Tech Talk: Sundays off comes to ironSource

“The work methods we are used to were designed at a time when work could only be done in an office."

STORYTELLING PLATFORM Playbuzz recently hosted a company-wide Hackathon. (photo credit: VICTOR LEVI)
STORYTELLING PLATFORM Playbuzz recently hosted a company-wide Hackathon.
(photo credit: VICTOR LEVI)
Israeli hi-tech company ironSource, which employs 600 people, is not waiting for the government to mandate a long weekend. The company has decided to grant its employees several free Sundays a year, starting this May. The company says that this policy is designed to create a balance between leisure and work. ironSource is developing a promotion platform for app developers.
“The work methods we are used to were designed at a time when work could only be done in an office,” wrote ironSource CEO Tomer Bar Zeev in an email to his company’s employees. “The method needs to be adapted to the current situation, so we have decided to shut down activity in the Israeli office on a number of Sundays during the year. We first thought about making these days ordinary vacations days at the employee’s choice, but after realizing that our work pattern has changed, the measure will be more significant if all the employees take this vacation on the same day.”
“For that very reason, our responsibility as employers is to try to balance, and to give more vacation days. I’ve read that Israelis’ productivity is lower than the OECD average, and in my opinion, more vacation days will increase productivity. This is a perception that I hope some of my colleagues adopt.
Sometimes, when the private sector takes an initiative and presents data, it has an effect. I really plan to eventually present data. I’ll talk about myself, and say that many times, my best ideas come when I’m on vacation, when I get out of my routine. I also know many people who sit long hours at work and aren’t really effective.”
According to ironSource VP of Human Resources, Dana Primo, the company is allocating a significant percentage of its budget to make these long weekends possible.
“I believe this will benefit the company in the long run. We hope that these initiatives will prove to our employees that the company understands that their lives outside of work – family, friends, and leisure time – are also important. I believe that this will have an extremely positive effect on their motivation to work hard and make them feel like they belong,” she said.
ironSource was founded in 2010 and is one of the largest companies in the world that distributes and monetizes applications. The company drives more than 7 million installations a day of more than 80,000 mobile apps. It has over 750 employees worldwide in offices in Tel Aviv, Beijing, San Francisco, New York, London and Bangalore.
H-1B visas
Last month, the Trump administration announced that it would be restricting the number of premium, expedited H-1B visas it will offer. As a result, many foreigners currently in the US will only find out last minute if they will be receiving a visa or if they will need to pack their bags and return home.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unofficial proclamation states that as of 2018, programmers will no longer be eligible for the H1-B visa based on their qualification as certified programmers, but will need to prove that they have additional qualifications that justify their being employed by American companies.
Storytelling platform Playbuzz hosted a company- wide Hackathon, focused on employees developing new products, as well as innovative suggestions for current ones, to help guide the future of the company’s offering. The panel of judges was comprised of co-founder and CEO Shaul Olmert, co-founder and Chief Product Officer Tom Pachys, as well as third-party judges including: Zack Weisfeld, general manager of Microsoft Startup Growth Partners; Amit Mashiah, CEO of McCann Israel; Aya Mironi, industry manager at Google; and Moran Bar, CEO Geek Media. Oded Vardi was there to offer support.
The winning product was built utilizing contextual messaging and AI to provide content creators with ready-made content recommendations based on their story topic. The second-place team’s product was a way for Playbuzz creators to craft stories on their mobile phone, utilizing the most habitual, instinctual and most-loved aspects of the mobile phone to create content seamlessly. The winners won a week-long trip to their Playbuzz office of choice in either Los Angeles, São Paulo, New York City, or London.
Pachys noted that, “When a member of our Product Team suggested holding an internal Hackathon, I immediately jumped at the idea. At Playbuzz, we encourage and invest in product development and truly rely on our best assets – our employees – to tell us what the company needs to develop in order to continue being the most innovative storytelling platform for content creators across the globe.”
The company invested over $100,000 to fly in colleagues from its eight locations worldwide to experience the Hackathon, and also tour around Israel, including a day-trip to Jerusalem to see the Old City, home hospitality for Friday night dinner, and nighttime events in Tel Aviv.
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Translated by Hannah Hochner.