This handbook will give you a quick introduction to how we work and how we think about what we do at Bakken & Bæck. Its goal is to be your point of reference, whether you are new or co-founded the company.
We have an international mindset and like to compare ourselves to the best teams in the world. We like to think that there are no problems we can’t solve. Also, we like to have a lot of fun while doing it.
You want the same thing, and that is why you are here!
Bakken & Bæck was founded by Johan and Tobias in August 2011. Since then the company has grown steadily into its present shape. The mission has always stayed the same though: To create great digital products, together with great people and have fun along the way.
- Nothing's too crazy.
- Be nice.
- Read this handbook
- Learn how to use the coffee maker
- Get to know your colleagues by using our custom “1-coffee-with-every-colleague” card
- Read the latest banter in some of the 400 Slack channels
- Say hi to the bees and taste the honey
- Get your own custom emoji
- Comment on someone else’s post on Wake
- Invite your colleagues to an after work activity
- Make suggestions for changes to this handbook. Like everything at B&B, the handbook is a perpetual beta and needs regular maintenance
At Bakken & Bæck we try to give you the best, and want yours in return. We give you the freedom, responsibility and trust you need to thrive.
We know people perform best when they care deeply about their work. Detailed lists of tasks to run through each day are tedious and unmotivating. At Bakken & Bæck you will find the flexibility to manage your time and priorities, and not have to squeeze your creativity into a 9 to 5 timeslot.
No one will hold your hand, because we dislike micromanaging and top to bottom hierarchies. A flat structure means you are in charge of your work, and that it’s up to you to make the right priorities. You are here because you are one of the best at what you do.
Be kind - our code of conduct
Be a good person. We have a huge impact on each other, and therefore are the architects of the space we want to work in. Being nice to others is a boomerang that comes back to you when you most need it.
Building world-class digital products requires a diverse perspective. At B&B we embrace a diverse and inclusive culture and are committed to providing equal opportunities to all, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion or any other aspects of appearance, background or personality.
Any kind of disrespectful behavior, discrimination or harassment will not be tolerated, and employees violating these rules will be sanctioned accordingly.
Discussions are important, even heated ones. It shakes things up and gives perspective. Speak your mind, but be respectful and including towards those who have a smaller voice. Be critical and honest, but in a constructive way. We build things together.
Embrace the randomness
Want to order a full size Drake or Taylor Swift poster, or a singing telegram to one of the other offices? Want to have bingo sessions or just pitch an insane idea? Do it! Randomness is at the heart of all creative thinking and we strive to permeate it as a cultural backbone of B&B.
To us, collaboration and teamwork are the foundation of all great products. We work together as a team all the time. There are no departments and no organizational charts at Bakken & Bæck.
Even though we work together, it’s crucial to have the ability to work on your own and focus on your tasks. Know when to work alone, and when to work as a team.
We are international
Working across offices in Norway, The Netherlands and Germany with clients across the globe has its pros and cons. We try to keep the cons to a minimum, and make the distance as short as possible. Use Slack, Wake and video calls to remove friction and keep everybody on the same page.
Share and evolve
There is no such thing as oversharing or over communicating when working in a team of people spread across locations. Share your work with your team as early as possible, and say too much rather than too little. We also made this amazing product called Wake that you should make the most of.
It gets messy
We’re a small company. There is no HR department or fully functioning “process-streamlining Agile development practices” out of the box. Every process is different, and there will be friction and sometimes chaos. If you feel that something isn’t working the way it should, do something about it. We move fast and adjust accordingly.
Our working space is our home away from home. It’s where we explore ideas, hang out, eat lunch, have meetings, discuss the best front end development strategies and create epic digital products. Take good care of the space, and make yourself at home.
Get out of your seat and use the space. Move around - it’s good for you. Put on your headphones or find a quiet spot if you need it.
Do you want to do some activities like yoga or lunch-karaoke? Make it happen. Find something you want to change? Just change it.
We keep a low barrier for coming up with ideas, experimenting and prototyping. We share and discuss ideas internally all the time. During the course of a year we end up with a great number of ideas that don't amount to anything - but also a few, both big and small, that end up as actual products or even companies.
Flex it up
We use a flexible working hours’ scheme at B&B, meaning that you are your own boss when it comes to define your daily 8-hour timetable.
We know, however, that we do our best work and have the most fun when we are together in the office as much as possible.
