6 signs you work for a disruptor

19 January 2017


Matthew Smith
Matthew Smith

6 signs you work for a disruptor

Every company has an attitude. It might not be a great one, it might be a fantastic one, but it’s there. Atom’s no different. When you arrive, suited and booted for your interview, you know you’re somewhere that isn’t quite like anywhere else; not least because you’ll be the only one in anything smarter than jeans.

It’s a pretty cool place when you first arrive, and by the time your selfie goes up on the selfie wall, you’re pretty invested in what’s going on (nevermind when you receive your Atom hoodie). So, dialling things back just over a year to when I first started, I’ve come up with a list of 6 signs you work for a disruptor, armed with a little bit of knowledge, other people’s ideas, and a healthy dose of hindsight. Here goes…

1. People in suits look like agents from the Matrix

We’re doing serious business here. We all respect that; money and its management is no joke. But, one of the first things you notice when you walk through our doors is that the receptionists aren’t suited and booted. Then you’ll notice that almost no one is, because here at Atom we’re not about what people look like. We’re about what they represent. We value what’s inside more, and if you’re productive and add value, you can wear pretty much whatever you want. Mankinis are probably out though. Nobody’s tried.

2. There’s a ping pong table in the garage

This is cool when you first arrive; it’s one of the “I bet Google does this” moments (along with when you spot the walls that have notes written all over them). It’s a good respite from work, if you have time for it. You do need to be prepared to queue, though, and get surprisingly warm. You’ll probably get hit by flying balls too (be’ave…).

3. You can talk to who you need to

Before I got a job, I was pretty confident, backed up by films, that work equals offices and offices equal hierarchy. The higher up you are, the bigger the office you have. The bigger the office someone has, the more hoops someone else has to jump through to be able to go and talk to them. Bigger fish in increasingly large ponds. In some places, I’d have been right.

Not here. There’s a hierarchy, sure; there has to be. But offices aren’t really a thing. Chances are you sit on the same desk as your boss, their boss and theirs. If you don’t, you’re probably not far away from them. The good thing? It isn’t just for show. If you need to go talk to these people, to your boss or theirs, you can. People listen here. Ideas aren’t just welcomed, they’re needed, and everyone mucks in and gives their 2 pence. If you need something from another department, you go ask them.

4. Bright colours, bright People

Offices are dull, right? Work is serious, fun is for home. They don’t go together. Offices are adorned with chairs and signs in the colour of their branding. Reds and blues and greens are everywhere, but rarely together, and in a lot of places grey is the order of the day.

We’re trying to be a mouthwash in an industry that’s mainly morning breath. We have colour, neon lights, and bright offices. There’s no Suits-esque tower block, and if there was, we wouldn’t want it. The brightness of our office is regularly commented on by our visitors.

5. Our people believe in what they’re doing

After a while, you forget exactly what it means to be working in a disruptive, innovative business, because you live it every day. It takes a concerted effort, like this, to look at things with an objective eye and see things clearly again.

What we’re doing isn’t easy. It’s tough to be a disruptive business in a market resistant to change; people question what you’re doing, your motives, your work. But it’s what comes with the territory, and our people are ready for it and resilient. You know you work in a disruptive place when the entire workforce believe in what we stand for and that it is the right thing to be doing. It won’t all go smoothly, but for every 20 hard moments, we have as many brilliant ones that make it all worth it.

6. Honesty box & bar

There’s the tuck shop, which is a very welcome feature to everybody at some point. Water, pop, noodles, suspiciously-flavoured porridge pots, pasta crisps (weird, I admit, but so so good); there’s something for everyone. But it’s the payment side of things that’s a bit, “ohh, I see…”. Honesty boxes and a price list. You pay for what you take, and if you didn’t, you’d be the only person that knew. But like I said above, at Atom we care about what people stand for, and that includes the smallest of things. If you’re dishonest enough to sneak a Snickers, if that seems trivial, we’re not the place for you. It’s the principle of things. We believe in engendering trust in everything we do, period.

It’s a short list; it could easily be twice as long. Different people have different things that stand out for them about working here. These are just a few. What’s certain is that this is unlike any other place any of us have ever worked before.

And it’s damn good fun.

Think you’d like to join the Atom family? Great timing because we’re hiring, come and find out more!