New Work à la Deep Impact

Everyone is talking about New Work right now, but the term has been around for nearly 50 years. You see New Work, superficially, in many companies – in cool offices with table football, ping-pong, free fruit and chocolate. At Deep Impact, New Work goes much further. As an innovator in the field of digital transformation, Deep Impact has put the modern working environment front and centre since the beginning.

New Work, though, is probably only the start of a great Future of Work evolution.

Tools
The targeted use of certain tools allows us to communicate, cooperate and co-create more easily.
  • Slack: A few years ago, communication via Slack crept in. We weren't unhappy with Google Hangouts, but Slack took our communication and collaboration to a new level. Since then, we've hardly written any e-mails.
  • Bonusly: Micro-rewards shared directly by colleagues allow immediate appreciation for teamwork, innovation, customer service and special achievements. Hierarchy plays no role, here – each employee can award the same number of points and each bonus is transparent, so everyone can see.
  • Spectra: We record our most important information on the Deep Impact Wiki, which is built on our own product, Spectra. Of course, everyone can contribute, supplement and edit.
  • Forecast, Harvest, Trello: With these three tools, we have daily business and project planning fully under control. All have unrestricted access.

Framework conditions
We don't like rules, so they are kept to a minimum, allowing us all great individual freedom.
  • Home Office: The flexibility of working from home is part of everyday life at Deep Impact. Each person shares their plans with the rest of the team by 6 p.m. the day before to keep everyone else in the loop.
  • Focus Time: Developers and designers have undisturbed deep-focus time daily from 9 till 11 and from 14 till 16.
  • Meetings: Internal meetings last no more than 30 minutes and need a goal and an agenda. Yes, that sounds impossible, but it works so well.
  • Hardware: Each employee has an annual budget to invest in the equipment they need.
  • Agile working has led the way at Deep Impact. Instead of annual budgets and department silos, we work with the best elements from Scrum and Kanban. And we’ve thrown hierarchy out of the window – yes, even the CEO cleans the coffee machine.

Concepts
Instead of rules and standardised processes, we follow a few concepts that we regularly challenge and adapt.
  • Weekly: Monday morning, we come together to all share the most important information, so the new week can start ‘Deeply’.
  • Deeply: To have as much focused work time as possible, we hold all meetings on Monday. That way, everyone knows what the week looks like and how to plan for it, making the rest of the week all the more fulfilling.
  • Friday Demos: Friday is Deep Impact’s demo + aperitif day. At the biggest gin bar in Winterthur, we come together to share the key learnings of the week. It’s an open space, so guests and the public are always welcome.
  • Speedback: MbOs (Management by Objectives) are so yesterday, and 360° reviews are expensive. Instead, inspired by Q+G from Darmstadt, we combine speed dating and feedback. In 3 + 3 minutes per pair, we give each other open feedback, independent of hierarchy and relationship. We concentrate primarily on positive aspects, strengths and what we admire. But constructive suggestions for improvement are of enormous value and strengthen team spirit.
  • Rapid prototyping: To ensure our constant improvement and efficiency, we even test our organisational changes quickly and learn from them.

Benefits
Benefits have a special role at Deep Impact.
  • Headsups: At the weekly continuing professional development slot, Headsup, anyone can present a topic of their choice to anyone who is interested.
  • Conferences: Deep Impact employees get to attend one European conference a year. It’s great for getting new ideas, team building and developing our network.
  • Events: At our many team events (official and unofficial), we get to know each other better, away from the everyday hustle and bustle of the office.
  • Visitors to our Haldengut premises are impressed by our amount space, light and welcoming breakout rooms. Our ping-pong table and a kicker box are always a talking point, but of course we have to have them, otherwise it wouldn't be a real New Work space.

Philosophy
We have no mission statement or code of conduct.
  • We prefer to focus on and share key learnings and best practices rather than carve processes in stone.
  • Even with 34 employees from 16 nations, Deep Impact still feels like a small family. Each person has a vital role in contributing to digital transformation and driving innovation. So while Deep Impact sets the goal, it’s the teams and individuals that pave the way.
  • And because we attach such great importance to self-organisation, employees can literally be part of the company by owning shares.

Reinventing Organisations? Teal? The Future of Work?
Are we a Teal Organisation? Not entirely - after all, we have our own approach to sustainable, future-oriented work. We want each individual to have enormous scope and freedom to help shape our success, so we see ourselves more as an "evolutionary organisation".


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