My 6 Week Trip to SUSO’s Poland Office: Lewis Parker

SUSO 17 March 2022

I’m Lewis, the Head of Client Success here at SUSO. Here’s my little story of a trip to work in our Poznan office, discussing the work I focused on with our team, my exploration of the city, and also the wonderful people of Poland and their kindness in the face of a terrible war.

Author: Lewis Parker, Head of Client Success

Lewis Parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

Every company has its own perks of the job. Whether it’s office drinks on a Friday afternoon, a gym membership, or unlimited holidays, there’s always something to sweeten the deal for employees.  

At SUSO, we are lucky to have an excellent team working out in Poznan, which meant I got the chance to spend some time working in the historic Polish city and see what it’s like to still be in the EU (thanks, Brexit).

I’m Lewis, the Head of Client Success here at SUSO. Here’s my little story of a trip to work in our Poznan office, discussing the work I focused on with our team, my exploration of the city, and also the wonderful people of Poland and their kindness in the face of a terrible war.

My Journey Into Poland

The trip didn’t get off to the best of starts, as our flight of 200 people was greeted at passport control by a total of 2 border agents. With the added complication of covid documents, let’s just say time didn’t exactly fly past. Although, I very much enjoyed the sarcastic Polish applause as additional border agents finally came to help with the long queues.

When I eventually reached the desk of my stone-faced border officer, things got even worse for me when he asked for my negative covid test. As a triple vaccinated individual, I had assumed I was immune not only to the virus, but also to international laws. 

After my high-pitched and nervous negotiating, he eventually dropped his tough-guy act and told me I could simply get a test in the airport lobby after I collected my luggage. I’m pretty sure he didn’t tell me this sooner because he enjoyed watching me squeal. 

So I got my test and then headed to my apartment, relieved to be a free man in the place I would call home for the next 6 weeks.

Daily Life At The Poznan SUSO Office

Once I finally settled in, it was time to meet up with the team and get to work on some of our big projects planned for the first quarter of 2022.

Discovery Month

One of the more important projects involved finalising a new service that we call Discovery Month. As a company, we noticed that our previous methods of quoting clients’ campaigns based on the pre-sales analysis didn’t always lead to the most accurate deliverables.

As a result, we decided to take the leap and instead turn all first months into a standardised month of auditing and strategising, which would allow us to provide a detailed roadmap of SEO work that was perfectly tailored to their websites and needs. 

It took a lot of meetings, tests, and reviews to figure out the logistics for this new style of collaboration. Nevertheless, I’m proud to say we got there in the end. We now have a polished Discovery Month service that will pave the way for all our future SEO work with our clients.

The Pod System

Another project we have been working on is restructuring our teams into dedicated micro teams called ‘Pods’ for more streamlined communication and clearer organisation. Previously our projects would be assigned to new project managers and technical managers based on available capacity.

Project managers are the ones that communicate with clients and organise the work, and the technical managers are the SEO experts that carry out the analysis and implementation.

With Project Managers and Technical Managers all working with one another, we noticed that this led to difficulties in prioritising deadlines, challenges with communication and also not the most efficient workflow.

Therefore, to address this we decided to organise our projects so that the Project Manager & Technical Manager worked on all the same ones, with no crossover. This allows for much more efficient communication, clearer structuring of work and a simplified workflow.

So far we’ve noticed extremely positive feedback from the team, so it was great we could get this achieved during my stay.

Exploring The City of Poznan

Amongst all the hard work, I made sure to find time to have fun with my team and explore the city a little bit.

For anyone who’s not been to Poznan, I’ll give you a brief summary of what you can expect.

Poznan is what I’d call a Goldilocks city – not too big, not too small, but instead just the right size. It’s one of those places that has everything you need but isn’t overpopulated like a major city. You’ve got bars, more cafes than you’ll ever need, fantastic restaurants, and lovely old historical buildings. 

To top it off, there’s a tram and plenty of electric scooters (my favourite mode of transport), so it’s very easy to get around. But to be honest, it’s so small you can basically walk anywhere.

In the evenings, I would usually spend time doing fun activities with the team. Whether it was bowling, pool, grabbing beers, or singing our hearts out at karaoke, there was always something planned. 

The karaoke was by far the highlight, although I’m not sure if my rendition of Robbie Williams’ “Angel” sounded as good to everyone else as it did in my own head.  

Nevertheless, it really was fantastic getting to catch up with my work mates that I’m so used to seeing over video calls. You simply cannot beat face-to-face interaction when it comes to getting to know people, and it’s so important when you’re working with them day in and day out.

Lewis & Artur

An Unexpected Hiccup (Or Cough)

In an unfortunate turn of events, one day I woke up and began feeling a strange tickling sensation in my throat along with an unusual tiredness. You guessed it, I got covid! 

It seemed that Lady Luck was serving me some sweet irony for not getting my covid test before arriving in Poland.

So I spent the next 7 days isolating myself in my flat, using this time to really focus on my goals, awaken my spiritual side and achieve a state of optimum productivity. And what I mean by that is I used it as an excuse to try every burger available on Uber Eats and continue my recent bingeing of the US Office. Not a bad way to spend my prison sentence.

Once I returned to civilization, I had the fun opportunity of checking out some new office spaces, as our team looked to upgrade to a bigger and more modern building for our growing team. After discussing with our different departments, we agreed on a new office space that has real potential for making work life even more convenient and comfortable, and will help attract even more talent to our Poznan team.

Covid Test

The Beauty of The Polish People

Crowd at Protest

Unfortunately, towards the end of my stay, the news of Russian troops lining up on the Ukrainian border was becoming more serious as the days progressed.

When the invasion began, this horrendous situation was made even more real by the fact that members of our own team are from Ukraine and have families living there.

The one bright light in these dark times has been the response from Polish people, showing just how wonderful and compassionate they are to their Ukrainian neighbours.

Whether it was the support shown at protests to the war, with a sea of Ukrainian flags rippling through the air, or donation points popping up across the city for people to give clothes and supplies, the whole city seemed to spring into action to help in any way it could.

I even heard stories of colleagues driving Ukrainians to neighbouring cities to help them reach a safe place to stay and instances of people opening up their homes to entire families.

It made me proud to be connected to this wonderful city which showed me that even in the darkest of times, there are always good people who will do the right thing.

If you would like to help the people of Ukraine through these tough times, please consider donating with any of the charities shown below (or any verified charity that you can find):

https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-crisis-appeal

https://donation.dec.org.uk/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal

https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/donate/single/donation-single-00048

Returning Home

As my time in Poland came to an end, I couldn’t help but feel a mix of emotions. On the one hand I really enjoyed my time with my colleagues and felt positive about the growth of our team, but on the other hand I felt devastated for the Ukranians whose world has been turned upside down in a matter of weeks.

They are currently facing terrible and uncertain times, and it will take a while for them to recover from this destruction. But at least one thing I know is that the Polish people will continue to welcome them with open arms and open hearts for as long as it takes.

In the meantime, I look forward to my return to Poland and being reunited with my Poznan team once again.

Slava Ukraini!

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