01 October 2021
Fig-jamming, prototyping, and jet skiing: being a product designer at Unibuddy

If you’re on the lookout for a new UX adventure then I am sure you are aware of just how hot the market is right now (more than 6,000 Product Design roles available according to LinkedIn…). But it’s alright because you can cool your search by sending an application to Unibuddy once you’ve read this article.  

At any given time, UX seems to be in constant demand with thousands of open roles. In December 2020 when we were in the midst of a lockdown, I was planning my next move and really wanted to make sure I found somewhere that aligned with my values, had a great culture, and would allow me to challenge myself.

Something I found to be difficult was the lack of transparency into what organisations are really like—whether or not their careers page and LinkedIn ‘Life’ section were really reflective of how people in the organisation feel.

The day of writing this marks my 6-month ‘Buddyversary’ and it’s fair to say that applying to Unibuddy was one of the best decisions I have made for my career so far. It’s so hard to gauge what a company is truly going to be like until you spend at least a month working there, so my aim for writing this article is to give you a flavour of how great the Unibuddy team is.

There’s so much to say about being a Product Designer at Unibuddy, so I’ve tried to condense life at here into several categories. I truly feel that each resonates with being a designer, but also a human being who appreciates a great company and working environment.

So, here’s what you need to know about Unibuddy…

I’m sure ‘jet skiing’ is what captured your attention the most.

You get to work within a fabulous Product Team with a great work ethic and top-quality banter

You hear it all the time that you could work anywhere and do ‘any old job’ so long as the people around you make it great—that’s where Unibuddy hits the jackpot! However, it’s not any old job, it’s being a Product Designer where you get to make a real difference through your work all whilst working alongside some rather exceptional Buddies.

I realised how lucky I got after my first week of meeting the Product team, as they’re not only super hard-working but they’ve got top-quality banter. You’ll spend an hour in a workshop collaborating on solving a problem and end with a chat about how we all thought Lapland was a mystical galaxy where Santa lives.

Each and every member of the product team is ready and willing to support one another, whether that’s through a quick conversation via Zoom or a couple of sentences through Slack. You are well and truly supported by a great bunch of Product people who are based in both London and Bangalore.

You’ll never dread Monday mornings ever again…

Every Monday morning the Design team has a dedicated time slot for learning and personal development where you’ll find yourself dabbling in an online course or reading a book of your choice to learn more about a certain topic.

The company has one of the best personal development initiatives I have experienced, providing you with complete control over your development using a platform called ‘Sunlight.’ You are given £1000 per year to spend on materials and learning resources of your choice.

I personally have brought so many UX-related books in the past few months to strengthen my expertise and learn more about certain topics such as MVP thinking. I have a hefty amount of budget left, so I’m on the lookout for a course to do before the end of the year!

Your well-being is a priority

Besides your learning ambitions, Unibuddy is a massive advocate of supporting your mental health and well-being. You are nurtured through your career but also encouraged to put yourself first and to prioritise your health at all times. Unibuddy has recently integrated with ‘Spill,’ which provides you with support whenever you need it.

We’re also quite a random bunch with a variety of hobbies and interests and we encourage you to find an outlet beyond work. One of our Lead Product Managers is also a personal trainer and often teaches local classes from boxing to trampolining. The Design Lead is an ex-mixed martial artist, and I’m a failed snowboarder. So, it’s not too difficult to find someone who shares an interest in your hobbies!

One of our PMs making the world a better place.

You have an opportunity to shape the UX process

A massive benefit to Unibuddy is how open the organisation is to change and learning, not just on a team level but on an organisational level. We’re constantly looking for new ways, methods, and activities to implement into the way we work as a team (as we know that one size does not fit all).

The Design team is constantly testing different workshop structures and activities to find out what works for our team. Most recently, we have been facilitating cross-functional workshops with Engineering and Commercial teams when solving problems in certain areas of our product.

Our non-designer colleagues have a very artistic flair when it comes to using Figjam

We are very collaborative as a team and run workshops to solve problems and solutionize together. Everyone is great at providing a super safe space to share ideas and opinions! Workshops are often run via Figjam when working with teams overseas or if our London buddies decide to work from home. When we can, we also love to get together in the office to workshop and have a little social once we’re finished.

Another great thing about Unibuddy is the way we are currently crafting our own unique process which will allow us as Product Designers to solve problems and innovate within a faced-past environment. The Product Designers at Unibuddy are fusing their learnings and knowledge into a ‘Unibuddy way of working’ to ensure we deliver great experiences. A massive perk to this company is how open we are to trying new tools and processes so that we’re able to be flexible as we test and iterate on the process. It’s a great challenge and a great time to join Unibuddy to help us develop our process even further!

You will benefit from a truly flexible working policy

We’re an organisation based in each corner of the earth from London to Bangalore and back around the globe to the US. Whilst some of us are so far away from each other in an ever-growing team, the connection amongst the buddies is like no other. All designers are currently nestled in London—the four of us work from the office or from our homes in St. Albans, Guildford, Cambridge, and London!

One of the perks of working at Unibuddy is the flexibility for where you complete your buddy duties—whether you’re in the office sipping on a coffee from the local cafe, or in your home office talking to your antisocial cat (although that might just be me). Everyone needs a different environment to perform their best and Unibuddy is incredibly mindful and conscientious of each individual’s needs.

The flexible working policy was recently published and you can read all about it here. It’s also good for you fellow UX designers to know that our future of work policy went through the design thinking process. There were a lot of cross-functional workshops to define problems and ideate on solutions to ensure the policy was truly inclusive. 

Sometimes the pup takes over my design duties.

Last but certainly not least—you will get to have fun

Socials are a big part of Unibuddy. You get the chance to mingle with buddies from all across the company on a regular basis! Most notoriously, the Thursday social for the London office is a time when you get to have a couple of drinks (free from the Unibuddy fridge—a bottle of Peroni or a cheeky vino) after work and relax ahead of the last working day before the weekend starts. If you’re not in the office on a Thursday, there’s plenty of other opportunities, such as jetskiing…

After all the chaos of lockdowns and not seeing one another for months on end, one of our designers planned the most epic day out for the London Product Team to venture into Brighton to go jetskiing and grab some food/drinks by the marina. You could say that Unibuddy likes to do things slightly differently. Who knows what our next social will look like—not quite sure how we’ll top this one! 

It’s also worth noting that it’s not just the socials that make this such a fun place to be, it’s getting up and logging in/going to the office and working with people who make this such a fun and vibrant place to be. It’s working on projects that motivate you as a Product Designer; it’s conducting user research with our fab customers who want to share their stories and help us; it’s knowing that there’s a team who can build you up on those days when you need extra support!

If you’re ready to be a Product Designer at Unibuddy, you can apply here.

If you want to know more, get in touch at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to chat!

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