other things to look after. This is, this is where, kind of the elements of what do organizations do to, to help us out comes in again. And I'm interesting to see to hear what you've we kind of got coming up in that sense.

I do. So they're only interested if they, you working on, are you thinking of introducing because something may be came up on your radar that you think it's worth addressing or something that you've been doing so far? Hasn't been working as well as it should have, and then you want to kind of tweak it.

Chase Warrington: [00:32:34] Yeah, one thing that's a big part of the way we, we quote unquote, say like make remote work work is by normally having a couple of offline. Meetings a couple of times a year. So normally we do a company retreat where we bring in everybody to one central location for one week. And I'm so, I mean, recently we've been to the eight doors and Athens Greece, and we went down to the South of QLA and so we've been, we, we do these trips once a year.

It's always, so we, you walk away from that trip. So re-invigorated because you've just had a week of bonding with your teammates and actually seeing people and reconnecting and building relationships and not to mention some great work and brainstorming and stuff like that. That happens as well. And so we haven't had that.

We also normally do a week with our immediate teams and some other location, so about, so that means about every six months, you're actually spending some time with your, with your teammates in a very fun environment, traveling to a new city. It's it's great. So we've obviously not had that now for, for going on two years.

And you can see that it's, it's, you know, it's affecting people in a, in a social way. We don't, we don't want to push people to have to make work their social life. But we want to provide some social outlets for those, especially the extroverts on the team, the people who really crave that. And and so we're, we're, we never really thought about this too much in the past.

I mean, we have some initiatives internally to get people on zoom calls together and we call them like random Hangouts, casual Hangouts, where you can meet up with your teammates and have an hour long conversation. We encourage people to have social calls and, and things like that. We have a couple of little games that are played, but.

We've never really put a lot of focus on this, like, like creating a social, the equipment, the happy hour or the the water cooler, the lunch, you know, let's all go out to lunch kind of thing that happens in a more traditional setting. So the cool thing is, is technology's catching up with this.

There's, there's a lot there's startups and companies out there building tools to help facilitate this for remote teams, there's supply and demand happening at the same time there. So we're starting to evaluate these things. I'm testing new tools instantly, and thinking about how we can infuse this into the team.

So just giving people more, we're a very asynchronous team. We work very much through the written word and don't rely on meetings a lot and. We don't want to get people to a zoom fatigue place where we're just like, Hey, jump on a zoom call, jump on a zoom call. Hang out with your teammates more. So we're trying to find more creative ways to, to do that and actually make this a priority that it never has been in the past because we always had that, you know, every six months to look forward to.

And now that's not the case.

Lech: [00:35:12] You're right. There are, there are plenty of tools out there. And I came across at all and I'm trying to remember the name. It might come back to me. I was chatting, chatting to one of the founders of it. Actually, they are a platform that helps people engage and kind of build that engagement between between the team members and the people within organization for music.

Anthym, they call it, they are called Anthym, but I think it's spelled so some slightly differently. And basically the premise is that you share stories related with music that you like, your favorite, your favorite songs and things like that. And that just gives pop people as, as, as they call it the excuse to talk.

And I like, I like that concept because often it's difficult to start conversation. We'll have small talk, but if there's an excuse and it's something that you can talk about, like a favorite song and, you know, story behind it somebody, somebody can else can raise her. I love that. I love that song as well.

I don't know it's about Metallica is its thing. Is it the rolling stones, whoever, because everybody's going to have some sort of memory with that song and straightaway that just gives that common ground for people to a bit of a bit of bonding. And I think that it's being used as an onboard for, for the teams which which is quite fascinating.

So this there's plenty tools out there for people to be able to, to kind of. Can collaborate by saying, get to know each other a little bit better to look after that mental health aspect, I guess more and more in terms of building our teams.

Chase Warrington: [00:36:29] I love, I love that concept. I've not heard of Anthym. I'm going to check it out though, for sure. Because I'm very interested in these things and it actually, it kind of like jogged my memory real quick, about a couple of other. Kind of similar things that we've done, we've created more like channels within twist to give people a place to talk more about like personal things.

So we've got, you know, a travel channel and a parenting channel, a gardening book club channel, things like this. So giving people more of a, just kind of a, a natural place, a side projects channel to, to talk about things that they have in common cooking, coffee, things like that. So that's, that's been, you know, we're, we're doing more of that.

We're getting people when they're first onboarding to share 10 interesting facts about themselves that always sparks some interesting conversation. I mean, I've, I'm like blown away by some of my colleagues and the life they've lived and where they come from. And so it just, it sparked some amazing conversation and there's a way to do it.

You know, it's like, there's some, there's some drawbacks to remote work, but you're, we're, we're learning more and more every day, how to make up for those drawbacks.

