Having a workforce that wants to come to work every day of the week is an impressive achievement. It’s something most organisations hope to accomplish, so we reached out to the shortlisted companies of the Best Place to Work in Tech Award at this year’s SPARKies to find out what makes their workplace special.

Storm Consultancy is a digital technology agency that helps startups, scaleups and corporate innovators take advantage of opportunities in tech and digital.

We caught up with Holly Breckon, Marketing Executive at Storm, to find out more about Storm and their working practices. She explains a little more for us: “We take complex, multi-faceted business ideas and turn them into success stories, supporting clients all the way through initial brainstorm to launch (and beyond!).

“We also invest into some of those businesses and currently have a group of four successful businesses all incubated and started in Bath.”

And a congratulations is due as Storm celebrates its 10-year anniversary since being set up by two University of Bath graduates!

Work-life balance

Holly tells us how Storm ensures the optimum work-life balance is possible for their employees, “Since Storm’s inception 10 years ago, we have offered unlimited annual leave and flexible working.

“In addition to this, staff have every Friday afternoon off but are still paid a full week. We also treat our staff to a team lunch every other week to ensure we spend time together.”

Another important factor to Storm is engendering equality in the workplace. The team recognises outdated hierarchal systems don’t always optimise morale or productivity, therefore the company has opted for a flat management system.

Holly tells us this is to, “make everybody’s voice equal, honest and of value, and the variety of work is both challenging and exciting. One day you could be working on a new front-end website for a startup company, the next you could be programming a robot!”

A lot of time and effort is put into maximising the staff experience of working at Storm, which was also voted the Best Place to Work in Bath. Holly says, “All staff have frequent one-to-one meetings with management, regular pay increases, a bonus scheme, plus additional spontaneous bonuses.

“Oh, and did we mention the annual staff retreat? Every year the whole team is treated to a long luxury weekend away, filled with fun activities, incredible food (yes, the bosses actually cook for us!) and fond memories.”

More than just a job

Holly tells us, “Storm isn’t just a job. It’s a lifestyle.” And it seems to be a lifestyle the Storm team passionately embrace. The mentality that colleagues are also genuine friends contributes to an overall welcoming and fun workplace.

She goes on to say, “As a culture, Storm is a social, fun-loving, happy place of work. The team feels more like a family than a group of colleagues, and you’ll rarely experience a day not filled with laughter or great team work.

“You can find the Storm doing anything from lunchtime games sessions and ‘Wine Wednesdays’, to epic quizzes and regular Game of Thrones discussion groups.”

Storm has nailed the perfect balance of culture and benefits, enabling both to contribute to each other with the outcoming creating a place where people enjoy working.

Holly explains, “Whilst financial and healthcare benefits are very important, we believe that benefits which contribute to an employment culture make all the difference when it comes to staff retention.”

This outlook is key to why Storm organises benefits that the whole team can experience together. All of what Storm does is because they, “want their staff to enjoy coming to work.”

Holly says, “Because the team have so much flexibility and freedom, it encourages them to still work hard! They enjoy their projects and work great together as a team to ensure we deliver the best possible standard for our clients.”

Equal treatment

When it comes to words of wisdom, Holly says, “Treat your staff as you’d like to be treated.

“The policies we have in place are solely as a result of our founders, David and Adam, wanting the same rules to apply to everyone – not just them! Always ensure your staff are motivated, enjoy the work they are doing, and get along well with their colleagues. We like everyone to feel valued, equal and trusted.”

But as always, there are other components involved that create one of the best places to work in tech. Holly says, “Don’t be afraid to reward your staff. The benefit often outweighs the cost as staff will return the favour in the long run.”

The standout policy that Storm enact is not restricting the amount of leave staff are allowed to take. Holly recognises this would not be practical for every business, but still underscores the value in this outlook.

She says, “It gives our team the freedom to enjoy life outside of work and not miss out on important events, or spending time with their families. More often than not, the team take little more leave than the standard amount anyway, but it relieves the stress of juggling work and their personal lives, and vastly reduces sick leave.”

Thanks to Holly for taking the time to talk to us about work-life at Storm Consultancy.

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Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.