Good Vibes Only
My aim is to shed a little light on my role and the breadth of responsibilities I have as Vibe Coordinator within the People Ops team. This article will provide clarity for some, and be news to others! It’s true that my inspiration for this ‘Day in the Life…’ article stemmed from articles by Gwenny Paltrow (aka Pepper Potts) but I promise there’s no healthy cookbook reveal and I don’t have any fruit-flavoured children to dote upon. Overall, I hope there are a few take-aways to be had from what I’ve shared.
So, you’re a Vibe Coordinator… Is that actually your job title?
Absolutely! I take pride in what I do.
3 months in and I’m hooked. I’m responsible for helping Airtasker become the best place in the world to work. How many people get to wake up every day with a goal like that? Well, probably a fair few… But — this role is what drives me and gives me purpose each day (come on, how chirpy am I on a Monday? Even I know it’s not normal).
I spend 60% of my time on execution and 40% working on the design of future projects, as being strategic within vibe is very important. This means the majority of my time is spent attending to physical things (such as the setup of our weekly Airhuddle or ad hoc AirSessions, facilitating quarterly milestone events, setting up a new starter’s desk) and the rest of my time is where I can focus on projects (such as providing clarity on team outing budgets, organising on-site repairs for our hardware, planning a memorable annual conference, what our office looks like in a year’s time).
So you like, what — coordinate the vibe or something?
Sure. Well, kind of. Not exactly.
I read somewhere that Vibe is ‘taking fun seriously’. Apt, right? However there’s so much more to what I do than making fun happen. Let me break it down for you:
Chief Support Officer
Part of my role is working closely with Tim (our co-founder and CEO) to support a whole range of ad hoc requirements. Tim has a packed calendar which I coordinate to make sure he can get across as much as possible. A big part of this is dealing with people in Tim’s external network — whether that’s partners, shareholders, other startup founders or VCs. The more time I spend getting to know everyone in Tim’s network, the better I know what people want and how I can get it for them.
Tim is also our Chief Cultural Officer and often wants to have his input in how we do vibe to ensure it aligns with our mission, values and brand. In other words, I spend a lot of my day working closely with Tim which is at times stressful but almost always fun!
Another part of my role is to manage the Airtasker office. It’s my house — and I’m in charge! From considering the safety of our team to being the fire warden in emergencies — I play a big part in office operations. While you would notice if there was no power for your computer to turn on, how stuffy the office would be if the aircon didn’t work, how inconvenient it is when the zip tap won’t turn on — it’s one of those roles where if nothing’s going wrong, everything’s fine!
Google Docs Ninja
There’s also the design thinking part of my role where I am working on strategic projects that help make Airtasker the greatest place to work. Just like Airtasker, Rome was not built in a day! The reality is that we’re faced with constraints (who isn’t?), but what’s more important is how we maximise output within those constraints to achieve real MVP.
A few of my current projects consist of rejigging the vibe budget, working on a seamless quarter events schedule, considering how our current floor plan can be improved, and determining what celebrating success at Airtasker looks like. As you can imagine — change occurs almost daily, so while I have ongoing projects, I also get the challenge of same-day tasks.
The final part is to ensure that all events at Airtasker are a smashing success. Believe it or not there’s meticulous planning involved with all events because careful consideration is given to how you feel and what take-aways you’ll gain. Every single one of Airtasker’s company events has at least 2 weeks From internal events with guest speakers to external annual conferences, a lot of thought as to the planning and execution AirSessions and AMAs, to OKR Marketplace, there’s usually some thought to how I execute it up to a week in advance (OKR Marketplace was about 3 weeks worth — there were some expectations to fulfill!). Sure, there’s always room for improvement so I definitely appreciate feedback in order to continuously improve your experience for our future together.
I’d have to say the most enlightening aspect is the journey to getting to know the people at Airtasker better. Having over 100 stakeholders is challenging at times, but it’s also super rewarding. #oneteamonedream
A Day in the Life… of Dee
7:10am — 8:10am: Travel to the centre of my universe
It’s a Wednesday. I catch my regular train at around 7:10am and begin my hour journey to the office. I usually catch up on my book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear (thanks to Airtasker’s awesome L&D initiative). I also have a cheeky look at my emails and calendar towards the end of the trip so that I can anticipate anything going on that I’m not aware of (when I say cheeky, I mean routinely). I get off at Wynyard station and head down York St. I’m always fighting the urge not to buy a coffee before I head into the office. Coffee is life. Going with the #coffee crew is so much more fun though. I walk into the building and I notice there’s a light out in the lift. First impressions are important and if I was a visitor I wouldn’t be impressed. So I make a mental note to call our building manager as an FYI. He’s new to his role too so we’ve bonded and joked over things, such as how often the lifts receive maintenance (and when I say joke, I mean I tell him it is a joke).
