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Senior Content Marketing Manager & Mindfulness Meditation Facilitator at Uberall
One of the things I love so much about working at Uberall and our ways of working is that I have freedom to work when I’m most productive. So I’m not stuck to a schedule of nine to five, or I actually have to be sitting at my home office desk and doing work. I have the flexibility of working when is most productive to me.
Nicole Gottselig is a Berlin-based senior content marketing manager for Uberall, one of Germany’s top SaaS companies. She’s been practising mindfulness meditation for almost a decade, completing two 12-week programs in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Anxiety and Depression in Toronto, Canada.
In January 2020, Nicole launched Uberall’s mindfulness meditation program. Since then, she’s been guiding weekly hybrid meditation sessions for her colleagues in Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Montreal and California.
It’s another episode of Success Stories on The State Of Work, where host Maddie Duke chats to individuals about their experiences working remotely or in distributed teams.
This week’s guest is Nicole Gottselig, senior content marketing manager at Uberall, a global SaaS provider that offers digital location marketing solutions to their clients. Nicole is also an experienced mindfulness meditator and she speaks to Maddie about her journey in mindfulness meditation practice and and how she’s been facilitating in-person, remote, and hybrid meditation program to her colleagues at Uberall, resulting in an increase of happiness and wellbeing.
with Nicole Gottselig
Maddie Duke 00:05
Welcome back to The State Of Work, the podcast by Lano, where we hear from business leaders and innovators, as well as freelancers and remote employees, exploring topics to do with the benefits, limitations and solutions around remote and flexible work all around the globe. For today’s success story, I’m speaking with Nicole Gottselig, senior content writer and marketing manager for Uberall one of Germany’s top SAS scaleups. Nicole also runs a mindfulness program for her colleagues near and far at Uberall leading group meditation classes to help foster a sense of wellbeing connection and stress management. Nicole shared her experiences with me about working successfully across a distributed team that’s gone through various iterations of working from the office, working from home and now a hybrid setup where employees are given the flexibility to choose. And for a special treat, Nicole will guide us on a mindfulness meditation practice that you can reuse anytime throughout your workday. Welcome Nicole, it’s great to speak to you again. How are you?
Nicole Gottselig 01:19
I’m great, Maddie, thank you.
Maddie Duke 01:21
Where are you joining from today?
Nicole Gottselig 01:23
Today, I’m actually in the Uberall office in Berlin, after quite a long stretch, working from home and working from other spots within the city, and actually within Europe, of course, when numbers were low, I’ve been coming into the office a little bit more frequently now.
Maddie Duke 01:41
Awesome. I’ll come back to that in a second. But maybe before we get into that, could you tell me about what you do at Uberall and a little bit about yourself?
Nicole Gottselig 01:51
Yeah, so my full-time role at Uberall is a senior content marketing manager. So I do a lot of writing, and a lot of writing for our website, a lot of writing for social media, a lot of writing reports and guides and blogs, all that sort of thing. But I also have another role at Uberall, which is I lead our mindfulness meditation program. And so we’ve been doing this now for it’ll be two years in January. And we run it weekly, and we started at, you know, one day per week. And now we’re at three days per week, at the height of the pandemic, we were actually at five days a week, right? So in the real trenches of the pandemic, so March 2020 till about July 2020. We had sessions every day that we ran remotely.
Maddie Duke 02:39
Great. So you’re in the office today. But you’re also working as part of a team that is distributed – how many different countries or cities is the Uberall team spread across?
Nicole Gottselig 02:49
Well, we’ve grown even more, since you and I last connected. And now I’m reporting to someone who’s actually based out of Santa Monica, California, so like, right in the heart of Southern California. So we acquired a new company earlier this year. So we work with people in California, in Canada, in France, throughout Germany.
Maddie Duke 03:16
And in and then within that, have you also in the Berlin sort of branch of the team I guess have you also still got people who are choosing to work from home? Or is everyone back in the office? How’s that looking at the moment?
Nicole Gottselig 03:29
No, actually not very many of us are back in the office. Last week we had quite a few visitors from our UK team who we’re here for their off-site. And we actually have quite a few team members who are living in Italy and working from there as well. So even though those of us that are based in Berlin aren’t always in the office, so it’s it really varies from week to week. Some people like to come in maybe one day per week or two days per month kind of thing. Berlin is such a big city so if there’s a lot of commute time involved you know, some folks would just prefer to just continue as they’ve been – working from home – and then other folks just like to come in on Fridays for sort of the after-work social hours that we’re still hosting here.
Maddie Duke 04:16
Okay cool sounds really nice and flexible it’s great to hear that you know, everyone’s kind of able to work it into their preferences.
Nicole Gottselig 04:25
Maddie Duke 04:27
What did you like about working from home? What do you like about working in the office? Like what are the sort of benefits and challenges that you see to both aspects?
