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Supporting women at work, today and everyday

This International Women’s Day, we chat to 383ers about how we’re building a more supportive, inclusive workplace for our team.

International Women’s Day takes place today, Wednesday, 8 March, and one of this year’s missions centres on ‘building workplaces where women thrive.’ It’s a cause that’s close to our heart at 383, and one we’re championing today, but supporting all year round. Almost half of our team identify as women, and in the past few years we’ve introduced new policies and improved on existing ones to help us be the best workplace we can be.

In 2022, we were officially recognised as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces for Women by Great Place to Work, an independent body that evaluates companies based on employee surveys and audits covering culture, programmes and practices. It’s an achievement we’re incredibly proud of, although we know that our work to become a more inclusive employer is never finished.

Here’s some of the things we’re working on, alongside insights from the 383 team on their experiences so far.

It’s sad that the thought of being treated differently because of gender is still a possibility, but unfortunately it is. But never in my time at 383 have I ever felt judged, unheard or overlooked. I feel completely respected by everyone here and it’s just lovely.

Sheryl Preen, Senior Product Manager

Nurturing flexibility

The Women’s Equality Party has highlighted the vital role of flexible working in creating more inclusive workplaces; “Flexibility in the workplace for everyone, at all levels, means that women are more able to progress, and more able to earn higher salaries,” explains Holly Curry.

At 383, we’ve fully embraced the shift to remote and flexible working, with a ‘work from anywhere’ approach. Our team are able to choose between working from home, from our office space in Birmingham, from a global network of co-working locations, or from wherever works for them - even if that’s somewhere unconventional…. Senior Product Manager Sheryl worked from a trampoline park last week for a couple of hours; “I managed to get lots done in that time and my children were super happy playing and having a great time. Perfect balance!”.

Our working day is structured around core hours, which gives us plenty of flex to fit work around our lives, rather than life around work. It’s completely normal to see 383ers pop out to pick their kids up from school, or take a long lunch to head to the gym, or just get away from the screen for some fresh air when it’s needed. As Hannah Lockey-May, our Group Content Manager, puts it, “Being able to pop out when I need to walk the dog throughout the day and not worry that someone is going to be chasing me to be back at my desk is amazing.”.

Championing caregivers

Alongside flexibility, we’ve worked hard at 383 to ensure we support parents and caregivers in our team. That includes things like enhanced maternity, paternity and adoption leave policies, but also extends to our broader culture. Most of our senior management team are parents, so we have first-hand knowledge of just how difficult that balancing act can be!

It’s important to us that conversations about working parents don’t focus exclusively on women; building a culture when men are just as likely to be the ones doing the school run, or balancing childcare and work, means we allow them to support their partners, and normalise the conversation for our team regardless of gender. Liz Hemes, our Customer Success Director, recognises the role that her male colleagues play in allowing her to thrive as a working parent; “Without them leading the way, I might have been guilty of showing that to be on leadership I need to prioritise work and prove I can do it all.”

I get to do the school run every morning and still be at work by 9.15. I've never been able to achieve that anywhere else. And outside of the weekly routine, being able to attend nativities and parents evening without having to book off half days is amazing. It's absolutely encouraged to be there for your children at key points, and it makes me  all the more determined to prove the balance works.

Liz Hemes, Customer Success Director

We’re also making efforts to support and encourage women returning to work after becoming parents. Our Talent Manager, Sarah Cockerill, recently shared her experience on LinkedIn about applying and interviewing with us whilst on maternity leave, and we just welcomed Ellie Hunt back from maternity to a new role as a Senior Business Development Manager.

I never feel like i have to compromise between my role at 383 and my role as a mum. I'm given the freedom and flexibility to manage my workload and my time in a way that works for everyone. Working remotely, the second I finish work I get to enjoy time with my baby and it's a privilege to get so much time with him around work.

Sarah Cockerill, Talent Manager

Showing up

Alongside the more formal policies and frameworks, our values have a huge part to play in building an inclusive workplace for women. We pride ourselves on valuing compassion over indifference, which means showing up for our colleagues and helping them to thrive as their authentic selves.

One thing that won me over about coming to this role was when I spoke to Sukhi, our founder, and I said to him that I hated the fact that I had to be one person at work and one person outside of work he turned around and said, we want everyone to be their authentic selves. I can show up to work and basically be myself and I don't have to stress about it.

Shilpa Panchal-Astle, Digital Project Manager

We encourage and enable this in lots of different ways:

  • Our women’s Slack channel where we can talk about issues that are important to us, share experiences, and act as a sounding board when we’re navigating the world of work
  • Our regular staff surveys that track anonymous feedback on things like wellness, happiness and relationships at work, to help us spot things that need to be improved
  • Our weekly ‘high fives’, where 383ers can say thanks to their colleagues for being brilliant
  • Our quarterly ‘values champions’, nominated by the team to reward people who've gone above and beyond.

“Everyone roots for each other here - like truly roots for each other,” explains Sheryl, “which is super rare, although it shouldn’t be!”. 

The feeling of being able to bring your full self to work and being supported as an openly queer woman is the best thing about working at 383. It's by far the most supportive workspace I've ever been in & I have never felt "other". Sadly, that was a reality in other jobs.

Charlotte Summers, Group Social Media Manager

Elevating voices

Women make up a third of our senior management team currently. We're really proud of this, although we recognise there is work to do here, especially on the diversity of that group, and especially in an industry where there is still a significant gender imbalance; a 2021 ProductPlan survey found that men outnumber women almost 2:1 in product management roles, and only 36% of senior product roles are held by women.

“When I first joined, I was shocked to read that women were so underrepresented in the product and tech space because of how many women were in senior roles at 383,” highlights Charlotte Summers, Group Social Media Manager.

The diversity in our team was a key factor for Anita Leslie, our Head of Product, when she joined the team. “It was fantastic to see such a mix of women at different stages in their careers and their personal lives and from different backgrounds, and how the business was working to encourage that diversity. For me personally, I am an 'older’ woman,  and so being accepted as part of the team has been fantastic.”

Outside of our own team, we recognise the role we have to apply in elevating women’s voice in our industry. I’ve loved engaging with talented women in product and tech through Byte, our online event series, and seeing incredible women share their stories on stage at our annual digital product conference, Canvas.

What’s next?

To end, we asked the team for their advice for the next generation of women entering the workforce. Here’s what they had to share.

Always, unapologetically, be yourself. Remember, you can have both a career and a family and you got you where you are today from your hard work not someone else’s or sheer luck. You are enough.

Sheryl Preen, Senior Product Manager

Stand by your views and beliefs. Sometimes being the youngest in a team can lead you to question yourself, but have faith in your ideas. 

Charlotte Summers, Group Social Media Manager

The 'glass ceiling' that seems to be talked about for women is made to be smashed. That's why it is 'glass'. Go for every opportunity and don't let your gender ever make you second guess yourself or your skills.

Hannah Lockey-May, Group Content Manager

Find your allies - they might not even be in your team, or be your line manager, but find the people who don't rely on your performance to succeed. They will have the best advice to help you progress, and not just help the business succeed.

Liz Hemes, Customer Success Director

Never be afraid to ask people to help you. Proactively seeking support is so much better than doing nothing. It will not only help you with the problem you are wrestling with, but will also help you make connections with people you never realised existed.

Anita Leslie, Head of Product

Has this blog made you think you want to join the team at 383? Good news - we’re hiring! 

You can find our latest openings here: CAREERS

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