Enjoying your work is an essential, and though we don’t like to brag, Vertical Leap – or VL as we call it affectionately – is pretty darn great.
Our CEO Matt and the team of directors have worked hard to craft a culture that nurtures talent, encourages positivity and makes being at work both fun and rewarding.
OK don’t run away from the gushing just yet. In all seriousness, if you would like to know more about why we love working at one of the south coast’s biggest digital agencies, read on…
First off, being based in our Portsmouth office means we work inside a wonderful building in a great location; beautiful exposed brick work and high ceilings make for a light and edgy workspace – often compared to a New York loft. The open plan design means there are no closed doors and even CEO Matt sits in the main office; often joined by our furriest staff member, Ozzie.
Within the office there’s always music playing, with three Sonos docks scattered around the big room. These are all hooked up to our computers, meaning we can choose what we want to play and there’s usually some pretty epic playlists. We also have a Games Room with an ever-popular FIFA league. Fully kitted out with an Xbox, a giant Jenga set and massive beanbags, it’s a great place to hang out and take a break. That said, the FIFA League is taken very seriously here.
Being situated in the Historic Dockyard just 5 minutes’ walk from Gunwharf Quays means we are perfectly located for lunchtime trips to Pret, Pizza Express and – of course – Nando’s. It’s also ideal for a rendezvous in Gunwharf’s many bars for the quarterly First Friday drinks – funded by the company.
Meanwhile, our London office can be found in an ideal central location, but most importantly it has a great selection of coffee shops within walking distance! Working in such a vibrant and creative area is a real plus, with plenty to do during lunchtimes or after work. Our London space reflects the same style and ethos that is so important to the company. Many staff enjoy splitting their time between the two locations, getting the best of both worlds.
We have a strong focus on individual development; all staff members are encouraged to push themselves and learn new things. A recent example is an initiative that encouraged us all to become Google Analytics qualified. Every single member of the delivery team took and passed the exam over the three month timeframe, with many results above 90 per cent.
In addition, each staff member is given individual Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) each quarter. These are designed to help them grow within the company; learning new parts of the job, gaining confidence or expanding their expertise.
Arguably the biggest part of Vertical Leap’s development structure is VLU, the Vertical Leap University. This runs every few weeks and offers half day sessions geared towards expanding our knowledge and helping us do our jobs better. Industry experts offer seminars and training on everything from marketing strategy to decision theory.
A culture that recognises the importance of growth, respect and trust plays a central role in making Vertical Leap a great place to work. SEO campaign delivery manager Dave agrees that the impact of this culture is integral on how we work and interact:
“The general atmosphere in the office is always one that is relaxed and fun but has an overarching sense of professional focus.
“It’s easy to get up in the morning and come to work, regardless of how difficult a day you have ahead of you, because you know you have an elite group of people who are always there to help and contribute.”
Celebration is a big part of the culture here too – whether it is a virtual thumbs up from a colleague through our internal objectives and recognition platform – or that of the edible kind. You can rely on cake in the office; as birthdays, work anniversaries and more are always accompanied by some kind of baked good or sweet treat.
Brand journalist Elizabeth summed up Vertical Leap’s culture pretty perfectly:
“There are lots of reasons why Vertical Leap is a great place to work: the location, the variety in my work, the fact that we’re at the cutting edge of digital marketing, the discount at Nando’s and our incredible training provision.
“Best of all, though, are the people I work with: a crazy, diverse bunch who tease me mercilessly, support me, cheer me up when required, make cups of tea, put up with Bucks Fizz on Sonos, share their expertise and make this company what it is. Vertical leap is its people – and its people are great.”
Although we work hard at Vertical Leap, we play hard too – and many of us enjoy getting together outside of work. Last year Elizabeth started ‘Walking Club’ – a great initiative to encourage staff to get outside at lunch time. Short walks (strolls, really) mean we get some fresh air, stretch our legs and make the most of the fantastic location in which we are lucky to work. Usually we walk down to the Hot Walls and eat lunch on the beach, but we have also walked to Victoria Park to visit the guinea pigs, visited the Portsmouth Museum and been on the HMS Victory!
As well as fun for its own sake, we also enjoy activities with a soul. Recent charity activities have included two team members abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, a charity bake off competition and a 20 mile trek across Dartmoor for Mind. We have also been involved in a local Greenhouse project, with staff taking time out their Saturdays to don gardening gloves and help in a community garden.
For those seeking even more perks, our hard work and loyalty is rewarded with plenty of holiday days – 22-25 a year depending on length of service, plus we even get an extra day off for our birthday! Long-standing employees get the option of private healthcare or a private pension too.
With beer Fridays (every week at 4pm), a summer and Christmas party, and the odd staff-bonding trip to the Tenth Hole or Pizza Express on the company’s wallet, there’s some excellent benefits to working at Vertical Leap – in addition to the unique culture, great training opportunities and fantastic workspace.
We’re always on the lookout for new talent to join our team. If you think this sounds like the kind of place you’d like to work, send your CV to Steve Masters on [email protected].
Chloe was a brand journalist at Vertical Leap. She has a passion for words and digital media, and also guinea pigs. Since graduating with a BA Hons in Journalism in 2007, she has specialised in content PR and magazine editorial. Working as an editor for almost four years she now enjoys applying a magazine mindset to her Vertical Leap work.
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