My name is Gustavo. I am originally from Brazil and since February 2019 I have lived in Porto, Portugal. Unlike in most Brazilian cities, Porto has a warm and beachy climate during the summertime with four well-defined seasons which is great since it can be more or less planned out when to enjoy the sunny days.
During this season, it is common practice for people to play sports outside, enjoying the fresh air and warm temperature. Football, volleyball, tennis... for every sport, there is always a designated space where one can play any of these, whether it be parks or clubs. However, in early Spring of this year we all had an unexpected guest who crashed our party and altered our plans: the Coronavirus. We had no idea of what we were dealing with. There were so many baffling headlines that we struggled to proceed with our lives.
In the first weeks of April, under government’s recommendation, we encouraged our employees to work from home across all O-Pitblast’s departments. We had to quickly adapt to protect our jobs and our lives, reinventing ways on how to conduct business ‘as usual’ without much impact.
Fortunately, the pandemic drove us towards major growth, accomplishing in a few months what we had anticipated to occur over the next three years. As a result, we had to hire more employees to be able to have sustained growth. After a few weeks of implementing ‘home office’ and after many meetings on different video chat platforms, we realized that at least a quarter of our employees only knew each other virtually.
With that and considering the encouraging decrease of Coronavirus cases in Porto starting more a less in June, I decided to implement initiatives to promote a healthy lifestyle and networking among us. And that is how the O-PitSummer came to be.
We had some t-shirts made, backpacks, among other items that were gifted to all during these three get-togethers, where we played football (also known as ‘soccer’ to non-Europeans) and volleyball between the months of June and August. But gifts aside, these gatherings were an exceptionally wonderful for all of us to connect on a more human level, other than through a computer screen, and have a little fun along with some physical exercise, together!
Before O-PitSummer, some departments had only discussed important projects for months without meeting each other in person. It became our official team building programme during the summertime, but it turned out to be so much more than that. There were some special moments of social interaction between junior and senior staff members. And that is because we have always had in mind that behind every e-mail and every avatar, there were people who were (and still are) giving their best to O-Pitblast and that are committed to our mission of providing the best mining solutions available.
O-PitSummer was born in the midst of a pandemic as a way to take care of the physical and mental health of all employees, which in turn benefited our company significantly with a much needed boost in productivity and overall happiness.
If you have a chance to do the same for your team please do, always keeping in mind the protective measures necessary, of course. It can be an outing to go see a film, play some cards, whatever you fancy. You are also invited to join us, next Summer!