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Nicola Carpenter Post by Nicola Carpenter

By Nicola Carpenter on July 8th, 2019

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How We Work, Virtually: Featuring Angelique Weger

How We Work | Tips and Tools | Remote Working | People Operations | Workplace


by Nicola Carpenter, Associate Director, People Operations at Fractured Atlas

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This is part two of a series. If you read part one, skip the intro and head straight to the interview.

At Fractured Atlas, we really love sharing many of the inner workings around how our organization works. By sharing the things that work (or don’t) for us, we hope to help out in making the sector, as a whole, stronger. A few years ago, we shared our How We Work site so that anyone could see how we work at Fractured Atlas. We’ve also shared how our use of OKRs increases transparency, alignment, and accountability (that post even included a free template). We’ve shared updates on our Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression journey, why we have race-based caucusing, and so many other things.

One thing that you may not know is that about one-third of the Fractured Atlas team works distributed across 11 U.S. states and that there are an additional four people who we work with from Africa through Andela. This means that more than half of our team works virtually. Even the majority of the team who work in our NYC office have one or more work-from-home days.

Over the years we’ve gotten pretty good at working as a distributed organization. In the coming months we’ll be sharing stories about how different people at Fractured Atlas work virtually (thanks Lifehacker for the inspiration).

Last time in this series we featured Molaundo Jones and today we’ll be featuring Angelique Weger, the Senior UX Engineer here at Fractured Atlas.

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What do you do at Fractured Atlas?

I am lucky to be in a highly collaborative role in the organization where I work closely with my teammates in Engineering and also with folks on all of the other Fractured Atlas teams. I am in charge of the format and design of our user-facing web products, including coding standards for our markup, styles and the accessibility of our web sites.

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Rainbows made by Angelique’s rainbow maker.

What is a favorite object in your workspace?
It’s hard to choose one…so I won’t. I appreciate the pretty distractions offered by both the bird feeder and the rainbow maker that hang in the windows of my office. The bird feeder creates all sorts of delight and introduces me to my local bird population, and the rainbow maker is solar-powered and only revs up around 4pm, which means it alerts me to the final hour of the workday in a pretty celebratory fashion.

What is your daily routine?
Over breakfast, I usually read something nonfiction to build my skills or understanding (I’m currently reading Resilient Management by Lara Hogan and Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug). I refill my coffee and go upstairs to my office and boot up my day. I make some personal reflections in my bullet journal, check the intentions I set for my week in my team’s shared goalfest, and share my plans for the day in our team’s Slack channel. Before diving into any specific activity, I make a quick review of the places my coworkers might be attempting to get my attention — this includes Trello, Slack, GitHub and email.

From this point, my day can vary pretty dramatically, even though all the action takes place in front of my laptop. I can be writing code or reviewing a teammate’s code, working on new designs in Sketch, pairing with a teammate via Zoom on a code issue, or responding to feedback and questions on Trello or GitHub. On most days, I also have meetings (again, via Zoom) to give updates on current projects, plan for the future, or, if it’s Friday, it might be “team tea.” Once a week, the engineering team has a 50-minute videoconference call where we chat about our lives, our hobbies, what movies or TV we’re watching, anything goes — so long as it’s not about work. It’s deeply humanizing and often hilarious.

Regardless of my day’s main activities, I’ll regularly be checking Trello, Slack and GitHub for issues that need my feedback or action. I wrap up my day by reviewing my original to-do list for the day and making a few reflective notes in my bullet journal. While I attempt to keep a 9–5 schedule, there’s some fluctuation if I’m traveling or during the semester when I teach a weekly front-end web development class at MICA.

How do you decompress or recharge during the day?
I share my office with two dogs and two cats, all of whom are great for amusing me during the workday or accepting my cuddles. Additionally, when the weather allows, I like to spend most of my lunch break walking to a local park. It’s slightly over two miles round-trip and an excellent opportunity to get away from a computer screen and clear my head. It’s a total cliché, but I do some of my best brainstorming during those walks and often return reinvigorated and with new solutions to the problems I’ve identified.

Angelique2Left to right, Lola and Yoda are two of Angelique’s off-the-books coworkers.

What has been a work changing tool you especially love?
I really love Fractured Atlas’s use of Zoom, and my appreciation is both for our willingness as a team to embrace videoconferencing and also for how great the tech itself is. I’ve worked remotely for over a decade, and this is my first time collaborating with folks who are happy to hop on a video call for a quick chat (instead of going back and forth in writing). Zoom’s apps make talking with and actually seeing my coworkers easy, even when I’m not in front of my laptop.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants to know more about working virtually, what would you say?
I’m wildly in favor of remote work and I hope it becomes an option for more and more people. I often hear folks suggest it’s ideal for introverts but, as an extrovert, I still find it rewarding and beneficial. Yes, as a remote employee, I have to be self-motivated and accountable — but I think those are good attributes in any employee. If it’s something you want to encourage in your team or company, I recommend checking out the resources offered by Collaboration Superpowers and Remote-How.

What’s the most challenging part of your workday? (This question was created by Molaundo who wanted to ask it to the next person featured)

The challenges I encounter are specific to my role and not to being a remote employee. Namely, I am usually juggling multiple projects in multiple apps and codebases with some wildly different timelines. I can sometimes feel like I’m in the weeds, but I rely on my organizational tools to keep me focused and on track. Regular 1:1s with my manager every other week helps to make sure I’m prioritizing the right things at the right moment.

What question do you want to ask the next person we feature?
What has surprised you the most about collaborating with remote team members?

Thanks, Angelique! If you liked this feature, stay tuned for the next in the series. Also, if you work from home with pets, we want to see your pictures too!

More posts by Nicola Carpenter

About Nicola Carpenter

Nicola works on the People team at Fractured Atlas, where she finds ways for tools and processes to better align with the organization’s purpose. She believes in tools so much that she sets personal OKRs every quarter. Prior to joining Fractured Atlas, Nicola worked for a variety of arts organizations including MoMA PS1, Walker Art Center, and Heidelberger Kunstverein, and she still has a particular love for museums. Originally from Minneapolis, she received a BFA in Art from the University of Minnesota and continues to stay creative through knitting and sewing clothes. She is currently in too many book clubs, but still somehow finds time to read books about organizational culture for fun.