Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sydney office culture

Just over 3 months ago we moved into our new offices in Surry Hills after spending 12 months sub-leasing space from Jodie's former employer The Campaign Palace. We loved sharing space at The Campaign Palace, not only were their offices amazing but it was great to be around lots of creative, interesting people each day. That said, since being in our own office space we've realised how difficult it is to build a company culture when sharing space with other people, the change in our culture over the last 3 months has been remarkable and exciting.

Lunch
We were already doing it in our office in China and as planned, we started providing lunch and snacks to our team in Sydney when we moved into our new office. We pick a lunch place to order from that day and when the food arrives we all eat together around a dining table we've set up in the middle of our space. Previously at The Campaign Palace we didn't really have a break out area like this so we tended to just eat lunch at our desks and continue working. Initially in the new office we tried having formal brainstorming sessions over lunch where we'd all brainstorm solutions to a particular problem we were having in the business, but these weren't a lot of fun and weren't relaxing which ideally lunch should be. Taking 45 minutes out during the middle of the day is refreshing and eating lunch together has been great for us all to get to know each other better which makes coming to work and spending our days together much more enjoyable.

Friday Drinks
We've taken to having drinks on a Friday from 4:30pm. We keep our fridge stocked with beer and we've got quite a bit of wine in the office now too. That, combined with some music makes for a good way to end the week. That said there's been a bit of a tendency to head back to our desks with the drinks and continue working which is not really ideal. I think we need a Nintendo Wii or something similar set up to draw us away from our desks.

TechTalks
We've now held 3 TechTalks in the office and they've been a great success. Not only have the speakers shared some fascinating insights, but it's been fun inviting other people to the office and getting to know other Sydney based entrepreneurs over a few drinks and an interesting entrepreneurial related topic.

It's still early days for the development of the Shoes of Prey culture but I think we're headed in the right direction and for our Sydney team, our new office space certainly makes a big difference.

We had originally thought we would sub-lease some of our space to other people running startups but we've since decided we probably won't do this. We've found it's much easier to build a strong culture when the space you work in is yours.

What has your experience been with culture building inside the organisation you work for?

1 comment:

  1. Few words of encouragement...it's a damn site easier to create a culture than it is to change one. In my consulting days, so many clients talked about changing the culture through anecdotal initiatives that don't add up to any substantial change.

    What you guys are doing is different. I don't think you are trying to create a culture, because I don't think you can...I think you are trying to create an environment which is conducive to the way you want to work. The end result of that will be the culture. Same as the adage; treat others as you want to be treated.

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