4. Practical information for everyday operations
4.1 Your first day at Vega IT
Welcome to the company! Your journey is about to begin. The book that is before you provides you with an insight into our company's operations and organizational culture.
Your hosts, Maja Neducic and Sasa Popovic, will give you information about us, most of which you will later be able to learn of from this book. Afterwards, you will be walked through our offices and introduced to other members of our team.
Our Social Media Managers, Maja Bozic and Maja Colak, will talk to you about marketing today, why it is important to be aware that you are part of the marketing of our company and how your activities affect the success of the company and yourself.
A computer with configuration made up of state-of-the-art hardware awaits you on your desk. Your colleagues Filip and Stanislav will help you create user accounts and set up all applications necessary for the performance of your work. Happy beginning!
4.2 "Knowledge Base" website
"Knowledge Base" (KB) website is a platform containing the following information:
- Coding Standards
- Development Best Practices
- Meeting Minutes from internal meetings, lectures and workshops.
Access to the KB site is possible only from our internal network. If this is done from home, you need to connect to our VPN.
At the beginning of working with us it would be ideal if you visit the KB site in the first two days and read the Coding Standards for technologies you will work with, together with other topics that are relevant to the job you do.
4.3 Working hours
The working hours of our company are from 9h to 17h. If you're late up to an hour, it is not necessary to inform anyone about it. If, however, you come to work after 10 am, it is necessary to notify your mentor, team leader in charge of the project/projects you work on, or Maja Neducic if you are uncertain who to contact. If there is a planned meeting with clients or colleagues in the morning, it is unacceptable to be late, except in case of force majeure. For example, if we have a scheduled daily standup meeting at 9.30 am, it is unacceptable that any of the participants is late or does not come, and justifies the same by untimely awakening and getting up.
We all have a right to a 30-minute break in the period from 12 to 12:30 am. Any deviations from this break term are possible only in consultation with our Team Leader.
Any longer break absence from the company implies equivalent time of staying at work. The same is applied for smoking breaks and using the Fun room. Therefore, time spent on such breaks needs to be compensated by staying longer at work for the same duration.
Also, if we want to leave work early or not to come to work on a certain day, it is necessary to contact our Team Leader and Maja Neducic (if you are unsure who to contact, contact Maja).
4.4 Dress code
Our company's dress code is business casual and smart casual.
Business casual style means wearing simple pants and jeans, that is, sports shirts and polo t-shirts for men. As for women, business casual style means wearing skirts that must have a minimum length of 10 cm above the knees.
Smart casual style refers to sports clothes - shirts, jackets and sweaters, with optional ties.
Business casual style and Smart casual style do not include wearing any transparent and low-cut shirts, skirts that are shorter than permitted, as well as inappropriate display of certain parts of the body (stomach, chest and back).
During the summer, men can wear shorts, but only knee-length ones.
4.5 Private health insurance
Each of us who spends more than 3 months in the company is entitled to voluntary health insurance.
We started using private health insurance in 2014.
You can get exact information about your health insurance from our colleague Dragana Momcilovic.
Together with the card you receive, Dragana also provides you with a document stating the procedure of making doctor appointments.
4.6 Kitchen rules
There is a Czech proverb that says: "Warm food, warm friendships". In the kitchen, hygiene should be at a very high level. Leave the used cutlery, plates, glasses and cups in the sink.
Milk should be opened with scissors and left in the fridge door in order to show that it is open, and also to avoid opening more packages at the same time.
The same goes for juices which should be returned to the fridge after use. These are natural juices that spoil quickly if not kept in the fridge.
The fridge is designed for everyone to use and there you may keep food that you bring from home. Food from the fridge that is no longer in use should be timely removed.
The food that remains after the Happy Hour is available to anyone at any time. Bon appétit!
We are all obliged to take the cups and glasses which we used during the day and leave them after our working hours in the kitchen. Empty plastic bottles should be put in a special garbage, while the caps of the same should be placed in bags provided for this, which are also on the counter. Through this procedure, we participate in the "Cepom do osmeha" humanitarian campaign.
When nature calls, either slip away quietly or excuse yourself from the group. Leave it clean, always flush and never discuss.
