We’re listening to people to understand their needs

Ivana Paunović
Workplace Experience Manager in Nordeus

First of all, tell us something about your position and how is it linked to Human Resources rather than the Real estate business?
I work as a Workplace Experience Manager at Nordeus, the independent games here in Belgrade best known for Top Eleven – the world’s most successful sports mobile game. My role is to ensure that our space and our people are truly connected. We strongly believe in the importance of having an engaging and inspiring working environment, and that doesn’t include only creative workspace design, but also a wide range of quality services and experiences that have been provided in order to keep people motivated and engaged. How are we doing it? We’re listening to people to understand their needs, while using the best knowledge and practice. Our unique culture is the key ingredient for delivering customised experience that best works for us.

Does it mean that every innovative company should have an innovative working environment?
In our opinion, definitely! However, similar to the fact that we all have unique homes reflecting our lifestyles and that meet our needs, it’s important for every company to understand what kind of environment works for their people and culture. It’s not a one size fits all, or a singular concept that can be copied and simply applied.

Where are the most important design principles that you’re following while designing Nordeus workspace?

At Nordeus – boosting productivity, enabling creativity and celebrating culture are the main design principles that lead us through the space design process. Having an awesome bunch of engineers, designers and artists – alongside other professions – on the board, we’re aiming for a fine balance between highly functional and creative space, with smart use of workplace technology.

When it comes to creating space to fit our cultural needs, we have tried both open space and enclosed offices, and discovered that having autonomy is something our people deeply appreciate. So we decided to stick to enclosed offices for up to 6 people, where they can do both solo deep work or loud group brainstorming. In addition, we also provided a wider range of different activity-based spaces that brings people out of their offices and facilitates idea sharing. The key one is our canteen, a central space where we gather to have meals together, to announce big news, or just to pop in for a coffee and chat.

We really value the benefits that have positive impact on our well-being; beside the ergonomic office chair and sit / stand desks, there’s a place for workout or power stretching activities during the day, or Fun Room for relaxing by playing PES or other great games that we all love.
My favourite places are the one that we can configure for different usage, from L&D workshops to creative design sessions – with large white writable surfaces and variety of workshop materials to make a mess, these spaces really give our people an opportunity to be creative and experiment with ideas. As matter of fact, the majority of the offices and meeting rooms are like that! Although they might look casual, they actually support design thinking processes that are very important for our business.

How can interior design enhance the productivity of the employees?
It’s hard to measure it precisely, but there is a lot of research that support that statement. Some of them say there’s a 30 percent swing between employee performance from the best to the worst buildings. From my perspective, workspace is a tool that, when it’s smartly designed and utilized, allows employees to focus on their work and boost performance.

This, combined with other benefits such as a wide range of quality food and beverage, free parking, the best tech for work, flexible working hours, and unlimited vacation, we have looked to create a workplace where we have engaged people with have the autonomy to work on what they love.

At the end, which natural environment gives you the biggest inspiration?
For all kind of artists, nature itself is the ultimate source of inspiration, and architects are no exception. There’s a whole trend in architecture called biophilic design, that incorporates natural materials, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world into the modern built environment. I personally enjoy spending my weekend getaways in the nature, but if I need to pick the most inspiring one – that would be top of a mountain with a breathtaking view!

Photo: Nordeus collection

Marta Blanco
Engagement and Mobility Menadzer at Nordeus

Hi! Could you tell our readers more about your position in Nordeus?

My role as Engagement and Mobility Manager is, in a nutshell, to make sure that our team delivers the best possible relocation experience for our expats. Changing countries is not an easy task and when additional family members are involved our priority is to provide a smooth transition for everyone.

Once that process has been successfully completed part of our team’s responsibility is also to have all our people happy and engaged in Nordeus so they feel they belong here.

Not all local companies have the opportunity to hire international talents and have them working and living in Serbia. What that brings to Nordeus and local tech/ gaming community?

Diversity and industry experience are probably the two main characteristics our international talent bring to Nordeus. On one hand, people from different backgrounds, work habits and cultural norms create top-performing teams, but it’s a matter of finding common ground and ultimately to share the same core values. On the other hand, sometimes critical roles need to be filled with global talent with vast knowledge and experience that has come from working in big international gaming companies, complementing the local talent we currently have.

What are the most important aspects of creating a great expat experience for Nordeus hires?

International relocations are definitely more challenging and demanding, especially if partners or family members are involved as well.

We’ve identified some common pain points that we try to solve in advance so the transition to the new life here in Belgrade is as smooth as possible, letting our expats focus on the adventure of working for Nordeus while also discovering a new city.

If you were asked to imagine a perfect expat experience I honestly believe we would cover pretty much everything. Logistics is the first step, once we have moved you, your family and your personal belongings to Belgrade we would help you settle in by assisting you with visas, real estate consulting, schools, banking, Serbian lessons, medical care and so on.

We even go one step further and offer a “cultural onboarding” to help our expats acknowledge the cultural differences and overcome some barriers by understanding a little bit more about Serbian society and its history.

And the last but not the least, when the international assignment comes to an end, our team also helps our expats and their families to make the transition and readjustment back to their country of origin, by dealing with their repatriation.

How do you represent Belgrade and Serbia to the world?
Nordeus is a global company located in Serbia and one of the world’s leading independent game studios; that in a way speaks for itself. We are starting by bringing the world to Belgrade and Serbia to help us create in here top class games that will be played worldwide.
In the corridors of Nordeus you can bump into around 20 different nationalities and if we add expat families to the mix it gives you an idea of the international community we’re creating in Belgrade. We honestly believe that this has also a positive impact on the local community at all levels.
We’re all about showing Belgrade as a young and vibrant city, and that we’re looking to put it on the global map of gaming. We have a ‘My Life a Nordeus’ video series on our YouTube channel that helps showcase the city and the life people can lead here, whatever their personal situation.

Could you share the best examples from the practice?

Our team always goes above and beyond to create a seamless experience for our expats. As I’ve mentioned before we cover every single angle during the whole relocation process… even if you’re bringing a 40kg Bernese Mountain dog from Canada to live here in Belgrade, we also take care of that – nema problema!

Settling in Belgrade is as important as the previous relocation steps, so we organize different social activities for our expat community and their families to help them feel happy. One of the most successful this year so far was a 4 day city break to Dubrovnik and Kotor, everyone loved it!

Last but not least, we take very seriously the trailing spouses and family members that come to live here with our expat employees. We do a little bit of research in advance and we try to spot in Belgrade the same hobbies and passions they had in their country of origin so they feel like they are home away from home. If you are a kid who loved to do gymnastics in your home country, don’t worry as you will be training in one of the top teams here in Belgrade, and one day who knows, you may even represent the national team!

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