Redefining office culture in Dhaka | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 24, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:09 PM, March 24, 2017

Redefining office culture in Dhaka

Today's businesses thrive on beating mediocrity with innovation in every aspect of their work. Organisational cultures have thus changed and office spaces have become a lot more enjoyable and a lot less stiff, translating in more motivated employees. Here are five such companies in Bangladesh which have successfully epitomised this practice.

NEWSCRED

NewsCred is the world's leading content marketing platform. In one place, brands gain exclusive access to the world's largest content marketplace, original content from award-winning freelancers, licensed content from 5,000 leading publishers, and user-generated content from their brand's biggest fans. Funded mostly by venture capitalists based in Silicon Valley and New York, NewsCred's has served global clients like Pepsi, MasterCard, VISA, and lots of other Fortune 500 companies.

Work culture at NewsCred Dhaka is highly collaborative. Even the most junior employees do not have to be coy about bringing fresh ideas to the table. Its flat hierarchy enables all to voice their honest opinions.

Perks includes pool, table tennis, Call of Duty and other video games played during breaks by employees and bosses alike. Unlimited snacks are available any time of the day, while flexible work hours is yet another motivator.

“Our manager is not like 'do this and that', but rather like 'this is my goal, how can you help me?' This practice is followed from the lowest to the highest ranks alike,” says Sanchia Reaz, HR Executive at NewsCred.

At NewsCred, you work in your own squad so the workload is never entirely on you. “I am lucky to have found a huge mentors' base here, rather than just newbies all over,” says Mifta Sintaha, Software Engineer at NewsCred. They also have scrum masters whose sole job is to remove anything that hinders you from doing your best work.

MAVERICK STUDIOS

Maverick is an audio-visual production agency which, since its inception in 2010, has created a wide range of corporate videos, promotional videos, animations, charity videos, and training videos for leading clients like Unilever, HSBC, Coca Cola and Citibank. This startup was split into five separate companies, with Maverick focusing strictly on audio-visuals; Strategeek for digital marketing; Ice9 Interactive for IT solutions at home and abroad; Auleek for 3D augmented and virtual reality; and ShopUp for f-commerce.

The heart of Maverick's office culture lies in its visibly friendly and integrated work space. Employees and bosses sit side-by-side and approachability is never an issue. The office spaces of all five companies have full-fledged recreational facilities. “We have the latest version of PS4 and whenever a new game is up, we download it right away whenever in need of a break,” says Wasifa Rahnuma, Accounts Executive at Maverick. Sports and annual trips are among other fun practices.

If someone is underperforming in one role, he/she is shifted to another. But get to strike three, and you are out —  they make sure only the best people are kept on board.

Work hours are highly flexible. People working late get to stay over at night in separate sleeping rooms and grab dinner and breakfast in the office. Not to mention their cafeteria lunches are highly subsidised.

GRAMEENPHONE

The leading telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh, GP is a pioneer in multiple exemplary office infrastructural facilities in the country. All of GP's offices reflect a philosophy of innovation and collaboration.

Walking into the workspace, you find C-suite execs and interns sitting side by side discussing the next Internet of Things innovation. You have meetings relaxing on bean bags and strumming the guitar. In between work, there are PlayStations, table tennis, billiard, mini golf, basketball, foosball and scooties to keep the mind refreshed. No work desk is far from coffee and snacks.

Within the premises, there is a fully equipped gym and a professional trainer, as well as walking tracks, ensuring that work is not negatively affecting fitness. Day-care centres offer a global curriculum of early childhood care and education. In an attempt to make the offices as inclusive as possible, there are bank kiosks, ATM booths, travel desks, laundry services and health centres within the premises. Moreover, GP today is a collaboration hub of entrepreneurs, developers, and digital natives. Regular outside-in sessions, fairs, learning weeks and hackathons ensure that the organisation is continually learning and innovating. 

GP, as they claim, is a strongly value-centric organisation. Cultural and recreational celebrations across all offices allow employees to celebrate as one. The company even has its very own internal social media community via Workplace. Transport, flexi-hours, and work-from-home policies make sure employees can concentrate stress-free.

RIVERSTONE CAPITAL

Riverstone Capital is a licensed merchant bank —  the Bangladeshi equivalent of the fancy investment banks you see in movies.

In its two years of operation, Riverstone has made sure to onboard only those who feed on the adrenaline rush of solving “seemingly unsolvable” puzzles. Those who show impetus to learn, grow, and make things happen are aptly rewarded.

The interior of the office, from the lobby to different lounges and workstations, is unmatched by your average financial institution. Makame Mahmud, Investment Bank Analyst at Riverstone Capital, says, “Almost always a new client starts off the discussion lauding the impression our office has made on him/her.” Refreshments like coffee and snacks are always available and employees catch up on chatting in small lounges whenever in need of a break.

In contrast to the super serious and highly confidential work done at Riverstone, the environment in the office is chilled-out and encourages fluid interaction among team members. Mid and top tier managers come from backgrounds stemming in extensive exposure to local and global cultures and have fascinating stories to tell, be it work and life related or just fun.

BEATNIK DESIGNS

Beatnik is a creative consultancy that delivers a wide variety of services to brands, from digital marketing, website administration, IT enabled services and app development, to product and packaging design. It is all about delivering memorable brand experiences.

“We are a very young family that loves to relax in front of video games and have an 'adda' over 'cha',” quips Andalib Kabir, one of the managing partners of Beatnik.

Constructive criticism is one of the core pillars of Beatnik philosophy. “We do not hold back when it comes to bashing each other's ideas. Being a young crowd, we keep our structure flat for better communication. This helps us in being transparent,” adds Andalib.

Employees possess a strong spirit of ownership because they work together day in and day out to grow themselves, not just the business. The team at Beatnik is a colourful bunch. Creativity, discipline, as well as an eagerness to learn is the norm. Despite long work hours and hard deadlines, their culture of change and facing constant challenges is what makes it a cool place to work. If you are the same person with same set of skills after six months at Beantik you have not done anything.

The writer is a junior at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka

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