What is one to do when the boss is on vacation in Hawaii? Possible ideas:
Nothing. Because you’re super lame.
Show up to work 2 minutes late and leave 2 minutes early, out of spite. WHOA! LIVIN’ ON THE EDGE!
Go to Hawaii, too.
These were all thoughts that crossed my mind last week while our General Manager and 2 members of our sales team sipped tropical drinks, climbed sleeping volcanoes, napped on powder-soft beaches, and flew in helicopters over the serene blues of the Hawaiian waters. I work hard. I deserve a trip to the islands. Right? RIGHT?!
But alas, I was not in Hawaii. And my options weren’t looking good. I would not get lazy with my work, because that is unethical (and frankly, not how I roll). I could not afford a trip to Hawaii, and I would most likely be fired if my boss unzipped his suitcase to find me folded up inside. And I wasn’t going to do nothing, because I am certainly NOT a lame-o.
So…what to do?
Why, bring Hawaii to Atalasoft! (Duh.)
Thursday evening on a whim, I decided to go pick up some leis:
Look how happy Spike and Dave are with their bright pink leis!
Some tropical tchotchkes:
Well, at least the ceiling spinners aren’t blurry.
Some plastic Margarita cups for Piña Coladas at Beer:30:
Who would turn down a chance to break out Mr. Tipsy the Margarita Machine?
And then on Friday, I ordered some Hawaiian pizza, threw together a tropical fruit salad, and slapped on some Beach Boys for a lunchtime getaway:
Hawaiian pizza is obviously a native cuisine.
So maybe it wasn’t a siesta on a perfect 75-degrees-and-sunny afternoon, or a swim session with dolphins and stingrays, or a feast of grilled spam and pineapples, or a beautiful Hawaiian lady dancing around in a grass skirt. It was just me showing my coworkers that I love them.
And if an act of genuine love doesn’t take you away to a magical place, I don’t know what will.
Posted: 10/24/2012 4:52:06 PM
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If you couldn’t tell, Atalasoft is serious about appreciating its employees.
Things have been pretty hectic around here lately. Between traveling to multiple trade shows, wrapping up the quarter, and releasing our brand new Java SDK, JoltImage, it has taken every bit of energy and cooperation for us to keep moving forward.
Luckily, we are are a bunch of Rock Star Ninjas. We punched every obstacle right in the face and rocked it.
As a reward for our hard work and innate awesomeness, Christina hired Frosted Swirl Cupcakes to bring us delicious treats in their sweet decked-out cupcake truck!
With over 20 different flavors to choose from, we took a poll and ordered our top 4 picks: Classic Chocolate, The Java, Carrot Cake, and Peanut Butter Cup Perfection. They even have gluten-free options!
Even though the weather was rather rainy and gloomy, we were all smiles. It’s hard not to be when your employer cares about you so much. And I bet our afternoon productivity was even boosted by the sugar rush!
Check out the rest of the pictures in our Facebook album, and learn more about Frosted Swirl cupcake on their Facebook page and company website.
Posted: 10/15/2012 2:39:27 PM
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Hey. So it’s been a while. Which means…
RAPID FIRE UPDATES IN ORDER OF EVENT OCCURRENCE!
Yes. That absolutely called for an obnoxious font style, size, and color.
Just as this side comment calls for decreased font size and italics.
On September 7th, Atalasoft had the honor of participating in the celebration of Steve Day. This is not yet a national or international holiday, but it should be.
This holiday pays tribute to Steve Hawley, our Chief Architect and the creator of the most brilliant calendar system EVER. Seriously, what is this “30 days hath September, April, June, and November” nonsense?! Steve’s calendar provides a methodical and practical organization of dates, without the silly rhyme.
Basically: there is a set of 13 months consisting of 28 days each. Every month starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday, so dates will always fall on the same day of the week and there will never be a Friday the 13th (phew!).
If you do the math (28x13=364) there is one day left in the year. That day is Steve Day.
Steve Day has no “date” value; it is not a Monday, or any other day of the week, and it has no numerical digit assigned to it. This day shall be spent not working but instead honoring the calendar creator as the community sees fit (parades, shrines, feasts, etc.).
