Why we love "Investment Time" at Form3

Wellbeing· 6min October 16, 2023

Every Wednesday afternoon, our Engineers take part in "Investment Time", a practice which has been in place at Form3 for over the last 12 months.

Every Wednesday afternoon, our Engineers take part in "Investment Time", a practice which has been in place at Form3 for over the last 12 months.

This is a dedicated non-work and non-meeting time for the team to engage in creative projects of their choosing, connecting to company or team goals or benefiting learning, which in turn will add business value in the future. Whilst deliverables are a bonus, they are not a key requirement of “Investment Time”, as it’s equally important for the team to take a break to self-learn and innovate (essentially, test and make mistakes) - it’s all part and parcel of the rich culture and experience of working at Form3.

During "Investment Time", Engineers will embark on an array of activities that are driven by them. Examples of this include implementing tooling to increase productivity, a process or an automated activity that helps to solve a challenge encountered by Form3 on a day-to-day basis, or perhaps conducting research for further understanding of a technology that will be utilised soon.

With this, Wednesday afternoons are respected by other business functions within Form3, as it’s widely known that this is dedicated “Investment Time” for Engineers to innovate on challenges experienced, enhance learning, and collaborate with others outside of their team that they wouldn’t ordinarily work with. This also fosters the vibrant virtual community we have created, having the opportunity to build a strong network and form new relationships with peers across the Engineering function at Form3; a concept Joseph Woodward (Lead Engineer at Form3) advises is invaluable.

Andy Kuszyk (Staff Engineer at Form3) also shares his thoughts: “having “Investment Time” means you aren’t expected to conduct extracurricular activities or side projects outside of working hours, which can be challenging when caring for a family”. This is a concept that goes against our values at Form3 as a truly flexible-working employer.

However, empowering Engineers to work on their own ideas is not a new concept. In fact, it dates all the way back to 1974, when 3M scientist Arthur Fry came up with a clever invention. He thought that, if he could apply an adhesive to the back of a piece of paper, he could create the perfect bookmark to be kept within a hymn book. This invention is what we know today as the ‘post-it note. The iconic product was born via Art’s “15% Culture” (a programme enabling 3M employees to use paid time to chase rainbows and hatch their own ideas). 3M, Hewlett-Packard and Google have all claimed that many of their best-selling products and innovations have happened during these creative/free-thinking periods.

Now, we know we aren’t “Investment Time" pioneers at Form3, as we’ve just seen it’s a practice adapted by other companies across the globe in very different guises. But what we are proud to shout about is what we’ve achieved during Investment Time, the empowerment our Engineers have, and how we are aiming to expand the scope of its impact to across our business, including other teams. Here is a snippet of some of our proudest “Investment Time” achievements:


A prime example is Artur Kondas (Lead Engineer at Form3), who selflessly runs weekly coding clubs for Form3 employees who occupy a non-engineering position, to ask questions about coding and start coding themselves without any prior experience, and to equip them with not only the core fundamentals of coding, but also enriching their logic and problem-solving abilities! By understanding coding this is specifically impactful for employees occupying non-engineering R&D positions e.g., Business Analysts and Product Managers as they gain a more in-depth understanding of how Engineers approach logic and solutioning to the problems faced. In addition, Business Analysts can also consider the tickets they create to ensure they meet the needs and requirements of Engineers having this understanding in mind.


Building a tool to detect conflicts between PagerDuty (our Form3 on-call tool for Engineers) and SageHR (our HR system at Form3) to determine employees’ holidays for scheduling on-call rotas. This ensures there is continuous support in place to monitor and support the platform whilst also ensuring this doesn't impact well-deserved downtime of our Engineers'.


Currently work in progress, the team have been developing Tilt extensions which are powerful modules and plugins that expand the functionality of Tilt even further. With Tilt, Engineers can iterate rapidly and observe immediate feedback on their modifications, enhancing their overall development experience. The aim is to provide a streamlined process that enables teams to effortlessly set up and configure their Kubernetes clusters, eliminating the need for laborious manual configurations. Utilising Tilt extensions, teams can rely on pre-built functionalities and configurations that have been thoroughly tested and optimised. This approach promotes efficiency and consistency, allowing Engineers to focus on the core aspects of their projects without being burdened by unnecessary code duplication or potential pitfalls. By simplifying cluster setup, reducing boilerplate code, and fostering greater understanding and control, the aim to enhance the productivity and efficiency of Form3’s entire development ecosystem.

As we’ve seen, results of “Investment Time” are tangible throughout Form3, and it's invaluable for Engineers to learn and innovate whilst enhancing their own development as well as improving business efficiencies.

In summary "Investment Time" is a core benefit of our Engineering culture at Form3, and an initiative that we will continue in years to come!

Written by

Olivia Harrison Senior People Partner based in the UK.