In fact, 2020 was not so bad: we signed several large contracts, released the largest update to the Jmix platform, opened new offices in two cities and organized a New Year’s party for 500 people in the format of a popular evening TV show. However, the remote location severely violated the team ties. And then the return to the office turned into Operation Total Recall with the agents Vaccination, Pizza and Boogie Woogie.
People in the Office: Days of the Past Past
We have always tried to keep in touch within the team – from the very foundation, when a little more than 10 people worked at Haulmont, to today, when there are more than 500 of us. and sports days. However, in 2020, life has changed.
Our twelfth birthday was for the first time having an online tea party. For comparison, photos from 2018 and 2020.
So it is not surprising that after many years of teamwork and rest, it was not easy for many to get away. Of course, for a year online, we appreciated all the advantages and got used to communicate through the screen. Only when the team shrinks to chat notifications, when there is no opportunity to hack to death with colleagues in the PlayStation, tennis or kicker, and the leaders no longer poison jokes in the kitchen, it seems that the spirit of the company is somewhere very far away.
In addition, it was in 2020 that Haulmont first began hiring telecommuters from across the country. And, what can I say, it was hard for beginners to feel our atmosphere.
Of course, the corporate lull (moreover, forced) is not critical for someone. But we didn’t want to turn into “another IT company”, where it is quite normal to work, but where it is quite normal to leave, and nothing will change.
So as soon as in 2021 there was an opportunity to go back to the offices, we decided to use it.
V for vaccine
Safety is first of all, so before leaving the remote area, we conducted free antibody testing for everyone right in the office. At the entrance, of course, they were asked to measure the temperature and put on a mask. As a result, some employees were surprised to learn that they had asymptomatic covid while they were away. For those who did not have antibodies and who wanted to be vaccinated, vaccinations were organized – also in the office and also free of charge. After that, employees were asked to fill out an online form and indicate who was vaccinated in the office or on their own, and who had been ill. It turned out that our company has already formed a collective immunity, so those who want to can return to the office.
During the pandemic, we did not close our offices, so there was almost no need to prepare them for the return of employees. We did not want to force everyone to work from the office, we just announced in the general corporate mailing list that such an opportunity appeared. Those who wanted to could work remotely and further or come to the office from time to time. In each team, we conducted a survey of who prefers which schedule. For those who planned to spend less than 2-3 days a week in the office, we organized “shared” workplaces – tables with all the necessary equipment and software, at which any employee could sit down and work. So the issue of rational use of space was resolved – the team is growing, but some employees come to the office every six months. At the same time, we do not save on equipment and furniture, and for those who want, we bring everything home. By the way, several people have become so attached to their jobs that they began to get to the office more often in order to keep them.
Back to the offices
In addition, it was important for us to remind everyone that the office is not only comfortable, but also fun. After the vaccination, we did some small activities. At the headquarters of Haulmont in Samara, an award ceremony was held for the winners of the winter IT-Spartakiad, and in the Togliatti office, almost the entire team gathered to meet with the company’s management and discuss plans for the future. The first hybrid meetings were also held with snacks in the offices and broadcast for remote workers.
Colleagues again began to celebrate birthdays in the kitchen, on holidays pizzas, cakes and Easter cakes returned to the tables, and on ordinary days – fresh fruit. In the mailing list, invitations to cycling races appeared, and near the consoles – those wishing to play.
Contests, Food and Boogie Woogie
And then we decided to play for high stakes and rented a whole ranch for Company Day, where we invited all our colleagues from different cities. And they themselves did not expect that more than 350 people would gather on Saturday! Employees arrived from Samara, Tolyatti, Saratov, Moscow, Voronezh, Kazan, Perm and Yekaterinburg. All this geography filled 2 floors of the restaurant and a whole clearing.
In order for colleagues to get to know each other and have fun, we organized open-air teambuilding (those who wanted to relax in nature could well not participate, so everything is humane). In addition, through assignments, we wanted to show what we value most in work and in each other. Some activities did not go to everyone, let’s be honest. Most of all I liked the tasks with making cryo-ice (symbolized innovative thinking), playing African drums (openness) and a general dance to Boogie Wonderland. In addition, the program included games, shooting at a shooting range, a sea of drinks and barbecue. After the corporate party, we asked colleagues to take another survey – to share their opinions and rate the event. As a result, we received a lot of positive reviews and a rather high average score – 9.2 out of 10.
Here’s what my colleagues wrote in the reviews:
“I remember most of all how everyone dispersed in a big circle within the framework of a common dance-flash mob. Very impressive. “
“For the tracks of the 2000s, my respect.”
“Everything was fun and friendly. During working hours you will not socialize with your colleagues like that, but here you have an amazing opportunity. “
“Not a bad balance of free and non-free time.”
Remote – everything. What’s next?
Despite the fact that offices are gradually filling with life, now everything is a little different. We are very accustomed to a free schedule and are definitely not going to give it up. Some people like to come to the office every day, while others only on holidays. But it is much more pleasant to know that at any time you can ride bicycles with colleagues, listen to jokes in the kitchen and play games with friends.
What do you value in your work besides the work itself? Let us know in the comments.