Nicole Gottselig 04:39
It’s funny you bring this up. My new manager and in California said to me today I was messaging with her at 6am my time so 6am Central European Time. And she said, wow, you’re up so early and working and we haven’t been working together too long and I and I wrote her verbatim I said, you know, one of the things I love so much about working at Uberall and our ways of working is that I have freedom to work when I’m most productive. As a writer and editor, for me, that is at very weird hours. Such as 5am to 8am is when I do some of my most concentrated copywriting or creative work. So that’s what it is that it is – it is that freedom. So I’m not stuck to a schedule of nine to five, or I actually have to be sitting at my home office desk and doing work. I have the flexibility of working when is most productive to me.
Maddie Duke 05:37
Nicole Gottselig 05:38
…wherever that is, wherever it that’s yeah, for my couch, or if it’s from the office.
Maddie Duke 05:43
Yeah, and I think this is what’s great about remote work and more flexibility at work. So and I’m a little bit the opposite. So I usually tend to do my best writing work in like, late in the evening, maybe 10-11pm and one of the things I enjoy is the flexibility to do that. But to be to have like full-time employment and you know, all the everything that comes with that, and then still have that kind of flexibility, is really fantastic to props to Uberall for kind of facilitating that. And how’s it been with the, with having a manager – what’s that, that time difference – that must be about eight hours or something is it?
Nicole Gottselig 06:21
It’s nine hours, and, you know, it’s working well. And I think that goes back to this flexible policy at Uberall, and so I don’t feel as constrained and I don’t, I think I can speak for some of my colleagues within the entire company, sort of that the weight of those time constraints are off, you know, if my manager, for example, is only available, she’s sorry, nine hours behind me, it’s easier to it’s easy to plan around, it is easier to plan around that. And so the meetings become a little bit more specific and a little bit more succinct, and they don’t sort of tend to drone on too much, which is what I like – we actually have less meetings,..
Maddie Duke 07:07
Nicole Gottselig 07:08
….because of it. So for me, it works out very well. It’s less time sort of sitting around and talking, which is sometimes what happens in an office and sometimes you get less work done. So when connecting with people say who were overseas, in different time zones and stuff, the meetings just are more things are more focused, which I do really appreciate too.
Maddie Duke 07:29
Yep, yeah. Awesome. So how did you end up establishing and leading this mindfulness meditation program?
Nicole Gottselig 07:38
It’s really funny, um, I came back from a trip to Bali, that would have been January 2020. And I had been practising meditation for seven, eight years at this point. And one thing I noticed in Berlin that there was there was not a lot of group meditation classes. And I’ve been practising yoga for a long time. And I thought, well, maybe I’ll just start my own group. And I remember being at an office in Canada, where I’m from, and I remember thinking, gosh, I wish there was just something at work where people could just sit in a room together, and do a group meditation, because there is something quite different about practising with people than just doing it on your own. And it helps with accountability, and it counts with stress release. And it’s just actually a nice way to sort of just connect with yourself and connect with other people. So I throw up a note on the Slack board on one of our random channels, and I said, hey, if I if is anyone interested in group meditation classes, I will guide them based on mindfulness practices, I’ve done some training on it, etc. And I think 50 people joined up as soon as I posted it on Slack. And I was a little bit surprised at how many people were actually interested. And so it just sort of took off from there. And then two months later, as we know, the pandemic hit, and then we were all working from home. And so we’d only had two months of practising in person together two times a week. And these were like 15-20 minutes. It’s and one of our founders, Florian, he said to me, would you be interested in still continuing this but remotely, and I said, well, I’ve never done anything remotely with groups of people before, I don’t know how I would actually facilitate that. And so he encouraged me to just try it, and I did, and it worked. And so we were able to create a similar space that we had in person but online, and then the doors just sort of opened from there. And here we are almost 20 years later, and 20 – did I say 20 years later? two years later, and then it feels like 20 years later after the pandemic – ao now we’ve gone from so first we started as in person, only then we went to online only and now In this really interesting phase of hybrid, so we host in-person for whomever is in the Berlin office on the days at the meditation is being held. And then all our colleagues from around the globe can still join us online. So now we have a hybrid meditation program. And it’s just expanded and grown into something that kind of suits everybody now and suits these new ways of working, remote working and dispersed teams.
Maddie Duke 10:30
Cool. That’s such a great, it’s a great initiative, and it’s such a lovely way that it sort of organically grew. And what are some of the benefits that people are reporting back to you, I guess about incorporating an element of meditation into their work life?
Nicole Gottselig 10:47
What I hear quite frequently is sort of, you know, I came in feeling this way, maybe tired or maybe some anxiety, or maybe, you know, just sort of the blah… that languishing feeling that I think a lot of us had, during the pandemic, and then leaving the session going, Oh, I feel different, I feel lighter, I feel calmer. I don’t have as much anxiety as when I came in here. Or it was really nice to, you know, see my colleagues today, that sort of thing. So yeah, just feeling just a little better than when they came into the session.
