Caring for Employees – TSG Shield.

05 Jan 21
7 minutes

Winter is coming… and winter in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe, can take a depressing face. At Ten Square Games, we are professionals in providing fun to gamers worldwide, so the happiness level of our ranks must be at a constant, high level. Therefore, we have planned a special, unique TSGian anti-covid shield! 

The circumstances made us return to remote work in the fall. Closed restaurants, gyms, restrictions on going out – we could already observe a decrease in moods during the first lockdown. We were afraid that the situation would get worse combined with shorter days, gray weather, and being isolated at home.

During our semiannual meeting with the board, we ran an AMA session, and it confirmed that what our employees are asking about was an occasion to meet, chat, and party together. It was another signal for us that we need to raise the team’s morale and take care of the yearning for integration and crucial wellbeing aspects, such as physical and mental health.

Unfortunately, the circumstances and restrictions won’t allow us to meet in person for at least a few  (or more) months. But where there’s a will there’s a way, and here is the story of our unique TSG Shield program that will keep our spirits high for the next three months!

Our Goals

The need for integration within the team was an origination factor, but perhaps providing special care to our employees was even more essential. In addition to signs of a decline in morale, we have also noticed that people who live alone are more likely to feel isolated and that the home office can take its toll not only mentally but also physically.

Our goals could, therefore, be divided into three areas:

  • Increase integration within TSG employees (i.e., we have recruited about 130 new people since March, and many of them haven’t had a chance to meet others in person);
  • Counteract loneliness and take care of mental health;
  • Avoid problems connected with poorly  arranged working conditions and lack of activity (i.e., limited space at home to prepare a proper working station)

To meet these challenges, we have decided to offer our employees a series of integration, entertainment, wellbeing, and sports activities for the upcoming three months. Moreover, we decided to look for a way to positively use this time – for example, by encouraging people to take care of themselves through sports platforms, diet, internal development, mindfulness workshops, and learning to cope with stress.

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Keeping up team spirit 

We wanted to allow everyone to meet with colleagues from work in informal circumstances and get to know people better since most of our onboardings in 2020 were conducted remotely. We have  new employees who haven’t even met with us in the office yet! 

We faced a difficult challenge because the topic of integration activities during remote work is widely discussed and bugs many EB experts with the question “How can we do this well?”.

However, as game producers and game enthusiasts, we know that nothing grows together better than joint adventures. In the first step, we decided to organize “Integration time” during working hours, every second Friday. 

Contrary to our daily work, where we meet in fixed teams, during our “Integration time,” we wanted employees to meet in cross-teams and engage with people who they are not in daily contact with. So employees can choose from several workshops on a given day. They include: escape room; a team-building themed spy game, improvisation workshops, or handicraft – most importantly we planned activities that will bring people together and are fun.

Another of our ideas was the 11th Square initiative. That is how we named our Discord server with various thematic channels. We thought it would be good to have a space for after-work meetings over beer, gaming, chatting about life, or participate in company tournaments, but most of all, to have a good time together. We like to think of it as a virtual pub, where we will organize company events, meetings with our employees who will share their passions and play games and tournaments.

And our last but not least idea is Speed Dating. It was created to find soul mates, so we thought, why not use it as an integration tool? With over 300 employees, we felt that the “speed” might be crucial for a quick introduction. 

We came up with it all to find a solution for all those meetings over coffee or during meals and chats in the office corridors, which we missed so much and stimulated us in our non-remote work.

A sound mind in a sound body!

”How do I deal with it if I work at the kitchen table or on the couch, and all the sports centers are closed?” Honestly, to exercise, we need motivation the most! Since we started working remotely, we have introduced online yoga and cross classes, but this solution had its drawbacks – the classes were held at fixed hours, which could conflict with other duties, and for others, they could differ from what they are looking for in sports. Therefore, , we have launched an online exercise platform for our employees so that everyone can practice the way they like and when they want.

We approached the matter comprehensively – you know, sitting at home + limitations in going out = extra kilos. Therefore, we also decided to add a webinar with a dietitian and individual tailored diet plans for those willing to lose some weight. Great right?

And when we exercise and eat healthily, we decided that it is worth taking care of posture to complete the body project. We thought it would be good to offer everyone an online session with a physical therapist about correct posture at work and survival in the home office. Everyone also got the option of an individual meeting to receive personal advice tailored to their needs.

The only thing we regret is that we will not see the effects until we meet!

Finding inner balance and peace of mind

The chances of becoming Zen masters aren’t great, but who will stop us from trying? This year we have all experienced many changes, and changes in our habits, routines, and behaviors can be demanding.

That’s why we thought of a few ideas to relieve stress. The first will be webinars and mindfulness workshops that will teach us how to deal with tension. We will learn how to focus our attention consciously and how to relax with meditation and concentration exercises.

This was our option to calm down, but we also have a second option of getting our endorphins up! Dance lessons!If we can’t go to Carnival, then Carnival will come to us – all TSGians can participate in classes of their choice – e.g., hip-hop, Latin American dances, kizomba, and others! This way, despite the Covid reality, we will enter the new year dancing, because who can stop us from celebrating Carnival, even when the clubs are closed?

All this sounds great, right? But what about people who, on long winter evenings, simply want to lie under the blanket and rest? We have a recipe for relaxation moments with the Cineman movie platform and audio and e-books from the Storytel platform. Everyone can choose with one they prefer and immerse themselves in the world of different stories.

Until spring…

Animals have a great way to spend winter – they sleep through it comfortably 🙂 We cannot afford to do so – we cannot abandon our players and new projects for the whole of winter, but loaded with so much good energy, we will be sure to surprise you in the upcoming year. Stay tuned and take care!

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