As a developer, looking back on code you wrote 9 months ago is typically a rough thing to do. It’s typically filled with self doubt, loathing, and questions like, “Why did I do this?” or “What was I thinking implementing X this way?” or “Isn’t it obvious this could be refactored into 80% less code that’s way easier to read?”
Take that same mentality, and apply it to a blog post that you wrote as the CEO of a business during the COVID-19 pandemic at the 20 week point. We’re now in week 59. That’s right, 59th week of We Write Code’s team of amazingly talented staff working 100% from home. Nearly triple the amount of time has passed since this pandemic started.
So how have things changed since that naive post was made, or what refactoring would I make to it?
Our Culture Has Changed.
In my post from last summer I said “We lost our culture”. In hindsight, that’s a pretty negative statement and not very accurate. The better way to say it, and it’s even more obvious now, is that our culture has changed. Yes, our office currently sits empty, but our team hasn’t missed a beat in these last 59 weeks. We’ve adapted to new ways of working. New ways of communicating. New ways of keeping in touch with each other.
As we start to evaluate reopening our office this summer, it’s clear that we’re going to have to make changes that we hadn’t considered before. As a small example, if you’ve never been to the We Write Code office, it’s a very open floor plan. Because of this, we’ve had noise challenges in the past, but now in a world where video conferencing is done daily by everyone on the team, we’re going to have to put serious thought into how we conduct that part of our business.
Why Is Our Culture Important?
As a growing software development company, culture is often what sets us apart from our competitors. We of course have a very competitive benefits package that includes medical, dental, life, and even 401k (We are hiring btw!). We even have what is becoming a more industry standard unlimited PTO policy. But where we differentiate is culture.
On more than one occasion I have had other business leaders say to me “You guys seem to have a great work environment. You all look like you’re having fun. And you’re also delivering a high-quality product.”. Every time this happens, I can’t help but smile. It’s easy for me to say that this is what we strive for – and don’t get me wrong, it is – but in reality, what we’re really doing to make our environment what it is, is to hire correctly. We strive to add people to our team who add to our culture. Who bring new backgrounds in technology to our team. People who have different life experiences.
And the biggest thing we do is that we empower our team members to feel comfortable bestowing upon us their insights and vision. Both in how we work, but also in how we interact with our clients and customers.
We have evolved and grown so much over the last 6 years, and I can’t help but give each of us a high five for being who we are, kicking ass, and taking names.