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Simon Mitchell of Sigmar International chats to Johannes Scharlach, Director of Platform Engineering at Frontier Car Group (now OLX Autos) and Fatos Hoti, Engineering Manager at Klara to discuss “Leading Change in the New Era of Work” chatting about: Integration from startup into a mature company How to build trust in an integration process Leading cultural changes in an organisation Drop everything process when everybody's remote How to align a team against a goal in a new environment? How to communicate that you're dropping everything and that the team is switching focus, starting now?
In recent times we have seen tech companies go to extreme lengths to provide their staff with incredible workspaces in a bid to attract and retain the best talent in the business. The modern office has experienced a number of changes in the last twenty years or so. We have witnessed the death of cubicle farms with the rise of open floorplans and the tech revolution bringing ping pong tables, beer on tap and a wild array of amenities and designs. In the current tech market, the locus of power resides with the employee. According to Forbes, 93% of workers in the tech industry say that they will stay with a company longer that offers healthier workspace benefits such as wellness rooms, entertainment facilities and healthy food options. We have complied a list of some of the best tech offices from around the world, how does your office compare to these stunning spaces? Etsy Headquarters – Brooklyn, NY Etsy’s solar powered headquarters is a work of beauty. The interior of the office is decorated exclusively with products designed and manufactured by Etsy sellers. Boasting cosy chairs, arts and craft stations and natural wood, the space has a homely feel to it and is full of natural light. Images: Etsy Pionen’s White Mountain Office – Stockholm, Sweden Allegedly inspired by villains’ lairs in James Bond movies, the workspace combines all four elements – earth, wind, fire and water – to ‘bring the outside in’ for workers, according to the architects. This creative office space for the Swedesh internet provider is situated at the base of a mountain, somewhat ironic considering this may not offer the best Wi-Fi speeds. Images: Archive Expo Zynga Headquarters – San Francisco, CA In true Silicon Valley style, Zynga house their 1,700 talented employees in an enormous office complex packed full of entertainment such as ping pong, sketching areas and even zombie shooting areas. This impressive complex has been put up for sale by the social gaming service, just in case you have a spare $600 million lying around. Images: Zynga Airbnb – San Francisco Airbnb’s HQ in San Francisco is truly a work of art. Inspired entirely by the site’s listings, the workspaces are custom made in a variety of ways. Workspaces include house boats, tents, shepherd huts and beach cabins. The underlying concept behind the design is to have employees working in their ‘own home’, allowing staff the opportunity to be their most productive self. Images: Airbnb Google – Everywhere Google, arguably the birthplace of the modern tech office, host their global workforce in an array of stunning complexes across the world. From hanging work cubicles in the Zurich office, to the swings and cars featured in the Mexican base, Google employees are always treated to aesthetic and visual stimuli to keep their brain synapses firing. Images: Google Apple Park, Cupertino, CA Apple’s headquarters looks like something out of sci-movie. The stunning building features 360-degree views with the walls made completely out of glass. The colossal building is a mile in circumference and cost approximately $5 billion to build, yes billion. The interior is flooded with natural light, open plan workspaces and minimalist sleek décor, trademark Apple design. Despite Apple’s significant investment, employees have expressed their concerns with the open plan layout with some threatening to quit if they are forced to work in shared spaces. Images: Apple Facebook, Palo Alto, California Facebook recently completed a major extension of their campus in 2018. Called MPK 21, the space is comprised of numerous flexible workspaces surrounded by tropical plants. The campus also features a central courtyard, the “town square” which is complete with restaurants, amenities and redwood trees. Images: Deezen
Throughout history, one of the most basic goals of any business is to increase efficiency and productivity. The more efficient a person or process is, the less time is required to complete a project. The natural by-product of increased productivity is an increase in the bottom line. Within software development, there is always more work to do; new features to implement, bugs to fix, tests to run, the list can feel endless. Here are a few tips to help increase your productivity at work to get more from your workday. Work Fewer Hours This may sound counter intuitive, but significant research has shown that working fewer hours promotes smarter solutions while improving your ability to focus. The very nature of coding presents developers with complex issues on a daily basis that require incredible focus and smart solutions. In reality, working shorter hours may not always be possible if your employer is yet to understand the significant benefits shorter hours offers, if you are very new to a job/inexperienced or if your workload is simply too much. If this is the case, we recommend taking more short breaks throughout the day. Coding is a huge mental drain requiring consistent focus. It is important to give your brain time to refresh and recharge by leaving your desk at intervals throughout the day. Scrolling through your phone or browsing the web is not a mental break, it is just another point of focus. Try going for a walk, chatting with a colleague or getting some fresh air to reenergise your brain. Avoid Distractions According to a survey conducted by Udemy Research — aptly named "2018 Workplace Distraction Report" nearly 3 out of 4 workers (70 percent) say they feel distracted at work. The impact this has is compounded when coding due to the complex nature of the activity. You’re in the zone, ten different variables shooting through your mind and bang your phone rings or your work friend taps you on the shoulder. Instantly you are dragged out of the zone hampering productivity. Research has shown it takes up to fifteen minutes to fully get back in the zone. Similar to when you’re just about to nod off to sleep and something disturbs you, it takes around fifteen minutes to shake off the disturbance. Practical tips to combat this include; Wearing noise cancelling headphones if this is allowed in your workplace Having a clear and open conversation with your colleagues that you can only work effectively when left undisturbed for a period of time Pre-set times to chat with your colleagues or organise set meetings to avoid disturbances Turn notifications off on your phone Have a sign on your desk stating that you are working on a complex issue removing any ambiguity in the situation – open communication about the sign prior to putting it up is key. Automate Writing scripts to automate the laborious time-consuming elements of your job can improve productivity for an entire team significantly. Streamlining your workday enables you to work smarter, not harder. When you face a laborious task, always err on the side of automation but make sure you consider the cost-benefit of automating the task. You don’t want to spend more time on debugging the script than the actual task at hand. Don’t Multitask Despite your self-assessment that you are an expert multi-tasker, the reality is that research from the American Psychological Association among other sources shows that you are not. When your to-do list is overwhelmingly long, it can be tempting to hop from task to task, generating an illusion of control for your own benefit. In reality, you are wasting time as you jump between headspaces, losing the clarity that comes with continuous focus. When working on a task, choose to work on that task until completion. Of course, in the real world, this is not always possible. A solution is simply setting a time-frame or deadline for the task. Allow yourself a certain amount of time to work on the task, then move on to the next. It is important that your full focus is on one task at a time. In the working world, you will always encounter distractions and obstacles to productivity. The key is to implement simple measures when possible to mitigate distractions and to always be mindful of burnout. Our brains work better when they are afforded adequate time to refresh and when they are focused on one task at a time.