How International Runtastics Adapt to the Austrian Way of Life
Runtastic has always grown like crazy. Ever since we started professionalizing our hiring process in late 2014, we have more than doubled from 100 to 240+ employees. And with this hyper-growth we managed to bring awesome people from all over the world to our offices in Linz, Vienna, and Salzburg.
By now, more than 40% of Runtastics have an international background and have relocated to Austria (for professional or personal reasons) in the past couple of years. And while we as an organization embrace our diversity and celebrate it on any possible occasion, we sometimes tend to overlook the individual stories of our relocators, the challenges they may face, and the lessons they have learned.
Learning the language can be tricky – but try it anyway!
We have the privilege of working for a company full of smart and well-educated individuals. And most of these individuals are open to new challenges – such as learning German. Runtastic subsidizes German classes for all employees, as we feel that integrating into the country may be easier if you can speak the language.
“I am finally coming to terms with the fact that I studied German for 5 years and still can’t understand the people in this country :-).”
While our Dutch Translator Aaron does speak German quite well, he light-heartedly sums up the challenge so many people face who have studied German in school: in Austria, people don’t really speak German. Yes, German is the official language, but every little part of the country has its own dialect, which can be so strong that even Austrians from other parts of the country do not understand some regional expressions.
Within the company, we eliminated the language barrier by shifting the company language to English. This means, that all written correspondence, all presentations, and every internal meeting is held in English. In daily work-life we also try to keep everything in English, which sometimes is still not as easy as it sounds, as previous Glassdoor reviews reveal. However, we do our best to make sure that everybody feels included – regardless of their native language.
Appreciate the high quality of life
Something Austrians tend to forget is the high standard of living our little home country has to offer. Not only do we at Runtastic offer a great number of health and team related benefits for our employees, but the social system overall makes our lives pretty comfortable.
Be it basics like cleanliness and safety, or a strong social system with high-quality (and affordable) healthcare, or the 25 paid vacation days per year: the overall set-up makes it easy to live here.
“Austria is a great place to raise a kid.”
Software Test Manager Alexandru, who is rather new to parenthood, is convinced that staying in Austria to raise his little one was the right choice for him and his family. Most fathers at Runtastic even take a month off to take care of their babies and spend time with their loved ones at a very early stage – something Runtastic promotes and encourages every father to do.
Exploring the beautiful landscape
Austria is a small country located in the heart of Europe. This means that it only takes a few hours to reach the neighboring countries where you can explore completely different cultures. Monday’s social media feeds are usually full of Runtastics enjoying weekend trips together.
But – according to Kate, one of our User Acquisition Managers (instagram @kitkatez) – it’s actually not necessary to leave the country to see beautiful places. Almost every weekend she explores the regions nearby and has fallen in love with the famous Salzkammergut area.
“I sometimes can’t believe that I am not in a postcard when I take the train through the mountains.”
Austrian and international Runtastics alike do enjoy being outside, exploring the outdoors close to the offices in Linz, Vienna, and Salzburg, and plan their team events accordingly.
Integration: quirks and perks
Carla, our Italian Language Specialist had some trouble adapting to the opening hours of the Austrian stores. They close at 7:00 pm on weekdays and are closed all day on Sundays – which can be very annoying when you are used to having access to groceries 24/7.
Indeed, it is still hard to understand for many (Austrians included) why smoking is still allowed in designated areas in restaurants and bars, and Austrians may not be the easiest people to get to know at first. But overall, we feel that our relocators have not regretted their choice to move here for many of the reasons mentioned above.
We try to create as many opportunities as possible for everybody to explore their new country and also help them integrate in the community and establish new and long-lasting relationships with other people living here. Whether through numerous team events during the week, biweekly company breakfasts, or simply the open office space – it’s crucial for us that everybody feels part of the (work) community.
After all, we all benefit from our diverse work environment. Different viewpoints, higher tolerance, and simply better ideas make us stronger together, without forgetting where we come from!