Reading Room Reviews | Glassdoor

Reading Room Reviews

Updated November 15, 2017
59 reviews

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2.7
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Reading Room CEO Margaret Manning
Margaret Manning
43 Ratings

59 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Social atmosphere, relaxed environment with fun and talented people (in 5 reviews)

  • Because of the structure, people can learn a lot very quickly from each other as much outside of their discipline as within (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Senior management are extremely incapable of their positions (in 7 reviews)

  • you may notice a clutch of great reviews, just after a "Thoughts on working here, by a member of the senior management team" review (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "No one carries, you are just a robot."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Developer in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Technical Developer in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Reading Room full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good Location, it used to be good which was in Soho but it is getting worse.
    Good opportunity to know there is a possibility that dodgy people could be in charge, they are managers which are especially good at playing about with technical people.
    Developers, Project managers and normal staffs are leaving the company every week. You got leaving drink to go every Friday, this is very good for people who enjoy drinking
    People disappearing forever sometimes, very interesting
    Your line manager is too busy to be in the office

    Cons

    Minimum wage on developers while the managers fly high
    They keep switching you between projects, you look like a fool
    Absolutely no benefit
    Absolutely no pay rise
    Work overtime daily without pay
    The managers are always right, they claim the honour if project is good, and it is 100% developer's fault if the project went wrong
    Your line manager is too busy to be in the office, but when he is back, it is time to talk about the mistakes you made on projects, yes that is the management

    Advice to Management

    Scope the project properly and keep calm when there is an issue
    At least learn some technology
    Listen to the developers' suggestions, developers are the guys who actually do the job.
    I appreciate that everyone wants a promotion or pay rise, but the senior management team is actually creating new positions so that they could promote themselves to a higher position, there was a time that new positions came to the company every month and the managers kept changing to a better title.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Classic case of"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Reading Room full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    • Some decent clients
    • Talented co-workers

    Cons

    • Inept management
    • CEO was a monster
    • Projects were destroyed

    Advice to Management

    Please, please learn the very basics of being a human and having the passion to do something good. I actually hope you experience something life changing that makes you realise what a bunch of horrible monsters you were. Abusing people for your own money and benefits. I'm glad most of you lost your jobs when the takeover happened. Justice is best served cold!

  3. Helpful (5)

    "A text book example of how NOT to take over a digital agency"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - If you're young, mentally strong and looking for a challenging role that exposes you to a wide range of business areas with little to no training or support, this is a good place for you because you will learn a lot about yourself, other people and the cut throat business world.
    - If you're looking to make friends, the people you work with day to day are genuinely good and smart people, who you'll enjoy spending the day with.
    - There are some big name clients that'll look good on your CV and some of those clients are actually good people too.

    Cons

    - It was never perfect before, but since the Idox group takeover it has really plummeted. They either fundamentally do not understand the business they have purchased, or are intentionally changing it, posing the question, why buy it in the first place?
    - Idox group are a software company that sells products. Reading Room are the first company they have bought that delivers a client service. They have so far failed to see the difference between the two. Unsurprisingly, targets aren't being met, the company has shrunk and staff are confused.
    - The new CEO is an old school corporate that believes money is made through cold calling potential clients, overworking your staff and cost cutting at every opportunity. This is best demonstrated by the new "cheaper rent" office that reminds you of a trip to the dentist and has intermittent wifi - a digital agency that builds websites needs decent wifi.
    - Job security has never been worse. In 2 years, over 100 staff must have left or been made redundant. Even the best and most senior people, with the most experience, have been nudged. This is a company that is now no more than 80 strong when it was comfortably 250 a few years ago. All it'll take is for Skoda, their biggest client, to leave for the company to cut more staff.
    - The pay is borderline criminal when you consider the profit the company makes, the loyalty staff have shown and the work everyone puts in at half and full year end, when you realise your overly ambitious targets aren't going to be met. A "pay review" was promised over a year ago and after many delays, it was pitiful when it finally came.

    Advice to Management

    - Hold an open and honest talk with the few remaining senior staff members there. Allow them to give their honest opinion without feeling like they'll be sacked and actually consider what they have to say.
    - Consider what type of business you want Reading Room to be? If you know this already, communicate it to staff truthfully. You'll get more respect from everyone by being honest. At the moment, everyone walks away from your "town hall" speeches laughing at you and totally demotivated.
    - Be prepared for a greater mass exodus than you're currently experiencing. People joined Reading Room to work in an innovative, progressive and fun creative environment. This is not what the company is now, so when there are so many other companies out there that do this , don't be surprised when they leave.
    - Pay staff who work hard and generate the most money for the business more fairly. Too many knowledgable and valuable people are barely on £20k. That is not fair when living in or commuting to London. It's also a joke when the CEO is on £500k and brags about how many cars he owns during one of his after work "bonding sessions" to said staff.
    - Reading Room is a successful digital agency that had great potential to become an influential business consultancy in a world rapidly becoming more digital. The new owners seem to misunderstand this and want to step back to being a website production house. Is this wise? Especially with the rise of more and more "build your own website" organisations, something that Reading Room has never been further away from becoming, I don't think it's the smartest move.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "How bad can it be? Really, really bad!!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Senior in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I left

    I have enough work to mean I didn't need any of this work for my folio

    I never have to go there again

    Cons

    Pretty much everything.

    No really. Apart from some of the on-the-ground staff doing the actual work, some of whom were great, but exploited.

    <<BE AWARE>> - you may notice a clutch of great reviews, just after a "Thoughts on working here, by a member of the senior management team" review. THESE WERE UPLOADED BY STAFF WHO WERE TOLD TO.

