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Nico Carpenter Post by Nico Carpenter

By Nico Carpenter on July 25th, 2019

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How We Work, Virtually: Featuring Theresa Hubbard

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

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


This is part of a series. If you read part one or part two, 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 Angelique Weger and today we’ll be featuring Theresa Hubbard, the Associate Director, Program Operations here at Fractured Atlas. Theresa works both from our office in New York City and from her home.

 Theresa1Theresa’s work from home set-up. That silver saxophone has sparked many questions and conversations over video calls.

What do you do at Fractured Atlas?
I co-manage the Program Team and serve as a Product Manager for fiscal sponsorship and fundraising software. This means I help to drive Program development and growth, and support the day-to-day operations of our Program Team which is responsible for responding to member inquiries about our programs. When I wear my Product Manager hat I also spend time writing feature requests and testing them once the features are built.

1*RyXy5GzXW47EJsqeMvXlfw .  Theresa2Theresa’s office water mason jar, ensuring that she stays hydrated!

What is a favorite object in your workspace?
When working from the Fractured Atlas office, the large mason jar that holds my water. When I work from home, my dog Sammy is definitely my favorite thing about my work space (does that count as an object?).

What is your daily routine?
I usually work from the Fractured Atlas New York City office three days a week, and from home two days a week. My daily routine changes based on whether I’m working in the Fractured Atlas office or at home.

I am not an early person, so when I work remotely, my day usually starts between 8:30–9:00am. I’ll get up, feed Sammy and let him out, eat breakfast, and do any meal prep that needs to happen for the day. Then I’ll sit down to work between 9:45 and 10:00am and work until I make coffee around 11:00am or so. I usually work until 6:00 or 6:30pm, stopping to take breaks whenever I need one.

When I work from the Fractured Atlas office, my day will start between 7:30–8:00am. My morning routine is pretty similar but it starts about an hour earlier to allow time to ride the subway into Manhattan.

Theresa3Theresa’s dog Sammy looks excited to get to work (or just have a treat).

How do you decompress or recharge during the day?
I’ll go to the gym or go for a walk. Anything that can get me on my feet and moving is ideal, though I’ve also been known to take singing or piano breaks.

What work-related app has changed how you work?
Trello. As an organization, Trello replaced Pivotal Tracker as a way to manage our software development work, which introduced significant improvements to our efficiency and communication with engineers. We didn’t imagine that it would also be used on an individual or team-level as well, but the Program Team has also been using it to build meeting agendas and plan for future projects. It works really well because we’re able to take notes in a place where the entire team is able to access them as needed.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants to know more about working virtually, what would you say?
I’d suggest creating some sort of routine. It can be really easy to stay in your pajamas all day and to never leave your house, especially when you may not have a designated workspace in your small NYC apartment. Creating a work routine that makes you feel like you’re “going to work” even if you’re at home not only helps productivity but also allows for you to create boundaries between your home life and your work life.

What has surprised you the most about collaborating with remote team members? (This question was suggested by Angelique who wanted to ask this of the next person featured.)

I’m always pleasantly surprised when I witness the sense of closeness between our remote team members. I have the pleasure of working with both a mostly in-person team and an entirely virtual team. It can be much easier to create community when you see someone in person everyday but I feel like there is no difference with our fully remote teams.

What question do you want to ask the next person we feature?
How do you organize your day?

Thanks, Theresa! If you liked this feature, stay tuned for the next in the series. Also, we’d love to hear about your favorite workspace object!

More posts by Nico Carpenter

About Nico Carpenter

Nico Carpenter (they/he) works on the People team at Fractured Atlas, where they find ways for tools and processes to better align with the organization’s purpose. Prior to joining Fractured Atlas, Nico worked for a variety of arts organizations including MoMA PS1, Walker Art Center, and Heidelberger Kunstverein, and he still has a particular love (and skepticism) for museums. They also serve on the board of Fireweed Community Woodshop. Originally from Minneapolis, they received a BFA in Art from the University of Minnesota and continues to stay creative through knitting and sewing clothes. He is currently in too many book clubs, but still finds time to read books about organizational culture for fun.