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From Big 4 To AND Digital…Different World, Different Work: Part 1

5 May 2017 | Lawrence Ball | About a 4 minute read
Tags: Agile, atmosphere, big 4, Consulting, Digital, diversity, Happiness, happy, Learning, tech


In March this year I started Bootcamp at AND Digital in their new offices in Covent Garden, London. Walking in I felt like I should be nervous, worried, even scared but as I stepped into the red AND-branded office, I felt…at ease. People were smiling and laughing, there was music playing and a crowd of familiar faces welcomed me. The familiar faces belonged to those who had attended one of the many events that I had been invited to prior to joining. Just a few of these events included AND Chat: AND Digital’s popular tech Meetup, evening social events, and even their Christmas Party! This feeling of ease has continued as I have grown within the company and has since been joined by excitement, enthusiasm and a whole host of positive emotions.

 

Coming into AND Digital after 3 years of working for one of the Consulting Big 4 has seen a big shift in working style if I compare the two. In this blog I will look at just three elements that make up the AND Digital workplace: atmosphere, pace and a REAL focus on happiness…

 

Atmosphere – At the time of writing, London has been warm and sunny for over a week (nope, not joking). For office workers, nice weather usually means battling stifling heat in an office with sub-par air conditioning in the grey, white or blue of the corporate world uniform. This week at AND Digital, the same nice weather has meant working on the office terrace in the sunshine, lunchtime frisbee with the team and plentiful offerings of ice cream! The difference in formality affects the entire workplace, with teams able to work hard in a comfortable environment, whilst having fun and being able to enjoy the nice weather instead of dreading it. Another benefit from a more open dress code and relaxed atmosphere is the breaking down of walls. No matter who you are or where you work in the company, you are respected equally every day. The power you have in a meeting is no longer correlated with the price of your designer suit.

 

Pace – AND Digital is a big believer and practitioner of Agile methodologies; it’s what we do. Working in this fashion has been an eye-opening experience after spending my career working with Waterfall development and analysis. Sprints (when potentially releasable increments of work are developed) last between two and four weeks. Teams have a daily stand-up meeting to catch up and work closely together day in, day out. This intense teamwork and short, snappy recurring meetings keep the heartbeat of the project moving and provide a sense of ‘controlled urgency’ through every sprint. We rarely work long days but somehow more gets done. Instead of heels being dragged out of the lift at 7am and trudging slowly through until 7pm every day, people come in each day with a hop in their step (after a coffee or two!) and are ready to go. It’s a much more efficient, sustainable, and enjoyable way of working.

 

Happiness – One thing that still fascinate me at AND Digital is that people actually love their jobs! A key role at AND Digital belongs to Debbie Martin, our Chief Happiness Officer. Nope, I’m not joking this time either. It is an official title and it is awesome. Debbie’s job is to “make you want to come to work in the morning” with a focus on workforce happiness and engagement. AND Digital know that happy people do better work and this dedication to happiness is prominent throughout the company, from the flat organisational structure to the people we hire, the clients we choose, the free fruit, free massages, and too many tasty treats. It’s no wonder we won 28th Best Small Company to work for!

 

A new way of working has been evolving and becoming more prevalent throughout the technology, and other industries. This way of working defies the status quo of coming to work, working hard and going home late, just to come back tired and unmotivated in the morning. It seems that AND Digital have got this new working style just right. Being part of TNW’s Top 5 fastest-growing tech companies this year proves that it makes business sense, too.
In my next blog I’ll be writing about 3 more key elements to AND Digital’s workplace success: Learning, Diversity and Failing Well

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