Welcome to the handbook! It’s our common point of reference — whether you just joined the company or are one of our co-founders. We decided to publish this handbook to give you a quick introduction to the Bakken & Bæck culture, philosophy and perks.
Combining all capabilities in-house, we believe there’s no digital solution we can’t build. We also know that great digital things can only be built if we create the right conditions for them — and ourselves — to grow. We love to experiment, try out things, and learn from each other as much as possible. You want the same thing, and that’s why you’re here!
Bakken & Bæck was founded by Johan and Tobias in August 2011. Since then, the company has grown steadily into its present shape. Our mission has always stayed the same though: to make the best digital products with the most talented people — and have fun while doing so. This handbook helps us succeed in this mission.
Be kind, curious and open
We believe people should shape the direction of our company, not the other way around. As a tight-knit team, we all have a huge impact on each other and on the place we call our office. Being open, curious and kind towards others is a boomerang that comes back to you when you need it the most.
→ For a more extended Code of Conduct, read our Diversity and Inclusion guidebook.
Speak your mind
Everyone at BB can contribute to making this handbook better. If you have comments, additional info or things you think we should remove, you are free to suggest edits and additions.You’re a part of our team now, and as a team, we will adjust and develop this handbook — and all other aspects of our culture — continuously.
Freedom and flexibility
You are part of our team because you are one of the best in your own discipline. We are committed to giving you the responsibilities, freedom and support you need in order to thrive within whatever it is you do. We are convinced that, when we give you the best, we will get yours in return. Simple as that.
Flex it up
We know that people tend to do good work when they care about it. Detailed lists of unnecessary tasks to run through are tedious and demotivating. You don’t have to squeeze your creativity into a 9-to-5-time slot, and can manage your own time and priorities — as long as it doesn’t have a negative effect on the rest of your team and work.
You own it
At BB, no one will hold your hand while managing projects, or point at your screen over your shoulder. We don’t like micromanaging or top-to-bottom hierarchies. We will make sure you have a support network around you at all times, while giving you the freedom to be in charge of your own work.
It gets messy
We’re a small company with many people trying on different hats. Every project and process is different, and there will be friction and sometimes chaos. If you feel that something isn’t working the way it should, it probably isn’t and we should do something about it. With your help, we will make sure to identify these things as early as possible and adjust accordingly.
Embrace the unexpected
Serendipity and spontaneous discovery form important cultural pillars of our company. We believe that good things come from the exploration of random ideas, from"just trying things out". That’s why we keep a low threshold for ideas and initiatives, and host events like DDD and Stupid Hackatons. Feel free to dive deep into these initiatives, or come up with your own!
Explore and play
We love to share and discuss ideas, and always keep a low barrier for experimenting and prototyping these ideas. During the course of a year, we usually end up with a great number of ideas that don't amount to anything — but also with a fewthat end up as actual products or even companies. Great things like Daylight, Orbit and Wake have come out of that magic hat.
Collaboration and communication
To us, collaboration and the constant exchange of ideas form the foundation for building good products. As one team, we work together closely across disciplines, locations and experiences on a daily basis. Not being divided by static departments or organisational charts, we continuously improve and adjust how we would like to work together as a team, but we do have some ground principles.
Working in a wide range of disciplines, we all have individual needs when it comes to mentorship. While we often find comfort in talking to our peers, our leads are here to support you in a more structured manner. To broaden your perspective, we do encourage you to talk to people outside of your regular chats. Feel free to go for a walk, get a coffee around the corner, or use a meeting room to have one-on-one’s with whomever you like.
Working across offices in Norway, England, Germany and the Netherlands on international projects has its pros and cons. By using tools like Slack, Figma and Google Meet, we try to keep the cons to a minimum and make the distance as short as possible. It made us good at working remotely.
There is no such thing as oversharing or over-communicating when working in a team of people spread across locations. Share your work with your team as early as possible, and say too much rather than too little.
As a BB employee, you have the opportunity to work remotely when you need to. Sometimes we wish to work from home or from some other random place(like a cabin, a bungalow or your parents' house). When you’re working remotely there are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to how you communicate with your team mates:
- Check with your team first. We want to be flexible and accommodate everyone, but sometimes we need you in the office.
