My title in Toluna was Lifecycle Marketing Manager and I worked along other LM’s in the same office. Toluna offers market research to clients (including globally known big names) and operates worldwide with a community in every country in Europe. The company’s HQ is located in 5 Avenue du Château, 94300 Vincennes, France which is very close to the city of Paris and where I was based. The official job description stated my tasks as “animating and moderating the community website in your language, driving increased participation and organizing campaigns to stimulate community involvement against measurable metrics, running Toluna’s social media presence on multiple platforms including Facebook, interacting with members and ensuring a homogeneous cross-product experience (website, social networks, blog, helpdesk)”.
My working days were similar and started at 09:45 with 5 minutes leeway. I was never late once in my 6 months placement, not even by a minute. I am quite sure I was the only one in our office with this record and it may be as I cycled to work. Biking to work can be sweaty especially when it was 30 degrees early in the morning during summer. I showered in the office every morning during my internship, which colleagues originally thought was funny as most of them did not even know there were showers in the office until I started showing up for work every morning with wet hair!
9:45 was the official start time but work usually started maybe 20 minutes later. This is France. Coming to the office, greeting everyone, making coffee and socializing was common practice. I usually started the day by checking the content on the site and especially focusing on content that needed removing. Then I checked my email as most tasks that are outside of our normal work were sent by email. If the task was not a major one, I usually completed it before anything else as I felt it was the easiest way of not having to remember too many things. If the task was more time consuming, I usually tried to fit it in later in the day. I wanted to complete all the extra work tasks on the same day they were given to make sure I would not miss any deadlines.
We had to take our 1 hour lunch break between 12:00 and 14:00. I usually started the break just before 13:00 and ended just before 14:00 as I noticed that there was usually a rush hour in the kitchen at 13:00. Many people ate for 1 hour, especially my colleagues from Latin America and Spain. I usually ate in 15 minutes and then took a cup of coffee on my walk which, I did every lunch hour no matter what the weather. Later in the autumn, especially in December, I was given a lot of strange looks by my colleagues for going out voluntarily in bad weather. They soon understood that I do not suffer in the cold like others. Ending my walk before 14:00 was also important because on Tuesday and Thursday we had a news meeting about what is happening in the world in general to help staff with contemporary content creation.
In the afternoon, I carried on with daily tasks of content creation, helpdesk and other work that needed completion. Everyone worked at their own pace. As I consider myself a fast worker, I had a lot of time to check news as I want to stay updated on what is happening in the world. I shared some of the more important pieces in our Skype group that was dedicated to interesting news. We interacted a lot in different groups some of which consisted only of my colleagues and some of which included my superiors as well. The tone was quite informal and I enjoyed making jokes. Light humour brings smiles to people’s faces in the office and makes the environment more relaxed.
At 16:00, we had a 20-minute coffee break and socialised before going back to work which I liked. We then completed the rest of our tasks before going home 6pm. This was the routine from Monday to Thursday but on Fridays the day ended at 16:45.
I improved my use of French in casual office conversation during the time I spent in Paris and I learned the importance of socializing in the office as it helps to develop a nice working environment for everyone. A more inclusive work environment which I had been trying to build in Toluna is something that gives motivation as people sense they are valued more and their opinions matter. To me it was a wonderful and a challenging task to try to make the work environment nicer to everyone every day.
Text and all photos by Iiro Koskenniemi, EBA15 edited LS