Building a sense of community and belonging while working apart

Origin is the leading provider of energy to homes and businesses across Australia. They have a diverse workforce of 5,000+ employees, who are geographically spread across multiple locations in regional and metropolitan Australia. With the onset of COVID-19, Origin’s frontline and newly remote employees faced significant new challenges to ensure we could keep customers connected to energy. In addition, as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, the majority of Origin’s employees transitioned to remote working including customer contact centres. Origin’s Employee Communications team turned to Workplace from Meta to support their people during this time.

Putting mental health and wellbeing first

As people transitioned to new ways of working, they needed to build a sense of community and belonging on Workplace to help their employees feel connected to each other, the company, and key business updates  – no matter what their role or location. 

Working-from-home meant a lot of pressure on work/life balance as virtual meetings and digital workload increased. Ensuring employees would take regular breaks and stay healthy – both physically and mentally – was not just important for engagement, but also for productivity. The team at Origin was also mindful of the increased feelings of anxiety and pressure during this period, particularly people feeling isolated and team members who were living alone.

To build engagement and connection to support the ‘One Origin’ team culture, as well as support the mental health and wellbeing of their people, Origin undertook a number of dedicated communications campaigns and initiatives on Workplace throughout 2020.

“Our range of health and wellbeing campaigns were brought to life in new ways on Workplace – achieving greater reach and engagement, and building a stronger sense of community and connectedness. Workplace has been instrumental in helping our people feel connected throughout COVID-19.”

– Origin employee, Employee comments- COVID-19 check in survey

Campaigns for connection

Bringing the Origin community together!

Good Energy Exchange

As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, Origin developed a dedicated ‘Good Energy Exchange’ group specifically to foster engagement and collaboration across teams during this time. Content ranges from working from home tips, health and nutrition, home office photos, team stories, and #PetsOfOrigin. 

Origin Cribs

As Origin’s workforce transitioned to working from home, they commenced a video series that took their employees into each other’s homes and showcased how different people had set up their home offices – from senior leaders to the frontline. The campaign helped to acknowledge early on that the transition to working-from-home was different for everyone and gave everyone a chance to share their story. It encouraged conversation, built community, and offered a way to share best practices, for example good ergonomic practices and healthy work habits.

Helping Hands

During the lockdown, many employees had to juggle the competing priorities of work and kids, with schools and childcare facilities closing down for a number of months. Helping Hands supported working parents through virtual activities especially for kids aged 4-15 years – which included yoga and mindfulness, storytelling, papercraft, hip hop lessons, and juggling. These sessions were not only much loved by the kids but equally by the parents, providing some much-needed fun and engagement.

Health and Wellbeing Fitness activities

As Origin’s people got used to working from home, one of the areas they asked for more support was on physical fitness and nutrition, as many employees had noticed their physical activity drop off as they settled into working from home. To support them they ran a number of online health and wellbeing sessions from stretching, yoga, fitness classes, and healthy cooking demonstrations.  

Health and Wellbeing Speaker Sessions

This fitness challenge ran throughout October and was all about getting people up and about and continuing to focus on physical fitness. Employees were encouraged to form business unit teams and set themselves a personal step challenge throughout the month. Each week the results were shared on Workplace creating some friendly competition.

Race Across Origin

This fitness challenge ran throughout October and was all about getting people up and about and continuing to focus on physical fitness. Employees were encouraged to form business unit teams and set themselves a personal step challenge throughout the month. Each week the results were shared on Workplace creating some friendly competition.

The campaigns launched during COVID-19 were successful in terms of interactions, engagement and support from leadership. This means impact and reach were felt across the organization – both top-down and bottom-up. 

Frontline and remote workers coming together

While the experience of Origin’s desk-based and frontline employees was very different throughout COVID, these campaigns brought everyone together in one place to share their experiences and create understanding. They build a sense of belonging and connection and – no matter what people’s role or location, everyone was in it together.

In particular, many of Origin’s site-based employees in remote parts of the country created teams to take part in the ‘Race across Origin’ which helped to bring everyone together and drive the ‘One Origin Culture’.

Frontline teams could easily access the Workplace campaigns on multiple devices, and  they also used Workplace to share videos,  as well as learnings around social distancing and safety practices on site. 


Going above and beyond

The outcome was a renewed sense of belonging, camaraderie, and connectedness across the business, and increased levels of Workplace engagement.


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Good Energy Exchange channel was the most visited channel on Workplace.
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Origin Cribs reached over 60% of our audience and generated over 50 comments and 300 likes.
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Helping Hands reached 100% of the audience with strong positive feedback from all families involved.
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Internal survey results showed that the health and wellbeing campaigns cemented feelings of care and compassion and enhanced psychological trust.
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Race Across Origin poll showed that 47% of the participants felt a sense of achievement and satisfaction, whilst 25% felt it helped them relax and clear their mind.

“I have been very happy and grateful for all of the support that Origin has given me and everyone as a whole. I think that all bases have been covered in many aspects and I’ve found that the effort has been above and beyond. There has been so many different aspects of life in COVID times dealt with and I have enjoyed and appreciated all the sessions I have attended.”

– Origin employee
Employee comments- COVID-19 check in survey