By being true to them from the very beginning. We knew that nurturing our company culture would be important to us from day one. After all, Case3D came to be because all 3 founders were disillusioned and fed up with the studios we worked in at the time. One fateful day we all came together, sat down, and made a decision that would change the lives of many people. We started Case3D.
Now, of course, the Case3D that exists today is entirely different from what it was back then, but one thing persisted throughout: the founding members’ desire to be different. The desire to be different, to love not just our work, but where we work as well. The unhealthy environment we worked in before had had many negative effects, and we never wanted for that to happen again.
Still just a hobby
Let’s start from the beginning. Way back in 2006 we were a small team of three architects with big dreams. Our environment was in our hands, and our hands only. Not to brag, but we were pretty good at what we were doing, so it wasn’t too long before we needed some extra hands to help us out with the workload. However, as is the case with most businesses in the beginning, we didn’t really have that many funds to invest into talent. Senior 3D artists and architects were out of our reach, so we decided that the best solution was hiring students that were eager to learn and passionate about architecture and visualization.
This ended up working far better than any of us could’ve hoped for. In no time at all we all bonded and became very close. We managed to create that atmosphere that we lacked in our previous workplaces. Everyone in the office could consider each other a friend, and we spent a lot of time outside the office together. Mostly just enjoying each other’s company or playing a few rounds of Call of Duty. It was wonderful. However, it also proved to be our biggest challenge in a sense. We were all young and great friends, so it wasn’t that hard to neglect creating a proper system and organizing. A base for our company culture was created, though, and it would transition into the next chapter of our development.
Let’s do it!
This phase was actually quite short, all things considered. It mostly revolved around the rapid expansion of our team – we went from 10 to 20. Of course, with expansion has to come some degree of change. In our case, this change was for the better. The lack of organization, and professionalism, was to be eliminated. Even though we wanted our company culture to be employee-centric, we didn’t want it to be ONLY employee-centric. Being the kind of studio we wanted to be meant being great to our clients as well. That’s why in this phase we decided to implement CRM tools in our workflow, and it really helped us out.
To deal with our organizational issues we implemented a project management tool as well – Active Collab. It’s such a great tool that we continue to use it to this day. Nurturing your company culture in a way that promotes organization and professionalism really is imperative in today’s market. Wanting to do it does help a lot.
A larger number of employees meant that a certain hierarchy had to be established in order for the workflow to go smoothly. We did this by dividing our staff into teams, with assigned team leaders, which in turn meant that a lot of responsibility was delegated to those leaders from Danilo, our CEO, and Nebojša, our art director.
Now we come to the longest, and most difficult, phase in our development. During this phase we grew even more, until we reached a staggering number of 30 employees. To some this number might not be that impressive, but considering we started with just 3 members and a dream, it was darn impressive to us.
During this phase things started getting tricky. The harsh reality of maintaining a business hit us and we had to make some hard decisions along the way, but we pushed through. Keeping our goals in mind and staying true to them helped us immensely. The ever-present desire to make Case3D different, with a company culture everyone wanted to uphold, constantly on our minds.
With the number of employees only getting higher with time, we put even more emphasis on organization and hierarchy. However, the employees we started hiring were no longer students but experts in their respective fields with years of experience behind them. Which allowed us to finally iron out our specialization. We also implemented new productivity tools and simplified many aspects of organization within our company.
The truly tricky part came with trying to balance our company culture with functionality. We tried to insist on rules and responsibilities, while doing our best to keep everyone happy and satisfied. Sadly, this led to being more lenient in some cases than was probably necessary. At some point, a line needed to be drawn. Nurturing, and defining, your company culture is important precisely because of that, because that’s where you find that line.
Who we are today
Situated in Novi Sad, Serbia, Case3D is a full-fledged creative studio that does 95% of its work remotely. Our clients come from all over the world. Nurturing our company culture properly facilitated much of our success. Even though it was a rocky round at times we’ve learned so much on our way that we wouldn’t have had it any other way. Our passion for the industry we work in, coupled with a desire to share the knowledge we’ve acquired along the way, inspired us to write a post such as this one. This past weekend we attended the d2 Conference in Vienna, where we talked about this topic. We’ve decided that it’s time to set down a new path, a path of sharing what we know in the hopes that it will help young, aspiring, architects avoid the some of the situations we found ourselves in the past, or even get out of them using our example.
The future holds only more promise. New technologies are emerging at an ever increasing pace. Virtual reality and augmented reality are taking the world by storm, and with it architectural visualization. What was once not possible is becoming not only possible, but expected. Our drive to learn and improve has not subsided over the years, instead, it has grown exponentially. That’s why we paid special attention to nurturing our company culture the way we did. Because without it, we’d just be coming to work to earn a paycheck. With it, we’re coming to work smiling, eager, and ready to take on any challenge that might stand in our way! If you’d like, you can see for yourself: