Job Crafting RebelDot

Do It Yourself Dream Job – Job crafting at RebelDot.

The trouble with this whole pandemic is that it makes all days look pretty much like one another. Would you believe that it’s already November? It sure doesn’t feel like it. More like March the 246th.

Days are certainly blending themselves when you work from the same place, wear the same comfy clothes and do the same tasks over and over again. Now, your work and the life you have outside of it are all mixing up together, becoming a huge routine. Wouldn’t you like to spark it up a bit?

Unless you have some magical pharmaceutical skills or an enchanted wand to make all this pandemic go away, you really can’t do much about the context, so you have to accommodate it. However, there’s still something you can do about your job, optimizing in a way that it never fails to excite you, something about the tasks you encounter and the way you look at them.

You may ask “but how?” and I’m more than happy to provide some useful information for you.

First of all, let me introduce you to the concept of job crafting.

What is Job Crafting?

Job crafting is basically any change that you willingly make from the standard job description of your role, in order for it to better satisfy your needs, whether we are talking about emotional, professional, or well-being needs. These changes may refer to your behaviors, the people you work with, or how you perceive your job.

How do I get started with Job Crafting?

Oftentimes, changes come with little anxieties and moments of indecision. You know that you want to make a change, but you don’t even know where to start. In the scientific world, there is a framework called Job Demands-Resources. Basically, every job has its demands and its resources, and if they are well balanced, they lead to high performance and a general sense of well-being.

To start your job crafting experience, try to make a kind of a Pro vs. Cons list, but with the resources and the demands, you have in your job. After you do this, think about what you’re missing. Maybe you got so good at your job that you can do it with your eyes closed and feel the need to learn a new skill. Possibly, despite the fact that you may see your team colleagues every day, you miss the people you had short conversations with during the time you made your coffee. Do you think your job is boring and it doesn’t have an impact? Ask the colleagues around about your contributions and have a change in perspective.

There are three levels where you can bring changes: task crafting, relationship crafting and cognitive crafting. It may sound vague, but allow me to document these with a few examples from RebelDot.

What is task crafting?

For instance, Petruta gradually started to juggle between an Employer Brand Specialist role and a Product Manager one. When we decided to develop our own product, she took the skills she developed to manage her own start-up, Parentool, and started applying them to our company. That is how Visidot was born and now Petruta is a full-time Product Manager.

Manual testing is getting boring and you want to add a little spice to your work? Why not try to adopt Scrum Master responsibilities? At least that’s what happened to our colleague Andrei, who felt that he needed a little bit more of a challenge in his professional life and decided to direct his amazing people skills towards project management.

That’s what we call task Crafting and that’s also what Andrei and Petruta did in order to feel more fulfilled at work. After all, it’s also one of our key company values.

Keep in mind, though, that task crafting does not have to be an extreme change. For example, writing articles is definitely not in my job description, however, this small responsibility keeps me engaged and makes me happy.

If performance is what you’re after and you’re trying to make an impact on your responsibilities, setting and then checking the qualitative and quantitative key performance indicators would be a good starting point. Keeping up with the newest developments in technology and procedures is also a good way of staying connected and improving your overall performance.

What is Relationship Crafting?

The pandemic came with its own struggles, mainly in the social area of our lives. I certainly feel like I miss my colleagues a lot and are such a big part of my job. Relationship crafting is all about reshaping the interactions while you do your job. To do this, I participate in our renowned Blind Dates and Coffee O’clock initiatives. It certainly helps me to get in contact with different colleagues and then stay in touch with them.

We have designed and implemented a Buddy Program for our new joiners to help them accommodate better in their first three months in RebelDot. We had a couple of colleagues who decided to sign up for this project and relationship craft their jobs, involving themselves in showing the newbies our way of working and having fun.

Moreover, another type of relationship and task crafting (what a combo!) would be informal mentoring. If you have a colleague you admire and has the skills that you would like to learn, hit them up! Besides the technical mentoring, you’ll also get yourself a friend. Win-win situation! If you’re a person with more domain-specific knowledge, you can also “adopt” one of your colleagues who is just now starting their career path. That would be an awesome opportunity to guide them along.

If you have one “office best friend” that you used to hang out with and did a great job together, but now they are working on a different project, remember that they are only one Slack call away. It certainly brings a bit of joy when you get to talk to them and remember the fun times you had at the office.

Brainstorming sessions are also a small gate to contacting a colleague you do not work with, but you would greatly appreciate their input on the problem. Go out of your way and ask for “outside” help. Sometimes, people who are not directly involved with your project can have a different and innovative perspective on the problems you are facing.

What is Cognitive Crafting?

Technically, one of the tasks Dragos has is to document and then write articles in different areas of expertise. However, he does not see this part of the job as dealing with a mountain of research and then transferring it to a post. He sees it as an opportunity to educate others, to bring light to what we do as a company, and make us shine.

This is called Cognitive Crafting, and it’s all about changing the perspective on how you view your job.

Or perhaps change might be too much of a radical word to describe a mere adjustment of the angle you look at the work you are doing. Think about this technique as having a binocular whose zoom you can play with, shifting from that one seemingly minor purpose of yours to the big picture that you and your colleagues are painting day by day. It is only then when you will realize the many facets of the impact your actions bring.

On a more metaphorical level, it has to do with our collective willingness to be part of something bigger than ourselves. But how are you going to assess whether you are already part of that if you’re not taking the initiative to see behind the horizon?

Bring more meaning to your job.

Now that we’ve been through all the kinds of job crafting that you can apply, you can understand that this process is a wonderful tool to bring more meaning to your job.

If you feel that you have any skills outside your job description that could shine through in your company, all you have to do is talk to the people who can make these changes happen. I am sure they would be more than willing to accommodate you.

Job crafting is an awesome way to prevent burnout and disengagement, but make sure to take things slowly. Taking on too many responsibilities can bring more stress and can directly impact your well-being.

Lastly, perspective is everything in whichever area of life you look. The same applies to your job. Take a step back and evaluate the impact you make and focus on the positive aspects.

We are all working in dynamic contexts, and, to properly face all the challenges, we have to be dynamic as well. Don’t settle if you’re not happy with the way you are working.

You have the power to make changes and job crafting applies anytime, anywhere, independent of the context we are living in.

Don’t forget that.

Stay rebel!

RebelDot farewell old office

Leaving our HQ behind & embracing the future of work.

We are now moving out of our Headquarters in Cluj-Napoca, the heart of Transylvania.

As I am writing this, we are on our way to begin a new chapter of our journey.

You can imagine we are both nostalgic and excited.

Nostalgic because, as we walk out of this office for the last time, we can only think of all the memories we made here. Excited because we are bound to reinvent ourselves once again, embracing the future of work, as well as the future of RebelDot.

In the past few days, we were all busy with packing boxes and going through all the hassle that comes with moving out (all of which has been done while keeping our social distance).

Shortly, the place that we used to call home for the past 6 years, became loudly empty.

RebelDot moving out

It is said that art is how we decorate space, but this was no museum, and we didn’t have any interior design skills whatsoever. Still, we decorated it with our presence, attaching meaning to every lifeless spot in the office.

From that warm corner in the kitchen, where we would gaze through the window on a rainy day, to the water dispenser that we’d travel to when feeling stuck, or the meeting rooms that had known and witnessed our biggest ideas.

Origin story.

As RebelDot, we have spent 2 years in the office on Buftea Street. It’s the place where some of us met for the first time. The walls of our office witnessed intense interviews and created room for some of our most memorable brainstormings and client meetings.

