The Future Of Work Is Already Here

#theStateOfWork

Written by James Calder

I have spent a lot of time thinking and writing about what it means to be one of the best companies in Philadelphia, America and the world. I am lucky enough to say that I work for one. I believe it all starts with respect. The future of work will be companies that stay in bubbles of mutual respect. The respect flows in all directions starting from the founders and leaders down to every single position including interns and co-ops. In return, all employees greatly respect the leaders, but most importantly respect must flow from coworker to coworker. Once that foundation is created it is only natural that we respect our partners, customers, and end-users. The gatekeepers of the culture must ensure that no one messes with this structure of respect and if you can’t operate in this simple way, then you are not a fit for our company. Simply put, it is Business without the Bullshit.

This is not just the philosophy and execution of the people I have respected most in business, but also in life. And the hard work has paid off. At the end of 2016 we were named on the Entrepreneur 360 Best Companies list and a lot more.

Our leaders are simultaneously running two companies, BuLogics and StratIS, with shared resources out of the same unique office space. Our office is located in the City of Philadelphia, in a building that once housed one of the nation’s first Talkie Theaters. Our Founder and CTO Ryan is a minimalist, and has created an apartment where he lives in the old projection booth of the building. Ryan and our CEO and Founder Felicite, literally eat, breath, and sleep the Internet of Things and Smart Cities. Our CEO lives across the street and has gone beyond the stereotypical dog-friendly office, making the office family-friendly. A dedicated entrepreneur raising three children, she knows what it takes to do both. On any given day, her charming eight-year-old daughter can be seen (quietly and well-behaved) practicing cartwheels in the middle of our “fishbowl,” the large open space that used to be the majority of seating for the theatre. She’s not the only regular in the space. Kids fit in here. They help out. They are embraced as part of our integral and whole lives.

Age is not an issue (on either side of the spectrum) at this company like I have seen at others. We have support people who delayed college because they loved working here so much, and young teenagers, especially young women, often participate in practicums to learn the tech industry early. Our COO is a twenty-seven-year-old Founder in her own right, contrasted by our CEO and CTO who have decades of combined IoT and tech experience.

Mentoring is commonplace and somewhat a requirement. Another key aspect that makes us very unique compared to everywhere I have worked, is that we truly value and are positively and actively shaped by millennials. Felicite is the first to defend and respect millennials. Her millennials are among the brightest, talented, and most valuable members of our company.

A few weeks ago, Felicite gave a speech to our team about how and why our office is a safe place. It was one of the most honest and authentic talks I have ever witnessed. She explained why failure in life and in her own life has been important, and why we can go to her with any problem both personal and professional. Here is the kicker though, she actually means it. In most other companies, employees fear even going to HR, because what you say is almost always used against you.

This isn’t all rainbows, snowflakes and unicorns, though … ok, maybe a couple of really rare unicorns.

In nine months of employment, I have never been asked to change. Not change my attitude, not my beliefs, not my workflow or how I create. There is no micromanaging here because Felicite and Ryan hire adults who have a need to do great work. This may be the secret sauce to the future of work in the world. Our Founder and CTO Ryan once told me that our combined grit and unique world experiences is what makes us so rare and unique. Our companies hire great people and adjust their roles based on their passions, skill set, and performance.

In some ways, one might think that this is the most innovative thing about this company, but it’s not even close.

Our technology is leading the MultiFamily industry into the future of technology integration. We created a disruptive way to provide access, energy, and automation to MultiFamily properties. Our SaaS platform is approaching 150,000 units installed across the U.S, and that number is going to continue to grow in 2017. We have the potential to become a billion dollar company and that is very motivating. We don’t settle for anything mediocre, from hiring engineers, to work ethic, to our customer service and marketing.

Our diversity is unmatched. All races, genders, orientations, and religions are present and welcome. People generally seem to like each other and want to spend time together outside of work hours. Some ego is good. Bad ego is squashed at the door.

We enjoy unlimited vacation time, which I recently learned only 1 percent of companies currently offer their employees. Our office has all of the benefits of the top silicon valley tech firms including, a keg on tap, a nap room, hammocks, open space (and closed space), ping pong, foosball, work from home days, a snack bar, a coffee bar, game and movie nights, yoga mornings, and so much more.

We have some of the most talented employees in the world, including former Googlers, Unisys Stars, Founders, and Entrepreneurs. Our company goal at StratIS is to change the world. As cliche as this must sound, we are empowered enough to believe it and do it. But to change the world you must start at home. Our Founders are very active in the local community and run projects and a community organization they created called East Falls Forward, from the office.

This article just starts to peel the layers of the onion that is our growing team and our unique approach to business. For more information reach out to me at Jim@stratisems.com
James Calder is the Marketing Director for two companies in the IoT tech space, BuLogics and StratIS. He was named Top Voices on LinkedIn in 2015, and the number two voice in healthcare from more than 2 million bloggers on the platform. He was the creator of the Seinfeld Birthday Project, which went internationally viral, received more than 1 million YouTube views, and was featured in hundreds of newspapers, blogs, TV shows and radio programs.


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