• What makes a workplace (part 6)

    Professional development

    • Career path
    • Training/Learning opportunities
    • Conference/seminar attendance

    A chance to learn and develop new skills, being given opportunity to use those skills, and being valued appropriately.

    You do want to get paid your worth, but often your financial rewards are enhanced by other means. eg. conference attendance, salary sacrifice opportunities, stylish work shirts etc. I remember one of the places Narelle worked at had a monthly prize (she won a night for two at a fancy hotel – and yes I got to go with her!)

    My UniSA and ABB colleagues will surely remember I always wanted to get team t-shirts. One thing I like about working for LobsterPot Solutions is that that idea has finally been realised :-)


    I’m sure I’ve overlooked some things. What do you think is important?

    Having considered all that, it is sobering to realise that for probably millions of people, workplace choice isn’t even an option – they just do what they can to survive. I am conscious of the privilege I have had in where and how I was brought up, the education I was given and the opportunities that have been presented to me.

  • What makes a workplace (part 5)

    Bob the builderTools

    • Current PC, OS, software
    • Willing to get additional tools in as required

    “Don’t go blaming your toolbox, you need the right tool for the job” – Bob the Builder

    There are times when you will have to use older versions – especially if that’s what a particular client is still using, but hopefully this is the exception rather than the norm.

    This is something that Rob has also expressed, in that I hope to leave a client better off than when I first came. At least one of better code, better performance, better processes, better practices, better maintainability, better sense of humour.. you get the idea.

    It shouldn’t be a drama to get access to decent hardware and software. When you consider how much per hour you’re being paid, anything that can reasonably be done to remove impediments to your productivity should be followed up.

  • What makes a workplace (part 4)


    • OH&S
    • Sunlight
    • Coffee/tea
    • Biscuits (nice to have)
    • Flexible hours
    • The odd pot plant!

    It shouldn’t be a problem to provide a friendly, safe, healthy environment. I’ve worked in places that provide basic tea/coffee/milk facilities, and also in some where they think they’re saving money by making the employees provide their own. I think that’s a false economy – the value of better moral surely outweighs the insignificant cost. If you’re lucky, throw in some bickies (cream assorted would be nice!), or one of those fancy coffee machines. On the other hand, if you have those things and then management takes them away – don’t expect any productivity improvements! You don’t realise how useful flexible hours are until you have kids. Not everyone lives close to their place of work, so the option of working from home, or doing that extra work at home instead of the office means you’re more likely to be around home – just so the kids and spouse remember you live there too! Finally, the physical location of your team is also important. Having a space where all your team can sit in close proximity really helps with communication, team identity, and ideally reduces outside interruptions.. There are few things more distracting than a non-team co-worker with a particularly loud, carrying voice - especially in a large open-plan office. Martin Fowler posted recently on his thoughts on the ideal team room.