Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. At Radial, we try to create a space into which everyone, our team, or clients, and our visitors, fits comfortably and thrives. We strongly value our staff and believe that ergonomics is not limited to our physical space, but extends to the culture we have worked to develop at our company. We focus on productivity, and we do so by leveraging an ethos of “developer ergonomics” — doing things that make our work joyful.
Because we account for our employees’ needs, such as vacation and the everyday happenings in their lives, we have become better at retaining staff. We are able to thrive and nurture our employees as they experience personally challenging times. In addition, our inclusive physical and cultural space allows them to do innovative and creative work, which is crucial to our ability to provide value to our clients. Our culture and work depends on the diverse perspectives and distinctions that come from a thriving team of diverse employees, which can only be found through our respect for the different life and employment experiences that they bring to Radial. It is this diversity of experience that makes Radial successful.
As a team of software engineers, our ability to write and maintain code defines our productivity. Intentional work, performed within an environment into which our entire team fits comfortably, allows us to create software that expresses respect and concern for others – our clients, as well as their customers. Our engineering culture and standards encourage processes that enable us to assess our own effectiveness through software tools that test (or quantify) our own success. This is crucial to our effectiveness – it enables our team to express their creativity and distinctiveness within a framework that helps ensure that the team, as a whole, is fulfilling our commitments. Because we test, we ensure that our progress comes without accidental errors. When we pay attention to this kind of quantifiable “code ergonomics”, our work feels productive and focused; we are running toward a goal, rather than wandering over our own path.
Paying attention to our physical spaces allows us to maximize the value in our work, helping keep our team happy and productive. The comfort we create in our space is a simple way to express our humanity and individuality. In exploring this, we have found that subtle changes can bring broad change, and the impression that we’re in a new, clean, productive, and healthy space.
One often thinks of keyboards with interesting plastic attachments or of yoga balls, but to us, ergonomics might be better summarized as ‘fit.’ The best keyboard for you, after all, is not one of a particular shape, but the one that fits your hands, work style, and space. The implications of the continued use of tools or teams with poor fit can be serious, including INJURY from repetitive use. So often our employers use us up and throw us out as our productivity falls. At Radial, that is not our way. We value our team, and their contributions over the long term. In light of this, we’ve taken some extra time this year to focus on creating a space that builds up the people on our team, and supports them, rather than just demanding that they conform to us, or rejecting them if they do not.