Within the startup space, late nights at the office are not uncommon—some might call them expected. Deadlines to meet the next product release, API, or app upgrade will spur long hours well outside the nine to five.
x.ai is one such company. Their product, a virtual personal assistant named Amy, schedules meetings for entrepreneurs, journalists, and salespeople alike. They’ve expanded their workforce by 300 percent in the past year alone and recently secured a funding round of $23 Million. Through their rapid growth, they’ve worked hard to keep their tight-knit culture intact.
Wednesday Night Dinner: Fueling a team for their next release
From a product perspective, x.ai works in a fast, emerging space. Working in virtual assistance has placed x.ai in the same conversations as Microsoft, Google, and Apple. While each member will tell you it’s an exciting space to be a part of, it also comes with lots of hard work and dedication.
“Our product is very high-tech, and we’re doing all we can to be a first mover in the space,” says Brian, Director of Customer Acquisition. “Wednesday always seems to be the deadline for our next update, so we instated Wednesday night office dinners. Our favorite meals are either Korilla BBQ or Dos Toros.”
Creating a culture that can expand with your team
In the thirteen months since Brian has come aboard, a team of eighteen has grown to over fifty. While Wednesdays are known for tight deadlines, it’s also a time for employees to meet their newest team members.
“Wednesday evening is our time to talk to new hires,” says Brian. “We order through ZeroCater, and everyone takes the time to step away from their desks. Everyone is great about making introductions. Through Wednesday night dinners, sharing stories and photos via Slack, and other group activities; we’ve maintained that collaborative—albeit busy—team environment.”
Maintaining a work-life balance: Staying motivated in a fast-paced environment
To facilitate a fun, hard-working culture, founders of x.ai promote a work-life balance in the office. “We are an ambitious company run by adults—many who have families of their own. We are really focused on collaboration, helping each other, and being humane about life outside of work. Senior leadership understands there’s a balance between working hard and stepping away at 4PM because you need to hit the gym,” says Brian.
The team has found a way to balance work, play, and life outside of work. Coworkers organized a March Madness bracket, there’s an office soccer league and even an employee ski trip. After each milestone or release, the team celebrates together—one way or another.