The Remote Working Experience
Lisbon & Parma

In our new series, Work & Roam, we’ll be following our Product and Solutions Analyst John Williams as he travels the world, working remotely from 5 countries. Tune in to see what worked (and what didn’t) for John during each stop, and to dig into how working remotely affects both the worker and the team back home.

“The doors in Lisbon are way cooler than ours back home. I’m off to Bologna tomorrow and then on the train to Parma the next day. Anyone know of anything to do in either place?”

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Timezone: GMT (NYC + 5)

 

What was the thing I could experience, that I wouldn’t be able to in NYC?

I hear it’s been cold in NYC so I have been enjoying the 60 degree weather and have had some great morning walks along the Tagus River. I also had an amazing dinner last night at Sol e Pesca, a restaurant that specializes in preserved seafood (lots of canned fish) which was pretty unique!

What worked great this week?

After some searching, I found some great coffee shops in Lisbon with strong Wi-Fi. I am compiling a list of work friendly coffee shops i’ve frequented, which could help anyone else coming to work in these cities.

I believe that this is something that would have been very helpful to me.

What didn’t go so great this week?

I don’t think that getting work done is that much more difficult here in Portugal than it was in Mexico, however, it has been a much bigger challenge to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

 

|Time Difference|

 

While in Mexico, the time difference from New York was only an hour or two. I was able to start and finish my work days early enough to get a few hours of sunlight in the evening before calling it a night. (which was great for balance.) This meant that after working I could read/exercise/explore the city.

In Portugal, I am scheduled to start work at 11am. Instinctively, I tend to wake up earlier and check my email, meaning that start earlier and work even longer — sometimes until 8 PM.

It’s also worth mentioning that, since traveling, my internal body clock has shifted tremendously and I notice that I am frequently tired. This is something that will hopefully improve as I spend more time here.

 

|Wi-Fi Options|

 

Lisbon is a much smaller city than Mexico City (with a Population of 23mil against .5mil) and it does not have the same coffee shop/work culture that I am used to in New York.

Many of the Lisbon’s coffee shops do not have Wi-Fi, meaning that I am limited to the few places I have found. Many of the coffee shops that do have Wi-Fi close early, some as early as 4pm.

Once again, i stress, having usable Wi-Fi at my apartment has been important!

 

General Thoughts

I don’t think that getting work done is more difficult in Lisbon than it would be anywhere else; I do however, think that you have to be much more proactive to maintain any healthy work/life balance.(something that I have not quite mastered yet.)

For this post I wrote more about what did not work than i did for what did, but I don’t want that to paint a negative picture of my experiences.

I am working in a beautiful new city eating amazing food and enjoying myself. I just have different challenges here that I haven’t quite figured out how to navigate yet.

 


 

“Since i’ve been traveling alone for the past six weeks I am excited to spend the holiday with family!”

Location: Italy (Parma, Santa Margarita, Milan)
Timezone: GMT (NYC + 5)

 

What was the thing I could experience, that I wouldn’t be able to in NYC?

Thanksgiving was Thursday so this work week was a short one. My sister actually attended culinary school in Parma and we got to go visit her old campus.

What worked great this week

My parents and sister are visiting so we can spend the Holiday together and family visits definitely have there perks! I was able to stay in great hotels and eat out at fancy restaurants! Having access to nicer accommodations guaranteed that I had access to consistent Wi-Fi no matter where I stayed.

What didn’t go so great this week

While it was great having my family in town, it made getting work done much more difficult. I think their expectations were to adhere to their schedule. The big timezone change meant that I had to work into the night, which made things like dinner hard to plan. Overall I really enjoyed having them here, but it’s much easier to work when I only have to worry about my own schedule.

 

General Thoughts

Italy has been amazing for food/wine/scenery, but because I have had the convenience of working from hotels, I didn’t have the need to search for a co-working space or coffee shop with Wi-Fi.

Because of this luxury I really don’t have a great idea of what it is like to work remotely from Italy. I haven’t seen a lot of people working on laptops in coffee shops, so it may not be easy. I would guess, similarly to Portugal, you would need to find your few reliable spots and stick to them.

Next week I am off to Slovenia, where Butterfly has team members located and working remotely. I am excited to see what they’re up to and see how their experiences parallel with my own.

Ciao!

The Remote Work Experience
Mexico City Continued

In our new series, Work & Roam, we’ll be following our Product and Solutions Analyst John Williams as he travels the world, working remotely from 5 countries.

