At Compose we love to work remotely, pulling together people through digital tools and the net to bring our services to you. But we also know the value of not being remote. It's why we have offices in San Mateo, California and Birmingham, Alabama – somewhere for people to get to work together, face to face... if that's how they arrange their desks, side by side or at least within paper dart throwing distance.
It's a different texture of communication and having the choice of how you communicate also makes you think more about how you communicate. But not everyone is within range of an office and the offices don't meet en masse. If only there was a way that everyone could work together in one location if only for a short time... well we decided there was.
Unremoting is where nearly every person in the Compose team will head to our chosen destination, where we all check in to a hotel and have working space ready for all of us to continue delivering the great database service you expect from Compose. We'll be doing all the things we normally do in our working week, and more, as we get together to chart Compose's future database and marketing plans.
The thing that lets us do this is... our ability to remote work. We're already old hands at working in different spaces. Last year, we spent a week making sure everybody was remote – everyone went home to work or was encouraged to roam to work. This time, everyone was going to roam... to the same place.
And that place? Portland, Oregon.
Why, you may wonder, are we doing this, apart from the fun of getting together. Well, empowering as remote working is, no matter how well you communicate about work, there's a whole other element of human communication missing. When we were putting this article together Compose's Jason McCay explained:
"When you work with people day to day, you see their passion, you know when they are up and when they are down, you can be clued in on when they are struggling and need help, and you can share life with them in work, food, play, and other experiences. Having everyone spread out can really make work relationships quite binary and bringing everyone together can hopefully reset some of the assumptions that people are operating with."
Remote working works best when you have some level of empathy with your remote co-workers. While video/audio conferencing, instant messaging and many other tools can enable communication, how well they work is multiplied by that level of empathy. That empathy goes a long way to also building common values and identity. Think of the unremoting then as a top-up on empathy – it's happening to balance out the downsides of remote working and give the upsides a boost.
It's quite an endeavour to arrange so many people coming together and we'll have an article about that soon. We'll also have a look at how things work out over the unremoting week too. For now, if you have remote working in your company, you may want to consider an event something like unremoting. This will be Compose's first unremoting and it'll be a regular event on the Compose calendar.