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From fresh meals to meditation rooms: Here's what it's like to work at Smarkets

The online betting exchange is innovating for staff as well as customers. We paid them a visit.

SMARKETS IS AN online betting exchange that allows you to get the best betting odds and the lowest commission on all major sports and politics.

Founded in 2008, the company began as a small group of investors and developers who saw the potential to apply financial trading principles to the online sports world. The idea was a hit.

Fast forward ten years and the company now employs 106 people from 32 different countries across the world. It was named the 25th fastest growing company in the world by Financial Times and they traded £50 million this year on the Grand National alone. Not bad for a company barely a decade old.

So, what’s it really like to work at this betting juggernaut? We were granted a sneak peek behind the scenes of Smarkets’ London office to find out more.

The first thing you notice when you walk into the office is how bright and airy it is. The reception area is welcoming and spacious. A lot of thought has clearly gone into the clean lines and structured working spaces.

Staff are able to move, sit and stand at adjustable desks. While the office is not open-plan there is an open door policy that encourages employees to migrate throughout the space.

Smarkets Smarkets

“As soon as I came in here I just felt great and I thought that’s the place where I want to work,” explains Dan, Head of Partnerships and Content. It’s not hard to see why. From the large communal kitchens to the acoustic booths every staff need has been considered.

Emma, who works as a Lead Recruiter at Smarkets explains how employees were taken into consideration in the design process. “We have an amazing work environment – from the living wall behind me to the three freshly cooked meals that we get everyday and desks that you can fully move around in. We have a meditation room. We have everything that you could need.”

Smarkets is a forward thinking company, not just in its design but also in its team structure. They pride themselves on a flat management structure that focuses on self-autonomy.

People and Talent Lead Brian describes this further. “In a traditional organisation I would be called the head of human resources. We made a conscious decision to switch from a traditional hierarchy to the principles of self-management. The power, the responsibilities and the freedom resides in individual team members.”

Smarkets Smarkets

This is something that really appeals to both potential candidates and employees who already work for the brand. During our time in the office we spoke to a Software Engineer named Pan. She has experienced this independence first hand, “As software engineers you also have the freedom to choose the team you work in and the projects you work on.”

Instead of putting workers on a set career path, Smarkets prefers to let employees find their own way and carve out a career for themselves. It’s this kind of forward thinking that sets them apart from the competition.

“There isn’t a defined personal development plan here but the people who do really well at Smarkets are the ones that make that happen for themselves,” explains Emma.

Indeed that is what drew James, a data scientist to the company, “If you want to take on more leadership positions you can. If you want to take a research angle to your job you can. If you want to change team you can.”

Smarkets Smarkets

“We have people from very different backgrounds, ages and ethnicities. All these people together are incredibly efficient and able to work well together. That drives me everyday to become better at my job,” he explains.

So you might be asking yourself how do I get a job in this amazing office? Well, we did the legwork and asked People and Talent Lead Brian what kind of people they are on the lookout for.

“There’s a tremendous amount of character and integrity in the company. That’s who we are going to keep hiring. People who have good character and shared purpose.”

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