On last Monday, August 28th, we opened a <Digital Nomad Meet Up> at J-Space, the collaborative space of Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation. We have discussed about ‘Why remote working?’ at the <Digital Nomad Meet Up ‘Hello Seogwipo!’> last July.

 

 The <Digital Nomad Meet Up> this August started from a notion why we feel so distant from ‘working freely at places where we would like to work’ when there is a boom on ‘co-working spaces’ and an increase in people wanting to live as a ‘digital nomad’. We have decided to look for the answers in companies and public areas that are willing to implement ‘Remote Working’ rather than individual ‘Digital Nomads’. If a company and public institution chooses to ‘Remote Work’ than it is because the ‘Remote Work’ is a ‘Smart Work’!


The Balance of Space - People - Technology; Smart Work

 



 On November 2013, Microsoft Korea moved to its new building in Gwanghwamun, opening the era of “Free Style Workspace”. Various divisions harmonized under the motto ‘the balance of People, Space, and Technology’ and continued the innovation of a smart office. Many organizations are experiencing a lot of trial and errors when they adapted the Smart Office. They say that it is difficult to face the actual results of a Smart Office if you approach it just as a tool and technology when in fact it is a sum of environment, system, and culture.

 


 The prototype of Microsoft Smart Office in Korea is from the innovative activity called 'New Word of Work' which was promoted in 2005. A new work environment based on 'people, space, and technology' and the expansions of working methods were set at this time. Then the human resource department and asset management participated in innovation activities through collaboration. The 'people, space, and technology' is not a slogan but it symbolizes their role. A new work environment and tools must be aligned with the performance evaluations and rewards because it is not easy for the employees to adapt to a new working environment and method without motivation, evaluation, and rewards. The trends in workplace, work, and organizational management have changed a lot but the principles of Microsoft Korea’s ‘People, Space, and Technology’ are still practiced.

 

 There was an increased interest on Work & Life Balance in the mid/late 2000s. In recent years, many companies are trying to have a ‘good workspace to work’ by creating an environment where they can immerse themselves to work better rather than increasing the working hours. As the millennial generation (born in the early 1980s~2000s) involves more in the organization, more time is spent on how to smoothly implement the ‘Work-Life Integration’ rather than spending time more on leisure. This change in values of work and career brings the development of technology and the era of ‘new normal’ in advance.

 

 Microsoft Korea had a mission to provide a new system on compensations and work performance measurements as well as flexible work environment due to the changed values of work. They classified the work styles and attributes to provide a flexible work environment that can bring out the ‘balance of a personal style and a work style’. In addition, the members can select to have a designated seat, undesignated seat, remote working system, or teleworking system according to the business attributes and their roles and responsibility at work. You can also receive IT tools and services based on your working style if you could understand your style and attributes!

 

 But the most important thing is the performance measurement and compensation of the members. In order to practice a smart office run by a member, not an organization, it is necessary to accurately measure the performance of those who concentrated and worked their best regardless of the time and place. And that the compensation for this should be done properly. Only then a voluntary participating culture will be created! Microsoft Korea is trying to specifically look into who they communicated and collaborated to achieve a certain goal rather than seeing how many hours they work at a certain environment for the performance evaluation.



Method on leading your life, Start ‘UP’

 



 Alleys Wonder Lab is a startup that provides a video map service with a crowdsourcing method wherein the public participates and display the contents. It has a relationship with Jeju through the Stay Support Program of Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation and experiment the ‘Remote Working’ system in Jeju. I wonder why they were experimenting ‘Remote Working’ and what kinds of trial and errors they have experienced.

 

 Many of the members of the company are from big corporations. They said they have created a pleasant balanced Life & Work environment with flexible working hours and horizontal company culture. Thinking that as a startup company, they need at least one game machine inside the office and barbeque party as well as telecommuting is obviously possible if the members wanted it. However, they said they soon realized that it was a common mistake of a startup representative with a realization that the horizontal culture and flexible working hours should be a ‘tool for increasing work efficiency’ and not a ‘tool for motivation’!

 

>>> Common mistakes of a startup company representatives

      (partial document from Alleys Wonder Lab CEO Kim Ji Hwan’s presentation)


①Silicon Valley said startups have liberal and horizontal culture.

Isn’t it thankful enough for them to come and work at a startup company? We should reward them with these welfares.

A liberal ambience and flexible working hours will motivate the employees to work harder.

