If you’ve been following Formstack for any amount of time, you probably know we have a remote work culture with employees living and working all around the world. While the majority of Formstackers reside in areas throughout the United States, the company’s international crew continues to grow, with just under 15 team members signing in from USA’s neighboring countries as well as nations in Europe and South America.
Formstack hasn’t always been a remote company. But since starting the gradual transition to telecommuting in 2012, the company has been open to hiring people from across the globe. In fact, the first remote team member—the one who sparked Formstack’s remote movement—was from Poland.
To shine a light on life as an international Formstacker, we’ve gathered some insights from a handful of our remote team members who live beyond the U.S. borders. Before diving into those insights, let’s get to know these individuals.
Meet Kuba, Marcela, Juan, Anna, and Charlie. They each come to us from a different country and have a unique perspective on life as a remote worker.
Jakub Jakubiec (aka Kuba)
Kuba lives in Krakow, Malopolskie, Poland, and his first language is Polish. He joined the Formstack team in December 2015, and his current role is Engineering Manager.
Marcela lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and her first language is Spanish. She joined the Formstack team in February 2017, and her current role is DevOps Engineer.
Juan lives in Monterrey, Mexico, and his first language is Spanish. He joined the Formstack team in January 2017, and his current role is Developer.
Anna lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and her first language is English. She joined the Formstack team in February 2015, and her current role is Product Designer.
Charlie lives in Madrid, Spain, and his first language is English. He joined the Formstack team in July 2014, and his current role is Marketing Operations Analyst. (Learn more about Charlie’s remote employee journey here.)
How did you come across Formstack? Were you specifically looking for a remote job?
Kuba: I’d been happily working with a company here in Poland for seven years. During that time, I’d been working on projects with various foreign companies. One of these was based in the U.S., where I was lucky enough to meet some soon-to-be Formstackers—Jeff, Greg, Aaron, and Brian. After that, my paths with Jeff crossed one more time, when I took a gig within a startup called Plain. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, so I went back to work with my Polish colleagues. After a year or so, Jeff reached out and asked if I’d like to work at Formstack with him. It matched perfectly, as I was feeling a bit burned out in my previous company (seven years in single place in IT is almost forever if you ask me). So I decided to give it a try, and I worked part-time for three months to confirm me and Formstack are both a good match. And I loved the company since day one. Since then, I’ve been able to move from DevOps (which was great) to become Engineering Manager (which is even greater).
Marcela: I found it online. Yes, I love working remotely.
Juan: I found out about Formstack by searching through remote job offers on different sites (https://remoteok.io/, https://weworkremotely.com/, etc.). Every year I set an important goal. Last year’s personal goal was to find an awesome company where I could work remotely and be part of a team. I also wanted to avoid long commutes. When I read about Formstack and its culture, I was excited to be able to get an interview. During my honeymoon, I got an email notification from HR telling me that I had an offer, so it was a perfect day.
Anna: I was looking for a remote job, perusing https://weworkremotely.com/ and https://www.authenticjobs.com/ looking for remote positions. I lived in a smaller town at the time and felt like I had hit the ceiling of good jobs in my field. I found Formstack on one of those sites and applied!
Charlie: A friend from university was working on the team at the time and reached out with a role she thought I’d be interested in. I wasn’t specifically looking for a remote job, but it was certainly an idea I was interested in.
What are the biggest challenges of working outside the country where your employer is based?
Kuba: Sometimes I feel a bit disconnected. Our company does a lot to minimise that feeling, but I’m also a people person, so not being able to talk with all great friends here face-to-face and not spending time together can be tough at times. That’s why I look forward to All Hands and Small Hands every year. Having a few folks in Poland and Europe also helps, as we can meet from time to time and have a great time as well.
Marcela: Not having English as the mother tongue usually turns into a challenge for me.
Juan: The only challenge I see is income tied to exchange rates, because it can vary.
Anna: Setting up as a contractor for this position was a huge undertaking and requires a certain amount of risk tolerance. Contractors don’t get the same benefits (health insurance, etc.) as full-time employees, and since we get paid in U.S. dollars, our income fluctuates with exchange rates. Policy in general is a bit of a grey area when it comes to treating contractors like employees, especially with differing international labour laws. Most of the time you just have to trust that Formstack has your best interests in mind.
Charlie: There are a few challenges related to time-zone differences. Being six to nine hours ahead of the rest of the team allows me to get reporting out earlier, but it complicates meeting planning. The largest challenge is keeping up with others outside of my immediate team—meaning monthly organization calls and All Hands meetups are that much more important.
What are the biggest benefits of remote life?
Kuba: Work-life balance is definitely my pick. I was happy enough not to make a lot of company changes over the years, and I’ve always lived in a walking distance from company HQ when I was working here in Poland. But there’s also been a year when I learned what commute means the hard way. I was working on a project for a customer based 70 miles from where I lived. While I didn’t have to drive there every day, two or three days per week was a norm. I could quickly see how that affects your life. And right now, I can plan almost everything in a way that allows me to be productive but still leaves enough time for family and friends. And this is super important to me this year, since I became a father for the first time.
Marcela: Being able to travel, and being in contact with other cultures.
Juan: Flip-flops all the time, not commuting to work…in fact, I can work anywhere I want, you just need an average internet connection.
Anna: Flexibility. Formstack accommodates fluctuating work hours and time zones and makes it really easy to balance work and home life. I love being able to choose where I work (home, coffee shops, or co-working offices) and the luxury of not having to commute every day.
Charlie: I value variety and always being comfortable in my working environment, and changing it as necessary is a huge benefit to remote life. I have a desk in my flat, but sometimes going to a local bar can help stimulate new ideas.
How has Formstack positively influenced your journey as an international Formstacker?
Kuba: It’s the only remote company I’ve worked with so far that succeeded in building great relations between people, regardless of the country they live in and the distance that separates them every day. On top of that, I was given a lot of trust, becoming the first offshore member of the Management Team. I think that only reinforces the feeling that all team members are equal and will push other remoties to set the bar high and achieve their goals.
Marcela: I loved Small Hands. I was able to travel to somewhere I never even knew existed, and it was lovely! Also getting my English a bit more fluent. People have been great.
Juan: I feel supported whenever I have an HR or work-related question. Formstack has confidence in me and my work and provides all the equipment I need to work. I have such great teammates and productive remote meetings. I love to work for Formstack, and I share this with my friends. And did I mention that we have unlimited PTO?
Anna: I can’t think of anything that Formstack has done specifically for international ‘Stackers that they haven’t done for all employees.
Charlie: I was hired as an HQ employee in Indianapolis, and I am so grateful for how open and welcoming the rest of the team was to the idea of remote working. The paperwork was the least of my concern, allowing me to focus on the move and adjusting to a new city, culture, and pace of life.
We’re hiring! Come join the Formstack fun no matter where you live. Click below to check out all the openings on our remote team.