Winter swimming and 3 other things Xolo learnt from 2020

Written by Xolo
on December 28, 2021 3 minute read

Looking back at 2020, we started to realise that this year full of unexpected events actually turned out to be a real lesson for all of us. So, how did we use 2020 as a learning opportunity?

1. Brrr… Winter swimming

You’ve definitely heard of Wim Hof who takes encounters with cold temperatures into the extreme by running half-marathons on snow barefoot or swimming under ice. 

Well, we decided not to take it that far, but to still test the boundaries of our minds and bodies. We present to you, winter swimming Xolo style! 

Yes, that’s part of our team sitting in ice water in a canal next to our Tartu office. Comes out the canal offers more than just viewing pleasure! 

Some tips if you also want to get started with winter swimming: 

  • Get into the water already in the autumn when the water isn’t as freezing - your body will get used to the dropping temperature 
  • Don’t spend too much time in the water: start out with just a few seconds 
  • Keep your hat on! 
  • People on more advanced levels can also enjoy a hot tea or a (non-alcoholic) mulled wine while in the water. 

If you ever decide to try this out, please send us photos. We're winter swimming fanatics by now! 

2. Remote work works

We had our worries as we said goodbye to our offices in March when Covid-19 started hitting Europe badly. Among questions about what’s going to happen to the world as we know it, we also had doubts about how the remote working arrangement would fit for us. 

But luckily, we pulled through. Some of our team members even used the chance to take the leap and try remote working from other countries. 

Our accountant Annika decided to take her family to Tenerife for the winter and work from under the palm trees.

Here are some of our tips to make remote work actually work: 

  • Increase face-to-face time. Since people are stuck in their homes, you need more time for collaboration and communication. We planned daily stand-ups within different teams to exchange updates and even emotions. As time went on and we got more used to the situation, the stand-ups became less frequent. 
  • Make sure you have a good home office setup. 
  • Don’t forget to have fun as a team! 

The last point might seem difficult to achieve when everybody is miles away from each other but what worked for us were fun challenges such as cooking (even a simple challenge like boiling an egg) or dancing. By sharing silly videos and challenging each other, we felt like a true team. 

Our front-end developer Gert showing his moves as a part of a dance challenge. 

We also managed to celebrate Xolo’s fifth birthday remotely by delivering a pretzel and balloons to every team member’s home. We later shared photos and videos of our celebrations at home. 

We celebrated Xolo's birthday remotely with every person receiving a pretzel and balloons

So although it seemed worrying for us in March, we're now confident in our ability to work from a distance. This definitely brought added flexibility to our lives which we are thankful for. 

3. Solopreneurs are incredibly strong

All this time we were getting accustomed to our new way of working, we couldn’t help but wonder about how strong and persevering solopreneurs are.

Although the world was in an uneasy state, the amount of work was drying up and the travel restrictions were being imposed, so many of our customers were trying to keep positive and find ways to move on with their lives. 

We wrote about Beatrice, a digital nomad who got stuck in one country but decided to make the most of it. Also, Roberto from badly corona-struck Italy found a way to thrive during the crisis. And we collected so many more positive messages from our customers all over the world. 

Make sure to read those stories and get inspired! 

4. Healthy body, healthy mind! 

It’s a known fact that physical activities help to reduce stress and better control the mood. So if regular sports can do that to you, imagine what extreme sports can achieve! 

We’ve never been very conservative at Xolo so extreme sports is something that’s pretty much woven into our culture. So it’s not a rare case that our CTO Erko (see video proof below) receives a flyboarding gift card upon his birthday or that every person on the team who reaches a milestone of 1-year employment at Xolo, will have to go skydiving (see video proof here). 

Meet Erko, our CTO. 

You definitely don’t have to start out with something this extreme but keep in mind that new experiences help to keep the positivity alive and the mind sharp.

Here's to all the possibilities 2020 gave us - a true year of self-development, we at Xolo would say. And 2021, bring it on!