THE ULTIMATE ROWE YEAR
It’s been 11 months since I made the move from Sydney to Europe working remotely for 33 Talent. I left to spend the year abroad in hope to help my partner regain his Dutch nationality. After spending six months in Amsterdam we decided to escape the city winter and spend the next five months living in the French Alps. Next month we will head back to Amsterdam, go on a trip to Iceland and then back to Aus for what we keep referring to as our “happy/sad moment” - all the while working in the position I studied for, in a company I love working for.
I Had My Doubts...
Would I be able to stay focused and motivated not working in a typical office? Would I be lonely not spending time in the office with work colleagues? Of course, most of my doubts proved true; yes, it was hard to stay driven when we had 20cm of fresh snow outside; yes, I did feel isolated on a Monday morning when I couldn’t hear about everyone’s weekend over a cup of tea (and tell them of my weekend ski touring!), yet the perks easily outweighed these challenges.
In a nutshell, ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) means we are given 100% flexibility around when or where we work, unlimited vacation time and no compulsory meetings. The only thing we have to worry about is getting results. This has meant that whether working in Amsterdam or in the French Alps I’ve had trust from my managers that I would get the work done.
Of course not all ROWE employees move around the world; for most of my colleagues ROWE just creates an easier work life balance. Childcare, doctors appointments or even simply taking the car to the mechanic is that much easier when you are not restricted by your typical Monday-Friday 9-5 job. You don’t even need a reason or “excuse” to make use of ROWE, if you feel like starting your work at 11am or finishing for the day at 2pm that’s up to you, the bosses aren’t watching the clock and neither do we.
How Does It Work?
We’ve found that the most important part of ROWE is communication, we always let our team mates know when we are contactable and when we are offline. It saves time wondering when we will hear back from colleagues who may not always be in the office. I have weekly catch-ups and bi-annual reviews with my managers and communicate daily with the Sydney, London and Singapore offices via Slack - a real time messaging system. I have an exceptionally clear success plan and results that are expected from me, with clear deadlines of when I need to finish them.
The situation worked out better than we could have expected. An unexpected perk is that the team in Sydney often sends me work at the end of their day, and the next morning they come into the office and the work is already done for them which is much quicker than if we were all working in the same time zone. It also means that during their offline hours I can focus on my tasks without new questions popping up. Another bonus was last year when we opened our London office I was in the right time zone support the new team there, and coordinate between the other teams in Singapore and Sydney.
I have nothing but thanks and gratitude for the people and company who have made this last year possible. At 33 Talent we not only have great management but also an exceptionally close team that has supported me throughout the year. I’ll miss the skiing, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing my team in person soon!
Find out more about ROWE at gorowe.