Balancing what’s Important – Corinium’s Flexible Culture
A company’s success is largely dependent on the quality and dedication of its workforce. Corinium is a remote-first organization (all of our 70 employees work remotely) and I believe that flexible working, readiness to embrace new technologies and workforce diversity has significantly contributed to the business’ success.
Corinium is just over five years old, and like many other small businesses, we’re part of an industry traditionally dominated by companies with more influence, people, and resources. We punch way above our weight because we’ve been able to exploit what many of our competitors haven’t mastered: we make remote work, work. This has given us considerable advantages; it’s widened the talent pool that we can tap into, and attracted really talented individuals.
As a thriving service company, our people really are our best component. We’ve been highly successful in attracting experienced, effective and loyal employees, and that’s been galvanizing – it’s very motivating to work in an environment with like-minded people, who are both positive and driven, where we’re leveraging our collective experiences, working for a common goal.
I joined Corinium in January 2018, and it was a big milestone for me, leaving a company that I’d spent over a decade with. The attraction of working for Corinium for me was the flexibility offered and the people that I’d be working with.
Although the flexibility Corinium offers appealed to me, I did have some reservations about working remotely, as my experience of this previously was in an organization with a culture of presenteeism, where flexible working was the exception. What I didn’t appreciate then, but now do, was how empowering it could be when flexibility and remote working are truly central to a company’s culture, which is the case here.
Working remotely could be isolating, so we’ve consciously built a warm, open, and inclusive work environment. Despite not sitting together in a physical office, there’s a real camaraderie, which we foster through technology and great communication.
We’re reliant on Slack as a communication tool - if you've not heard of Slack, it's essentially a chat room for the company, designed to replace email as a primary method of communication and information sharing. It allows you to organize communications by channels for group discussions and also enables you to have private messages with your colleagues too. We use Slack channels for work projects, but also socially; daily conversation in chat includes non-work topics and channels. One example is “Corinstagram”, a channel dedicated to gifs, photos and video content, making for great conversation and fostering cohesiveness.
The other thing about flexible working that I’ve both witnessed and taken advantage of, is that it also allows for at least one “side-hustle” or business project alongside a main “day job”. Academics at Henley Business School last year released some stats on this trend, however I also suspect that our culture here also attracts more entrepreneurial types. It’s certainly a trait we look for in our recruitment process. We’ve found that remote workers need interests pulling them away from work, whether it be family, hobbies, or another passion or side-hustle. People who are disciplined about maintaining a balance in their lives are better remote employees, are more motivated and effective.
My life outside Corinium is certainly full; I am based in the Cotswolds with a young family (two boys, husband and dog!), and I’m also involved in a couple of family businesses; pet food and wine & olive oil (probably not two things included in the same sentence very often!).
My husband runs Cotswold Raw, which is an independent, family run company, producing delicious and nutritious raw dog food. Raw dog food diets aim to replicate a dog’s natural diet; since dogs are carnivores, their teeth, jaws and digestive system are structured for them to eat natural, raw protein. Processed pet food on the other hand was created for the ease and convenience of humans, not always to the nutritional benefit of dogs; and many are grain based. Cotswold Raw’s food is a convenient solution for raw feeders and those making the switch from dry food with a product that not only tastes great, but is a complete and balanced meal in convenient format. All ingredients are British, sourced locally wherever possible, fresh and seasonal, free from artificial additives, grain or high temperature processing.
As for the olive oil and wine, my family owns Podere Sant'Alberto, which is a small Tuscan estate, located just north of Siena, between San Gimignano, Monteriggioni and Castellina in Chianti. Our journey as a family with Podere Sant'Alberto began in 2007, and we are constantly learning about, appreciating and striving to make great wine and extra virgin olive oil, that is representative of our region in Tuscany.
The Podere has 2.5 ha of vines and work in the vineyard and cantina is done (by us!) by hand and organically. Each vendemmia (Italian for grape harvest) is an annual family gathering, involving grandparents, parents, children and friends. I use the term gathering, not holiday, as the vendemmia is taken very seriously in the region, as it’s one of the most essential steps in the winemaking process. The work is fairly hard (and very sticky!), involving long days and sore backs.using a set of secateurs to cut bunches of grapes and collect them in a crate. When the grape harvest is done varies each year, as it depends on the weather and rainfall - desired ripeness, as the balance between sugars and acids is perfect for the style of wine the wine we hope to produce.
I don’t think many other companies would give me the opportunity, freedom and encouragement to balance what’s important to me….but that’s why I am a part of Corinium.
Amy Brierley, Group Marketing Director, Corinium Global Intelligence