#ChallengingFun: Hitting the road and the books

Aug 18, 2021 · 6 min read

What does #ChallengingFun mean to us? A big part of what makes us Ataccama is our drive to face challenges and go beyond the average. In fact, #ChallengingFun has become a regular part of our vocabularies to describe how we approach what we do at work and even in our free time. Facing a tough problem? Our colleagues look for creative answers to setbacks — and even make it enjoyable along the way! And if you ever ask an Ataccamer what they do outside of work you’ll likely hear about their passion project or a new skill they’re mastering.

When the world went online last year during lockdown, we all faced entirely new challenges. One of the biggest for our team was figuring out how to stay in touch (and sane) and keep the fun and personal element of our day-to-day interactions while working remotely. How did we do it? One way to preserve our team-centered culture was through tackling challenges remotely. We kicked off virtual #ChallengingFun and focused on our physical and mental wellbeing with some walking and reading challenges.

In typical Ataccama fashion, we aimed high. We started our walking challenges off on the right foot (pun intended) with the #ATAAroundtheGlobe challenge. Even though the event began in the dead of winter (or for our lucky Australian colleagues, on long, sunny days), 94 Ataccamers joined internationally to reach our common goal of walking 42,167 km, or 26,201 miles and 55,337,270 steps.

You may be wondering why a team of data-focused professionals would want to walk this exact distance, and it wasn’t just for our health! We did the math and figured out that this was the distance we would need to travel to get from our Sydney office to Moscow, Sofia, Prague, Munich, London, Paris, Valencia, New York and Toronto, and then back to Sydney to visit all of our global locations. We’ve clearly been missing our Allstaff meetings 😀.

Reaching this goal would have been nice on its own, but we asked ourselves how we could take this challenge to the next level. For some added encouragement and to support frontline workers during a global crisis, Ataccama pledged to donate 3,000 CAD to Doctors Without Borders/Medicins Sans Frontieres when we reached the 55,337,270 milestone.

Winter walks in the Czech Republic and summer adventures in Australia

Getting some fresh air and donating money for a good cause were reason enough to get our steps in, but the challenge connected us too. Our #ATAAroundtheGlobe Slack channel became a visual diary of our walking routes from different countries and the friends and family members who joined us on our journeys. As it turns out, these daily winter walks included stunning views of the London Eye, icy skylines on Lake Ontario, and snowy trails in the Czech Republic. Not a bad way to get our steps in!

We also realized pretty quickly that if we wanted to reach our goal in three months we needed to be more creative with what we counted as steps. Running, cross country skiing, and even jumping rope could be included in the total steps towards our 55,337,270 goal.

In the end, we reached a total of 31,222 km, or 19,400 miles, which though no small feat wasn’t where we hoped to end up. Based on how far we walked, we made it to Toronto but not back to Sydney, so thankfully the steps were only symbolic! This was only 74% of our original goal, but we’re still proud of how much time and effort our teammates put in, especially in the middle of a pandemic (and for some, in freezing temperatures!). And a special shout out goes to our top three walkers, who recorded an impressive 1,212.88 km, 1,185.09 km, and 1,110.77 km, respectively.

We donated the percentage of our goal that we reached to Doctors Without Borders/Medicins Sans Frontieres, which totaled 1,950 CAD after our first place winner generously donated her prize for the cause.

Do we get to count our steps twice for this?

The first walking challenge was so much fun we’ve held four more (so far!). On our ATA Walk Into Spring challenge we aimed to walk 5,000 steps a day for 10 days in a row. Normally this wouldn’t be much of a challenge, but during strict lockdowns and seemingly endless home office it wasn’t always easy to get our steps in.

Of course, we had to take this a step further (pun yet again intended) and as part of the Walk Into Spring challenge we could join the Spring Sprint to see who could walk (or run) the most steps in that 10 day period. The challenges continued with our Easter bunny hunt where walkers had to reach 15,000 steps a day for four days in a row to win a chocolate bunny, and one challenge asked Ataccamers to get the recommended 10,000 steps a day for a 21-day streak.

It wouldn’t be an Ataccama event if there wasn’t some ridiculous story going on behind the scenes. On the last day of our Walk Into Spring challenge our colleague who was in fourth place on the leaderboard took half a day off work to get 45,286 steps in so he could place in the top three. Another Ataccamer said he got all of his steps in during a strict lockdown by walking exclusively around his apartment. Talk about commitment to the challenge!

We enjoyed getting out and working towards a common goal so much that we explored some other challenges that could get more Ataccamers involved. For all of our book worms (or anyone who needed to take it easy after getting in all their steps) we’ve held a few reading challenges. For many of our colleagues, this was a welcome challenge that gave us an excuse to expand our personal libraries 😀.

In our first reading challenge we wanted to see who from our team could read the most books in three months. For those who just wanted a little push to dedicate more time to reading, we challenged Atacamers to complete four books in four weeks. We offered three different genre categories for readers to choose their books from, and winners were drawn from qualifying readers in each category.

While some colleagues were making their way through a new favorite book, we asked for a volunteer to lead the first ever Ataccama book club meeting with a discussion around a professional development book that the group had chosen. We hope that this could be the beginning of regular meetings and some inspiration to continue reading.

To really inspire everyone to open up a new book, Ataccama pledged to make a donation to the World Literacy Foundation for every book we finished during those three months. After we tallied up our titles, Ataccama donated 640 USD to the World Literacy Foundation, which provides literacy resources and services to children and youth globally.

Which of our top two book lovers can read their height in books first?

These challenges have helped us a bit through remote working life and made us feel a little less distant from each other. We’re grateful to now have the choice to work flexibly and occasionally meet in a limited capacity, but we definitely miss how Ataccama life was before Covid. Since big meetups are still on hold we’re going to continue our challenges remotely for now.

So, what’s on the horizon for our #ChallengingFun? We’re thinking up some fresh new events and challenges to stay connected, and are always open to exciting suggestions. Want to challenge our team to something new? Let us know! With our talents and enthusiasm we can overcome almost any obstacle— or at least have some fun giving it a shot!

Want to join us for some #ChallengingFun and be part of what makes Ataccama such a great place to work? Are you looking for a job that offers you challenges and opportunities to grow both professionally and outside of work?

You’re in luck! We’re hiring for several positions around the globe. Check out our open positions and see if you find a role that fits you!

Life at Ataccama


Life at Ataccama

We are a growing, international software company developing an AI-powered platform to help our customers process, manage, and monitor (big) data. We like #ChallengingFun. Do you?


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We’re a growing, international software company developing an AI-powered platform to help our customers process, manage, and monitor (big) data.

Life at Ataccama

We are a growing, international software company developing an AI-powered platform to help our customers process, manage, and monitor (big) data. We like #ChallengingFun. Do you?