I’ve been living in Bogotá just shy of two years now, and I’m quite open to admit it hasn’t been easy. I moved to Colombia with my Spanish vocabulary spanning from the basic colors of the rainbow to knowing what to call my immediate family members if a 3rd party asked me about them, and unfortunately I haven’t progressed hugely since then – so please consider the scene set.
Fast forward to when I landed my job with Zemoga. I never thought I’d get a job in Colombia unless I was fluent in Spanish, but lucky for me I found a company whose clients are all based in the US and English is ubiquitous in the office.
I came in terrified to work in a new country, let alone with a group of professionals who might view me as I viewed myself at that point – a child, a foreigner, an outsider. But 11 Zemoga months later, I’m happy to report that things couldn’t be further from the truth.
Building a home within Zemoga
Apart from its portfolio of leading global clients, its evident above-average tenure (with an incredibly low turnover rate of 5.9%), and its talented and curious people, there are plenty more meaningful reasons why one would find themselves happy at Zemoga.
Working from Home
One of the much-loved perks is the ability to work from home twice a week.
“Because I can work from home, I can spend more time with my two-year-old daughter,” Iván Rodriguez, UX Designer, has said. Or take it from Andres Valenzuela in our QA Team – “I avoid spending hours in traffic and can take the time to be more productive in my work.”
Working remotely is on the rise, and for good reason. It instills a sense of trust within the company, empowers people to work productively on their own, and gives companies a competitive edge when looking for talent.
Personally, I’m not a person who prefers to work from home, but I’ve benefited from the flexibility during my family’s school breaks, or getting to and from Spanish classes. Life happens outside of work, and Zemoga makes it easier to manage.
“I love the fact that you can practice and improve your English level at Zemoga” – Jaime Leon, QA Analyst
Another perk at Zemoga is getting the opportunity to learn and improve your English. Since we provide staff augmentation to our clients in the US from Colombia, our team often works face-to-face (or video-to-video) with our clients and their teams. Zemoga invests in ensuring continued education and improvement to better understand and connect on different communication levels in English. From my perspective, everyone’s English far outweighs my Spanish!
We currently have classes of four different levels taught weekly by native teachers whose classes are based on the Common Europen Framework of Reference for Languages.
Professional Growth & Education
Zemoga is full of keen minds where the roles of teachers and students interchange constantly and we’re collaborating continually. UX Designer Alejandra Restrepo mentions she loves to “work with talented people. It pushes me to work harder and do my best,” which speaks for the level of talent and ever-present motivation we have amongst our teams to foster growth.
We recently launched a new floor to our office, which is home to our Z-Academy classroom and we’ve already begun to host different educational workshops for both Zemoga employees and professionals interested in expanding their knowledge in software engineering, product and user experience. Watch this space for events and workshops to come!
All the small things
It sounds ‘start-up’ cliché, but our ping-pong table is very much loved in our office. Not only can having one improve productivity and morale, but it also brings different people together: “having a ping-pong table allows us to relax and get to know teammates we might not meet in other context,” says Camilo Soto from our Front-End Development team.
Our team loves it so much, they even made an app to keep score and organize the game queue!
For me, the window between snacky and hangry is very small, and when I reach the latter, I can’t think. Having vending machines (that aren’t filled with junk!) in the office saves me from becoming a mini monster and brings me back to productivity. I may have found a few too many favorite snacks; suffice to say my vending machine credit runs out early every month…
More than just a workplace
Apart from above – and most of all – the overall culture in this space is magical. Zemoga doesn’t list this as an official perk, but to me, the best part about Zemoga is that you get to be part of the family, and I’m not the only one who thinks it.
I sent a survey to the company asking everyone to be specific about the perks they appreciate most within Zemoga. I expected to receive an array of responses, like the travel opportunities to either work with our teams in other Colombian cities (Barranquilla and Medelliín) or with our clients in the US (we currently have clients in San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Nashville, and New York). Or even the fact that family meals are provided, and fitness classes hosted.
But, no. The responses were consistent with appreciation to Zemoga’s people, culture, and just the feeling of being part of a family. I would further explain, but instead, I’ll let you hear it straight from the horse’s mouth (virtually speaking):
- “I love that Zemoga always surprises me. It’s policy in thinking of its people first makes me feel grateful, happy and really comfortable working here.” – Javier Garcia, QA Analyst
- “I love the culture, I can speak with every member of the company no matter what their position is. It’s like a big family.” – Gustavo Morales, UI Developer
- “I love that Zemoga always cares about the human aspect of the relationship. It applies to our staff, our clients, contractors and vendors.” – Carlos Pardo, CFO
- “I don’t feel like just another employee of the company. It feels like I’m part of a big family, and I know many of us share that feeling.” – Luis Salinas, Lead Mobile Developer
- “I love the fact that everything is about people. It creates a trusting environment and you forget for a moment you’re at work, which makes things run smoothly.” – Rodrigo Salazar, Marketing Manager
- “I love the way Zemoga feels like family. It’s a unique place where I can be myself and feel comfortable and happy.” – Vivian Garzon, Project Manager
- “I love working at Zemoga because I have all the necessary spaces to develop both personally and professionally.” – Estefania Rodriguez, HR Analyst
- “The fact that the most important thing for the company is its people.” – Miguel Posada, Android Developer
- “That Zemoga takes into account the other dimensions of our lives, not only the work aspect.” – Rodrigo Bernal, UX Designer
For a girl who loves loves, consolidating the above made me very happy, especially when so many start with “I love …” – and it was an open-field response form.
Home away from home
Imagine this – if a thin language barrier exists between me, the culture and its people, and I still feel their warmth and openness with me, I can only imagine how it feels with no barriers at all. I’ve woken up at 5am on a Saturday to hike up Monserate with this team; they’ve inspired me to sign up for 10k races in Bogotá’s high altitude (not easy!) They’ve supported the opening of my fiancé’s business when barely knowing me, and they’ve been both patient and proactive when trying to teach this Gringa Spanish, as well as how to dance – which you can imagine is quite the challenge.
Zemoga has some of the most passionate and empathetic people I’ve ever seen, and it’s clearly appreciated by so many since they focus their efforts on building and investing in a healthy workplace culture.
I’ve been grateful to find Zemoga, because it’s not just a great company for me being in a foreign country; it’s just a great company with great people. Period. And in my opinion, it includes some of the kindest and most talented bunch that exists. Thank you, Zemogians, for being so kind to this shy and foreign gal.
To join our family, email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org today.