By Sam Allert, Reckon Group CEO
Hearing the echoes of my footsteps reverberate off the mostly empty desks in our Sydney office has been eerie.
Back in March, it was necessary to allow all our staff to work from home when the first COVID-19 restrictions were put in place and that has continued until the end of this year.
I’m incredibly fond of the people I work with at Reckon and I admire, respect and am grateful for their longevity and commitment to the business. I’ve missed having them around the office this year – I really have.
When we were able, we encouraged people to come back to the office and a trickle of staff have, while many others are coming in for a day or two a week. It’s been nice seeing and hearing more people around.
It’s why I wrote them an open letter, which you can read below. But before we get to that, I should probably explain why I felt the urge to pen it.
Working with colleagues in an office has always been important to me because of collaboration – and not just collaborating for work, but also on a personal level. We need to know the people we work with.
The other day I was with our GM of Operations Alex, and we chatted about life, kids and our families for a while. If he and I only ever talked about work, we wouldn’t know what drives each other or what we’re passionate about. Because we understand each other personally, we work together better.
I was recently on a video call with one of our technical architects in New Zealand. We were talking about a project, but I also learned about his family, what motivates him and how he switches off at night
Work’s super important and it’s a big part of our lives, but it’s not the whole. I really like knowing more about the people I work with and their other roles in life.
Not everyone at Reckon works in our Sydney office, or even in an office for that matter. But before COVID-19, one of my big apprehensions of more and more people working from home was that the incredible collaboration we have across the Group would be affected.
If you’d asked me in January if everyone could work from home indefinitely, I would have said “no!”.
My gut feel was the environments are too personal, the set-ups and technology aren’t right, and there wouldn’t be enough collaboration.
But I was wrong about that and during 2020 I’ve learnt great things about everyone that works here. So, without further ado…
Dear, my Reckon family,
This year has reinforced to me your dedication, not just to the business, but to each other – you’re all performing so well in this flexible environment.
Your wellbeing is number one and that’s why most of you are still operating from home.
When you had to WFH indefinitely, what I learnt was so heart-warming and comforting. You were all so committed to doing your part for Reckon and invested in supporting each other during the nationwide lockdown and Victoria’s subsequent larger lockdown.
Whether it was sharing stories on Slack about home-schooling the kids, what we were cooking or what your indoor fitness regime was – it was a wonderful confirmation of what our culture is.
And that’s what culture is to me: a real relationship where there’s real energy and it’s not false. Where you can be yourself, be challenged, speak up and feel safe and supported – and it’s why I’ve been with the business for 21 years.
On top of your commitment to Reckon, you also have the best domain knowledge in our space. That’s because of the longevity of our team, your experience in this industry and the fact that it’s only getting better – we’re growing and we’re getting more people and more experts.
Reckon will continue to invest in people and culture because our domain expertise for the market means our clients, whether they’re speaking to support, sales, client success, product development or marketing, they’re speaking to someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Outsiders might think that as a software company, we’re just full of software developers. But, as you all know, we’re much more than a technology company.
You’re a diverse range of people with unique skills that provide solutions for small businesses, accountants and lawyers. The software developers code our solutions, marketing makes sure the customer knows what they’re buying, and client success, sales, support, and customer service onboard them successfully and easily. Everyone else in between also plays just as an important role in the success of Reckon and the happiness of our customers.
I love sport, especially team sport, and I like to think about us at Reckon as a sporting club. As a huge Adelaide Crows fan, it hurts me to say this, but everyone knows Collingwood are the biggest and best club in the AFL.
The simple fact is that Collingwood are ever enduring. Players, coaches, CEOs and (unfortunately) even fans come and go… but the club lives on. People are proud to have worked at and played for Collingwood.
I’d be so ecstatic if we could all look back one day and say, not “I played at Collingwood”, but “I played at Reckon” or “I was at Reckon in that era”. I love that kind of thought and I hope you all feel that way.
I love our team and I think you’re exceptional. I’m very proud of – even over the last two years since I became Group CEO – the improvements in culture and the inclusiveness and engagement from all of you.
It’s a huge focus of mine going forward, and hopefully those reverberating echoes of my footsteps are soon replaced with the buzz of a packed and busy floor.