Creating an open and supportive working environment for each and every one of our employees is crucial to us. From our employee handbook and guidelines, to the little things such as fresh fruit and pastries in the morning, we always try to make sure that everyone is happy and enjoying their working environment.
Our culture allows us to have great relationships inside and outside of work. Here are a few of the ways we try to maintain a happy working environment!
Creating Safe Spaces
Our underlying goal is to create a ‘Safe Space’- a relaxed atmosphere that encourages people to have their own voice and not be afraid to speak out. Many different factors contribute to creating safe spaces for our team. From how the team interact with one another in a supportive and constructive way, to setting aside time to discuss different issues.
Different forms of communication are available for different situations. Regular team meetings provide the opportunity to speak about any issues, questions or ideas. For a more focussed discussion, We use a chat tool called Stride that allows the team to chat to the specific person or group within the team. We have found that this is a great way to ask questions without fear of interrupting the general workflow.
Communication is key, this applies not only to communicating as a team internally, but also when it comes to client facing projects. We have a transparent approach to communication so that the team feel they have the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions when they need to. There can be many unknowns in a development project, and without having this space and time to voice questions, many issues can arise throughout projects.
We always look to recognise achievement, and see any problems as opportunities to work together to find a solution. We want our team to feel proud of their achievements and know that they are appreciated. We know that recognition of accomplishments one of the best motivation drivers, and are always there to celebrate when our team members succeed whether that be in or out of the workplace.
“From the moment I joined the team I’ve always felt like I could speak my mind and not be afraid to do so.”- Sammy
Dealing with stress at work is not easy, and no matter how hard you try, there will always be some element of stress at work. In fact, a little bit of pressure can be a positive thing. But when stress starts to get on top of you, it can have an impact on productivity, your mental and physical health.
We try to recognise stress and find ways to talk about and manage it before it gets out of hand. This is through a combination of regular 121s, team meetings, and having a chat tool that allows people to bring up any issues privately. This allows us to identify if the workload is too high, or if any other personal issues are coming into play.
For our developers, pair programming is always encouraged to solve issues when you’re just a little bit stuck on your tasks. We have also created dedicated chat rooms for asking questions/advice on technical issues so that everyone is able to learn from each other and develop their knowledge.
We also have some more informal approaches to managing stress. We like to encourage balanced lifestyles, and keeping active outside of work. We provide Fitbit trackers, to encourage each other to get moving when you’re not at your desk and get those endorphins flowing. We try and work out together when we can to keep each other motivated. The team can get involved with Yoga Tuesdays, rock climbing Thursdays and regular gymming – there’s something for everyone!
Team activities are organised to help us all unwind and get to know one another better too! For example, a trip to the highlands, an afternoon at the bowling, or if it’s hot enough, a team barbeque. Our regular staff nights out and occasional Friday beers helps build team cohesiveness and just lets everyone take some time to relax and have fun!
“Being able to hang out with the team out of work for rock climbing and drinks was what really helped me to really know the team and develop a relationship with everyone.”- Nico
We want our team to feel comfortable within the workplace, and recognise that bringing up issues in a big team meeting can be daunting. For that reason, we have a 121 meeting with each employee every single month.
Our 121 meetings allows each member of the team an opportunity to bring up any problems or concerns. These personal meetings make sure that each team member is happy with their work and environment. The 121’s alternates between technical and personal so you have an opportunity to discuss things relating to not just work but also free to talk about any issues that may be affecting you, both inside of work and at home.
“What I really like with 121’s is the fact that we have some time to chat about our feelings with the company; what is good, what we could improve, it can also be about your personal life, your project, your problems. It feels good to actually have someone to talk to about that.”- Alex
Some people are natural early birds and others night owls. Each is most productive at different times during the day. At GearedApp we want our team to have a sense of control over their working hours so that they are able to work more effectively. We have flexible hours so you can decide to get started earlier or start a little later (within our core hours). This also means that if any issues or commitments come up outside of work, we are able to plan around these and find a solution that works for everyone.
We also offer the flexibility to work from home if required. While we prefer to all work together, we recognise that this is not always possible. This particularly important because we have such multicultural team who have family based all over the world. That extra bit of flexibility means our team are able to work from anywhere, and see their loved ones if they need to.
We’ve all had ‘one of those days’. Whether that be due to personal reasons or just waking up on the wrong side of the bed, sometimes you need a day to yourself. For those situations, we have F’it days. These are days that you can take without notice. Just call on the day and say you need the day off. When someone takes a F’it day, they won’t be questioned or probed. This is really important, and means the team feel that they always have the freedom to take a day if they need to.
In our GearedApp handbook these F’it days are described as: “Those days that you just need some time out, whether for a duvet day, to go for a walk/jog. No notice is required, just let us know on the day.” These F’it days are intended to be used to settle back and refresh yourself so you can get yourself back on track, and ready to face the rest of the week.
“F’it days are a lifesaver. Some days you don’t want to get out of bed and just need some time out.”- Facu
Recognition of mental health issues and awareness of its impacts is something that GearedApp takes seriously. Understanding that mental health issues do exist, come in many forms and are not something to be ignored is vital for creating that ‘Safe Space’. This applies when we talk to our clients, and within our diverse team of people from different nationalities, cultures, life stages and LGBTQ backgrounds. We normalise the discussion of mental health at the workplace through providing an environment where we feel like anyone is able to discuss personal issues, talk about their problems without fear and receive emotional support from one another.
“I feel that the subject is not taboo at GearedApp. Here, I have been invited on many occasions to share issues I have faced and together we’ve been able to work out solutions to help face these issues.”- Armand
We have built, and are still continuing to build, a culture that includes ‘Safe Spaces’ – somewhere where our staff feel like they can ask questions and exist without fear of retribution. We think all of the things mentioned above work towards a mental health strategy, and ensuring, as best we can that we look after one another. This is our culture and it is one we are very proud of 🙂