Since March 2021 all of the Learnifier employees work fully remote until we find our new space. Every week we check in with one Learnifier, getting a glimpse into their remote work life and get their best tips for wellbeing and productivity. This time we interviewed our CEO and Co-Founder Mattias Borg.
Hi Mattias, what is your role at Learnifier?
- I am the CEO and I am also a Co-Founder of Learnifier.
Exciting. It must be amazing to start a company and see it grow and thrive! Tell us a little about Learnifier and the journey?
- It is amazing! We have gone from being a small team for many years to being around 30 people now. It is mainly the last two years that we have done the growth. It always amazes me on Monday mornings now when we do our big team check-in to see how many we are now.
Two of the things on this journey that really excite me are: 1) that customers are really happy about our learning platform and that we really make a difference, and, 2) that we have created a big team of great people who challenges and supports each other to grow.
You are a CEO of a tech company where everyone works remotely right now? Tell us about this!
- Yes and one could think this is due to the pandemic. Actually this has always been in the DNA of Learnifier to not be ”bound by time or place”. For many years myself and our other Founder Jerker Klang for example have worked abroad. When we grew we got an office space at Södermalm in Stockholm but for known reasons it was hardly used during 2020 and 2021. There were only a few people who were in our office during the pandemic.
In March 2021 we left our offices and went 100 % remote. Even though doing that was not in the original plan, it has helped us get closer to our vision of not being bound by time and place. We are now able to recruit talent from other places than Stockholm. More and more people looking for new career opportunities are also looking for the freedom and flexibility to work elsewhere than their own cities or countries.
But we are looking for a new physical space. It will not be a “traditional office” but more of a place to work, be creative and socialize, and of course also work individually. We hope this will be reality in the first few months of next year which is very exciting. But even then, the employees who want to work mostly remote will have the ability to do so.
"We try to have activities in the week when we meet.
Sometimes just presence is important. The meetings do not need to be super productive always. For example our Monday check-ins: they are more about that we are showing up together and there is power in that."
Remote leadership, teamwork and company culture during Corona is something many struggle with. What can you say about this?
- If we start with leadership. Luckily we had a lot of structure in place already. For example we have always had 1to1 meetings with each employee and these became really important when physically distanced. You make the time to see each other and be there, to have discussions, open up and be a bit vulnerable. But it is more challenging leading remotely. For example it is harder to see how people feel. You only see your team members on specific times and you cannot read body language etc.
When it comes to teamwork it works very well digitally thanks to great digital tools BUT when it comes to really having in-depth discussions, solving problems together and being creative, it is much more challenging to do.
When it comes to building a good culture we have made sure to have specific times during the weeks and months that the entire organization get a chance to meet and get updated. Every Monday morning we have a weekly check-in and every month a monthly meeting. We also have weekly team meetings of course - again on specific times. We also have 1to1 meetings with all of our employees as mentioned before. And not to forget, important to also have social activities. For example we have a daily 3 pm fika break (holy for some) and also a digital drink o’clock on Fridays at 4 pm etc.
What have you done at Learnifier to make remote work as good as possible for wellbeing and productivity? What has worked? What has not worked so well?
- This is quite a challenge we feel. It would be one thing is everyone lived in a big house with their own work room, but that is often not the case. Maybe you live alone in a small apartment, maybe you work from home with your partner and/or children. While that can be nice - it is sometimes also a distraction. But we need to distinguish between working from home and working remotely.
Many of our employees make use of working from co-working spaces. We have an app, Flowpass, that makes it easy for them to book day passes and/or meeting rooms around Stockholm which is great and something we implemented to help with wellbeing and productivity.
Again we try to have activities in the week when we meet. And sometimes just presence is important.
The meetings do not need to be super productive always. For example our Monday check-ins: They are more about that we are showing up together and there is power in that.
"I've missed being inspired by my surroundings for example when walking around the city: by the architecture, covers of magazines, just the people around you. You get inspiration and "inexplicable" ideas that just come to you, not something you can actively search for."
A day in the life of a CEO. What do your days look like and where do you work?
- The typical day is that it is not typical. My days consist of everything from attending customer meetings and having 1to1:s t to speaking at events and doing financial reporting. The whole spectrum. I work a lot during the week but very rarely in the weekends. I try to spend quality time with my family.
What is your main Superpower and how has it helped you now during the pandemic?
- I think to be able to quickly understand things and form an opinion. I am curious and can keep myself up to date with many different areas at once. That is more of a general Superpower maybe. If something more connected to remote work and the pandemic I would say good endurance. More a marathon runner than a sprinter.
"I keep the same routines as if I would have gone to the office. If you don’t do that it is easy to get stuck in home-mode."
Which are some of the big work challenges you have personally faced during Corona and have you overcome them, how?
- You sit in front of the screen in meetings all day and it can become a little monotonous. I try to vary how I have my meetings. For example some as walk n' talks etc. I've also missed being inspired by my surroundings for example when walking around the city: by the architecture, covers of magazines, just the people around you. You get inspiration and inexplicable ideas that just come to you, not something you can actively search for. Also the everyday exercise that should not be underestimated. I also miss the energy you get when sitting in the same room as your colleagues. It is very hard to imitate in the digital.
What good aspects have you personally found working remotely?
- I love to be able to choose where I work from,: Åre, Stockholm, USA. To have the opportunity. Also efficiency. You get a lot done - not just at work but in life, for example when you do not have to commute to and from work.
What have you learned? Advice for others?
- Boring but important - make sure you have good tools!
Also, create a good structure to make sure you meet: Weekly meetings, daily meetings, social activities.
I would also say routines. You need structures, otherwise the day can run away from you
I keep the same routines as if I would have gone to the office. If you don’t do that, I think it is easy to get stuck in home-mode.
How will your dream work situation be in a few months?
Maybe from home one day a week
Maybe one or two days at a co-working space
Two days a week from Learnifier Studios
And maybe a week here and there from other cities and/or countries.
Interview by: Rebecca Cannerfelt
Learnifier is the leading Learning Platform in the Nordics.
Since 2012 companies and organizations of all sizes use our platform to quickly and easily create and share courses for onboarding and training of employees, customers, partners, members and other groups they want to reach with their knowledge.
Read more at www.learnifier.com
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