Lessons from a “Work from Anywhere” Eurotour

Over the past two years, Enigma has embraced flexibility, empowering employees to choose a working arrangement that allows them to do their best work. We’ve previously written about our perspective on the future of work, going remote and working from home, and employee experiences with “Enigma Haus,” a new approach to collaboration.

Embracing the opportunity for alternative ways of working, Enigmites Arly Dungca and Jon Klinger recently embarked on a joint working tour of Europe. The Enigma Blog caught up with Arly and Jon to debrief on their experience with “work from anywhere.”

Enigma Blog (EB): What does the ability to work from anywhere mean for you?

Arly: Flexibility and building camaraderie. For me it was a reminder, culturally, that Enigma people are not just our work, and we’re supported and encouraged in this. I came away feeling proud of Enigma as a leader in creating space for how the future of work should be.

Jon: Being able to work from anywhere makes me feel supported and valued by Enigma. I love to travel. It’s my therapy. Whenever I am feeling stressed or down, going to a place I have never been before always helps.

EB: What inspired you to travel in summer 2021?

Arly: Adventure with the promise of the vaccine. I was supposed to attend a wedding in Croatia, which ended up being postponed because of the uncertainty. But the world was reopening and I did not want to miss the opportunity to go to Europe. I lived and studied in Europe earlier in my life, so returning was something I did regularly pre-pandemic.

When I learned that Jon would also be in Europe around the same time, on a whim we decided to travel together.

Jon: After two years of Covid, quarantining in my apartment and with my parents, I was itching to travel. I didn’t realize just how strong that urge was until I went on a small weekend trip in upstate New York. Once I did, I quickly booked a flight to Athens with no return ticket. For me, this trip was about mental health. There is nothing like the feeling of getting lost in a new city or turning a corner unsure of what you might find.

EB: Where did you visit?

Arly: We made stops in Athens and Kefalonia (Greece); Florence, Tuscany, Rome (Italy); Cavtat, Split, Dubrovnik (Croatia); with a lunch stop in Montenegro and a drive through Bosnia on our way to Split.

We mostly stayed in Airbnbs with good internet and separate bedrooms to maximize productivity and sanity.

Jon: I also went to visit some friends in Malindi, Kenya.

EB: What were some of your highlights of the trip?

Arly:

My highlights:

  • Tuscan drives — no tolls, no highways — on our way to lunch in Cinque Terre and to dinner on top of the North Tuscan mountain ranges at an agriturismo
  • Seeing Florence through the eyes of Jon’s prior experience and hitting his local spots
  • Making friends with our Bologna tour group — we all met up in Rome for a great dinner
  • Jon educating me on his music tastes
  • Our closing dinner in Dubrovnik to end the trip

Lowlights:

  • Trying to find one of our hotels at midnight. It was the only time we argued.
  • Waiting to cross the Bosnia–Croatia border took 3 hours. I don’t like to wait.

Jon:

Highlights:

  • Finally making it back to Florence for the first time since I went abroad there
  • Our Airbnb in Kefalonia with our own private pool and a quick walk to the beach. We would start everyday with a beach chill before work
  • Driving in Tuscany
  • Bologna food tour
  • Malindi. Who knew that Kenya had some of the best beaches and Italian food in the world? I will be going back there very soon.

EB: What did you learn that you’d pass on to others looking to work from anywhere?

  • We made sure to be available to meet with colleagues and communicate any changes in schedules so we continued to deliver on expectations for ongoing projects.
  • Much of our heads down work was asynchronous. Working across Europe and US time zones, it was easier to start earlier in the day than late at night. However, depending on deliverables, sometimes it was just a busy and late work day.
  • Island internet is spotty. Have a good mobile international roaming plan for emergency connectivity.
  • Weekends were jam packed. Eat at a different restaurant for weekday lunch when possible to maximize the number of local spots you have time to try (and break out of your comfort zone). Try to do a morning activity, like tours, beach time, or walking around the city.

If this sounds like your kind of culture, browse our job openings. We’re always looking for talented engineers, data scientists, and more.

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