As I write this I’m on the 7am Lisbon to Oslo flight on a Monday morning. Theres something about travel on an airplane without wifi that is strangely appealing. The ability to take your time on emails, writes blogs like this, prepare my week. It also means that the weekend can be spent with a clear conscious that on Monday I can crank through 4 hours of work done and so the weekend I can try and disconnect for a while. It led me to thinking about the notion of anywear and how much this resembles my own current work/life/home balance and just how much the last 5 years have shifted things and I assume for many others around the world.
The pandemic probably accelerated this shift and jolted companies into understanding that the way we the individuals are operating and wanting to be allowed to build our own rules for life have drastically changed.
5 years ago, I was working at a wonderful company in the US. Huge campus, sports facilities, 6 restaurants and some expensive coffee shops. We had a saying about “drinking the koolaid” and all of the internal company emails were sent out trying to tell you that this company was the greatest on earth and the benefits far outweigh anything else on offer and to be honest when you are in this situation it is easy to be sucked in. Great culture, great people, fancy coffee, cheaper sneakers, whats not to love? I suppose the thing that brought it home for me though was a trip back to Europe on sabbatical. We bought a copy of “I love the seaside” and rented a van for a month and drove the well worn road from Hossegor, Biarritz, San Sebastian, Galicia, Peniche, Ericeira. Along the way we discovered that we love Europe so much and it was maybe time for a return home. Meeting close friends, seeing the beautiful coastlines just reminded us of what we’re missing. Going back to the US we happily slipped back into our old routines for a while and enjoyed all the perks on offer but there was a nagging that there must be another way than the commute to work on highway 217, to sit in meetings most of the day without much chance of using the facilities on offer.
So when the WFH email came out it made us reevaluate things. How could this look for us? We kept an eye on the news and eventually when Europe looked like it would close its borders to the US residents in July we made a move. Booked flights on the Friday, left on the Monday that was it. I started working evenings on a PST time zone which was nice as I had all day to explore portugal but the evening shifts made for some late night sales meetings and tired mornings but with where the world was it was a good solution. As the WFH mandate continued, the company tried to get a grip of employees leaving the state or the country as they ended up with some implications on taxes etc but it just all seems quite backward so soon after. If its work from home, why need to be in the same state? So that ended up with me walking away (virtually) from a company I loved.
You know that saying “don’t become too attached to a job. If you drop dead tomorrow they will replace you in two weeks” it really hit home. As we had the call where I left my laptop slowly stopped working and 5 mins after the call had stopped working completely. Made me realise that whilst we should love where we work we also need to know we’re replaceable and need to look after ourselves first.
Fast forward a few months and I started working with Db. Like many of us here it started as “oh maybe a day or two a week” which has now become full time and all consuming. I suppose its easy to have that passion when you use a companies products on a daily basis for surfing, snowboarding and travelling but more importantly than that the trust in each other we have.
You’ll see it often in our IG close friends stories, it seems that many of the team live some kind of transitionary lifestyle between magical locations and whilst many people think this is curated its genuinely how we work. Our HQ where the product is designed is in Oslo, our creative studio is in a great part of Stockholm with an amazing team who see no project too large or small for them to get excited about. Our social media lead is from Slovenia and spends a good amount of time there, sometime in Stockholm, some in Oslo, quite some days in winter in Austria and then always shows up in BBQ season in Portugal. We then have a couple consultants dotted around the world keeping us to speed with where we need to be moving design wise. And me in Portugal. I have an office that used to be a music studio next to the house so I can work early mornings, late nights to build around the family.
I imagine like many others who have shifted permanently to remote work there are a few things I try to do in order to keep myself productive :
1) Yoga everyday. In my office I have a matt and no matter what time the first meeting starts I always get 30 mins in so I can get myself in order first.
2) Try and get out during the day at least once. Meeting dependent this varies but I got into the habit of “I just need to answer that one message on slack” which also isn’t so efficient.
3) A standing desk. Game changer. I can finish the day and feel ready to go for a surf or a run. Its amazing the difference.
4) With this new working from Ænywear approach it means that now I can plan how I work around how I am most efficient. At my previous role, I would start at 8am at the earliest but through writing my book and also working with Db I have realised that 6am-8am is when I am actually most efficient. 5 years ago I would never have believed this. Doing this means I can take longer lunches etc happy in the knowledge I already achieved quite a lot for the day.
5) Travel. The nice thing with being at home is that you then look forward to travel regularly. The last month I have been lucky enough to be in Madrid, Paris, London and now Oslo. Plenty of time on planes for those catch up emails.
I would love to know your stories about what you have felt that helps you in your working from anywear. Share your best tips in one of our latest Instagram posts at @dbjourney - anything from how to make a new mate, to tips on picking the right suburb to put roots down in, if we like what we read - you may just get rewarded for your insights!
Catch you on the road,