As a B&B employee you have the opportunity to work remotely for a couple of days when you need to. Sometimes we wish to work from home or from some other random place (like a cabin, a bungalow or your parents' house). In the case of remote office there’s a few important pointers to keep in mind.
- Check with your team first. We want to be flexible and accommodate for everyone, but sometimes we need you in the office.
- Make it easy for your team to reach you, and let them know if you will be out of reach for periods of time.
- Be present on Slack, and be extra diligent with sharing on Wake (if you design stuff) or Github (if you code stuff) or Instagram (if you want to make people jealous).
We want the best people, that's why we hire from all over the world. Out of 49 colleagues we represent 17 different nationalities. We are from Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Ukraine, USA and Venezuela. And more to come!
Our working language is English, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to communicate with people outside the office too. We subsidise language classes and necessary exams so you know that you have to run fast when someone tries to serve you smalahove, rauwe haring met uitjes or schwarzsauer.
Vacation and time off is something we all need. At B&B you are free to plan your vacation whenever you want, we have no forced time off in July or December. Want to go to Peru for four weeks in September and visit alpacas? Go for it.
Please give notice as early as possible if you are planning a longer vacation or taking time off. That makes it way easier for us to plan for upcoming and ongoing projects.
Extra days to chillIn addition to your vacation you get these days off:
- Christmas Eve, 1st and 2nd Christmas day
- New Years Eve, New Year’s Day
- Rosenmontag (Germany)
- Easter: Maundy Thursday (only in Norway), Good Friday and Easter Monday
- May 1st
- Liberation Day (Netherlands)
- Ascension Day
- Whit Monday
- Constitution Day (Norway)
- Fronleichnam (wtf?) (Germany)
- Koningsdag (Netherlands)
- Unity Day (Germany)
- All Saint’s Day (Germany)
- 2 days off whenever kindergarten or school has planning days (if you have kids, though)
- Every leap year you’ll get the extra day off on February 29th ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Great parties are an important ingredient in the B&B stew. Twice a year, at summer and Christmas, we gather everyone in the company for a two-day trip and a great fiesta.
Once every other year we throw a massive theme party for friends and friends of friends, some of which have set out to achieve legendary status.
We also do smaller office parties and host formal and informal events that somehow tend to end up as parties.
An Interesting Day
We host a yearly one-day conference called An Interesting Day. The conference is on an island with limited space for 120 people, where we gather some of the brightest and most awesome people we know for talks, dinner, activities, drinks and dancing.
As a B&Ber you’ll of course always have a place on the guest list.
Even though we sometimes feel like a big family at work, nothing compares to having one of your own.
To provide the best possible support for the families of B&B, we got the moms and dads in the company to design our “baby kit” so you can get a flying start into your new parental adventures.
We’re proud to say that it’s probably one of the best in the business.
- A 2.000 euro bonus to buy whatever you think is necessary for your little family.
- As a fresh parent you probably won’t be able to get that much out of the house for a while, so heading to a nice restaurant with your partner is something you’ll have to postpone for some time. To compensate for this loss, we will arrange for a top chef to come to your house and cook a delicious three course meal for you and your better half.
- A piñata filled with candy for you and the one you made the baby with.
- Gift card for 30 coffees at your favorite local coffee place.
- Free magazines, so you can stay inspired and have some time off while the newborn baby sleeps.
- A pretty sweet return to the company. Being away for months you need to be welcomed as a newbie on arrival.
Getting around town
You wanna get around, and you wanna do it smoothly and environmentally friendly. At least we do. Therefore we offer to pay the subscription for city bikes in your city (only Oslo for now). If you’re visiting Oslo from another office you’ll get a city bike subscription for the days you’re here.
If you work at the Oslo office and have an electric car, you can charge for free in the office garage.
Keeping up with culture
Our clan in Amsterdam loves their art and sure likes to stay inspired. So if you’re a part of the Dutch office you will get access to over 400 museums in The Netherlands for free.
Lunch, snacks and coffee
“Without food, the hero doesn’t work” is a famous Norwegian saying. Good food is important to us, and coffee is a matter of life or death. In the Oslo office we have a lunch chef, and in every office good healthy lunch is included. What? Yes, of course we'll have a locally sourced gluten free vegan option for you.
There is breakfast if you had to skip it at home, and fruit, snacks, juice and soda for whenever you need some extra energy. We also take pride in having the best coffee in town!
If you see anything missing in the kitchen, just add it to the shopping list.
