“You were born to do more than pay bills and die.”
These words echoed through my brain, blocking out all other stimuli. A simple internet meme put into words my current state of unhappiness and inspired me to do more, to be more.
After leaving my previous employer I was on the search for the perfect job (they exist). I wanted to work on research which interested me. I wanted an office culture with a similar sense of humor and priorities. I am a work hard, play hard type of gal. I have no problem with putting in 12 hour days under a deadline. But, I also believe there are more important aspects of life than working, or money. For some it’s family, for others it’s travel, maybe it’s both. After an extensive search I found my perfect and amazing job at Alter Agents.
At Alter Agents we have a slogan, “The Ultimate Agency.” This may sound pretentious, but in the simplest terms, we are just a group of people who like and respect one another. We operate under the premise we are all adults and we are able to function without micromanagement. At Alter Agents we are given the freedom to work from home any day we choose, this can be a “game time” (morning of) decision and it can be for no other reason than not wanting to shower. This also includes working from locations other than your home (e.g., Mammoth, Phoenix, even another country). In addition, we are able to pick our “office” hours. I am an early bird, I love working 7:00am-3:00pm. Some of my coworkers are not morning people or have other responsibilities, they work later hours. Lastly, we don’t track vacation days in the traditional way. Each employee is free to take as many or as few vacation days as they see fit. We only have two requirements: Ensure coverage on projects with your team and exceed client expectations.
Most of you are thinking one of two things:
1-How does this affect your clients?
I can only think of positive ways “The Ultimate Agency” benefits our clients.
The traditional eight-hour workday is not based on scientific fact, it’s simply a tradition our society chooses to continue. In fact, studies have found people are more productive in 90-120 minute intervals followed by 20-30 minutes of rest, this is known as the Ultradian Rhythm. Employees should not be forced into being stationary simply because it’s tradition. Additionally, Alter Agents recognizes the trend in always being connected. It doesn’t matter if one works a 9:00-5:00, chances are high they are checking/responding to emails after traditional work hours. With that said, just because employees are connected 24 hours a day does not mean they are at their desk 24 hours a day. Alter Agents respond to emails on the client’s timeline, within reason of course. Clients remain our priority, we have simply expanded on the idea of downtime.
When Employees Should Work To Sustain Passion
There are numerous studies which state the optimal time for an individual to work differs from person to person. Allowing employees to work when they feel productive/inspired actually boosts production and creativity. In addition, being able to work when we feel most productive allows us to sustain passion for our work and our clients.
Flexibility to work when we have work allows for a quicker response during non-traditional work hours. This proves extremely important for our east coast clients and overseas vendors. For example, I feel okay leaving 20-30 minutes early on Tuesday if I had a 7:00pm call on Monday. Or I don’t feel burdened answering client emails on the weekend knowing I can take a longer lunch on Monday. I personally view my work hours with a sense of fluidity rather than stringent requirements I have to adhere to.
Allowing employees to take unlimited vacation days leads to well rested and happy employees. In addition, companies have found employees with unlimited vacation actually work harder and use less vacation days, ask Richard Branson.
How is this possible?
While there are many answers to this question, they all lead to one word; trust. “The Ultimate Agency” is based on trust, which I believe is the most underrated aspect of any job. It’s all too easy to forget we are high functioning adults. The majority of the work force has successfully completed college or a specialized school, we have families, and bills. We are able to navigate everyday life, why should the work place be any different?
Lack Of Hierarchy
I believe the trust between Alter Agents employees is due largely to the lack of hierarchy. Let me clarify, there is a hierarchy in the sense of experience and compensation. But there is no hierarchy in the traditional sense of the partners having offices, or responsibility of a project; we embrace the “shared economy” way of thinking. Egos are left at the door and input is valued from all members of the team, regardless of age or experience. In doing so, Alter Agents is able to provide clients with unique perspectives.
Trust One Another
The best way for me to explain this environment is a team. Spending my entire life playing sports, it is the most relatable experience for me. At Alter Agents, we are held accountable by our colleagues. Just like a basketball team, each of us brings individual talents and strengths, which we aren’t afraid to leverage or defer to others for the betterment of the team. Each employee has the responsibility of ensuring “The Ultimate Agency” is successful, but we also rely on each other to meet deadlines and be successful as a company-to win games if you will.
Employees Are Not Policed
Due to this team mentality, each Alter Agents employee is willing to go the extra mile, this is also why “The Ultimate Agency” works so well. Employees are not “policed” as they are in a traditional office environment, but rather we rely on self-accountability. We all want to be liked by our co-workers, but here the pressure is a little stronger. Most importantly, because of our strong camaraderie, we hold ourselves accountable to our colleagues and our clients.
Employees Are More Invested
Due to the reasons listed above, Alter Agents employees are more invested in the company and the work they produce. In addition, employees are not in competition with one another, but are more concerned with improving and growing a company and culture where we all benefit.
With all this said, I understand there are some careers which are not able to operate under this premise. Trust me, “The Ultimate Agency” is not for everyone. Some people perform better under strict supervision and set hours. “The Ultimate Agency” was a huge factor in my decision to join Alter Agents. I relish the opportunity to work from a beach in Cabo or my best friend’s house in San Luis Obispo. I am able to thrive under these (amazing) conditions; it is the perfect opportunity for me to do more, to be more.
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