Walking/Running/Cycling the Talk: Growth and Happiness at Tasktop

Patrick AndersonPosted by

During a recent brand training session, the instructor asked a seemingly simple question: “What is your company’s one immutable brand value?” Studying our six core values, I set myself the task of whittling the list down to a single core value that reflects who we are. How hard could it be? Well…

I lost count of the days and nights that passed as I scribbled insanely on the whiteboard like some third-rate detective on a cold case. As the coffee cups and plates began to pile up, I found myself cursing that dastardly instructor. My voice grew hoarse and guttural, as my inner Smeagol came out: they tricks us they did.

Then I remembered a prompt that followed that question. “Look for the real value underneath the obvious answer.”

Light. Bulb.

So I started to dig beneath the statements to try and find the wiggling truth of our brand vision. Slowly but surely, I found what I was looking for. Glistening like gold plates in the ground was one statement to rule them all (can you tell I watched The Lord of Rings recently?):

“Care for each other’s growth and happiness”

Bingo. Seven beautiful words that sum up everything that Tasktop is about. I’ve seen it in abundance ever since I joined the company nearly half a decade ago. From the moment I was onboarded, I felt part of an incredible collective. I could tangibly see that the company’s leadership and my colleagues truly do “genuinely care about each others’ well-being, growth, education and career progression, and provide support to each other inside and outside the workplace.”

And I realized that’s the essence of our actual value proposition to our customers too. We make their daily work lives easier. Calmer. More fulfilling. We shed light where there is darkness (ok Tolkein, knock it off now). We bring much sought-after visibility to our customers, helping them to reduce meetings and the need for endless spreadsheets (what is happiness but no spreadsheets?). We give them the information they need, when they need it, in the context that makes the most sense to them.

Our CEO and founder, Dr. Mik Kersten, even made “happiness” a key measure on his pioneering Value Stream Management paradigm, the Flow Framework®, alongside business value, cost and quality. Beyond a duty of care, there is substantial evidence, such as the State of DevOps Report, that supports the fact that happy teams are more productive. That people who are happy with their day-to-day work bring more enthusiasm, creativity and fresh ideas to the team. 

Dr. Mik Kersten’s Flow Framework makes employee happiness a key business result when measuring your software delivery.

That’s why I’m so proud that our products, services and brand mission are hyperfocused on helping people be more engaged and empowered in their work. We help our customers find a work-life balance that sustains a healthy existence. That means a strong focus on physical and mental health, not overworking or overburdening teams, and allowing employees to recover and recharge so they can shine.

In fact, Tasktop is so committed to our well-being, they’ve recently announced that the whole company will shut down for five “Recharge Days” at the beginning of July (1-5) to ensure we’re raring to go for the next quarter. The ongoing initiative will help revitalize the entire company and ensure we return with a renewed focus to deliver great results to our colleagues and our customers alike.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: The Tasktop Fitness Program 

Tasktop doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to caring for us. The company is dedicated to encouraging physical fitness. Employees are entitled to a generous fitness allowance to be put towards eligible expenses on programs or equipment that promote physical fitness, such as gym memberships, fitness classes, sports, and fitness clubs. From bicycles to rollerskates, camping gear and horse equipment, Tasktopians have made full use of this program to keep themselves fit and sane during the last year:

Nicole O’Hara, Direct of Account Management

“During Covid, my family of five found peace in daily family bike rides. We are fortunate enough to have some amazing trails in our neighborhood that provide some breathtaking views. One day, as we headed off to see the rock garden about a four-mile round trip, my old bike chain completely broke beyond repair. Leaving my husband to ride his own bike and pull mine behind him all the way home. 

Nicole’s husband gives her a helping hand to cross the finishing line.

I immediately leveraged the Tasktop fitness allowance to purchase a new Trek mountain bike that would be far more suitable for our daily trail rides. The time spent with my husband and three kids on those daily rides were just what we all needed during the pandemic. I’m so thankful that Tasktop so clearly values our mental and physical health.”

Tina Dankwart, Senior Value Stream Architect

“At the beginning of the first lockdown in the UK, a challenge started on the #tasktop-fitness Slack channel. At first, there were only a few of us, and very quickly the fitness family grew. We have all abilities, all shapes and sizes, including a wide range of different types exercise that we log (with some extra ‘ratios’ for those of us who can’t run very fast, or far!). And every week since we have had a friendly competition of who exercised the most, or went the furthest.

Tasktop’s Tomasz Zarna does a fantastic job of tracking the #tasktop-fitness weekly challenge.

We have raced all runners against one particularly strong cyclist (and we lost!). He pulled an amazing 100k ride one morning! This fitness challenge has kept me going, especially during times where exercise was the only thing we were allowed to leave the house for. It added a fun factor (we made up all sorts of crazy challenges), and gave me a sense of community, a feeling of not being alone.

