Chris Koh in Singapore and London-based Ruby Cassin-Davies are two of Criteo’s Workplace Managers around the world. A job already requiring flexibility and imagination becomes even more challenging in a locked-down world.
How would you describe the role of a workplace manager?
Chris: I think of it as being more of an experience manager. I tell people that I’m responsible for everything from the ceiling to the floor, including the air we breathe! It’s not about snacks and drinks; it’s about bringing people together. To do this job, you have to be ready to roll up your sleeves, lift 100-lb weights and get your hands dirty!
Ruby: Yes, I sometimes say it’s like being a personal assistant to 100 people or being a multi-tasker with 8 arms! You have to always be ready to push forward and challenge the status quo. The role of a WP manager has shifted in the past decade meaning we are a lot more people focused- we wear many different caps!
What is your personal definition of wellbeing?
Ruby: I think it’s different for each individual. For me, it’s about having a comfortable, happy and calm environment. I find knowing what helps you on a personal level like running, laughing each day, being kind to people really keeps you grounded. Also, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, which has been tougher for many of us during the past year.
Chris: For me, it’s about positive energy. I’m a glass-is-half-full person, always looking at the good side and how to make things work. If someone feels good after volunteering for something, positive feelings and energy are going to flow from it.
What did 2020 teach you about WFH and wellbeing?
Ruby: First, a good set-up -- like a proper desk, chair and lighting -- is vital. Also, looking after ourselves at a time with a lot of stress and fatigue- checking in with at least 2 people from work a week is something really important to me to make sure staff are happy and well. We all need a good routine, planning the day with clear structure and taking that hour at lunch to disconnect, to read a book or go for a walk. Set limits. Working from home, we need to be careful about overcompensating!
Chris: A word that summarizes the year for me is “ambivert,” meaning a person balanced between introvert and extrovert. At first, working from home during the lockdown, with no commuting and more time to do things was enjoyable. Then, many of us found that we missed socializing. As we move toward a part-time return to the office, striking the right balance will be important.
What are some of your Feel Good Initiatives for 2021?
Chris: Wow, I’ve got so many! We have “Guess Who?” Star of the Week quizzes and Sleep School (thanks, Ruby!) and Origami with a Japanese master and Manga drawing. Plus, Pilates at your desk and multinational cooking classes.
Ruby: We’re also focusing on engaging with people on a personal level and checking in with them on both their physical and mental well-being. This year we have taken these office sessions to a global level by creating the ‘Feelgood program’. Starting from a simple idea of how can we connect more people globally, myself and my colleague Dainora created this monthly engagement program. Essentially it’s a monthly program to bring people together across regions, sessions with nutritionists and psychologists, Fitness, cooking classes for example. In a year that has taken away any form of social interaction and impacted our mental health- things like this are so key to keeping our workforce happy both mentally and physically! We need more people to ‘Feelgood’ right?!
Do you have any personal goals for 2021?
Ruby: I wrote my “21 for (20)21” which is a list of simple mental wellbeing and lifestyle tips for myself that can be done throughout the year- no pressure! Things like drinking more water, calling my Mum more and remembering 3 things I’m grateful for each day. I’m also going to try to pay more attention to my personal development at work, such as taking courses on mental health in the workplace which I hope will help and support many people within Criteo.
Chris: I’m trying to read 120 books this year. It doesn’t take much time if I concentrate for a couple of hours each day. Got any suggestions?