Before I mislead you, let me clarify that Whitesmith didn't change at all.
I mean, we have a new office and shiny new furniture and we also discovered some great bricolage skills among the team (which is quite great and handy for future needs!)...But I'm not here today to talk about that. Of course it would be great describing the entire process of building tables and dying our wall with yellow but I'm not that big of a fan of yellow to be honest...Wait, am I disgressing too much? Okay, back to business!
Who's that Pokémon?
My name is Maria João Carriço and I'm one of the summer interns that Whitesmith decided to adopt this summer! When Daniel Lopes and Rafael Jegundo interviewed me to be a Social & Media Marketing Trainee I knew little to nothing about both Whitesmith and Marketing itself, #shame.
I must confess that as a Biomedical Engineering student I never thought that I would be doing an internship in Marketing but I decided to take this opportunity and challenge myself!
What did I know about Whitesmith? Well, you know, just things that my friends told me on how cool they were because "they have no strict work schedules", because "they go out at night and have fun" and blablabla. Okay, I'll stop right there. No strict work schedules and going out? How does that work? Yeah, basically that was my opinion 3 months ago. I thought that Whitesmith was a cool company but that really didn't match my idea of a serious and successful company.
After I started coming to the office things got even weirder because I couldn't quite understand the whole remote concept. So, they're working but they're not here? How so?
How I changed my mind
How did I change my mind? That's the funny part. Like all interns, I was assigned with a goodfella, a person who would help me with the onboarding process and with the internship itself. And guess what? My goodfella, Maria João Ferreira (or WS mom, like I call her), was actually working remotely from Porto! Ironic, eh?
But first, awkwardness installed
At the beginning I didn't feel comfortable going to the office to work and I think that happened due to two main reasons:
What do you mean they're all in the same place and still they talk most of the times via Slack?
This one required a conversation with Daniel and Jegundo about the company culture. Basically, here at Whitesmith there's a whole open information kind of concept. We like to talk via Slack so that anyone can read what we're saying if they want to, being by this remote-friendly.
To help us concretize that we have several channels that allow us to target the information and avoid internal spam. Some of them are a huge poison if you have a lot of work to do but excellent if you just want to relax a little bit and post videos about cats (okay, I'm guilty and really active on this one).
Oh, look at them all coding and doing complicated stuff and look at me tweeting and posting things on Facebook.
This part was more complicated. Learning how to understand that my work is also important and learning how to build my self-confidence and trust in the things I do required my WS mom, Maria João, to give me a lesson about her personal experience.
It's true that we Marketeers might not understand some (most of) the technical things but, the non-technical things are also important! My job is to manage all the social media accounts of the company and keep them updated so that our followers and clients have new and interesting things to read about Whitesmith. I also help execute other actions of our Marketing strategy, to help reach a bigger broader audience. We have ideas, test them, see the results, and repeat.
A big part of what I have to do carries the duty of chasing people and forcing them to write blog posts for example, but I have to admit that it is amusing. (am I evil?)
It only took me a few weeks to stop feeling like an outsider and start feeling like a part of Whitesmith's family.
I finally could see that having strict work schedules has nothing to do with productivity. On the contrary, what motivates people to do their job is being happy while doing it, be it at 2pm or 2am.
Here at Whitesmith everyone is free to manage their work hours the way they want to - while some people are early birds and like the standard 9am to 6pm schedule, others are night owls and feel more comfortable working 'til 3am.
And why being limited to the four walls of an office? If you want to do your work by the beach or by the countryside, go for it! As long as you don't fail on us we're all for having different places to visit during our Whitesmith gatherings! hehe
The moments when we're not working are also great! Being one of the youngest among the team brings hilarious situations featured by some "How old are you?!" and "How do you not know this song?! On what year were you born?!" and extensive cultural and musical lessons.
Going out and having fun does not compromise doing your job well at all. In fact, going out with your colleagues whether it is just to drink a beer, play Laser Tag or a karaoke night helps relieving stress from work and creating bonds that are very important to keep the company harmony and we sure know how to do that here at Whitesmith!
What I've learned so far is that Whitesmith is just like a family (a really big one). We all have that crazy uncle, that quiet aunt that just keeps observing everyone and that cousin that is always travelling and only shows up for the big events. But, at the end of the day, we all love and support each other. And you know what? I'm gonna miss this crazy big family when my summer internship ends.