(Good) Humans at work

(Good) Humans at work

Q&A with do-gooder digital agency Human_Code

“Work” and “fun” don’t often get put in the same sentence—except when you work for Human_Code. 

The southern Ontario digital agency is the kind of place where daily team updates start with a game of balloon volleyball and “Thanks for being you” is the office mantra. It looks effortless. But ask any company with a “fun” culture and you’ll find out it takes consciousness, courage and creativity. And, it turns out, a xocial campaign can help.

XOCIAL:
Why try xocial?
Human_Code:
First of all, we have a lot of early adopter techies on our team, so taking our efforts online using a new platform was pretty appropriate. But we thought xocial had all the right components to make a difference in our day-to-day workplace culture. We could engage with each other by sending messages through the app, and keep the competition going strong by updating each other on who was in the lead and who had done something wacky by email. We thought it could both take us out of our comfort zone and reinforce the great stuff we already do.
XOCIAL:
How did you choose your campaign focus?
Human_Code:
We called our campaign “Healthy Happy Humans” because good health, in its fullest sense, is something Human_Code takes pretty seriously. We’re encouraged to turn sit-down meetings into walking meetings—the office even has two treadmills with built-in desks. Our boardroom table turns into a ping pong table. And one of our employees likes to say that the most important thing to remember every day is to have fun. But the best policies aren’t worth much if no one practices them. If the treadmills sit idle or no one plays together, we may as well not have treadmills or game tables. And we sure won’t be having fun. So we used our xocial campaign as a way to practice what we preach: health and happiness. But probably the most important reason for the health and happiness focus is because we brought the idea of a xocial campaign to the whole team at our weekly meeting and that’s what they picked.
XOCIAL:
Where did the challenges come from?
Human_Code: xocial actually has a really useful bank of challenges that we just Human_Code-ized so they were more “us.” We also drew on some of thethings we knew were going on at the time of the campaign, like free yoga at City Hall and our company golf game.
XOCIAL:
What challenges were popular?
Human_Code:Drinking 8 glasses of water during the work day, taking the stairs, bringing your own lunch (and donating the money you would’ve spent to Hamilton Food Share), starting a meeting with jumping jacks, donating food items to our Food Share box—those were the most popular ones. Go figure—no one started a 30-second dance party. Maybe next time.

Workplace-Human_Code-Blog-activity

XOCIAL:
Share a meaningful moment from the campaign.
Human_Code:
There were lots of great moments. I loved opening my backpack and finding a handwritten note from my coworker saying thanks for something I’d done that day. Two people teamed up to bring in lunch for everyone which was an awesome surprise. On the last day of the campaign, the whole team brought food and drink (most of it locally produced) to share and we ate together and played a great game of Pictionary. The jokes about frequent bathroom breaks because of copious water consumption were pretty funny. And when our fearless leader chose to walk the entire—very hilly—golf course during a heat wave, his selfies documenting each 3 holes got progressively redder and sweatier and it was hilarious. But the best moments were probably when two of our employees chose to go without smoking for the whole day. The whole team was high fiving them for that, both in person and using xocial. They did it twice during the two-week campaign.
XOCIAL:
How important was the competition component?
Human_Code:
For us, competition was a great motivator. People were following each other’s scores and trying to butt in front of them on the leaderboard. We’d decided as a team that we didn’t want an individual reward for the top competitor, though. It meant more to us to all pull together to reach our campaign goal and have the CEO make a donation to Hamilton Food Share (who also happens to be a long-standing client of ours). It was that desire to reach our 2000 XP goal that made the last day of the campaign so much fun. The whole campaign was a magic combination of competition and teamwork.
XOCIAL:
Share some tips for a company thinking of using xocial as a teambuilder.
Human_Code:
Definitely get buy-in from the people who are participating. We decided on the campaign focus and the reward component as a group, but we could’ve asked for challenge suggestions from people, too. After the campaign was over we did a recap and everyone agreed that having teams compete against each other would’ve made it more fun. It was really important to have someone playing the cheerleader role. We needed those campaign updates to keep people engaged and excited about what was going on.

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