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Envato Goes Back to Base

Envato's remote staff come out of the screen and into 'real life' with a company-wide visit to our Melbourne HQ.

Posted 31 May 2019
Back to Base

“I think I’m most looking forward to hugging a minimum of 20 people.”

What sort of event could Envato run that would prompt this hopeful reaction from Developer Team Lead Ray Grasso?

Our inaugural Back to Base week!

Envato has a long-standing tradition of encouraging and supporting flexible work, not just for our HQ-based staff in Melbourne, but also for the almost 40 remote workers who live around Australia, from Western Australia to the Blue Mountains.

While these staff travel back to our Melbourne office up to four times a year to connect with their teams and catch up with friends old and new, these trips don’t always cross over with their fellow remotes. To rectify all those missed opportunities, Back to Base week would see many of Envato’s remote workers coincide their trips at the same time!

For Perth-based Ray, Back to Base week was a chance to meet face to face with everyone on the Envato Market team, though he confessed he would miss “…scrolling through Slack while listening to music from my speakers while wearing Ugg boots and eating breakfast cereal.” Fellow West Australian Glenn Tweedie echoed Ray’s ambitions for the week: “Lots of face to face time, lots of coffees and beers, some whiteboarding and random in-depth discussions on the beanbags”

“And if I don’t get sick in the process, it will be a total success!”

Senior Developer Lauren Glina said the personal connections created in visits to Envato’s HQ were invaluable. “This is my first job working remotely full-time, and while I like the flexibility of working from anywhere, I’ve realised I also need the in-person experience at HQ every now and then to keep me motivated and connected.”

“Whilst I’m pretty chatty on Slack, and I love to get involved in remote-friendly events it’s even better to be able to get out to lunch or a coffee with someone IRL.”

*Back row from left to right:* Aidan Williams, Dave Baker, Geoff Evason, Ray Grasso,
Many of Envato’s remote workers came from around Australia for Back to Base week.

This opportunity for informal interaction was also high on the list of Angie Gove, one of Envato’s Site Reliability Engineers. “It is nice that there are so many events and opportunities to connect with people I wouldn’t get a chance to otherwise…and most importantly, sampling the delicious coffee and lunch choices around the office.”

While working from the Melbourne HQ – and surrounds – was an exciting proposition for many remotes, it can never beat being at home with the family. “I think I’ll miss the peace and quiet the most when I’m in Melbourne,” said Ben Askins, a Site Development Team Lead, adding “but I’ll also miss the familiar 3:15pm sound of feet stomping up the stairs that signal’s my youngest kids have arrived home from school.”

For Lauren Glina, she had a different plan for coping with the time away from the family. “My son is just starting to get his words together, and when I told him I was going to Melbourne for a few days, he said, “don’t go Mummy!”. But he loves Hey Tiger chocolate though, so hopefully, if I bring some of that back with me, all will be forgiven!”

Read more about how Envato is officially one of Australia’s best places to work and all about how to support staff for a better mental health at work.

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