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Taking the lead in a long-distance work relationship

As a consultant based at the client’s office, you rarely get to actually meet your colleagues. Is it possible to build community when working remotely? Front-end developer Lina Jonsson is promoting company culture from a distance.

Fairly new to her assignment, Lina is one of five developers from Digitalent who, together, form a large part of Elkjøp's front-end team.

“I'm really happy with this assignment. We got off to a quick start, and I already feel like I’m a part of the team and of Elkjøp's organization. My team has been presented with some pretty exciting challenges to take on in the future, which I look very much forward to.”

Lina Jonsson is a front-end developer, but her role in the team is a bit different from the others.

“At Elkjøp, we call it a squad lead, which means -- among other things -- that I lead my team’s daily standup meetings. As a squad lead, I have close contact with decision makers within the organization, and I work a lot with requirement management and prioritization. A squad lead should also drive the team's development and strive to take its work processes to the next level.”

Learning the trade of an IT consultant

Originally from Västervik, Lina ended up in Stockholm when she entered AW Academy in 2016.

“Moving to Stockholm wasn’t actually what I had planned, but I guess the city has grown on me,” Lina says with a laugh. “It was also through AW Academy that I first entered the IT industry.”

After AW Academy, Lina worked as a consultant for Academic Work. In the beginning, it was a “learn-as-you-go” experience.

“On my first assignment as a developer, it was basically me and one more person who made up the company's IT department. He was also fairly new, and we had no senior person to lean on. It was super educational, and I benefited greatly from what I had learned at AW Academy.”

Later, Lina moved on to another, slightly larger, IT department within the same group. Her role was as a full stack developer, and she worked with everything from databases to UI.

After a couple of years, Lina felt the urge for a new challenge. She decided to join Digitalent, where she has now been working for just over 2.5 years. During her five years in the industry, Lina has gradually become more specialized.

“On my first assignments, my role was that of a full stack developer. Working in very small departments, everyone needs to be able to do everything. But in recent years, I have focused more on front-end development. I like the visual aspect of it -- to implement designs and to actually get to see what happens when I do something.”

“Not seeing each other daily is a challenge”

Being a consultant often implies that you spend a great deal of your time at the client’s site. And according to Lina, she has always felt part of the companies she’s worked with.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with clients who really made me feel like a member of the workplace community, which of course is really helpful for networking within the company. Getting to know each other makes your team tighter and the discussions more open. And it becomes easier to ask for help when needed.”

Due to the pandemic, however, Lina has not been able to visit Elkjøp's office yet.

“Not seeing each other daily is a challenge. I really look forward to seeing my colleagues at Elkjøp when the pandemic is over. Working from home has been perfectly okay, but I'm excited to meet my team face to face!”

“At Digitalent, everyone's invited”

Rarely meeting your colleagues at the consulting company is a more common consequence of Lina’s profession. But that hasn’t prevented the employees of Digitalent from getting to know each other.

“We have been really good at meeting up and keeping our community going, especially before the pandemic. If you want to, there are lots of activities to take part in. Everything from spontaneous Friday hangouts to more arranged get-togethers with quizzes and stuff like that. Since we are quite a small company, it’s easy to get to know everyone. And when you know everyone, it’s easy to feel like home.”

At Digitalent, Lina is considered an active contributor to the company culture. She’s often involved in organizing conferences, after works and similar events.

From an inside perspective, what is the core of Digitalent's culture? Is there anything that stands out?

“One thing that I really appreciate is that the people of Digitalent are so welcoming! It’s a very inclusive company. We do so much together, and everyone who wants to join is always invited. When entering the office, there’s always someone greeting you with a big smile and asking what you’ve been up to. It's just such a great and friendly atmosphere!”

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