Thursday the 10th of September is ‘R U OK’ Day, a national day of action which reminds Australians that every day is the day to check in with family, friends and colleagues and ask “Are you Ok?”. The theme of 2020 – “There’s more to say after R U OK” emphasises the importance of going beyond asking the initial question to ensure we actively listen to, encourage action and regularly check in with the people in our lives.

At Slattery, this is business as usual. We strongly believe in the importance of mentoring and supporting all staff members, a philosophy actioned by our internal ‘mentor group’ program. Each team was carefully selected to ensure a mix of age, seniority, service line, gender and culture, and are joined by a Director who supports the mentor lead. Incorporating members from all departments ensures that staff understand the roles, responsibilities, ups, and downs experienced by those they don’t typically work with.  Prior to COVID-19, our desks were arranged into mentor groups led by staff chosen for their ability to care for people and show a genuine interest in their wellbeing.

With the transition to remote working, these catch ups are now held via Microsoft Teams and have been instrumental in maintaining connection and positivity over the past few months. Whether the conversation is about the best takeaway we had over the past week, someones latest cooking feat or the first holiday destination we’ll be jetting off to when travel resumes, these catch ups are a real reminder of the power of checking in and asking ‘R U OK?’.

 “We have mentor team catch-ups every week looking after one another, where we flaunt our face masks, play show and tell, reveal embarrassing stuff about each other and share recipes and playlists. We also have D.I.Y activities and sometimes coordinate what to wear to the breakfast catch-up. Another lovely part is teaching one another gardening skills, which has now become an iso hobby for all of us.” – Divya Sri Sunkara, Quantity Surveyor, Melbourne

“Working from home has definitely became the new norm. Thanks to online communication tools, technology enables us to stay connected and work more closely with our team.  Regular mentor team catch ups over a virtual cuppa to discuss our daily routines, share news updates across the states, provide support during isolation and simply touching base with one another has been an amazing way to keep the team spirit up.” – Agnes Tan, Associate, Perth 

 “Whilst I have been living by myself for the past 6 months, I haven’t felt alone. Catching up and sharing what we have been up to each week certainly makes me feel connected with my colleagues, rather than just working for the sake of working.” – Angus Farrar, Student Quantity Surveyor, Melbourne

“My group just had a catch up which left me in such a great mood. My mentor lead suggested that each week a different team member will tell the group about their favourite artist. Our team Director was up first (this morning) and put together a whole powerpoint presentation on 5 different artists, telling us the backstory for each of them. Such an awesome start to the day.” – Ruby Buxton, Administration Assistant, Melbourne