Remote Culture 11 min read
Communications Manager @ Galactic Fed
Published 05 May 2020
At first glance it seems like the perfect scenario: working from your home sweet home, not having to deal with office politics, and setting your own schedule. Working remotely has been a hot topic in the news for quite some time, and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been at the forefront of the workforce, as companies around the globe have been forced to navigate this often rebutted, but frequently sought after arrangement.
Galactic Fed is a 100% remote company. No offices. No cubicles. No watercooler small talk. Although for many that’s the most desired work scenario, it comes with its own challenges and learning curves. We chatted with some remote work experts (see also: Galactic Fed employees) about how they adapted to this new world, and how the rest of the world can get on board.
What is the greatest benefit from working remotely?
Working remotely doesn’t always imply working on the beach and having mid-day power naps, but it does have some pretty awesome benefits that you won’t find in the four walls of an office building:
“Speaking from the lens of the business owner, remote work has enabled me to scale Galactic Fed in a faster and smarter way. We’re able to hire the best people in the world, wherever they live, and we offer a top-demanded perk: remote living. Some employees choose to travel the world, while others spend more time at home with their children - it’s a range, and it’s fascinating. Also in light of the world’s titanic shift via COVID-19, our business operations didn’t have to adjust one bit: we were already fully remote.” - Zach Boyette, Co-Founder & Managing Partner
“Well I happen to be writing this from a beach in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. So the biggest plus is the freedom and flexibility. Because of remote work, I’ve been able to travel the world, experience 20+ countries in less than a year, and eat more plates of authentic Polish Pierogies and Turkish Kebabs than I could dream of.” - Evan Laird, Growth Marketing Manager
“Something I wouldn’t wish even upon my greatest enemy is being stuck in soulsucking traffic. Being able to work from home alleviates this commute and allows me to spend that time on something more important - work, family, and friends.” - Sam Lepak, Director of Paid Media
“As an introvert, working from home is a blessing! My social battery drains so fast, so cutting the transportation and unnecessary office gossip helps a lot for me to work on my health. I was able to manage my weekly workout to stay in shape.” Matthew Don, Account Manager
“There are two main benefits for me: flexibility and safety. Flexibility because I can do my work at my own pace, in my own way, wherever I want. I don’t miss any birthday parties of my loved ones due to work because I can always bring my work with me. I can do errands, take a break when I need to, breathe fresh air when I have to. And safety, especially now that I am pregnant, I don’t need to go out for work. I’m hustling right from the comfort of my home.” - Kat Sarmiento, Director of Operations
And just in case you weren’t convinced yet:
“No one can judge me for attending a business call while dressed as a dinosaur.” - Tom Haugen, CTO
What is a tip/advice you’d wish you’d known about working remotely before you began?
Although working remotely has been proven to increase employee efficiency, there is still a learning curve to what is a big adjustment for those chained to a desk. Some of our very own give their advice on ways to make working remote work for you:
“Separate your work environment from your living environment to eliminate distractions. Devoting a completely separate space allows for one not to be distracted and being able to achieve deep, focused work” - Sam Lepak, Director of Paid Media
“Exercise. Get your blood moving and don’t neglect your body and health if you decide to travel or stay at home all day. Getting your blood pumping right away or at some point during the day will wake you up, give you that good feeling, and make your day 10x more productive instead of just rolling over and working out of bed without showering all week.” - Evan Laird, Growth Marketing Manager
“Work/life balance is especially hard to manage as a remote worker. It’s all too easy to get distracted during your work hours, and you also need to take steps early to prevent your job from encroaching too much on your day-to-day existence. It can help to try to emulate the compartmentalization you get from a 9-5 commute-to-work job.” - Tom Haugen, CTO
“This is more for the digital nomads, but keep your computer clock fixed on the same timezone no matter where you are. I’m always in EST, whether in San Francisco or Singapore, and that keeps me grounded on my work schedule.” - Zach Boyette, Co-Founder & Managing Partner
“Keep track of time to maintain a good work-life balance. Usually when I work, I work continuously. I miss meals often before, wanting to finish and accomplish many things day to day. I didn’t have a hobby, and I seldom watched movies. I even worked on weekends. But later on, I learned gradually how to detach from work when it’s not work hours. I learned that remote work does offer you flexibility and freedom and I should let myself have that.” - Kat Sarmeinto, Director of Operations
“Remote work can be challenging for individuals who live alone and equally difficult for individuals who have families and young kids. It is important to know that remote work can become lonely after a while so one must invest in meeting people after their work shift. The positives far outweigh the negatives, but you must be ready for virtual interactions only. If you live close to a colleague, meeting them for lunch or drink is also highly advisable.” - Vik Kalra, Growth Marketing Manager
“Maintain Regular hours. Setting a schedule or a routine to yourself and stick to it. Having personal clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps to maintain work-life balance.” - Chaela Icabales, Operations Manager
What does the future of remote work look like?
