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Working Across the Country from Your Co-workers

Man working at desk with coffee

Greetings, fellow adventurers of the remote work realm! Today, we embark on a journey full of amusing anecdotes and mishaps that come with the ever-mystifying experience of working across the country from your co-workers, or frankly, geographically far apart. While most of us here at W.B. Mason reside relatively close to one another, there are some of us who live states away – dare I say across the country. And while this can spark some interesting conversations, it also allows us to learn from one another while we tackle the workweek. So let’s dive into this delightful rollercoaster!

1. The Not-So-“Water” Cooler Conversations:

Ah, the humble water cooler conversations, where awkward small talk and nonsensical office gossip collide to form a perfect bubble of productivity (or procrastination). But when you’re miles away from your co-workers, you find yourself partaking in wild virtual conversations that might last a tad longer than they are “scheduled to”. On the bright side, there’s no need to worry about who’s listening from their desk down the hall. Feel free to rave about your favorite reality TV show or enthusiastically share your latest conspiracy theories about why squirrels hoard so many nuts. Or, if you’re like my team, you can share experiences you’ve had with giant poisonous spiders that make their way into your home out in the desert. Yuck!

2. Time Zone Woes: The Ultimate Nemesis!

Picture this: you’re on the West Coast, sipping your morning coffee, full of energy and ready to conquer the day. Meanwhile, your colleagues on the East Coast are already midway through their workday, trying not to fall asleep on their keyboards. It’s like playing a perpetual game of “Who’s Online Today?” Will they see your emails? Will you finally catch them on Slack or Teams? It’s like playing office hide-and-seek, except the stakes are alarmingly low.

With co-workers living in a different time zone from one another, it can be hard to remember that they are so many hours ahead or behind you. It can be important to keep that in mind when you are typing out a message at 8:00 am Eastern time when it’s 6:00 am their time. Queue the yawning!

3. Day-End Dances: The Great Escape!

The clock strikes 5 pm in your remote office, but it’s only 2 pm for your co-workers who live a plane ride away. The liberation you feel is akin to escaping from a straight-jacket-wearing clown juggling flaming staplers. You may not quite understand the psychological underpinnings of this freedom sensation, but who cares? It’s time to showcase your most glorious dance moves – think Elaine from Seinfeld meets Beyoncé. Just remember to avoid the wrath of your buddies stuck in the never-ending workday abyss.

Luckily for us here at W.B. Mason, the number of employees who live across the country is small, so those individuals tend to adapt to our schedule here on the East Coast. The wake-up call is early for them, but being on the same schedule is great for things like meetings and collaborating on projects. And hey, while their day starts at a groggy 5 a.m., it ends at a nice 2 p.m. Perfect for a round of golf (if you’re into that) or attending appointments and running errands. 

4. The Office Pranks That Stretch Across State Lines:

Gone are the days of leaving a suspiciously anchovy-filled sandwich on your colleague’s desk (thanks for the adventurous lunch, Dale!). Enter the era of virtual office pranks! And we’ve had our fair share of these! From sneaky background effects during video calls to Photoshopped pictures that make it seem like your co-worker is chilling with a group of penguins in Antarctica or screenshots of someone on the other end of the call doing something silly, the possibilities are endless. Just be prepared for retaliation pranks that strike when you least expect them.

Phew! Working across the country from your co-workers undeniably comes with its fair share of laughter-inducing moments. Embrace the uniqueness, dance with time zones, and snicker at the inevitable hilarity that unfolds. Remember, laughter is the best medicine, especially when working remotely!

Until next time, keep your laughter loud, your Zoom backgrounds zany, and your work hats slightly askew. Happy remote working, daredevil office ninjas!


User Interviews. Working Across Countries and Cultures: Collaboration Tips and Tricks for Designers. ( Accessed August 8, 2023.