Employee handbook

Our culture

Eye on the results, not the clock

Some employers watch the minutes tick by. They want you "working" for your whole 8 hours. You may be at a desk for those 8 hours, but in fact the result is a lot of your time being less than optimal time. It is cluttered with distractions and interruptions, such as noise and unnecessarily long meetings. Then there's the time it takes you to wake up or the time wasted when you're tired.

Instead of propagating this unhealthy work culture, we embrace the opposite. It's called ROWE and it stands for Results Only Working Environment. It means that the concepts of 9-to-5 and Monday-to-Friday take a back seat to your deliverables and work satisfaction.

Here's some of the key principles that form our foundation for ROWE...

Don't waste time in traffic

A few days in the office, if we have one in your city, is usually enough. In modern times, there are plenty of brilliant tools to enable effective remote work. Whether it's live collaboration on documents, or instant video chat, we're covered. Working face-to-face is still important, but we don't need to be in the same office at the same time to be productive.

Time spent travelling to an office is better spent in ways that make you more happy and productive. A recent study on the topic concluded that not commuting is the happiness equivalent of a $40,000 raise.

If you're an early riser - often being analytical thinkers - you can start work without time in transit. If your best work is in the afternoon or evening - often being the creative type - you can get some extra sleep. Importantly, working at earlier or later times than others actually creates opportunities for more interruption free work.

Turn off your alarm

A good night sleep is crucial for cognitive performance. Whether you like getting up early or you don't, we encourage staff to stop setting alarms. Sleep deprivation is common amongst today's workforce, preventing people from performing at their best. In fact, a recent study shows that forcing an early start upon yourself also leaves you at higher risk of serious illness.

The common startup culture of burning the midnight oil is sometimes perceived as a trophy, but it's a damaging perception.

We do want you performing at your best. Get to bed at a reasonable hour and whether you wake up at 6am or 9am, it will be on your body's terms.

Work when you can get the best work done

Business hours are important, most the world operates according to them. But we understand that creativity and inspiration can't be scheduled. We want you to be as effective as possible, so there's no need to sit there staring through your screen. Do something else and come back to it later.

Often, great ideas don't arrive during business hours. Instead, they're a light-bulb moment in the shower or on the couch. We want you to want to capatalise on these moments, which is why we don't have a 9-to-5 mandate. If something brilliant dawns on you while watching TV in the evening, we want you to strike while the iron is hot. Of course, take some time out for yourself another day.

We're all passionate, committed, reliable adults

A Results Only Workplace Environment hinges on you doing right by your colleagues and the business. It hinges not only doing right, but being genuinely in love what you do and what we're working on.

Without commitment to our products, our people and ultimately our results, this way of working isn't possible.

Be yourself and speak your mind

We want to surround ourselves with free thinkers, risk takers and people who are technologists at their core. We want to work with people that are willing to ask hard questions and challenge each other. We want to hire the creative people, the crazies, the real visionaries.

Playing it safe is no longer safe, and "normal" people don't change the world.

Our approach to work

We are a user experience company

Contact Light isn't just a company that creates technology. We create better experiences, and creating those is everyone's job - from software development to management.

Being a user experience company means accepting complexity and tough work as everyday business problems. Our hardships should never become those of our users'.

Informed and thoughtful design is paramount

Design is not just how something looks, it's how it works. It needs to be carefully considered and backed by real information, not just assumption.

Of distinction, design isn't just user interface. It's also IT architecture and even marketing. Everything is designed, it's just that not all things are designed well.

Data alone does not create great products

If you A/B test the two worst options, your best possible result is only the second worst one. Data gathering is only done so based on current strategies and product realities, not possibilities.

It's important that we never discourage gut-feel, intuition and vision.

Release early

We're big believers in the spirit of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). We want to get our ideas to market as quickly as possible, test them, improve them, and repeat.

Critically, this process informs future work in ways otherwise impossible. It doesn't matter how good you are at building software if you're building the wrong thing.

Keep it simple

"Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Own it and be proud of it

Being part of a distributed workforce means being able to work autonomously. You need to take ownership of your goals and your quality of work. The tools we provide at Contact Light are there to give you the highest level of flexibility to achieve your goals.

Whether it's good enough is your call. If it's not something you can be proud of, it's probably not.

Never stop learning

Technology moves fast. Really fast. Every time you have a problem, don't design or develop for it in the way you already know how. Take the time to understand if there's a better way solving it, or dream up a better way yourself.

Make your last solution redundant, before someone else does. We should always strive for our thinking to be innovative and our output to be market leading.

Get busy with the next big thing

When there's not much going on, there's always the next big thing. Contact Light maintains a list of ideas we call the NBT, which is completely staff managed. You can add to it, shuffle things up and down, and so can everyone else.

Your great ideas don't have to sit stalled in a text document or in a design file. They don't have to collect digital dust, without a way to get to market. From IP law to Swift development, your Contact Light colleagues are there to help you make it happen.

So, next time you've got time to spare, start thinking about what the next big thing could be. The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Our tools

Keep communication simple

If you need to speak to external parties, or your message needs to be formal, use email. Otherwise, use Slack. It's that simple.

To start a video chat just type "/appear" and hit enter in the relevant direct message or channel.

For urgency and emergencies, mobile numbers are in staff profiles on Slack.

Use Google Drive for storage

Along with Contact Light email, you have access to many gigabytes of space in Google Drive. Download the desktop client and ensure you work out of your Drive folder to avoid any nasty loss of data.

We'll also give you access to shared folders that relate to your work function, such as design.

For boring old business documents, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides are our weapons of choice. Share them with colleagues for live collaboration.

Put our shared calendar to use

If you've spoken to your direct report about time off, put your leave dates into our shared calendar. Group events, team meetings and other important happenings will also be in there for you to see.

Slack will look at that shared calendar and remind everyone of what's going on every morning at 8am.

GitHub is where the code is

We don't develop anything behind closed doors at Contact Light. For everything you build, create a repo for it and ensure you're committing changes to it.

Trello is for tasks

Visibility of your work is critical for team coherency and efficiency. Put everything you're working on in Trello, as well as stuff you plan to be working on in the future.

Welcome to Contact Light