This is the email Erin sent to her closest project partners and clients in the month or so leading up to her departure on Remote Year:
I wanted to write you all to let you know of an exciting upcoming step we’re taking at Graffito. Starting January 1 I’ll be taking part in a program called Remote Year in which I’ll be working remotely for Graffito for the calendar year of 2017, changing cities and countries every month. I’ll be with about 75 other “remotes”, all working in different fields, all working remotely either for themselves or for home companies, like me. In my cohort there’s a real estate developer, an architectural designer, graphic designers, and a number of other professionals from different backgrounds.
We’re all excited about the possibilities and inspiration this will bring us in our work. I’ll continue my work and roles as they have been since I’ve started, working on design, mapping and staying very closely involved in retail planning and public realm considerations in/around our projects. The research part of my job will have a more in-depth twist on it now, as I’ll be on the ground in 12 different cities scoping out incredibly dynamic retail concepts and models, public art pieces/exhibitions, and how people are using and programming public spaces. As much as possible, I’m going to talk to the people that made these different things happen to hear about their process and how we might be able to adopt some of these. What’s really exciting about this is that I will have a constant wealth of examples of what’s working or what’s not working around the world, that the Graffito team can digest and translate into specific, realistic recommendations for out clients. Drawing inspiration from around Boston and around the country is exciting and valuable, but we see a ton of potential in looking in places we haven’t even considered yet to provide the most exciting and differentiated recommendations and inspiration. The only difference is that I won’t be in person attending so many meetings, but I am more than happy to join via WebEx or a similar service. You should think of my role the same, still weighing in on both retail and non-retail public realm matters, master planning issues, and design and branding. I’ll just be doing that from a coworking space somewhere outside of Boston (and I’ll include my current city in my email signature to keep you all up to date).
Now for the logistics. You may be wondering where I’ll be: starting in January I’ll be in Mexico City, Bogotá, Medellín, Lima, Córdoba, Buenos Aires, Prague, Belgrade, Valencia, Kuala Lumpur, Chiang Mai, and finally Phnom Penh. In each city, I’ll have a coworking space with reliable internet. The time zone differences will be pretty negligible at first, gradually getting greater toward the end of 2017. I’ll continue to work on Boston time as much as necessary. If any of you know of anything I should check out that would especially beneficial please do let me know and I’ll be more than happy to check it out.