It’s no surprise that happy employees are more productive workers than those who hate their jobs.  According to Fast Company, employee happiness increases productivity by 12% but that number won’t be a surprise to anyone who has worked at a soul sucking job they despise.  Since the tech industry in Vancouver is really competitive, companies have been forced to raise the bar to attract and maintain top talent.  

Work to Live or Live to Work?

At 14 Oranges, we believe attracting and maintaining fantastic developers starts with work-life balance, which is why there is incredible flexibility for our schedules.  Most people here have kids so a typical 9-5 in the office is rather impractical for swimming lessons and school runs.  Yvonne did an awesome job describing life as a parent at 14 Oranges so there aren’t any parenting specifics I could add.  I’ve worked in technology for years and in my experience the flexible hours are not usually taken advantage of because people are worried they’ll be perceived as lazy or not committed to their jobs.  This is not the case at 14 Oranges and it is the number one reason we have hung onto amazing employees for so long.

Turnover can be costly for an organization, which is why we are proud of our very low turnover rate. Employees have been here since day 1 and it’s extremely rare for someone to leave.  For example, the last employee to leave wanted to start a different career but it was still sad.  Having low turnover rates speaks volumes of a company and how they treat their employees.  

Let’s Stay Together

Since most 14 Oranges developers work from home, it’s important that we get together each month for lunch.  Staying in your bubble at home can easily make someone forget they have human coworkers so we like monthly face time to remember what everyone looks like.  Stay tuned for photos of the panini party that I’ve been threatening.  In addition to bi-weekly Google Hangout meetings, we also have a summer BBQ and a Christmas lunch so we can feast on seasonal food, delight and general merriment.

Doritos: I Wish I Could Quit You

It doesn’t take much to impress me (clearly) because I think our snack cabinet is a work of art.  We have a fancy mini fridge full of beverages (Dr. Pepper for everyone!) and a shocking amount of Costco snacks.  The giant box of gummies is so simple and inexpensive to buy but this is the first workplace I’ve had where we had snacks and it’s amazing!  Eating all the chips and gummies in the office is so glorious because I can be even lazier and not walk to the cafeteria (that’s right, we have a cafeteria on site too).  I know that some people think having drinks and snacks in the office is nothing special but for me this is paradise.  Also, Sasan, I will continue to dominate you in the gummy wars (muhahahah).  Small perks mean a lot and the fact that Sylvain asks us what we want before he goes to Costco is super considerate.  I’m still working to gain support for Wine Wednesday but we shall see!

Hardware Policy and Employee Investment

Each developer at 14 Oranges is provided with an equipment budget, to be used at their discretion, so they can determine what they need and spend the money accordingly. Plus, having tons of hardware around to use for testing is really cool.  Not really a form of hardware, however, our standing desks are a nice perk for those who get tired of sitting.  They can be used by anyone in the office so the fancy desks aren’t the exclusive domain of senior staff.

In June, Luis was lucky enough to attend the Apple WWDC in San Francisco to learn about current and future iOS, apps and get in the auditorium for the famous keynote.  Employee development is crucial to developers because there’s always new stuff to learn and keeping up to date on the industry is essential.  

I’ll Get Off My Soapbox, I Promise

Companies are always looking for ways to appeal to the talent pool and in our industry that’s essential because it’s so competitive.  It’s not rocket science that treating people like adults and appreciating their value goes a long way to keeping staff happy.  Being trusted to work from home and make your own schedule is something that is widely touted as the future of work but it’s very rarely executed.  Even in 2015, the majority of companies expect you to be in the office from 9-5 and those who leave to attend to children or other obligations are looked upon with suspicion.  It’s not realistic that everyone can fit their life into a 9-5 schedule and with technology we don’t have to anymore.  Freeing developers from the shackles of being chained to an office is what will ultimately attract the best talent.  Oreos and Doritos don’t hurt either…


Off to play ping pong and foosball downstairs!

Doritos, Standing Desks and Flexibility: Creating an Appealing Work Environment for Developers