Trade Unions

At Wholegrain, we operate a neutral policy about trade unions. If you so wish, you can join a union in your own capacity. However, we sincerely hope that if there are any employment related issues, we would be able to resolve them through consultation and negotiation within the company, through a transparent and fair channel.

Induction Process

First of all, we’d like to extend the warmest welcome to the Wholegrain Digital team! We’re happy to have you and hope that you will be as happy here as we are.

On your first day, a member of the team (or several!) will sit with you and go through all the main things you need to know about Wholegrain Digital and how we work. The below links will provide further information for this.

This website is our employee handbook and you’ll find everything you need to know about life a Wholegrain Digital here. If you can’t find something, just ask as we should probably add it! 🙂

Who We Are

The heart of Wholegrain can be summed up in our mission statement, which was written by Tom and made into a beautiful video by our resident Photographer and Project Manager, Amina. This is how we Define Success. ……

Where we are

On your first day you will be shown around our office, which is a co-working space on Haymarket, just down the road from Piccadilly Circus.

Your first day will most likely be a Tuesday as this is our ‘team day’, when we all come in and work from the office. The rest of the time we work remotely.

Read more about working from the office

Read more about working remotely

Staying in touch

Remote working is a big part of the culture here at Wholegrain Digital and we support our team to take advantage of the benefits, which we passionately believe make for a happier and healthier life. You can hear Tom’s thoughts on remote working in his talk from WordCamp Brighton 2016,on  Happiness and the Art of Remote Working.

As we work remotely most of the time and often do not see each other (or our clients) face-to-face, good communication is vital.

Read more on how we communicate with each other

Read more on how we communicate with our clients

Recording Hours

We need to record our hours both for payroll and to keep track of the time we are spending on client projects for invoicing purposes.

Read more on how we record our hours for Personal and Project timesheets

Project Management

Even if you’re not a Project Manager yourself, it helps to know a little about how we manage projects.

Talk to a project manager to learn more.

Team Day

We have an at least one team building day per year, and we aim to arrange it on a working day that suits everyone so we can all attend. It usually takes place in early summer (June/July), and we decide together what we will do and where we will go. It’s a great way to get to know the team better and have fun! 🙂

There will be comprehensive induction reading list in the new version of The Granary, with many more articles that you should read in your first weeks at Wholegrain but this should be enough for your first day!

How to Add a Website to Bread Board

We use Bread Board to keep track of all the websites we work on. So, if you’re a project manager then you will need to add all the websites you work on to Bread Board (BB).

Here’s how to do this:

  • Install and activate the plugin to the website you’d like to add. For the time being, make sure you run only version 1.1.1, do not update to the latest version
  • Within the admin area of the website you’d like to add, navigate to the BB admin page (under Settings) and copy the token key
  • Create new client within the BB admin area.

Then, add the following info:

  •  A self-descriptive title, i.e. “name of the website”, add “- dev” to it if needed
  •  In the content area, add a little background information about the project/client
  •  Website URL
  •  Security token (that you got from the plugin)
  •  Where the website is hosted
  •  Client info i.e: name, email and phone number
  •  The email address of all the Wholegrain team members that took part to the project, i.e: PM, developers & designers

Finally…

  • Select the status at the top right (live OR development + signed for support)
  • Publish
  • Then, go back to the BB admin page (under WP Settings), add the full URL of the new client post in the “Bread Board URL” and save.

Financial transparency

As a limited company, our annual accounts are published to Companies House.

We do not publish any further public accounts. However, if team members are interested in the company’s finances and would like specific information, or have questions about them, then this will be provided so long as it does not:

  • Compromise the privacy of individual team members
  • Compromise client confidentiality
  • Pose a commercial risk or conflict of interest.

In cases where the information requested cannot be provided, a reason will be given.

Handling Enquiries

Here’s how we manage projects, from the initial enquiry:

Enquiries/leads

Most of our new leads come via the phone or through or website. We don’t really ‘do’ sales, we just build great relationships.

We keept track of all of our projects using RedBooth. You can read our RedBooth Guide to find out how we use it.

Telephone enquiries

If you take details of a new lead over the phone, be sure to make a note of the details and record it in RedBooth under the Wholegrain Leads workspace. This ensures that we can keep track of it, whether you take the enquiry on yourself or pass it to someone else.

Website enquiries

These always go first to Amina, Vineeta, Mohib and Rachael. Mohib or Rachael will add these leads to RedBooth as appropriate and only assign you if this has been requested. There will be details of the enquiry and next steps in the comment box when you go into the task assigned to you.

Once you have all the details you need, you can then prepare a quote for the proposed project using Quotient. If you do not have access, Mohib or Rachael can help you with this.

Project Management

Once you begin working on a project, you are expected to keep track of all the billable and non-billable hours for it so that we can invoice appropriately at suitable intervals. You can find out more about tacking these project hours in the Granary article on Time sheets. We will soon be recording everything in Hopper, which will make this much easier.

To keep track of the tasks that need doing, we create a new workspace for each project in RedBooth and add tasks for the team on the project here. It’s handy if you record hours here too, so you can quickly see how long was spent on each task should you need to check or confirm anything.

