Sevdha Thompson, digital marketing producer for Coalition Technologies, spent a few weeks working in Costa Rica last year.
Courtesy of Sevdha Thompson
Millions of Americans are quitting their jobs and rethinking what they want when it comes to work-life balance. Companies are responding, responding to the needs of their employees in areas such as remote working, flexible hours, four-day work weeks, compensation and more. This story is part of a series dedicated to the “Great Shake-Up” and the ongoing workplace culture change.
For Sevdha Thompson, the average work day can be very different from week to week or month to month.
One week she may be working outside in the Jamaican sun, another she may be in an AirBNB overlooking a Costa Rican rainforest.
As a digital marketing producer for digital marketing and web design company Coalition Technologies, she can work remotely from anywhere in the world.
“I, for one, love to travel. I have family in many different places,” she said.
“Having that flexibility to be able to hang out with people who are very important to me, in different parts of the globe, is hugely important.”
Thompson, currently residing in Orlando, Florida, was living in Los Angeles when she was first hired by Coalition Technologies in July 2020. She later moved to Kingston, Jamaica to be closer to her family during the pandemic. of Covid-19. While she calls the Caribbean island home, she has also spent time in New Orleans, Atlanta, Panama, Texas and Oklahoma.
Sevdha Thompson, pictured with her father, was able to spend time with her family in Jamaica.
Courtesy of Sevdha Thompson
She visited Costa Rica for three weeks last year, traveling the country and visiting several rainforests. The company’s flexibility with working hours really helped her, so she was able to change her schedule, she explained.
“I was able to really delve into many facets of the country and culture that would otherwise be out of reach for the typical tourist,” said Thompson, who is in her 30s and travels with her fiancé.
“I was able to gain more local experience in a lot of these areas because I had more time and flexibility to do so.”
She has also traveled to take jobs for her side gig as a professional Bollywood and belly dancer. When choosing a place to stay in each locality, she makes sure to have a good internet connection. She also worked on the road – from cars, an airport lounge and a boat
While some US-based employees, like Thompson, have used the work-from-anywhere policy to travel, others are simply working from home. Today, Coalition Technology’s more than 250 employees are spread across the globe, from the United States, Canada and Mexico to India, Germany and South Africa.
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The tech company’s policy was born out of the need to compete with big companies to attract talent, chairman Jordan Brannon said.
Founded in 2009, Coalition Technologies was the first remote for nearly a decade – a decision that was largely driven by traffic in Los Angeles, where the company was based. As more big tech companies moved to the area, dubbed Silicon Beach, Brannon and his team had to start looking for workers in other cities, states and countries.
“When we’re up against well-funded, venture-backed, publicly-listed companies and startups, we really need to be able to find talent in a way that allows us to continue to grow without having, necessarily , a short-term profit goal for shareholders,” Brannon said.
To be sure, work-from-anywhere jobs are in short supply, according to career website FlexJobs. About 95% of remote jobs require employees to be based in a specific location, he found. Geographical requirements can be based on state, city, country, or even parts of the country.
There are legal and tax issues to consider, as well as time zone differences and the ability to be available for in-person meetings with staff or clients.
Multiple time zones are one of the biggest challenges facing Coalition Technologies, Brannon said. Most customers are in the Eastern US time zone, so some workers’ schedules may need to change. They also use a common calendar where employees can synchronize schedules and coordinate meetings.
The management team also deals with legal, tax and financial issues arising from the various workplaces. For example, there are regional adjustments for salaries based on the cost of living in a particular area, but it’s also possible to earn extra pay based on a team’s performance.
Still, the tradeoff is worth it, Brannon said. Not only does this help the company to be competitive for the workers, but the employees are happy. It also allows Coalition Technologies to bring more talented people to customer accounts and projects, and recruit staff quickly because there is a large pool of candidates to choose from, he noted.
“It’s something we’ve been committed to for a decade and we have no reason to change,” he said.
Thompson expects to make the United States her home again, though she’s unsure exactly where she will land. For now, she will remain based in Jamaica, where she can help her family members and continue her travels.
“All those little things mean a lot,” she said.
“These are very immeasurable ways to spend your time that you otherwise couldn’t in a more rigid job structure.”
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