“There are only two types of people in the world”, said Britney, but is the good old Spears right?
This is a story about the 3Ss vs 3Fs.
Security, Structure and Social VERSUS Freedom, Flexibility and Fulfillment
I have grown up being quite the entrepreneur… from the classic lemonade stand in my road to upgrade it to the “nightlife” business – my first (and last partnership) as me and my cousins invested on some “expensive” DJ equipment and took advantage of our garage to create a nightclub (actually was more of a Sunday afternoon club but hey… pretty cool still) where I got to wear different hats as not only I was one of the DJs, but also PR, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and General Manager; all the way to get the most advanced computer in town (with CD recording) which made me create and design the coolest CD compilations and do some piracy (can I get arrested for a “crime” committed over 20 years ago?!) and sell it to all my friends, family, and school colleagues… just to name a few – and all that before I turned 16!!!
After all, both mum and dad were successful Entrepreneurs that never worked for anyone else so to be business savvy came naturally.
So, it was quite disappointing for my parents when I decided to move to the big smoke, good old London and started working for the big corporation machine! I know they were hoping that I would embark on a similar journey and create my own businesses, but I was more interested in learning from the best and getting some security, and of course, living the London party scene: all-nighters with my melting pot friends and hanging with Spice Girls was pretty much the dream!
And so I did! For years I worked hard and smart and went along the rate race and started climbing the corporate ladder..! Within 5 years I went from a trainee to a director! And the amount I was doing per year as a trainee, I went to do on a monthly basis by the time I was managing an entire department mainly due to the fat commissions of my stressful achievements…
With all those responsibilities and money, it also came a massive burnout, which resulted in me leaving everything behind and embarking on the biggest adventure of my life: to travel our beautiful planet solo which ended up lasting 3 insane, rebellious years!
And how wonderful it was: from Corporate boss lady to a vagabond. Oh, the memories.
There were so many lessons I’ve learned, but one thing became evident, I could no longer go back to the 9 to 5 (to be honest, to me it was always more of a 7 to 7)!!
And that’s how the whole idea of creating my own business helping others following their dreams was conceived. While I was living the dream myself.
Several books, seminars, masterminds, mentors and certifications later, my new career as a coach was born. All of that while I was jumping from continent to continent, country to country, city to city, beach to beach… And that was the start of something new: I became a Digital Nomad.
In fact, since 2014, I have been Working From Anywhere.
Whether is my living room in London, my bedroom in Portugal, my favorite vegan cafe in La Playa in Mexico, my villa’s pool in Canggu Bali, the cool ramen bar in Kyoto, the yoga retreat in Chiang Mai, or the fancy WeWork offices all around the world, I have been working remotely for the past 6 years and it has been one of the best moves I have made in my career.
“But Emma, I am not interested in working freelance or being my own boss, I do like the security, structure and social aspect that comes from working for a company or organization, so as much as I would love to work remote, how could I?” you say.
But hey, who said you can’t have it all?
Look at me,
It has been over a year now since I have accepted an awesome remote role as a Career Coach at Flatiron School, part of the WeWork family. It has been wonderful, because yes, I got the 3 Ss – security, structure and social, while keeping my 3 Fs – freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment.
Move it forward a year and here we are, Summer just arrived and it’s 2020, the year of the pandemic. The year that business and work has forever changed. From Google letting their staff working remotely until the end of the year, to Twitter making the bold decision to let their staff working remotely FOREVER, amongst so many others.
Surrounded by so much pain and mourning, my positive self is always looking for the “always half full glass” situation of all things, so I must say one of the positive aspects coming out of the pandemic is the fact businesses are developing and becoming more open-minded….. And as a long time remote worker myself I am excited about all the changes.
However, I must confess I am not a big fan of “Working From Home” when we could have “Work From Anywhere” – much better branding.
You see, as much as I love to work from home, what I really love, is the possibility to have the fundamental flexibility and freedom of being able to work from any place I wish. Including the office of my own employer.
What is important to retain, is that its completely understandable that for many, working from home is not ideal, especially during Covid-19 where there might be the rest of the family, partners, friends, flatmates, children, etc etc, depending on the live arrangement you have. Also, you might don’t have the right space or furniture; BUT it’s about empowering us to find out where we are more productive: because it could be your home, but also could be the library, a cafe, the beach, or even the hospital where you might have a loved one not well.
A lot of people make the valid point, that if they “Work From Home” they will mostly miss out on the whole social aspect of it – even tho I just had a Summer Soiree with my team over Zoom and was pretty awesome, but again, the “Work from Anywhere” literally means from anywhere, which means, your company office is included if that’s where you want to work. I personally enjoy working from the office, but mostly when there are not many people there, so you might find me at a WeWork at 10 PM or anytime during the weekend – get so much more done than if I have colleagues or people around.
Another important aspect that usually comes in hand with the whole “Work From Anywhere”, is that we also get to have not only full flexibility on the location but also on the schedule and how we organize our day. This, to me, is key. Obviously there will always be tasks and commitments that you have to sync with colleagues/clients/students etc etc.. and those I keep doing during the office hours I have designated. However, all the bureaucracy, admin, emails, etc, that can wait to the evening if I wish so.
Being a single mum of a baby which I provide for and look after 24/7, working for an organization, run my own coaching business, own a travel brand which I consult and work for, constantly work on my personal development while studying and often complete certifications on top of running a house (clean, laundry, organizations etc) and cook delicious nutritious food for me and bebe, I can say I know a thing or two about Time Management.
My clients and students often get emails from me at 3 AM but nothing beats the privilege of being a present mum and not missing any milestone from my baby. And that is only possible because my employers trust me as I keep providing amazing results that can be compared to any of the “in-house” non-remote staff AND because I have a pretty wonderful and sleepy baby that loves to nap and doesn’t demand full-time attention!! <3 Thanks Romy.
So if I decide to work at 7 AM or 11 PM, it is my prerogative, as long as I get it completed with the quality I am known for. It’s a win-win for everyone. And to be honest, I do love to go to the office during the weekends or evenings and bring my baby with me. I am more productive than ever and happier as well – and he loves to be in the office. Basically, being able to “Work From Anywhere” perfectly encapsulates the fulfillment, flexibility, and freedom our schedules deserve.
So to all the companies, organizations, and institutions out there, we, the collaborators, can be more productive when we can get to work from a location of our choice.
Not only will you save on office space as those large office complexes will become a handful of smaller venues, as for us, more than saving on transport, commuting, you give us wellness. Remember, workspace and schedule flexibility is not even about long term social distancing or saving money, but is about investing in employee well-being, productivity, and eventually, (and I assure you), profitability.
This is the future ladies and gentlemen – I mean, can really someone tell me they don’t love to work while on their shorts & flip flops? That does it for me.
Oh, and so it does when this is my view: