July 11, 2019

The Key for Winning in a Remote World is to be More In-Person

illustration of two people talking to each other

I know you can easily see the paradox in the title. Being a remote company — or just working remotely — comes with many advantages: a more flexible lifestyle, the ability to work wherever we want, and the easiness of connecting with clients and peers around the world without leaving our desks.

Honestly, I can’t complain how impactful going remote was to me in both personal and professional aspects of life. I can work with the people I want to without the need to live next to them. I can visit my family and be there when they need me, without needing to ask permission to do so or even worrying about missing some days in the office — as long as I maintain a nice balance with my job.

The “perks” we live in

The remote work environment is full “benefits,” but to succeed in this world, we can’t forget the human touch.

It’s not difficult nowadays to transform all our social interactions into screen interactions.

We change in-person meetings for video calls; handwritten notes for Whatsapp or SMS messages; seeing a friend for liking and tagging their pictures on Instagram; etc.

I won’t lie, we all do that, and I’m not here to condemn Social Media or the “evolution” of human communication. I confess I love it. We are more connected than ever and we can reach those we love whenever we want to with a single device in our pockets.

However, in a world where technology allowed us to be more connected, whenever we can be “in-person,” more memorable these moments are.

The impact of a handwritten note

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? Actually, have you ever received any? Even though these primordial means of communication seem to be fading away, they are more vigorous than ever.

I don’t have a backup of the messages I exchanged with my wife during all those years we’ve been together, but I keep all the letters and notes we wrote to each other.

Although it creates excellent memories in a personal relationship, it’s not exclusive to that. The same applies perfectly to business.

In a world where both us and our clients are dealing with emails and text messages every day, being able to leave — for example — a personal handwritten letter turns it into a remarkable experience.

The ”long-term friend effect”

Even better than leaving notes and letters, is to be vis-à-vis with someone. We spend so much time of our days face to face with a screen that we miss this human connection. Yes, we can do a lot by email and messages in a Slack channel, but I don’t remember a single time I had a blast sending an email, I just remember the many coffees I had with interesting people I met in-person.

Transforming a digital connection into an in-person meeting creates what I call the “long-term friend effect.” When you are chatting with someone online for months — or even years — and you have the experience of meeting her in person, the described effect happens. Even with just a few months-long relationships, talking in person with someone you only knew online creates the same effect as when we go back to our hometown and see our childhood friends again.

These encounters can make any relationships even stronger, and because the conversation started online, when you’re face to face with the other person, it seems you know each other for many many years.

The same applies to business

The remote work environment made it easier for us to talk in a matter of seconds to many clients and team members in different states and countries. It’s tricky to believe email is all it takes to nourish relationships. The truth is that in business, everything I said here is even stronger.

With the constant efforts of many companies to stand-out, most don’t realize that to be on top, you need to be in front. In front of your prospects. In front of your clients. Face-to-face.

Just “being in town” and grabbing a coffee together creates an impact thousands of emails could never achieve. While all your competitors are emailing, texting and calling your clients you should be there in front of them, enjoying some time together, and creating experiences. It’s hard to stick in our memories the texts on an email or the voice over the phone when compared to real experiences lived together.

Working remotely doesn’t mean you need to be absent. It’s a matter of choosing to be 100% present whenever possible.

To thrive as a remote worldwide business, we need to be more human. Instead of dealing with screens, texts, and numbers on a daily basis, create human, warm connections.

The key to success here is to bring humanity to the (sometimes) cold, remote world.


Did you enjoy the article?
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive not only our articles but much more content before everyone else.

Do you have any question or opinion?
Share it! Let’s make this a starting point for more meaningful discussions.

June 5, 2019

The story behind MOWE and its remote way of working

Photo of our team's retreat

Do you know when you make a great decision in life but you only notice it a few years later? That’s exactly what I’ve been experiencing lately. For those who don’t know about me, I’m the Art Director and Co-founder of a completely remote Motion Graphics & Animation Studio called MOWE Studio.

Felippe Silveira and I created this place with the dream of working from our own offices at home, with the professionals we liked and admired, and with the clients that valued our work the most. And I’m really glad to say that it’s happening!

I’ll be telling a lot more about our path until where we are today, but we would like to start with the first thing people always ask us: Why did you decide to build a remote team?

