Balloon One’s Response to COVID-19

Balloon One’s Response to COVID-19

During this period of uncertainty and isolation, it’s easy to be all-consumed by the negatives and forget to look at the positives. These tricky times bring people together, and for those of us fortunate enough to be able to stay home, that means finding new ways to keep our spirits up. This is an opportunity to get to know one another better, to relax, to get creative, to learn, to laugh and to let go. Here at Balloon we’re able to work from home, so it’ll be business as usual but from the varied home desks of our staff. However, we all benefit from a thriving social community at Balloon One on a daily basis, so we’ve come up with some ideas to help us maintain that supportive network.


1. Strava Group


On a (relatively) normal week at Balloon, we’ve had the pleasure of playing tennis matches and going for runs in the local park during our lunchbreak. In an attempt to make this COVID-19 friendly, we had the idea to create a virtual running/cycling group using the Strava app. We’ll be holding one another to account of our fitness goals, whilst challenging and encouraging each other where we can, even where exercise may have to be done inside.


2. Virtual Pub Quiz


There’s nothing the Balloon employees enjoy more than a trip to the pub, but it’s made even better when you add a competition into the mix, as we’ve discovered with our quarterly meeting events. For our last event, we all took part in the Crystal Maze Live, which really showed who possessed a heightened desire for coming first. You can’t beat a Pub Quiz for the (often secretly) competitive at Balloon, and we’ll be playing on Zoom at 5pm every Friday, drink, snacks and pets encouraged.


3. Gaming Tournaments


Being a company of technology enthusiasts, there’s no denying the majority of us enjoy the odd computer game. When things were ‘normal’, on a Friday lunch we had introduced Nintendo Switch tournaments; where we mainly battled it out on the Mario Kart courses. Even for those of us without a Nintendo Switch, we’ll be continuing to put to the test our problem solving, speedy reactions and attention to detail as a team; using whatever means possible e.g. Xbox, PC and Smart Phones. The tournament will now just have to be around our various kitchen tables, rather than taking over the Balloon meeting rooms.

Masis Torosyan, who has organised many of these activities, explains,

“Gaming can facilitate and promote teamwork and friendly competition. It seemed like the Nintendo switch was the console that most people had and was easy to transport. Even when few or more participants are remote, we could still play online. It just made sense that we continue to play remotely in these trying times and take our minds off things. We’ve now set up several tournaments.”


4. Netflix Party


We also have, on occasion, all been known to pile into the meeting room and sit watching The Office: US whilst eating our lunch. Masis said the idea came when he noticed our lunch table had people watch shows on their phones and occasionally share moments from the shows with one another. This gave him the idea to use the TVs in free meeting rooms. He picked a light-hearted show that doesn’t have too much continuation between episodes, allowing people to drop in and out week to week. Since working from home, he found a service, Netflix party, that can allow us all to continue watching the show together remotely. It has gathered a lot of interest lately with people wanting to also start watching movies together. Here are some of the suggestions we’ve had of things to watch (more would be welcome): Crocodile Dundee, Dunkirk, Founded, HANNA, Narcos.

Craig Powell, Balloon’s Managing Director, said,

“I am really pleased to see how the team has found new ways to continue our social interaction during these challenging and isolating times. It is so important for everyone’s well being to share their current experiences and build even stronger relationships.”