Egnyte Employees Give Back and Get Back Together for Earth Day

Sometimes, it’s the little things.

The pandemic has upended our lives in countless ways. And with the haze of the past two years appearing to lift, it raises questions about how businesses maintain culture and how communities care for themselves in what is essentially uncharted territory. Egnyte recently took a step to address these issues, with the hope that small actions will have larger reverberations in the months and years ahead.

A group of about 20 Egnyte employees from various departments met at the company’s Raleigh office Thursday, April 21. Adorned in bright red shirts and armed with garbage pickers and heavy duty bags, they walked the streets around the downtown office space, cleaning up trash and debris to commemorate Earth Day, which was the following day.

Elizabeth Erskine has lived in the Raleigh area for 17 years and started as the office manager for Egnyte’s local office a month ago. She was glad she was able to give back to her community, and while the office has been relatively quiet these past two years due to COVID restrictions, she said the larger-than-usual turnout speaks to the culture at the company.

“It’s been very family friendly,” Erskine said. “Before this role, I’ve never had anybody just pitch in and help me so much and so proactively.”

Employees across Egnyte’s footprint participated in various Earth Day activities, including the UK office, which did a similar neighborhood cleanup. The goal is to extend this spirit of giving back to all of Egnyte’s locations in England, India, Poland, and the U.S. The same thing would happen in areas like Austin, New York, and Washington, where there are clusters of remote employees. It’s a global initiative with very local consequences, with employees potentially gathering one day a quarter to work and giveback.

A photo of Egnyte employees during the cleanup day in Raleigh.

The Raleigh employees that participated appreciated the idea.

“I’m just passionate about Raleigh,” said Chloe Stephens, a member of the Customer Success team. “I love being a Raleighite, and I wanted to come help. Plus, I get to meet more people than I usually get to.”

And meeting new faces—especially in-person—is a considerable challenge with so many people working from home. For Jeff Buck, director of global workplace experience, there’s an ancillary benefit to these community days.

“This is a great reason to come to the office,” he said. “You get to come in, get some work done, meet with people face-to-face and go do something that is exciting, which is to help your community.”

And after two years of working from the comfort of your home, it’s also a reminder that there are still reasons to come to the office. 

“You go back in and there’s a magic you just can’t get in Zoom,” Buck said. “When you feel it and you experience it, you’re like, ‘Oh, I forgot that this is so important,’ and that’s part of what we’re aiming for.”

Buck said Egnyte has a big-company mindset with a small-company approach. Employees get a lot of the benefits and fun activities associated with bigger companies, but without all the corresponding red tape. He cited the example of a recent initiative to empower employees by letting them pick a charity of the month, which is then promoted on a company-wide Slack channel.

A photo of Egynte employees cleaning the streets ar the Raleigh office.

The approach seemed to work for staff members here in Raleigh. They joked and laughed as they made their way up and down the streets, leaving them a little bit cleaner and coming together afterward for a drink and some ice cream at a local establishment in appreciation of the work.

“I just love working with our Egnyte employees,” said Jennie Hayes, of the Customer Success team. “We have a personality that is unmatched and Egnyte’s just fun to work with. We work really hard, but when we do these things, we’re giving back to the community and helping other people, but we’re still having so much fun.”

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