We are not a remote-first company
Although we will be flexible for the rest of the pandemic and will be providing vaccines to our team members and their families as soon as they are privately available, Even will be a company with core offices based in Bangalore.
While we think there are many benefits to a fully remote team, we think there are significant drawbacks too, particularly for the rapid iterations needed for an early-stage company. As a team, we value the back and forth that is only currently possible in an in-person environment. And that is how we intend on operating for the foreseeable future.
If digital tools improve enough to fully replicate the benefits of an in-person office, we will be open to change, especially as we scale up. Until then, we expect to be a co-located team.
We understand that everyone’s body clocks work differently. Some people are at their best early in the morning and others are most productive later in the day. We want you to be able to work at your best, while making sure we get the benefits of being able to bounce ideas off each other, particularly in such a cross-functional business like Even.
We have core working hours of 11 am to 6 pm, during which we need you to be available for any meetings and one-on-ones. We encourage you to, not only step into work on time but leave on time to spend time with your family and friends.
Having said that, we still value the benefits of flexible working. Some days you may need to stay at home and wait for the post, and that's okay. We just ask that on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, we have the team in the office. For the rest of the working day and week, it's really up to you how you want to use it.
We realise that these office hours might seem fairly relaxed and chilled. Quite honestly, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Even is a fairly intense place to work and expectations of output are high; we just don't feel the number of hours correlates particularly well to the work people can produce.
We want to avoid long and inactionable meetings at all cost. Even if this means slightly more work before or after the meeting.
The fundamental principle is: every meeting should have a tangible output. Something beyond the docs that were prepared for the meeting and the words exchanged during it. This can be as simple as a couple of bullet points on what was discussed along with some action items, or as elaborate as a pull request or a new content strategy doc.
This helps you and us retain not only the contents of the meeting but also think forward. People and the point both feel lost after a long meeting and we don’t want that to happen.
At Even, everyone is welcome to schedule a meeting with any other team member, by simply creating an event on their calendar and giving them the option to accept or reschedule. We operate an open calendar system so you can see everyone's availability (though of course you can make the meeting descriptions private). This saves a lot of scheduling hassle and encourages cross-team meetings.
Even for one-on-ones, especially if they are regular/update meetings, the fundamental principle is still encouraged: it's good to come out of it with some written action items or maybe a very short summary.
This could be public to both people in the meeting or to the wider team/company. You decide.
Any meeting that happens within a given team, whether it's marketing, engineering or anything else, to discuss the team's own work and operations.
The structure of these meetings is of course up to the team to decide. They will come in various shapes: regular, one-off, brainstorming free flow, strict agenda, and so on.
It's good policy that, whenever possible, a short agenda be drafted up before the meeting and, if someone is leading the meeting, that they prepare some easily digestible material for the other participants (could be a short doc, a couple of slides, a plot/table, class diagram, whatever is most relevant).
Whatever the format of the meeting, some output should be left associated to that meeting and recorded in an easily retrievable fashion. Again, no point being prescriptive about the kind of output. It could be anything, as long as it's a faithful characterisation of what was achieved and decided in the meeting
Any inputs and outputs from these meetings will be public to the whole team and, if relevant, to the whole company.
Strategy and Evaluation Meetings
These are cross-team meetings meant for syncing up and deciding the next steps, as well as, potentially, evaluating outcomes for a given time period, strategy or experiment.
The crucial guideline here is that these meetings (which are by far the most treacherous) should have tangible input as well as output.
The input should be in the form of a plan or a document/presentation if someone is leading the meeting. A clear agenda should be defined to make sure that the essential points are addressed by the end of the meeting.
Whatever the input, each person attending the meeting should have digested it by the time the meeting starts. This can be done either by allocating time in the meeting for the participants to read those documents (Amazon style) or by sending them beforehand.
After the meeting, some output should also be recorded, just as for the other kinds of meetings.
Inputs and outputs from these meetings will be public to the whole company.
We have twice-weekly syncs (on Mondays and Fridays) to ensure everyone in the team knows exactly where other team members stand workwise. These syncs also help different teams set intentions for the week ahead and go over what they were able to achieve at the end of that week. Each team has a project board on Notion where they record their to-dos.
Feedback and Conflict Resolution
We are a diverse team with a common mission: to make Even bigger and better. But even with a common mission, disagreements and conflicts within teams are inevitable. And so we want you to engage in them productively. And the way to do that, is to use your own good judgement at all times. Never assume someone’s behaviour, actively understand their perspective, and keep the focus on tasks at hand and not on someone’s personality.
When it comes to giving feedback, please make it concise, straightforward and with actionable insights. You should be able to tell your team which tasks or work behaviour they should stop, keep, or start (SKS). Feedback should be specific and relevant to the job.