While many big corporations are still lagging behind when it comes to enabling their employees to work from home, Prolific trusts its team members from the beginning and does its best to accommodate their needs and preferences.
In fact, everyone who joins remotely and full-time gets sent this wonderful book called Remote: Office not required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier-Hansson, which discusses the many challenges associated with remote work and provides some useful advice.
This week in our Curious at Prolific series we're featuring team member Kendra Meyer, who is Prolific’s Participant Support Manager. Kendra is working remotely from Newcastle, UK as a freelancer – many of you might be curious what this is like. Without further ado, meet Kendra from our Prolific Team.
Hannah: When did you join Prolific?
Kendra: I joined Prolific in April 2016. I was the first person to join Katia and Phelim on this great adventure.
H: Did you work as a freelancer before? What did you do?
K: I didn’t actually. My background is wide-ranging. I am a trained actress, worked as a TV-host, researcher, fraud investigator and university lecturer before.
H: What’s your background, and what is your PhD about?
K: My background is in Forensic Psychology and Criminology. I have two masters degrees in these areas and my PhD is investigating the effects of misleading gestures in investigative child interviewing.
H: How does a typical day look like for you? As a freelancer, how do you maintain the contact to the team?
K: I usually start my day around 7-8am with a coffee and a first look at the participant emails. After I have evaluated if anything stands out, I check our communication channel in Slack. Most of our team communication is done through this channel and it works surprisingly well. We also have weekly video support and team meetings, to discuss the most important topics of the week. I am also regularly travelling down to Oxford for team get-togethers and we just had our yearly team trip (to Glasgow this time). I feel very connected to the whole team, as we are in contact every day. After I have worked on support for a couple of hours, I switch over to my PhD work for the rest of the day and usually go the gym in the early evening. My flexible working hours allow me to create my very own work schedule and so I often work on support in the late evenings or on the weekend as well.
H: What do you like best about your work as a participant support manager?
K: I am really proud to be part of Prolific and be able to work alongside such an amazing team. My opinions are valued and being in close contact with our participants means that I am able to make their feedback and voices heard. I like to help our participants in any way I can, so that they can enjoy our platform and earn some extra money.
H: Do you get a lot of angry e-mails from participants?
K: It really depends. I do get frustrated messages from participants, when something goes wrong for them, but that’s just the nature of my job. There are days where I need a break, especially when I get personally insulted, but I also receive lovely emails, thanking me for my help or wishing me a Merry Christmas and these emails can make my day. At the end of the day, I do feel a strong connection to all our participants and I love to be in contact with them.
H: In what way is Prolific different from other companies you worked for?
K: Prolific is a league of its own. We are a small team and all of our voices are heard. We are actively shaping the company’s future with our ideas and work. Seeing it grow so much over the past years is just amazing. I don’t feel like I am working for someone else, but rather feel part of the company.
H: Do you have any advice for other people who are interested in working as a freelancer? What are the biggest challenges and benefits?
K: My advice is to be proactive. I contacted Katia in 2016 and asked if she and Phelim needed some help with their company, and they did. If you want a job, ask for it. Also, as a freelancer, you will have to create your own schedule and work independently. You will have to take care of your taxes yourself and might not have the safety of a full-time employment. However, you have a lot of freedom on how to create your day. My freelancer position has financially supported me during my PhD and added valuable work experience to my CV. I have also learned a lot about the challenges of running a business by working so closely with the rest of our team.