As digital nomadism, workcations and bleisure have become increasingly integrated into today’s work culture, Bookmark has started integrating that mindset as well. With our PUG program (also known as Pick-Up-and-Go), we support temporary inter-office employee transfers. After all, we do have nine “neighborhoods” worldwide and love all things travel.
Our first international PUGs traveled from our London office last August and stayed three weeks at Bookmark Montreal and one week in Toronto. Aleksandra Pawlowska, Strategist, and Emily Adams, Content Manager, were welcomed to Canada with lots of smiles, advice on the best poutine spots (among other things), and a few additional projects to add to their extensive to-do lists. We interviewed them about their experience once they returned home.
What part of the PUG program attracted you?
Emily Adams: I’d always regretted not working abroad as part of my degree or taking a year out to travel so originally this felt like my second chance to do that (on a scaled down, more realistic level!) I loved the idea of getting to know a different culture through work, and I’d already heard so much about the Canadian Bookmark teams, that it was a no-brainer to apply.
Aleksandra Pawlowska: I love traveling and had never been to Canada before so when I heard of the PUG program I knew it would be a great opportunity to get to know a new city and country.
What did you bring back home with you?
EA: A new found love for all things Canadian, and so many new friends from the Montreal and Toronto offices. I also brought back new knowledge on SEO, on content marketing on a bigger scale, and a better understanding of how Bookmark works globally. I’ve learned so much from so many people that I definitely feel more useful as a Bookmark employee. Oh and lots of peanut butter M&Ms, you can’t leave Canada without those.
AP: Lots of wonderful memories and lessons.
What have you learned about Bookmark that you didn’t know before?
EA: I met people who have different skill sets who I now know we can work better with in London, and I think the same can be said for Canada. It fascinated me how much the global teams all work together on a daily basis, no matter the time difference. In my day to day work in London, I don’t often interact with the other offices, but now that I know everyone I feel like I am better placed to connect the right people across the world.
AP: I learned that there were are all these incredible and talented people across the ocean that I can now proudly say I have had the opportunity to meet in person.
What were your favorite spots around the city?
EA: How many is too many to mention? Living in Montreal for a month taught me what an outdoorsy active person I am. Running or cycling along the Lachine Canal was one of my favorite things to do. There’s also a great spot on the other side of the canal from Atwater Market where they held outdoor yoga classes throughout the summer. Nothing better than a spot of yoga, followed by breakfast at the market on a Saturday morning. Jarry and La Fontaine parks were also beautiful and a great way to while away an afternoon. To be honest, there wasn’t anywhere I didn’t like!
AP: I fell in love with the Mile End neighborhood, with its creative atmosphere that lingers in the air. It is the area where I spent most of my free time.
Any words of advice for future PUGs?
EA: I think Alex and I only have positive things to say about the PUG program. Fully embrace every single second, make yourself as useful as possible in the office and absorb every ounce of knowledge you can. A month may seem like a long time but it went by so quickly. We were absolutely exhausted by the end but we didn’t regret any of it, we worked all day and explored like true tourists all evening. I wouldn’t have done it any differently. Thank you to our Montreal and Toronto hosts for being so welcoming. Can we go again?
AP: I would also add this: say yes to all the opportunities that come your way!