Atalasoft celebrated by doing science with dry ice and with a feast of mint It’s-It sandwiches!
This system also accounts for what we call a “leap year”. The “leap day” becomes another Steve Day, and during this year the Steve Days are referred to as Steve Day0 and Steve Day1. Both days shall be spent in a similar celebratory manner.
There are also some rules about naming children born on Steve Day, as well as other calendar specifics which I do not possess the eloquence to explain properly. If you didn’t click on the link to Steve’s blog post above, do it now.
Until this calendar becomes law (which I’m sure it will, as soon as Steve’s son Stuart rules the world), Steve Day shall be celebrated on or around Steve’s birthday – September 2nd.
Office Beautification: Project Bathroom
As I mentioned previously in my Office Beautification blog post, our bathroom was in some serious need of attention. So, inspired by a post-it mural left on the wall by an anonymous employee, I decided to give it some Space Invaders lovin’.
There you have it, folks. I feel like a proud parent.
Marco came to visit!
This is Marco, our EMEA sales account executive. We love Marco! Yay!
A Gangnam Style Staff Meeting
On the morning of September 21, 2012, Atalasoft held its regularly-scheduled staff meeting, per usual. But what occurred at this staff meeting was not so usual.
A couple weeks ago, I had a life-changing experience. This experience has since ignited a flame of passion within me, a passion to make the world a better place by sharing this wonderful gift with everyone I know. I decided to start with my coworkers.
At approximately 10 AM, the employees of Atalasoft (including Marco!) got to their feet around the conference room table, placed their right hand over their hearts, and blindly swore to take this magical journey with me. And then I played them a clip of what we were about to do together.
“Gangnam Style” by South Korean rapper, Psy
Oh yes. I taught this dance. And EVERYBODY HAD TO DO IT because they swore to me that they would! BWAH HAH HAH HAH!
The Atalasoft team constantly surprises and amazes me. Who else would learn this ridiculous dance so early in the morning, and even laugh while being forced to look like a complete goof?
PS: If you hadn’t seen this video before reading this blog post, you must be living under a rock. It’s even been on the news!!!
Posted: 10/3/2012 12:07:54 PM
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I don’t need to do any scientific research on this one: Family-Work balance is VITAL.
Missing your favorite Spin class to meet a major project deadline might bum you out a little, but you won’t experience any major health detriments (assuming your “deadline” is not just a frequent excuse for missing out on your sweat sessions). Occasionally you might have to trade Happy Hour for some presentation prep, but you can always catch it next week (or tomorrow). But what happens when your daycare provider suddenly gets food poisoning and your significant other is out of town?
I might not have any children myself, but I can still appreciate a workplace that fully supports those who do. And according to this article from the Harvard Business Review, it’s kind of a rare thing in the US.
Family-workplace balance is an area where Atalasoft truly shines. But rather than having me, a single and childless 20-something tell you why, I’m going to let a few of my coworkers speak for themselves…
“From being a constantly-puking pregnant person to working from home with a feverish baby, Atalasoft has given me the flexibility to maintain a realistic work-life balance and truly enjoy my life as a working mom.” – Christina Gay, HR Director
Clara V. Gay
Likes: Pretending to burp, eggplant, drinking bathwater
Dislikes: When the cat runs away from her Godzilla-like advances (ME CLARA! ME LOVE KITTEH!), having her face wiped, when you say “we’re going for a ride in the car” and then you don’t (WTF MOM!)
“The trust that Atalasoft has placed in me means that I can schedule my work time flexibly, allowing me to take care of my daughter when needed. Because I get to spend more time with her, I end up performing with a higher quality to show my appreciation.” – Elaine Gorham, Training & Support Manager
Favorite songs: “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon, “So What” by P!nk, and the childhood classic “Baa Baa Black Sheep”
Fun Fact: Camille took her first steps on her first birthday – IN THE ATALASOFT OFFICE!
