Remote-first and proud: how one Impalan plans to work from a beach. And the top of a mountain.
We caught up with Polly Morphew, Operations Manager, on her plan to make the most of Impala’s industry-leading remote first setup to escape London’s winter.
Hands up if you’ve ever dreamt of working remotely? Not just WFH, but truly remotely – from a different country? It’s a treasured right for all Impalans, because we’ve been a remote-first start-up from Day One.
That’s one reason we’ve just been voted #4 best start-up to work for in London by innovative recruitment firm Tempo. And it's in step with our disruptor ethos: transform the travel industry and re-make the workplace as somewhere that’s flexible, freedom-focused and more, well, human.
So, what’s it like taking the plunge? We caught up with Polly Morphew, Operations Manager, whose love for adventure drew her to Impala, just before she heads off on an epic trip to satisfy her wanderlust.
A little bird tells us you’re embarking on a big adventure?
Yes, absolutely. I’m so excited! First stop is Italy next Saturday. I don’t have a concrete plan, but it’s Europe to begin with – keeping it local, so friends and family can visit. Saying that, Mauritius is on the cards in January. Basically, wherever the sun is.
How long are you going for?
It’s an open book. I used to live in Australia and China, so I’ll avoid the long-haul ‘pack-up-shop’ thing for now. But I can happily see myself doing this for at least half a year.
How is Impala helping to make this happen for you?
First, Iet me say how much I love our remote-first policy: it’s one of the main reasons I took the job. Not many of my friends have this perk, so I feel incredibly lucky.
I've spent my entire career working remotely, and it’s quite rare to find an employer that can accommodate this way of working. I’ve found there’s genuine encouragement from the team and wider company to go see the world while staying productive.
That’s the aim isn’t it? Improved productivity meets living your best life.
I think so. You don’t have to be in an office 9-to-5 to be productive. Obviously, in certain industries you need to have that, but Impala's culture has been really empowering.
You can take that early lunch because you want to go to the seaside, or clock off slightly earlier because you want to make it to a tapas bar in Madrid. Having that flexibility really puts that work-life balance into perspective.
And for mental health, that’s amazing.
How do you square working remotely with your hands-on role?
My role is definitely hands-on, but it doesn’t really require me to be physically in the office.
There’s a huge amount of daily interaction with stakeholders from engineering, product, sales, and marketing. I expect that to continue. So, in terms of day-to-day nothing will really change. Impala’s culture is designed to make this happen, so the transition will be super-easy.
Tell us about the support mechanisms?
Depending on your communication style, there are different ways to get support. If you prefer to go direct, you can always pick up the phone to anyone. On Slack, there are regular polls on wellbeing, plus there are mental health forums you can access.
Beyond that, there are several benefits within the health and wellbeing side of the business, such as Sanctus for one-on-one coaching.
Can you share your motivations for the move?
I got itchy feet from living in London, especially after Covid hit.
I also respond really well to change. Whether that’s working from a coffee shop one day or a little village the next, I really like a change of scenery – it’s far more productive. And if I can work flexibly, why not make the most of it?
Is there anything about Impala that makes the experience of working here stand out?
Being equipped with the essential tools, having the resources at hand, the attitude of leadership, and company structure – all have made a significant difference.
I also never feel isolated. Even if I was in a field in the middle of nowhere, the team would be on hand to help with the answer. The infrastructure is in place to deal with things, rather than having to wait three hours for an answer.
At previous employers, I’ve been out of the office, and it would be an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ situation. That’s definitely not the case here.
Good luck on your new adventures. Before you go, what are the top three things about working at Impala?
First, the people and the autonomy. Every day I feel really valued as a team member. Everyone here is super-intelligent and brings their own thing to the table.
Second, the mission we’re on to fix the travel industry, which is great as the status quo can be frustrating at times!
Last, the perks and the way the company is run. It’s quite revolutionary. Not many of my friends have the freedom that I enjoy. It’s easy to forget that sometimes.