We love the diversity in the company. Our 49 employees represent 17 different countries, but even more dietary restrictions. We got three different types of vegetarians and several different allergies. Luckily, we've got a great chef at the office in Bonn, and excellent catering in Oslo and Amsterdam that accommodates so each and everyone can stay healthy and nurtured without risk of becoming sick from egg, gluten, citrus, milk, lactose, fish, nuts, peas, kiwi, apple peel, oysters or shellfish.
The hardware and software you need
Our jobs demand that we have the best available tools for it at any time.
You will be provided with the phone, computer and software you need to do your job as good as possible. You decide your own setup.
Piñatas for life
Piñatas serve a special role in our culture, and our history with this party item goes way back. After a big mexican fiesta back in 2012 we started an online piñata store, and in 2016 we launched Flying Piñata, a service for delivering piñatas by drone.
As an employee you are of course free to tap into this perpetual source of party and fun, and can have as many as you could possibly need.
Your own event space
Our offices are great as offices, but they all have awesome alter egos as event spaces. You are of course free to make the most of it and use your office for birthdays, parties or other private events.
Just leave it as you found it!
Relocation to another office
Being a company with multiple offices in different countries, we have the unique opportunity to work from different places. To facilitate and encourage relocation, we offer:
- Transportations costs to your new location.
- Two weeks of accommodation while you settle in.
- Covering costs of shipping your stuff.
- Your own welcome party! You choose the theme, make the decorations and invite guests, while we cover the costs of beer, wine and piñatas.
We strongly believe that having a stake in our projects is great for everyone as it makes sure we’re one team working towards a common goal. It’s also a great way to make sure everyone can reap the rewards of our work.
New employees may be offered to buy stocks and become a shareholder in our investment company.
This is the company that owns shares in our own ventures like Wake and Orbit, but also in other companies and startups that we have decided to invest in or partner with.
The portfolio is growing both in size and value every year.
"Making the world a better place"
The Oslo office has a beautiful rooftop terrace that we share with four beehives and 420 000 bees. Bees are essential to our ecosystem, and we are doing our part by creating an area for them to do their important job.
At B&B we subsidise the cost of a beekeeping class so you can join in on the melliferous activities of honey slinging and tending to the beehives.
Soon, you and your colleagues will get to taste delicious “office made” honey straight from our rooftop!
Put on your lab coat
We love to explore the intersection between software and hardware. It’s fun and we care about making things.
That’s why we have our own hardware lab, which you of course will have full access to.
The lab is a place to learn how to make new things, test emerging technologies and run fun experiments. Some things we do in the lab:
- Build drones of all shapes and sizes
- 3D printing
- Laser briefcase for projections and visual installations
- Kinetic-controlled LED screen
- Door-opening Slackbot
- 15 sqm LED screen made of empty bottles
Oh yeah, and in Oslo we'll sponsor a membership at Bitraf, a really cool makerspace downtown.
If you want to ski, bike, or run a marathon or another kind of race we’re happy to cover the fee.
We also offer unlimited amount of cod-liver oil in every office. It might not be super tasty and not everyone sees it as a perk, but it sure is healthy.
To be one of the best digital product teams in the world we need to look for inspiration and new perspectives. You know best what inspires you and what you need to stay on top of your game.
Training courses, conferences, exhibitions or inspirational tours. As long as it’s relevant for your work and you can give back to the rest of your team, you’re encouraged to go and the costs will be covered.
Sometimes life can hit you hard. All employees are provided with an extensive health care package* covering the costs of:
- Hospitalization, with or without operation
- Cancer examination and treatment
- Outpatient surgery
- Examination and treatment with medical specialist
- Up to 24 yearly treatments with physiotherapist, chiropractor or naprapath
- Psychological first aid
- Access to 24 hour help line
* with some variations between offices
Yes, it’s true. Every other week everyone gets a relaxing massage that lasts half an hour.
Benefits may vary
The various offices may have slightly different perks for two reasons: One is that cities offers different services to meet the varying needs of its residents. Like city bikes, in Oslo it’s a necessity, and in Amsterdam it would be ridiculous since everyone has their own bike.
The other reason is that we create the perks together. So the Amsterdamians chose free museum card instead of bikes, and the German office wants teilchen instead of massage, because to them it has the same relaxing effect.
This way you can be a part of shaping your own office and your own work environment.
Everyone at B&B can contribute to make this Handbook better. If you have comments, additional info or things you think we should remove, you are free to suggest edits and additions.
You’re a part of the team now, and as a team we will continue to care for it, adjust it and develop it.