Unless it’s a really small job, we invoice 50% of the quote upfront before we start work on a project, then the remaining 50% plus extras at the end. Rachael takes care of the invoicing and you can find out more about the process in The Granary article, How to raise an invoice.

 

 

 

Communicating with clients

The way we communicate with clients is especially important because much of our communication takes place via email and over the phone. It’s always preferable to meet a client in person at least once, as meeting face to face helps to build stronger relationships, although of course this is not always possible.

Below is a list of the ways we connect with clients, but whatever channel we use it’s always important to be friendly, honest and open and to be mindful of the language we use in any communication and how the client may receive this.

Email

Much of our communication with clients is via email. Please read our email guidelines for best practice when writing emails.

Phone

We take turns manning the main phone line through Soho 66. If you will be manning the phone line we will send you a short video with instructions, so you know how to ensure calls are also directed to your (work) mobile.

There are a couple of articles in The Granary that may be useful to have handy when dealing with phone enquiries:

Phone Handling

Questions to ask of new enquiries.

Skype

We often use Skype to hold face to face client meetings when we are not able to meet in person.

Internal Communication

Of course it goes without saying that here at Wholegrain, we treat each other with kindness and respect, and communicate in a way that reflects this.

Being a team that works mostly remotely can pose a challenge. However, regular communication through a variety of channels helps to stay in touch and build strong relationships with our colleagues, wherever they may be in the world. Here’s how we do this:

Slack

We use Slack to communicate as a team. You’ll be added to our team Slack following your induction and you should always sign in when you are working so that the team can easily get hold of you. Slack is a bit like an internal twitter – you can send group messages, personal messages and tag someone with a @reply. It’s a great way to stay in touch with each other and not only for work related chats! We have several channels within which we talk about things we care about and get to know each other better. It also possible to make calls with Slack, although this works better some days than others!

You must have your details up to date on slack, such as your phone numbers (work and personal in case of emergency) and Skype ID. This is important so that a member of team can contact you or pass your details on for clients to reach you.

Redbooth

We use RedBooth to keep track of all projects – all your tasks will be sent here and you can create your own tasks as well. Its features enable you to assign tasks to individuals or groups, comment on a task, message your colleagues (although we tend to stick to slack for instant messages as we all have this open more of the time) and much more.

Your role will define which workspaces or tasks you will be involved in. There is a Wholegrain Guide to RedBooth here on the Granary, with further information about how we use it to manage projects.

Skype

It is recommended to have a Skype ID in addition to Slack. You can use an existing ID if you have one. This is both as a backup to our internal channels (and it’s nice to see each other sometimes when we’re working remotely!) and is also great for contacting clients, especially those we are unable to meet with in person.

 

Why Wireframe?

Many a time, project managers in the process of creating an awesome website for a client often jump straight from a client brief, into building the required web pages. I have recently come to learn that regardless of how exciting this process might be, it is probably much like an architect building a house without the blueprint. That’s right, even web designers need their very own blueprint, but in our world, it’s often referred to as a Wireframe.

Wireframing:

Wireframing is a fun and important step in the web development process which requires a small investment of time prior to starting a project, but saves you from losing a lot of time later down the line. I guess many designers and project managers in the web industry have previously had experience of sending a first mock up to a client, complete with dummy logos, and lorem ipsum, only to have the client return with comments that focus purely on the aesthetic of the dummy logo, and not on the functionality of the page itself. The danger with this is, the client isn’t getting the opportunity to witness the full birth of their new website – and are instead seeing things from a half grown perspective. I wholeheartedly understand why that can get confusing for clients, because they won’t be sure if what they are seeing is the final thing, or a design proposal.

That is where the wonderful wireframe comes to play, to eliminate the gap between great ideas and great confusion. A wireframe is a simple way of understanding the layout of a website from a structural level. It allows you to reflect on the client’s brief and use what you know to arrange their content in the most efficient way, and also to define the information hierarchy of your page designs. For both designers and clients, it’s the best way to imagine the layout and interaction of their page without being distracted by cute typography and pretty colours.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-23-21-17

As illustrated above, it will always involve a header, a body, and a footer – everything else can be structured within that, including columns, grids, and spaces to put images at a later stage of the designing journey.

Benefits:

The great thing about including wireframing as part of your project’s process is that it allows you to take a step back from the computer, pick up a pencil and some paper, and draw to your hearts content (along with your clients content). I find that drawing my wireframe by hand first, allows me to understand the fundamental calls to action and other interactions needed on a page. This process becomes a lot more intuitive when it is mindful of the client’s content. Here, you are creating the Information Architecture of the site – yayy, you’re an Architect!

Once I am happy with my drawing, I proceed to recreate it within a wire framing software so that it is in suitable condition/presentable enough to share with a client. Some great digital tools you could use include Go Mockingbird, MyBalsamiq, and Ux Pin. Once I have created my wireframe digitally, I invite the client to view it and comment on the layout, allowing us to work together to implement any fundamental structural changes needed at an early stage. One of the greatest benefits I find is knowing that the project becomes more efficient with wire framing and also UX time too, if the client is able to expand their budget to accommodate that as part of the services they choose. It saves designers and project managers alike from having to later undo big designs or custom coded work, so, happy wireframing!

