Challenging the workplace stereotypes (well, not all of them...)

Posted by Peter Clamp
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Covering for staff holidays, Netcel welcomed a new temporary member of staff, Peter Clamp, to join the ranks. Here are the thoughts of Peter, a recent engineering graduate, on his time working at the firm and in his first role in an office environment.

Graduating, real life, adulthood… scary stuff. Embarking on a new opportunity can be a bewildering thing with many uncertainties. I was recently offered the chance to work in the heart of an organisation as their administration officer, based in their St Albans headquarters. Now this had nothing to do with the career I wanted to end up in, but that was irrelevant as I knew I could use it to understand how business actually works, develop my professionalism and learn what working in an office can really be like.

Having recently graduated from university, I was expecting individual box rooms for each member of staff; lots of slow communication; piles of paper stacked high waiting to be sorted through and many other office stereotypes. I was pleasantly surprised.

I was not only greeted by the joyful tunes of Madness but also the outreaching hand of the nicest person. Now I know it is the role of the administrator to be the friendly first face of the office, but when sat down in position going at the role solo, I was then extended many a hand by the rest of my co-workers. They all came along with the reassurance that if any issues came up, they were there to help. This wasn’t their role to chaperone the “new-guy”, especially a naive young temporary worker, yet I still felt looked after, part of the team: they cared.

The office space was that of a bright and open setting. Long white desks with multiple people working at them, with all desks situated together in one communal area. This integration, from administrator to CEO, led to an efficient and fluid translation of information. Anyone needing anything was in the presence of the person they needed it from. In tandem with a fully connected comms system, calendar and email link, it meant that progress was always happening.

I could hear around me discussions of certain topics and everyone was on the same page. This created a business environment in which many a client were fully looked after with all relevant staff collaborating to get the best outcome and fast.

The central working area was surrounded by several glass-walled meeting rooms; these were bright, open spaces and not just with your typical dull and monotone colours. Splashes of bright yellow in one and warming red in others meant that each room felt more approachable and engaging, which I believed led to a more productive attitude to discussions. The meeting spaces were utilised effectively and coordinated well on the one central booking system.

I felt like I was viewing a well-oiled machine that knew how to get into the highest gear.

Alongside this business acumen, Netcel focused on creating a social environment that helped its staff want to come in to the office each day. A sophisticated coffee area was also a prominent feature to the office. Matching the rest of the office, it felt very modern and properly maintained, allowing staff to seamlessly flow between work and getting that necessary caffeine boost. The coffee machine and reams of tea supplies did cement one stereotype of being in an office. I felt this space was key to a successful working environment. Feeling comfortable where you operate, being allowed to grab a drink, sit down for a bit and catch up on the world news being shown on the TV was an excellent tool to ensure the work performed wasn’t under stress or in boredom so in turn completed poorly. Netcel completely understood this and executed the balance between business and relaxation perfectly.

Overall my time at this company has led me to believe the business world out there, full of big offices and people who know what they are doing, was not so scary. I was welcomed in and given the chance to learn and develop my professional skills, for which I am grateful for. On to the next opportunity for me, I do hope it will be as successful as this one.

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