I had only met everyone (in one place at one time – not an easy thing to achieve in a busy company) a couple of times before, including most recently at a very good fun and exciting day at Oulton Park where the company hired two track cars and two instructors for us all to enjoy for the day. It was ace! I was much faster than all the boys, but I guess that’s a different story…

Next stop London!

I speak to all the other Arbtechers on the phone everyday, but don’t get to see that much because they live at the opposite end of the country. Despite this, we’re a close team and it’s nice for us northerners to see our colleagues in the southeast when we have our regular all-employee meetings.

Last month, the team of Arbtechers met in a (very nice) conference centre in London to discuss Arbtech’s strategy and progression.

Rob had prepared a presentation about the company’s strategy, to help the newer Arbtechers better understand our how their contribution makes a difference and to remind the old hands of where we are headed.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous journals, we are given a lot of freedom to manage our own workload. For instance, none of us have a time sheet, or have set working hours. Everything we do for clients is achieved by trusting in our integrity. I think the meeting was important because as great as this freedom is, everyone needs to make sure they’re heading in the same direction – especially with Rob’s ambitious goals!

Other topics discussed

We also talked through a wide range of important topics, including an economics and pricing logic lecture by Rob, to new techniques for survey data collection by Matt and Alan. Most importantly, we talked about culture and how to protect ‘the Arbtech castle’.

I drew an amazing castle and moat by the way, with flags, crocodiles, you name it… but I forgot to bring it home so unfortunately I can’t upload it (as it would certainly make you laugh!). Craig also drew a castle picture and after and poll of the room, mine won by a unanimous vote – yay!

Back on topic…Rob likes to regularly review how he can ensure Arbtechers are happy (and therefore, the logic goes, hard working). He really impressed with his innovative new way of rewarding people in the team for contributions to the team’s success with the ‘Cheers Mate’ scheme. The scheme means we (employees) can reward each other with cash bonuses, absent of any interference or supervision, if another Arbtecher goes beyond their call of duty. Sound good? It is.

How does that work in practice?

Summer at Arbtech is known as ‘silly-season’. Well, for the ecologists doing bat surveys anyway… the arboriculture guys have it comparatively easy ☺

If you are out almost most nights over the 4 months of silly-season doing emergence surveys, you can imagine the lack of sleep might send you a tad cuckoo and a helping hand from your fellow batty ecologists could come in handy – e.g. answering e-mails for someone whilst they’re on annual leave, so they don’t have 500 unread in their inbox to welcome them back.

Honestly, I think it will work really well. I think it’s nice to say thank you and to be thanked in return for being helpful and making someone’s day that bit easier – just because you’re that type of person who cares.

Finishing off

We rounded the day out with some open discussions about anything and everything we do, how it could be improved upon and thing that need to change to make them faster or better for our clients. Then we went for drinks. Cheers, Rob!


A message from Amy

Thanks for reading this instalment. The next journal blog will be up soon, as I chronicle my journey from ecology zero to surveyor hero. If you’d like an automatic notification of this, follow us on twitter (@superfastsurvey) or sign up to our mailing list below. Please also feel free to share this and leave any comments below.