Wattpad

Posted: July 14, 2020

Brad Mallet

Engineering Manager

Wattpad Halifax

This month, we spoke with Brad Mallet, Engineering Manager at Wattpad’s HQ2 in Halifax.

Tell us about Wattpad and the greatest challenges or opportunities ahead.

We’re living in an incredible moment of disruption for every form of entertainment. How people find and experience stories is changing every day. In the midst of the global streaming wars and new types of entertainment vying for consumer attention, Wattpad is uniquely positioned to help writers find an audience, make money, and achieve their dreams of getting published or seeing their stories adapted for screens.

There are hundreds of millions of stories on Wattpad. These stories are loved and shared by a passionate global community of 80 million people. Our opportunity as a company – and also our challenge – is making sure users and partners can find stories they love on Wattpad. With the volume of content, our Story DNA Machine Learning Technology, along with our incredible team of content experts, make this possible.

What do you see as the greatest advantages of operating a business in Halifax?

Halifax is doing everything right to become a thriving technology hub. The city is growing into Atlantic Canada’s most important innovation centre because it has created a business environment with the resources entrepreneurs need. The city has a thriving tech scene, great schools, world-class talent, an excellent cost of living, and a business-friendly environment. And don’t forget fresh sea air!

At Wattpad, we’ve transformed entire industries, built a global company, and created a community of users. And we’ve done it from right here in Canada. That’s why we’re thrilled to open our second headquarters in Halifax and join the city’s incredible innovation community.

Hiring youth is important to the economic growth of Nova Scotia. How does Wattpad plan to support emerging talent in our province?

Our Halifax HQ2 isn’t intended to simply be a new office. Our long-term goal is to build a fully realized second headquarters to match our team and capabilities in Toronto. This means we’ll be able to work with local post-secondary institutions and education leaders to create learning and employment opportunities for both experienced talent and a new generation of innovators.

Halifax’s thriving technology community was an important reason we came to the city. We set up our office space in Volta because we want to be part of the incredible technology and startup scene.

How have your operations shifted since COVID-19?

All of our teams are currently working remotely, including our growing team in Halifax. As a global company, with distributed teams around the world, remote work and collaboration isn’t new to Wattpad. But COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation, with new dynamics that fall well beyond what’s involved in typical remote work. Today, we’re not just supporting remote work, we’re supporting remote wellness for our teams.

From the very beginning of this global quarantine, the health and safety of our employees – wherever they are – has been our top priority, and that continues today. Teams and employees need to feel safe, supported, and given the space to work through their personal quarantine situation.

At the beginning of COVID-19, we set up consistent communication channels so our employees were always aware of new changes and plans. We’ve always offered flex work hours, but in the midst of COVID-19, we’ve adjusted how we work to accommodate everyone’s individual experience of this unique situation. We currently reimburse staff for any tools, equipment, and office furniture that can improve their comfort and productivity while working from home. One important way we’re supporting work-life balance is encouraging people to change their working hours to suit their situation, or to compress their work week into four days if needed.

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