February 20, 2019
One of the risks of collaborating with external vendors is working with people from some agency whom you don’t see on a daily basis. This means you don’t really know how they work and how professional they really are. This uncertainty, then, could lead to this one question repeatedly popping up in your head: “What if people from this cool-looking agency are just a bunch of nerds coding in the basement?”
Although the office itself might not be the most important element of successful project delivery, it definitely contributes to overall project success. So it’s better to take a peek ahead of beginning a relationship.
Distance permitting, you can easily check out our office yourself (you’re always welcome). If a personal visit isn’t feasible, I put something together to give you a proper look at the Monterail office. I outlined how our workplace enhances our work and thus contributes to building better software.
You’ll also see for yourself why 90% of clients who visit the Monterail office eventually decide to work with us long-term. If you want to make sure we’re not these basement guys, let me show you around.
It was obvious for us from the very start that our office would have to align with our organizational culture, which embraces the “open doors” approach. As we strive to foster an internal culture focused on learning and sharing, we built an office that would permit larger assemblies in order to make the most of being together in one place. Having an amphitheater in the center, we’re able to work toward strengthening the community by organizing and hosting a number of events, including:
The amphitheater filled with participants of the Girls in IT event
Sometimes we host very special events, like the very first Vue.js Core Team Summit in August of 2018. The event entailed nine members of the Vue Core Team coming in for a weeklong sprint. Our guests were provided with ample room for coding, discussions, and teamwork. Later in the evenings, over a hundred people dropped by our office to listen to Guillaume, Chris Fritz, and chat with the rest of the Vue gurus presenting in the amphitheater.
Our Head of Development, Szymon Korzeniowski speaking during the Vue Core Team visit
As we went about moving into a new, wonderful location in downtown Wrocław, we knew that we wanted our new office to be open, but we weren’t all that familiar with office design, and ultimately ended up making some mistakes like creating a separate Board Room when our co-founders never really needed one. After a while, we grew to over 80 people and our space needed to grow as well. This time we knew better—we implemented a Workplace Strategy to make our office a meaningful space, where product development process would have proper conditions to blossom.
Our thinking was rather straightforward—a well-designed office translates into improved employee wellbeing and efficiency. This means team members who feel that they’re able to harness their full potential. And indeed, a number of studies have shown that paying attention to the way workflows and internal communication are designed in an organization can directly affect employee happiness. To quote Forbes:
“(...) Organizations creating the right environment for their staff can have a positive impact on employees’ health and wellbeing, as well as their job satisfaction and productivity levels. Physical design has been shown to affect our mental health and happiness.”
For maximum positive impact, we divided our space into task-specific areas to support a variety of collaboration styles that the teams prefer. Turns out that a wide range of different work areas helped us boost productivity. The Steelcase global report showed that employees who could choose where they want to work in the office and had control over their work experience were much more engaged in their work, which translated to overall better company performance.
At Monterail, everyone is free to choose where they want to spend their workday, whether it’s sitting at their workstation for eight hours straight or spending the morning in the chillout room and later moving into the vivid, brightly lit kitchen.
To boost the comfort levels of our staff, we have individual rooms for strong-focus tasks and spacious rooms for creative brainstorming. Fun fact: each and every room has its own color scheme (and a name from Sailor Moon story) as visual stimuli are a surefire way to enhance creative thinking—differentiating one room from another is just an added bonus. Spaces like these are crucial for developers and designers, whose job involves thinking out of the box and solving unusual problems.
The violet room known as Saturn allowing for bigger teams' meetings
Both project rooms and quiet areas are also furnished with standing desks to give our employees the opportunity to sit less and thus reduce the chance of suffering from the chronic diseases which have been associated with prolonged sitting. We also like to draw when we think and talk, so there is a number of whiteboards scattered in the open space—they also come in handy when running workshops with clients or holding daily project roundups.
The space dedicated to creative tasks requiring visualization
Our office is also fully ready for pair-programming, an important part of the app development process, which increases the net amount of actually completed features you ship, thus allowing faster development of your app. It’s also one of the best ways to notice bugs on-the-fly.
Pair-programming in full bloom
Unexpected call? No problem, the office has a number of soundproofed call rooms with TVs and top-shelf cameras, allowing for high-quality video and audio feeds that elevate the remote meeting experience, making it feel like talking to your in-house team.
Abundant natural light, luscious vegetation, and comfortable couches align with our natural preferences for calming environments and are proven to improve focus, as is having control over lighting and temperature.
A cosy nook for a break or a talk
Resting your brain after a tough day is a must for proper work-life balance. Our office includes two play rooms, intended to build team spirit and offer our staff a range of opportunities to relax and have some fun. Unsurprisingly, the rooms quickly became a favorite spot for many Monterail folks.
Most of these features and solutions described above seem, at least at first sight, to benefit primarily Monterail employees. And indeed, we feel these benefits on a daily basis. But there’s more to the approach.
Our office design is part of a larger workplace strategy that seeks to increase our competitive advantage on the job market, thus allowing us attract the most qualified candidates to develop your app.
And it’s impossible to ignore the positive correlation between how we feel at work and how we perform. This vibrant place brings us together not just physically, but mentally first and foremost. And we believe that good understanding inside the team brings the most to your product and translates directly into project success.
I couldn’t agree more with Monterail co-founder, Bartosz Rega:
“The office that we occupy facilitates bringing us together as a community. And that is simply a win for everyone: those working here on an everyday basis and our clients who can see the benefits too, because what they see is an engaged and harmonious team.”
We’re happy to be working in this office and proud to be sharing good news about it.
The Monterail office case study was featured a report drafted by BNP Paribas Real Estate Poland, as an example of reflecting company culture and flexibility in the office space. Later on, we were nominated for the ABSL Diamonds in the Vibrant Workplace category.
And yes, I admit, our office is cool. But its coolness is just an added bonus. The most important thing about it is that it’s a meaningful space that helps us deliver meaningful software.