The Pilot is Born
A few weeks ago, a group of folks at Jellyvision hit the streets (or more accurately decks, patios and sofas) across the world and piloted a Jellyvision Work from Anywhere Week. Brynn, our SVP of Operations, got the inspiration from reading this Fast Company article. Her thought: why don’t we at Jellyvision encourage employees to travel more, recharge their batteries and get a change of scenery every once in a while? Jellyvision has a very flexible work culture, with employees scattered across the country, and even working as far away as Paris, France. However, this Work from Anywhere Week initiative was set up to help encourage employees to get away, who may otherwise be reluctant to do so.
Interesting idea; so it’s like a vacation with your laptop, but not in a bad way. The JVWAW pilot was born. I got on board (figuratively and literally) with the idea, and landed in Atlanta, Georgia.
Day 1: Fresh Air + Coffee = Motivation Station
Since I can always work from a Starbucks, I chose a really cool non-chain coffee shop with a patio to set up shop at. Turns out I struck coffee shop gold, this place had a giant SCREENED PORCH WITH WiFi. Now THIS is an office. I grabbed some refreshing iced java and settled in for the day.
I felt motivated, energized and strangely relaxed while working. Ok, so the energy likely came from the iced coffee I was sipping on, and the relaxation from the swinging couch next to a waterfall I was perched on… but nonetheless the feeling was priceless. While I was working through my various A/B tests and website updates, I realized that there is just something about a fresh breeze and a different perspective that you can’t get when you are in the office every day, even if you open a window and drink countless shots of espresso. So, was this work anywhere week thing really working? Too early to tell, let’s wait until the coffee wears off.
Day 2: Still Riding the Productivity Express Train
Day two was met with the same sunshine and invigorating hilly walk to a coffee shop. I set up office outside and worked for as long as the shade lasted, because we have all been that person trying to work on their laptops in direct sunlight – major productivity killer. Still motivated and checking things feverishly off my to-do list, I worked through the rest of day two feeling refreshed. Maybe this new perspective thing was the real deal, after all. The real test would come the next day, when I was back in Chicago – surrounded by common distractions and the lack of screened porch coffee shops with WiFi.
Back Home Again
I flew back to Chicago Wednesday, and continued my time away from the office Thursday and Friday. After all, I wanted the true experience of being away from the office for an entire week. I can’t remember the last time that happened, but I believe it was before Obama was president or Instagram was a thing. I was still focused and motivated, but I wasn’t quite as cheery as when I was sitting in the sunshine and breeze under the Atlanta skyline. I suppose it’s time to get started on a backyard water feature and porch swing.
So…should you try this work anywhere week thing for yourself?
If you and your company are in a position where you can pilot such a week – I highly encourage it. It feels very different (and much better) when your employer encourages you to step away from the office compared to when you are asking for permission to do so. I felt extremely motivated, supported, and downright fancy. Anyone I mentioned this week to seemed shocked, and a bit jealous – rightfully so! I received responses such as: “Wow, your job is so flexible, that’s so nice”, and “That’s SO cool, I wish I could do that.” One woman I explained it to in Atlanta was extremely impressed and also, after explaining what ALEX does, said: “Wow that sounds super useful, everyone needs that.” at which point I told her to come work for us in sales, but no dice. I guess she wasn’t ready to trade in sunshine for snowstorms.