“My kids have loved the social events that Atalasoft has had for families, and [Atalasoft] has been tolerant of the times I’ve had them in the office.” – Steve Hawley, Chief Architect
Alice & Stuart
Fun Facts: Alice has danced in 3 ballets! And Steve is worried that Stuart may someday rule the universe…
Link of appreciation: Check out how Steve’s family was supported by a fellow Atalasoft-er
Getting to meet the families of my coworkers and hear outstanding testimonials such as these make me feel SO lucky to work here. I truly believe that Atalasoft’s mission to keep its employees close with their families helps all of us in the office feel a little bit closer, too.
Posted: 8/28/2012 3:54:03 PM
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Wanting a nice-looking workspace is kind of a no-brainer, but did you know that the physical work environment can actually have scientifically measurable effects on stress?
Atalasoft is currently undergoing an “Office Beautification” process (not that it wasn’t beautiful before – we just want to make it even MORE beautiful!). Of course, me being the psych nerd that I am, I decided to do some research on the types of consequences we might see with our improved workspace.
I stumbled across this article published by Wolters Kluwer and sponsored by the European Society of Cardiology. The study, performed by Thayer et al. in 2009, focused on a group of 60 employees working in the same government building. The building was in the middle of being renovated, which allowed for the splitting of the study group into 2 subgroups according to environment. The first subgroup was located in the older part of the building (the “traditional” work environment, characterized by separate offices and old-looking cubicles), and the second subgroup in the newly renovated part (composed of new cubicles with improved views and lighting).
This is the already-beautified part. No improvement needed here!
Researchers looked at two physiological measures of stress response: 1. Circadian variations in vagally mediated heart rate variability (HRV; basically, differences in heartbeat intervals during the day versus at night) and 2. Morning levels of salivary cortisol. Observations were made with the understanding that healthy individuals have prominent variation in HRV (with more variation occurring during the day and a significant decrease in variation at night) and relatively low and stable cortisol levels, especially upon waking.
What the scientists found was that the “traditional” office environment yielded less circadian variation in HRV (meaning that the workers’ nighttime HRV closely resembled their daytime HRV) and a larger rise of cortisol upon waking as compared to the more modern office environment. So basically, the “traditional” environment stressed out its workers!
Not gonna lie… Domo and his OJ stress me out a little bit.
This isn’t exactly a revolutionary conclusion; you could probably draw a similar one based on your own personal experience. But it is pretty exciting to finally get some scientific evidence of work environment influence, as few studies have been performed up until this point.
I mean, it really just helps to build the case for a nicer office. Past studies have shown that stress at work can lead to increased absenteeism and worker turnover, as well as decreased job satisfaction and productivity. Even worse: stress has been linked to cardiovascular disease. No company wants sick (or dead) workers!
While software engineering, sales, and support can be pretty stressful jobs, I’d say Atalasoft does its best to buffer the physiological impact with its superior work environment. We’ve got a spacious and well-lit suite with brightly painted walls and a fantastic view of Mount Tom. Our offices and cubicles are arranged in a way that allows for socialization and collaboration, but also quiet individual work when necessary. We have a fully-stocked supply of snacks and coffee (with over 20 flavors in the cabinet), and a number of gaming systems available to blow off steam. And dude. We even have a Super Mario mural on our wall.
If you’re looking to improve your own work space, there are a few lessons you can learn from Atalasoft:
The brighter (paint colors AND lighting), the better
Every space counts – including storage closets and bathrooms
Our bathroom is getting ready for a paint job
Make the office interesting! Decorate your personal work space with action figures from your favorite movies (i.e. an 18” Eward Scissorhands collective figurine with sound and motion capability), random toys (like an Airzooka or a singing Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog), or items from a personal collection (it’s okay to be a Mickey Mouse fanatic at work!). In common spaces, display old print marketing campaigns in frames, show off the company chocolate fountain, or set up a 5-gallon fish tank. Your goal should be to create a space that encourages individuality, creativity, and passion.
I would suggest you don’t get on Joann’s bad side – she’s got some heavy artillery!
And it can’t hurt to make sure the office temperature is above 70 degrees at all times! (Or maybe that’s just my personal preference…)
Posted: 8/23/2012 11:41:42 AM
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