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Life at ACG: The Importance of Asking “Are You OK?”

Tina Hamburger
Tina Hamburger

R U OK? Day reminds us that every day is a good day to ask, “Are you OK?” — to talk with, listen to, and to support each other as we struggle with life’s ups and downs. Created by an Australian suicide-prevention organization, the campaign “encourages responsible public discussion of social isolation and its negative consequences such as suicide.”

While the campaign has Australian roots, suicide prevention is an enormously complex and sensitive challenge the world over. By reminding people to take the time to ask how others are doing and listening to what they have to say, we can help others struggling to feel connected long before they even think about suicide. It all comes down to regular, meaningful conversations about life. And asking, “Are you OK?” is a great place to start.

Why we recognize R U OK? Day at ACG

At A Cloud Guru, we believe it’s important to bring awareness to suicide prevention. We want to equip our people with the resources to help recognize the need to check in on each other and give them the tools to get a real conversation started. 

By doing so, we can create a culture where people feel confident asking and answering this simple yet important question. These conversations can make a real difference to people going through a tough time.

What we’re doing

This year, we turned R U OK? Day — the second Thursday of September — into a week-long learning session.

We shared resources daily via Slack to give our people the tools needed to recognize the signs, to know when to ask the question, and how to keep the conversation going.

We also posted daily mood-boosting challenges in our “Office Fun” Slack channel, asking people to share their favorite feel-good movies; yellow, happy photos; and favorite stress-reducing activities. It was so great to see everyone sharing parts of their lives with the team and bringing smiles to all our faces.

On R U OK? Day, we sent all staff an email to raise awareness to the day, which included four simple steps to give them the skills and confidence to navigate a conversation with someone they might be worried about.

2020 has been a tough year for us all, but we want our people to know they’re not alone. We created a “when life gives you lockdowns” page on our company intranet with helpful resources, links to each region’s EAP (Employee Assistance Program), and pro tips to support our teams through these times and beyond.

We also hosted a one-hour session with Dr. Jodie Lowinger. Dr. Jodie is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, published author, and global thought leader on anxiety, mindset, and resilience. She provided us some insights into managing anxiety, stress, and burnout related to COVID-19 and gave us a practical seven-step toolkit on how to respond to take ourselves out of “fight or flight” and re-engage more effectively. She reinforced the key messages of R U OK? around supporting each other and the four-step process on what to say after asking if someone is OK.

Our CEO, Sam, reinforced this message through his weekly update, while other team members shared their thoughts, experiences, and struggles with the team. I’m so proud to work for a company that isn’t afraid to support causes like this, where we can all come together and support each other. It just makes us so much stronger.

Learn what to say

Get more information about R U OK? Day, including how to talk to others and resources for staying connected in trying times at www.ruok.org.au.

Learn what to say at ruok.org.au

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