Twelve years ago, Daniel Dzikowski’s wife sat him down and insisted: “You have to employ someone because I want to go on holiday.”
So after three years of working by himself, Dzikowski decided to listen to his wife, hire some staff, and take that well-deserved holiday.
Skip forward to 2014 – Purple Lattice now has six employees and offers extensive IT support for London-based small to medium-sized businesses.
But how did the company get to this stage?
“I wanted to give better IT support than what’s out there,” explains Dzikowski.
“I researched the best run companies around the world, contacted them and asked if they could tell me why they are so great to work for.”
After calling up a company called What If, he tells me he was invited to their offices, where he was shown how the company runs and how they treat their employees.
Back again to 2014 and the small office in Ealing is about as relaxing as a place of work can get. There’s a dartboard, a comfy sofa sporting comic strip cushions and various signs hung around the place displaying humorous mottos and quotes.
“I tried to get a ping pong table in here but we didn’t have enough room to actually walk around,” Dzikowski informs me.
Purple Lattice’s boss is not like your average boss. I’m introduced to various “colleagues”, not employees. He also talks about how important it is that these colleagues have a flexible work life – something that he learnt from his time investigating all those other companies.
“For me it’s all about creating a good environment so that my colleagues are happy,” says Dzikowski.
“I saw a BBC article that said IT support was one of the top three most stressful occupations. So I wanted to create a really good environment where I don’t drive my guys to work constantly and they have a lot of freedom and flexibility.”
This way of working is evident while I’m shown around the office. There’s only two other people in and I’m told that a typical day consists of answering the phones, going to visit customers, solving problems, and “sleeping on the couch”.
“I usually come in anywhere between seven and 10am. I like that flexibility with my staff too. As long as there’s someone in the office to cover the phones I’m happy,” explains Dzikowski.
While his staff appear to have a comfortable working life, Dzikowski stresses that everything that Purple Lattice does is about keeping the customer happy, saying that the only problem he will ever have with a member of staff is if they have a customer who is unhappy with their service.
After this more serious note, I’m treated to stories of some of the company’s favourite practical jokes.
The first of which involves tricking a colleague into thinking that while they were on holiday the company had moved to the other side of London, while the other involves IT scammers who targeted the wrong company.
“We had heard about this scam going around, so when they called us we let them connect to one of our virtual machines so they couldn’t do any harm. The guy on the phone said we had all these problems and needed to purchase his product to get rid of it,” recalls Dzikowski.
“We recorded the whole thing. We saw him installing something called a batch file, which was completely false. He hung up once he Googled our company name!”
With such a fun and friendly working environment, coupled with the dedication that the team has to its customers, Purple Lattice is set to grow even more over the next 12 years. Who knows how many holidays Dzikowski and his wife can take by then...