Last year, for the first time ever, we had a “Bays Break” over the Christmas holidays. Everyone (including myself) switched off their laptops and walked away for just over a week. This is the longest time I have been “on leave” since I started Bays, and I learnt two things: 1) I was far more exhausted than I admitted to myself and 2) the impact of peer pressure. I had insisted that everyone turn off their laptop. So what kind of example did I set if I sneakily turned mine on? That thought kept my laptop turned off and stopped me looking at emails on my phone. Instead, I filled my time sleeping, walking, watching films and playing increasingly competitive games of Dobble.
I am very grateful to everyone at Bays for politely, yet strongly, holding me to the Bays Break. As a company, we have the overarching approach of working together, not working for. This principle has been wonderfully evident this month. We are building on what we learnt last year to ensure we move forwards together. It is important to look at how we are achieving this:
Working at home (sometimes with kids)
I might be biased but having been based at home since 2009 I have learnt a thing or two about home working and I do know you can’t look after kids and work at the same time. You end up feeling ridiculously guilty the whole time and burning out. To counter this, at Bays we will continue to invest in our digital and cloud based working policies. We have an approach of working when it suits you, giving everyone freedom to manage their time and balance priorities. We’ve no magic wand, but by placing the emphasis on achieving quality deliverables, rather than forcing set hours at desks, we hope to play our part.
As for those not balancing work with kids, I also remember the loneliness of being home alone for long periods. Although we’re not meeting up with others at the moment, flexible hours allow people to get out when they really need or want to.
Making sure we’re better than “OK”
Physical and mental health have never been so important. If someone is “OK” or “alright” we need to see what we can do to help them. Everyone has their own challenges, whether it be lack of dedicated workspace; helping with online school learning or just really wanting to see something other than the same four walls. By building a strong sense of community and collaboration within Bays, it has become easier to be open about the challenges and opportunities we can see on the horizon. This means we can, together, take a big deep breath, and talk about what is needed, whether that is more resources or more time out. We can and do keep going, but not at the expense of each other – rather by raising each other up.
Making the light burn bright
Everyone is looking forward to the first Bays away day later on this year, and this is really acting as a beacon of light at the end of the tunnel. Many aspects have been sorted – we just need a date. This last year has enabled Bays to put into action its principles of being fair and kind. The result has been the whole team bringing their talents together, to ensure we’ve done some of the best data science projects we have ever worked on. I am delighted daily by the results every team member achieves, and I am so proud to be able to work with them. It just shows that it really is “nice to be nice”.
By Sophie Carr