Stocked in 26 countries around the world, including the UK, US, Australia and the UAE, Rebel Kitchen is well on its way to disrupting the plant-based nutrition category on a global scale.
Since its launch in 2014, Co-Founders Tamara and Ben Arbib have led a mission to transform society’s approach to food, health and sustainability, while accelerating the company’s growth in the increasingly popular coconut sector.
But, while the brand’s newest range ‘Mylk’ continues to push innovation in the free-from dairy category, behind the scenes the Arbibs are leading a very different type of transformation.
Challenging the definition of what it means to be healthy from a business perspective, the Arbibs have forged a company that places the wellbeing of its staff at the center of everything it does. And this, they argue has been central to the brand’s growing success.
From support and transparency to meditation and office yoga, here Tamara Arbib discusses how Rebel Kitchen has created a healthy company culture centered on improving the lives of its staff, and how that has positively impacted the business…
“Rebel Kitchen is here to redefine health through food, business and beyond. We are here to change our approach to health, what constitutes health, the way food is made and how businesses operate within the food space. It’s a different kind of health message – one that doesn’t separate the individual from the whole, and one that is based on actions instead of preaching.”
The above is the beautiful text we’ve landed on to try to succinctly encapsulate what it is we are trying to do at Rebel Kitchen. But to understand how important wellness in the office is to me as an individual and as a business owner, we need to go deeper into the vision statement, and more specifically how it relates to business.
The fact of the matter is, a healthy business means a lot of things but ultimately it starts with a healthy team.
For Rebel Kitchen, at this point in the business it’s not me who will make the brand a success anymore, it’s my team. So, if they are well in themselves, aligned and as present as possible I don’t need to worry because I know they will make the best, most conscious decisions.
And so, not only because it’s best practice to be a conscious company that looks after it’s employees, but because the success of a business actually depends on its employees being ‘well’, we really and truly try to walk the walk of looking after the wellbeing of our team.
Below I’ve outlined just ten of the types of things we do. The list is by no means an exhaustive one, but we are constantly evolving the business and what wellbeing means to us.
Our company values were a big part of setting the scene, we wrote them together in an incredible offsite session and what was so beautiful was that in creating them we were all able to come up with similar threads, so they’ve felt very ‘Rebel’ from the beginning.
The decision to create the values together has meant that the team is passionate in living and breathing them. And, as the team has grown it is this first cohort that has set the scene and really lead the way in terms of the vibe and community that we are building.
The values are plastered on the wall in our reception, so they are the first thing anyone sees when they come into Rebel HQ. We want everybody who comes into the office to see how we want to be – not just professionally but in life generally. When you sign up to be a Rebel you sign up to living this way.
This is what it says:
Be a rebel Live your truest self. No fear. No bullshit With yourself or with others. No gossip Be impeccable with your word. Push boundaries Be persistent. Transform failure and find the way. Be open No judgment, no assumptions. It’s not personal. Passion to the end Remember the why. All in balance Accept the imperfections and love yourself. Enjoy the journey Be present, do your best, and excellence will flow. Nourishment always; for ourselves, for each other, for the rest
I read a book called Conscious Commerce by the couple who started an amazing café in California called Café Gratitude, and I got the idea of clearing from them. It’s not new, but it’s brilliant. Not only am I an advocate for it in the workplace, but I think we all need to be doing it in life.
The present is the only place where creation exists, and to get to that present we need to clear ourselves of past and future. Clearing is a tool that works to bring us all into the present moment and I encourage the team to do it daily or even multiple times a day if the occasion requires it.
It allows people to put the BS to one side and get on with what they really want to do. In clearing we exchange an honest account of what is stopping us from being truly present in the moment, and to say it out loud with no judgement from others allows it to be released. It’s really powerful.
Flexi Hours/Working From Home
The Rebel way of working is not mainstream. The fact is, we are all individual and have different patterns of productivity, so we try to accommodate every Rebel’s individual quirks and preferences.
Whether someone’s a morning worker or an evening worker, a remote worker or an office worker, they should have the freedom to work in a place and time that gets the best out of them, so we don’t clock watch.