Tune in to see what worked (and what didn’t) for John during each stop, and to dig into how working remotely affects both the worker and the team back home.

Stay tuned!


Final Week In Mexico: Mexico City —
Roma Norte Neighborhood

Timezone: Central Time

Take Aways from Mexico City:

The time difference between Mexico City and New York is minimal, which makes communication really easy. But on the other hand, NOTHING is open before 9 a.m.! This includes co-working spaces and coffee shops, so if you have a call or a meeting before 9:00 a.m., it’ll have to be done where you’re staying. This makes a decent home Wi-Fi signal even more important. I now know to send a message to all of my prospective Airbnb hosts before I book to double check.

Mexico City really is wonderful and I can’t recommend it enough. Recently, the depiction of Mexico in the United States has been pretty warped, as if its some violent and dirty place. It is every bit as clean and safe as New York, Paris, or really any major metropolitan city.

I am noticeably more healthy here than I am in NYC. I don’t have as many distractions and don’t know too many people here, so I can finish my work and go for a walk or read for a while in the afternoon. I also have been exercising and going to bed early. The fresh food helps, too!

If I were to do one thing differently it would be to move around less. In the past month, I have stayed in 6 different apartments and hostels. It was nice to see different parts of the city, but I the added stress of moving and planning was worth it.

The real challenges will start next week. I fly to Lisbon, Portugal, and will be working 5 hours ahead of my team in New York.


Butterfly Index

Roles and Responsibilities: 8/10

I still don’t think remote work has affected this as my responsibilities have not really changed.

Collaboration: 7/10

I have dropped this score a little bit, but it is still not a major factor in my experience. It’s not that collaboration has been any more difficult than it is working in the office, it just has to be planned. In the office, If I have an idea I can quickly have a conversation with a co-worker right next to me. But, while remote, I have to wait for a next meeting or reach out to a co-worker on Slack. Slack is certainly helpful, but personally I am less likely to express my thoughts if I have to take the time to type them out in a message to someone.

Career Growth: ?/10

This is still the most difficult driver to measure, because I think a lot of it has to do with how I am perceived by others in the company. Am I less visible and more likely to miss opportunities for more responsibilities and growth? This is not something I worry about on a daily basis, but it pops into my head from time to time.

Impact: 9/10

I actually increased my score for this driver up from my previous blog post. Since I am traveling alone I have the time to fully focus on my projects and have very little distraction. This surge in my personal productivity has been one of the greatest perks of working remotely.

Transparency: 7/10

This is very similar to my Collaboration score. Being abroad does not make transparency impossible, it simply puts the burden on your shoulders instead of it happening passively.

 

I will be in Lisbon, Portugal for my next blog post.

Tune in again to see how that change goes. Until next time,
Adios!

 


The Remote Work Experience Mexico City

In our new series, Work & Roam, we’ll be following our Product and Solutions Analyst John Williams as he travels the world, working remotely from 5 countries.

Tune in to see what worked (and what didn’t) for John during each stop, and to dig into how working remotely affects both the worker and the team back home.

Stay tuned!


Week 1: Mexico City — La Condesa Neighborhood

Timezone: Central Time

What was one thing I experienced, that I would not have in NYC?

The feeling of being lost in a new city with almost no way to communicate with anyone. That sounds scary, but it is more exciting and motivating than scary. It is certainly a unique feeling that I could not have experienced in NYC.

I also got to meet one of my favorite jazz musicians, Adrián Terrazas-González!

What worked out well for you this week?

The coworking space setup was extremely convenient. While in Mexico I’ve been working at IOS, which I was able to book through the app Upflex. IOS has great internet, free coffee and plenty of space.

I will say, the dress code for workers in a coworking space in Mexico is pretty formal — much more so than in Brooklyn. I was the only person there not wearing a tucked-in, button-down shirt!

My Spanish has also increased dramatically as a result of my first week in Mexico: I went from understanding absolutely nothing to understanding practically nothing. Just kidding — I find that I am able to communicate daily and don’t really feel out of the loop. I am in constant dialogue, which helps. Before this trip, I didn’t take any classes to learn the language, but I am currently taking a few Duolingo lessons a day.

What didn’t work out so well for you this week?

Well… I got sick. As my colleague David predicted, I spent about half of my first week inside the apartment. (I don’t really have any tips for this one!). Luckily I was in an Airbnb and not a shared hostel.

I also got lost while looking for my coworking space on my first day and ended up wandering around a hospital for 30 minutes. If I’d had an important call planned during that time, I would have missed it. Next time, I will be locating my coworking space the day before I need to be there — not by map, but in person!