Why MOWE is a remote company?

I consider this decision to be a mix of reality, curiosity and opportunity.

Reality

Felippe and I have always worked really far away from each other — when we started to consider building "something" together, I was living in Toronto, Canada and he was living in Barcelona, Spain. Eventually, we went back to Brazil but that didn't change anything since we were still an 8h car drive away from each other instead of a 10h flight like before — For those who don't know Brazil, it's huge! This means that the distance between two countries in Europe can be way smaller than the distance between two neighboring states in our big country.

Curiosity

If we have something in common, it's definitely the fact that we’re curious. Since we had that initial drive to make this "remote thing" work somehow, we started to question the whole structure of work that we were used to, like the simple fact that we needed to be together in the same physical space to do great work. Eventually, we noticed that we could replicate or improve many of those workflows and situations.

Opportunity

I honestly think that we were in the right place, at the right time. Firstly, there was no other way to work together since we were living in different countries. Secondly, Slack had just been released and together with them, we had tools like Skype, "Google Apps for Work"(aka. G Suite) and Dropbox to support with other needs we had. We truly believed we had a chance to build “something” remote with those tools…and we did it.

Being a tool nerd as I am, I remember I almost forced Felippe to join Slack with me and that’s actually one of the reasons why I’m a HUGE slack fan. It would have been way harder for us to start our business the way we did and it would probably be even harder to manage everything today without it — we have more than 15 channels of different projects and subjects where we discuss on a daily basis.

Screenshot from our account history. It seems that we took almost 9 months of incubation until Felippe became an Administrator of our Account — probably because it was the time we hired the first sound designer to work with us through slack.

The evolution from 2015 to 2019

We definitely added a lot of tools to our tool belt since we started, at 2015, but the biggest change in the business is actually related to the people that work with us and how we see this whole thing.

Working as a remote team is way less the tools you use and way more the people you choose to work with and how do you value their abilities, time and life.

At the beginning of 2019, we had our first team travel and it was a unique experience for us all. We flew everyone to the same city to finally meet each other face to face and everyone had an amazing time. One of the unique aspects for us, owners of the business, was seeing how important it is to define and incentivize a powerful internal culture of empowerment, friendship and partnership, even more than in non-remote companies.

Other than culture, remote work is all about routines, workflows and pipelines. Things have to be organized so everyone can know where to go or who to contact whenever they have a problem.

Being constantly challenged by projects, clients and professionals was a great way to develop a structure that goes beyond our initial believes of what was possible to achieve. For example, for someone used to doing 01:30 to 02:00 videos, 4 years later we’re delivering 5-minute animations on a monthly output, with:

  • No delays
  • Great quality
  • Happy professionals
  • Happy client
  • Almost no adjustments since communication is always clear and constant.

2019 and beyond

Four years after we started it all, MOWE is open and running from the USA and not from Brazil as we initially expected, we have a team spread through multiple countries and cities and we're all hungry as *#$@ to create amazing work!

We still have a lot to learn and improve but we would like to take you as well in this journey since we know there are other professionals and businesses interested in joining the "remote revolution" — at least that's how I heard someone say it. To me, it's only a smarter and modern way of working.

Silly things people do when they get together

Thanks for following me on this small journey. Since we receive so many questions about our way of working and how we can achieve a lot of things in this day and age, I have already a ton of topics and things organized that I would like to talk about. Follow our publication if you would like to know more about MOWE, remote working and how Animation and Design can make huge positive impacts on businesses.


Did you enjoy the article?
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive not only our articles but much more content before everyone else.

Do you have any question or opinion?
Share it! Let’s make this a starting point for more meaningful discussions.

USA, Spain, Portugal, Brazil.
We're everywhere

New Business
Discuss your ideas with our 
Co-Founder, Creative Director & top-notch Animator

Join the team
We're always looking for talented people to work with us on amazing projects.

Press or General Inquiries:
Get in touch if you’re interested in interviews, press kits or a quick chat.

MOWE is the specialized creative studio that brings ideas to life through motion graphics and animation for innovative agencies.

Receive insightful articles about animation and marketing – and occasional highlights from us.

No spam. You receive it once a Month and that's it.