Year 2020 has been a weird one so far. Not only that due to the coronavirus our lives have been heavily restricted, but also the economic conditions have been affecting many people: Shops had to close, the amount of company orders has been shrinking and projects have been cancelled from one day to the next. Unemployment rates increased all over the world and it doesn’t look like things are going back to normal in the near future. And here am I: A perfect time to look for a new job, don’t you think?
How did all start?
After applying for jobs in my hometown Flensburg (where I am also studying my master) for almost 3 months, I figured the amount of jobs offered in Flensburg, especially in these times was extremely low. So I gave up and started to search outside of my range. Cities like Kiel, Lübeck and Hamburg. I was looking for jobs in the field of Marketing, so the amount of job offers was enormous. However, due to the coronavirus situation almost every company stopped the recruiting process, but many of their job offers still remained published. This means that applying for those jobs often led to a dead end, but I didn’t know it back then. Within this application hustle I stumbled upon Factorial, a digital agency, based in Hamburg-Altona who were looking for support in Marketing & Sales. After I did some research about the company I applied for the job. Two days later I found Seda’s message (Seda is responsible for the recruitment processes at Factorial) in my inbox and an invitation to a job interview in the upcoming weeks. This was at the beginning of march.
Back then I was already surprised that Seda offered me to do the job interview from home, due to the conditions of the coronavirus or to come to the office in hamburg. I took the chance to do it from home, since Flensburg is an easy 2 hour ride to Hamburg. In the interview I met Seda and also Manuel, who is leading the Marketing department at Factorial. Both of them conveyed the impression as if they would do video calls like that on a daily basis and I on the other hand was pretty damn nervous. Completely unnecessary. The interview was incredibly relaxed and entertaining. Although I was prepared to talk in english, since the company language is stated as such, just like I also applied with an english application, we talked in german.
First day, new job, same place
Less than 4 weeks later, I started my first day at Factorial. Coronavirus was spreading, and so the government extended the security instructions. The office was closed and all onboarding procedures were prepared to take place online. Here I was then, on a monday morning at 10am sharp at my desk in Flensburg, not sure what to expect. All uncertainty was totally unfounded. Seda led me through the onboarding while we both enjoyed our morning coffee in front of our laptops, accompanied by jokes and lots of laughing. After spending the whole morning getting to know the general processes at Factorial, I continued talking to Manuel in the afternoon to focus on Marketing & Sales related topics.
During the whole first week I was involved in short video meetups where I got to know several colleagues and their daily work. Everyone welcomed me, while we were sitting hundreds of kilometers apart, sometimes even in different countries. A few days later I joined the first after work beer & games, which also was done completely remotely. The whole team here seems to be pretty confident talking to each other via video chat, as we all were drinking and joking around from our homes.
Being introduced to the Factorial world
It was the second thursday in may, where I participated in the Factorial team meeting. At this point I realised for the first time how far the factorial team is actually spread across the globe. Some colleagues work from Spain, others from Belgium, Brasil, Ukraine or even Singapur. No wonder, that remote work was already part of the company culture, long before corona started to affect the business environment. So with this in mind I started to feel more and more attached to the team although I barely met anyone in person. Daily updates, presentations and other jourfixes are held remotely and everyone is fine with it.
The communication at Factorial is one of its biggest strengths. I’ve been working here for 4 months now. And although I am working from home, I have plenty of opportunities to talk to my colleagues, collectively working on projects. Today I went to the office - I think it has been my 4th time in total so far. First time I went after almost 4 weeks of employment — only to grab my laptop and some goodies I received as a fresh starter. Although the office opened again in June with a strict corona office plan, many employees still take the chance to stay at home. Because if you see how everything is working out just right, you can’t really come up with arguments why you should come to the office everyday. Sure, it feels good to actually see someone in person, drinking coffee on the office terrace, but still. From a efficiency standpoint you see no difference.
I’d like to add that I personally feel overwhelmed by working with so many different people from all over the world. It feels good to actually be connected and to communicate on eye-level with each and every one of my colleagues despite the fact that we are spatially separated.
Nevertheless I think it’s time to go to the office more frequently, the coffee is so worth the journey.