‘Just a cast away. An island lost at sea-oh. Another lonely day, no-one here but me-oh’
- Sting, Message in a Bottle
Aw, poor Sting. All on his lonesome, lonelier than any man can bear by most reckonings. At first glance you might think working in a remote company would feel like this. But, as my internship at Articulate has taught me, it doesn’t have to.
I won’t lie. I was nervous when I found out I got the internship at Articulate. During the application process I researched remote working. For every article claiming it was fantastic there was another that would say the opposite. Doom and gloom rang out as I read:
- You can’t separate work and private life
- There isn’t the same level of nurture and training as in an office
- There’s a lack of community and team ethic
With all this negativity I was ready to send my ‘SOS to the world’. But, the more I experienced how we do things, the more Articulate set my mind at ease. These burning worries were a distant memory when I learned more about the way we work.
Work/life balance: Using remote working to our advantage
People say your work and private lives must remain distinct. It’s good for your health and happiness. These people also often argue that remote working blurs these lines.
When I left my job as an accountant (I know…rock ‘n’ roll right?) for the internship at Articulate the reactions I got were surprising.
- ‘What!?! How can you concentrate at home?’
- ‘Hehe, you’re lucky you get to do all your work from bed!
(Just as an aside, if you’re ever confronted with the latter statement, you are within your rights to deliver to the speaker a short, sharp slap in the chops. Don’t blame me, that’s just the law.)
The thing is, just like the people who argue remote working blurs the lines of work/life balance, my colleagues just couldn’t comprehend the concept of non-office based work.
Make no mistake; there is a danger of burn out if you can’t turn off from work. But, here at Articulate, where remote working is a reality, we don't want just a worker bee. We are a team of rounded individuals who work hard but realise there’s more to life. Articulate employs people who are people, not corporate clones.
In fact, the way we work at Articulate helps me maintain a healthy work/life balance. When I started at Articulate they encouraged me to set up my own office space so that work stays work. I got myself a good chair (trust me, you will really need a good chair!), a desk and a place I could leave.
When I’m not logged in to Skype or Slack, then people know I’m not available. It’s right there in front of them. There’s no need to block out the world with the ‘headphone code’ like in the office with people tapping your shoulder.
Training and professional development: learning through online education and mentoring
At Articulate we pride ourselves on our knowledge and professionalism. As a Hubspot Partner (a gold one no less) all staff members have access to a myriad of HubSpot training and certifications.
But don’t think that you’re abandoned to train with a robot. You aren’t left to just work through online courses. At Articulate the training is hands-on and immediately relevant to the role of copywriter.
Throughout my internship at Articulate other staff have guided my development. (You must eat their brains to gain their power. Or just ask…whatever’s easier.) The point is you always have someone to turn to during your internship here. You are here to learn. We encourage questions.
Communication and team ethics: chatting around the digital water cooler
As anyone inhabiting the internet will know: you don’t need proximity to build a sense of community. This is exactly how sites like Reddit got started and continue to thrive.
People are what make a team, not a building or a room. Articulate has clients and employees across the UK and beyond. We bridge these physical gaps with video-conferencing software. We keep in touch in all sorts of ways:
- Monthly meetings. Once a month we catch up in person, usually in London. We discuss the company, go through plans, have training sessions – all sorts.
- Monday morning stand-up. We have a meeting to discuss the week ahead via Skype or RingCentral. We discuss work priorities and update each other on progress of projects. These meetings are how we get ready for our week; we’re on our marks and getting ready to go.
- Happy Breakfasts and Happy Half Hours. Every two weeks you have a virtual breakfast with a colleague. These are great for getting to know each other. And once a month we all gather on a video call on a Friday afternoon, just like going to the pub after work.
- Slack/Facebook for Work. These are our common areas, where we talk about anything and everything. What music are you listening to? Seen any good movies lately? And cats…so many cats…
- Basecamp Project Management. We always know who has done what, when. Basecamp allows us complete transparency with clients and each other as everyone can see what everyone else is doing.
This high level of professional and personal contact has really helped create a brilliant team ethic within Articulate. We are all working towards the same goal and enjoy working with each other. We’ve managed this without an office or ‘water-cooler chats’. Imagine that.
Articulate Marketing: my message in a bottle
These are all the ways in which we have made the office irrelevant. Throughout my internship at Articulate I have seen a team and company with a great team ethic and excellent training. All while maintaining my work/life balance.
So don’t believe the hype. Offices are over-rated. Working remotely doesn’t mean you are an island. Work for Articulate and you will find yourself an active and valued member of a vibrant and co-operative professional network. How many interns can say that?