Rocketpunch ask us to write down the advantages of the company. Shouldn’t we at least mention these?

Google, Facebook, Baemin provides these office as a welfare.

 

 After that, they said they implemented a ‘limited flexible working hours’. Employees can come to work at any time they want to but they must participate in the 11AM meeting and should constantly update and share each other's goals and work mainly around the meeting hours. The members may freely schedule themselves to achieve their goals but the company executed a ‘permission system for holidays and notification system for working at home’. If you wish to work from home today, it must be done with a condition that you will ‘complete the work by saving the commuting time’ not because ‘you do not want to go to work’. And they do not regularly do a meeting or a workshop, but do it in a sense as a reward after seeing them achieving the goal.

 

 In the end, you’ll find out that these attempts are consistently executable when the ‘tools’ are useful to increase the efficiency of work. As part of such effort, they participated in the Jeju Daum, a Stay Support Program of Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation last April. The CEO of Alleys Wonder Lab, Kim Ji Hwan told another member of the company to experience the digital nomad at Jeju and said to ‘meet 100% of the work while enjoying the stay’. If the work performance of the month is 80%, then it is a failure but if it reaches 120%, it is a successful experiment and when it is reached, he promised for an expansion. As a result, the experiment failed because he said that it was a business environment not suitable for a developer. But because this experiment was a failure, it does not stop their attempt to experience. They analyzed the results and are planning for another experiment. They are going to ‘Nepal’ after ‘Jeju’ for a global project. We look forward to Alleys Wonder Lab’s Remote Working experiments as well as their projects.

  

For those who are interested to know more about the company, check the interview of ‘The story of Alleys Wonder Lab’

 

[Lee Him Chan X J-Space Emotional Interview] Alleys Wonder Lab CEO Kim Jin Hwan’s ‘In that case, there is nothing I can’t do.’



Adding ‘Smart’ to public services




 The Jeju Smart Welfare Center is a test operating organization opened on August 2016 after being selected as the ‘top 300 government’s 3.0 highlighted promotion projects’ in 2016. It is the first ‘welfare center without a building’ based on deinstitutionalization of social welfare. It is a system wherein the social welfare center goes to the people who need the services and not making them visit the center.

 

 The main business of Jeju Smart Welfare Center is not much different from those of general welfare centers but there is a big difference on the operation and maintenance expenses. It is said that a huge investment is made on designing and having additional facilities for the disabled people and seniors. Although more than 100 won costs to build a building, the disabled and elderly people who are uncomfortable in moving are experiencing a great inconvenience to visit the welfare centers.

 

 The Jeju Smart Welfare Center utilizes the empty spaces in town with a minimal space for an office. It is much easier for the people to receive services, such as running a lifelong education business in an empty space within an apartment of low-income families. In addition, unlike the general welfare centers, they utilize the ‘groupware’ and various cloud services and tabs as a consultation papers to minimize the use of a paper. Also, it is said that it is increasing the mobility by utilizing the small Segway rather than the conventional vehicles. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is a 'smart' welfare center as it is providing more suitable services to the people who need the welfare services in the blind spots by drastically reducing the time and the budget.

 

 There is no 'building' but there is a 'person' in the Jeju Smart Welfare Center. The meaning of smart work for them is towards the ‘people’. Many public institutions can refer to them as it provides the public services in the right place while saving taxes!



To work smartly, Smart Work

 

 We had a time to share the opinions of the participants before ending the meet up. Some people said the 'Remote Work’ or 'Smart Work' is not something that felt distant from and it was something that they could fully agree to. There was this one participant who left a wise saying(!) that ‘a smart work is finishing up your work fast and doing a creative work by utilizing what is near you’.

 

 There are not many organizations that implement the 'Remote Work' locally or internationally. Although 'Remote Work' is not the right method for every organization, it' is a meaningful way for a 'Smart Work' and some companies have already implemented it successfully!

 

 Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation will collect and share the trial and errors and the know-hows of the remote working companies domestically and internationally in the future. Please watch out the efforts of Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation in finding for remote working companies and in creating Jeju for those remote workers!




 

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 On Monday July 3rd, <Digital Nomad Meet-up ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’> was held in Seogwipo. In fact, we met various people to listen to their stories and there were a lot of things to consider to weave them all together until we held this small meet-up.


