In the UK, the average person will spend at least 84,000 hours at work during their lifetime. At FreeAgent, we believe work should be somewhere you want to be and we care wholeheartedly about building an inclusive environment for our diverse team. A place where our people feel understood, valued and motivated, surrounded by people that they enjoy sharing time with. What’s more, we believe that the diverse voices and perspectives of our team lead to better collaboration and decision-making and are even reflected in our awesome product.
Pride is also a year-round look for us. To support our LGBTQ+ community, we work together to ensure that as individuals, and as a company, we are all learning and growing to foster a workplace where everyone can thrive. Recently, we asked some of our fantastic LGBTQ+ community and allies to share a bit about their journeys in tech and experiences as part of FreeAgent.
What attracts people to working at FreeAgent?
We asked Anda, Simon and David what led their career paths to FreeAgent. For Anda, a senior software engineer working in the Design System team, the community of women in engineering at FreeAgent first caught her attention at a Women Who Code meetup in Edinburgh. Anda said: “Seeing the amazing female leaders in the engineering department inspired me to apply. That was over five years ago and I’m still enjoying it a lot!”
Simon, a senior software engineer in the Core Services team, came to FreeAgent from a startup. They said: “That experience really helped me to grow as an engineer and develop my own ideas, but I was still unsure of whether I would prefer a role at a smaller company or a larger organisation. I wanted more opportunities to work as part of a larger whole, and I found that here at FreeAgent.”
David, an engineering manager in the Tax Engineering team, worked in web development for a US-based company. He explained: “I was looking for a change and an opportunity with long-term career prospects. FreeAgent offered room to grow and all the great benefits that I didn’t have at the time. FreeAgent was competitive in terms of salary, but enjoying my work and the workplace were also important factors for me and I felt like FreeAgent would provide that. After being here nearly four years, I can say that I was right."
What’s it like to be a person who identifies as LGBTQ+ at FreeAgent?
We pride ourselves on creating a welcoming and safe space to work - both in person and remotely - from day one. David described his experience joining FreeAgent: “This is the first job I’ve ever had where I’ve joined feeling comfortable not having to hide things about my personal life - it’s just part of normal conversation.”
FreeAgent is also a place where everyone is free to be themselves. Simon described how they feel at FreeAgent: “I think ‘safe’ is the first word that comes to mind here. Between [being non-binary] and being on the autistic spectrum, safety is important – it’s really crucial to find somewhere that you’re accepted, or better yet, supported for your differences. I can say with some certainty that FreeAgent is that place.”
Anda shared a similar experience: “FreeAgent was the first workplace where I didn’t feel I had to hide being queer. I had met some of my future colleagues in interviews before joining and it seemed like a pretty diverse place for a tech company. It’s also the first workplace I’ve been in with a dedicated Slack channel for LGBTQ+ people which makes it feel like a community. Our chats range from book recommendations to discussing more political issues and it’s good to have that space.”
What does allyship look like at FreeAgent?
We make sure that FreeAgent is a place where everyone’s voice is heard and allyship is genuine. Anda said: “FreeAgent is a place where feedback is being listened to. I personally fed back on some Pride month initiatives and my comments were all taken into consideration. So I think being asked and listened to is a big one for me. I think providing a space for LGBTQ+ people, for example our Slack channel, is important and it shows new people that they are welcome.”
Community plays a big role at FreeAgent. This is why support for everyone, including those who identify as LGBTQ+, is important to all of us. Simon explained: “Allyship is really important no matter the scenario. I’m fortunate to work for a company where I feel safe to identify as non-binary. Allyship should be selfless. Folks take that idea seriously at FreeAgent – acts of allyship are careful and considerate, and I’m grateful that folks approach it maturely.”
Emily (or M, as she’s better known to us) is our wonderful chief accountant, who recently celebrated her 14th(!) anniversary with FreeAgent. M defined what allyship means to her: “It’s really important to me to be kind to everybody and make everyone feel welcome and happy at FreeAgent. I’m a cisgender heterosexual woman, so I might not be able to understand why someone else might have different feelings, but I accept that people’s choices are their own. I try to treat everyone - my colleagues whether LGBTQ+ or not - in a kind and friendly way. We’re all part of the FreeAgent community and everyone should feel welcome.”
What aspects of being part of the FreeAgent community do people value the most?
We’re proud of our wonderful Support team’s reputation for being friendly (take a peek at our TrustPilot reviews). But that ethos is also reflected across the company. David said: “Everyone is really nice at FreeAgent - they’re just a really nice bunch of people and there’s no conflict. It’s a welcoming place, which makes it a pleasure to come to work.”
Simon said: “Our internal forums are really great places to practise and perfect the art of giving talks and running sessions. I feel like my confidence and comfort with giving talks has really improved. A lot of that comes from just how friendly the crowd is. We have a talented, knowledgeable and passionate group of people, and I always come away from a trip up to Scotland [to FreeAgent HQ] feeling grateful for having shared their presence.”
M shared what she values at FreeAgent: “Everyone is welcomed and accepted. In my pre-FreeAgent working life I’ve not always felt like part of the team, but at FreeAgent I’m just M, and everyone accepts me - and seems to like me! - exactly as I am. That’s why I try to extend that to everyone else.”
If FreeAgent sounds like a community you could see yourself being a part of, check out our current vacancies - we’d really love to hear from you.