But the history of this office dates way back.

Some of us have been working here for almost 6 years, long before our current CEO acquired the services division of Imprezzio Global, transforming it into RebelDot.

To them, this has been already a space of transformation.

RebelDot Buftea office memories

Back to the present.

We knew that remote working was the future of work, but we didn’t expect to be plunged into this whole new thing overnight.

Luckily, as an agile organization, we have adapted to the new conditions pretty fast. In just a matter of days, everyone mobilized and each rebel was delivered a home-office set-up which included laptops, screens, smartphones for our mobile developers, the peripherals needed and even office chairs.

In no time, we all started working from the comfort of our own homes, wearing comfy slippers & bottoms and sipping our usual coffee (or champagne) in front of the video camera now.

RebelDot Remote Meetings

Embracing the future of work. 

Embracing this new kind of working environment, at first, we feared that productivity was going to lower and that it will be a drag for us to adjust to the new working environment – our own homes.

We were wrong.

In fact, looking at the reports following the first two months of working remotely, we noticed that our productivity levels went through the roof, which had its own downside.

With the line between our homes and work getting so much thinner, we had to develop strategies that would ensure the well-being of the team and support our people’s work-life integration.

That’s why, in the weeks that followed, our People and Culture department focused on ensuring that everyone was engaged and safe, carrying out various initiatives, from online cooking nights to emotion-management sessions with renowned psychologist doctors.

Once everyone seemed to have got used to the new way of working, we have officially released a statement, to publicly announce that we have adopted a home-first policy for at least two more years.

We decided to switch from working in an office building to periodically see each-other in a house that looks more like a residence than an office.

Before the pandemic, the office was designated to stimulate productivity. Noticing that this wasn’t the case anymore and that we can still perform when being at home, we decided that the new space should be more like a playground, a social area where bonds are tightened, where we meet to take the edge off a challenging project and chat about anything, but not work.

That’s why, when we started to do our research for this new home, we had a few specific requirements in mind, some details that were going to change the aspect of your casual office into a warm and welcoming home. Besides the decorations that we were going to add, we specifically wanted the house to have a chimney, a spacious garden and lots of natural light.

And guess what?

We found the perfect house.

It was obvious that this change was going to take place, eventually, but, to most of us, it was, indeed, a sudden transition, more like a roller coaster ride. Still, it was a transition that we went through together, a ride that we were able to enjoy, taking care of ourselves as well as each other.

Just like we made all those memories at our previous office, we are now looking forward to doing the same, remotely.

Work-Life Integration

How to play hard and work hard; a guide to better work-life integration.

We’ve all heard about the “work hard, play harder” saying, but how can we return to the play part when we’re now surrounded by work. Disconnecting from our devices after the working hours are over has become harder now that we’re all working from home, especially if all our hobbies involve them.

Work-life balance has always been a well-known concept, but now that the line between work and home has become thinner, this entire concept is enjoying its time under the critic’s spotlight. The past few months have redefined the way in which we do both work and play. If 7 months ago I was walking the floors in our downtown office, today I am writing this article from my living room with my dog as my assistant.

Life as we know it changes, and it changes fast, therefore, the proactive thing to do is to erase that line between work and personal life completely and redefine it as work-life integration.

Ready to dive into the topic?

What is work-life integration?

According to UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, work life-integration is an approach that aims to create harmony between all areas that define the concept of life: work, home and family, personal relationships, involvement in a community, care for our well-being and health.

How do you make work-life integration happen?

Now that we have got a clear understanding of the concept of work-life integration, let’s get started and see how to make all the puzzle pieces of our life fit together in harmony. The first step would be, of course, to make sure that you finish your work in time so that the gloomy overtime becomes a thing of the past. Your laptop is watching you, lonely, from the desk that you’ve been sat at for probably more than 8 hours. How do you not let work guilt trip you into trading precious me time for the tasks that will most likely be there tomorrow?

Review the tasks at hand and scratch them out

Analyze and investigate the tasks and problems you have at hand. Sure, it’s easy to get carried away and feel overwhelmed when you have a dark cloud hanging above your head, a swarm of bees with different ticket names from Jira or things from your to-do list that you’ve postponed and are starting to haunt you. Shoo those bees away and lay down the things that you have to do on a clean piece of paper. Make sure to write it down the old fashioned way, so you get the brutal satisfaction when you finally scratch the items off your list once you’ve accomplished what you had in mind.

Review Tasks, Create Lists

Ask for help when needed

Now that you’ve got your list and the dark cloud doesn’t seem so dark anymore, it’s time to find the silver lining. What silver lining, you might ask? It might sound a bit cliche, but your colleagues might help you pull through and bring a little rainbow after them. Look at the list you just made and ask yourself “who might help me finish this?”. Don’t be afraid to ask around, you might find someone who sees your tasks as challenges and opportunities to grow and learn something new. It’s a win-win kind of situation.

Ask for help

Set boundaries and expectations

Teamwork does indeed make the dream work, but before that, you have to communicate. One important part of communication is setting expectations and boundaries with others. Talk about your schedule and the time you expect to be done with work, and emphasize the importance of having time for yourself. In case those boundaries are crossed, make sure to kindly remind your colleagues of your preferences, they get a little carried away too. To further enforce this rule, make sure you turn off your Slack notifications when you need the time of yourself, and ignore all incoming mails. More often than not, they’re not that urgent as the loud ping makes you think. If your hobbies include using a computer, make sure you have a separate one for the fun things — if this is not an option, just go ahead and create different users for both work and play.

Set boundaries to expectations

Have an ear for advice

Besides the help with the actual tasks, your colleagues might even help you with pieces of advice when it comes to organizing your work. One thing that I’ve learned from Iulia, my colleague from the People & Culture team, was to block chunks of time in my calendar to better structure my work. This helped me a lot with prioritizing my tasks and also led to better time management, knowing that I have an assigned time frame for getting things done.

Take that advice

Self-efficacy and how to raise it

A useful concept that I’ve learned while studying Psychology was self-efficacy. Self-efficacy means that individuals know that they are capable of pulling off different behaviours in order to achieve performance. This concept is not something stable, that remains the same wherever we look in our life, which sometimes maybe a bad thing. Who doesn’t wish to have that kind of confidence in all domains? The good thing though, is that you have the power to increase it.

Self Efficacy

Now you might think that what I’m talking about is totally random, but let me show you how understanding more about this phenomenon helps you achieve work-life integration. When it comes to easy, routine tasks, your self-efficacy is high.

You’ve done this before, you know how it goes and how to trick the system. When it comes to these types of tasks, try to start with the ones that might be time-consuming and a bit more tiring, so that at the end of the day you can relax and do the easier tasks at a faster pace. The tricky part is when you have new and complex tasks that you’ve never had the chance to encounter before. In these types of situations, working the other way around might lead to better performance. Start with the easy tasks and bit by bit you build your self-efficacy.

For more tips on how to raise your self-efficacy, our colleague Iulia recommends the book “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” by Brian Tracy.

Build a routine to end the day

To better accentuate the end of your workday, create a little ritual that indicates that indeed, the work is done and the fun & relaxing time can begin. Before the whole pandemic, my ritual was walking home and listening to different podcasts that would totally disconnect me from my work. Nowadays, the thing that I do is I start to organize and clean my desk and if I’m feeling especially tempted, I might even put my laptop into a drawer to completely erase it from my mind. Out of sight, out of mind is always a good idea when it comes to prioritizing the little time you have for yourself.

