* HR Coordinator Anna shows us how the Nordic work culture demonstrates itself in everyday life at the Valamis’ office at Petrozavodsk, and how it differs from the Russian work culture.
I have been working at the Petrozavodsk office of Valamis for more than a year. But just two first weeks were enough to realize that it is the right place for me. Valamis is an international company with Nordic work culture with simple but strong values and an attentive attitude to employees. Work community and atmosphere, possibilities for development, finding a work-life balance, and happiness at the workplace are the main reasons why it is so great to be an HR at the Russian office of Valamis.
Nowadays, people working in the IT-sector in Russia expect more from their employers than just a paycheck. They want to be a part of a community with important values and purpose.
And famously, the Nordic work culture pays more attention to employee happiness, equality, well-being, and work-life balance.
We have asked employees from the Russian office, “What is it like to work at Valamis?” And we found at least seven reasons why employees think it is great to work for a company with Nordic work culture.
Valamis was founded in Finland. Finland is at the forefront when it comes to equality in both personal and professional spheres.
“When I started to work at Valamis, I felt that I was in a different world. There was an atmosphere of trust and equality between people in the workplace,” says Anastasia, Quality Assurance Lead.
“Employees do not need to gain the trust of their superiors. All people are trusted and valued as soon as they join the company. It makes the atmosphere more relaxed and open.”
All employees are treated fairly, irrespective of their position or gender.
Nikita, a Web Developer at Valamis, says: “There is equal internal communication within the company even if you are a developer and you communicate with your colleagues from the management team.”
“Working at Valamis looks is like working with a big family,” says Nina, Head of People at the Petrozavodsk office.
“You have partners, mentors, and mentees. You live and develop yourself here. You can find like-minded people and create a group to learn or investigate something together. You have opportunities for self-realization and growth, and you can get support and understanding here.”
Valamis is a multicultural community in which everybody feels comfortable. We share the same values, and we move in the same direction.
Just imagine a quiet, dark morning in November. You enter the office, and the smell of coffee means that your colleagues are already waiting for you to join them for a cup and conversation. It is an integral part of our work culture even while working remotely. While working from home, we have random coffees with colleagues and monthly events both online and offline.
Coffee breaks, cultural activities, and sporting events are all about the tradition of getting together and enjoying free time with coworkers. It strengthens the bond between employees at work, and therefore, boosts our productivity.
“Both ordinary working meetings and offline/online events are interesting, productive, and without stress. For me, it is an opportunity to reach the other side of the world; to learn something new from other cultures, how they live and communicate. In general, it is an opportunity to expand my perception of the world,” says Nikita, Web Developer at Valamis.
The Petrozavodsk office is located close to Onega Lake Embankment, with a beautiful area to walk, relax, view the waves and the gulls. The office is bright and airy, with slanted windows and comfortable workplaces. We have a shared kitchen with tea, coffee, fruit, and snacks. You can use a massage chair or play table soccer and darts. It sounds like “hygge”, a Danish way of living. Hygge is about keeping your home cozy, food tasty, being happy, and enjoying simple things.
First Valamis darts tournament.
Anastasia says: “There is a feeling of coziness and comfort in the office and good conditions for a productive working day.”
Soon we will decorate the Christmas tree together and add some cozy details to feel the joy and light of the upcoming holidays.
While cozy sofas, board games, and coffee breaks may seem counterintuitive, taking breaks from work boosts our productivity and promotes a stronger sense of community that is one of our core values in Valamis.
Hygge is also about savoring nature. Recycling is an essential part of protecting our environment. Our offices in Finland effectively recycle daily waste, and the Petrozavodsk office follows this example. Our kitchens are equipped with bins for different wastes, including plastic packaging and paper. We collect plastic waste, glass and metal items, storage boxes and paper, and deliver it to a local organization in charge of recycling in our region.
The flexible approach to working hours at Valamis is one of the reasons why it is possible to gain a healthy work-life balance. You can find time for your families, hobbies, and friends. Our company nurtures employees and thinks about their well-being.
Nina, People Manager at the Petrozavodsk office, says: “Valamis cares about employees’ physical and mental health. Nobody will control your working time, but the result is a measure of your work.”
Coffee breaks or playing darts with your colleague during the working day is also our productivity fuel. It helps keep your energy up during the working day and to spend your free time efficiently.
“We have questionnaires where we note how successful the period was. And there is a question if we were able to find a balance between work and personal life. We can share openly what we care about and will not be left alone with our problems,” Anastasia says. “The company supports employees’ interests and talents. We have cyclists, triathletes, runners, holiday organizers, swimmers, English teachers — a full office of talents. Everyone has the opportunity to implement their ideas. Our employees can be themselves!”
Nordic countries are known for their honest and frank nature. Transparency helps to provide an open environment and atmosphere. Employees can share their opinions and feel that they will be valued rather than minimized.
“To be a Valamisian means to be able to influence the result, and not just to be a performer,” Anastasia says.
Moreover, there is a clear difference in the transparency of “earnings and expenses” between our company and many Russian companies.
“It is valuable when employees are openly informed about how much our company earned, how many transactions, sales, etc., were made. The information related to money is not disseminated in Russian work culture, and it is concealed from ordinary employees,” Anastasia, Quality Assurance Lead shares.
Valamis’s work culture has a relatively flat hierarchy, and it creates a sense of value in each member of our office.
“Employees are involved in the discussion and decision-making related to their work here, while “vertical power” is felt more strongly in Russian culture. Orders from the bosses are not even discussed in some Russian companies. You just have to do what you are told. This leads to discontentment. In Nordic culture, this is much easier. Managers are open, goals and objectives are set by joint efforts, and there is no pressure,” Anastasia, Quality Assurance Lead comments.
You can find both senior and junior team members in the same cafe or in the kitchen at lunchtime. The whole office eats together, celebrates victories together, and plays board games together.
New Year Party 2019/2020.
If there is a celebration in the company, every employee is part of it. We can raise a glass of champagne to successful sales together, with employees from different offices and the top management. At this moment, you feel that you are a valuable part of a big and friendly community.
Valamis is an employer that not only supports you in your professional development but also motivates you to be a better version of yourself as a professional and person.
“Constant development is important to me,” Nikita, Web Developer, says. “And the company welcomes it and helps a lot. For me, working in Valamis is an interesting and efficient pastime. I feel that me and my work are appreciated.”
Every employee can attend courses, workshops, conferences, buy books, and find a mentor among colleagues. You can use and create training using our own Valamis LXP and share knowledge with your coworkers. Learning the right skills helps to be more confident. It prevents stagnation, and thus you are happier while doing your everyday tasks.
For the employees from the Petrozavodsk office, Valamis seems to be more than the name of the organization they work for: Valamis is about people. And my coworkers are the reason why I am delighted to come to the office every morning.
And also cakes.
I have been working in HR at the Petrozavodsk office for a year, and from the first days, I’ve been impressed by the way employees are treated here. It is revealed in working conditions and in caring for employee well-being, as well as in supporting personal and professional growth. You can set and achieve your own goals, and you can feel that you are useful, valuable, and responsible for shared success. You have space for improvement and motivation for development. You are a part of a big family, but you can be yourself. Valamis is all about its people.
*It is with deep regret that, since publication, Valamis has now withdrawn from Russia due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.