I have never worked in a company with such a negative atmosphere. Staff morale was always low during my time there. Amongst staff, there were occasions where it was fun and supportive. But the owner/managers consistently brought down morale through very poor people management and poor leadership.
Very poor. I have never worked in a company with such poor leadership and management.
As an employee, you rarely felt supported. Praise is never given - during my time at The Barn I struggle to recount more than 10 different occasions when I received any praise. The owner/managers justify this approach by saying 'you should be grateful to be working for us. We expect you to do your job. The fact you're not fired is all we need to give you in terms of praise'.
Over time, this wears you down psychologically. Halfway through my time I lost my passion for coffee and actively looked at other industries for jobs. Looking back, I cannot believe how deeply this affected me.
One of the owners would make a point of belittling employees by saying 'I could do this job in half the time'. I lose count of the times he publicly belittled employees in front of their own team.
I have many great friendships from my time at The Barn. However, staff turnover is so incredibly high - both on the bars, in the roastery and in the office - that towards the end I stopped trying to make friends with colleagues. What's the point if they're going to leave/get fired within a month or two?
Coffee is a beautiful product to work with and endlessly interesting.
The vast majority of communication is via email. You learn about big impactful decisions through a blunt email. You are not given an opportunity to voice your opinions, you are expected to just 'take it'. When you speak up and challenge controversial decisions, the owner/managers will treat it as insubordination rather than a plea for constructive conversation.
If you are an intern at The Barn, you are treated poorly compared to other members of staff. Otherwise, levels of discrimination is what you'd expect to find in a German company owned by older men.
Umgang mit älteren Kollegen
Older colleagues are helpful and supportive.
Karriere / Weiterbildung
It's a small company and there are very limited opportunities for career progression.
Gehalt / Sozialleistungen
Salaries are low. Especially for baristas. We are expected to live in Berlin for the first month on just €400.
The roastery is small and noisy. I know a roaster who popped their knee and were off work for weeks because they were expected to lift 60kg sacks of coffee unaided.
Umwelt- / Sozialbewusstsein
Paper is not recycled. It goes into the bin. This roaster claims to offer coffee grown on environmentally-sustainable farms. Recycling should be taken more seriously.
I know people - in the roastery, in the office, on bar - who end up working 10+ hours per week over their contracted hours for no extra remuneration.
Absolutely not. The company says it has a 'strict' culture but people value it. The reality is that innovation is stifled and people feel their genuine passion for coffee is exploited by treating them as machines for monetary gain.
- Bring in a professional manager, give them an equity stake, remove the weaker half of management entirely from the business (the one overseeing the running of the cafes). I recommend the remaining owner/manager takes an intensive management and culture-building development programme.
Coffee is great and the people who work in coffee (not including the owner/managers of The Barn) are wonderful people.
See my comments above. Too many to write.