Free fruit, flexitime and family-friendly: Idealo has over 550 employees and is currently hiring. WebMagazin takes a peek inside the Berlin offices of Germany’s biggest price comparison portal.
In a former shoe factory in Prenzlauer Berg, five floors of developers, content managers, marketing, HR, PR and sales experts are busy maintaining the website of Idealo.
A worn-out floor mat bearing the blue and orange logo is the first indication that I’m in the right place.
It seems strange to be wiping my feet on the company brand, but Idealo’s PR representative Anne-Laure tells me that most employees don’t treat their employer like dirt.
Idealo at a glance:
- Business: Price comparison
- Location: Prenzlauer Berg (just off Schönhauser Allee)
- Employees: 550 and growing
- Language: German only
- Perks: Flexitime, free fruit and veg, brand discounts, family friendly policies
- Perfect for: Work-life balance
“You can always feel from the ambience in a company whether people gossip or complain in the kitchen. But when I first joined, I noticed there was no complaints in this company. There’s no negative pressure from bosses. There’s no extra hours. People are happy to work here. It’s nothing concrete, but for me it’s more important than free vegetables.”
She’s referring to the fruit and veg available to all employees. But that’s where the free perks end: there’s no table football, no napping area, and no fridge full of Club Mate. Idealo does not use any Silicon Valley start-up methods to get long hours out of employees.
“We don’t do overtime here.”
Long hours are not part of the Idealo culture, says Anne-Laure. One of this employer’s biggest attractions is its flexitime („Gleitzeit“) approach to working hours, something most start-ups in Berlin cannot offer.
Christine, head of HR, tells me the company is about family. But not a “family” of employees in the hackneyed employer branding sense:
„We try to support our employees building a family. We do a lot for pregnant employees and young fathers that want to take Elternzeit [paternity leave]. We also give pregnant women the opportunity to take one day off a week in the last four weeks of their pregnancy without a pay cut.“
Family friendly: Idealo gives employees gifts when they have children or get married. © Software & Support Media
The age span at Idealo ranges from young to old in all departments. Genders are less mixed however. “There’s a bit of a lack of girls in the IT department,” says Christine, who runs a mostly female HR team.
“We probably won’t hire you if you don’t speak a word of German.”
Idealo provides German lessons to all international employees that want to improve their language skills. That’s because Idealo’s working language is strictly German, although their office has a significant proportion of international employees representing the website in the UK, Fance, Italy, Spain and Poland.
The Idealo offices are based in a former shoe factory in Prenzlauer Berg. © Software & Support Media
On a typical lunchbreak, most employees either grab some of the free fruit and veg and eat in the kitchen, or head out to one of the dozens of restaurants close by.
With Idealo’s flexitime policy, you can make your lunch as long as you like. But that depends on what country you’re from. “French people take more time to have lunch,” jokes Anne-Laure, herself French. “German people never take as much time [laughs].”