- Make it easy for your team to contact you, and let them know if you will be out of reach for periods of time.
- Be sure to have a good internet connection, and be online during our core working hours.
- Be present on Slack, and be extra diligent with sharing your work.
We want the best people, that's why we hire from all over the world. Out of around 60 colleagues, we represent 26 different nationalities. We’re from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, England, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine, USA and Venezuela.
Our working language is English. Strive to use it at the office, during lunch and in meetings to include thosewho don’t speak the local tongue.
Of course, if you move to work at one of our offices in a country where you don’t speak the local language, it’s nice to learn how to do so. We subsidise language classes and necessary exams so you know that you have to run fast when someone tries to serve you smalahove, rauwe haring met uitjes or schwarzsauer.
Share and evolve
As much as technology can help to build bridges across locations, it will never fully replace the face-to-face encounter (or will it?). We take the opportunity to meet each other in real life as much as possible, whether it's because of project work, social happenings or larger company trips.
Getting together outside the office is both fun and important. It’s an excellent opportunity to get to know people, in and outside the country you work in. That’s why social gatherings are an important ingredient in the BB stew. Twice a year, at summer and Christmas, we gather everyone in the company for a two-day trip and a great party.
Once every other year we also throw a party for friends and friends of friends because the friends of our friends are our friends.
Perks and practicalities
As a team we are continuously developing our perks and benefits together, based on both the needs of individuals and the team as a whole.
Our workspace is our shared home away from home. It’s where we explore ideas, hang out, eat lunch, have meetings, discuss the best front-end strategies and create digital products. Take good care of the space, and make yourself at home.
Get out of your seat and use the space. Move around. Put on your headphones or find a quiet spot if you need one. Do you want to do some activities like yoga or lunch-karaoke? Make it happen! If you find something that we should improve or change, share it, and we'll change it together.
Getting around town
You wanna get around, and you wanna do it smoothly and environmentally friendly. That’s why we offer to pay the subscription for city bikes in your city (only Oslo for now).
If you work at the Oslo office and have an electric car, you can charge it for free in the office garage. We also have bike racks in the garage, so you don’t have to worry about your bike being stolen.
Keeping up with culture
Our Hamsters in Amsterdam love their art and sure like to stay inspired. So, if you’re a part of the Dutch office, you will get a Museumcard, which gives access to over 400 museums in The Netherlands for free. Our Bonn office stays cultured by diving deep into four days of Karneval — if you’re joining the German team, make sure to have at least four costumes ready.
Our jobs demand that we have the best tools available at any time.
You can decide your own setup, and we’ll provide you with the phone, computer and any software you need to do your job as well as possible. We’ll also provide you with a paid data plan.
Yes, it’s true. Every other week, a masseur comes into the office to give half-hour-long relaxing massages that relieve stress and prevent Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). They’re a blessing, really!
Lunch, snacks and coffee
“Without food, the hero doesn’t work” is a famous Norwegian saying. Good food is important to us, and coffee is a matter of life or death. In every office, good and healthy lunch is included. Of course, we'll have a locally sourced gluten-free vegan option for you.
There's breakfast if you had to skip it at home, and fruit, snacks, juice and soda for whenever you need some extra energy. We also take pride in having the best coffee in town!
If you see anything missing in the kitchen, just ask the local office manager to order it for you.
As a diverse company, we have three different types of vegetarians and several allergies. Luckily, we've got an amazing chef in Bonn, and excellent catering in Oslo and Amsterdam that accommodate everybody. This way, you can stay healthy and nurtured without the risk of becoming sick from eggs, gluten, citrus, milk, lactose, fish, nuts, spinach, basil, peas, kiwi, apple peel, seafood, shellfish, whiskey or white rum.
Put on your lab coat
We love to explore the intersection between software and hardware. It’s fun, we care about making things. That’s why we have our own hardware lab, which you, of course, will have full access to. The lab is a place to learn how to make new things, test emerging technologies and run fun experiments. Some things we’ve made in the lab:
- Drones of all shapes and sizes
- 3D printing
- Laser briefcase for projections and visual installations
- Kinetic-controlled LED screen
- Door-opening Slackbot
- 15 sqm LED screen made of empty bottles
In Oslo, we'll sponsor a membership at Bitraf, a really cool maker-space downtown.