Moreover, Slack has a little helpful feature that allows you to set a notification schedule so that none can disturb you after a set time or wake you up in the morning with a random message.

Build a routine to end the day

Schedule your day however you want

Remote work is here to stay, so take full advantage of it! Now that there’s no longer a need to commute and wake up early to get in time to work you can use that time however you like. For example, our UX/Product Designer Tom, who is definitely an early bird, starts his day at 7 AM and gets off work sometime in the afternoon so he has plenty of free time to get the worm. Ildi, our Team Lead/Mom of two, starts her day by spending time with her children before logging in to tackle the development challenges of the day.

Schedule your day

Final words

However, sometimes the natural course of the day does not follow a linear cycle: wake up, work, enjoy yourself. That’s why the concept of work-life balance is kind of outdated. If you have a flexible work schedule, embrace it! Work-life integration is all about intertwining your life with your work, especially now that a 9 to 5 program is something you don’t often hear about. Feel free to start your day with one of your hobbies, go out for lunch with a friend, watch an episode of your favourite show in the middle of the day. You know better what suits you and what helps you keep a light mood during the day. Take breaks, enjoy yourself and return to work with fresh forces. Be mindful of your own well-being and stay rebel!

Work-Life Integration TLDR
Rebel Tech Stories Tudor Ciuleanu 1

Rebel Tech Stories: Tudor Ciuleanu – CEO RebelDot.

Who is Tudor Ciuleanu?

Over the years, I’ve come to embody many roles, but the most important of them all are being a father and an entrepreneur.

I have been present in the tech scene for more than 12 years. Until not long ago, I used to introduce myself as a young entrepreneur. However, having started to interact more often with entrepreneurs 10 years younger than me, I thought I’d better get rid of that “young” label.

My passion for technology surfaced at 9 years old, when I was given the first PC. I vividly remember it was winter when my father got back from France with a Macintosh Performa 430. You can imagine that I spent most of the following months at home, studying each component of my new PC.

Despite being raised in a family of doctors, I have graduated with a degree in Computer Science, as part of the Technical University in Cluj-Napoca. I am constantly asked varied questions regarding the professional trajectory that I chose, especially in relation to my parents’ career. I always reply that I was simply fortunate to have a family that supported my rebellious spirit and willingness to choose something different.

I am drawn to everything that’s new, challenging, and that seems impossible. I enjoy being surrounded by people with whom I can transform that impossible into possible.

I don’t like olives, dancing, and sports that involve balls, nor do I have a favorite singer or actor. I am into everything with an engine, I still play with LEGO thanks to my kids, and I will never be able to pick between the seaside and mountains because I like them both.

When it comes to the things I like doing, sailing, snowboarding, skiing, whitewater kayaking, and triathlons are the “sports” that give me the adrenaline rush I am craving for. Lastly, as I’ve been told that I have my way around storytelling, I am trying to enchant both my kids and my friends with frequent stories.

Despite the many facets that remote working has brought to some careers, I am grateful enough to be claiming that working from home for almost 8 months now offered me the chance to be even closer to my kids than before. We already share the same passion for boats, snowboarding and biking, but what is even more fascinating right now is that I started to let them get involved in my work too, which makes the line between work and personal life even thinner.

Not like I have ever believed in anything like work-life balance… In the beginning, it was a bit annoying to have them interrupt my meetings, but now I got used to it and I am not lying when I say that their presence often makes those calls less dull.

What made me start my own business?

Ever since I was a kid, I have developed a clear picture in my mind where I was my own boss, but never had a clear plan for this goal. I only knew I had to identify opportunities and make the most of them to achieve this vision. Few years later, I became fully committed to this vision, starting to invest far more time and resources to make it my new reality. Having a sleeping bag in the office drawer has definitely proven to be a brilliant idea many times.

The reason why I had this specific goal in mind is because I was craving the kind of freedom that entrepreneurship offers you. I am talking about the freedom to decide and build something based on your own values, not on a predefined agenda that you cannot really alter.

What is the current situation of the company and what plans do you have for the future?

It’s been a little over 2 years now, and although this time went by so fast, when I look back, I feel like RebelDot has been here since forever…that’s because of the many great things we have achieved and especially because of the family-like bond that we have cultivated.

From day one, I was transparent with my colleagues. We were all aware that, immediately after the emergence of RebelDot, despite having worked together before, we were now a startup, facing many of those specific problems that a startup has to confront with.

We were already a homogeneous group and had a unifying purpose of growing the team. The idea was to make the business sustainable faster by luring clients as soon as possible. Thankfully, this purpose was reached a year after the company was born. In Romania, I met way too many times the wrongful mentality that a company should be profitable from the very first day… in reality, this is almost impossible because everything starts with an initial period where the foundation is built and that requires considerable investment (in both time and money).

For the future, we aim to continue expanding our web and mobile apps development team to support more companies with our technical expertise. Our purpose is to become tech partners of our clients and even invest in some of the projects we’ll be working on. Our focus will continue being providing consultancy for organizations aiming to develop innovative digital products.

Besides consultancy, having already developed our own digital product, Visidot, we wish to carry on with similar initiatives and create even more digital solutions in-house, ideally supporting the local community.

Currently, we are in the process of growing from 50 to 100 people, a critical stage in the life of a startup, one that has been documented by so many for its difficulty. Having started this entire journey with 20 of us on board, we are now at 75 and continue to expand, all that while working remotely. So far it has been a surprising success, despite the many myths that I personally read in the business books. The most fascinating and perhaps rewarding result of our onboarding efforts was to see that, even in these circumstances, being agile and aligned, we can still maintain the culture that we have worked so much to define. I am glad to see that we are not only surviving, but functioning better than ever.

What challenges did you have in growing the company?

There were plenty of challenges in the past and just as many emerge on a daily basis. Some of them would be:

  1. Finding a name – After 10 years of having the same name, logo, and visual identity, we suddenly found ourselves in the position of having to change everything… We couldn’t settle on something because none of the alternatives seem to fit our vision. It took 6 months and some draining brainstorming sessions until one of our colleagues has mentioned “RebelDot” and we all felt like something finally represents us.
  2. Building the brand – 2 years ago, RebelDot didn’t mean anything as no one was aware of it. Lately, we made some considerable progress in generating awareness around our name, both locally and internationally. Here, the work will continue for a long time.
  3. Differentiation – Just like I mentioned above, we knew right from the start that it would be a drag to hit the market with something completely new. The challenge was to find an authentic approach to differentiate ourselves on the Eastern European market, an image that our clients would also resonate with.
  4. Perception vs. reality on/around the costs – When we started, we hit a harsh reality of this widely known association of the Eastern Europe and, respectively, the Cluj software development ecosystem with the low-cost attribute. Time went by and today, I strongly believe that this is no longer a competitive advantage for Cluj and its entire development hub. In this respect, at RebelDot we seek to offer premium services to our partners, which is why it is impossible to find ourselves as part of this association between Easter Europe and low-cost software services.
  5. Financial History – Having some history behind, our expenses were similar to those of an established company. Basically, we started out as an independent branch of a larger corporation, having to spend like an already established company, but our resources were significantly lower. Being a new organization, there wasn’t any institution that wanted to risk and fund us. Consequently, we had to rely on our friends and the creative spirit within our team to make it past these tough times.
  6. Non-paying clients – Unfortunately, this topic has been escalating in the industry. Neither of us wants to deal with something like that, which is why we always have to be ready for it.
  7. The discrepancy between the expectations and knowledge of the people applying to our opportunities – Eversince RebelDot came into existence, we managed to lure extraordinary colleagues, but the effort put in the selection and interviewing process is huge, especially when you want to get on board the right people.