Cleanliness is next to godliness. Restrooms should be left, after use, in the state in which we would like to find them. Or, more specifically, using brushes in toilets is not degrading for any of us who work at Vega IT. The use of paper or cloths is also normal and no one will blame us for leaving a tidy toilet behind, even if we have previously had a slippage :-)
For better hand hygiene, we provided an electric hand dryer. Dryers are safe, cause much less damage to our environment and are far more economical than paper towels. If we dry our hands completely only by using electric dryers, we reduce the amount of bacteria that are spread around the space in which we work, compared to how many bacteria we have on our hands and transmit them further if we wipe them with paper towels.
We leave our umbrellas in baskets provided for that purpose.
We should keep our desks clean and leave them in such a state in which we would like to find them later. We sometimes use them to have lunch, eat fruit, drink, but it is the duty of all of us to remove the unnecessary stuff from them and make them more pleasant to work on.
4.8 Happy hour, Team building, Social activities
Happy Hour (HH) is an event organized every Friday at 16.30h in our company. At that time, we gather in the place we call cafeteria and enjoy each other's company with food and drinks, listening to one of our colleagues. Our colleagues from office in Zrenjanin join us via Skype, so they can also be part of this kind of events. The purpose of HH introductions, which last from 10 to 30 minutes, is to be introduced to a certain person. This kind of events allow us to do some public speaking and enable us to get to know better our colleagues. The schedule is determined in advance so that everyone, at some point, gets an opportunity to introduce themselves in front of the colleagues.
Our company is also famous for fostering team spirit. Apart from the already mentioned social and HH activities on Fridays, our company organizes several team building trips a year. In addition to team building trips, our company organizes at least two parties a year, one during the summer, on the anniversary of establishment of the company, and the other before the end of the year, as the New Year's Eve party. Besides the two mentioned, our company organizes other kinds of parties from time to time.
Our company periodically organizes gatherings that involve our families as well (partners (wives or husbands) and children). Each year we organize a New Year's play for children, as well as New Year's gift giveaways, but apart from that, we sometimes also gather and hang out for no particular reason.
Other social activities are held at least once a month and include going to the cinema, ice skating, paintball, laser tag, roomescape and so on. Our partners may also participate in these activities.
4.9 Giving suggestions / Asking questions
A long time ago, Einstein said that it is most important to ask questions. Anyone can reach his/her colleagues through mail, Skype or in person and ask them questions.
Anonymous questions and comments can also be sent to our company and its owners. If someone wants to, he/she can visit the askus address and receive a form for entering questions or comments. This page can be accessed only from our local network or by using VPN if we are outside the company. Questions or comments written on the said form are sent via e-mail to the addresses of all people in our company. It has been agreed to use this approach, without prior review and approval thereof, until someone abuses this feature, in the sense of writing offensive messages and the like. After receiving the questions, we prepare a response so that we could respond to them or discuss the incoming comments during the next Friday gathering.
4.10 Success communication with colleagues and clients
The basic elements of effective communication are as follows:
Given that people react both consciously and subconsciously to each other during meetings, it is particularly important to be well dressed, with carefully chosen details on clothes, including the physical appearance of a person, in order to leave a good impression.
Manners are the models of behavior that show the other collocutor whether he/she can expect good behavior in socializing at work and the like. Selfishness, rudeness, lack of self-initiative in business, disloyalty to the company and people are the traits of undesirable behavior. Punctuality is a sign of good manners. Being late up to 15 minutes for an appointment can be tolerated, but more than that is considered rude. Punctuality shows respect towards the other participants and gives importance to the meeting. It is necessary to respect other people's time so that others would respect ours as well.
Fairness means selfless, truthful and benevolent behavior. As such, it deserves trust that leads to success. A fair person's reputation takes a lot of time to be built, but is lost very quickly. The basic rule of success in anything, even in business behavior, says that fairness must not be questioned.
Respect means respecting collocutors, without underestimating and belittling in mutual relations of any kind. Everyone should be treated with respect and dignity, and it is rude to comment anyone's appearance in the presence of others. It is necessary to praise frankly and cordially those who perform good work. Greet all colleagues in the same way, kindly, do not make remarks in the presence of a third person, do not eavesdrop on phone conversations, do not look for stuff on another persons desk - is our credo.
Creating an image means building a comprehensive personality portrait, with physical and psychological toning, in order to make an impact on someone for the sake of gaining prestige and advertising. Personality image should be a source of inspiration for the environment in order to be able to devise intentions at the desired level, with one of them being the commercial activity in which we participate as well.
