Digital communication agency in Brooklyn

Culture eats strategy for breakfast: Reflections of a Bit’ter

“We learn, we lead. Team first. Pushing status quo. Well, that sounds nice” - mumbled my inner conscience as I briskly pressed on Submit the Application button and closed the laptop, passing down the probability of success to something beyond my control. Rather exhausted, I sat back and began to frantically analyze whether I could be the right fit for Bit. You see, I always loved the presence of room for mistakes and acknowledgment of organic growth. In a way, it is a direct reflection of the patience circulating in the organizational atmosphere and of an actual willingness of the upper management to invest in your abilities, patiently mastering excellence in each of your profiles. To some, this may seem like a desperately romanticized thinking process but, as a fledgling professional, I realized that the deeper I dug into my specialization, the more I essentially had to learn - a somewhat endless cycle of self-exploration. And, putting pride aside, I longed for dynamic assistance on this journey more than anything else.

A few months ago, I marked my first year at Bit, and, looking back at my initial motivations and absolutely groundless fears, the only thing I can do is chuckle in understanding sympathy at my younger self. At the end of the day, what I have yielded surpassed both my anxious expectations and an elaborative description of the workplace culture on LinkedIn. Yes, we do exhilarate through the adoption of a trial and error mindset and yes, we certainly place team play as a top priority. Yet, there is so much more to it - a whole array of hidden milestones one could only experience first-hand, the unreleased teaser of everyday practices and gestures that captivate with its genuine consideration and integrity. Bit is indescribably more than what it could be coined into, so, in case you are also willing to have a quick glance at the backstage, here is the insider report of what meekly remains behind the scenes.

“Flexibility means that my work fits within my life throughout time. As my life changes, my work evolves with me so that I can keep delivering value to my teams.”

Maartje Bakker
Research Consultant

And I do subscribe under each word. Perhaps, the flexibility provided by Bit is one of those absolutely astounding gemstones one reveals only after sensing the working ground for some time. What’s even more striking though, is that it is taken for granted. Don’t take me wrong, I am not saying it is being misused - on contrary, my point is that flexibility is an absolutely obvious practice at our studio. It’s not something to be begged for but rather encouragingly embraced as long as you get your job done. Need some change of scenery to clear your head and recreate? Buy a ticket. Feel like pursuing a passion of yours somewhere other than The Netherlands? Buy a ticket. Feeling homesick or longing for grandmother’s carrot cake? BUY. A. TICKET. Really, it’s that easy, especially given that all of the reasons mentioned above are valid and therefore have a place to be.

“Last summer, I spent two weeks in Dubai and three months in the USA, two months of work, and one month of cycling in the mountains of North Carolina. This meant two different time zones, seeing my teams online, and getting to know my new clients through zoom. But really, it was the best thing. Of course, I missed my colleagues, the office, the real-life sessions that just don’t work as well online, but I felt more creative, productive, and happy than I’ve felt in a long time. Currently, I’m back for another month of remote working, and a week of hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Thanks to this flexibility, I get to work well, feel great and do what I love.”

Maartje Bakker
Research Consultant

Just like Maartje - well, quite less interesting if I had to admit - I spent the past three months working in 4 different countries, and the truth is a hard pill to swallow. If you really strive to deliver your tasks in a decent manner, spatial and time-wise constraints are not a problem. The same goes for the office hours: I remember how utterly baffling it was to witness people walk in far past 9 am and, surprisingly, zipping their handbags shut either right after lunch or late in the evening. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to understand this no-brainer: there is no need to apologize for the formally late show-up or justify the early departure, efficiency speaks louder than the number of hours spent. At the end of the day, some people still manage to play pinochle and scroll Facebook for 3 hours in total out of the 8-hour shift, unconditionally tied to their office and squeaky chair - a somewhat pathetic tribute to the Fordist times. Now, the question is: is it worth it? I don't think so.

Attention to the details

As shown by practice, working at Bit means that none of the significant events taking place in your life will bypass unnoticed. I mean, not a single one. When I just began my journey, the Postcard Culture soon turned into the main reason why I could indiscreetly shed some tears in the broad daylight - and no, surprisingly, it wasn't due to the anonymous hate messages or whatever a clueless intern might expect. Every step taken, every proposal approved, or help delivered was perpetuated in something far beyond dry Slack gratitude - that is branded postcards customized by your colleagues with a touch of love and firm handwriting. Now, hoping I will not be considered a creep, I must confess that I’ve been diligently collecting each of them since the very beginning of my Bit baptization. And I do have a strong feeling that I’m not the only one.

“The box of fresh, high-quality fruit was one of the most heartwarming gifts I have received: I was feeling sick at the time and certainly did not expect such a vitamin boost. Also, the message that came along with it was super thoughtful, it expressed the extra mile that Bit is doing for its employees. It is all about putting the team's well-being and health above the rigid company needs, and I truly appreciate it.”

Giorgia Amatemaggio
Creative Content Intern

Everything is pierced with consideration for people. Whether it comes to sending a tailored surprise box for someone’s Birthday, arranging the delivery of fresh fruit to the victims of COVID-19, or congratulating on the relocation to a different place with the plants and interior embellishment - Bit is always on the guard to uplift you both during the tough and beautiful moments. People are deemed the greatest asset and are thus treated as such, not an ounce less.


Autonomy

Our CEOs and Team Leads will not magically appear at your desk to drop off a pile of cryptic papers for you to go through. Neither will they give strict protocols on how to perform your job, regardless of whether you want it or not. What you certainly receive is guidance, support, and all the resources to perform your best - the rest is up to your vision and individual agency. If you happened to be here, it means that you are the right person to hold the assigned position. Logically, if you were skillful enough to get it, you wouldn't have trouble achieving the results with the aces of mastery down the sleeve, would you?

“We believe that adding someone to the team and the company brings new insights, ideas, and perceptions. “We do not hire people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” So, if you hire very clever people, why would you need to tell them what to do? They will probably know better what to do than you did in the first place. And if we do not give the space for those ingredients to flourish, we will eventually have a group of homogeneous robots walking around with no authenticity at all. If we want to solve those big *ss problems, we need rebels. We need the crazy people. We need people that have the possibility to unfurl and get to be their absolute selves. And thus, we need to give them all the space and opportunities to do so. There’s this tendency in people to always think the worst about another person. But actually, if all you give to your employees is freedom, trust, and responsibility, they will take proper care of that. Because in the end, they are all grownups, and we should treat them like grownups.”

Annelotte Hofland
Head of the Culture Team

Easy math if you put it this way, right? Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as such to the prevailing majority of employers. Yet, whatever is the case for them, it is probably not my business anymore: it’s 8 pm, and I still have some work to be done. I guess that’s what happens when you start working at 4pm, might take it as a lesson. Or maybe not - in the end, I can afford this luxury.