At the end of the day, either you deliver or you don’t. We’re not going to constrict you on the ‘how’, as long as it works for the rest of the team too.
We want to create this beautiful symbiotic relationship between employer and employee because life and work aren’t in two separate vacuums where you can jump from one to the other. You can’t really leave yourself at the door when you come into the office, nor do we want you to. We hired YOU. It is YOU who we want and who will deliver the best work.
Flexi hours and working from home illicit success because they are based on trust, balance and freedom, they are built from the expectation that such privileges are not taken for granted and that the individual will deliver excellence. It’s true that individuals only get to play by these rules because they expect excellence from themselves, but gone are the days that staff need to stay at their desk until their manager tells them to go home, or for them to prove they are working hard by staying late.
Again, the theme of trust, balance and freedom is big for us and unlimited holiday is another example of how we demonstrate that. We don’t want to tell our team how and when they need to take holiday. We are all grown adults, we don’t want to control your time and we definitely don’t want people to be ‘saving’ up holiday days for a big break while they burn out.
Startup life is stressful, so I want everyone to feel when they might need a day off here or there and take the time to recharge. Otherwise, what’s it all for? It would be ironic if Rebels were killing themselves for the benefit of the company’s success.
Allowing for different types of meetings focuses on harnessing one’s best-self, so depending on the people and the day, the type of meetings we have can shift.
Our staff can choose whether they want to take a walking meeting, a park meeting or a beanbag meeting. We have an open-plan chill space downstairs in our office that includes beanbags and sofas, this enables us to do our job while being comfortable at the same time.
Social And Wellbeing Programme
Our social and wellbeing programme consists of four pillars:
- Personal Growth
- Professional Growth
Each pillar exists as a point of reference so that we cover what we feel is a balanced and holistic approach to wellness.
The programme will only ever be strong if the team is involved, so we have representatives from each department known as ‘Wellness Warriors’, who form a ‘Wellness Committee’.
Different events and workshops related to the four pillars in the programme take place throughout the year.
We really encourage everyone to take 20 minutes out of their workday to meditate. I don’t think we need to go into the benefits of meditation because we’ve all been bombarded with them, but the practice has been such an important and transformational tool for me personally, that I wanted all Rebels to feel supported in practising it within the office.
Not all Rebels meditate, but there are a good amount of us who do.
The dream is to one day have a free in-house canteen of delicious organic plant-based food, until then, we have it on Tuesdays.
We take time to come together as a team and enjoy a delicious lunch. Either we order food from places that share our vision in providing healthy, nutritious and delicious produce, or one of the departments is allocated Tuesday Chef Duty. The assigned team takes an hour pre-lunch to knock something up in our kitchen for the rest of us.
Being a small team of 25, we find it helps us come together as friends and break from the craziness of the day.
Every Monday morning Rebels are invited downstairs for yoga with our incredible instructor Candy. This is a no-email and no-tech zone where we have the opportunity to sweep away the weekend cobwebs and get the week off to a beautiful start. Everyone from beginners to head standers are welcome.
Pets are completely welcome in the Rebel office.
It started with one of our first employees desperately wanting a dog but not being able to because she was going to be at work all day. We wanted to help make her dream come true so we created a pet-friendly environment –– not to mention how awesome it is to have animals around. This is a live example of where we always want to work with a team member’s individual needs.
If you follow us on Instagram then you’ll be familiar with the four-legged additions to our office. We have Rebel Olive – a tiny and fun-loving cockapoo and Rebel Skip who is a gentle rescue dog.
Oils, Plants, Crystals And Sage
In keeping with my slightly hippy and quirky nature we’ve got plants all over the office. We have a diffuser with different essential oils, a few crystals to support positive vibes, and we sage the office regularly to clear any bad energy. Whether you’re into it or not, the office smells good and who’s not up for infusing good vibes and clearing bad ones.
When writing this piece the team said we needed to put this one on the list too, so clearly it’s important.
Every year at the end of September, all Rebels see-out the last of the Summer sun in Ibiza for an end of season blowout. Meditation, yoga and of course the Island’s nightlife are always on the cards, but more than anything it’s a well deserved treat for all those that make Rebel possible. After all, when you work this hard, you should get to play hard too.