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What are the Pirate Diaries?

A big part of what defines a company is its employees. We truly value our Pirates’ well-being and satisfaction as staff members. We encourage our team to use their voices and bring their own opinions to the table when developing modern company values.

Through “Pirate Diaries” we want to introduce our crew members while discussing important topics such as remote work, work-life-balance, inclusion and diversity. Let’s meet the crew and see what a Pirate’s Life can be like!

Remote work, not just for Digital Nomads

Our remote first policy has been very well received, with many pirates seizing the chance to live the digital nomad lifestyle. It's not uncommon to hop on an internal meeting to see someone tuning in from a sunny beach – we’re very grateful to be working in an industry, and for a company, that facilitates this clear improvement to work/life balance. Plus, it really gives us a chance to practise what we preach and explore the world in search of inspiring destinations.

Work life balance takes different forms

Our Head of the French Market Stéphane Renard tells us how remote working has had a positive impact on his family life

However, remote first doesn't just benefit those amongst us who wish to roam the world or work closer to their favourite surf spot. It also has positive implications when it comes to family life. To that end, we interviewed Stéphane Renard (he/him), Head of the French market to learn all about what remote first really changes for parents and families.

When asked what our remote first policy meant to a father, Stéphane described how an all too familiar commute experience used to present challenges, “In Paris, as in any large city, the question of transport is always a bit complicated. I only live 10 kilometres from the city centre but it takes at least 50 minutes by train and metro even on a good day. This all adds up, and requires a lot of daily energy – a bad commute can be mentally exhausting. This can force you to compromise on time with the family even further.”

Taking back quality time

Stéphane went on to describe the difference remote first has made, “Working from home gives me the opportunity to eliminate the rush and frantic pace, to be able to organise my day at a much more natural rhythm. In the morning, I enjoy accompanying my youngest son to school, something I couldn't easily do before. For my family it also means that I am no longer coming home so late at night. I’m now more able to just be present, enjoying all the little things you can’t plan for – you just have to be there to experience – and now I can be. I’m also able to more easily do my fair share of the housework now although I have to admit it's not perfect yet!”

Where to work: At home, at the common space or somewhere else altogether?

When it comes to his favourite place to work, Stéphane said, “I have a lovely big table in my living room and I love using it in order to put all my documents in front of me. It’s organised chaos, but there's a method to the madness. When I do feel like visiting a dedicated office space I like to visit the HolidayPirates WeWork space in the fancy Opéra area of Paris. I really get to choose my setting and prioritise proximity to my family when I want to.”

Stéphane and his family also take advantage of the opportunity to visit their favourite spot in France, “Remote first policy allows us to visit Normandy fairly frequently, it’s in the middle of nowhere, it’s a very quiet place. It’s usually where I go when I have to really focus. I suppose that's the beauty of remote first, the flexibility to choose the daily environment following our needs. I can spend so much more quality time with my family, visit a professional office space, or go further afield all depending on our requirements as a family, without being so beholden to my professional obligations.”

Stay tuned for more insights behind the scenes at HolidayPirates Group!

Diversity & Inclusion: Good for people, good for business.

Here at the HolidayPirates Group, we consider diversity a crucial part of the organizational puzzle. We know that a diverse working environment benefits from more perspectives, insights and representation. To that end, we embrace diversity as a powerful tool in our effort to build a more inclusive work-culture.

We aim to welcome all our community members, and invite them to be their true selves while ensuring that each and every one of us is seen and respected.

Beyond diversity & tolerance

Inclusion can mean a sense of belonging, a feeling of community or simply access to the appropriate resources. It can also be the guarantee of a safe corporate space where your opinions will be heard and your experiences valued.

Gabriel Borges (he/him), from Brazil, has been aboard our pirate ship since 2018 and is a member of the Creative Studio in the role of Visual Content Producer. As a gay man, Gabriel’s perspective on matters of inclusivity here reflects his lived experience at HolidayPirates,

“We already know that diverse teams have the potential to accomplish much more, but for that to happen, it’s not enough to just have representation. We need not only to be present but to have a voice and be respected. Our differences can be significant engines of growth for the company, both externally and internally for the culture.“

Inclusion is a learning process

We believe inclusion is less of a destination and more of an ongoing process. Being open to new perspectives, accepting different suggestions and using constructive criticism to help us grow and adapt are only a few of the steps necessary to ensure that as we proceed, we actively demonstrate awareness of modern values and expectations.

