At William Joseph, we want to create a culture which trusts people to know what way of working works best for them.
Our aim is to place this trust at the heart of our processes as we continue to grow, to create somewhere that people can do their best work and have balance to their life.
To do this, we must develop ways of working that build trust between everyone in our team. This trust is critical in ensuring that everyone can bring their full selves to our work - and make the most of the diverse perspectives that are in our team.
We are starting to create a routine about when and how we come together to do this. By meeting in person 4 times a year, people can plan their time around these sessions. Two of these sessions are overnight retreats and two take place in London - still the easiest place for everyone to reach. As our team grows and develops, smaller meetups are taking place all over the country and we are developing what we talk about when we meet on screen.
Where our team now works
We continue to build a team that is based all over the country. This dramatically improves the diversity of perspectives that we can use to help solve problems for our team and our clients. In turn, we are able to create more accessible products and services for some of the most important organisations in society.
Area covered by team in 2021
Area covered by team in 2022
Happy to be one of the ‘remote recruits’. It’s not for everyone, but as well as reducing our emissions, the benefits of remote-working for William Joseph are also increasing the number of people and diversity of perspectives that can be a part of our team. In turn, we hope this will improve the quality and inclusiveness of the solutions we create for clients.
Lucy Pickering, William Joseph UX & Content Strategist
My job has been a game-changer for us and I’m forever grateful to William Joseph for truly embracing flexible and remote working. They have recognised that organisations need to evolve and adapt to facilitate flexible working and make sure it works for everyone, regardless of life stage and situation. The result is a tight, supportive, highly trusting team who connect with each other and want each other to all bring their best to work. It’s ace.
Yas, William Joseph Strategy Lead
Holidays & working
By embracing flexible working, we have allowed team members to have greater balance in their lives. One specific example of this is with people who have taken the opportunity to work abroad.
For example Lori, one of our development team, has family in Mauritius. Thanks to the processes we’ve put in place to allow people to work wherever and whenever works best for them, she was able to visit them for four and a half weeks - using only a few days’ holiday.
Ben, one of our designers, explored living in Portugal for a few weeks over the summer too. He was able to contribute to the team in exactly the same way as if he was at home in Surrey.
Right from my first day, William Joseph trusted me to make the decision about where I work. Working outside the UK gave me some much-needed time with family after we were separated by the pandemic.
Lori, William Joseph Developer
Onboarding is accessibility
When bringing people into any team, it’s crucial to help them feel a part of the group from day one. This starts with practical things like making sure people have got the correct IT kit on time and all the right meetings in their diaries.
It’s also important to help people understand the more abstract cultural aspects of the team - ‘what it’s ok to assume’ according to Schein [https://think-boundless.com/edgar-scheins-anxiety-assumptions-powerful-ideas-on-culture/]
All of these steps add up to making your team more accessible - especially if people are joining with different experiences or backgrounds. We’re working hard to improve this process so everyone who joins our team feels welcome right away.
Our version of ‘it’s ok to’ - which tries to show people some of the cultural elements to William Joseph that usually take longer to pick up
Our first ever away day
In September, we had our first ever overnight retreat. The aim was to build understanding and trust between people, many of whom had not met in 3D before. We were very lucky to have the excellent Tess Cooper, from Collaborative Future, join us to help facilitate many of the conversations.
We structured the days to start off by using appreciative interviews [https://www.liberatingstructur…] to better understand some of our colleagues. These non judgemental discussions helped us reflect on what we enjoy about our work and what we think is important for our team.
We then discussed where our values overlapped and where they diverged, using these conversations as a starting point. This allowed us to explore where our similarities and differences occurred - and normalise talking about all of them.
Team bonding, fire lighting, wine pairing, jungle speeding… I was so uplifted by WJ’s first overnight offsite 🥰
Lucy Pickering, William Joseph Content & UX Strategist
The time we have had together as a team in 3D has been extremely valuable. It helps build our relationships which allows us to be a more trusting, effective team.
We now want to improve our regular virtual catch ups to develop the same type of connections. There’s no reason that these kinds of conversations can’t be had just because we’re on a screen rather than in a field in Cambridgeshire.
One of the facts we’re better understanding - is that for all the challenges of remote working, for some people it actually brings them closer to others. This comes down to personal preference, wider life context and previous experience - but for many they actually feel closer to their colleagues now they’re not in an office together.
The reasons I prefer remote working are split into two boxes. The first is work / life balance and the second is the way I work with the team. Instead of a sandwich in a cafe at the office, I’m more likely to have lunch with my family, go for a walk or mow the lawn. I always found having some discussions in the office more tricky than remotely. I find it easier to look at a diary, and call one to one in private, than having a chat in a room full of people.
Chris Hammond, William Joseph Managing Director