What makes you feel like being a member of a family? It’s a strange mix of relating to a place, your home, to people that have similarities with you, to events and gatherings throughout the year, and so many other little things. Every family has its ups and downs but one thing sticks: family gives you a sense of belonging.
When I asked Natalie Burdick, Office Manager at Weebly – a company that helps entrepreneurs bring their dreams to life online – what makes her company’s culture, she immediately replied: “We make you feel like a family”.
So how do you make a 200+ person company feel like a family? I won’t surprise you if I say that office management has a lot to do with it!Discover how @Weebly's Office Manager implements a family culture throughout the offices #WeeblyOM Click To Tweet
Building a workplace that feels like home
One floor for the desks, one floor for the rest!
At Weebly, private offices have long been replaced by a big open-space with dedicated sit-to-stand desks. What is more surprising is that there is a whole floor that’s dedicated to “the rest”, meaning:
– a kitchen area with a chef
– a game room
– a fitness center
– a spa with bi-monthly massages for each employee
It sounds like plain paradise (in-house massages!) but there is a true office management rationale behind all that. The whole office is built in order to make employees feel good; that way, they don’t worry about much, besides doing their job. Wellness, relaxation, healthy food, even flu shots are all taken care of.
When your company culture is based on a sense of family, it’s important to dedicate some office space to group activities that relate to your family members. In addition to ping-pong tables, a whole room is dedicated to video games (it’s even Mario-themed). It sounds cliché, but a lot of people in the tech industry play video games: it makes sense Weebly gets one!
A place where all family members are welcome
With more and more tech companies trying to diversify and recruit women to the stereotypically male dominated tech scene, Weebly is making sure their office is female-friendly. They provide (among other things like free manicures) a “new mothers’ nursing room” where they can get their privacy, breastfeed and so on. The fact that this room simply exists is proof that Weebly makes an effort towards creating an equal environment.
In their previous office, Weebly relied on a catering service for lunch. In the new office, a whole cooking crew makes lunch for everyone.
Getting an actual Chef to cook for everyone was truly part of their will to build a family spirit at work. Not only are employees encouraged to get lunch together, but Michael, the chef, and his team are also part of the Weebly family and engage in team events, making the kitchen not just the place where you fuel up, but a social one.
For instance, each week, the “Weebly of the week” gets to choose a menu that will be cooked for everyone..@Weebly's office is structured to encourage family-like get togethers #WeeblyOM Click To Tweet
Family reunions – building relationships between teammates
Team-building with friends
After work events are organized each Friday. The main goal is that teammates get to know each other on a personal level. That is why these events are opened to friends and significant others. Significant others are also welcome to the annual team event, in an effort to make sure that the Weeblies build strong relationships among each other.
Non-work related events and activities
Natalie’s team also organizes regular events and educational or fun projects (like Pumpkin painting around Halloween) to enable teammates to do non-work related projects together.
These initiatives actually inspired the team to create their own get-togethers: Weeblies have their own book-club, they go rock-climbing together, and are known to hold a fun board games night.
Building cohesion between offices
Just like in a family, the Weeblies are very diverse: product, marketing, design and admin people are all very different. Each office has a focus and the Arizona Weebly, which is mainly made of Customer Success Advocates may be different from the NYC office where there are more engineering / product people.
As the Office Manager for the whole company, building a cohesive culture across several cities / countries is a great challenge for Natalie. Therefore, she organizes:
– Weekly chats with the office coordinators each week to make sure that all initiatives follow the culture.
– Cross-team events and happenings. For instance, during the Wellness month – that’s happening right now, teams of 4 people are tracking their nutrition and workout effort using the LoseIt app. A winning team will be designated at the end of the month.Building a cohesive culture through @Weebly's offices: how the Office Manager does it #WeeblyOM Click To Tweet
Growing a family on your own traditions
What struck me when I spoke with Natalie about Weebly’s culture and office, is that it has been built from the ground up, coming from the founders. For instance, there is a DJ set ready-to-use in the chilling area, and one of Weebly’s founders (David Rusenko) actually mixes at their annual party, because he used to DJ in college. It seems like a detail, but it just shows how the company culture is insufflated in the office.
As the team grows, it is the Office Management’s responsibility to maintain this culture. Natalie joined Weebly when the team was only 40 people. She grew her own team across the country in order to make sure the “family-like” culture remains lively.
Weebly’s website: http://www.weebly.com/
Huge thanks to Natalie, Anh-Tho and Kim for their help and great insights.
Wanna make your office management duties more productive?