When Remote Work Goes Far: Lucky Post Editor Marc Stone on Three Months in Germany
At this point, people are becoming accustomed to working remotely like never before. Lucky Post editor Marc Stone, however, took it a level up by moving to Germany with his family for three months during the pandemic. It was a massive pivot - one that many people only fantasise about. Lucky Post chatted with Marc about how he came to move thousands of miles from his Texas home, and what he learned, loved and missed along the way.
Q> At a certain point, when things shut down, everyone was forced to consider working remotely - but you took that to another level...where did you go?
Marc> My family and I were lucky enough to go to Stuttgart, Germany for three months. My wife works for a German construction company, and normally she travels there two weeks out of every month. Covid created a situation where she needed to be there longer (quarantine time, etc.). They asked her to come over until the end of her project in November. She didn’t want to be away that long, so she asked if the family could come and they agreed. Knowing that the kids and I could continue to work virtually (me at work and the kids through virtual school), we decided to go for it.
Q> Did you think you would continue to edit for Lucky Post, or were you going to take a break?
Marc> This wasn't ever going to be a holiday, and I wanted to continue to work and keep my imagination sparked and creative muscle flexed. So the only question left was to figure out how to make that work. Luckily I had two tech solutions to help make that happen. I spoke with the team at Lucky Post and swore to make the time difference feel negligible and stay connected to clients and the Lucky team, who were all working remotely from home.
Q> How did you figure out the best way to work remotely? What were the biggest challenges?
Marc> I had a portable laptop that I could edit on; I’ve used it for a few projects and it’s been great. Also, I had a zero client that allowed me to tap into my work computer and work off that as well. Both ways of working (laptop or zero client) ended up being useful. The laptop was the best tool for the job because I could download footage from Dallas from our FTP server, and then just edit like normal. The zero client though was the best box for any kind of virtual session with clients. They could log on and watch me work off the system back in Dallas. The only challenge with that system was a small lag in the controls. The distance from Germany to the United States created that lag. I was still able to work fine, but just not as quickly as I could on my laptop. The great thing about all of it was being able to manoeuvre assets. I could easily move files back and forth from Dallas to Stuttgart. So a project could be moved and shifted quickly if someone needed it for different reasons.
Q> Did you still feel connected from such a great distance?
Marc> The biggest disadvantage was the distance. I did feel disconnected from so much in Dallas. Quarantining and working remotely already had created some of that, but being that far accentuated it. The 7-hour time difference was good for some things and bad for others - mainly, the downside was that my colleagues back home were asleep for part of the time I was awake. So I couldn’t converse with peers during that time. It was good in the fact that I could get seven hours of work done and be ready to post something at 9am for clients to see when they started their day. I missed the familiarity of home, but also appreciated the adventure - and the fact that this was a unique time where people would be open to even more long distance collaborations than before.
Q> Did you get to experience life in Germany while you were away?
Marc> We did get to experience life in Germany while we were there. Living in a different environment is always a learning experience. In Dallas, we live in the suburbs and have a lot of space. In Germany, we lived in the city in an apartment on the 4th floor. It was a much smaller space for four people than what we are used to. We walked a lot more, which was great. We tried a ton of different food - some good and some not. We got to travel a bit before Covid restrictions came back. We saw Italy, Switzerland, and London. Travel for most right now feels impossible, so we were especially happy to have that time as a family.
Q> What did you learn during this time that you want to ‘bring back’ to your work here?
Marc> I think the biggest thing you learn when living in a different culture and place is to really appreciate certain things you’ve come to take for granted here. To experience new ways of living is wonderful, and it also reminds you of things you miss and look forward to returning to. We want to bring back the simplicity that was learned from living there, and the ways they incorporate even more mobility by other things than cars. But we sorely missed friends, Tex-Mex food, and our chickens.