8:00am — 9:00am: The Caffeine Rush
The lift doors open and I walk over to my desk. My entire People Ops team is already in, plus Tim. Early bird catches the worm! Harvey comes out underneath the shelter of the desks to say hi. Yes — we’re a dog-friendly office!
I open my laptop and have the same bazillion tabs open: emails, calendars (meeting rooms and leadership team aka our Coaches), my Drive, Trello board, procurement spreadsheets, vibe budget, offsite locations, and random sites open from research. I know what you’re thinking — multitasking isn’t a thing. Truth is the tabs are always open because of my constant need to access that information throughout the day when people need something. I pride myself on my quick response time! Okay, emails first. They all squint back at me in super-compact mode. It’s my visual reminder that I need to get more organised! I look at the few unreads in my inbox and see one from Tim — I action that first. It’s setting up a call with a government department. I find the perfect time that suits both parties because I’m a superstar scheduling wizard, and lock it in. Next, I update our People Ops slack channel with my daily to-dos (my manager/VP of People Operations, Mahesh, believes high performing teams have strong daily habits). We get prompted to do this daily at 8:30am. I mentally go through my if-all-else-fails-these-get-done tasks for the day:
- Ensure there’s food and drinks ordered for Friday
- Tim has an external guest coming in for a meeting
- There’s an AirSession at lunchtime which needs recording
- Work on OKR quarterly schedule (these are our Objectives and Key Results — we periodically check in as a company to check we’re on track)
- Work on the vibe budget design doc
Awesome — I list these in our channel. Before I even contemplate starting — I need coffee! I grab a few thirsty colleagues in need of caffeination and head out. Single O is my cafe of choice (they don’t know they’re my favourites). Not only is their coffee smooth, Airtasker employees get a $0.50 discount on coffee! The baristas Lisa and Harry are hilarious. Good bants guaranteed.
9:00am — 12:00pm: Get More Done!
I’m very productive in the morning. I have energy and I’m in a good mood (probably why people come up to me and ask for things… I’m on to you all!). Prompted by my weekly calendar reminder, I begin with ordering food and drinks for Friday. I know how much is left in stock from last week, and try to order in advance for next week’s team demos. I gauge how many people are going to be here on Friday in case that affects the supply we need. I choose a variety of favourite beers and ciders, including a wild card entry — this week is Schofferhofer — just to test the waters and see the reactions! Oooh — almost forgot the wine. Personally a wine-o, I love to explore the different blends and try different varieties to find out the favourites (again, still only new here!). I schedule this massive order for Friday morning (to allow for any unforeseen delays), and as they arrive pre-chilled I know I can put off organising the fridge to be stacked until after lunch (and recruit some muscles for help). After all, Friday lunches are #FilthyFriday lunches!
Before I confirm and pay, I see someone edge into my peripheral vision to get my attention. Happy to help, I turn around and smile. They apologise for interrupting and take one look at my screen with the drinks order. Immediately they apologise and put their hands up in surrender. I reassure them that once I help them I will get straight back to ordering — that’s a promise. Now I know that conversation was half joke, half serious. So once I fetch a new adapter from the store room for my dear friend. I finish the order. I update the vibe budget to track spending for this week. I get distracted with people needing to find a meeting room for a strategy session at Tank Stream Labs (co-working space), more slacks, and confirming who will be delivering their Ask Me Anything presentation this week (little bit about themselves) and updating the calendar invite to let everyone know who.
Food is next! I don’t have the capacity to get groceries and create platters, so like all good decisions I’ve outsourced it. I’ve organised with our friends at York Street Eatery to cater our delicious hot food each week. I select a different menu and confirm it. Brilliant. That’s all squared away!
It’s almost 10am. Tim’s guest should be here shortly. I bring up that trusty calendar view again and check there’s a meeting room booked. 99% of the time I’m great with that. This is one of those times I’m a superstar— the Shed is booked (our meeting room names don’t depict the decor, I promise!). I have already ensured the meeting room is tidy and water is available. Impressions are important.