For Digital Nomad Meet-up to go to Seogwipo


 <Digital Nomad Meet-up ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’> is the first event held in Seogwipo by the Jeju Creative Economic Innovation Center (hereinafter Jeju Center). We had a desire to advance into Seogwipo last year, but the center had to give it up due to the ‘lack of demand’ and we got hesitant afterwards.


But Jeju Center started looking for a co-working space in the island as it executed ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project this year, and what stood out was ‘Play and Rest Café, the resting space of Asia CGI Animation Center. At first it was not created as a co-working space but had infinite potential as people were trying to turn it into a co-working space. Thankfully, ‘Jeju Techno Park’ that is in charge of this place had a need for ‘Revitalizing Asia CGI Animation Center’, so Jeju Center recommended a manager to permanently stay in the co-working space.



<Inside the co-working space of Asia CGI Animation Center. 

Administrator Sansol Park of ‘Jeju IT Freelancer Group’, who is working alone>



<First manager Jihyeon Kim of the co-working space of Asia CGI Animation is typing on her laptop…>



 Seogwipo has this ‘space’ and ‘people’ who are willing to use it. But we got questioned a lot, peppered with skepticism like; ‘Does Seogwipo truly need a co-working space?’, ‘Will there be people coming once it’s created?’ J-Space in Jeju Creative Economic Innovation Center is now full of various people, but it took 2 years to draw such positive response. Thus the first meet-up to start in Seogwipo invited and gathered the digital contents-related remote workers and networkers in Seogwipo to be ‘small’ but ‘meaningful’.



<Yay I shared it 20 times!>  


<Governor Heeryong Won shared it! This might be onto something big, right?>


<Add to that, the speakers pulled strings for PR>



 The meet-up was carried out as part of ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project, but it was important to spread the legitimacy of this ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project and create its atmosphere. The Information Convergence Division and Jeju Urban Regeneration Support Center of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province who heard about the meet-up on SNS participated in the event voluntarily and met and communicated with Seogwipo remote workers and networkers, adding more significance to the meet-up.

 


Shouting Seogwipo in the Center of Community

 

 The topics we addressed in the meet-up <Digital Nomad Meet-up, ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’> were ‘Why Seogwipo?’ and ‘Why It Must be Seogwipo’, which showed that such movement was not limited to ‘Seogwipo’ at all.


 

<Administrator Sansol Park of ‘Jeju IT Freelancer Group’ who is delivering a presentation 

on Shouting Seogwipo in the Center of Community’>

 

 The first presentation was led by Sansol Park who runs ‘Jeju IT Freelancer Group’. He is a networker who runs ‘Jeju IT Freelancer Group’ as well as Facebook pages ‘Seogwipo Wave’ and ‘Digital Nomads Jeju’, and is well-known to many people. The ‘Jeju IT Freelancer Group’, which he started just to make it more fun for IT developers hidden in Jeju to gather together for coding and working, now has 1,200 members already.

 

Sansol Park was the first person to be involved in the co-working space of Asia CGI Animation Center and take lead in SNS promotion. I asked a question ‘What should we do to activate this space?’ to him who should have know-hows in running a community.

 

 Sansol Park said ‘I always keep in mind ‘who are the people I most care about?’ and I try to spend more time with them. Those whom I care about the most, are my family.’ His laptop is full of family pictures; the workplace he goes to is his ‘home’ and the company he likes is ‘family’ as well. He said he’ll visit this co-working space if there are important people like the colleagues he works with. He gave a wise answer by saying that even if only one person visits the space, he will treat him/her as a precious person and that this co-working space will be filled if people become important to each other.



Seogwipo Young Guns’ Concerns over Life and Work


<CEO Jooneui So of creative contents lab Kailua who is delivering a presentation on ‘Kailua: Missing Seogwipo, Jeju’ >

 

 Is there any more interesting company like this? Creative contents lab Kailua is a company finding solutions to help people’s lives by connecting IT and humanities in Wolpyeong, a small village where No.7 and No.8 Olle-gil of Seogwipo meet. It is currently analyzing ‘travel tendency’ as the content of beautiful Jeju, and is highly looking forward to various programs of Asia CGI Animation Center with a huge interest.

 

 Jooneui So has been usually concerned over ‘Jeju as a base’ and ‘life and work’. The Kailua Team he leads has been setting its own direction to create and protect their own value. Modules divided by the nature of each work such as development, contents, design, etc. enabled them to move in the best environment each thinks fit. The team also shares the overall flow through regular meetings and suggests opinions to support in each field, practicing remote work. The most important things for them are ‘Work-Life Balance’ and respect for individuality! They are the young guns of Seogwipo today.


