The Takeaway: At XMTP, our belief in valuing impact over output makes some things abundantly clear; we care very little about when and where our team members get work done, and we care a lot about the quality and impact of the work they are doing.
When I think about working norms and practices these days something is either B.C., and A.C., - Before Covid or After Covid.
The work world had been avoiding conversations about how we were spending our time, how we were prioritizing our relationship to work, and made us think deeply about the real question:
”am I living to work, or am I working to live?”
Remote working went from being reserved for the lucky minority to table stakes for the majority. Global hiring boundaries came down, flexible scheduling requirements went up and a desire for better balance between work and life reframed our perspective on how we prioritize and make work and life work together.
At XMTP, we have embraced the questions being asked by so many knowledge workers around work life boundaries, the freedom that comes as a result of being a high performing individual and even what a “normal” work week should look like. Pushing beyond just “remote-first” or “asynchronous” working hours, we have leaned into digital nomadism and cross continental exploration to truly capture all life has to offer without sacrificing career growth and satisfaction. But let me be clear, we do not believe remote work is the easier way to work. It requires discipline, intention and tremendous clarity around expectations.
It’s easy to say, but what does this actually look like at XMTP?
Well, one of our very own Software Engineers, Bhavya Mehta of Pune, India, was able to spend 45 days as a digital nomad exploring parts of Central and Eastern Europe while also being a core part of the team shipping one of our biggest partnerships of 2022.
Bhavya plays a critical role in the integration of XMTP with other decentralized apps, and he’s a key contributor to building XMTP’s first party apps, as well.
This Fall, Bhavya departed for a 1.5 month trip in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Bhavya and XMTP were able to go on this journey together because we started from a place of clear, proactive communication. We had no concerns about taking this situation because Bhavya was very honest with XMTP when interviewing and made sure there was alignment between his life goals and XMTP’s work culture expectations. He knew he would never want to work somewhere that expected him to login promptly at 9am and work straight until 5pm, and sought out a team that valued impact and the ability to work when and where it makes sense.
He also shared that this was possible based on the clear expectations he has in his role, knowing what he is responsible for and how to escalate any challenges along the way. Things like documentation and communication minimize the need for meetings and live syncs. Bhavya could start his day with an early wake up and some focused working time, followed by a late morning breakfast at a Cafe and then head out for a day of exploration and adventure. By the afternoon, he would spend a few hours working and aligning with team members in the States.
When I asked Bhavya what were the key ideas he would impart to someone so they could be successful in this work style, he shared that he had to take a lot of personal responsibility around consciously creating his boundaries and structure. He didn't’ want work to fit neatly in a Monday through Friday schedule because he saw how how much life he could live if he embraced the freedom that comes with discipline around planning, keeping in sync with his team and being a proactive communicator.
Bhavya’s travels did not come without challenges as well, and he shares there were some early stumbles. For example, one of his first hostels in France was pretty desolate and lacked any translated signage. Totally unable to access the internet, Bhavya missed a few meetings and lost some valuable working time but recognized that his team trusts him and he quickly figured out how to be better prepared.
Bhavya shared that being from India, it was incredibly eye opening to see different ways people experience life and the different relationships they have with working. At XMTP, we’re thrilled to be the beneficiaries of what he’s shared and, of course, we’re Bhavya fans, so seeing him thrive while also crushing it at XMTP is the win-win we’re all looking for.
Finally, as Head of People, this wasn’t a concept that came completely naturally to me. I’ve worked at large multinationals and small scaling startups, but none that have so thoroughly embraced removing traditional work boundaries or expectations. Partnering with our founders and rigorously evaluating what it is that will help create the right experience for our team and ultimately lead to our shared success opened my eyes to the value in doing it differently. Of course, I’ve had the same thought so many of us have had - “I wish I could go visit France for 3 months! Or, I wish I could live in another country with my family?” The opportunity to help our team members and make it a reality without sacrificing a career or company goals is something I’m loving at XMTP.
The XMTP Bottom Line:
Our team members don’t have to make a choice between enjoying their life and enjoying their career. We believe by enabling our team members to prioritize filling their own cups, breaking the cycle of burnout and gaining experiences and skills from non-screen experiences will only make them healthier, more engaged team members with broader perspectives and new ideas.
Check out some of Bhavya’s pics:
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