Okay — what’s next? A few distractions later, I’m finally jumping on reviewing the OKR quarterly schedule project. A few people are involved with this. I open the design doc and make a few edits to keep this project moving. I’m distracted again by slacks — teams are requesting to go on team outings, and one of our Tribe Engineering Leads needs my help with organising an event with a software company held at our office. That will add loads of value to the team. On it!
12:00pm — 5:30pm: OH MY GOSH WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE
Midday marks my time to give a reminder about the AirSession at 12:30pm. AirSessions are mini info sessions delivered by our staff on a topic they’ve been working on or interested in. These are casual and held over lunch so we can ask questions. I notify the Sydney slack channel and tag away! I better check the kitchen set-up as people will begin to pour in to get a good seat soon. I gather additional stools for people at the back and roll over some desk chairs to line them up in view of the TV. I do wish the TV was propped up about 5 inches but hey, you can’t have everything! I get both tripods to set up 2 iPhone cameras: we stream with one and record with the other. Haven’t found a good quality solution that does both (any suggestions?) It’s on the list of Future To-Dos. I have recently been trialling a sweet spot for the tripods, which allow us to hear the speaker while seeing the TV screen and them clearly in one shot. Fun fact — this works brilliantly for people who don’t move when they speak. I have to constantly adjust the iPhone for the recording if someone is moving. One tripod holds the iPhone securely and the other is super dodgy (because it’s kinda broken 😬). The dodgy one holds the iPhone, but I need to secure it with my hair tie (don’t judge me). I’ve seen some people laugh at it, but it does a darn good job. It’s steady and reliable-ish.
I remember previous recordings that I’ve watched again have picked up the visual vibrations from people adjusting their position on the little black stools. Not much I can do about that! Again, I’m adding the long term solution of a proper setup for filming to my Future To Do list. Literally every time I set up an AirSession, even again today, I remind myself to buy a mic. Just GET ONE. Anything is better than what we have now. I bet I’ll get some feedback from those on the stream — I can always count on them! I add the mic to my Trello board for research. I ensure the clicker at the front is working and turn the TV on. The speaker is using their own laptop so I got to heat up my lunch and park myself on the table near the iPhones so I can monitor the recording. As soon as it’s over, I stop the recording and end the stream. I pack up the tripods and start to Airdrop the video to my Mac. I ask the speaker for their presentation slides, and begin to upload to YouTube. Everything’s added to our Confluence page, but another future project will be to curate this more and perhaps set up these valuable videos on our YouTube page or somewhere more visible. Anyway, need to move on to the next thing as it’s almost 2pm!
I’ve received a few more emails at this point so I check those: MealPal want to come by, The Island would love us to come party with them, and I’ve left something in my cart with MWave. Oops that’s the network cable I was about to order yesterday. Jumping on that now!
I need a cup of tea. I head to the kitchen and also fill my water bottle. We’re low on a few staples — I should order some more. I jump on to the trusty Coles website and order a few necessities that will last a while. I cannot forget tissues! I buy some aloe vera (everyone’s snivelly right now and regular tissues are like cardboard) and eucalyptus. Oh my gosh there’s even lavender! Okay calm down, no one cares. I buy 20 boxes of both scents and arrange for delivery tomorrow.
I get sidetracked with AirCon ideas, planning AirLaunch, working on dates for OKR throughout the quarter and putting them into a shared calendar, and eventually start looking at how we’re tracking with the vibe budget. I get cracking on that until I realise the time.
5:30pm — 9:30pm: There and back again…to the Shire
Aaaaand just like that it’s 5:30pm. It’s pitch black outside (yay, winter!) and I’m packing up to go home. Out of habit I take my laptop with me. Not that I consciously plan to do work, I just always feel like I’ll get inspired to do some research or chip away at things I never got a chance to do today. Massive sigh. Good joke — that’s not going to happen. On the plus side I am building muscle from carrying this extra 1.83kg laptop around.
I head back to Wynyard, squeeze myself on a train and head home. The reception is pretty touch and go from the city until around Wolli Creek, so that’s when I’ll respond to slacks and other messages. Then — Netflix. I cross the beautiful Como bridge into the Shire. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t require a passport to get there.
As a true millennial I have my phone with me at all times. I put all my thoughts and ideas in slack messages to Mahesh. Mahesh responds with a screenshot of the time and a smiley face, implying that it’s way too late to be having these thoughts — go to bed. I can take a hint. I set my FitBit for 7.5 hours of sleep (that is 16% Deep, 47% Light, 25% REM and 12% restless) ready to wake up and do it all again tomorrow…