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February 08, 2024   |   Hive Culture

Across continents: Oddbee’s company culture

At Oddbee, we believe that a strong team culture is essential in order to produce consistently high quality work. This is especially true for a design agency like ours – working from 3 different countries, across 10 time zones. Without it, we’d be just a collection of individual freelancers rather than a cohesive team. Let’s look into some of the practices that have helped us shape and strengthen our company culture.

Corporate culture: what it is and why it’s important

Team culture is the amalgamation of values, practices, and principles that define how people view an organization and influences team engagement. A positive culture creates a collaborative work environment where everyone feels involved and works together as a team.

Building a culture in a distributed team has its challenges, but with dedicated effort, it’s certainly achievable. Our agency is proof of this. Our core values guide our decision-making, promoting consistency in both work quality and communication style.

Oddbee values

The Power of Design
Good design improves culture and makes the world a better place.

Excellence
We’ll always fly the extra mile to deliver the best results possible.

Work-life Balance
Good design comes from healthy minds. Only people with balanced lives can consistently produce excellent work.

Integrity
We work only with companies that strive to make a positive difference in the world.

Getting Things Done
Great ideas only matter when paired with great execution.

We’re committed to living up to our values, fostering a safe environment to create and share ideas. Prioritizing work-life balance, we discourage overworking, aiming for a burnout-free atmosphere. We practice gratitude, recognize excellence, and constantly challenge each other to create better work and grow professionally. We stick to our processes, follow deadlines religiously and work with clients who share our values and strive to make positive change in the world.

Our rituals

Chit-chatting on Mondays

Our Monday stand-up meetings blend work updates with personal stories. This brings a human touch to our work routine and fosters deeper connections among the team.

Ablai, Graphic, Motion, and 3D Designer:

Our team has weekly meetings where we discuss our progress. This is something that is not often seen in freelance work. Our team values long-term collaboration and sees it as a priority.

Quarterly brag documents

We use these to document our achievements, big and small. Every quarter, we take about 20-30 minutes to fill out our own page, and after that, every team member takes 1-2 weeks to fill out everyone else’s document. This practice not only helps recognize our efforts but also boosts morale. Check out our article on this topic.

Yulia, Web Designer & Developer:

Every time we share our docs with each other, we are reminded of things we didn’t even think about putting in the doc — this helps build company culture and foster mutual responsibility.

Odd Thursdays

We organize a unique monthly event called Odd Thursdays. During this two-hour call, a team member leads an activity on a topic of their interest, unrelated to our work projects. The activities range from traditional presentations and discussions to online games or guest speakers. Over the past two years, we’ve explored topics like AI art, Byzantine iconography, digital fashion, food design, the creative process, debating the role of art and design and much more.

Dmitry, Account and Project Manager:

We rarely move these events even if the team has a lot of ongoing projects. Odd Thursdays are very important as they provide an opportunity to relax in the middle of a busy week.

Virtual parties

Despite being spread across different locations, we celebrate special occasions with online parties. Leading up to the Christmas holiday, for instance, we choose fun themes, create virtual backgrounds, curate playlists, and select games. We also provide a budget for each team member to purchase their favorite food and drinks.

Polina, Graphic Designer and Illustrator:

I always have a great time at Oddbee’s corporate parties, even though they are remote.

Special projects

When we have time apart from client projects, we work on our own initiatives which allow us to experiment. Each Christmas and Halloween, we design fun postcards for our clients and partners.

Friday Kudos

Every Friday, we end the week with a “Friday Kudos” shoutout in Slack, recognizing team efforts: it could be big website launches or small tweaks to web banners. It’s our way of keeping everyone in the loop and appreciating every kind of effort. Since we can’t just peek over our colleague’s shoulders, we try to go the extra mile to make sure everyone’s work is seen, keeping things transparent, nurturing the team spirit, and ending the week on a high note.

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At Oddbee, we are committed to excellent design, mutual support, and continual learning. Our culture is anchored in humanity, respect, and maintaining a work-life balance, even across different time zones.

Kat, Founder:

Once I said that good design makes us all better humans, but it’s important to note that good design can only thrive in the context of a positive work culture.

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Also, check out our article: Effective teamwork with a 10-hour difference

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