We are Freeletics: Keeping the Freeletics culture alive remotely
You may already know that Freeletics has a one-of-a-kind company culture. It’s more than how we work together and is centered around how we talk, act, and behave and what we value. We sweat it out together on the Freeletics training ground, prepare delicious, healthy meals throughout the day, celebrate birthdays and milestones, have movie nights, host bake-offs, and so much more. So what happens when these social interactions are paused due to remote work? Is it possible to still have a vibrant company culture from a distance? We believe that answer is “yes.”
We communicate proactively
Everyone at the company is responsible for keeping the Freeletics spirit alive, but there are two that have been spearheading the movement: Head of Employee Experience Martina Obermeier and People Operations Manager Patrizia Przybylski (Pati). “When I first heard that we would all be working from home, my first thought was: ‘This will be over soon.’ I thought this wouldn’t last very long — and I was so wrong,” Martina explains. “But I also saw it from the beginning as a big opportunity for Freeletics to switch to more remote work and therefore provide more flexibility in the future for our employees.” Pati could not agree more. “In a very short time, the whole company transitioned into home office life. The most important thing for me was to strive to keep up our social interaction and keep a very clear line of communication between everyone.” Once the work from home recommendation was made, the People Operations Team started to send a weekly newsletter that detailed important updates regarding the current situation and resources for employee assistance and e-learning. Pati and Martina have made it a point to reach out to their fellow colleagues more frequently than before. “Moods can change very quickly these days and it is important people know they have someone to talk to.” This open communication and leaning on each other is very much part of the Freeletics lifestyle and it has been amazing to see how much stronger this has made us.
Besides this new way of communicating, there have been many positive things to come out of this whole situation. “Despite the distance, people have been enthusiastic about staying together virtually, and a whole new series of initiatives have started popping up,” Pati explains. From virtual wine nights, watercooler talks, Sunday brunches, and even online chess matches, we are doing everything we can to make the distance feel smaller. Pati and Senior User Acquisition Manager Dimitris have even joined forces to create a weekly virtual trivia night and our employees are loving it. “I am really grateful that we have always put a focus on culture, and we are now seeing the benefits,” Head of Agile Sissi comments. “People are organizing all sorts of team activities which have been awesome, but for me the two things that help me most are feeling like I am part of the Freeletics Team and taking time for individual private chats, to keep in touch with my colleagues.”
And speaking of meaningful chats, we now hold our ‘All Hands’ company-wide meeting remotely. The concept is still the same — we introduce our new joiners and share updates from the different departments. Now that it is fully virtual, however, people are using the chat in Google Hangouts to comment on what is being presented or express their emotions through emojis and virtual ClapClaps. Simply put, the chatbox goes viral during this meeting and really plays a huge role in making our employees feel like they are playing on the same team.
Missing the most
Going on walking meetings, having coffee or lunch together and training together in person were at the top of the list for most when asked what they missed about being at the office. “Informal talks to vent some stress or to talk through a problem without needing to schedule meetings are also essential for my daily work and are something I am definitely missing,” Head of Agile Sissi adds. Also, with everyone on their computers more, it is difficult for employees to feel like they are connecting without having to look at a screen. But of course, with every one of these sentiments comes a silver lining.
Keeping it positive
Even when working from home, we are keeping the culture alive. Engineering Manager Hugo has found a lot of inspiration around the ‘ClapClap’ — the signature Freeletics greeting. “Be it in real-life or the digital version, there’s more to this simple gesture. It’s a hello, a see you later, a “good job” after a hard workout, a show of praise, but above all, it makes me feel as if we are in this together.” And there are more positives to be found in this unique situation. Senior Product Manager Sandra feels that now she has more time for herself, she can unwind and shut off from work more easily.
Sandra also added that “the general proactivity and openness to talk about working from home and the different needs of people, the encouragement to speak openly and offer things for people has been very positive for me.” We are committed to the success of Freeletics now more than ever and we are looking forward to seeing each other again soon. #strongertogether.