Tech Inspirer is a new content series at Transpire, where we talk to people doing amazing things in our industry. Today, we’re lucky enough to talk to Transpire’s indefatigable Office Manager Jo Davies, who works tirelessly to ensure we’re all connected, engaged and inspired to take on the challenges of the day.
Jo, thanks for being a part of our new Tech Inspirer series. I’m really excited to be chatting to you today. Could you kick off by introducing yourself and your role at Transpire?
Hello, Charlie, and thanks for having me. My name is Jo and I am the office manager at Transpire. I’ve been part of the team for about eight months now, which has flown by.
So Office Manager is your official title. I feel like sometimes in companies there’s an official title, and then there’s the one that better describes what you do. So what’s a better title for what you do?
I think I’m the Doer. I get a lot of things done, whether it be tech or events or whatever it is anyone needs. Building team morale is critical, especially in these times of working from home, getting some social activities happening virtually, or sending food packs out to our team to keep them motivated.
It’s about being the glue to the team, whether that’s in the office or virtually.
The office is different these days, especially at Transpire, because we’re a remote-first company, so the office is not so much a physical building anymore – it’s where we work, which is online.
Absolutely, and it’s always changing. Even just this year, I thought we’d all be back in the office. We were for a few months last year, which was so exciting. We’ve had so many new staff join so it was great to finally welcome them into the physical office space where the team can be together. But this year has once again made us realise that working virtually is going to be a big part of our future.
How can we keep that social connection that we had when we were face to face?
We had some great bonding time before Christmas and I know I had some great fun meeting a lot of the team members. So I’m constantly thinking about what we can do to keep that bond going and keep team morale up because we will not be face to face as much as we hoped.
In terms of building culture in a remote environment, do you have some set ideas about how we do that, or is it more of an ongoing sandpit and an experimentation space?
It’s definitely an ongoing sandpit. Personally I’m new to this and haven’t been working from home as long as some other people. But I can see how important a role I play in keeping our culture going. I look to the team a lot to give me ideas about what it is that they want.
There are some people that don’t want to participate socially and are quite happy in their home bubble. They want to do their work and be with their families, which is what working from home allows us to do.
But also it can be very isolating. So for me, it’s definitely a work in progress.
When I think of workplace culture, I tend to think of social, but as you just mentioned, some people are more socially inclined, and others are less so. So building a workplace culture is about creating space for everyone, and how they want to engage. Is that the way you see it?
Whether it’s working from home or face to face in an office, that not everyone’s going to want to participate in social events. It’s not for everyone, and we can’t force people to do that and can’t get offended if people don’t come. I think all we can really do is offer different activities or events to try and welcome as many people as we can.
I definitely call on the team a lot to give me any ideas and also check in with those that don’t attend often and say, how are you doing? Is there anything else we can be doing? And most of the time, they’ll just say: I’m happy, I see that things are happening, I’ll join in when I want to.
It’s definitely about being flexible and open to lots of different things.
I love that. So, shifting more to the future – what is it that you’re excited about this year with Transpire?
I’m excited to get to know our team more and have some more team events, whether it be in a park catching up with our family and our pets, whatever. We have grown so much and there are so many people that personally I’d like to get to know and also get to know what they do each day.
So much is happening at Transpire. We’ve got so many new projects and new releases with ongoing projects and new disciplines emerging.
It’s really busy and there’s so much to keep up with so I’m really excited for where Transpire is going this year because we have some amazing people.
In your nine months at Transpire, is there a sort of one story or one moment that you thought summed up the Transpire experience?
We always celebrate when projects have new releases, such as Dreamlab evolving from smartphones to desktop.
But really, I think having our end of year party and getting the majority of our team together, really showed how connected we all were, even though we had been virtual for so long, and we’d grown to twice our size. I think that really gave a big assurance for us all to say that what we’ve been putting in was working and that we did have a great team and we all love being together. So for me that was a really great finish to a year that was pretty crappy for a lot of people.
I totally agree. And just on yourself. How did you end up in this role and what’s your work story that got you here?
So this is my first job in tech, so I have a lot to learn. So I’m excited about that this year as well. I studied graphic design way back when and then I was actually in the power equipment industry, selling chainsaws and lawnmowers and spare parts – nothing to do with computers. I had a little baby girl 18 months ago, so that meant I took some leave and time to reevaluate my priorities.
I knew I needed to do something that made me happy, feel a part of a team, and could also give me the flexibility to be a mum to Billie. And I have 100% got that from Transpire.
We have so many like me who have young families and other commitments outside of work and we’re 100% supported to manage that as well as our jobs. I love what I do every day and I’m really happy with the change that I made.
Love to hear it. It was great to chat to you Jo and let’s keep building an amazing culture here at Transpire.