ARTICLE

Our first 100 days at fresk.digital

onboarding experience in a modern operation digital agency

March 1, 2023
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Virginia Rispoli

After closing our first 100 days as Human Centered Designers at fresk.digital, John Somers and I met for a cup of coffee in Weesp to share our experiences, learnings and reflections. Needless to say, it’s been such a nice moment! And we have realized that our conversation might also be interesting to share with the rest of the world. So, if you want to know fresk.digital from the eyes of 2 new fresk fellows, join us in our conversation.

Our first 100 days at fresk.digital have passed. How do you feel?

John: I’m doing well, it’s definitely been a roller coaster, in a positive way. I feel very lucky to be part of a smaller team, and that at the same time I got to know new people. I’ve been assigned to several projects and I’ve got to work on a cool client project in the first 30 days, which is absolutely exclusive. And what about you?

Virginia: I’m also doing very well. I find it crazy, as on one hand I feel I’ve been here ever since, and on the other hand I feel like we have started yesterday! Wow, 100 days went by so fast. I’m proud of the amount of things I’ve been assigned to and done in these first 100 days, it is so motivating to work with such a talented team.

How was the onboarding experience different from others you have had before?

John: I found it personal, actually, I loved the first day. I enjoyed the photoshoot, it made me feel part of the family on day 1. It was also an easy onboarding, as I knew some people already. But still, I’ve decided to add a personal touch to the onboarding process, and used my User Manual to get to know the people better during our 1on1 coffees. It worked really well.

Virginia: I was a bit nervous on my first day.. you know, all those thoughts before you start something new? Am I up to the level? Would I make a good impression… But then I entered the room where Lisa Victorian and Cyrille Rentier were waiting for us, and it felt like homecoming, like I have been working here ever since. And I loved that within 30 minutes, we had everything set up to start.

Everything was already done for us, 30 minutes after having opened our new laptops, and we were in. So smooth and easy!

Which were your 3 favourite moments during these 100 days?

John: the drinks at Piet Scheeren’s place, such a welcoming and yet professional atmosphere; the first client meeting at Ravlling | travel differently (sharing our first designs); and honestly, I love the standup we do every morning with the design team, such a great way to start the day!

Virginia: for me as well, the monthly drinks, which we combine with our team sessions, and that always gives such a good energy and motivation; the start of the AVOS project with Experience Fruit Quality together with Paul Versteeg (that was already in my first week, isn’t amazing?); and the 1 on 1 meetings I’ve done to connect with all the colleagues. I feel grateful for the time people took for them, and it made me feel at home.

How have you experienced the concept of homeshoring so far? What are your favorite things about it, and what are the challenges you have encountered?

John: I really like it, it gives me the freedom I was looking for, as I was never a 9 to 5 person. I need people around me, so I was a bit nervous about always being alone. But we have all the means to meet and share some good time together, with the monthly sessions, the weekstart, the coworking spaces we can reserve to meet.

Virginia: if you would have asked me two years ago, I would have been skeptical about it. But I grew in it, and now I would never go without. It goes with the fact that I feel trust from the people I work with, and I have full trust of them. We know we will get things done, where and when it’s up to us. And this freedom and trust gives me a huge amount of motivation to deliver the best quality I can.

In practice, what does it mean to not have an office? Were there any new softwares or tools that you had to learn using? And if yes, which ones?

John: we have the possibility to meet wherever we want, so I don’t feel the lack of an office at all. Also, our communication is well structured; if you need something, you just need to ask for it, and someone will help you. As we are not afraid of trying new things, we are using ClickUp as a project management tool, and it seems to go really well.

Virginia: oh it’s amazing! I was in Spain last month, working from there, and it’s just normal. The only thing I need is a wifi connection, and I know I will find my colleagues :) My challenge is that I need to learn to document my work better, as I’m used to having pieces of paper on my desk, but I want it to be accessible for the team. We have all the tools and softwares to support us in this, and as you said ClickUp is a big ally for us. I’m happy to be learning this while doing it!

What is your new routine at fresk.digital?

John: actually, I’m happy I got rid of routines. We need to be flexible, so I reserve space in my day to do ad hoc things in combination with planned client work. I do a week-start on my own on Monday morning, to get all the todos in one place, and then I’m ready to start! And the weekstart meeting we do with the rest of the team every Monday gives me an overview of what other people are doing as well.

Virginia: I also do a week-start, but I do it on Friday at the end of the day. I use it as a moment to reflect and look back at the things I've done, and so plan the new week in advance. A bit of celebration is always nice! And it gives me an overview of the week to come. And the stand-up meetings we do with the design team give me that nice rhythm and pace to get things done day by day.

How would you describe your work and your influences?

John: we make an impact with our work on specific niches, as we seek for new things and not trivial things. Together, as a team, we define if it’s interesting for us, and if so, we go for it. And when design comes in the project, my goal is to bring a smile to clients faces. With simplicity, looking for a style that really matches the user’s and clients needs and identity, colours and shapes that speak with the heart of people.

Virginia: I always say that if I do my job well, you won’t notice I’ve been there. I like to embrace complexity, to zoom out as much as possible, to then zoom back into the core functionalities that will make the product or service really valuable for our clients and the people who will use it. That’s why I always try to build connections with all the people involved in the project, so that we can build a shared language and goal to work towards.

How would you describe fresk.digital to the outside world?

John: a flat organization, where everyone is equal. With high standards, which is very motivating. We are not role bound, each of us has hers of his strengths, and we always think in opportunities and never in problems.

Virginia: yes, I totally agree on the high standards, and that keeps me so sharp. When we share work with each other we do it to improve ourselves. There’s always the WE, and never the I. And since the communication and documentation works so well, we are able to keep short lines between the different disciplines we have, such as Design, Tech and Data.

And, what is fresk.digital to you, from the inside?

John: fresh, enthusiastic, curious (eager to listen and ready for feedback).

Virginia: caring, motivating, experienced yet humble.

If fresk.digital was human and you met at a cocktail party, how would you describe them?

John: I would imagine fresk as a knowledgeable person with style, well dressed but not overdressed, You know I’m a big football fan, so I would imagine fresk as Ruud Gullit.

Virginia: ok, if fresk were a person, it would be tall, interested in good food and wine, knowledgeable but not arrogant. Super charismatic, the kind of person that everyone likes and gets along with. Interested and interesting, fun and approachable. Like Barack Obama, if I can shoot high ;)

Let’s look at the future: what are you going to focus on next?

John: my next focus will be sharpening the visual design style and brand identity. Being that fresk is new and we will be growing, we have to look at our current style and make it future proof. And of course, cool client work.

Virginia: my focus will be to bring the immense amount of knowledge we have inside, to the outside world. I want to take us on stage, articles, and why not, some design awards? And as you said, cool client work is waiting for us!

John and Virginia during their '100 days coffee'​

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