From the very beginning, Johan Heander has made it their ambition to create a great time reporting and scheduling tool that is different from all the other other solutions on the market. Not only that, they want to create the best possible working environment for their co-workers – a place where everyone can reach their full potential, have fun at work and thrive in their roles. In this interview, you will get to know Johan a little bit better.
Johan has always had a curiosity for technology and programming. In fact, they first started programming when they were only ten years old and started a company building websites with some friends at the age of eighteen. Later on, after graduating the master program in engineering physics with a focus on sound and signal processing, they worked at Ericsson with sound processing in mobile phones and as a project manager.
Today, Johan is an experienced technology professional with a passion for software engineering and innovation. In 2009, they came up with the idea of building a smart and mobile time reporting and scheduling tool together with his former colleague and friend. After discovering that there were no similar systems on the market, they began building the prototype and launched Timezynk in 2010.
– The reason we wanted to create this tool was that we had discovered that many companies were missing an effective solution for time reporting, planning and invoicing and often relied on pen and paper. Our idea was that it would be easier to have the schedule accessible directly in our phones. This was at a time when smartphones and mobile applications were still a new phenomenon, and the first Iphones had just arrived to the Swedish market, Johan explains.
The ambition: Creating the best possible workplace
Johan first had the responsibility of being the company’s CTO, and since 2013 they’ve been the CEO of Timezynk. In other words, being a vital part of its journey since the very beginning – from founding, maturing, to growing and expanding the company. Making a profit has never been the only driving factor. More importantly, creating software that simplifies the daily lives of their clients and creating a workplace where everyone feels like they belong is what truly motivates them. They explain it in their own words:
– I love building and leading motivated teams. From the start, I’ve made it my ambition to create the best possible workplace I have ever been a part of. After all, it’s something that will benefit myself personally as well as everyone who works here. I strongly believe that when everyone feels included and involved, they have room to grow, can have fun at work and the productivity and results will come as well. We spend a very large portion of our time at work, so it has to be enjoyable.
Johan had experienced working in large organizations where changes happen slowly. Although these organizations consisted of many great and smart individuals, much of their innovation and passion was being slowed down by the ridgid limitations that large organizations have.
– You could start a big project and pour all your energy into it only for it to be canceled six months later because program management realized that the market didn’t want it anymore. With Timezynk, I wanted to create an agile working environment, and work in close collaboration with our clients to get meaningful feedback. I wanted the tool itself to be appreciated by our users, as well as fun to work with and motivating for us that is building it.
Building a sustainable work culture
The IT industry has a reputation of tight deadlines, a lot of overtime and an overall stressful working environment. This was also something Johan wanted to do differently, they continued.
– I don’t believe that this sort of working environment is sustainable in the long run. It wears people out, reduces their motivation and innovation. Instead, I wanted to build a sustainable culture, where our colleagues want to stay for a long time. And looking back, I think we have succeeded, seeing as we have many colleagues that have stayed with us for many years.
The company has since then embraced being agile and flexible in many other ways. Even before the pandemic, Timezynk embraced the idea of remote work, and as early as 2018, they realized that having Malmö (where their former office was located) or even Sweden for that matter, as a geographic location in their job ads simply wasn’t necessary, Johan explains.
– We realized that we risked missing out on many fantastic candidates that lived elsewhere. Once we started recruiting from all over Sweden, we found a great candidate from outside Malmö which made us shift our mindset. Today, we recruit from all over the world and two of our colleagues are working from Kyiv and one from Tallinn. What’s most important is finding the right people with a fitting background and experience.
Working remotely but staying connected
During the pandemic, the team has been working from home and quickly enjoyed the freedom it meant. They got so used to it that after the restrictions were lifted, most of them didn’t feel the need to return to the office.
– We then asked ourselves, is it reasonable to pay for an office space that we are not getting use of, or can we instead create a full-remote culture where we work from home with occasional meet-ups every now and then? We then made the decision to go fully remote, and so far all our colleagues are enjoying it.
After going fully remote, Timezynk has been putting a lot of emphasis on creating transparent decision-making and ensuring that everyone in the team has a good working environment from home. They also regularly check in with team members to make sure they have everything they need, Johan says.
– We have 1 to 1 meetings at least every three months where we follow-up on all aspects, both their mental well-being and physical working environment. If someone for example needs equipment, we will order it for them, and if someone wants to work from an office to get away from home, we will pay for a coworking space subscription.
Three times a year, they rent a big house or bed and breakfast where everyone that wants to can come along, Johan explains.
– We work together, engage in team building and brainstorming activities and have dinner together. This is a great way to get to know each other better, bounce ideas and make a plan for the coming year together which is easier in person than through video meetings. The last time we were in Falsterbo and went to a seal safari, and this time we’re going to visit the idyllic island of Tjärö in Blekinge.
A diverse group of people
Timezynk consists of 10 people – but even for such a small team they are a very mixed group of people, Johan says.
– We have colleagues from at least five different countries, all have very different educations, backgrounds, ages and genders. It’s been our strategy from the beginning, since we think it will benefit us to have more perspectives and ways of thinking. What we look for mostly in our candidates is that the person is curious, social, can get along with the team and likes working together. It’s also important that they can lead themselves and trust their own compass.
One way that Timezynk tries to do this is by writing their job descriptions in a way that attracts a wide range of people, offering flexible working hours and influence over their role. The hiring process is also anonymized, Johan continues.
– Since we are a group of programming and software engineering nerds, we are using a software that helps us make sure that our hiring process is diverse and anonymous. Before the interview stage, we can’t tell the age, gender, nationality or names of our applicants. We often send our candidates fun challenges that let them show that they want the job and are a good fit for the role which we base our choices on.
Would you like to become a part of the Timezynk team? Keep an eye out for our open positions and don’t hesitate to apply and contact us for more information!