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A Message From Fidel Founder & CEO, Dev Subrata

Editor’s note: Earlier this week, Fidel Founder and CEO Dev Subrata sent the following note to Fidel employees - a message of gratitude, encouragement, solidarity and retrospection. In light of the UK’s return to a second lockdown this year, we thought everyone could benefit from reading it.

To: All Team
Subject: Together we will conquer - we are Family!

Team,

Last Friday, we took the day off to mark the importance of wellbeing, both physical and mental. It’s important that it’s not just a one-day event. For us to make a meaningful difference in our day-to-day lives, we need to make small, daily optimisations to our routine. Consistency is the key to success here.

I want to start by commending everyone for keeping a positive mental attitude through what has probably been the most testing time in modern history. As human beings, we tend to seek stability, routine, balance and certainty -  this ordeal has turned all of that on its head.

It’s tough to readjust to such a radical shift. With the benefit of nearly 8 months of hindsight, the part that I’m most proud of is how well we managed this transition as a team. We executed the switch over to remote work like pros. We adapted to changing environments while staying true to our vision. We managed to double in size while rebalancing the organisation. We continued to close deals (albeit at a slower pace) while keeping our existing clients sweet. And if that wasn’t enough, we put some icing on the cake by signing some of the world's largest companies as clients. All this - 100% virtually!

I know it hasn’t been easy, for anyone. We’ve all had to battle unusual challenges, recalibrate and find new operating rhythms. Some of us have had to double up as school teachers, effectively juggling two full-time roles. Others have had to master the art of living and working out of a bedroom. Or better yet, moving back with parents to avoid having to fight over living room space.

I, for one, was never a “working from home” type person. As most of you already know, I was never one to advocate for a fully remote workforce either. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve  now become pretty good at working from home and have uncovered new perspectives when it comes to remote working. I think we can all relate to this, in the sense that we can all point towards self-improvement that has been uncovered during this time. It’s the very nature of our being: we learn, we adapt, we improve.

This is truly a time for introspection. Not just for us a company, but as individuals and as a global society. The whole world has been forced to stop, take stock and rethink - all at the same time. This is a rare moment and a unique opportunity for us to look at things under a different lens, to do things that we likely never would under “normal circumstances.” Whether it’s self-improvement, home improvement, work improvements, life improvements or company improvements. This is the time!

We have the opportunity to question everything, challenge convention, test and try new ways to make ourselves better, more efficient, more fulfilled! The playbook we once knew has gone out the window. It’s time to write a new one, together.

One thing still holds true to me, now more than ever: the more we manage negative emotions, stress and anxiety in work and life - the more effective, engaged and balanced we’ll be.

Common signals can arise indicating that we’re “off-balance”:

  • We might notice that we’re more tired than usual.
  • We might make uncharacteristic mistakes, find it hard to motivate ourselves, our timekeeping might slip, or we may be short-tempered.
  • We might look or feel very tired or drained.
  • We might find we isolate ourselves, avoid colleagues or appear distracted. We might procrastinate more – or grind to a halt altogether.
  • We might speed up or become chaotic, intruding into others’ conversations and work, and taking on more work than we can manage.

All of these are clear signs that it’s time to hit “reset”. It’s time to take control of our minds.

I want to encourage everybody to really challenge yourself to find the right inner balance. Balancing mind, body, emotions and energy will lead to a better life and better work. It all starts with the mind. Take control of mind, and everything else will follow: you’ll be less stressed, less irritative, less confrontational, less anxious - and just more at ease with the situation at hand.

Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful:

  1. Take frequent breaks: Remove yourself from the computer, even just for five minutes. Try to let go of your thoughts. In fact, the trick is not even to really ‘try’ - just BE in the moment. A useful conduit to enter this state of mind is by inhaling deeply into the stomach and exhaling slowly, whilst simply observing something.
  2. Organise your day: Work physical and mental exercise into your daily routine. Put it in your diary. Whether that’s exercising for 10 mins or an hour, in the morning or evening - find what works for you. I find it very helpful to start the day with mediation. It’s been a lifelong routine and it has a tremendous positive impact throughout the day. Narrow down your to-do list and focus on the one item that will make the biggest impact. Strike off the ‘quick wins’ early in the day. Nothing better than starting the day with the feeling of accomplishment.
  3. Look out for each other: Someone mentioned on a call recently that the thing they miss the most from the office was the sense of belonging; the little social interactions, the feeling that everybody is helping each other out and caring for each other regardless of whether it's work or non-work related. I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. What used to be lots of random daily interactions has turned into isolated and deliberate calls that all have a clear objective. Not every conversation needs to have a clear objective. Have zoom socials in smaller, more interactive groups, organise game nights (virtually), make sure to socially-distance but try to go for walks and use parks. Cherish the random interactions.

I strongly advise everyone to utilise the benefits and facilities that we have in place:

  • Headspace (a perfect way to get introduced to mediation)
  • Audible (recommend The Power of Now, Thinking Fast and Slow)
  • Udemy (learn new things, master a skill, explore subjects that you were always curious about)
  • Utilise work flexibility and make sure to take holidays when you need it.

At Fidel we’ve always had full flexibility to choose when you work and when you take holidays. Because we believe we operate at our best when we have total freedom and control over how we work. We all know what our duties are and what we need to deliver on.  Each of us is here for a reason and we trust each other to do their part in reaching our common goals.

Please also remember that we are all intrinsically linked, even though we are now 100% virtual. Our words have an impact long after a zoom meeting has ended. Both positive and negative. So try to be kind, encouraging and uplifting. Remember that a little encouragement can make all the difference to someone’s day. Equally, negative comments that are not constructive can easily throw people off rhythm, ruin someone’s day and sometimes even sleep.

Look after yourself and look after each other. Together we will conquer. But only if we stick together, as one team - one family!

Be well, everyone! 🙏

With love and respect,

Dev