Lech: [00:37:28] We definitely are, and I think it's all a learning curve and it will continue to be an a probably that's that's the fun, the fun of it. I just had the look and it is Anthym, but it's spelled within a Y instead of an E. So it's anthym.life. So do have a look and I'll include it in the show notes as well for people who want to check it out.

And from what Brian, one of the co-founders was telling me they've got some really exciting plans to introduce new features into it. So they're, they're, they're building that platform and it's, it seems really, really exciting. Right. What have you got going on in the next few months that you're really excited about?

Personally and professionally? I know personally you recently lost litter on a podcast. So basically. Feel free to plug away anything that you want to plug away personally, to do it. Do just go ahead.

Chase Warrington: [00:38:12] Excellent. Yeah. Thank you for the, for the opportunity. Yeah. I launched a a podcast, something that we embrace a lot at tourist is people having side projects. And it was another thing when I first came to the company. I remember very early on one of the developers mentioning to the whole company like, Hey guys, I launched this app over the weekend and I'm like, Dude, like we're at an app company, you can't do that.

Like, isn't that like competition, but but no, we, we really embrace that and I, I found it to be a great creative outlet for me in business development. So my, the focus of my work is on acquisition and funnels and numbers and, and customer, very customer focused. And so to have a creative outlet and about something that I really enjoy, which is exploring life in other countries other cultures and and, and then how to make the life abroad for yourself happen is something that I really wanted to get into.

So the name of my podcast is about abroad. It's, I interview thought leaders and ex-pats and people around the world that are living in various foreign corners of the planet. And just talk about what life's like there, how they came to be how they found work, visa stuff sort of like.

Practical info. Plus a bit of inspo is as well. And so it's been a, it's been a blast I've I'm in season one. I'm starting to record season two now and really enjoying it a lot. So that's, that's on my plate from the personal standpoint. I'm hoping to get back to traveling a little bit and and exploring that side of me in real life, not just throw a microphone and yeah, I'm going to continue.

I'm I'm living in Spain now, so I'm renewing my visa planning on staying another two years, at least. And so actually as of today I just got an out, they got the notice that my visa was approved. So I will definitely be here for two more years as of today.

Lech: [00:39:52] Spain's lucky to have you I'm sure of that

Chase Warrington: [00:39:56] Appreciate it. Yeah. I, I, that's what I put on my application. You're lucky to have me. Let me stay.

Lech: [00:40:01] brave, but as long as it works, you know, whatever, whatever gets you through and gets you the visa, I guess anything on the Doist side in terms of kind of what you have initiatives in terms of for your team to look after them more in terms of that work-life balance or anything else at all that you planning in terms of putting people

Chase Warrington: [00:40:20] Yeah, we're really hoping that we'll be having some sort of offline meetings. I've onboarded some teammates and, and have some we have, we have hired quite a bit throughout the pandemic. We've been fortunate that the, that the company's continued to do well, and we have, so we have a lot of new teammates that have never met each other.

I had a video call today with somebody that's been with us since September. And it was the first time we'd actually been on a call together. And it was just to see the person's face for the first time. I'm thinking this is nuts, you know, shouldn't be like this. So. Yeah, my hope is that we'll we'll, we'll have some sort of offline meeting as the vaccines rollout and we'll get to get people back on the road a little bit, you know, even if it's in small clusters, probably won't have the whole company meeting this year.

It seems unlikely, but who knows fingers crossed. And, and we're going to continue to, I think we're going to really double down on this. Like let's some of the things that we discussed here today is like evaluating some of these new tools that are out there rethinking the way we do remote work.

There might have, there could be, there's always a place where complacency can come in. You know, we've been doing this for 12 years. We think we know how to do it, and we're doing it well, but I think it's a good time to step back and say, You know, are we doing it the best we possibly can? And can we use some new tools that are out there, some new technology, there's tons of knowledge sharing about how to make remote work work.

So I think we're going to spend a lot of time distilling that and putting in some, some new practices and really continuing to take the mental health thing very seriously and, and help prevent burnout and stress.

Lech: [00:41:48] And if people want to follow what you do, obviously we'll include a link to your podcast. But any other places they can follow what you're up to. Both personally and professionally. Where would that be?

Chase Warrington: [00:41:59] Yeah.

thanks. The best place professionally is on LinkedIn. So I, I kind of limit my social media to basically two channels one for work, one for play. So work-wise that's that you can find me on LinkedIn chase Warrington and on on Instagram DC Warrington. And I have a separate handles for the podcast at about dot abroad and a about abroad.com is the, is the URL for the for the podcast

Lech: [00:42:26] Ah, brilliant chase. Thank you very much for taking the time to join me and share some of your knowledge and experiences with us.

Chase Warrington: [00:42:33] I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yeah. Thank you for having me. And yeah, I love what you're doing here. Like bringing, bringing these, some of these topics to light and making them top of mind is, is great. Excited to see how the, how the show goes.



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