Childcare, virtual team meetings, and happy hour: How our team members in Japan are handling life in quarantine

Flexible schedules have always been an integral part of our culture at Dropbox. We want to empower our team members to take equal care of their jobs, their families, their other responsibilities, and themselves, so that they can bring their best to work every day. This focus on balance has only intensified during quarantine, especially for team members working in Japan. We’ve worked hard to make sure our team members there are set up for success as we’ve moved and adjusted to the realities of distributed work.

One thing that really distinguishes our Japan teams is the large concentration of parents. It’s always been important to us to enable them to work around their kids’ school schedules, appointments, and more — but one of the biggest lessons that we’ve all learned during the pandemic is that parenting really is a full-time job. The sudden pressures of 24/7 childcare can be overwhelming, but Business Development team member Ken has treated this new time demand as an advantage instead of a burden.

“Being a parent at Dropbox has been great. I have an extremely flexible work schedule where I can take my older daughter to kindergarten every morning, and since I am working from home now, I can take care of my younger son occasionally during the day. I can catch up on work after my children go to sleep in the evening and before they wake up in the morning. Since I have been working from home since March, I have been able to spend even more time with my family, which is great.”

Customer Success team member Mizuki added,One really great thing about working for Dropbox is that we have all the tools (Dropbox included!) that enable us to work from anywhere. I worked from home one to two days a week from home even before COVID-19, which enabled me to take care of my family. Working remotely won’t stop you being productive — you can pursue your career while balancing it with your family life.”

Like Ken, APJ Sales Enablement team member Koko utilizes her quiet morning time to get work done before her kids wake up. But she also makes use of time during the middle of the day to get some exercise and fresh air to make sure that she stays healthy and balanced — not only as a parent, but as a person.

“Even before COVID-19, I was allowed to work remotely, and I was able to arrange my meetings before 17:00, which is more convenient for me. Even as we’ve transitioned to WFH, thanks to the kind understanding and cooperation of my manager and team members, I’ve created a work schedule that suits me. Every day, I start working before my children wake up in the morning, but spend several hours during the day to do light exercise with my children, then I return to work in the afternoon.”

Whether you’re a parent or not, being in quarantine when you used to be surrounded by coworkers every day can feel very isolating. One way that many of our team members, like Business Development representative Kazutaka, combats this is by making sure to schedule regular meetings to connect with teammates.

“I feel a great connection with my team. People can easily feel lonely when working from home, but I talk to my team members and other departments often, which also helps me succeed with my projects. We sometimes have two meetings a week to talk and connect with the marketing team as well, so I feel very connected with other people at work.”

As the evenings roll around, Dropbox Japan doesn’t stop connecting. Every Friday evening, they host a virtual Happy Hour over Zoom, so that anyone who wants to end their day on a happy note can jump on and share a toast or a conversation with other team members. This replacement for real face time has also helped immensely to unite our teams as we’ve onboarded new employees during quarantine.

Office team member Tomoko detailed, “We change MCs every week. And the plans change depending on the Dropboxer who is in charge of MCing, so even if you participate weekly, there is something fun and different each time! During Happy Hour, we divide people into small groups, so that you can chat with randomly selected people using the breakout room function of Zoom. This is super great — since I’m not on the sales team and we are all WFH, I did not have the chance to meet those new hires who joined recently, so this is a very valuable opportunity for me to connect with them.”

And even though our Dropbox Japan team members are some of the hardest working, tireless people in the tech industry, we also encourage them to step away from their computers when the day is done — something that can be hard to do when you’re working from home all day, every day. After all, balance is everything!

As Tomoko said, “My team is working on improving our work/life balance, and we have a switch on/off policy in the company. For example, my team lead takes the initiative to switch completely offline at night and during holidays, so everyone in our team is taking care of their work/life balance as well.”

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