The three months of virtual internship at ShimBi somehow gave me a small sense of belonging and of course - a strong familiarity, regardless of the fact that I have never met any of them. So imagine the grin that crossed my face when I was emailed with an assignment to interview Atul, Bhavna, and Rakhi - again! The theme, of course, was fixed this time- Working Holidays at ShimBi Labs.
I must admit, I was pretty much curious about the ‘working holidays’ post and flash mob pictures uploaded on ShimBi Labs Facebook page. So this assignment was received gleefully by me- both for the familiarity and the curiosity.
My interview started with Atul. Following the initial pleasantries, I jumped to the question of what exactly the world at ShimBi makes of this new culture of ‘Working Holidays’.
Atul gladly explained about Working Holidays to me. It was an idea suggested by Siddharth (before you frown, I have permission to quit the “sir”) and took place once every alternate month and was a whole day dedicated to anything but the stressful office work! It immediately sounded like a picnic to me and as Rakhi would, later on, define- ‘official picnic’.
Working holidays mainly dealt with the importance of having fun beyond all the stressful workload at the office. The ShimBi family went out on one day tours, to museums, played mind games, etc. The other striking part about the Working Holidays is the fact that it is also space for the employees to gather around and discuss a technical issue or code that can be better written, thus hiking performance.
This took me back to another photograph I came across on the ShimBi Facebook page where everyone was gathered around and seemed to be discussing something, being seated on the floor. Obviously, my first random thought was - what happened to the chairs?? Did they all break at once, rendering the floor as the only viable option? But well, my mind asks a lot of weird questions so let’s leave it at that.
At first, it was a casual question to me - when was the first Working Holiday exercised and it became a teaser for me when all three of them just couldn’t agree on or recollect the date. Maybe they enjoyed it so far so much that the date doesn't matter? Here is how it started according to Siddharh, in this blog post.
Atul further explained to me that these Working Holidays were not just a break from their daily workloads and mounds of stress but also a venue where the core values which the ShimBi family abided by, were reinforced. This initiative by Siddharth was yet another way to relax his employees in addition to a growth of interpersonal skills and a hike in performance.
The date for the Working Holidays fell on any day that did not clash with anyone’s timetable. The weeks that preceded this day were put to use to decide upon a fixed schedule and games or places or tasks to be carried out on their happy, special day. It naturally made me wonder what difference was put to resolving a technical issue at ShimBi Labs when the same could be resolved on any given office day.
Atul clarified how it differed and mattered; a coding or any technical issue put forward on a Working Holiday would ensure that every employee in the office would gather around the problem or code and suggest different and better ways to resolve it or a different technique to do it better. The result would be that everyone would decide upon the best alternative and embrace that for future works at the office.
Resolving or improving ways to deal with the tech side of their work is one area all three of them were insistent upon - Atul, Bhavna, and Rakhi believed in the importance of the growth of the company and themselves as professionals. If I am not mistaken (which I am not since I referred to my earlier blog to be sure), Atul referred to himself as a ‘bathroom singer’ and these working holidays would be the stage for him to up his game!
I have to admit, I had my eyebrows raised when he went on to chirp how he was planning to sing a song on any of the future working holidays, and sure enough, I have been promised a video that would come up on the ShimBi Labs Facebook Page. Definitely looking forward!
As the phone was handed over to Bhavna, I expected a lot of giggles and “actually na”s to come my way and come it did! It indeed was warming to have that sense of familiarity, and the pleasantries exchanged with all three of them during the interview and I was all the more happy to have been a (small) part of ShimBi Labs.
Bhavna told how she was so sure and happy about the concept of a working holiday and she was all up for it. She stressed how this was a much-needed culture among the work hassles. It would be conveyed to the clients ahead about the unavailability of the ShimBi Labs team for work on such working holidays. Kailash and Siddharth would look to it that all their clients were informed regarding the same.
During the earlier working holidays at ShimBi Labs team visited Sinhagad Fort and enjoyed movie - Jungle book.
I asked her how she felt about the flash mob and I was again met with a shower of giggles which I smilingly waited to subside. She expressed enthusiastically how much she enjoyed dancing after so much time and how much of a stress reliever that was. She was every inch in love with the working holiday culture that ShimBi Labs had embraced and looks forward to more growth, fun, and learning. As mentioned earlier, she too stressed upon the importance of more technical sessions and how much the earlier one had already helped the employees.
They say time flies and sure it did. As the phone was again handed over, Rakhi met me on the other side of the phone. The same questions regarding the working holidays were thrown at her and it gave me a really good laugh when her first instinctive reaction to the concept of working holidays was that “bas, we were getting some kind of holiday and I couldn’t be happier about it”! Well, I guess we are all school students always when it comes to certain things.
As the interview went ahead, she expressed how thankful she was to Siddharth for starting with such a good concept and continuing it. It helps them all to tap out more of their potential, and as was reinforced by Bhavna and Atul, the technical sessions are a huge help- both as a professional and as a company. Since their regular office timings rendered them not much time for such sessions, these working holidays proved a really good stage for them to learn more from Kailash and Siddharth.
It obviously did not slip my mind as to how she had mentioned her love for dancing. I lost no time in asking about the flash mob and her experience at teaching her co-workers. As was expected, she admitted how happy she was to dance and as for teaching her co-workers she had no qualms for she admitted- they are all my friends and I had no issues teaching them what I love. In fact I loved teaching them and look forward for more.
As the watch blared at me it was time to wrap up before I close, she too confirmed how this new culture of working holidays has already started to create a positive change in them all.
I guess when it comes to the ShimBi family, they’ll never be low on surprises. Let’s hope more companies embrace this idea as well.