The Tasktop fitness allowance is the icing on the cake. Every year we have an allowance to spend on equipment, lessons, classes, courses. So far, I have bought an entire indoor climbing set (shoes, harness, belay device), two bikes (one a gravel bike and commuter bike), entry passes to the climbing hall, horse riding gear, cycling shorts, a wet suit and roller skates!

Tina scaling new heights in her personal fitness journey.

When Covid rules allow, we climb at least once a week and the commuter bike takes me to the office every day. I’m still learning to roller skate, and we’ve cycled about 1000km, on and off-road, with the gravel bike (in the New Forest in England amongst other places), and are about to embark on a horse riding trip through the Peak District!

All in all, thanks to Tasktop, I’m probably the fittest I’ve ever been (apart from when I was a pro-horse rider maybe). As a side effect, rather than becoming a couch potato during lockdown, I’ve become healthier, fitter and stronger (and leaner!). Thank you, Tasktop!”

Erik Pena, Senior Director of Professional Services 

“I used the fitness allowance to bring my bicycle into this century. I had a bike which for better or worse, had been ridden until the wheels literally almost came off and the saddle had more tape and glue than Edward Scissorhands.

My Tasktop-funded ride now has a remote suspension, a non-tortuous saddle, and disc brakes that — well, after decades of using caliper brakes, what’s an analogy for something incomparable? I can’t wait to spend this year’s allowance on something to keep me healthy and fit!”

Erik: This was a great ride from Memphis across the Mississippi River to the Arkansas side then back again via the Great River Trail. Probably about 20 miles or 35ish kilometers. My wife was showing off some sweet moves on her bike.

Laksh Ranganathan, Director of Product Operations

“I normally use my Tasktop fitness allowance for gym fees/personal training but the lockdowns in the UK during the last year meant that I was not able to leverage the gym (which I tried to work into my usual work schedule) for the short sessions I was able to do. This year, I also took on a new role within Tasktop. Lack of exercise, lockdown, new job, a young son starting school… it was a lot of change to take on in such a short time, so naturally, my stress levels increased.

Laksh’s jogs around the lake and headspace time have enabled her to better manage her work-life balance.

I am fortunate that Tasktop was very supportive when I recommended I change my work hours to start later in the day four days a week. So now I start around 11am and work to 7pm which works much better for me. This schedule has helped keep my mornings free to spend some quality time with my almost 5 year old, handle personal chores and most importantly carve out a solid hour that I call my “head-space”. I use this time to walk/run by a lake near my house. Come sun, rain or snow, I have kept this schedule most weeks and it has done wonders to my mental and physical health. My walks and runs have given me the “me” time in a tranquil setting.

It’s my special time to spend with nature and listen to my favorite podcasts, a time to think, learn, relax and prepare to take on the rest of the day. I can see the impact it has had on my mood and general demeanour. It’s very easy to forget self-care with everything else in life. I am glad to have found a way to nurture myself both physically and mentally. I couldn’t have done that without the flexibility Tasktop has offered me.”





Laura Horner, Area Vice President, East & Federal Sales at Tasktop

“Tasktop’s Fitness Allowance gave our family the ability to enhance our home gym when the gyms were closed during COVID.”

Patrick Anderson, Senior Content Manager

“The Tasktop fitness allowance has revolutionized my physical and mental health. Before I moved to Canada in 2016, most of my exercise came from cycling to work and playing football, tennis and golf. Exercise was genuinely sporadic, something I did when I had the time or fancied it. I always longed for a more regular workout program, to be one of those “gym before and after work” people. However, gyms in my home country, England, are so expensive that they’re borderline criminal rackets. Tasktop’s generous fitness allowance enabled me to sign up to a gym in Vancouver, among other things like ski pass, and it completely restructured my day and lifestyle.

Triumphant after defeating the infamous Grouse Grind.

I’ve never been fitter or happier as a result. Some of my best work and ideas come during or after a run on a treadmill or a round of laps in the pool. I even finally completed the Grouse Grind, a grueling 2.9km steep hike up the face of a mountain. Known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”, the grind is a frankly offensive 2,830 steps.

On average, the hike should take an hour and a half, which I thought was ambitious. I somehow managed to finish it in 51 minutes, making it one of my proudest accomplishments to date. I also recently bought a turbo trainer for my bike to help me train for an upcoming triathlon, something I never thought I would do. Thank you Tasktop!”

Looking for a Better Life-Work Balance? We’re Hiring!

Want to join this amazing company and enjoy benefits like the fitness allowance and more? We have a host of vacancies in a number of roles across the organization in sales, marketing, product development, customer success and administration. Learn more.