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Nicola Carpenter Post by Nicola Carpenter

By Nicola Carpenter on August 27th, 2019

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How We Work, Virtually: Featuring Laura Jorgensen

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


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

HowWeWorkVirtuallyThis is part of a series. If you read part one, two, or three, 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 Theresa Hubbard and today we’ll be featuring Laura Jorgensen, the Senior Director, Financial Operations and Analysis here at Fractured Atlas who generally works from home but sometimes works across the US while bike racing.

LauraJLaura sitting in her home office, possibly working on a financial forecast.

What do you do at Fractured Atlas? 
I create the company’s financial forecasts and then monitor results to see how we’re doing in regard to those projections. Beyond forecasts and reporting my day is filled with slicing and dicing numbers to derive actionable insights which will help Fractured Atlas meet its strategic and financial goals.

LauraJ2

Laura’s pretty intense looking coffee grinder and warning sign.

What is a favorite object in your workspace? 
Oh, my new coffee grinder. Those who know me would probably agree that I live by the ‘go big or go home’ philosophy so when I opened the package of this beauty and read the disclaimer that it was only intended for commercial use, I knew it was the perfect new addition to my coffee arsenal.

What is your daily routine?
I usually wake up and do 15 minutes of meditation/coffee drinking before hopping on my bike to knock out the day’s training plan. When I get back, I eat breakfast while challenging my wife to see who can get the answers to the newspaper’s daily word puzzles first (we’re not competitive at all.) That tends to get my brain firing and then comes the long commute/walk downstairs to start the workday. I usually check emails and Slack then start ticking through the day’s to-do list. This can include an array of things ranging from basic financial reporting to more complex analyses with some meetings thrown in between. Each day tends to be different, but regardless of what goes down, I always end the day by creating a detailed list of what needs to happen the next day so I can seamlessly pick up where I left off when I come back to it the next morning.

LauraJ3Laura’s bike desk set up where she sometimes checks email.

How do you decompress or recharge during the day?
If we’re talking about during the actual workday, my go-to is either a coffee break or being outside. Bonus if these two things happen together. Outside of work, there aren’t too many things a good bike ride won’t fix.

What has been a work changing tool you especially love?
I especially love Zoom for meetings. While I don’t miss going into a physical office, I do find huge value in face-to-face interactions with coworkers. Zoom allows these interactions to continue to happen without being in the same physical space.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants to know more about working virtually, what would you say?
It’s not for everyone, but if you are self-motivated and don’t need someone constantly prodding you to get your work done, there is nothing better. It allows you to decide what type of physical space elicits your best work, an opportunity that I think is priceless.

How do you organize your day? (This question was suggested by Theresa who wanted to ask this of the next person featured.)

I have a few mindless, daily tasks that I open my day with and from there I try to do the hardest things first while my brainpower is high, then fade back into easier things later in the day when I don’t feel as sharp. (Represented graphically below)

LauraJ4

Note: I self-sabotaged this concept by leaving the easy task of answering these questions until late in the afternoon and then trying to write the word ‘difficulty’ sideways (it’s harder than it looks).

What question do you want to ask the next person we feature?
What do you personally find to be the biggest benefit of working virtually?

Thanks, Laura! If you liked this feature, stay tuned for the next in the series. Also, if you want to draw how you organize your day, we’d love to see!

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.