Our working environment
Our working environment is as flexible as you need it to be, I don’t care how we complete our work, only that we do, and we do it well.
From now on you don’t need to tell me if you’ve got to pop out for an hour, or if you want to take holiday. Simply put the dates in the team ‘where abouts’ calendar.
Before you book holiday ask yourself question: Given what i’ve committed to delivering, is now is the right time to have off?
If it is, go ahead and take your holiday. You deserve it!
To enable a flexible working arrangement, we need to do the following things to ensure there is visibility across the whole team.
Is the place where we discuss the journeys and tasks we’re working on, and as a group dump for project and design assets.
If you have a meeting about your tasks, this is where you summarise the outcome.
Upload your sketches/wireframes/designs here. Share your project with our stakeholders and collected feedback. This is where we validate our solutions and ensure that everyone has a say in the end solution.
Everyone should be logged into Skype between 11am – 3pm.
There’s the team discussion group (Experience Design) which is where we can chew the fat, keep the fun going or ask general questions about our projects/tasks.
Use your status to let people know if you’re free or don’t want to be disturbed, people may not reply straight away, and we should be considerate about everyone else’s time
Don’t forget to use the video conferencing facility if you need to.
Sometime we’ll need to collaborate on the same things, for this we use join.me
Be inclusive – there is nothing worse when working remotely then when decision being made and you don’t know how/why. Fire up Skype and/or join.me and video conference the relevant people in. Summarise on Basecamp.
- Trust, clarity and transparency
- Communicate early, communicate often
- Ask stupid questions, create smart solutions.
- If in doubt go voice… even better go video.
- People don’t know what they want until you show them
- People prefer movement
- focus on outcomes, not assets
- Clarify requirements as you give shape to the outcomes
- Good design is people focused but UI lead.
- Complexity always exists. It’s either in the User interface or in the underlying system. Decided where it belongs
- We are not #wireframemonkeys. we solve business problems through user centred design.
- You are an expert, do not be afraid to give and defend your expertise.
Experience Design Process
- Define the outcome – Ignoring the UI, what is the client trying to achieve? What are the contexts and constraints that might apply to the person trying to use the product or services (a person’s time is expensive, technology isn’t). Questions to ask: What’s happening now? What do they want to happen? What’s the difference.
- Understand the problem space – Model the experience as a user journey. Do this before anything else and you won’t regret it!
- Design solutions not assets. Assets are a communication tool, not the end state of a project.
As a contractor i get pretty pissed off when i’m constantly told that i’m not committed to the company i work for, and that i’m more expensive than a permanent employee. Anecdotally i know at least the first part of that isn’t true, because i really do care about the companies i work for and always try my best for the them, my teams and my projects (as do most contractors I know) but what about the second part, the costs.
This is where things get complicated, most companies when calculating the relative costs of a permanent employee versus a contract will do something like the following:
They will take the employee salary add costs, and divide it by the total number of available working days (261 days) to get a day rate and compare that with the contractors day rate. Voila, there it is in black and white, in my example a contractor costs almost twice as much as a permanent employee.
However, if you dig a little deeper you will see that this only half the story. Due to holidays, sick days, bank holidays, maternity/paternity leave, non-productive/chargeable days the actual number of ‘work’ days available is less. Using a standardised set of figures I’ve calculated that the number of available work days for an employee is actually 206 days, we minus the following from our available working days:
- Holidays - 25 days (assumed average holiday entitlement)
- Bank holidays – 8 days (Gov.uk website)
- Sick days – 6.7 days (2008 CBI/AXA Survey average)
- Training days – 10 days (assumed average training days per year)
- Maternity/Paternity Leave – 5 days (assumed average leave days per employee p. a.)
If you divide the cost of employment (£65,772.48) over the actual number of working days (206) the headline figures start to align.
- A employee has to earn the company £319.26 (per available working day) to cover their costs
Where as a contractor has to earn the company £477.52 (per available working day) to cover their costs. So contractors are still more expensive than a permanent employee per day!
No, if we dig a little deeper (again) we see that contractors aren’t paid for holidays, sick days, training days and maternity/paternity leave, so the company doesn’t need to cover the cost of the contractor, I calculate this as 226 chargeable days (i’m excluding training because most contractors aren’t funded to undertake training).
The best way to see this is by multiplying the permanent employees day rate, by 365 days (this is the total amount the business needs to earn to cover the cost of employing the person over 1 year) and multiplying the day rate of the contractor by the number of chargeable days (again, this is the total amount the business needs to earn to cover the cost of employing a contractor over 1 year)
- A business has to earn £116,530.54 per year to cover the cost of a permanent employee.
- A business has to earn £107,926.00 per year to cover the cost if a contractor.
So, there we are. Over a 1 year period it is as, if not a little more, expensive to hire a permanent employee then to hire a contractor over the same period.
(the full spreadsheet can be viewed here http://sdrv.ms/1gq84oL )