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On the origin of spreadsheets: The birth of the flexi-team model

In recent years, society has begun to catch on and run with the notion that perhaps the way we’ve worked for the best part of the last 75 years isn’t the only way.

We were brought up choosing paths. From favourite colours to hobbies to favourite topics at school, and before we knew it we were choosing careers. With that choice we were given a package; if you chose the path of farmer you were choosing cold, muddy early morning starts. If you chose finance you were choosing offices, water coolers and casual Fridays.

…and these guys.

We were also brought up believing black to be black, and white to be white. We were collectively imprinted with the threat, ‘if you don’t do X you’ll end up X’. There was no grey area, and we were rarely encouraged to stop and say, ‘hang on a minute…’. We unwittingly signed a life-long contract that read something like, ‘I promise to always fit in with what is professionally required of me’. Our parents didn’t question the status quo, just got on with it and were happy, so why wouldn’t we do the same?

Well, the favourite millennial complaint is a little bit true. It was harder for us.

With university degrees becoming more and more accessible, the competition got harder. Positions started requiring more experience to differentiate candidates, and those who didn’t have it would do it for free just to get it. Companies started to relax a little in the knowledge that there were maybe of hundreds of candidates to choose from. We slowly found ourselves writing many more versions of our C.V. to fit with, quite frankly, anyone who would read it.

It was at that point that some of us started to ask that question, ‘hang on a minute…’

Hold up.

Why was it that even though we’d done everything we’d been told to do, we weren’t getting back what we’d been promised? We had achieved all of those milestones that were set out for us, so where was the reward? Entitlement turned to horror as we started to really see the unstable and pretty rocky road that lay ahead.

So what next? Do we demand a re-do? Knowing what we know back then would have changed a lot. Sadly, as we all know, that’s not an option. The only resolution was to adapt.

…But this time, we found a way to adapt that actually benefit us.

To compete with others vying for the same jobs we learnt more skills to set us apart, and took on free or low-paying jobs to gain experience. We started to ask questions about why things were done in a certain way, and then we started to do them better. We set up companies ourselves that allowed us to showcase our skills and meet real needs that were being ignored.

We stopped trying to fit in uncomfortable boxes and started creating boxes around us that were a better fit.

Yes, very cliché,

Suddenly we found ourselves in the midst of a professional revolution. A revolution committed to working really hard and getting real results – not because we felt like we were supposed to, but because we enjoyed it.

We cut out miserable Monday mornings and looking forward to Fridays, and exchanged them for genuine enthusiasm. We stopped working to work, and started making working work for us.

The flexi-team model was born

The flexi-team model works on this ideal of skills driven by passion. It is made up exclusively of motivated individuals with cohesive goals and objectives, and who enjoy what they do. The model adheres to a set, (albeit flexible) set of principles:

  • Diverse. Team members are skilled and confident in applying themselves to a range of disciplines. Skills required but not possessed are learned.
  • Remote. Team members work within the environment most personally suited to them. Team collaboration is achieved remotely.
  • Communicative. Communication between team members is consistent and clear.
  • Tailored. Team members are recruited on a project-to-project to basis. Skillsets are matched with project need.
  • Supportive. The flexi-team environment is one in which members explore, learn, and have the opportunity to learn from mistakes.

Flexi means ‘flexible’. Like this.

The success of the flexi-team model relies upon the commitment and collaboration of its members.

The benefits of the implementation of the model are various, including:

  1. More efficient use of resources
    As the team is tailored to meet the needs of the project, resources are allocated most efficiently.
  2. More proficient working
    Team members are working from their own, established environments, and often to a tailored schedule. The result is a happier, more intuitive and engaged group.
  3. Better communication
    Remote collaboration calls for a highly-connected group. Implementation of distinct communication methods allows the team to maintain that connection.
  4. Better acquisition of talent
    As the flexi-team model is not limited by location, it is able to draw upon the skillsets of individuals from all over the world.
  5. Consistent progression
    Team members develop new skills throughout each project, encouraging constant team evolution.

Red Mirror works hard to find uniquely talented individuals working within the e-learning industry, (or keen to start) to invite them to join our team. Through this, we’ve put together an outstanding bank of talent from which we can draw upon, and it continues to grow with each new project.

For us this means we’re able to work to our absolute best potential. For our clients this means that no matter the project, we can guarantee that it will be placed in very best hands.


The Red Mirror team did what they said they would, when they said they would and the finished product was EXACTLY what we had in mind (and more!)

Clare O Supply Desk

[Red Mirror] have ability to find a creative solution for every question we had. I feel so lucky to have such a business partner working on my side to be better each and every day.