Holidays and healthiness
At BB, we value a healthy work-life balance, and we strongly advocate for a 40-hour work weeks — not more. We encourage you to take time off when you need a reset, and spend as much quality time with your family and friends as possible.
Vacation and time off is something we all need. At BB you are free to plan your vacation whenever you want, we have no forced time off in July or December. Want to climb a mountain, bike to Italy or set up camp in your own backyard? Go for it!
Please give notice as early as possible if you are planning a longer vacation or taking time off. This makes it easier for us to plan for upcoming and ongoing projects.
We allow you to take paid days off for non-Christian religious holidays or switch those holidays to non-Christian holidays. Why should Christmas get all the love?
Extra days to chill
- Christmas Eve, 1st and 2nd Christmas day
- New Years Eve, New Year’s Day
- Rosenmontag (Germany)
- Easter: Maundy Thursday (only in Norway), Good Friday and Easter Monday
- Labour Day (only in Norway and Germany)
- Liberation Day (Netherlands)
- Ascension Day
- Whit Monday
- Constitution Day (Norway)
- Koningsdag (Netherlands)
- Unity Day (Germany)
- All Saint’s Day (Germany)
- 2 days off whenever kindergarten or school has planning days (if you have kids, though)
- Every leap year you’ll get the extra day off on February 29th ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Even though we sometimes feel like a big family at work, nothing compares to having one of your own.
We want to provide the best possible support for the families of BB. We got the moms and dads in the company to design our “baby kit”, so you can get a head start on your new parental adventures.
We’re proud to say that it’s probably one of the best in the business.
Mental health support
Being a young group of people, our team members fortunately are rarely on sick leave due to their physical health. However, being young and working in a fast-paced environment can come with other types of strains. We believe that providing a proper support system for mental health is important. We provide:
- Extensive health insurance that provides immediate access to psychological therapy treatment (in Oslo).
- Flexibility to adjust working days based on medical and health-related needs.
- Sponsored subscription for meditation sessions.
- In the case where health insurance doesn't cover psychological therapy, we'll sponsor up to five therapy sessions per year.
Sometimes, life hits you harder than a massage can solve. All employees are provided with an extensive health care package* covering the costs of:
- Hospitalisation, with or without operation
- Cancer examination and treatment
- Outpatient surgery
- Examination and treatment with a medical specialist
- Up to 24 yearly treatments with physiotherapist, chiropractor or naprapath
- Psychological first aid
- Access to psychological treatment
- Access to 24-hour helpline
* with some variations between offices
Keeping your body in physical shape is key to your wellbeing. We subsidise your activities, whether it's a gym membership, dance class or curling club fee.
We also offer an unlimited amount of cod-liver oil and vitamins in every office. It might not be super tasty and not everyone sees it as a perk, but it sure is healthy.
Insights and inspiration
To be one of the best digital product teams in the world, we need to look for inspiration and new perspectives. You know best what inspires you and what you need to stay on top of your game.
Training courses, conferences, exhibitions or inspirational tours: as long as it’s relevant for your work and you can give back to the rest of your team, you’re encouraged to go. The costs will be covered (up to €1500 per year).
The Oslo office has a beautiful rooftop terrace that we share with two beehives and 100 000 bees. Honey bees are essential to our ecosystem, and we are doing our part by creating an area for them to do their important job.
At BB, we subsidise the cost of a beekeeping class so you can join in on the melliferous activities of honey slinging and tending to the beehives. Soon, you and your colleagues will get to taste delicious «office made» honey straight from our rooftop!
Besides beekeeping, we try to make sure we don’t waste too much food—our latest initiative in Oslo being focused around bokashi, or simply composting food waste. If we travel by aeroplane, which we have to do now and then, we purchase CO2 compensation for our flights. Make sure to do so when booking your own flights.
If you have ideas for making the office you work in more sustainable, please mention it to your office manager!