What advice do you have for the young Romanian entrepreneurs?

I think it is paramount to have the courage to try and the willingness to make the most of the opportunities that often emerge. Nevertheless, as an aspiring entrepreneur, it is vital to befriend failure and manage to leave your pride aside. You should see failure as a natural part of the process, expect it and, obviously, learn from it.

A startup’s purpose should be strongly tied to the problems it aims to solve for the potential clients. It should be centered around the novelty of the solution it brings to the market and not on the ambition to generate profit in the short term. Focus on doing whatever you are doing the best you can, and the profit will follow.

Throughout the years, I have realized that it is painful and costly to only learn from your own mistakes. It drains time and energy that you could otherwise invest constructively in your business. When you are only starting out, it is important to have alongside people that have already been through what you are going through, at least once. Consult with those who have some experience and aim to learn from their mistakes too.

We tend to forget that the business is done between people, which leads us to underestimate the power of networking. Identify the niche that could help your entrepreneurial progress and start investing in building relationships with people who share the same goal.

One last piece of wisdom:

"An entrepreneur has to do two things: To promise what he's going to do and to do what he promised."

This interview was originally given to Expose at the end of last year and then translated & updated by us.

RebelDot Agile Organisation

Agile Organization – a glimpse into our culture, as seen by a newly joined rebel.

I have recently onboarded RebelDot as a Marketing & Communications Specialist, without having any previous experience of working within an Agile organization.

In fact, prior to starting working here, I thought Agile only applies to software development teams.

It came as a surprise when I found out that here, Agile is the norm — a method universally available to both software development teams and other departments existent in the company. It fascinated me how every agile principle in the manifesto has, somehow, found its applicability outside the development scene, deep into the day to day ways of running a company, of now, 73 people.

In this article, I will refer to some of the Agile Manifesto principles, describing how I perceived them to transcend the software development scene and be reflected in the overall company culture.

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

In my situation, the customer was RebelDot, having to deliver constant marketing material that i’ll describe as content in various formats, for the sake of this argument.

What did I do exactly to ensure customer satisfaction in this scenario?

I have understood that crucial to delivering a valuable solution is to listen to the customer and strive to unravel every insight in the information he shares with you.

Collaborating with other departments such as Sales or People and Culture, I have also observed that questions were constantly addressed and that there was no room for superficiality in the way we listened as well as understood eachother. I was somewhat relieved to see that indeed, communication is key and that we were even encouraged to ask the dumbest questions if that was how we got the information right.

Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

There’s no point in mentioning the dynamic aspect of the marketing team. It is common sense that marketers have to cultivate a sense of urgency and attention to detail and MOMENTUM, which is why I am no stranger to this principle.

However, perhaps a better example of how everyone has responded to change was adopting a remote/home-first policy after the first week of COVID-19.

You would say that onboarding a company remotely implies missing out the culture, but that was definitely not the case for me. Having numerous initiatives in place, like regular coffee meetings, online games, online cooking nights, or even that Slack channel full of memes made me feel part of an authentic organization, where everyone cares for each other.

Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

Working iteratively and with incremental releases proven to be a trait that is not only specific to the development teams. Often when writing an article or deciding upon a creative campaign, we test them internally by asking for feedback from various people while keeping track of the momentum.

We are not fans of the neverending feedback loop so we try to find a balance between acknowledging feedback from various parties while delivering to a fixed deadline. As for validation from the actual users, we test concepts by, for example, creating either short posts on social media or conversations to see how the public reacts and decide if those topics are worth being developed into more extensive materials.

As a company, we remain open to change, embracing the volatility for the world we live in.

Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

One of the first aspects I noticed in my first two weeks as part of RebelDot was the collective tendency towards transparency and inclusion of other departments in various tasks.

I was personally expecting to have a solid collaboration with the sales department, as marketing and sales have always been intertwined. Still, I was happy to see that I can benefit from the UX people’s skill-set, the People and Culture department’s insights and perspective, and even the software departments’ technical point of view.

As creative as people enjoyed getting to help me fulfil a bunch of marketing tasks, this kind of collaboration is recurrent in every department, no matter the nature of the task.

Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

Having close friends working in software development, I was familiar with the concept of Scrum Master. I even envied them for being under a close mentorship and having someone to report to on a daily basis, someone that paved their way towards progress, someone that set the box but also encouraged them to think outside of it.

Two weeks into my new role, I was now used to having daily stand-ups, discussing my progress, laying down the tasks for the day, as well as the blockers that hindered my work. I immediately felt the impact of this approach because someone was always there to provide me with feedback, and even more than that, I was trusted to get the job done.

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Since I haven’t really been at the office due to the current regulations, face-to-face conversations are substituted by plenty of online meetings. I know there’s an entire debate around the topic of making your video available, but seeing the person on the other end of the conversation made me feel that touch of humanity, which I know that many of you are missing having been out of the office for so long.

Perhaps simply having an audio call would convey the information too. Still, there’s just something about seeing the person you talk to, something that strengthens the bond between the team members and makes the culture prevalent.

Working software is the primary measure of progress.

Our CEO has a saying “Do not mistake activity for achievement”, and there’s not more to it than that. Each department has its own KPI’s and everyone is encouraged to work smart because, at the end of the day, progress it’s measured by the quality of work and not by the amount of effort.

Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

Besides the daily stand-ups, once a week, we attend a company meeting where everyone is giving high-level updates on their work and asking for support where necessary.

These meetings aim to provide transparency between departments and ensure that everyone is up to the speed of business, delivering in line with the goals and expectations.

Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.

I have been guided towards keeping things simple ever since I wrote the first piece of content for RebelDot and failed to communicate the essential message.

Having been used to developing academic articles at the university, I have approached the same type of writing, thinking that I would impress both the audience and my team by utilizing industry-specific jargon. I was wrong but grateful to receive feedback early in the process.

"I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."

Mark Twain

The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

Each team is self-organizing and cross-functional. Their leaders’ most important responsibility does not rely on delegating tasks and overseeing (progress) but cultivating a deep sense of trust between the members. This empowers them to coordinate themselves and ensure that goals are achieved without having to be guided on each part of the journey.

Taking their own decisions, members are provided with constructive feedback along the way so as not to be blocked, but to continue benefiting from working at their own pace and in their own style, while conforming to the specific deadlines and targets set.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Lastly, as everyone’s work-load is divided into sprints, perhaps the one weekly meeting we are all excited to have is the Sprint Review meeting. This allows us to glance at the progress we made, map out the obstacles that hindered our efficiency and establish the next goals, and the strategy to act upon them. Being fully transparent with each other makes it easy to acknowledge early in the process the aspects we could have done better.

This benefits the project that we are working on as well as our professional development, establishing a steep route towards growth. Ultimately, what boosts our ambition even harder is the act of tracking and celebrating our progress. We use various Project Management platforms depending on the department, but each of them implies having clear evidence of the weekly tasks and moving them into the “done” column at the sprint review meeting. This might seem like a simple act, but it bears an immense effect in its simplicity.

Conclusion

In the end, after two months of working as part of an Agile organization I’ve got to realize that this methodology transcends well beyond the software development department, yielding a value in all parts of the business.

I have understood that it is not just about working more efficiently, but about ensuring growth and cultivating an ability to self organize. I started to be excited about receiving feedback and eventually realized that there ain’t such a thing as bad or good feedback.

More than that, understanding and practicing each of the previously listed 12 principles, I started to gradually implement them in my day to day life.

RebelDot Interview

How to ace an online interview process, the RebelDot way.

2020 has changed a lot of things, forcing companies to test their abilities and adapt like never before.

From shifting the office scene with the warm spaces of our homes, the past months have changed the way we look at our jobs. It revolutionised the way we, as recruiters, look at a recruiting process, and the way you, as a job candidate, relate to interviews and work opportunities.

You might have been used to carefully picking your fancy clothes and showing up to in-person interviews and the intense, 5 minutes before the interview waiting in the reception area of the office might be something you won’t forget soon. Yet, today’s job application and recruitment process look slightly different than what we were used to.

RebelDot Interview meme

After having over 100 remote interviews, we decided to write an article that will get you ready for acing your remote interview with us or the company you wish to apply for.

Research, then apply.

Job searching is a treasure hunt most of the time. You have to move step by step in what can seem to be a long journey. Obviously, the first step in every treasure hunt is to sign up for it. The story is quite similar when you apply for jobs. Let’s say you find a job post that sparks your interest, be it on Facebook, Linkedin or a dedicated job search platform. Make sure that before you apply, you do your research and that you do it well.

Pay attention to the clients of the company you are applying to work for. Are they startups and medium-sized businesses, or enterprise-level companies? Is the company a services company or a product company?

As interests vary from one person to another, research topics may vary as well. Make sure that you check in with every aspect that is important to you, your experience, values and work ethic.

The CV is the window to the soul.

Actually, not quite, but it should be the window to your previous experience so far. If you work as a developer or designer, you might be familiar with the KISS (keep it stupid simple) principle. You can apply it to your CV as well. Make sure that your CV covert technologies you’ve worked with, the kind of projects you worked on — I know that sometimes there are NDAs standing in the way of your fully complete portfolio/CV, but mentioning the industry should be enough.

Any personal projects that you worked on or contests that you participated in could also be included in your resume. I’m sure you’re proud of them; it’s your hard work and dedication, so why not flaunt them?

When it comes to the design of your CV, you don’t have to apply the “go big or go home” strategy. Make sure the design is readable and the timeline has a logical flow (start with your latest jobs first).

If you don’t feel like you have the necessary magic skills to work with Photoshop or Word, you can always add relevant information to your personal Linkedin and then download it as PDF. Also, cool platforms like Canva , Kick Resume and Resume are just a few of the multiple tools that can help you ace the design of your resume with little to no design skill.

Return to the first step — research.

Once you have submitted your CV, a very good idea is to start more in-depth research on the company you are very close to having your interview with. Start with scraping the company’s social media profiles where you can find valuable information about their culture, most important achievements and clients, then move on to the company website. Your first meeting with the recruiter is the perfect moment to address all your questions about the company, so make sure you have a set of questions in hand.

Don’t look at the interview as a police interrogation type of situation. The discussion is there for the recruiter to know you better and understand your experience, but also for you to ask questions and get a better idea of what’s happening inside the company. Every recruiter has an interview guide (structured or not so much), so why don’t you build one for yourself? Ask questions about the team, the projects, the schedule, the next steps in the recruitment process, and any other relevant questions that you can think of. Don’t hesitate to ask for further details and make sure to identify potential deal-breakers.

Here’s a shortlist of questions to get you going:

  1. Why is this position open?
  2. What’s the company’s organizational culture like?
  3. How do you stand by your values?
  4. Do you have any internal initiatives?
  5. Why do you like working here?
  6. How do you show care to your employees?
  7. What do you do when it comes to employees whose performance is low?
  8. What are the next steps in the recruitment process?
  9. What’s the work schedule like?

Prepare the platform that you will be interviewed on.

Make sure to take some time before the interview to ensure that the platform is installed, is working correctly, and there are no connectivity problems. You can also ask a friend to have a meeting on the said platform to make sure that your camera and microphone are working correctly. If there are connectivity issues, have your phone near you in case the recruiter calls and you continue the interview talking on the phone.

Additionally, find a place in your home that is quiet, has good lighting and a clean background.

Sometimes there are things that do not work out the way we expect them to. Do not panic, we work in a challenging environment and we often encounter new situations that we do not know yet how to tackle. I can assure you that we, as recruiters, can understand if your internet connection is faulty, if your cat or dog begs for your attention or if your child is in a desperate need of a hug. We’ve probably been through similar situations ourselves.

What to wear, what to wear?

The stay-at-home context is a tricky one, don’t be fooled by it. You don’t have to put on a three-piece tuxedo, but make sure that you are presentable. A plain T-shirt or a nice shirt is always a nice touch, even if you’re wearing comfy bottoms. Changing from your usual stay-at-home clothes to something more formal might also put you in a different mindset, ready to tackle any challenges you encounter during your interview.

You’re here! The interview is on and the recruiter is asking you questions. Our greatest tip? Be authentic; most of the time, there are no right or wrong answers, just different perspectives. Refrain from using self-deprecating remarks. Self-burns are not something you should strive for, and it may make the interview a bit more awkward. Try to frame your bad experiences from previous jobs as learning opportunities and show the recruiter what you’ve got out of them.

One last tip: be human and remember that your recruiter is human too. It’s perfectly normal to be nervous during an interview. The anxiety before the event might lead you to create detailed scenarios inside your head. You’re probably going to have a whole Q&A session with yourself, to make sure that your answers are prepared and polished to a shine. Often, from my experience, candidates are like a vinyl record playing on a pick-up. Once the interview starts, the pin drops and they keep rolling. The first minutes of the interview are the ones that can be used to blow some steam off, to improvise beyond the script that you created in your head and be authentic. Ask the recruiter how they’ve been during this time, how they adapted and if they miss working from the office. Don’t forget that the interview is a conversation. Try to ask “and you?” after you’ve been asked, “How have you been?”.

All in all, a remote interview may be just a little bit better than a classic, offline interview. You can skip over the anxiety that you will be late, or that you can’t find the right meeting room or that your shirt got a little bit wrinkled. Sure, you might be missing some visual cues that are always there in a face-to-face type of situation, but the feeling of safety and assurance from interviewing in your own home might compensate a little for that.

Remember why you want the position in the first place and go for it! If you end up finding out you’re not the right person for the job, don’t worry, the treasure at the end of the hunt will surely be somewhere else.

Ready to ace your next interview? – Give it a shot with the job opportunities that we have for you!

rebeldot two anniversary

RebelDot turned two! Capturing the flag, building our internal product and adding 23 new Rebels to the team.

Before starting to write this article, we took a quick trip to memory lane and read our one-year anniversary retrospective, RebelDot after one year: sugar, spice and everything nice? Scrolling through the titles, we knew right away that keeping this article under a reasonable word count is going to be a challenge — and this, couldn’t make us more proud to be Rebels.

Despite all the bumpy roads and challenges (COVID-19 included), our second Rebel year was crowded with time together, lessons to learn, new opportunities and, of course, challenges. We made plans, and not everything happened according to our agendas. We went from working from our offices to a home first set in just a few days. All our Culture & People initiatives had to be reinvented and our travelling plans got hijacked in a split second. We took everything as it came, and just like everybody else, we adapted to the new normality.