When asked about his approach to dealing with potentially difficult topics, Gabriel told us that “it’s crucial to understand which limitations your life experiences bring to the table. The goal is to be comfortable with being wrong, with being ignorant and with learning from those who have firsthand experience. But, of course, keeping in mind that people from minority groups are not your private Diversity Consultant (unless that’s their job title) - you still need to put in the work and do proper research.”

All voices are equally valuable

At HolidayPirates we find it fundamental to our values that we encourage our pirates to bring their own experiences, ideas and suggestions to the table when deciding which the next step will be on the process of evolving as an inclusive working space and bringing change to minority communities.

That way we are able to ensure the authenticity and efficacy of our actions towards inclusion. Regarding his own voice and personal value within the company when working towards this goal, Gabriel told us: “I really appreciate the importance given to the pirates that are members of these minority communities when planning projects and making decisions: our voices are heard and our opinions are highly valued.”

Putting our words into action

Our main goals are to embrace diversity and focus on inclusive practices while actively developing a collaborative environment on all levels. Gabriel told us about his personal experience as a pirate onboard: “HolidayPirates is a remarkably open environment. Since my first day, I have always felt like my true self was appreciated, be it as a Latin person coming from South America or as a gay man member of the LGBTQIAP+ community. But as a small-to-medium-sized company, we still face a few challenges on how to translate this openness into initiatives that surpass tolerance and respect and become active changes to minority communities.” Since it is of highest importance for us that our story is written with actions, not with words, teams have been collaborating and gathering different perspectives to include this urgent topic in our high-priority list of actions: “It brings me a lot of joy to see, in the aftermath of the financial crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, that teams are joining forces again to come up with inclusive language guidelines, LGTBQIAP+-focused materials and more diverse collaborations with content creators. We are now experiencing a rebirth moment in HolidayPirates and it’s very exciting to be able to include Diversity & Inclusion in the company’s strategy with more resources than we ever had.”

Stay tuned for more insights behind the scenes at HolidayPirates Group!

Safe spaces are crucial for employees' mental health

When someone breaks their leg, the conventional wisdom is to rest up and get better at your own pace. But how often are mental health issues afforded the same respect in the workplace?It’s fair to say that stigma around one's health, when the problem doesn’t necessarily present physical symptoms, has been a problem for a long time. At HolidayPirates we’re keen to ensure that employees feel comfortable acknowledging and dealing with mental health challenges without judgment. To that end, we interviewed Vivien Schwarz-Elbelazi (she/her), our Head of People and Culture for her take on her experience of how mental health and wellness is prioritized on board at HolidayPirates.

Finding balance

“I manage my role as Head of People and Culture in this rapidly growing company, but I’m also raising two young children and occasionally working as a business coach. The stresses of a modern lifestyle are not lost on me. I think I manage fairly well all things considered.”

"At HolidayPirates I’m able to conduct my leadership role, with the flexibility I require to be a really active parent to my two kids. With the benefits of the flexible and remote first working model my job isn’t locked in to the traditional 9 to 5. I can take days off at short notice - my colleagues have my back, and equally, I’m empowered to support them when necessary. One of our most important company values is comradery, we really live this every day - it’s part of what  makes this place so wonderful to work at.” 

‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’

“There is no one size fits all solution but by raising awareness of the options we hope that we actively prevent issues rather than rely exclusively on implementing support after the fact. For people who feel like they are struggling, we have an overview of support numbers, doctors and procedures for psychological problems and our market leads and HR representatives strive to be as approachable as possible with these matters.”

“There was a great training seminar on how to cultivate mental wellbeing followed by weekly sessions to practice the methods we learned. In terms of practical steps we take at HolidayPirates, we try to understand that mental health issues look different for everyone.”

“I personally feel absolutely comfortable talking with my manager about mental health issues, he’s very understanding. Twice now there have been moments where I felt my work responsibilities were beginning to overwhelm and we found a quick fix as well as a longer term arrangement to help ease things.”

“Personally, I’m not so much into morning Yoga classes but others are really enjoying free classes along with some other benefits we are offering.”

Stay tuned for more insights behind the scenes at HolidayPirates Group!