COVID-19 changed the working world and forced millions to take a crash course in working remotely. Are Zoom calls the new Monday morning meeting? Will Slack chats replace lengthy email chains? We asked our team what they thought, and one thing is clear: the future is remote.
“Remote work will become a norm and a valid option. Sometime in the future, it can be defined as a “regular job” as before we only consider regular jobs in physical offices/companies with 8AM to 5PM shifts. As many were forced to move to remote work due to the current pandemic, this may have become a realization that remote work is indeed possible and can be done in their own respective companies.” - Kat Sarmiento, Director of Operations
“There’s the obvious stuff, like the fact that more and more knowledge work and computer-based jobs are going to shift to remote, once businesses realize they don’t need to pay for expensive real estate to let people stare at screens. COVID-19 has been a forced, successful experiment towards this. I predict that asynchronous, written communication will emerge as the dominant way of getting things done. Right now all these remote work newbies are doing everything on video call all the time, and scheduling dozens of phone calls to replace what would have been idle office chatter. But is that really necessary? Do you really need that video call, when it could have been a slack message? Is your weekly all-hands truly sacred, or would a Monday morning email report suffice? Building Galactic Fed as a fully remote company with employees in time zones all around the world has forced me to gear our systems towards written, asynchronous communication - mainly Slack, Asana, Google Drive, and email - which has had all sorts of tertiary benefits for our business.” - Zach Boyette, Co-Founder & Manager Partner
“I think it’s cool to see what kind of shift will happen in the coming months, after COVID-19. Over half of jobs are forced to be remote so working from home has really started to become a norm, even for those that have been working in offices for 20+ years. The longer this goes, the more individuals will get used to this. Another positive of remote work becoming more common is that corporations will have to invest millions into WFH (work from home) SAAS products and I don’t see them wanting to waste that time and financial investment, so remote opportunities will continue to grow.” - Evan Laird - Growth Marketing Manager
“We are now in a digital age, businesses must cope by seeing if they can implement work from home. If the majority of the population will work from home, imagine the impact of it on our nature, it can lessen the carbon emission from commuting. This can also help promote work and life balance that could lead to employee satisfaction. Keeping your employee satisfied means their enthusiasm to maintain customer or client satisfaction, and that is very crucial in business growth. Producing self-sufficient and productive home-based freelancers can also help cut down training, why? because they are self dependent! Overall, this would be a win-win for businesses.” - Matthew Don, Account Manager
“Definitely, it is the future. It not only saves huge energy bills for massive buildings, but also offers a great opportunity for people to invest in their personal life. If you are done early, no need to sit in the office while you wait for the clock to hit 5PM. You can actually do something worthwhile with your time.” - Vik Klara, Growth Marketing Manager
Perhaps the workforce was already going in this direction, but the recent world events have seemed to kick it up a notch, and challenge the traditional ways of working. Of course there will be some push back, as with all big (and some would say, progressive) changes. Being a completely remote company, the Galactic Fed team has experienced first hand the benefits of working remotely; from the freedom to travel to the emphasis on work/life balance. And who knows? Maybe one day in the not so distant future, remote work will just be called “work.”
Communications Manager @ Galactic Fed