Today, we are thrilled to celebrate 759 days of RebelDot. Here’s what’s been keeping us busy this past year.

We built an internal product — then pivot it.

As you might already know, 2020 was the year we launched Visidot, our internal product.

Visidot a contact tracing and digital visitor log. We help businesses keep track of your guests, gather statistics and visualise real-time data. All, in a 100% GDPR compliant environment.

Visidot_contact_tracing_app_by_RebelDot

 

Immediately after launching Visidot, COVID-19 kicked in.

Since our product is a solution designed for keeping track of visitors and the restrictions applied meant no visitors allowed, it shook us a little bit. We were talking with lots of potential clients, and we were surprised by how many of them reached out to ask for a demo.

However, as Rebels, we are adaptable and always looking for a solution. Plus, we built Visidot as an easy to pivot solution so we took advantage of the lockdowns to continually work on making the app better and think about other functionalities that would help companies adjust to the new normality.

A few weeks ago, we launched Visidot for Restaurants. We wanted to help restaurants adapt to the new normal, offering an easy to use solution for keeping track of their restaurant visitors while ensuring their health and safety.

Visidot_digital_log

We got our Quality Management ISO 9001: 2015 & Information Security Management ISO 27001:2018 recertifications!

As proof of the quality of the deliverables, RebelDot is an ISO 9001:2015 & ISO 27001:2018 company, a Microsoft Certified Partner (Gold Application Development and Gold Cloud Platform) since 2019 & 2018.

This year, we worked on obtaining our ISO 9001:2015 & ISO 27001:2018 recertifications. We choose to implement the standards and get our information security management & quality management certifications to assure the security of the information of our clients and the quality of our services.

We now cover twelve new industries!

RebelDot is a digital product development company with experience in building web and mobile apps for businesses in several industries. This year, we are proud to have extended our expertise to industries such as Telemedicine, Property Technology, IoT, Parking Systems, Maritime Transportation, Content & Influencer Platforms, Contact Tracing, Vistors Management and Online Events Platform.

We are thankful for being part of the amazing stories of startups and companies alike, seeking to bring innovation to their sectors and solve real deal problems for their users. Curious to know more about our work? See our web and mobile apps portfolio.

RebelDot became a Private Investment Group partner.

The Private Investment Group is a global company with a presence in over 25 countries. They help companies gain access to new markets, raise capital when needed or form strategic partnerships from the private sector or at a governmental level. RebelDot is proud to have joined The Private Investment Group as a technology & innovation partner.

What are our clients saying about working with us?

We’re happy for our clients and the way in which they trust technology for helping them make other people’s life easier, solve global problems and innovate. We love the way in which we get to grow with them and perfect the services we offer along the way. We build long term partnerships and make sure to sustain the growth of the business we’re part of.

Oh, and when they start talking about working with us — our hearts fill with joy. It’s because their success is ours too.

RebelDot_Clients_Reviews

We opened a new office, this time in Copenhagen, Denmark.

You already know we love travelling, and even more, we love our Rebel people overseas. We wanted to be closer to our clients and the tech community in Copenhagen, so we opened a new office right there, in the heart of the Scandinavian way of living we are so fond of. Little spoiler alert — we are already planning on opening another office.

Later we got announced as one of the most highly-rated B2B firms in Denmark, according to Clutch. Huge thanks to our Copenhagen community for this!

We onboarded 23 new Rebels!

In our second year as official Rebels, we wanted to continue our growth. Checked, checked, checked! Twenty-three new Rebels joined our mission on helping startups and businesses alike innovate through technology, and we couldn’t be more thankful for our brilliant new joiners.

The good news is that we are always in search for talented rebels. Check our jobs at RebelDot page, and let’s have an online coffee together.

Aaaaand, we had a 100% recruitment acceptance rate

Yup. You read that well. Our acceptance rate was 100%. We ‘’blame’’ it on the great culture we managed to create for the past years and the rigorous but honest recruitment process our candidates are going through.

You don’t have to take our words for granted. We asked our colleagues about the reasons they joined us, and we are super excited to share them with you.

Wondering what made our people choose us?

“Culture! When searching for a software engineer position, my main point is the culture of a company. Through great values, one can learn so much (including on the tech stack side of things). Since the first interview, I knew I want to be in a place with a great culture where people have in common the same values and from where you can learn and grow as an individual – RebelDot.” Lucian

“The recruitment process went smoothly and was surprisingly fast, with the entire team being really professional. They explained the company’s values and from the very beginning I could see that they were close to each other and I felt that I would be very happy to be a part of this extended family. ” Edina

“From the first interactions, I was sold!.The discussions were relaxing, pleasant and focused on transparency. During the recruitment process, I was called to be asked how do I feel and if I was ok in general, although there was no job offer yet. The attention to employee’s wellbeing is just amazing.” Andrei 

“I chose to join RebelDot because, throughout the interviews, I got a strong impression that the people are not only interesting but, most of all, interested. I felt that, once I will get here, everyone around will actively support me in becoming a better version of myself, both professionally and as a person.” Dragos

Plus a 9.75% attrition rate.

Our efforts to keep our colleagues engaged and consider their well being before taking a decision is reflected in a significantly low attrition rate of: 9.75%

We also run exit interviews to learn from the people that decided to pursue another career and to make sure that all the departures happen on good terms.

Giving back to the world.

Caring about the community, the planet, and trying to help less fortunate people, has always been a strong drive for us.

From helping a five years old boy in his fight with meningitis, giving a hand to one of the schools affected by COVID-19, and joining forces with ‘’Un Singur Cluj’’, a local organisation, to help our doctors fight the pandemic, this year was a true wake up call for all of us. It helped us understand the power of community and the responsibility we all have for making sure we provide a better future for the next generations.

Internal events — our favourites!

A healthy organizational culture is, was, and always will be one of our main priorities.

We do our best to foster a culture where the wellbeing and professional growth of our people are at the centre of everything we do. We encourage professional and personal growth while having fun in the process.

To make this possible, every year, we spend time coming up with creative internal initiatives and test what is suitable for us. In our second year as RebelDot, we had 22 internal initiatives and events that made us bond with each other.

RebelDot`s_Team

Adapting to COVID-19.

For almost all of us, COVID-19 will remain the highlight of 2020. In January, when we lit up our fireworks dreaming big about all the things we will achieve, we certainly did not expect this plot twist. But hey, no one did.

We quickly adapted to the scenario in front of us. We worked to make sure our colleagues have everything they need to continue their work and feel the Rebel spirit from their own homes. We wrote an article about how we took care of our employees during COVID-19 and the initiatives we took to maintain the wellbeing of our people during this pandemic.

Also, we asked our Rebels to share how they adapted to working from home, and here is what they said: Life in our Rebel Homes. Stories and insights from our home offices.

Aaaaand, last but not least, we captured the flag!

Do you know those kinds of milestones that might seem small and insignificant from people outside the company but are extremely important for the ones inside?

We had one on our 2nd anniversary: to add our logo on top of our office building.

It sounds easier than it was, but after all the paperwork we did it, we captured the flag!

RebelDot`s_Office

Did we have a celebration PARTY?

In hopes that this will go back to normal and will be able to meet and celebrate our second Rebel year, we started planning an outdoor party. Things did not go as planned, but this did not take us by surprise.

Our People and Culture team came up with the idea of an online party, and, in line with our care value we choose to prioritise the health and safety of our people, we decided to embrace the newness of this initiative.

Wondering how it all went? Stay close, we are going to share it all in another article (coming soon).

