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How we’re supporting the Canva team through lockdown

Creating an environment that cultivates our culture and inspires us all to do the best work of our lives.

It’s safe to say the pandemic has completely transformed the way we work both today and in the future. While we recently announced(opens in a new tab or window) Canva’s plans for the future of work, the majority of our team have been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic to help prevent the spread of COVID in our local communities.

Though change has been constant over the past 18 months, our mission at Canva remains the same: to create an environment that cultivates our culture and inspires us all to do the best work of our lives.

With Australia, the Philippines and many other parts of the world experiencing continued periods of lockdown, our priority has been the health, safety, and wellbeing of our team and the community. Over the last few months, we’ve been thinking about how we can continue to scale and evolve our culture and workplace experience to support our growing and distributed team across the globe. In doing so, we’ve introduced a number of new initiatives to bring Canva’s culture to life in this new virtual environment.

We thought we’d share some of the lessons we’ve learned and some of the initiatives that we’ve found to be most impactful. We hope these initiatives can help to spark ideas and inspiration in other companies too.

Future-proofing our benefits and perks

The last year has highlighted the importance of thinking about workplace experience beyond the physical walls of an office. Since the very beginning, we’ve designed Canva’s benefits and perks to be meaningful additions to our culture. We believe that by empowering our team to invest in themselves, we’re able to create a genuinely impactful environment for everyone to both do their best and be their best.

With the shift to a hybrid world of work, we recently reimagined all of our perks to be adaptable and impactful no matter where or how our team chooses to work. We know that to thrive in any environment, you need the right resources and tools around you to achieve your goals. Based on this, we recently introduced a new program called Vibe and Thrive(opens in a new tab or window), designed to double down on flexibility and location-agnostic benefits.

We’re providing everyone at Canva with an annual stipend to spend on everything from gym memberships to home office setups, coffee catch ups, textbooks, language classes, meditation apps and a whole lot more. The categories are intentionally broad — this way, we’re able to cater for a wide range of working styles, hobbies and interests outside of work. Ultimately, we hope that by implementing this new way of thinking, we’ll be able to empower everyone at Canva to tailor our perks and benefits in a way that best fits their lifestyle.

Reimagining events and online connection

One example of this is Canva’s Season Openers. Since our very earliest days, Season Openers have been an incredibly powerful way of communicating what’s happening across every aspect of the company. They’ve also become an important way of bringing our global team together to celebrate our progress and plans for the future.

With most of our office locations currently under lockdown, we weren’t able to get together in person for our most recent Season Opener. Instead, we organised for local hampers to be sent directly to everyone to enjoy while tuning in from all over the globe. To add a bit of extra fun, we also created a virtual world where we all had an opportunity to come together in a unique and interactive way.

Keeping the vibe alive

We’re also hosting online events such as cooking classes and trivia nights to foster the same sense of community that we’re used to experiencing when we’re able to gather in person.

Community is a huge aspect of Canva’s culture, which is why we’ve transitioned our 400+ clubs online. Everyone is encouraged to join or create any kind of club they like — and there’s a club for almost everything. From #philosophy-club, to #campervan-club, #drawing-club and #pickle-club, we cater to a wide range of interests. Our clubs have a monthly budget which they’d normally use to meet in person, so throughout lockdown, we’ve been shipping boxes to the team so they can continue to participate in club events from home. From pasta making to drawing and pottery, we’ve been keeping busy!

Beyond transitioning our clubs online, we’ve also built an internal ‘Vibe Alive’ hub which serves as a one-stop shop for all Vibe related activity. It includes suggestions for teams looking to plan remote celebrations, a complete list of clubs that anyone can join, details on where to score the latest Canva swag, our online fitness timetable and much, much more.

Being kind to your mind

We know that prolonged periods of isolation and the ongoing pandemic can cause feelings of anxiety and uncertainty for many of us. As well as our Canva-hosted activities, we offer a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) where anyone at Canva can seek up to thirteen paid sessions with professional wellbeing specialists.

We’ve also transitioned our health and fitness program to an online environment, with virtual classes around the clock. Whether you’re interested in yoga, meditation or bootcamps, our virtual fitness sessions provide everyone with the opportunity to stay healthy and switch off from work.

Company-wide ‘Recharge Day’

There’s no better way to recharge than unplugging and relaxing. To help prevent burnout and promote the importance of taking time off, we recently held a company wide ‘Recharge Day’ where we all switched off for the day by taking a long-weekend.

It was great to see all of the creative ways that our team were able to spend the day recharging and taking some time for themselves — from making jam to completing a set of lego or spending the day at the beach.

Supporting Parents and Carers

Homeschooling has been one of the biggest challenges for parents around the world who are working while caring for those around them. To support our parents and carers, we’re regularly running a range of interactive sessions designed to help navigate this unique situation. We’ve also created a Slack channel and a Parents and Carers Hub dedicated to housing this content and sharing tips and tricks. Just the other day, we threw a Spiderman themed Zoom party for all of the Canva kids!

What’s Next?

While the path out of lockdown for much of the world is still uncertain, we’ll continue to invest in these kinds of programs and initiatives that provide support, both in and beyond the workplace. We’re also looking forward to embracing Canva’s approach to the Future of Work as we begin reopening our offices once it’s safe to do so.

Stay tuned for more updates, and in the meantime, check out(opens in a new tab or window) how we’re approaching the future of work as we balance both flexibility and connection.

Chris is the Head of Vibe at Canva. The Vibe team’s goal is to ensure everyone at Canva is empowered to do the best work of their lives, by providing an incredible workplace and environment for the team to thrive.


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