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'Reimagining wellbeing together' a key focus for new festival - RemoteTogetherNZ

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

'Reimagining wellbeing together’ is one of five key themes which will be explored during the new RemoteTogetherNZ festival in Queenstown this November.

Festival organiser Trent Yeo says the theme - the focus of this week’s national Mental Health Awareness Week - has never been more relevant for people who have had to adjust quickly to flexible and remote working conditions in response to COVID-19.

"Our mental, emotional, physical and social wellbeing has been put to the test this year so working out how we can connect with others is critical to building successful remote and distributed workforces for the future. How can we remotely rebuild our ‘water cooler’ moments to maintain social connections? And how can we ensure our business models are set up to help people create a better work/life balance which improves productivity and team culture?" he said.

Mindfulness and wellbeing activities are an integral part of the festival programme and various speakers will share research and experiences and encourage conversations around social engagement, mental fitness and resilience.

Steering teams through a time of crisis and helping people care for themselves is a focus for keynote speaker and leading psychologist Dr Sarb Johal. An expert on psychosocial recovery and disaster communication, Dr Johal has advised the UK and New Zealand governments and the World Health Organisation on major national and international crises.

"Reducing the spread and impact of COVID-19 means we need to continue physical distancing," said Dr Johal. "But this shouldn’t mean ’social distancing’. Through scientific research we know that social connection is the biggest predictor of how well we get through challenging times both personally and in our working lives. New Zealand can be a world leader in supporting wellbeing in remote working. Finding new, safe and effective ways to come together to promote support, connection, and innovation will be critical in how we navigate post-pandemic times," he said.

Learnings and insights into enhancing and amplifying team culture in a virtual world, and what the future of a physical office could look like with more flexible/remote working options will be discussed by speaker Kylie Goodwin, an Director of People and Capability at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

"Like many organisations, we’re working through how we can enable our people globally to thrive wherever they’re located, what’s most important to their wellbeing right now and how that may change in future, and what the best workplace configuration could be for us moving forward," she said.

Solo remote workers such as digital nomads, consultants or those who are part of a distributed workforce, will get tips and tools to assist with workplace stress and building resilience to change from Jennifer Middleton, Director of the Remote Wellbeing Network.

As the former head of Brand and Communications for a New Zealand-founded multi-national SaaS platform, Jen spent years living, breathing and learning how to optimise the ultimate remote workplace lifestyle. Based primarily in Queenstown, she was part of a 100% remote team with clients and team members spread around the world. She is now a driving force behind The Remote Wellbeing Network.

"My focus is to help people scale their remote workforce effectively with the right internal communication systems and wellbeing initiatives as well as supporting them with ways to personally deal with the lifestyle and discipline shift of moving from a physical to a remote workplace," she said.

RemoteTogetherNZ is a festival of professional development, networking opportunities, and wellbeing activities which explore all things ‘flexible and remote working’. It will be held 2-13 November in 20+ venues around Queenstown. For more information and to book tickets visit

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