Want to keep track of what we are up to at RebelDot? You can follow us on Twitter Instagram Linkedin and  Facebook. Choose one or go for all — it’s your choice.

RebelDot Culture

How we built a Rebel culture after the company acquisition.

The sugar and the spice behind our Employee Spotlight initiative and a little bit of background into our company acquisition process.

Hi Rebel,

For the past few months, we kept receiving positive feedback and questions about our initiatives, how we got to the ideas, what went well, and what did not.

Inspired by your feedback and our firm belief that, as a community, we can achieve more, we want to start a series of articles under the #RebelsBehindTheCurtains hashtag. It’s our way of sharing the sugar and the spice behind our initiatives with you. We are committed to including the bitter as well.

First in line, Employee Spotlight.

How we got to the idea

Two years ago, our CEO acquired the Services Division of our ex-mother company and turned it into RebelDot.

Although all of us worked together before, trying to adjust and create a new culture was a roller-coaster. It was a process of adjusting the new startup setting to a mid-sized company background. Imagine that!

Like every new beginning, it took us some time to learn how to work together in the new formula. Some of the colleagues decided to pursue a new challenge in other companies, while other new talented people joined us.

So here we were in a new context, a mix of old and new employees, trying to build a company together. But how do you do this, while also going through a transition process and a continuously shifting back and forth between the old and new?

We knew a lot about our professional experience but not so much about who we are as people: our passions, our struggles, and what makes us vibe.

We were a bunch of people bonded by history, in front of a clean canvas with new colours and brushes to paint.

Once we have identified the need within the company, we took it with us in the HR and Employer Brand annual planning meeting. For a couple of hours, we sat and brainstormed ideas on how to get people to connect more actively and at a deeper level.

After some interesting discussions, we came up with the Employee Spotlight idea. Such a simple idea that turned out to be so powerful.

We feel you, Chandler! 😀

via GIPHY

The purpose

We were looking for a simple idea to make our colleagues feel (and actually be) seen, heard and understood. Something to help us get to know each other. Suitable for introverts and extroverts, for wild-hearted and introspective people at the same time.

The plan

Once we came up with the idea, we have decided to give it a try and see how it goes. We embraced the same lean mentality we apply to build digital products: build, learn, measure, build learn, measure.

The plan was simple: every Monday, at 12 A.M, we will have one colleague in the Spotlight. That person was responsible for sending a description and a few photos.

We have also created a template for the ones that had difficulties in figuring out what topics they should address.

How it went

Oh boooy! We were so nervous when we announced the initiative, in anticipation of resistance, and we asked our colleague, Ioana, to be the first Rebel in the Spotlight.

Gladly, our colleagues were curious to know more about the people they work with, so the Slack post received lots of reactions.

Spotlight_RebelDot

The post had a snowball effect. Our colleagues were feeling comfortable with sharing more and more about themselves.

What we found out

Our Rebels are super exciting and creative people, so reading their descriptions was and still is so much fun.

We will share with you some interesting facts.

via GIPHY

Rebels are afraid of:

Pigeons on the wire;

Spiders with irregular body shape;

Heights;

Public speaking;

Snakes.

Rebels are passionate about:

Cooking;

Basketball;

Volleyball;

Cycling;

Judo;

Eating jelly beans;

Eating chocolate;

Crafting;

Working around the house.

Oh, are you ready for some juicy ones?🤤

via GIPHY

  • Most of our Rebels are from Bistrita, Baia Mare and Zalau.
  • Alexandra won Miss Universe Romania.
  • Alex had a sabbatical year.
  • Bogdan won a folk festival.
  • Vali has a vertical jump capacity higher than most NBA players.
  • Luciana has a delicious cheesecake recipe published on Adi Hadean’s website.
  • Tudi went alone in Korea at 16 years old.
  • Eli is an MTB champion.
  • Sergiu is a judo champion.
  • Petruta met President Klaus Iohannis in a funny circumstance.
  • Alexandru and his team won the 1st place at a francophone theatre festival in Sardinia.

Simply put, impressive and exciting people. ❤

What we have learned on the way

Sugar, spice and everything nice?

Along the way, we realized that the engagement decreased, so we updated the way we posted the description by introducing, in the beginning, an intriguing question or affirmation about the Rebel in Spotlight. By making people curious to find the answer, they were more eager to read the description and get to know the story behind the answer.

We also put it on hold for a short period of time, when we had other initiatives ongoing, to reduce noise.

Why do we recommend implementing Employee Spotlight into your company?

  • Quick, hustle-free opportunity to help your employees get to know each other.
  • It offers the employees the opportunity to reflect on themselves
  • It helps them identify common passion with the people they work with
  • It allows you, as a company, to understand your people more and create initiatives that are suitable for their wellbeing.

That’s it, folks!

How about you? Would this practice suit your company’s culture? How would you make it more fun?

P.S: Stay tuned for the next article in the series of #RebelsBehindTheCurtains

 

RebelDot Team

🚀You already know we love building digital products, but did you know that we built our own startup? Read the story of how we build a contact tracing and visitors management system, here.

🧐 Curious to know more about how we take care of our employees during COVID-19? We wrote an article to share everything about the RebelDot internal initiatives during these tougher than usual times.

Raluca-Anton

How to deal with the unknown, with Dr. Psychologist Raluca Anton.

Advice on how to manage negative emotions during a global crisis.

Since last week we celebrated Easter and this time around is challenging our wellbeing a little bit more than usual, we thought that this year would be the right time to offer the Rebels a different kind of gift. After a few discussions with our team, we came up with the idea of organizing a webinar with a psychologist, to address some of our most frequent questions in regard to how our mind cooperates with a global crisis, and how to achieve peace of mind during turbulent times.

We already knew Raluca, as she is one of the most renowned psychologists in Romania and a public person, so the decision of inviting her to the webinar came pretty naturally.

When we announced the webinar, we promised we’d get back with some of our learnings and most important takeaways, so here we are. We hope this helps you as much as it helped us.

Processing takes time

We are experiencing an atypical time in history, and our brain is still learning how to process and cooperate with the situation. Give it time and treat yourself with gentleness and patience. Make room for your thoughts and take the time to process.

Whatever you are feeling, it is normal. Embrace it

We often hear that we should not panic and that we should stay positive no matter what. Truth is that being calm in the current context is almost impossible, and we should all acknowledge that. Having more intense feelings and navigating from joy to sadness during this time is normal (*of course, if this persists, maybe you should consider talking to a professional).

We are all different

We all have different coping mechanisms. Some of us eat more or clean all day long, while others binge-watch their favourite series on Netflix. These mechanisms help us adapt to the uncertainty of the current reality. Be open and understanding with other people’s own coping mechanism.

Our brain is just trying to keep us safe

Our brain is trying to keep us safe and reduce the intensity of our emotions through our behaviours. The human brain is built in such a way that it becomes more reactive when it doesn’t have control over the situation and when it is dealing with a lot of uncertainty. This might justify why you’re feeling more nervous than usual and why you start to lack patience.

It’s about joy, fear, sadness, disgust and anger

It’s important to note that emotions are on a continuum, so when thinking about how we feel we should also consider the intensity of that feeling and the way it affects our day to day functioning. In other words, in a certain situation, you might feel sad (as a normal response to an unpleasant situation) or you might feel depressed (which is more intense and could interfere with your daily functioning). To understand more about them, we and Raluca totally recommend watching the Inside Out movie.

