I travel a lot. It’s part of my job. I see different countries, different customs, different work ethics, different ways companies treat their employees.
The most impressive company that I’ve been to was a company in Sydney, Australia.
Apart from the modern building with a harbour view, they had a great employee environment.
Calm, clean, comfortable with all the frills an employee could think of.
They had a kitchenette every 20 feet. A small fridge with soft drinks and beer (yes…beer!)
They had chefs that went around and made special sandwiches for the employees to nibble.
The computers, the chairs, the atmosphere, the whole environment was built to make working there enjoyable.
I’m sure that there are companies with even better frills and perks (Google etc..), but I was amazed at the effort this company put in to make their employees comfortable.
The company was highly profitable, so they could afford to recruit the best, and afford to invest in their employee’s comfort.
Creating a calm, comfortable and focused work environment generates productivity. Success breeds success.
On the other hand, I’ve been to companies where the employees need to buy their own coffee. Shameful and counter-productive.
IT team environments are even more important.
Making the developers comfortable, surrounding them with cotton wool enables them to stay at their desk longer. Be more productive. A happy bee is a productive bee.
One of the reasons IT companies have internal lunchrooms is to reduce “wasted time” employees use eating outside at restaurants.
I had a project manager that once told me that if it were possible – he would probably move the toilets closer to our desks to save time…
Speaking of which… one of the most important requirements for a productive IT team is a Thinking Area.
You sit hours at your computer. The thing you are trying to develop is not working. You’ve tried everything. You’re stuck. You need to leave the computer and rethink the solution from a different point of view.
Thinking areas…. I do my best thinking on the toilet. Others in the kitchen area . Others in the smoking area. Others just need some the fresh air…
Most companies invest in the kitchen, but skip the “thinking areas”.
Pity. It’s an important issue, and improves productivity.
So… how are BPM vendor work environments?
Out of curiosity, I opened Google Earth to take a peek at BPM vendor offices.
The Americans have large corporate buildings, the Europeans have refurbished castles.
It’s impossible to make conclusions based on the building exterior. The employee environment is on the inside.
But there was one BPM vendor that I was impressed with: ISIS Papyrus
Swiss-based ISIS Papyrus Group has its operational headquarters are in Vienna, Austria, with offices in 15 countries, more than 250 employees and over 2000 customers.
Say what you want about Max J. Pucher and his crazy ACM ideas, but take a peek at their offices and you’ll have to agree that they have a cool employee environment.
Well done to them!