It was almost 2 years to the day since I last worked alongside my colleagues when I started my week at Swiss Escape.
I was drawn to the opportunity to be near the slopes without having to take time off work. Better yet, I was working Eastern Time, so I had the mornings to ski all weeklong.
It had never occurred to me that I’d once again be working alongside other people, but it became one of my favourite parts about my stay.
The past two years can be summed up in one word: isolation. It’s a time where we stayed at home and avoided others. For a species who are profoundly impacted by our social environment, it’s been a difficult time.
We tried to do our best by replacing the office with Zoom meetings and learning all sorts of new virtual team building games. For a while there I thought I had adjusted.
That was until I played a real card game again at Swiss Escape. I couldn’t mute myself or turn my video off. We laughed at how bad we played and tried to help one another improve before we played with our other housemates. I was able to be present for the first time in a long time and it was a blast!
A sense of community
Later in the week, when I had the chance to work beside these same people, we found more things to laugh about. We shared silly mistakes we made through the day that made them feel far less important. We took turns making coffee and tea and ate lunches together. We talked about the snow conditions and planned our next runs. When we had a tough call or a major success, there was always someone to share it with.
We talked about the challenges of working remotely. I realized that although I was enjoying working in my pajamas or doing laundry on my lunch break, I was missing out on a sense of community.
Remote workings working together
The community at Swiss Escape was unlike any other I’d been to before. I was surrounded by like-minded people, who shared my passion for skiing, travel, and were working remotely, too. At the same time, the guests from the house were from all over the world: Romania, Hungary, England, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France. It was easy to get wrapped up in an interesting conversation, whether about a shared hobby or learning something new.
We’d all shared the experience of having to work remotely and decided to make the best of it and head to the mountains. I was able to learn how they dealt with working in different time zones or how they were able to be productive in transit.
When I decided to work remotely from abroad, I felt very alone, but my new colleagues at Swiss Escape helped me to realize that this was not such a crazy idea.
We need one another
The week at Swiss Escape was one of my most productive in months. I had a renewed sense of energy and purpose. I knew I wanted to get my work done so I had time to après-ski with the group. The fresh snow on the mountains helped motivate me to get up and out early before my workday began.
The experience was one that shaped me dramatically. I’ve begun working in other coworking and coliving spaces to continue to take advantage of this extrinsic motivation. I’ve realized that it is possible to work remotely while still having the advantages of other people.
But most importantly. I’ve learned that we need one another. Humans are designed to live in community and I’m grateful to have found mine at Swiss Escape.
This article was written by our former resident, Elspeth Chalmers. Coliver and storyteller.