Building a tribe
Today, we (Spacelab) have a culture built on trust. Our better ways of working have come about because people feel empowered and encouraged to push boundaries. We work on the ethos that if you don’t try, you’ll never know. Everyone screws up sometimes, and that’s okay – if you’re always learning. We trust people to make the right decisions, and this includes how they manage their time. Everyone at Spacelab has unlimited holiday, so they can find the best work/life balance for them. It just makes sense.
Communication and collaboration within Spacelab are the best they’ve been. We always favour face-to-face, and we’ve said goodbye to internal email (heaven!). We use another app, called Slack, to keep in touch with each other, and we don’t send work-related stuff out of hours or at weekends, unless urgent.
People don’t feel they have to be seen in the office. We’re now there 7.8 hours per day, on average. That means people have 10 hours – more than a working day – back each week to do what they want to do.
I’d be lying if I said this transition had been all plain sailing. It’s been messy and challenging at times. Not everyone was comfortable with our departure from traditional ways of doing things, and we wished some good people well as they chose other paths. This was sad and scary, but as we’ve got smaller, we’ve become more nimble and agile, which has allowed us to get ahead of the game.
Better still, the togetherness of everyone who has stuck with us, or joined since, is clear to see. Never more so than at our first Lab Fest, where we took our tribe to a sustainable yurt village for a spectacular summer party, complete with live band, steel drum workshop and cocktails.