It’s only an hour time difference from the East Coast but adjusting to Central Time was honestly a shock to my system. In the best possible way.
I’m a firm believer that doing the same thing in the same way for too long saps us of our energy and creativity. Having lived, breathed and worked in New York City for the last two (plus) decades, I knew I needed a jolt to the system. A few months ago, I finally made the big break and moved to the great Midwest. And, at the same time, I took on a new and challenging role at W2O Group.
A big change. Momentous. Seismic. I went to college and grad school in New York. I’d spent my entire adult life there. But that was exactly the point. Being in a new place unlocks your senses and forces you to observe things differently. Whether it’s a new city, a new apartment or a new office.
W2O’s Chicago office is very different than our 150-person stronghold in downtown Manhattan. Our small but mighty, tight-knit and fun-loving group is housed in very hip, West Loop offices in the old meat-packing district. At first I worried that being in a smaller office would be isolating. I was immediately surprised at how wrong I was. W2O has mastered the concept of virtual teams. Our staff readily and successfully works across time, space and organizational boundaries. We thrive on it. Granted, technology and effective systems make this possible. But it’s also a testament to how the company has grown and evolved over a short time – from a one-person consultancy to an integrated international operation with 12 offices and over 400 people.
We think of our colleagues as all working along a “long hallway” – creating, collaborating and handing off assignments and clients across geographies and time zones. And being in Central Time has its advantages. Yes, New York is an hour ahead which means we start work earlier to accommodate. But the mere two hour difference with the west coast allows for much more fluid collaboration with our Pacific Time clients and colleagues. W2O’s approach means that we match our clients with the best staff members who have the most relevant experience and appropriate skill set to service their business – not just geographic proximity. In an industry where identifying talent is always a struggle, this methodology allows us greater flexibility in developing strong cross-functional teams that can best address our clients’ most pressing needs.
In my short time here, I’ve already worked with rock star colleagues from every one of our offices, and with clients on both coasts and those based in Chicago. Working along W2O’s “long hallway” has truly energized me. As has the much-needed jolt– both physical and psychological – of moving to Central Time.
(View the official release welcoming Anita to the W2O team here).