 

Remote Working Platform Development Project to connect Jeju and the Mainland


<Introducing the ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project of Jeju Creative Economic Innovation Center>


 

 The center shared the background, objective, and the future plans of ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project it is carrying out this year with various people who attended the meet-up. This project got its idea from the review of participants in the 2016 Overseas Community Exchange Program. There were opinions such as ‘Everything about J-Space is good but it is unfortunate that it lacks natural environment that can be enjoyed only in Jeju in the surroundings’ and ‘I want to meet a local startup or community’. However, these opinions were not enough to legitimize the project, and many different aspects of Jeju were considered.

 

 Due to the geographical nature of an island, Jeju has poor accessibility (it is getting better though), but most of its talent pool flows into Seoul and it is vulnerable to external situations due to primary and tertiary industrial structures. However, Jeju has a pleasant, clean natural environment and many different leisure environments, so it is a very attractive place for remote workers, who put emphasis on the balance of life and work, to work wherever they want. The project ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ hopes to create a virtual ‘tunnel’ that connects Jeju to the outside world through it.

 

‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project induces the flow of remote workers into the island like ‘Jeju-ish’, the residence support program of Jeju Center. Instead of making remote workers to form a concentrated community in the center or J-Space, it seeks to spread them throughout the entire area of Jeju and where remote-work is available. Thus the project aims to gradually build an environment where remote-work is easy all around ‘Jeju’, not the center’, and ultimately aims to build various relationship networks of startup ecology through partnerships with co-working space to promote their interaction. 

 

As part of this project, Ahn will run a blog called ‘Remote Work in Jeju’ to provide the co-working information of Jeju remote workers and continuously update information on available spaces in Jeju for co-working and remote-work as well as the life zone. In addition, she will regularly hold events like <Digital Nomad Meet-up, ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’> or transformer that match well with the region.



From Seoul to Seogwipo, Designing a Small Change


<Segwang Oh of Open Univ, delivering a presentation on ‘Open Univ: From Seoul to Seogwipo, Designing a Small Change’ >


 Open College has been conducting various experiments to solve Jeju’s problems for several years now. Why is Open College openly located in Seogwipo, where it is hard to find a single young person to work part-time? Who are the young people building life in Seogwipo following Open College and what are they doing these days? Segwang Oh, who introduced himself as a ‘Mobility Designer’, told his story with confidence.

 

 Oh is a designer who works his part time job by day and builds codes by night. He is a gap-year youth in college as well; unemployment rate, youth unemployment rate, and the actual unemployment rate were not being improved without any changes and farm labor was lacking in contrast, he realized. Based on this, young people started farming twice a week and coding three times a week as a way to be economically independent and resolve the lacking farm labor, but soon felt that it was very difficult to achieve. Removing all the hard-grown agricultural crops was better than harvesting them which would generate labor cost and loss as a result. Oh also felt the pyramid hierarchical structure of part-time-contract job-technical job-office work while working part-time in Migok Rice Processing Complex. He suggested a new way to work or arrange members for work efficiency, but felt helpless after he was told that ‘You’re just a temp, it’s not your place to talk like that.’ ‘Why do you do forklifting as a receipt assistance?’ and ‘Just do as I say’.

 

Then, Oh met ‘Open Univ’, a school to ‘design my life on my own’, and could design and practice key subjects such as ‘Entrepreneurship’, ‘Design Thinking’, and ‘Software Development’ as well as other necessary subjects on his own. He could ‘design small changes’ by putting an idea into practice fast with Open Univ members.

 

There were some things Oh needed to design such small changes’: He needed a space, people, and culture. He especially talked about the importance of horizontal culture. Even if you are 19 years old, you can talk and discuss with a person in his/her 30s holding a master’s degree on equal terms, thanks to the horizontal culture. Oh also said that cooperation and trust cultures were essential elements to form a community.



Digital Nomad Meet-up ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’, like Coral Reef that is 2% of the Sea

 

 Segwang Oh of Open Univ said <Digital Nomad Meet-up ‘Hello, Seogwipo!> was like a coral reef in the sea. Coral reefs take up a mere 2 percent of the whole ocean, but they are known to be all connected to each other. We hope July meet-up was like the coral reef of Seogwipo. Please stay tuned to see when and where Jeju Center will make other coral reefs!

 





▼ Digital Nomad Meet-up ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’ Sketch Film 






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