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Michiel Chevalier
October 24, 2018

Staying true to our values – I believe remote working will not create magic!

Remote working, teleworking, telecommuting. Call it what you want; it has become somewhat of a buzzword nowadays, with companies of all types and sizes using it and singing its praises for the flexibility and freedom it offers employers and employees alike. Acknowledging that his views on it are probably opposite to the average millennial, Nmbrs CEO Michiel Chevalier explains why he has a much different take on remote working. For him it could be a restriction on employees’ freedom, and one that neutralises a key value that make Nmbrs what it is today.

 My dreaded homework

My first job was as a tax advisor and it was so different from school or university. It involved working much longer hours than any of them, but it felt as if I had time for myself because all those long hours were spent only at the office. At last, I was free of the scourge of homework, something that I suddenly realised had unconsciously haunted and restricted me throughout my schooling. I still remember my mother constantly having to remind me every evening and weekend to do my homework. Later, when she’d given up on what she must have considered a futile struggle, I developed my own nagging voice that reminded me that I had much better - or at least more productive - things to do than hang out with my friends.

Worst Nightmare

That same nagging voice also taunted me when I used to take work home. While having dinner with my family, playing Fortnite with my sons, engaging in sports, even during a family outing, I’d hear it constantly niggling me: “stop enjoying yourself, you still have work to do”. But surely my worst nightmare was when I was trying to get some work done as my two-year-old son slept and I was disappointed that he woke up. I ask you, should anyone be disappointed when their two-year-old wakes up and needs your attention? WTF! That, in a nutshell, is why I think you should always be extra careful to take your work home. 

During my time here at Nmbrs, I’ve had several conversations with employees who want to work from home, but as an employer I want my employees to be really free when they are at home. Enjoy life, enjoy your family, spoil your kids, enjoy your friends, and enjoy exploring the world. All without that nagging voice constantly telling you there’s still work to be done.




Creating magic

The second and most important reason that I want my employees to take their work to the office is my strong believe, that the best work is not done alone, or remotely. Teamwork is a journey you make together, which means getting coffee for one-another, stressing together, eating together, and, when the need arises, having a drink and relaxing together. Is it a coincidence that some of our best ideas are hatched during the coffee break, and some of the best code is written when two developers are at one computer? Of course not! Some of our most productive discussions have taken place at lunchtime, as well as in some dodgy bars in Lisbon! Discussions that have probably changed the future of Nmbrs.

Magic is not something you can create remotely or in a virtual meeting room.

To the next level

The magic we create - that makes the impossible possible and takes our product and company to the next level - is created when we are together, physically. This is why we invest in our offices in Amsterdam and Lisbon, where every employee has his or her own space and all the necessary facilities. Magic is not something you can create remotely or in a virtual meeting room. It’s not even something you can only achieve from your desk or in our meeting rooms. It also needs the fertile environment presented by coffee breaks, the ping-pong table, and during social drinks and company events and dinners. 


Working closely together



So what does all this mean for Nmbrs and for you as an employee? Can you never work from home? Do you always have to be at your most creative during coffee breaks and must you attend every Nmbrs social event? No, of course not. It means that we @Nmbrs continue to do all we can to give our employees the best possible working conditions and a manageable workload and to organise the kind of social events that will inspire you. 

With my message to all employees to be extra careful with the possibility and the right to work remote @Nmbrs. As we should always be careful not break the bond between you as an employee and the ecosystem within your squad and our company. I trust all of my Nmbrs colleagues to make the right choices and find their part in the work-live balance solution @nmbrs.

 I just hope I’ve managed to convince you of my reasons so that we can all keep creating that special Nmbrs magic together. Being able to have an open discussion about it will helps us understand both side of this difficult every evolving story. 

Are you interested to learn about other core values from Nmbrs? Check out our jobs page or follow us on our social channels!

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The magic we create - that makes the impossible possible and takes our product and company to the next level - is created when we are together, physically.