When things go pear shaped: How AP’s staff benefits supported two employees

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We talk about health and wellbeing every single day at Art Processors. Face-to-face, in meetings and even on a dedicated (and busy) Slack channel, we always want to know: how are you? No really, how are you and how’s your family, your health, your dog, your house plants? 

We love that our team is made up of individuals and want everyone to bring their unique, curious, creative selves to work every day. It’s so powerful when people put their personality and passion into play, so why would we want anyone to leave their life at the office door? 

That’s why we do everything we can to help people stay healthy and well by providing a ton of benefits, big and small. (From Audible and Headspace memberships to access to career coaches, keep reading to find out more details of our current benefits.) It’s about supporting the whole person and wanting people to actually be and feel better for working here. 

But that’s only the start. When it really matters—when life gives us lemons—that’s when our collective of humans really strives to step up. In their own words, here are the stories of two amazing employees. They have been through (and, in some cases, are going through) stressful and upsetting times and we’ve really tried to support them.

Senior UI/UX Designer Ray Chi.

Ray Chi, Senior UI/UX Designer (based in the US) 

"It was January of 2021 and I was about six months into being an employee at Art Processors. I had a strange feeling and I remember writing on Slack, 'I'm feeling really dizzy, I'm going to take the rest of the day off.' And of course, people were very supportive.

"The next day I still felt dizzy…and the next day after that. It was getting so that every waking moment, I felt like I was on a boat and I couldn't get off. This was especially bad just sitting at my computer.

"I could list 12 different kinds of doctors that I ended up seeing, including visiting the Mayo Clinic. They ran all these high-tech tests and still couldn't quite figure out what was happening. 

"By that point, I was several months into this and still trying to work as much as I could stand. But I couldn't. I wasn't at my peak performance. I was starting to approach my limit of sick leave and was a little worried but Vanessa [Doake, our Chief People Officer], reassured me that Art Processors was going to take care of me beyond that and not to let that add to my stress. 

"She very quickly offered for me to take life leave, which is an extension of paid leave for unpredictable life situations. It isn't something that we typically get in the States so I was really thankful for that. That was a huge, huge help. 

"COVID of course hit during this time. At our monthly symposium, our CEO Mark [Nihill] would start every meeting so gently and calmly, even during the worst of the pandemic. His main point was to reassure all of us that we were going to get through this together and that the company was going to support us with whatever we needed. That was really amazing.

"One other thing I wanted to mention is the practical help I received too. I was encouraged to get a standing desk and a more comfortable working chair–anything that could help address my physical issues.

"I try to explain the way Art Processors treats me to friends in the US and former colleagues from when I was an adjunct professor, and they can't believe it. They are very jealous! The idea that a company would care so much for and truly value their employees was unheard of in academia."

Talent Acquisition Lead Mark Coppola.

Mark Coppola, Talent Acquisition Lead (based in Australia) 

"The past few years are a bit of a blur. In Melbourne, due to COVID we've gone in and out of lockdowns and childcare being shut down. When the whole family had to do a 14-day quarantine because my wife was at an exposure site, we both tried to keep working as best we could. 

"Inevitably, it meant that once the kids were down to sleep, we'd both be catching up on the day. There was no real downtime because we were either working, or making food, or cleaning up mess, or breaking up a fight. We have two boys and our youngest son would have been a bit over two and he's fearless, you really can't leave him alone!

"My manager asked what we needed and I said, 'I think we're all right. We'll do a grocery order. We'll be fine.' Then the next day a box of toys arrived for the boys, some beers, wine, and pastries. That was a nice, nice gesture. 

"More recently, when we actually had COVID and the company had more processes in place to deal with pandemic issues, we got sent a healthy grocery box which was really good. This time, I decided to take time off because I didn’t want to go through all that juggling again, and everyone at Art Processors was really supportive of me doing that. 

"The company is very supportive not just of working parents but also people who've got other personal interests that they want to spend time on. Out of everywhere I've worked, people are the most open about what's going on and why they need to take time off. And it’s not questioned. Trust is given until it's broken. It's not like you need to be here for a year before you achieve those benefits."

Everyday and emergency health and wellbeing benefits  

Our benefits aren’t your traditional health and wellbeing package. We look holistically at each person. Long list alert—we offer a lot of benefits and we’re always adding more. In fact, while Shauna Gerrand, our Group Director People & Culture, was being interviewed for this article, she was putting in place a new policy to ensure we enable our US employees access to reproductive health services in light of the news that Roe vs. Wade has been overturned.

So, knowing full well our employee benefits are always evolving and changing (get in touch to find out more), here’s what Art Processors offers its staff today:

Miscellaneous

  • Complimentary entry to Mona in Hobart, Australia, so our people can see the great work that kick-started Art Processors’ journey.
  • $200 cultural institutions stipend each year so team members can experience their favourite museums, galleries and zoos.
  • $300 of meal and domestic support each year for the times when cooking or cleaning just feels like too much.
  • Access to the Brain.fm platform so team members can enjoy music designed to help focus, created through a pairing of scientists and composers.
  • Professional headshot to use as employees like on platforms like LinkedIn.

Health, wellbeing and mental health 

  • Our Employee Assistance Program, in partnership with The Mind Room, offers professional counselling for different life circumstances and professional performance coaching.
  • People can access psychology services including speciality family-focussed practitioners.
  • We offer exercise app ClassPass credits to enable people to access health and wellbeing services near them such as gym classes, yoga, sauna sessions, massage (not everyone wants to CrossFit!). 
  • People can access paid-for appointments with a health coach. 
  • We partner with a well-regarded Accredited Practicing Dietitian.
  • Subscriptions to meditation and mindfulness app Headspace and to Audible are available. 
  • Bike servicing is available in any location.
  • All People Leads are provided with the opportunity to complete a Mental Health First Aid Certification in their first six months in the role.

Caring responsibilities 

  • We support working parents through our partnership with platform CircleIn, which allows people to stay connected while on leave and access support when returning to work and at every stage of the parenting journey. 
  • We offer $500 to help fund any equipment which assists with the return to work from parental leave, reimbursement for emergency childcare, subsidised school holiday programmes (up to 30%) and after school care, and breastmilk shipping. 
  • We provide up to 20 weeks of gender neutral parental leave regardless of whether the staff member is the secondary or primary carer. This is open to include parent by birth, a parent by adoption, a parent by surrogacy, and/or a parent by full-time ongoing foster care. 
  • Our parental benefits are open to employees with eldercare or kinship responsibilities too.

Working arrangements 

  • We offer three models of flexible working with everyone having agency to set their working hours to help with personal and work commitments.
  • Working from home is the best way of working for some but for others it can be isolating. We use the Donut app on Slack to help connect people serendipitously from virtual coffee catch-ups and sponsored/paid for lunches.

Additional leave allowances 

  • Up to 20 days of compassionate leave 
  • Leave during domestic and family violence
  • 5 days of life leave
  • 10 days of backup carers’ leave 
  • Menopause and menstrual leave
  • Bonus Christmas/New Years leave
  • First day of employment is a paid day off for new recruits so they get the chance for a long weekend break before they head into their new role

Interested in working at Art Processors? Browser our job opportunities or get in touch.