I am an Engineer and had worked in several organizations before I joined Nokia. At the time of my interview I wished to be a part of the Nokia story very desperately. I saw Nokia go from not having any viable LTE network products to becoming a market leader that ultimately suffered series of layoffs and other struggles.

Here are the things I liked about working in Nokia

  • You are not expected to work for 12 hours a day for long periods of time: Though it is needed in exceptional cases to work for long hours when a lot is at stake, working for long hours everyday can lead to sustainability issues.
  • It is as important to take vacations as to work regularly and someone will substitute for you during that time: This ensured that the work does not suffer, but still you could have time off to get new ideas, refresh yourself and do what you loved to do. There were book recommendations to read during the vacations and the culture supported it instead of frowning upon it.
  • You can trust the people around you: It was a high trust environment and that made working much more easier and effective. Recently Harvard Business Review also acknowledged that trust is important in an article titled Neuroscience of Trust.
  • You can ask for help whenever you are stuck: If you asked for help from anyone that person would respond 90% of the time, which is a big number. That ensured work never suffered from people not knowing what to do.
  • You shadow your seniors to understand a role: This was another practice which I learned for the first time. This helped in ensuring that when a change happened the stakeholders did not feel too much difference specially in cases where hundreds were involved.
  • Multi-cultural environment: At no other organization did I see and manage so many cultures coming together to work; from China to Finland, to India, to Taiwan, and then the customer in Russia, Saudi Arabia and so on. There was only one way to handle situations and that was to do a good job.

And last but not least “No feedback is good feedback” – there was little noise if everything was going fine, so one could focus more and be efficient.

I would like to take some of the things I learned into use at Life24Fit, a startup that I am in the process of building and setting up the value system for. Life24Fit is a technology-based employee wellness solution which suggests employees to take care of themselves without impacting their work by suggesting 5 minute workouts, relaxation activities, mindfulness suggestions recommended by yoga professionals and ayurveda experts.