22 February 2019
Ten years ago, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, Michael Jackson passed away, and Kanye West had his famous “Imma let you finish…” moment.
It was also the year that UKFast was first recognised in the Sunday Times ‘Best Companies to Work For’ List. We placed 31st in the 100 Best Small Companies to Work For list. In the years since, we’ve placed everywhere from 75th to 5th in the small companies list and the 100 Best Companies to Work For lists.
These are without doubt my proudest moments in business. Why? Because the ranking is based, in part, on response given by the team themselves. It’s not simply decided by a panel of judges or an algorithm, but by the very people who live and breathe the business every day.
Over the past decade we’ve committed to creating a workplace that’s built to make the UKFast team’s lives easier. UKFast Campus is designed to create a better work-life balance, giving people a space where family life can blend seamlessly into work life.
Of course, there’s the gym, the office and investment that we make as a business, but most of what makes us a unique place to work has happened completely organically. The team lead it themselves. It seems that when you create an environment that empowers people, they have the freedom to show you what they need from their workplace.
For example, one day, Gail and I noticed that there were a couple of dogs under desks in the office. They were well behaved so we didn’t mention it. Now, we have dozens of dogs in the office. We even had to introduce a ‘Petiquette’ list to make sure that the dogs are well behaved. This also ensures that the team around them are comfortable with them being around. They’re now part of the UKFast family!
The secret formula
Speaking of family, rarely a day goes by where you don’t see a baby being cuddled or child running around the office. We built an onsite crèche as a space for families; for parents to manage the challenges of childcare and for new parents to use to keep in touch with their teammates while they’re on parental leave.
It was wonderful to read this morning that 96% of the UKFast team agreed with the statement: ‘People in my team go out of their way to help me’. When you start a business, when you’re a small team, you’re all in it together. As you grow, there’s the risk of that becoming diluted.
One of the biggest challenges in growing a business in maintaining that culture. So, to read that there is still that camaraderie and family feel within the whole team shows that we’re on the right track.
There’s no secret formula for creating a great place to work; the needs of a team are always evolving and changing. For us, it’s about giving people the space and tools to grow, while helping them to lead happy, healthy lifestyles.
To have that approach recognised by Best Companies for a decade is a real honour. Thank you to the whole UKFast team for making this business the place that it is.
I have said this every year for the past ten years; next year, we’ll be number one!