Why Urban Jungle embraces an office-centric approach
At Urban Jungle we know that people can work efficiently and effectively in different places, and have always had a ‘grown-up’ approach to flexible working. We look for impact and outcomes, and don’t believe in facetime, but an important part of our culture is about being office-centric, and here’s why.
1.It’s where we think people learn fastest
Keep Getting Better is a primary value of ours. We think about this in our products - launching MVPs and iterating fast - as well as in our team and individual development. Although people learn in lots of different ways, we think being exposed to lots of different ways of thinking by osmosis and being able to quickly ask questions and get feedback is fundamental to a great learning experience. And we’re all learning, all the time. It’s possible to recreate learning environments over slack and video, but real time feedback is much more effective.
We trust our team to do great work, but we don’t just think about what they’re getting done today - we’re thinking about the impact they can have in the future if they learn quickly. And the fastest way to do that is to be around the people you can learn from to get faster feedback, ask quick questions, and hear how more experienced people go about things.
2. It’s how the best decisions are made quickly
We’re a young business - we’re growing, changing and making business-shaping decisions every day. The pace of change and decision making is fast, and we’ve found it’s most effective to get decision makers in the same place at the same time - which is easiest when they are sitting near each other. Even if it’s to grab the 30 seconds between conversations, that can be all we need to make a decision and change course - and that’s easier to do when we’re all in the same space.
It’s also easier to have a thorough debate in person as you can read more of the physical cues and non-verbal communication than you can over a video or text.
3. It helps us be transparent in our decision making
Transparency within the team is as important to us as transparency to our customers. We want everyone not just to be aware of the decisions that we’re making about our products and business, but be a part of it and hear how we got there.
We discuss and debate A Lot, and doing this in person, ad hoc at our desks or around the coffee pot means everyone around can also hear how we think and what’s important to us. Remotely, we’ve been hosting whole company open meetings where anyone can listen in to what the senior team are talking about, but a lot of these conversations also happen organically and they can be hidden in a remote or hybrid world.
4. We’re sociable creatures
Humans as a species, and Urban Jungle in particular like company. We’re not just here to work, we’re here to enjoy what we do in the company of other people we want to spend time with. We’re friends with our colleagues, and we have fun together - whether that’s in meetings, over lunch, in the pub, on our social outings. There’s quiet space to work for when you need time to focus, but we also like a bit of a buzz and some chatter in the office.
We’ve made remote “work” for us, and especially where we are in our growth journey right now, it’s not the same. So we’re excited to be able to get the team back in the same space sooner rather than later.
What does that look like in the coming years? It means everyone having a desk space in the office and a place to come, and, while we’ll stay responsive, it means more time in the office together than out of it. It means being tuned in to how the world around us changes, and also to think consciously about the space the team needs to do their best work in. Because ultimately, that’s what’s really important to us - a happy, effective and growing team!
If this sounds interesting, check out our open roles here!