People, News

Why we added an actual café into our new headquarters.

RebelDot cafe

Two years ago, I was excited to spread the word about our decision to leave the main Rebel office situated in a nice office building in downtown Cluj, to adapt to the new paradigm of working – working from home.

This time, I will be sharing with you just how this whole thing turned out, why we decided to move back to our HQ, and how this newly redesigned space is helping us get closer to our vision of creating communities based on fair relations.

Adapting to working from home: Leaving our day-to-day office for an actual home, turned into a social space.

Right after the pandemic hit, we were just leaving our HQ as a natural next step in adapting to the new not-so-clear context.

We figured, since our colleagues were already improvising their personal home offices, ours should transform into a social space, a place where people could connect outside the limitations of whatever conferencing platforms we were using at that time.

The place where we used to meet, work and connect on a regular, the 3rd floor office where we made so many memories and experienced the beginning, ups and downs and eventually flourishment of RebeDot, became empty as we moved on towards working remotely from a house on a residential street.

Or how we like calling it, the Rebel Playground.

RebelDot yard

Imagine a house hidden on the narrow streets of Cluj-Napoca, a welcoming little office, an actual home turned into a social place where people could create digital products, but, most of all, meaningful relationships with each other.

Team BBQs, movie nights, product demo sessions, yard sales, client meetings. These were just a few of the events we all enjoyed in this comfy little house during the pandemic.

It was our way of adapting to the “future of work”.

Truth is, we had no clear forecast on how we were going to do our daily jobs in exactly two years from then.

After all, we lived through some truly “uncertain times”, right?

However, what was clear was knowing that the office was not going to disappear but just change.

And so, it happened.

RebelDot office

People started to get back to the office.

We spent two years, growing from 60 to almost 200 people, more than tripling in size while working remotely, enjoying the comfort of our homes, but missing real human connections.

For that face-to-face feedback, those silly early-morning jokes, or the daily “anybody want to order something to eat?” questions.

And, to our surprise, as the pandemic went by, we’ve seen people joining our informal office more and more, up to the point where it became a sort of gateway, the kind of place where you go to escape the day-to-day routine and chat with people.

People gradually become more interested in working from the office a few days per week.

In fact, when we asked our colleagues, as part of our yearly company meeting, what they would change at RebelDot, the most frequent answer was “a bigger office”.

And so the next logical step was finding one.

But the idea that we could have more spaces where internal communities could blossom organically, a context where people already working together could connect in a natural way..

This is what intrigued us.

And this is what led us to reinvent ourselves once again and come up with yet another bold decision, owning it, just like we did when we set out to leave our main office for a smaller social space in response, wanting to adapt to the remote-working paradigm.

“Redesigning our old office and deciding to move back there was a decision none of us had foreseen. And honestly, I am happy with the outcome. 2 years ago, I knew that the next few years of work were going to be remote, and I also felt the office was never going to be the same again, hence the decision to leave our bigger HQ for a smaller & not-so-office-like space. However, imagine how I felt seeing that people are increasingly coming back to the office, overbooking that unofficial playground on Alverna Street.”

Tudor Ciuleanu
Rebel Cafe

Moving back into our old office space, this time reinvented.

At the end of last year we asked our colleagues what they would want to change in RebelDot… well, they asked for more office space.

So, we went back to the drawing board.

We acknowledged that a lot of things have changed since the last time we stepped foot into our main HQ, but we also knew that our desire to connect with each-other was greater than ever.

The past years have taught us an important lesson about the kind of environment that makes us the most productive, and what fosters creativity and innovative thinking.

But also quite a lot about how much of an impact being around each-other can have.

The new RebelDot office space is in no way what it used to be.

I mean, yea, it is the same space, but reinvented to suit hybrid working and deliver to our people’s need of integrating work with life.

Our HQ on Buftea street has been reimagined to ignite creative thinking, relationship building, fun and comfort at work.

A ton of attention to detail has been invested into every single square foot of this office, from the redesign of our open space to the small writings on the glass doors, the music playlist and even the snacks in the kitchen.

Many of us started getting used to working from coffee shops, so we brought the coffee shop to the office.

In our old office we used to have a boring front desk area and a person waiting for visitors there.. We thought this was to way to go, but what we didn’t know back then was how impersonal this approach was.

What used to be a standard reception, now turned into Rebel Café, the place which pretty much gives, as well as maintains, the pulse of our days at the office.

We even welcomed onboard Amy, a highly talented barista who, in no time, became that one person always welcoming us with good coffee and a genuine smile.

While everyone on the team can choose whether they would like to work from the office or from home, providing people the environment they need to be the best at their game is crucial for our company culture.

The layout of our Cluj HQ is designed to bring productivity, relationship building, and relaxation as well as fun together in the same area. We have organized the space into meeting rooms and team rooms, cafes, lounge rooms, and common areas, as well as a game room. None of the spaces or desks are permanently booked, it’s everyone’s office.

Our team is divided into people working from our offices in Cluj or our office in Oradea, hybrid and remotely. This space is our main HQ, and we want all of our people to know that we are part of a bigger community than the one that can be observed while walking the floor of our office. That’s why we also integrated a caricature wall showcasing all our faces and signatures – a wall of fame thingy.

RebelDot wall

Everything for the people.

We are a human-centered company, and we intend to continue to place great value on the relationships we have with each other at work, be it with clients or colleagues. We love our people. We also believe work should not just be fulfilling, but also fun – that’s a great deal of how we make sure we stay in tune with our wellbeing: having fun together.

We want our new space to be a community place. That’s why friends, family, and the friends of our friends are always welcome here.

Dragos Cojocea

Dragos Cojocea

I am a tech marketing enthusiast, who strongly believes that creativity has an incontestable impact on the digital growth of a business. My aim is to become a Brand Strategist and for that I am currently striving to support startup founders in crafting human communication strategies for their B2B brands.

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