Style and tact
You may learn a lot about someone from their behavior and clothing style. The style of clothing and shoes is individual, but it is preferable to keep it within the limits of business style and suitable for the business world. The colors we wear can also contribute to the sense of professional sensibility. Style and tact in behavior play the role of a controller that excludes reckless statements and actions and even shares unpleasant information in an acceptable way, and with all of the above, it is most important to be natural, to radiate kindness and self-esteem. It is inappropriate, especially in the business world, to show tension, nervousness and excessive gestures and facial expressions, expressions of absence, anger or indifference.
Characteristics of a good business conversation are:
the unity of thought and speech should be the foundation of every good communication.
speech should have a goal, and if it is not adjusted to the level of listeners, it loses its sense, thus becoming meaningless and pointless.
CORRECTNESS OF SPEECH:
This phrase refers to following the rules of literary language, which basically consist of three areas - vocabulary, grammar and spelling.
Accuracy decreases errors, therefore inadequate words and idioms should be avoided in business communication.
These terms are associated with accuracy and are conditioned by it. If a person wants to be understood by another person, he/she must clearly express his/her thoughts. In order to send a clear message to the listener, the person speaking should, among other things, be fully acquainted with the subject content.
4.11 Use of mobile phone, Skype, Youtube and social networks
In the chapter "3.8. Communication with clients and approach to projects" we spoke about how interruptions have an adverse effect on our work and how it is important to maintain their number as low as possible. There are interruptions where our influence is very small, but also those that we cannot influence at all. For example, when we have to have a conversation with a client, when some of the colleagues seeks help from us, when we have to go to the restroom etc. Such interruptions are relatively often, but since we cannot affect them, we must make an effort to maximally reduce the number of interruptions that we can influence.
Some of the activities that may interrupt our work and/or distract us are chat groups (usually Skype), social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc.), Youtube and various activities on mobile phones.
If we want to participate in creating an organization that will appreciate and reward our work, if we want to work in an organization with a sustainable business model and in which we will feel secure, we need to make an effort to be maximally responsible, to strive to make our work as better as possible and work in such a manner that none of us suffers (responsibility, quality and team spirit are three of our five values).
What does this specifically mean when it comes to chat groups, social networks, phones, Youtube and the like? We will be responsible towards our work, company and colleagues if we try to have as little interruptions as possible and compensate the time spent on private activities and fun by staying longer at work (or coming to work earlier). When it comes to programming, every task can be done in many different ways. We can often perform the same task by doing it hastily in a way that seems fastest to us, and to use the remaining time for fun - this is certainly not the way in which we can contribute the most to the client we work for, but also the company we work for or personal development. If we make an effort to finish the task in a better way, we will feel better after we are done with it, it is quite possible that we will learn something new in the course of such work, we will make our work easier to maintain and make the people around us (colleagues and clients) happier. If we do our work in a responsible manner, we will facilitate the work of colleagues who work with us in our team. Conversely, if we are team members who "shirk" and prolong work by frequent interruptions, it is likely that some of our teammates will have to work harder in order to get the job done on time and improve the quality of what we deliver as a team.
The following are some additional tips that are related to the aforementioned sources of interruptions.
Skype is an application which we use on a daily basis for business purposes, but it is usually the largest cause of interruptions when used for entertainment or used in the wrong way for the purpose of communication. The biggest problem with Skype is chat groups. They are particularly problematic because they suddenly cause interruptions for all people who are part of the group. An alternative to chat groups could be e-mail, because then we decide when to make an interruption and read the message. Another alternative could be portal discussions, with daily or more frequent e-mail notifications.
If we use Skype for private purposes as well, and if we do it often, we might consider creating a Skype account used only for business purposes, when we are at work.
During working hours, it is necessary to turn off the sound on our mobile phones so as not to disturb those who work. Private phone conversations should be conducted outside the office for the same reasons.
Youtube as the source of music is acceptable in our company. However, if we often switch music on it, we will often have unnecessary and harmful interruptions. An alternative to this is creating a playlist that can be selected at the beginning of the day/week and used longer without switching.
Youtube could interfere with us more significantly if we play a video on one of the monitors and if switches from it would be in our field of vision. Therefore, keep the Youtube videos in the background and use it only for listening to music.