7th September 2016

Notes Day: Creating a better Officevibe

Hannah Pilbeam
Office wellness

I've been at Deeson for a few months now and it's shaping up to be an awesome place to work. Transparency and collaboration are two really important parts of the Deeson work ethic, and because of this we have a lot of interesting discussions about how to improve and grow. Recently, we decided to go one step further by having a dedicated Notes Day where we spent an entire day collaborating on projects aimed at improving how we work.

Measuring workplace happiness

For our very first Notes Day, I decided to work on improving how we give feedback to the leadership team. Deeson uses an automated tool called Officevibe to collect information from the team on how they're feeling and how happy they are in the workplace. Having a system in place for this is hugely useful, but the tool wasn't working as well as we'd hoped. There were some areas where it wasn't serving our needs - for example:

  • Feedback was being submitted, but there was no way for users to know whether it was being read
  • You couldn't view other people's feedback, so it was hard to know whether other people shared the same views.
  • Although changes were definitely happening at Deeson (for example, flexible working being introduced) it wasn't always obvious that those changes were happening as a result of Officevibe feedback

I realised that we could do some fun and interesting things to improve how we used Officevibe, starting with the points above. Notes Day was the perfect opportunity to tackle these issues.

An API to tinker with

With Notes Day fast approaching I got in touch with Officevibe to see if they had an API to share with us. As luck would have it, they were about to release one and they kindly agreed to share it with us before it launched. This was excellent news; the API would enable us to connect Officevibe to other tools and do some new things with the data it provided.

Our new #vita slackbot

Notes Day arrived, and together with my team of trusty developers we began our task of improving Deeson’s feedback process. Jim and I worked on narrowing the scope of the project and capturing our needs. Dan and Ronald were in charge of hooking up the API.

We used the API to connect Officevibe to Slack, a live communication tool that everyone at Deeson uses to facilitate agile work. The result was #vita, an Officevibe Slackbot which allowed us to create a dedicated Slack channel that everyone has access to. Now, when someone leaves feedback on Officevibe, their comments get pulled into the Slack channel so that everyone can read them. This is the starting point for a live discussion where everyone can have their say. This brings feedback out of the shadows and lets everyone view it, creating a forum where some very interesting debates happen.

A new way to measure happiness

Next, it was time to tackle the data that we get from Officevibe. Knowing how happy or satisfied everyone is on a regular basis is vital to creating the optimal working environment. But the data coming from Officevibe wasn’t being shared publicly. We decided to change this by creating a system that pulls all the data into a simple infographic to be shared around the agency. Every fortnight, our new Officevibe bot automatically creates an infographic so that everyone can see how we’re doing in areas like wellness, relationships with colleagues and recognition. This is another way we can promote open, meaningful discussions about how we work.

New ways to share feedback

Having a forum like Notes Day is an excellent way to bring ideas like these to life. The new systems encourage healthy debate and help us to create a transparent, democratic workplace. For example, the introverts amongst us now have an easier, less intimidating way to bring up topics for discussion. It’s also great for our remote team members who can contribute to office conversations in real-time. These new ways to share feedback fit in well with Deeson’s flat organisational structure, meaning everyone can have a say in how the agency operates. This is hugely important when it comes to our goal of creating the workplace of the future.