Staff culture hits a new beat

As with many of my IT colleagues, my career has been shaped by years of working in large multi-national corporations. While there’s certainly a lot of valuable experiences and knowledge to be learned along the way, you sometimes witness what I would call “cultural train wrecks”. These become even more apparent once you are out of the big corporate game and running your own gig, or at least overseeing something on a much smaller scale. Hence you promise you will do things differently.

Taking the reins of Xero in Australia in February 2011, I felt both excited and a little anxious about having total responsibility for shaping the culture and personality of a new and fast growing business and team.

With the acquisition of Paycycle and more sales and support staff we recently moved to an office in Hawthorn, which we hope will be the next phase of expansion in Australia.

Work hard, play hard

One of the best things has been to transform a 100 sqm data centre on Level 1 to a full blown rock ‘n’ roll music studio. Try that in a big corporate.

I’ll admit my influence here, but with at least 5 other Xero staff boasting various musical talents, this became an obvious use for a space otherwise reserved for racks of servers and cables – hardly something we needed when everything we do is in the cloud. Jam sessions (pictured) are emerging as a feature on a Friday after work.

Building our community

Another epiphany was setting up a hot desking area with the view that Xero is “open for business”. For example, we’ve just started sub-letting desk space to one of our accounting partners who needed extra room. We will also be offering further desk space to a small number of Add-On partners that have solutions which integrate with Xero and who want to establish a footprint in Australia, but minimise startup costs.

We’d also like to encourage our accounting and bookkeeping partners to come and visit us whenever they are in our neck of the woods and need somewhere to work. Xero is richer for its partner ecosystem and this philosophy should extend beyond the product to the people we support, and those who support us.

Symbols of informality

As for how Xero staff work, this is much like a start-up environment. There’s a complete absence of any individual offices. It’s open plan all the way, with breakout rooms used for making private calls. The 2nd floor is also scattered with beanbags, posters, coffee tables and funky seating areas. And there’s a staff room where the team can chat over lunch or enjoy a social drink at the end of the working week whilst shooting it out on Xbox Halo… I’m told Kinnect is on the way.

It’s amazing how much impact you can make without spending a lot of money.

Help name our office band

But back to the band… we know there is a great deal of talent out there so we will be recruiting musicians from across our many partners to form an all star band to play at Xerocon 2012. We figured we would need a band name, so why not send us your suggestion? The line-up so far includes Bachman-Turner Overdraft; Clouded House and my favourite Joel Hanna and the Bad Debts.

We’ll pick the best suggestion and announce it in the lead up to #Xerocon 2012.

21 Comments

Elizabeth Salter
January 1, 2012 at 10:25 am

Excellent stuff! Xero just gets better & better. :)

Accountancy
January 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

woohooo!!! happy Newyear!!!

Jerry

JC
January 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

This will be fun –

Cloud Chisel
Men at Work (in the cloud)
ClouderFinger

…. hmmmm

Justin Hygate
January 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

Great read – sounds like fun.
And as for band names…
Clouded House?
We Can Be Xero’s

JC
January 1, 2012 at 11:36 am

Red Hot Chilli Debtors…

Renea Mackie
January 1, 2012 at 11:49 am

I’d call it Xerocks, lol. Seriously though, why not just call it Xero. Short and sweet without the mash up. :)

Gillian Rossouw
January 1, 2012 at 11:57 am

This is proof that #Xero rocks as a product and so does Team Xero suggested name : Highway To Cloud – Xeroites

SimonB
January 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm

From Hero to Xero

ScottC
January 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Silvercloud ?

Richard Brock
January 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm

How about – double entry or balance

Tim
January 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm

>We will also be offering further desk space to a small number of Add-On partners that have solutions which integrate with Xero and who want to establish a footprint in Australia, but minimise startup costs.

Wow, that’s an awesome idea! You guys rock. :)

Toni Knowles
January 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Xerosmith – rocking the business charts since ages ago!

Steph Hinds
January 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Suggestions from the wonderful Newcastle twitter community……..
Bars of Gold
Xeros Herox
XeroH
All Xeros
Divide by Xero
Xeros feat. Heros
Xero Accountx
Xero-Warrior Accounting
Thin Air
On Cloud X
Cloud X
Cloud Zero
Deb&Cred
Cloud Accountx
Deb&Cred vs Xero

Andrew Haynes
January 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Joe Salvati and the Reconcilers

Andrew Haynes
January 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Hanna Montana

JC
January 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm

The EasydeBeats…

Michael Mori
January 1, 2012 at 6:06 am

Cloud Rockers with the first hit called “Every cloud has a Xero lining”!

Kieron Townsend
January 1, 2012 at 8:13 am

Girls acloud?

Kieron Townsend
January 1, 2012 at 8:15 am

Accounting Crows

Andrew Haynes
January 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

Cumulus Nimbus

Michael 'MC' Carter
January 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm

No doubt ‘Xero Talent’ has been bandied about? :)

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