Like several other companies and businesses this past year, e-bot7 was faced with uncertain times throughout the ominous developments of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a fast-growing AI scale-up that relied heavily on face-to-face communication, we had to quickly adapt our way of working due to the pandemic. Thus, we supported our employees to work from home, and still encourage remote work to this day. Simultaneously, e-bot7 grew exponentially: the company tripled in employee headcount within a year and opened new offices in London, Paris and Amsterdam. Through these exciting, yet demanding changes, we were able to successfully transform our approach within the topics of communication and flexibility.
After a year of offering the option to work from home, we have been continually impressed by the incredible hard work and performance of our employees. We are now thrilled to announce a new employee incentive as we aim towards a hybrid approach to work, which will add an even more comfortable working experience to our expanding team. e-bot7 is introducing Flexible7, which makes working abroad even more accessible and flexible. With this added incentive, employees are now able to fully maximise a hybrid workplace. This means e-bot7 employees can work abroad in and around Europe, or their respective country. Whether they choose to have a view of the Mediterranean Sea or of the snow-capped Alps, Flexible7 makes this possible.
The e-bot7 team has truly evolved managing these unpredictable times, and we hope to cultivate an environment that accommodates the team’s schedule and working needs across the globe. Flexible7 adds flexibility for both one’s personal and professional life: employees choose where they want to enjoy their working atmosphere. Here at e-bot7, we will continue to strive for the utmost satisfaction and well-being of our employees.
We’ve spoken to Jane Lee, who is our Head of People at e-bot7. She started at e-bot7 as the company’s first and only HR & Talent Acquisition Manager and now oversees the entire HR team. Jane successfully helped e-bot7 grow from 30 people to nearly 100 in just one year. In this interview, Jane discusses the company changes that have taken place over the past year and how this facilitated Flexible7 to arise.
How has the pandemic changed working at e-bot7?
At e-bot7, it gave us many more possibilities and more flexibility to think about how we can shape things and how everyone can enjoy working while still respecting their space. We got rid of the 9-6 working hour expectation, hence why we now have an incentive like Flexible7. Previously, we all came in, we all had lunch together, which was great and I miss sometimes, but overall we had to make the switch to remote working. This opened up a whole new chapter for our team.
Initially, we believed the e-bot7 culture lived when people were together, but that view changed once the pandemic hit and made me realise you don’t need people physically around to have that culture. It’s actually fun to build a virtual culture because we realised there’s so many more things we could do as a whole, like our weekly quizzes. We probably would’ve never done that if we were all coming into the office every day. Now, our employees also have the opportunity to stay home to take care of their kids or their pets and still be able to work full-time. Flexible7 allows employees not just to work from home, but really to work from any country!
What are ways that e-bot7 has shifted its work culture? How does e-bot7 keep employees connected?
Here at e-bot7, we try to incorporate several ways to stay connected. That includes weekly quizzes, and staying connected on slack channel with virtual coffee, where you’re automatically connected to someone new virtually every two weeks, and you can use this time to get to know each other or to catch up! We have so many different personalities in the company coming from all around the world, and I think that opened up so many people to join in on these calls to get to know their colleagues better. In the past, we’ve also had virtual wine-tastings and virtual cooking events. We find digital ways to connect with each other and I think it works well.
On top of that, we also do more frequent all-hands meetings, so any news coming up company-wide, we make sure to communicate it through these meetings. Anyone can raise questions if needed, we’re able to clarify anything, and we can be as transparent as we can through all-hands. It can also be used for sharing insights, introducing new topics, and company values.
How has Flexible7 opened doors for HR?
The biggest shift in opportunities for HR is hiring. We no longer have limitations on who we’re hiring. We respect the different time zones; you start working when you want to work. Although we were never the type of company that tracked hours, it’s now even more flexible with our hybrid approach. There’s no longer an expectation to come into the office, which opened doors for us in the HR team. We’re now hiring people from all over the world, like Nigeria, Colombia and from the Philippines. This also enables us to create diversity, which is something we’re always trying to work on. Flexible7 is the way we’re now implementing this into the company and making it official.