Working from the office

Here’s where you’ll find everything you need to know about working from the office.

The space

The office is located at Impact Hub Westminster, 1st Floor New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket in London, just down the road from Piccadilly Circus.

It’s a shared space with many positive organisations and it’s a great place to meet good people. It consists of an open plan office space, meeting rooms, a café, a kitchen, and two event spaces. At all times you must follow any rules set out by the Impact Hub hosts. The hosts are the lovely people that look after the space and everyone in it. They sit at a desk opposite the main entrance by the lifts and next to the café, and are very helpful should you have any questions about life at the Hub. 🙂

Access

You’ll be issued with a swipe card to access the building. You can use this at any time when the space is open. If you lose your swipe card, inform a host ASAP and they will issue you with a new one. Never allow others to enter the building using your card. You can also use the back entrance to exit and enter the building during breaks, but you can only enter through this door if you have exited through it first.

If you need to bring guests into the space, you should register them 24 hours or more in advance using the online registration form (ask a team member or host for the link), or by adding them downstairs at security on the day. Guests must sign in before they enter the building and should return their passes to security when they exit.

Time spent at the office

You can enter the building as often as you like but as a company, we pay for the typical amount of time that you expect to work there in an average month. Therefore, if you ever expect this to vary significantly, you should inform a company director who will ensure that we pay the appropriate fees.

Where to sit

You can sit at any table that has space and that isn’t marked by the flag of another company. You’ll soon realise that we tend to sit together at the “usual table” as we are creatures of habit, but there’s no harm mixing it up from time to time.

Meeting rooms

If you want to use a meeting room you must first check with the hosts to ensure that it’s available. If you know that you will need one for a meeting, then it is advisable to book in advance byt emailing hosts@hubwestminster.net. Use of the meeting rooms is fairly costly, so although you’re allowed to use them whenever you need to, we request that you don’t book them out willy-nilly. Similarly, if you book one and then don’t need it, you must inform the hosts otherwise we will get charged for it and others will be unable to use it.

Lunch and breaks

Just like when you are working at home, you can take breaks whenever you need them. Just let someone know so that we don’t send out a search party for you. You can do whatever you like for lunch, whether you want to bring your own from home, grab something from our office café, or pop out to one of the many nearby cafés and sandwich shops. It is entirely up to you.

From time to time we go out for lunch as a team but that is nearly always arranged in advance so you’ll know about it.

Keeping tidy

As a shared space, it makes life more pleasant for everyone when we all make an effort to keep it clean and tidy. In particular, you must do your own washing up in the kitchen.

Health and safety

Please keep your eye out for hazards in the office, and do your best not to create hazards such as trailing wires or bags left where people could trip. If you see something that could present a risk, either fix the issue immediately if it’s safe to do so, or inform one of the hosts. If an accident happens, you must report it to one of the hosts who will call a first aider and will also record the incident in the accident book.

In the event of a fire, an alarm will sound. If you hear the fire alarm, please follow the signs to the nearest fire exit and take the stairs. Do not use lifts during this time. Once you are out of the building, follow the crowd to the fire assembly point across the road, or wait for the Hosts’ further announcements outside.

The Fire alarm is tested every Friday at 10:00am. During the test alarm, remain calm and do not take any action unless you are asked to do so.

You must also take note of our general health and safety policy.

Printer, Scanner and Wifi

The Hub provides use of the printer and scanner, and free wi-fi.

We try to avoid printing wherever possible, but should you really (really!) have to print something, then your swipe card activates the printers, and a member of the team can let you know what the default passcode is. Your user ID is the number on the front of your swipe card.

The printers do scan but most of us use an app to create pdf versions of physical documents (contracts etc). It’s called CamScanner and you can download it from itunes or Google Play.

Refreshments

The Hub Hosts provide us with free coffee (including decaf), tea, some herbal teas, milk (and some dairy free alternatives), sugar, water, cups, plates and cutlery. Make sure you keep the kitchen area tidy and wash your cups and anything else that you use.

There is an on-site cafe; called Cafe Think, that serves fresh food as well a wider range of hot drinks. Of course you can also bring your own food, just write your name on it and store it in the fridge.

Storage

If you need to leave something small at the office, then you can use our team locker. Just ask and you’ll be issued with a key. You can also leave items on top or underneath the locker, but only for short periods of time because it makes the space messy and the hosts might clear it away without you knowing where it went.

Impact Hub Westminster is a very safe environment but you must accept that you leave things there at your own risk.

Post

You will find Wholegrain post box in the corner opposite Host desk on first floor. Rachael and Mohib usually collect the post but if you are expecting post feel free to check here whenever you are in the hub. We share the first slot with two other companies, so you may need to look through to see what’s ours.

Toilets

Toilets are located on first floor next to the lifts and opposite the main Hub entrance.