The Internet is an amazing thing. It’s opened up collaboration, communication, and connection with just about every corner of the globe. But working remotely means that today's society, and the relationship we have with work, has changed in major ways.
Imagining a New Workplace
During my four years in University, whenever someone asked me where I saw myself after graduation, I defaulted to the image many college students have: a 9–5 (or 8:30–5:30 with the commute) schedule in an office setting. Sure, I always imagined a more modern office space than the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch, but nonetheless, there were the humming printer, bubbling water cooler, and claustrophobic conference room vibes.
It was just all that I knew — I grew up with the terms JOB and OFFICE inextricably intertwined. The two internships I had during University were in similar office settings and while I enjoyed my time at both companies, I realised that the 9–5 life wasn’t for me.
Panicked and hoping to stall reality, I decided to take a gap year and build my design portfolio in Paris, France, before facing the inevitable day-in, day-out reality that was waiting for me back in “The Real World.”
Then came Flying Saucer.
Flying Saucer functions as a 100% remote agency, with a fully distributed team of employees from Russia to New York. I’m one of three in the Central European Time Zone, and we all work together on digital platforms like Slack, Google Drive, Skype, InVision, and AppearIn.
There are only two rules: 1) Deliver quality, and 2) Deliver on deadline. The rest is up to you.
We make an effort to connect with one another, chatting on Slack and doing quick check-in meetings with each other. Every week, we send an email out to the rest of the team with the past week’s Positive & Pain Points; these can span from professional victories to personal shortfalls and gives everyone a chance to confide in the team and keep each other updated.
The Positive Points
During my first month here, I worked full time while traveling through Rome, Madrid, and Amsterdam. When my family was visiting from the United States, I flipped my schedule so I could show them around Paris during the day and design at night. My offices vary from my living room to coffeeshops and co-working spaces. I go on walks or take solo movie theatre field trips to get inspired when I feel stuck. I feel more creative, productive, happier, and satisfied with my job more than I ever have before.
The company encourages self-development and challenges us to continue learning and adapting. The quality of the work thus becomes so much more about the fact that we want to, rather than the fact that we have to.
The Pain Points
Remote working is not for everyone and I’m definitely not trying to evangelise it as a one-size-fits-all, super solution. I’m still adjusting, too. I’m still trying to calculate the best way to manage my time and maintain accountability without my coworkers physically around me (more tips on how to be a Responsible Remote Worker in a later Medium article).
There are times when I’m having a drink with a friend and I distractedly check my phone just to makes sure I don’t have a lingering Slack notification. Other times I just can’t get out of my cozy bed until I’m forced to get up for lunch and therefore end up wasting a morning flopping around unproductively.
Adapting is a marathon, not a sprint.
But despite the drawbacks, like the crazy time zone differences, Google Drive sync glitches, sore shoulders from carrying my backpack around everywhere, or the lack of occasional cake in the communal kitchen for an employee birthday, the payoff I’ve experienced thus far makes it all worth it.
Article written by Jun — Designer Flying Saucer Studio