A few months ago, our CEO Juho wrote a post on the benefits of fostering a culturally diverse workforce. Today, I realized that within the past year I’ve had the chance to work from the HQ in Helsinki, our office in London and my apartment in upstate New York. I’ve been able to collaborate with our American Business Director in London, our Iraqi Senior Project Manager in Helsinki, and our Finnish Creative Director in Amsterdam. It just so turns out that there are as many sides to this story as there are desk spaces, nationalities and cultures at Luxus. And I think we’re pretty lucky.
Remote work that works
The fact that I’m writing this post from the comfort of my couch in upstate New York is a testament to what I’m about to say. Today, I’ve worked on a presentation at Starbucks, written a couple of emails from my college library and attended a Skype meeting in my living room. As much as I love working from the Helsinki HQ, there are times when remote work is simply more productive.
Once you’ve traveled far enough away, you also get the added bonus of time zones: When I deliver something at the end of my day, I can count on having feedback in my inbox when I check my email the next morning. In fact, last year this time I was working with a Developer in the Philippines, a UX Designer in Sweden, and an Art Director in Helsinki to deliver a new website for a client in Wisconsin. Ultimately, I learnt that working from around the world means that Luxus is always on for our clients. And that’s great, considering that they also happen to be scattered across five continents.
Cultural differences, universal values
For all the hard work we do, we also make an active effort to spend some quality time together. Although we’ve noticed that there’s no point in trying to teach Welsh pronunciation to tongue-tied Finns, or offering traditional Finnish pea soup to our Venezuelan colleagues, there are many things on which we agree. We collectively believe in going above and beyond the call of duty, offering a hand when somebody needs it, and always being up for learning and teaching new things.
Just as our amazing graphic designer Laura said in her recent interview, the atmosphere at Luxus is truly international – and we're really proud of that. Although we appreciate the frequent appearance of Reese’s peanut butter cups, Vietnamese rice crackers and delicious Baklava in the kitchen, the best part of working in a multicultural team is how close it has made us. As cheesy as it may sound, we frequently refer to each other as family, and there’s a good reason for that.
International experience = competitive advantage
When one of our wonderful PMs found out that he had been granted Finnish citizenship, the HQ stopped for three minutes to blast “Olen Suomalainen” at full volume. When I told Juho that I would be doing an exchange semester in the US, his response was: “it’s not like they don’t have email there”. And when I found out that one of my closest colleagues was going to be working from our Singapore office for six months, I felt extremely proud and only a tiny bit sad.
As we’re sifting through incoming job applications, cover letters, and CVs, international background and / or experience are pretty high up on our lists of things to look for. Not only do these things imply that the candidate meets our language requirements (= English), but they also speak volumes about the applicant's ability to adapt to our culture. Just like Juho wrote, we genuinely believe that our global coverage and local presence make us better, and we will always consider diverse experience as a competitive advantage.