Sevdha Thompson, digital producer at Coalition Technologies, spent several weeks working in Costa Rica last year.
Credit: Sevdha Thompson
Millions of Americans are quitting their jobs and rethinking what they want when it comes to work and work-life balance. Companies are responding by meeting the needs of their employees in areas such as remote work, flexible hours, a four-day work week, compensation and more. This story is part of a series focusing on The Big Shift and the changes in workplace culture that are happening right now.
For Sevdhi Thompson, the average working day can vary greatly from week to week or month to month.
One week she might be working outdoors under the Jamaican sun, and the other might be in an AirBNB overlooking the Costa Rica rainforest.
As a digital producer for digital marketing and website design at Coalition Technologies, she can work remotely from anywhere in the world.
“For example, I love to travel. I have family in different places,” she said.
“Having the flexibility to be able to spend time with people who are very important to me in different parts of the globe makes a big difference.”
Thompson, who currently resides in Orlando, Florida, was living in Los Angeles when she was first hired by Coalition Technologies in July 2020. She then moved to Kingston, Jamaica to be closer to her family during the Covid-19 pandemic. Although she considers the Caribbean island her base, 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.
Credit: Sevdha Thompson
She visited Costa Rica for three weeks last year, touring the country and visiting several rainforests. She explained that the company’s flexibility in working hours really helped her so she could change her schedule.
“I was able to really immerse myself in many aspects of the country and culture that would otherwise be inaccessible to the average tourist,” said Thompson, who is in her early 30s and travels with her fiancé.
“I was able to gain more local experience in many of these areas because I had more time and flexibility to do so.”
She also traveled to get a job for her extra act as a professional Bollywood dancer and belly dancer. When choosing where to live in each region, she makes sure she has a good internet connection. She also worked on the road, in cars, in airport lounges, and on boats.
While some US employees, like Thompson, have used a work-from-anywhere policy to travel, others simply work where they live. Today, over 250 Coalition Technologies employees are scattered around the world, from the US, Canada and Mexico to India, Germany and South Africa.
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According to President Jordan Brannon, the technology company’s policy was driven by the need to compete with larger firms for talent.
Founded in 2009, Coalition Technologies has been working remotely for nearly a decade, a decision largely due to 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 look for workers in other cities, states and countries.
“When we face well-funded, VC-funded, public companies and startups, we really need to be able to find talent in a way that we can continue to grow without necessarily having short-term profits. goal for shareholders,” Brannon said.
Of course, according to the careers website, working from anywhere is rare. FlexJobs. About 95% of remote jobs have been found to require employees to be in a specific location. Geographic requirements can be based on state, city, country, or even regions of the country.
Legal and tax issues must be taken into account, as well as time zone differences and the ability to be available for personal meetings with employees or clients.
Multiple time zones are one of the biggest challenges facing Coalition Technologies, Brannon said. Most of the clients are located in the Eastern Time Zone of the United States, so some workers have to shift their work hours. They also use a shared calendar where employees can synchronize schedules and coordinate appointments.
The management team also handles legal, tax and financial matters related to the various jobs. For example, there are regional salary adjustments based on the cost of living in a particular area, but there is also the option of earning extra pay based on team performance.
Still, the trade-off is worth it, Brannon said. Not only does this help the company compete for employees, but it also makes employees happy. It also allows Coalition Technologies to attract more talented people to client accounts and projects, as well as to quickly recruit staff, since there is a large selection of candidates, he noted.
“This is what we have been striving for for ten years, and we have no reason to change anything,” he said.
Thompson expects to eventually make the US her home again, although she doesn’t know exactly where she will land. For now, she will stay in Jamaica where she can help family members and continue her travels.
“All these little things mean a lot,” she said.
“These are very immeasurable ways to spend time that you might not otherwise be participating in a more rigid work structure.”
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in acorns.