Any tips for your future self?

Besides finding my coworking space before I need to be there, I’ve discovered that strong Wi-Fi in my living space is very important. The initial Wi-Fi setup was almost unusable and I would have been screwed had I needed to use the internet at my apartment. I have calls as early as 7 a.m. and my co-working space does not open until 9 a.m. I luckily found a hotspot that made my early-morning work possible.


Butterfly Index

Roles and Responsibilities: 8/10

I don’t think this was affected at all by my location.

Collaboration: 9/10

This is what I assume most people will worry the most about while working remotely, but I felt great about it this week. The fact that it was my first week abroad and we made sure to over communicate made this easy. We will see how this transforms over time.

Personal Growth: 10/10

I am enjoying a completely new experience.

Career Growth: ?/10

This is something that should be paid attention to. The worry is that I could miss out on growth opportunities since I am not as visible in the office.

Impact: 8/10

I don’t think this was affected by my location.

Transparency: 6/10

This is something that I do think is affected. It’s not that I don’t have access to what is going on within the company, I just have to make an effort to ask. When I am in the office, I usually have some understanding about what everyone around me is working on.

My next update will be my last from Mexico City, so stay tuned to see what I’m up to.

Until next week,
Adios!


Create Socially Responsible Organizations
With These 3 Scientifically-Backed Ideas

The World Happiness Report shows that Scandinavia is filled with happy, working people. How can we follow in their footsteps to create better workplaces?

 

Scandinavia has done it again, leading the world in progressive ideas Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Norway fall in 3 of the most fortunate categories for the well being of their citizens and GDP.

These four respective countries are ranked in the Top 15 of the worlds happiest, best workers and interestingly enough, they also have the most generous social welfare program. The correlation is clear folks, social responsibility pushes countries and companies forward fiscally. Across country borders and successful company lines workers are said to work the hardest, be the happiest, and work-related stress is down.

 

1. Social Welfare
“When it comes down to it, these companies assist their employees with life outside of work so that those burdens are not over their head when it is time to be productive for the company.”

 

Google, Business insiders #1 place to work, reported that their experienced median pay is $140,000. Not only that but, the company provides workers with perks like nap pods, laundry services, and free food at no cost to the employees. And for a cost, the company provides on-campus car and bike repairs. Business Insider also reports that 86% of Google employees say that they are either exceedingly satisfied or relatively satisfied with their job.

Tech companies aren’t the only ones looking out for their employees, Goldman Sachs, a company not thought to be a pillar of liberal ideals, has shown its commitment to the LGBTQ community, offering coverage for gender reassignment surgery since 2008.

Starbucks offers full tuition reimbursement for employees taking on more education, investing in the futures of their employees leaves them appreciative and in a spirit of working harder for their company.

When it comes down to it, these companies assist their employees with life outside of work so that those burdens are not over their head when it is time to be productive for the company. That is, the more you do for your employees the more you can extract out of them.

 

2. Culture Matters
“Company culture not lining up with the values of the employee is responsible for nearly ¼ of the reasons why employees begin looking for new jobs.”

 

According to a Korn Ferry poll of just about 5,000 professionals, company culture not lining up with the values of the employee is responsible for nearly ¼ of the reasons why employees begin looking for new jobs. In a United States where 62 percent of citizens want federal government to ensure health care for all, 53 percent of all Americans say that raising the minimum wage will help workers, 62 percent of Americans favor free college tuition, combined with growing visibility of how much income inequality, it is easy to see if these things are not reflected in their work lives why they would look for employment elsewhere.

 

3. Workplace That Works for Women
“Gender-diverse business units in the hospitality company show 19% higher average quarterly net profit”

 

First of all, hire more women. Studies have shown that gender diversity provides stronger financial dividends. According to Gallup, “Gender-diverse business units in the hospitality company show 19% higher average quarterly net profit”. The perspectives and viewpoints between women and men differ, so, diversity naturally will produce various ideas.

The obvious and hot button topic of equal pay probably shouldn’t have to be said but, here we are. White women make 77 cent on the dollar of what white men make and women of color make even less than. Simply, pay women what they’re worth, equally and consistent over time with their male counter parts.

The most successful countries can serve as a guide for companies. Countries that decided that the old ways of working weren’t good for its citizens and in turn good for their country made changes and successful countries that want to grow even more will follow in their footsteps.

What plans do you have to make you company more socially responsible?

 

By Danae Floyd & Katelyn Trela
Published: Dec 13th 2018

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