Maddie Duke 11:32
Nicole Gottselig 11:33
Which is really all we can hope for in meditation practice.
Maddie Duke 11:36
Yeah, and I mean, I’m sure as well as, as a writer, yourself, and knowing that ideas and creativity within your job kind of never flows when you need it, you know?
Nicole Gottselig 11:48
Maddie Duke 11:49
Yeah, even with less creative, less traditionally creative lines of work. Even just things like problem-solving, connecting the dots, like taking that time to let your mind wander and rest. And just, you know, I bet there must be so many benefits like that, that people are sort of starting to say, so it’s kind of, you know, it’s fantastic that you’ve got the support of the leaders in the business as well, I’m the founder, and that they can recognize, of course, wellness, and physical and mental health for employees is obviously paramount. But there can be benefits that are sort of for the business as well.
Nicole Gottselig 12:28
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I think there’s others in our leadership team and throughout Uberall as well, that do their own sitting meditation. And it’s, of course, it goes so much more beyond getting together in a group as well. And it’s, you know, incorporating those daily breaks into your day. And something I encourage a lot, so if you’re in between meetings, or if you’re having troubles, solving a problem or, or things like that, the three-minute breathing space is one of the most practical exercises that we can do anytime, anywhere to take us from automatic pilot, and into the here and now and maybe start to you know, see those connections to, to solving problems, etc. Just in little spaces. You don’t have to sit for long periods of time or be like a Buddha or anything like that.
Maddie Duke 13:23
Yeah, it’s not a competition.
Nicole Gottselig 13:26
No, no, no.
Maddie Duke 13:28
I think maybe also, I don’t know, I’m sure it’s also helpful with resolving conflicts internationally, and just kind of really nourishing, I guess, the workplace culture? Well, I mean, on that note, would you like to hold space for a three-minute breathing space for our listeners?
Nicole Gottselig 13:45
I would love to, I was hoping you would ask. Yeah. And just to go back to your very last point, before we start, it is about that, sometimes, we usually will end the meditation by doing, like a compassion exercise, you know, thanking yourself for showing up today. And extending that to maybe somebody you know, on your team or in your family or in your life, who needs a bit of compassion as well. And yeah, it’s acknowledging everyone’s presence, both in the room and outside of the room, too. So also really, really key to the whole, the whole program.
Maddie Duke 14:19
Awesome. Before we lead into the breathing space, thanks so much for sharing your experiences of remote and distributed and hybrid work. And the program, yeah. It’s been great to chat to you. And I’m looking forward to taking some space.
Nicole Gottselig 14:33
Thank you. So as I’ve mentioned, the three-minute breathing space is an exercise that actually comes from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. So this is a practice that, I think is quite, it’s quite rooted in science, in the sense that it’s, it’s very, it’s very quick, it’s very defined, and its purpose is to simply get you out of sort of those mind loops of thinking or ruminating or worrying or all of that stuff and just simply be able to show up for your colleagues. Often, especially in remote work, we go from meeting to meeting online on Zoom calls. And sometimes we’re carrying meetings and thoughts and things from something in our past, into the here and now. So all you need to do is take a comfortable seat or standing, this is something you can do if you’re commuting as well. Close your eyes, if you feel comfortable, you don’t, it’s not recommended, or it’s not required. And just take a moment now to just become aware of what is happening in your thoughts, your emotions, without looking for anything, just seeing what pops up right now. And oftentimes, it could be a thought from the past. It’s something that might happen in the future that you may have some excitement or trepidation about. And here we just noticed them, you know, you can be you can maybe call it future or past. And rather than telling a story about what it is, we just simply accept what it is. And now as best we can, we just try and park that emotion that thoughts. And we move into our breath. And we focus on the rise and fall of our lower belly. So we shift from thought into physical sensation. Inwardly focusing on the rise of our belly on the inhale. And the deflation on the exhale. Maybe doing three or four of these focused breaths, watching it rise and fall. And now, leaving your breath, expanding your awareness to include your entire body. Almost as if your entire body were breathing right now. You may notice a shape around your body or a colour. You may feel some sensations. And now opening our eyes if they were closed, we come back into the present moment again, hopefully with a little bit more, maybe clarity, ease lightness. And this is something that you can do anytime anywhere, maybe on a washroom break or a transition between meetings or a way to end your day especially if you’ve been sitting at your desk at home all day and you want to transition from work to home. And that’s it.
Maddie Duke 19:10
Thanks so much, Nicole.
Nicole Gottselig 19:13
Maddie Duke 19:14
I don’t want to disrupt the pace that we’ve created here. So I’ll just say thank you. Thanks so much for joining us and wishing you a fabulous day.
Nicole Gottselig 19:23
Thank you so much Maddie.
Maddie Duke 19:30
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