    Advice to Management

    Go do something else

    Seriously

    Like debt collection or something more on your level.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "The last of the old web agencies circa 1997"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Reading Room full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Regularly paid
    Staff deliver websites
    New management - IDOX software acquired them and put in some processes
    Some smart people, but are hiding their skill and talent
    Good location in Holborn, close to Leather lane

    Cons

    - Lack of imagination and imagination
    - Pay way below industry standard
    - Huge turnover of young staff
    - NO career progression
    - Not enough new blood at senior level
    - Very, very outdated digital practices
    -Static management, people hanging around in their jobs for the sake of being paid
    - Intelligent people killing time
    - Lack of talent
    - Tired HR

    Advice to Management

    Hire skilled, brilliant people and those who have some progressive values, have a really strong HR


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Some good opportunities if you're lucky.."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Social atmosphere, relaxed environment with fun and talented people
    - Decent salaries
    - Good location
    - Interesting clients / projects
    - Surrounded by talented people and interesting clients would make it easier for a junior to learn (if they know the right people / in the right team)

    Cons

    - Very high turnover
    - Constant hires of juniors with no experience, either train well or invest in more experienced people
    - Dis organised
    - Bad comms from higher level management
    - Some higher level people have very open favouritism
    - No clear structure for progression
    - Low morale at time, people openly discuss how bad the company is and that they're looking to leave, nothing was really done to help change that

    Advice to Management

    - Invest in your people
    - Openly communicate


  7. Helpful (9)

    "A very negative experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Developer in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Developer in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Reading Room full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    There are a few good people there that I could call my friends

    Cons

    Do not feel valued. Always in trouble with my manager. They do not appreciate the work I do. Constantly expect me to do overtime but never acknowledge or say than you. They have pulled me off projects multiple times without warning, this means that I am always working on someone else's code. They expect us to figure out where other developers they have fired was up to and then stick to the original deadline with no thanks.

    Advice to Management

    Think more into the future. Plan a lot and treat people like people and not numbers who complete over scoped work in their own time.

  8. Helpful (13)

    "Awful in every way possible"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Project Manager in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Reading Room full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    There really isn't any sadly. Working at Reading Room negatively impacted my career, my personal life, my overall happiness and health.

    Cons

    - Senior management are extremely incapable of their positions
    - Most senior management have been with the company for over 10 years and simply have no experience to be able to warrant their position and sadly it shows but they would not be fired due to their loyalty. Sadly this generally means that nothing will change
    - Constantly promotes incapable staff to positions well above their means
    - Leaves the actual talented people behind
    - Quite often publically praises the wrong person (Will congratulate the manager whereas they had no involvement)
    - No one wants to progress the business or 'rock the boat' in fear for their jobs
    - Says they are innovative but they are the least progressive business I have ever worked for by far
    - Expects all staff members to work as many hours as it takes to complete the overloaded work they give you. If you try to negotiate the amount of work or the deadlines given you are told to "suck it up" - literally this happened to me
    - They give people jobs easily and then fire them, sometimes within days, usually for no reason at all
    - People get fired weekly and then there is a weird unwritten rule that you cannot talk about it or ask what happened
    - Treat their customers like money banks
    - Quite often say yes to every request just to win the work and then will make the customer pay extra for items already agreed within the budget
    - No job descriptions so everyone is confused at what they are meant to do
    - Pretty much there is always a state of panic which is caused by disorganised and inexperienced management

    The main reason for writing this review is merely because of the false positive reviews on this website. Please be aware that they ask (read almost force) their employees to write a good review. This is usually asked for just before they pass their 3 month review or if they are priming the person for a promotion.

    I felt it was necessary for people to know the truth about this company and to be aware before considering taking a position with this company.

    Advice to Management

    Start again. Hire people for talent and not their low salary and don't promote based on loyalty, promote based on talent. Reading Room is crying out for some skilled guidance from senior managers.

    I know that when you read this you will just laugh it off and make some sort of excuse as to why someone would think all these things (I have personally witnessed this when other negative reviews have come in) but why not stop and think about why you are getting so many negative reviews on here for a moment? Then you might start to realise that the reviews speak the ugly truth of the company and should give you some guidance on how to start to repair the years worth of damage created.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Poor Management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Manager in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Reading Room full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Very social, progression if you get on with the right people, autonomous (in the area I was in).

    Cons

    Some very blinkered board members who have been promoted far above their level really let the company down, cut-throat environment and very cliquey.

    Advice to Management

    Hire some senior managers with more business experience and acumen to help run the company in a more professional way.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Poor management, good staff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - .netDevloper in Manchester, England (UK)
    Former Employee - .netDevloper in Manchester, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Reading Room full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The staff outside of management where brilliant to work with and you go ta lot of opportunities to work on projects that where far to advanced for you meaning you learned alot fast with little help due to a complet lack of seniors to help you or couldn't keep up and left.

    Cons

    The management would promise clients projects in half the time it needed and it would fall to you to get it done in a quarter of the time so they could try and claw back some of the money. Evry project was promissed to the client as a big singing all dancing sit ehten evrything you wanted to work on is stripped out leaving the most basic boring work to work on. If it dose get to you with the work still intact you need to do it so fast you have to cut corners and bodge the work.

    They will only hire juniors leaving you with no guidance to guide you as is needed in the start of your career.

    Advice to Management

    Hire seinours to guide your other staff and make sure work is done correctly.

    Go for the correct work for an office of your size and make sure the timelibe be reasnable to do the work in.


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