I’m writing this post from my dining room table, while I’m eating an orange. I’ve currently got a carpenter and a plumber who are down the hall from me, installing new bathroom cabinets in the apartment I rent on the Gold Coast. They’re making a lot of noise, but I’m fine — I’ve gotten pretty good at working from home amidst the distractions of everyday life.
My name is Kirsten, and work on the marketing team at Lána. At any given time, the Lána marketing team can consist of anywhere between 3 and 10 people, including a number of interns who will come and go as they complete their studies.
An “average” day at the Lána office has changed a lot over the course of 2017. Up until August, we didn’t have an office. We were what you’d call a distributed team. As in, we expanded beyond the norms of a regular office environment — we were dispersed geographically, even internationally.
While I typically worked early in the mornings, or late in the afternoon from this exact dining room table on the Gold Coast, it’s quite common for our developers in Brisbane to work other jobs during the day and start coding at 9pm until all hours of the night. Combine that with the fact that our Director and a few other team members were in the UK, and you’ve basically got a 24 hour window where at least one team member was working at all times, somewhere in the world.
The downside? Your phone will. Literally. Not. Stop. Sending. You. Notifications. As soon as I get into bed at night and put my phone on silent, I can guarantee you that someone would go online and start working, sending updates and tagging me in posts!
Thankfully, at the start of August, our team moved into the same time zone and work from a lovely office up in Brisbane. We still have people who live the double life, day job and then start their Lána day at 7pm. I am still based on the Gold Coast and we have a couple of members in Melbourne.
We use a number of collaborative tools such as Slack and Asana to communicate and manage projects. They’re brilliant, and essential to remote teamwork, but you do run the risk with all of these around the clock notifications to find yourself never quite “switching off” and working at random hours when you’d planned to have downtime or get general, life-stuff done. This kind of erratic, unplanned work schedule isn’t always the most effective way operate, so I’ve found that I need to implement a level of discipline when it comes to checking notifications and schedule particular times of the day and week where I’ll make myself fully available to Lána and work only on my project list.
The only other downside to distributed teamwork is that I don’t get to spend nearly enough face-to-face time with the incredible bunch of humans that make up Lána. Maybe I’m biased, but I think that we’ve somehow managed to find the hardest-working, most dedicated and hilarious bunch of people on the planet, and convinced them to help us create a share economy for fashion.
Perhaps it’s the nature of the work that we do that has attracted such a team? Starting up something new, means you’re potentially starting up something that will fail. It might be something that becomes huge. It might land somewhere in the middle. Whatever happens, it’s going to take a lot of hard work, trial, error and wine. I mean coffee. (But seriously, heaps of wine, too).
The one thing that we all share is a passion for sustainability in the fashion industry. I think that when the hard times feel particularly hard, the thing that keeps us motivated is knowing that we’re creating something good. Something that’s bigger than us, and has the potential to massively impact the environment, the industry and the way we get to dress ourselves every day. I often wonder what the motivation situation is like for a start-up that’s going to through a tough time, when their only goal is to make a butt-load of money. It’s not enough for us. The bigger picture of social good truly is keeping our fire burning.
We will continue to work remotely and distributed from time to time as we grow within Australia and internationally. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing how the team continues to learn through this process and take on new challenges individually. Right now, our graphic designer is learning to code, our Director is learning how to pitch for investment and I’m testing my skills at fashion photography. Wish us luck!
Watch this space for more updates from the team as we continue our journey into the share economy. #WeAreLana.