Taking a ‘Flexible Job’? Beware the Never-Ending Workday – Wired.co.uk

When Kaspars Dancis started working for the Exigen Group in 2000, he was just a few years out of university, and although his employer was based in the US, his home was in Latvia. But Exigen was a software development company and Dancis was a software engineer, so they found a way to make it work without him having to relocate.

“That was the first generation of distributed work,” says Dancis, who now runs his own business from his Latvian base. “It was very eye-opening that I could be in Riga and work with peers in California and customers in Australia. That was for the first time what made me think this could be the future.”

For Dancis it literally did become the future, with his early experiences at Exigen going on to inform his 2017 creation of Whimsical, a software business designed to make online collaboration in distributed organizations seamless. The pandemic has seen demand for its services explode, to the extent it has just closed a $30 million fundraising round as more and more companies grapple with how to maintain—or enhance—productivity when the bulk of their workforce is remote. “The pandemic has had the effect of fast-forwarding this gradual shift towards distributed working by probably a decade at least,” Dancis says.

Asynchronous working, in which employees are allowed to work where and when they want, is being touted as a productivity boon for employers. The idea is that companies will get the best work out of their staff if they give them the freedom to manage their own schedules. And if teams can organize themselves in such a way that someone is always available to deal with clients, the additional benefits are obvious.

This has been the experience of Andrew Dimitriou, EMEA chief executive at New York-headquartered brand agency YMLY&R. He is responsible for 4,500 people working out of 24 base offices across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and he says he is a “big believer” in asynchronous working because it has enabled him to “harness the right talent, at the right time, in the right place.”

“Ultimately, we do projects for clients, and there’s always someone who needs to plan the resources to answer questions from our clients, but once that’s done the team can work together to deliver the objectives,” he says. “They figure that out.”

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