Experiencing the five stages of grief

During social crises our brain is going through stages of grief: (1) numbness, (2) intense emotions like anger, denial and fear, (3) awareness regarding the new reality, (4) acceptance and (5), the final stage, finding meaning in the situation. What is very important to know is that there is no linear process. You don’t simply jump from one stage to another, it’s more like a transition (you might go back to the stages that you consider you’ve already passed).

Why is this situation different and why is it affecting us so much?

Apart from the obvious changes in the economy, the health problems and the high level of uncertainty, this pandemic is different because it is affecting all of us at the same time. It is a global issue.

Our brain is used to knowing that if we are not ok, there will always be someone there ready to pick us up. This is not the case anymore these days since we all experience the same thing and we are all trying to figure out how to deal with the new normality.

RebelDot- Raluca Anton

What can I do during these times?

First of all, it is important to acknowledge that you and everyone around you are going through something unexpected. Secondly, don’t try to minimize (oh, I shouldn’t be feeling this, it is not a big deal) or maximize (this is the end of the world!) your thoughts.

Some of the techniques you can use are:

Grounding exercises — getting your mind always to the present moment (e.g: look around the room and say: this is a chair, this is a book, etc or I’m cooking now, I’m adding salt to the dish)

RAIN method — it’s an acronym from mindfulness that helps you acknowledge what’s happening with you.

R = Recognize the emotions or thoughts that are troubling you.

A= Acknowledge, Accept, Allow. The next step is to acknowledge your distress and accept it as your present reality.

I = Investigate. At this stage of the process, you can use your natural curiosity to delve more deeply into your distress.

N= Non-identification. Your painful thoughts, feelings, and sensations are not you.

Yoga exercise — if you haven’t tried it already, we recommend you to follow Yoga with Adriene Youtube channel for lots of yoga challenges and programs.

Meditation — it’s important to give your mind a break during the day so we recommend taking 10–15 min. to practice meditation. You can use Calm, Headspace or if you are not that into this type of meditation you can try journaling or simply listening (but really listening, without distraction) to a song that makes you happy.

Truth be told, this pandemic period is super challenging for all of us and we are all in this together. We are confident that humanity will come back stronger and why not, more empathetic.

The time spent with Raluca brought us so much clarity and peace of mind. We hope the info we shared will help you too.

What are the main lessons you have during this period? Share them with us.

🏡New to working from home? We talked to Alex, our Operations Manager and asked him to share a few tips on WFH and managing teams that work from home. You can read the entire guide, here.

🧐Curious to know more about how we take care of our employees during COVID-19? Petruta, our Employer Brand Specialist wrote an article and shared everything about the RebelDot internal initiatives during these times.

The_RebelDot_team

How we take care of our employees during COVID-19.

Does anybody else out there want to reset 2020?

Count the Rebels in.

Until we manage to invent a switch button or the time-travel machine, the current situation is testing our adaptability to the fullest.

No matter how hard we’d all want to change what’s happening around us, the truth is that there are some things that we simply can’t control. However, what we can do is control the way we are reacting to what is happening to us.

Having this in mind, we’ve decided to make the best out of the situation and reflect on the learnings.

We invite you to go together through our journey from Rebels to working-at-home-Rebels

How it all started?

Once the President of our country announced that the Government will activate the urgency procedure regarding COVID-19 we immediately knew that we must shift to Work from home.

Since we are super social, and we loooove coming to the office, this wasn’t an easy task to do.

But we did what Rebels do best: adapt and care for the people around them.

We took our laptops, monitors, keyboards and even chairs to make sure we have the full setup needed to continue delivering the same quality and productivity to our clients.

See below a few photos of our WFH set up:

Work_From_Home _RebelDot
Rebels in their new habitat

To make sure everybody is on the same page, our CEO, Tudor Ciuleanu, sent us an official email explaining the RebelDot’s position in COVID-19 times.

We all promised to:

Keep our Rebel Spirit alive

Be available for meetings and calls using Slack

Deliver the same quality

Help each other and share tips and tricks for keeping our mental health

Keep having meetings as video calls

How we take care of our Rebels

Our people are our best asset. Our culture is our main differentiator.

The minute we saw that things are getting pretty serious and dangerous, our main concern was the mental health of our people. So we started working on a plan to make sure we cover all of their needs and that they feel the support of the company even in a 100% online setup.

Survey

The first thing that we did was an online survey to help us identify their needs, worries and the information they need.

The questions we asked were the following:

  1. What are the main concerns that you currently have?

2. What do you most enjoy about WFH?

3. What is difficult for you at WFH?

4. Do you have a daily routine?

5. Do you feel that your productivity increased or decreased?

6. How can RebelDot support you during these times?

Plan

Once we had the data gathered our HR and Employer Brand team started working on a plan where the main words were: care, support, and mental health.

Initiatives

The first initiative that was successful and we wanted to replicate was the Wellbeing Program.

We planned 5 weeks of challenges that are meant to target our physical and mental health.

Rebel_wellbeing_program
Rebel Wellbeing Program

Online Dates

“There is something so unbelievably refreshing about meeting individuals who are on the same life frequency as you. Everything feels effortless and natural. You just vibe, it’s beautiful.”

Although we are all working from home and keep the social distance, we all need connection. We already miss our talks in the kitchen early in the morning or our lunch jokes and roads to the cafeteria (how we miss our Farmec or CBC lunches!).

We didn’t want to lose the bond between us so we decided to twist our Blind Dates and turn them into Online Dates.

Each Rebel drinks a cup of coffee with another Rebel while solving the challenge they receive via email.

This round’s challenge was to answer the following question: What would you want to never change?

Coffee_dates

WFH daily tips and tricks

At RebelDot, we have a flexible work policy. So working from home wasn’t something new for the majority of us. However, very few of us have experience working from home for a long period of time.

Since the current situation is atypical, we started an internal campaign of daily sharing tips and tricks to help us accommodate to the new reality. Apart from the tips and tricks, we have also included a Daily reading material from sources that are verified.

Work_from_home
WFH tips and tricks

Resources tracker

With all the information boom around Social Media regarding COVID-19, it was quite difficult to keep track of all the useful information and activities that we can do while WFH.

We didn’t want to miss useful information and we have decided to create an online tracker with all the nice resources and opportunities we could find.

Short of Rebel aggregator.

We filled it up with the following categories:

  1. COVID-19 trustworthy resources
  2. How can we help? (tab dedicated with causes that need support)
  3. Reading materials
  4. Mental Health
  5. For parents (a section dedicated to activities/articles and webinars for parents and kids)
  6. Movies/Documentaries
  7. Online Board Games
  8. Leisure time
  9. Food
  10. e-Health

We are very proud of it and we would like to share it with all of you. You can access our tracker here.

Resources_tracker
Resources tracker

Keeping our habits

Probably one of the best decisions that one can take in times of uncertainty is continuing with the usual habits.

One of our habits is to have our weekly company meeting, every Friday at 11:30 A.M.

Back to office times, we used to get together, sit on our puffs and listen and joke with our colleagues.

At the moment, things are different but we have decided that now, more than ever, keeping our traditions is one of the most crucial things that we can do.

Every Friday, at 11:30, we open our cameras and we start our company meeting. The laughs, the smiley faces, and the conversations take us, at least for 30 min, back to our cozy office.

Rebels_company_meeting
Rebels during company meetings

We will keep you posted with more and more initiatives that we have planned.

Until next time, please take care of yourself and stay safe!

XOXO,

The Rebels